Bookouture · fiction

Revenge by Nigel May

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If you keep dangerous secrets you’ll pay the ultimate price…

In the South of France, playground of the rich and famous, world renowned chef Dexter Franklin is organising a night to remember. As he opens the doors to his exclusive restaurant for the first time, he’s handpicked a list of guests, as hot and dazzling as the St Tropez sun itself:

Mew Stanton: Fashionable, beautiful and a notorious TV chef, Dexter’s ex-girlfriend has all the ingredients for success. As her books fly off the shelves, a secret from her past is about to surface with explosive consequences. 

Holly Lydon: Ex girlband star who has fallen on hard times. Forced to make ends meet she’s having to sleep her way to the top. Now she’s making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Rosita Velázquez: Brazilian actress extraordinaire and girlfriend of Dexter’s brother, Leland. When she’s in town everybody needs to know about it, but this is one show-stopping entrance she’ll live to regret.

Three women have a past with Dexter and a grudge to bear against him. As fireworks ignite in the jet set capital of Europe, there’s murder on the menu. Who will be served their just desserts?

The sun is setting in the South of France. Pour yourself a glass of champagne and sit back for a read of revenge, regrets and shocking revelations that will have you hooked to the very last page.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Nigel May as it was one of the books I was helping to represent at the literary agency I was working for. This is by far one of those drama-filled, very character-drive and action-packed book that you can’t seem to put down and you even miss your tube stop (happened to me) because of it!

Revenge has a deep element of mystery woven throughout. It begins by Dexter Franklin sending invites to a whole host of versatile characters to her newest restaurant opening in the hear of St.Tropez. Determined to make the eve of the restaurant opening a success, he invites the right mix of people. The five characters which the entire book focuses on all have a hidden past which gets pulled to the forefront as we’re told why they’re each invited by Dexter.

Though each character is distinct in their own ways, they each have had encounters with each other and a past that begins to piece the present plot into making much more sense. I thought focusing on five charters might get a bit confusing and messy but trust me, it was put together so eloquently and because the characters were unique, it worked very well. The chapters were Nigel goes back into the past to explore the characters past adds to the present and also allows us to get a better understanding of each of the five characters – as nobody is perfect, no matter how much they may appear to be on the surface, everybody has skeletons hidden in the closet.

Throughout Revenge, there is a real sense of tension building up and towards the end of the book, Nigel indeed, finishes with a big bang. Nigel has a talent for taking universal themes: love, betrayal, dreams, desires and weaving these ideas seamlessly through well-developed characters and plot.

I can’t wait to see what else comes from Nigel May. I’d recommend Revenge for anyone who is prepared to jet off to St. Tropez for some action-packed tension and drama.

Revenge was published by Bookouture in 2017.

 

 

Avon · fiction · Women's Fiction

If Ever I fall by S.D Robertson

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Is holding on harder than letting go?

Dan’s life has fallen apart at the seams. All he’s ever wanted is to keep his family together, but everything seems beyond repair and, try as he might, he can’t turn back time.

Maria is drowning in grief. She spends her days writing letters that will never be answered, unable to connect with the real world.

In the face of real tragedy, can this couple find a way to reconcile their past with a new future? And is love enough to carry them through? 

I’d heard so much about this book that I knew I had to get my hands on it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been touched by a genuine, emotionally-gripping and beautifully written story and it was effortless to read. The story reveals and centres around a broken family that are trying to get through the storm of loss and devastation.  This is achieved by having three very distinct narrative threads and it did take a while to understand that all three were deeply connected to one another.

There is Maria who writes letters to Sam as a way of dealing with the tragic loss that she is struggling to come to terms with. She also writes these letters as a means to explore her marriage with Dan and to also calm her OCD. Each time Maria writes a letter to Sam, the plot moves forward in time, which allows the plot to unfold.

Then there is Dan and each time we meet him, the time is going backwards leading up to a very specific, tragic event (that would be every parent’s nightmare) that happened a couple of years ago. In the book we get to see how both Maria and Dan deal with this tragic event, but in their own  unique ways. We also see how this event alone has strained their marriage and their family dynamics, as everything from that point onwards feels as though it is falling a part.

