Thursday, 23 April 2020

The Man Who Didn't Call by Rosie Walsh

"Imagine you meet a man, spend seven glorious days together, and fall in love. And it’s mutual: you’ve never been so certain of anything. 

So when he leaves for a long-booked holiday and promises to call from the airport, you have no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.

Your friends tell you to forget him, but you know they’re wrong: something must have happened; there must be a reason for his silence. 

What do you do when you finally discover you’re right? That there is a reason – and that reason is the one thing you didn’t share with each other?The truth."

I read this book last year in Cyprus.  The resort I was staying in had one of those book swap shelves and, once I'd finished the books I'd bought with me, I happily traded them in.  I scoured the shelves for the book that looked most appealing and this drew me in.  The name of the book suggested "light" reading but the caption suggested something a bit mysterious which I liked the sound of.

Through the first few chapters, I considered giving up as I found it a bit slow and I wasn't sure about the main character but I'm glad I didn't.  Immediately before this book, I'd read quite a few crime / thriller books and I think it just took me a while to re-adjust to a different genre.  Whilst some would call this a multi-genre book, I wouldn't classify it as a thriller in the true sense of the word.

After a while though, I found myself keen to find out why Eddie hadn't called and I was surprised by the reason and then became torn as to what I wanted to happen next.  Having got to the end of the book, I realise how many clues were given along the way but I just hadn't connected them.

A good read with a great, unexpected twist.

Monday, 20 April 2020

Guilty by Laura Elliot

"It begins with a phone call. It ends with a missing child.

On a warm summer’s morning, thirteen-year-old school girl Constance Lawson is reported missing.  

A few days later, Constance’s uncle, Karl Lawson, suddenly finds himself swept up in a media frenzy created by journalist Amanda Bowe implying that he is the prime suspect. 

Six years later …

Karl’s life is in ruins. His marriage is over, his family destroyed. But the woman who took everything away from him is thriving. With a successful career, husband and a gorgeous baby boy, Amanda’s world is complete. Until the day she receives a phone call and in a heartbeat, she is plunged into every mother’s worst nightmare."

This book wasn't what I expected but it was delightfully good.  

Guilty is split into four parts and set over a longer time period than usual.  Having only skimmed the synopsis, I was expecting the entire book to be about the missing school girl and so I was surprised when this element of the storyline came to a conclusion relatively early on in the book.  I don't want to give anything away by explaining the four different parts but it is like several strands, stretching over a number of years, focusing at different points on the different characters and different stages of their lives, which are then brought together by the end.  

The story had so many twists and turns along the way and I never really knew what was coming until the author wanted me to know.

It is hard not give away and so I won't say much more.  But what I will say is Guilty has well-developed characters and a well-thought through plot.  I devoured it in two days; it was definitely difficult to put down.  

I'd recommend reading this when you have the time to dedicate - I think it would be more enjoyable than reading in small chunks as it will allow you to immerse yourself in this gripping thriller.

I received a free copy of this e-book through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice-Cream by Sue Watson

"Dani’s on a mission to get her life back on track by the end of the summer. Running, rowing, aerobics and more, but perhaps all she needs are sweet treats and a second chance?

Ten years ago, Dani fled Appledore with a broken-heart and a suitcase full of shattered dreams. Only now is she brave enough to put her past behind her and return for a summer selling homemade ice cream and getting fit by doing sit-ups by the sea. 

But the new-look cafe is filled with old memories of Jude, her teenage sweetheart-turned-sour. She thinks of him every time she swirls warm sauce onto a ‘chocolate-bockaglory’ and even with the help of Chris, her gorgeous personal trainer, the urge to break her diet is everywhere she turns. 

When Jude makes an appearance at the cafe on the eve of Dani’s birthday party, history threatens to repeat itself. Is Dani strong enough to say no? And is the love she’s been longing for much closer than she thinks?"

I'm sad to say that this book just wasn't for me and, for the purposes of an honest review, it is only right to say that I didn't get past the second chapter.  

I found Dani really quite irritating.  She is down on herself because she is overweight and so convinces herself that she needs to change her life but, in the pages I did read, stuffs her face full of food, comes out with sentence like "I hate doing anything physical other than opening the fridge", claims going for a walk on the beach she overlooks would be like being at boot camp and just complains she is fat.

It is unlike me not to want to persevere with a book, even if it isn't my favourite.  Unfortunately, I just couldn't warm to the characters and whilst part of me wanted to know what happened when Dani and Jude met again, I didn't want to know enough to make me keep going.

I received a free copy of this e-book through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Molly's Millions by Victoria Connelly

"Hard-up florist Molly Bailey has just won £4.2 million pounds in the National Lottery. And she needs to get rid of it – fast!

Tom Mackenzie is on the verge of losing his job. He needs one hell of a story if he hopes to secure his future in journalism.

With Ebenezer Scrooge for a brother, and a strong belief that sharing her good fortune is the only way forward, Molly unwittingly becomes the most sought-after person in the country as, in true Robin Hood style, she distributes her wealth to the masses.

With only her terrier pup, Fizz, for company, Molly embarks on the journey of her life, crossing the country in her trusty – or should that be ‘rusty’? – yellow Beetle. But with Tom Mackenzie hot on her heels and the nation on the look-out for her, Molly must outwit them all if she’s to achieve her grand finale."

Thank you to Victoria Connelly for offering a free copy of Molly's Millions for a short period of time as we started lockdown due to COVID-19.  I jumped at the opportunity as I was drawn in by the description of the book and I knew lockdown was going to be a good chance for me to get back into reading.

Most of us have probably dreamed of winning the lottery -  what would you do if you won £4.2mn?  I can't imagine many of us would embark on a selfless journey (no pun intended as this journey for Molly was literally carried out on a road trip across the country) to give away a large amount of the new found fortune.  But this is exactly what Molly does.

I was hooked right from the start with wonderful characters.  Some are warm and loving and some you dislike instantly.  The storyline is so fantastically intertwined so you really feel like you learn something about all the characters, even though the focus is on the main ones throughout.

The storyline covers both historical and current relationships and brings more depth to the characters.  The writing is wonderfully descriptive which makes this a story which is easy to visualise with all the different settings.

I wouldn't say it is completely unpredictable, I could see a couple of things coming down the track but it was an extremely enjoyable journey.  Whilst complying with our current social distancing guidelines, I read more than half of this book in the sunshine in the garden last weekend.  Devoured in a matter of hours which is a sign of a good read.

I know a book is good when it leaves me wanting more and I definitely wanted to see more of Molly, Tom, Flora and Fizz.

A really warm-hearted and feel-good story and we all need some feel-good in our lives right now!