Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson

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Oh……… how I enjoyed this book. I was lucky enough to win a copy for the lovely people at Readers First and sorry to say that it took me a bit to get around to reading it.

The original synopsis reminded me of The Island by Victoria Hislop (this is also mentioned on the front of the book) which I had read some years ago but had very fond memories of. This is the synopsis :-

Can you escape your past in paradise?

‘The story started at dawn on the fourteenth of September, 1943 . . .’

All her life, London-born Angelika has been intrigued by her mother’s secret past. Now planning her wedding, she feels she must visit the remote Crete village her mother grew up in.

Angie’s estranged elderly grandmother, Maria, is dying. She welcomes Angie with open arms – it’s time to unburden herself, and tell the story she’ll otherwise take to her grave.

It’s the story of the Nazi occupation of Crete during the Second World War, of horror, of courage and of the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her children. And it’s the story of bitter secrets that broke a family apart, and of three enchanting women who come together to heal wounds that have damaged two generations.

This wonderful novel will transport you to the shores of Crete and stay in your heart long after you turn the last page.

The story is mainly set in Crete where the author, Patricia Wilson had lived and I adored her descriptions of this throughout the book. It starts with a woman, Angelika eager to meet her family that her mother Poppy had run away from to England and had been estranged from for nearly 40 years as she is due to marry.

Angelika meets her grandmother Maria for the first time and we are transported back to the Second World War and the German occupation of Crete through the memories of Maria. This storyline was so well written and utterly heartbreaking but it is a story that needs to be told to find out what happened all those years ago to Poppy, Maria and the rest of the family.

A brilliant debut novel that I just couldn’t put down.

 

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The Last Piece of my Heart by Paige Toon

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I came home on Monday afternoon after having issues with my wisdom teeth removal and I arrived home to this lovely unexpected book post from the lovely folk at Simon and Schuster.

I’ve read a couple of books by Paige Toon and enjoyed them, my favourite being ‘Thirteen Weddings’. Plus I had seen this book on Twitter and had heard good things. Since getting a bit more involved on Twitter, I have discovered all sorts of new books that I wouldn’t have ordinarily have thought to have read. The wonder of Twitter!

I read the back of the book and discovered it was mainly set in Cornwall (which is always a big YES in my eyes). This is the synopsis:-

‘Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change …’

I started to read the first chapter just to get a feel for the book and I was pulled in and couldn’t stop. I read this book at every opportunity and loved how real the characters seemed. I was delighted to also read mentions of other characters from other Paige Toon books, namely Thirteen Weddings – a lovely touch.

I enjoyed the journey this book took me on enjoying hearing about the characters and how they evolved. The setting was perfect and I loved the descriptions of the locations, you could almost feel the sand between your toes and the sun beating down on you. You actually feel joy when Charlie starts laughing (Nicole’s widow) and how he starts to come out of his shell whilst also feeling utter heartbreak for him whilst he is still clearly grieving for this lost wife and trying to cope and look after their baby daughter, April.

The interactions with Bridget and April were what made the book for me. I could feel her joy at watching this little baby become a walking toddler who holds everyone’s heart.
I was really sad when I finished this book but enjoyed every second of it and am really glad that I started to read that first chapter.

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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Wow. This was a book that certainly takes no prisoners! I’ve seen so much talk and hype about this book and managed to receive a copy before it was published.

I really enjoyed the tense feeling that was apparent throughout the book. I think my heart was actually pounding at times as I was completely enthralled with the characters and writing style.

The book starts with a ‘body’ being discovered in a block of flats but on closer inspection it is actually different limbs from 6 different people. Why were they chosen?

The race is on for the detectives on the case to try and figure out what is happening next. This isn’t made easy by the fact they seem to be 2 steps behind the ‘Ragdoll’ killer and matters aren’t helped with the interfering of an ambitious news journalist.

I liked the different points of views from the detectives on the case, the main character being Wolf whose story and background you are introduced to at the start of the story.

A really enjoyable and fast paced debut that I thoroughly enjoyed and am looking forward to more!

Child Taken by Darren Young

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Well, I think I managed to read this book in two days which us quite an achievement as I work full time!

The start of this book sucked me in and two days later it spat me out. I had a raging headache but was so enthralled in what was happening that I just couldn’t put it down.

The story is told from several characters points of views and are over a timescale starting with a young girl disappearing from a crowded beach on a hot summer day and moves to the present combining with another child abduction. I enjoyed the interwoven storylines of the two main characters, one a journalist who stumbles across the long forgotten abduction of Jessica and Dannii who is convinced her parents are hiding something from her……but what?

There are plenty of twists and turns along the way and this book certainly kept my attention up until the last page.

Really enjoyable read from an author who I hope gets the praise he deserves.

White Lies & Wishes by Cathy Bramley

cathy-bramleyThere are some authors who’s books I have to buy as soon as they have been published, Katie Fforde, Trisha Ashley, Jill Mansell, Jeffery Deaver and Cathy Bramley has just been added to this list.

I loved this book. I managed to read in two days (and I was at work for one of them!) that was how much I liked it. The downside to this is that it is over too quickly!

We are introduced to 3 different characters who come across each other at a funeral. Jo, who works for her family’s shoe company. Carrie, who is an overeating housewife and Sarah an ambitious accountant who has recently returned back to work after having her first child. On first appearances they appear to be happy with their lives however we learn from them individually that this isn’t the case and they decide to set up a wishlist of something they individually want to achieve.

Throughout the story we learn about the characters and I loved hearing about what set them on this certain path in their life and how their priorities start to slowly change. The friendship of the women is tested at some points but I liked that it wasn’t all plain sailing and made them face challenges.

A lovely well written story from an author who hasn’t disappointed so far. I’ve enjoyed other books by Cathy Bramley and I think sometimes this puts the book you are reading under pressure to be just as good but I’m happy to say this didn’t disappoint and I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely book!

Other books I have enjoyed by this author were ‘Unconditional Love’ and ‘Appleby Farm’.

Rating: 5/5

 

First Post!

img_20161208_192551Wow, first blog and first post time!

I’ve read some lovely blogs over the years so if mine can be half as good, I will be very happy!

I am starting this post with the book I am currently reading – The Little Teashop of Lost and Found by Trisha Ashley.

I was kindly sent this to read by the lovely Poppy Stimpson at Transworld Books and I was so excited to receive as I absolutely adored Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley. It’s the one book I re-read in the run up to Christmas and also the one that I recommend to anyone who reads, mentions they have ever read a book in their life…..

The thing I love about Trisha Ashley books are that they feel like you are visiting an old friend. Her books tend to mention previous characters and villages and I love that it takes me right back to earlier books that I have loved.

I best get back to reading!