There is also a man named Jack who is suffering from severe amnesia and is being looked after by a retired Dr. Miles in a remote part of Wales. Jack tries to regain his memory and does sometimes gets flashes of memory but fails to understand how they’re connected to himself. I thought the exploration of amnesia through Jack’s character was very insightful as I knew very little about the illness and it helps to bring awareness to the severity of it.

Towards the end of the book, these three separate strands come together by looking at the tragic event itself, as Dan relives the devastation (not going to say what happens, but it would be most parents’ nightmare to have to go through this.) As the threads are woven together, everything begins to make perfect sense.

This is a touching book that explores the complexities of a nuclear family and how a family can cope with loss. This book also focuses on marriage and the complexities of a marriage fizzling out when children are involved. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every part of it as the plot and characters was well developed and I love losing myself in other people’s lives to take the pressure off of focusing on my own life so much, and this book allowed me to do just that.

If Ever I Fall was published on 9 February by Avon.

 

 

 

 

 

Avon · fiction · HarperCollins Publishers · psychological thrillers

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

perfect-remains-800x528Devoured in three days, it was that brilliant!

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness…

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

Perfect Remains has all the right amount of ingredients for a chilling page-turning psychological thriller. It has a complex yet original plot and an intriguing lead that keeps readers hooked from the very first page.

Helen was able to really develop each of her characters, which played an integral role in the plot. The nameless killer who we meet at the very beginning was developed so beautifully and realistically. Dr. King is a university lecturer, a very normalish looking man and you wouldn’t think he would be capable of going to such extents to torture the women, (I would say) he could never really have.

The character of Luc Callanach was also very interesting due to his sordid past and saucy attitude. He became a likeable detective quite early on in the book and the relationship he shares with Ava Turner is also likeable, though I wished there was a bit more of a romantic thread there – maybe in book 2, fingers crossed!

The book is narrated by alternating chapters between Callanach and his department, and by the murderer himself as he uncovers his hidden tracks for abducting his female victims. My favourite chapters had to be (hands down) when Dr. King gets to work in capturing and torturing his victims. I also found it really creepy how he wanted them to learn German and recite German to him. What a sick guy but still couldn’t stop reading as the plot was so dark and compelling.

Helen was able to run multiple story lines at the same time, which also added more tension to the main plot. I was extremely happy when the investigation came to a close and all was solved. I’m looking forward to reading Perfect Prey and have high expectations of it.

Perfect Remains was published in January 2017 by Avon.

new reads

A Yorkshire Christmas by Kate Hewitt | Book Review

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A  cute little read that was finished in one sitting. Fed up with her superficial family, Claire decides to avoid the ‘perfect’ Christmas with her family in American and decides to take residence of her godmother’s cosy cottage in Yorkshire. Having her own emotional baggage from the past, Claire yearns nothing more for a peaceful and quiet Christmas.

After her car skids into a snow bank, Claire has the fortunate pleasure of meeting Noah and eventually his daughter Molly – the family and love she’d craved for a very long time. Claire helps Noah to push the back end of one of his sheep out of the icy mud, even if she’s going to ruin her brand new pair of Prada boots, the meeting between the two begins the early stages of their romance.

Hewitt combines and develops the characters of Noah and Claire by allowing the third person narrative to focus on both character’s viewpoints.

The writing was engaging, descriptive and effortless to read. I loved that both Claire and Noah had past relationships which still had an impact on them in the present as they seemed like realistic characters, one that I could relate to.

I found the ending to be a bit rushed for a novella. I would have liked to read a bit more of a realistic ending. But if anything, it was a pleasure to read that I wish it wasn’t a novella and that I could read more about the relationship of Claire and Noah.

Would recommend to anyone that wants a light and easy read.

 A Yorkshire Christmas was published by Tule Publishing.

Women's Fiction

November Reads | Christmas titles

https://allthingsbooksweb.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/christmassy-reads.jpg?w=663It’s that time of year again. The lights have gone up in Oxford Street, christmas decorations will soon be in most of department stores’ displays and I’ve been itching to get my hands on fiction centred around the festivities.

I’ll be starting the month with these three titles: A Yorkshire Christmas by Kate Hewitt, Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson and Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson.

Below are each book’s blurb. I will be reviewing as soon as I’ve finished reading and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on them.

