Tuesday 29 December 2020

2020 Reading Challenge | Queen Bee by Jane Fallon

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Queen Bee by Jane Fallon - 4/5
Moving into The Close, all Laura wants is peace and privacy.

But resident Queen Bee Stella is suspicious, fearing Laura has designs for her fiancé, Al.

So when Laura stumbles on Al's big secret, Stella's perfectly controlled world falls apart. As the two women take a chance on beating Al at his own twisted game, these former strangers are fast becoming best friends.

But has Laura forgotten that revenge always comes with a sting in the tail?

I listened to this as an audiobook and it just reminded me of how much I love audiobooks. It is read by Jo Joyner and she is wonderful. Perfect differences between characters and easy to follow along with.

Laura's husband has left her and she finds herself moving into the annex of a house in The Close, an upmarket area of London, full of rich people living in mansions.

Laura runs her own cleaning firm and shares an eight-year-old daughter, Betsy, with ex-husband David. Due to Laura living in uncertain conditions, Betsy stays with David most of the time and Laura is desperate to change that, determined to only stay in the annex for six months.

Being the new person on The Close, she wants to try and fit in. After an evening at Gail and Ben's (the couple whose annex she lives in) she realises that she knows one of the husband's; Al who runs AJT Music, she has a cleaning contract there. Al's fiancée Stella takes an instant dislike to Laura, assuming that the newly single woman on The Close wants to get her claws into her husband and turns all of the other women against her. Queen Bee, indeed.

Laura accidently comes across some shady dealings that Al is involved in, tells Stella and the two become unlikely friends and conspirators.

I really enjoyed this book. It made me laugh out loud and had some twists thrown in too! I definitely have to get a paperback copy.

Friday 18 December 2020

You'll See by Jesse Bhaird | Blog Tour

[AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book for my participation in this Blog Tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

You'll See by Jesse Bhaird - 4/5
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 231
"How far would you go to help the ones you love? How far would you go to prevent them from feeling pain? Now, how far would you go to save yourself?

Life was supposed to be straightforward for Cass Wilkes. After finishing college she’d secured a job that most dreamt of, but never came close to. Her career as a surgeon would be her identity, her armour. Her rank would speak for itself so she wouldn’t have to. But what happens when a crack forms in the life you’ve built? When something completely out of your control, something you could never have planned for threatens to upend everything you’ve worked so hard for? What happens when you can’t touch the threat?

When the call for help comes from her best friend, Cass makes the easy decision to leave London behind for a while, holding out hope that things will be back to normal when she returns.

Expecting to find solace in a new project that’s worlds apart from the stress and responsibility of her normal job, what she doesn’t expect is to be presented with the prospect of a completely new start. She takes refuge in a big city thousands of miles from home, that unbeknownst to her, will show her real love, true loss, and fill her with utter hope. During her time in San Francisco, Cass will be tasked to overcome the things she never knew were chasing her."

I signed up to the blog tour for this book knowing nothing about the author. I was intrigued by the synopsis as it sounded like a wonderful book. I then discovered that is has been self-published by the author and what a gem of a book this is! 

Cass Wilkes and Gaby Diaz are friends who met at university in London. Both are surgeons, Cass staying in London and Gaby moving to San Francisco to work.

Cass is on sabbatical and Gaby invites her over to work on a prosthetics project with her. Although quite a relatively short book, there is a lot packed into it. I love the characters of Gaby and Cass and the supporting characters of Adam and his friendly dog Bear, and Gaby's boyfriend Mike and his friend Garret, who are also doctors.

Sparks do fly between Garret and Cass but it isn't really the main theme of the story. We discover why Cass is on sabbatical and how being in San Francisco is helping her, in a sense. 

I like the medical theme running through this book and it is easy to follow. The characters are all well-developed and I feel like we know a lot about them. It is very fast-paced, especially the romance between Cass and Garret. I would love for it to be a bit longer as I just wanted more! 

You can purchase your own copy from Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2Ua2DSx

About the Author: 
Jesse Bhaird was born and raised in Ireland although currently resides in Canada. She is a Trinity College Dublin graduate - where she studied nothing related to writing! As a full-time health care professional, her newfound joy is writing. When not found working, adulting or reading, she can be found outside herding small children and a large dog (all hers) and loves to escape to the mountains when she can for snowboarding in the winter.

A massive thank you to Love Books Tours for having me along on the tour.

