I have to admit that I read this book quite a while ago but never quite got round to writing the review. I think perhaps it was because everyone seemed to be raving about the book, and while I enjoyed reading it, I wouldn’t rave about it.
I don’t normally read books that could be classed as a romance, or about time travel (although I did love the time travellers wife) so this book was definitely going to be a bit different, and it certainly was.
There was so much that I loved about this book, the characters were great, the two sisters relationship was great and I really liked Luna, the main character. While I found the whole time travel thing a bit hard to get my head around, and the dark world that Luna found herself in when she travelled back in time was uncomfortable reading at times. But the story was clever, unexpected and emotional.
This is the first Rowan Coleman book that I’ve read but it won’t be the last, she clearly has a great mind for storytelling.
Thank you to the publisher Ebury Press for a copy of The Summer Of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman via Netgalley. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
If you could change the past, would you?
Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death.
Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.
At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?
About The Author:
Rowan Coleman lives with her husband, and five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family which includes a very lively set of toddler twins whose main hobby is going in the opposite directions. When she gets the chance, Rowan enjoys sleeping, sitting and loves watching films; she is also attempting to learn how to bake.
Rowan would like to live every day as if she were starring in a musical, although her daughter no longer allows her to sing in public. Despite being dyslexic, Rowan loves writing, and The Memory Book is her eleventh novel, which was chosen as a Richard and Judy bookclub selection in 2014. Others include The Accidental Mother, Lessons in Laughing Out Loud and the award-winning Dearest Rose, a novel which lead Rowan to become an active supporter of domestic abuse charity Refuge, donating 100% of royalties from the ebook publication of her novella, Woman Walks Into a Bar, to the charity.
Rowan does not have time for ironing.
The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.
One Little Lie is told to us by a number of characters, quite a few characters, with different chapters told by different characters. I like this method of storytelling but sometimes it makes the book a bit disjointed and confusing.
I’m not great with names and so sometimes I struggle when there are too many character names as I can’t remember who they all are and so it takes the first part of each chapter to remind me who is talking and what they’re doing.
One Little Lie has many narrators, I would say too many but each of them play an important part to the story and I couldn’t imagine any of them being left out. Some have more to say than others, but all are part of the puzzle.
I have to admit that I have never really given much thought to what the parents of a murderer must feel, I’ve fleetingly thought of it, especially when there have been mass school shootings in America, but it isn’t something that I tend to dwell on. But this book made me think about it.
I know when there are murders many people say that we should talk about the victim and not the murderer, and I definitely agree with that, but how would it feel to be the victims mother, your son murdered in a brutal and painful way, but all the focus is on the boy who did it and his parents? Your son seems to be forgotten but then that mother wants to make amends for what her son did and asks for forgiveness.
One Little Lie is a twisty read, what you think is happening might not be what is really happening, and are people who they seem? I think that the story is a clever one, there’s lots to like and the pace is fast with short chapters, but something was missing with it, somehow it all didn’t quite fit. I enjoyed reading, I wanted to finish it so that I could find out how it was all going to end and that is a sure sign of a decent read. But this book was so very nearly brilliant, and it’s a shame that it didn’t quite get there. But it so nearly did.
Thank you to Avon Books for a copy of One Little Lie by Sam Carrington. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
‘My name is Alice. And my son is a murderer.’
Deborah’s son was killed four years ago. Alice’s son is in prison for committing that crime.
Deborah would give anything to have her boy back, and Alice would do anything to right her son’s wrongs.
Driven by guilt and the need for redemption, Alice has started a support group for parents with troubled children. But as the network begins to grow, she soon finds out just how easy it is for one little lie to spiral out of control…
They call it mother’s intuition, but can you ever really know your own child?
A twisty and unnerving story about the price of motherhood and the unthinkable things we do to protect our children. Perfect for fans of Cara Hunter and Laura Marshall.
‘Sam Carrington has done it again. One Little Lie is a twisty, gripping read that deserves to fly. I loved it.’ Cass Green, bestselling author of In a Cottage In a Wood
About The Author:
Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband and three children. She worked for the NHS for 15 years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a Psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Programme Facilitator. Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist. SAVING SOPHIE was her debut psychological thriller novel and became a #1 ebook bestseller, her second, BAD SISTER is out now. ONE LITTLE LIE follows in July 2018 (ebook) September (paperback).
Do No Harm by LV Hay tells the story of Lily and her husband Sebastian. But Sebastian is not Lily’s first husband, that was Maxwell, a controlling doctor who does not want Lily to be with anyone other than him. Preventing Lily from cutting all ties with her ex is their son, Denny who is six.
Maxwell causes a lot of stress for Lily and Sebastian but can they find a way to stop Maxwell from sabotaging everything? It doesn’t take long before the marriage is being pushed to its limits, between Lily’s ex and Sebastian’s poorly mother life is anything but simple for the newlyweds.
The story is told to us by Sebastian and Lily in alternating chapters. This works well as we get to know what each of them in thinking and how they are reacting to the events happening around them.
I really don’t want to give too much away but this book kept me holding my breath wondering what was going to happen and when Lily and Sebastian would finally realise what was going on. I did get a bit frustrated at them, they made some silly decisions and between them failed to work out what was going on and how to deal with it together.
The characters were definitely flawed but they felt pretty real too, and although I had worked out who was doing it all I still enjoyed reading the book and thought that the ending was great. LV Hay doesn’t take the obvious path with her stories, something that I really admire, and this makes her books interesting and thought provoking.
Thank you to Orenda Books for a copy of Do No Harm by LV Hay. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
Till death do us part…
After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.
About The Author:
Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book, I like reading books without reading the blurb, or when I read the blurb so long ago that I’ve forgotten it and just know that I want to read the book.