A Yorkshire Christmas 

Wealthy New York City girl Claire Lindell isn’t looking for a Christmas miracle or happiness when she abruptly decides to hole up for the holiday at her godmother’s cottage in a little Yorkshire village, and lick her wounds from a near disastrous romantic decision.

After her car skids into a snow bank, Claire may have accidently found her perfect Christmas and the family and love she’s craved when she offers Noah Bradford of Ayesgill Farm help to push the back end of one of his sheep out of the icy mud, even if she’s going to ruin a brand new pair of Prada boots during the rescue.

What’s a little leather when love’s on the line?

Mistletoe on 34th Street

Olivia has never experienced a snow-covered, ‘traditional’ Christmas before. Having grown up in a family that chose winter sun over decking the halls, she’s not sure what all the fuss is about. So when she and her colleagues are stranded in New York after a work trip, Olivia is perfectly happy spending the holiday season in the Big Apple.

Jon, Olivia’s friend, on the other hand is desperate to get home in time for his big family get-together. Nevertheless, determined to make the best out of the situation, he sets out to show Olivia how enchanting Christmas in New York can be. And when handsome New Yorker Elijah is added to the mix, could the magic of the season finally be working its charm on Olivia? As 25 December draws closer, Olivia suddenly finds herself with a decision to make: who does she really want to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?

Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe 

Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture.

Little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Cafe is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill, it’s a place full of friendship where broken hearts can heal, new love can blossom and where Becca’s Christmas miracle really could happen – if only she can let it…

Inviting readers new and old to pull up a cosy armchair, Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe is the novella-length follow-up to the 2016 best-seller Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe.

 

2016 · commercial fiction · fiction · Hachette · Little, Brown Book Group · new reads · psychological thrillers

The Primrose Path by Rebecca Griffiths | Review

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This psychological thriller is about Sarah, known as Rachel, who was abducted in a high profile case some years earlier. She learns that her abductor is due to be released from prison having served his sentence and decides to protect herself by leaving her life, friends and family in London. Sarah moves to a remote part of south Wales on the edge of the Brecon Beacons as Rachel. Within this area, there are four properties that are not far distant from each other and so, in addition to Rachel, we also gradually learn about the Morgans, Dai and Idris.

I found the first part of the book which is titled “50 years before” a challenging read. It’s quite dark and I did struggle to get into the plot though the characters are well developed and each have a distinct individual voice.

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Griffiths is an exceptional writer; there is a Welsh feel to the narrative with some nice turns of phrase even though it was dark. This book doesn’t explain everything as it goes along, it allows the readers to piece each puzzle of the story together, which was more enjoyable to be able to work it out on my own. It made me feel like an involved, active reader.

The Primrose Path is Rebecca Griffiths debut novel published Sphere in 2016.

2016 · commercial fiction · fiction · new reads · October · Uncategorized

Chocolate Truffle Kiss by Cassandra O’Leery | Review

https://allthingsbooksweb.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/chocolate-truffle-kiss-book-review-all-things-books-blog-20161024_130013_hdr.jpg?w=663Roughly eighty pages long, this one-sitting read was pure bliss. Structured over a week, we are invited into the sparks, sexual tension and romance between Beth and Samuel.

Beth visits the same café every afternoon where she takes out a notepad and pen and starts writing short stories whilst enjoying her usual latte and a chocolate truffle. The delicious, sweet treats come her way as well as the inspiration she finds there – barista and hunk, Samuel.

Beth’s love life after her divorce has been close to extinct, but the sight of Samuel drive Beth’s desires for him spiraling out of control. Doubting Samuel would go for an older woman, when his beauty could attract a more ideal woman, Beth doesn’t think anything of it.

Over the course of a week, the tension between them continues to rises until…

I won’t spoil it for anyone wanting to read it, but it is delicious.

O’Leary has the art of writing in such a way that not only are her characters well developed but they come alive as real people and their distinct voices create a dynamic impact on the plot. This novella is concise, has a well-developed plot that has urgency and moves forward in a good pace and is relatable. It’s very easy to imagine Samuel, his attractiveness and instantly liking him.

The ample amount of tension in this novella allows it to be a page-turner worthy  read.

Cassandra O’Leary also wrote The Girl on a Plane.