Tuesday 8 December 2020

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton - Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton - 4/5 
Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.

Nina and Marie were best friends - until Nina was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before she died, Nina asked Marie to fulfill her final wishes. 

But her mistake was in thinking that Marie was someone she could trust.

What Nina didn't know was that Marie always wanted her beautiful life, and that Marie has an agenda of her own. She'll do anything to get what she wants. 

Marie thinks she can keep her promise to her friend's family on her own terms. But what she doesn't know is that Nina was hiding explosive secrets of her own...

This book is the definition of psychological thriller.

Marie, Nina and Camilla were friends when they were younger. Nina met husband Stuart whilst holidayinh in Ibiza with Marie and Camilla. On the same trip, something fatal happened to Marie's boyfriend Charlie. Camilla then moved to Canada whilst Nina and Marie remained close friends. Following Nina's death from melanoma, Marie promised that she would be there to help Nina's family; husband Stuart and their two children Felix and Emily. 

Marie and Stuart end up together quite quickly but a lot of people are judgemental about it, including a mystery person leaving notes through their door.

At the same time, Camilla comes back from Canada with her eleven-year-old daughter Louise. But why? Why is she back now? What truly happened on that trip to Ibiza?

This book is so deep. Instantly, I was a little unnerved by Marie. She was obviously obsessed with Nina and wanted to edge her way into her life after she died. I love that we see her thoughts too as this really helps paint a picture of her true character.

It turns out that a lot of people were keeping secrets and Marie is desperate to find out the truth about what happened to Charlie. It seems that even her best friend Nina didn't tell her everything.

A lot of the time I didn't know who to trust, who I disliked more and I couldn't wait to keep reading to see what the climax would be. It is a slow burn and written brilliantly.

Thank you to Headline Books for having me on the blog tour and you can find other reviews at the websites below.

Tuesday 1 December 2020

2020 Reading Challenge | Keep Her Quiet by Emma Curtis

[This post contains affiliate links. If you click to buy anything through a link on this page, I will earn a few pennies at no extra cost to you.]

Keep Her Quiet by Emma Curtis - 5/5 

Jenny has just given birth to the baby she's always wanted. She's never been this happy.

Her husband, Leo, knows this baby girl can't be his. He's never felt so betrayed.

The same night, a vulnerable young woman, Hannah, wakes to find her newborn lifeless beside her. She's crazed with grief.

When chance throws Hannah into Leo's path, they make a plan that will have shattering consequences for all of them.

Years later, a sixteen-year-old girl reads an article in a newspaper, and embarks on a journey to uncover the truth about herself. But what she learns will put everything she has ever known - and her own life - in grave danger. Because some people will go to desperate lengths to protect the secrets their lives are built on...

This book is fantastic. The last couple of books I've read haven't gripped me so I needed a book like this to come along. I absolutely loved 'The Night You Left' by Emma Curtis so I had high hopes for 'Keep Her Quiet'.

The story is split into four parts; Part One set in 1989, Part Two set 16 years later in 2005, Part Three in 2007 and Part Four I will describe as "after".

In 1989, Jenny and Leo Creasey have a baby called Sophie. At the same time, 17 year old Hannah is estranged from her family after falling pregnant. Her newborn daughter dies by accidental asphyxiation after Hannah falls asleep with the baby in her bed.

In a panic, she runs out into the street and is hit by Leo Creasey's car. He has been drinking as he never wanted children, had a secret vasectomy, so he knows Jenny's baby isn't his. Hannah convinces Leo that he has killed her baby and he ends up taking Hannah to steal Jenny's baby from the hospital and Hannah raises her as her own.

16 years later, Leo and Jenny are still married and are doing a TV appeal for Sophie as her 16th birthday is approaching. Jenny has obviously never gotten over Sophie's disappearance. Leo has used the "fame" to take himself away from their London home to go to their cottage in Kent three days a week to write and has become a successful author. The contrast in how her disappearance has affected them is written very well.

Following the TV appeal, two girls at Zoe's school who pick on her, make jokes about how she could be the abducted girl because she's "so weird" and because her mother homeschooled her and they don't have a TV.

I don't want to get into the crux of the story because I am not about posting spoilers but this is a fantastic read. It touches tough subjects like the loss of a child and emotions due to Stockholm Syndrome.

I truly did not know where this story was going and I loved that. Usually I can tell or guess the plot as I read but this was just fantastic. I would love to see this book made into a movie. It is perfect for a screen.