The book starts off brilliantly with an intense scene where Emily sees a woman hit by a car and killed instantly. It sucked me right into the story and I was excited about where the story was going to go next.
Seeing something so horrific will mess anyone up right? But as the book progresses I became unsure of Emily and quite how stable she was. Her way of thinking about things and events seemed so unlike that of people around her so it wasn’t clear who was telling us an accurate account, if anyone was.
When Emily steps into the life of Rose, the woman that she had seen killed, we know that it can’t be a good thing. She’s so desperate for friendship and love, but will that make her blind to what is really going on?
At times I felt frustrated with Emily, she really was incredibly naive, but had she finally found people that cared about her for who she was? People that would finally help her move on with her survivors guilt and the mess that she got herself into?
I really liked how some of the characters in Her Name Was Rose developed, small characters became big characters, nice characters became bad and bad became good. It was cleverly written and played out.
I didn’t really like Emily and I felt that the ending was just a tad too obvious, but I really enjoyed reading My Name Is Rose and I know that this book will appeal to many readers. It certainly appealed to me.
Thank you to Netgalley and Avon Books for a copy of Her Name was Rose by Claire Allan. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
This new Irish voice is bursting onto the scene with her first foray into the thriller genre. This promises to be one of the most exciting debuts of 2018. Perfect for fans of Lianne Moriarty, B. A. Paris, Gillian Flynn and Marian Keyes.
Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy.
When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.
And then she makes a decision she can never take back.
Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?
But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.
About the author:
A former journalist and columnist, Claire Allan has been writing fiction since 2006.
An Irish Times bestseller, she has tackled issues from post-natal depression, infertility, and dementia through to writing a based-on-a-true-story book about a couple reunited after 50 years apart. She has now decided to unleash her dark side!
Married with two children, two cats and a mad puppy she is happiest lost in a good book. She has kissed Michael Buble.
Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.
So on Tuesday I did something a little bit different. I went to Ikea in Wembley, North London, to do some reading. An unusual destination you might think, but not this week. Ikea have teamed up with the Man Booker Prize and have a small area dedicated to reading, the shelves are stacked with copies of the long listed books, you get to browse the shelves, pick some books and sit in a comfy chair for an hour of uninterrupted (well unless you count someone bringing you a cup of tea that is) reading.
Actually that’s not totally true. A number of people ignored the closed curtains around the area and walked right in to admire the bookshelves (Billy bookcases obviously), storage or to try out the comfy seating. The area is also located right at the top of the escalators into the store, meaning that it was really quite noisy.
But don’t let that put you off. I really enjoyed my time in the Ikea reading room, and what book lover won’t enjoy looking at shelves of books just waiting to picked up, stroked and sniffed (if you like that sort of thing). The first book that I picked up appealed to me based on the cover alone, which was beautiful and I could see it sitting there on my shelf looking pretty. I also picked up another book, Snap by Belinda Bauer, a book that jumped out because I’d heard it being talked about so wanted to read the blurb and a bit more about it.
I opened Everything Under by Daisy Johnson, the book with a stunning cover. I started to read but after a few pages I turned to Snap, it seems that crime thrillers really are my preferred genre. I started to read it and was hooked right in, and so the rest of my time was spent reading Snap.
At the end of my time there I reluctantly put Everything Under back on the shelf, someone else can have that copy and enjoy looking at it on their shelf instead, because I bought home Snap by Belinda Bauer.
The Ikea Reading Room is a little bit odd, but it is also very cool too. Anything that brings reading into people’s lives is a good thing in my book (mind the pun). You have to book a slot to use the reading room, although it seems that there are still plenty of slots still available and so you might get lucky and be able to spend an hour in the reading room when you go shopping. But it is best to book in advance and the link to do that is below.
The reading room is open from 31st July to 4th August 2018 at Ikea Wembley.
IKEA AND THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE CREATE READING ROOMS FOR RELAXATION
SPACES FOR READING INTRODUCED TO HELP BRITS SWITCH OFF AND READ A BOOK
The Reading Rooms, filled with free novels, celebrate reading for relaxation and are designed to encourage the nation to read at home.
Following the announcement of the Man Booker Prize 2018 longlist on 24 July, IKEA will play home to ‘book clubs’ where the public can read and take away a copy of one of the longlisted titles
The experience is launched as IKEA research reveals that over 10% of Brits have not read a book in the last year, and nearly 13 million books are started but unfinished.
The Swedish retailer, IKEA, has partnered with the Man Booker Prize to launch a new initiative to get the nation reading for relaxation. The IKEA Reading Rooms will feature the 13 longlisted titles which can be read, enjoyed and taken home for free.
Following research by IKEA which revealed that 21.6 million (33%) of us only have time for a book when on a summer holiday, the two partners have taken action to get us reading in our everyday lives.
In the IKEA Wembley store, visitors will experience a reading haven in a Living Room space. Reading lamps, chairs and BILLY bookcases filled with a selection of this year’s finest fiction, as announced by the Man Booker Prize tomorrow, will be on hand.
The initiative is designed to help alleviate stress and help make the home a haven again. Over half of workers (59%) feel they are under pressure to respond to emails even when they are home and have finished official work hours — which suggests that preventing the trials of workplace from entering our homes has never been more important. Sitting down and disappearing into a good book is a way to do just that.
Research from the University of Sussex* shows that reading just six minutes a day can be enough to reduce stress levels by more than two-thirds. Meanwhile, research conducted by IKEA has found 64% of Brits believe TVs, laptops and smartphones often bring the stress and fast pace of the outside world into the place we should be experiencing pure relaxation.
Luis Lopez, Head of Living Rooms, IKEA UK and Ireland said, “The Reading Rooms give us a chance to use our retail space to inspire people to think about the importance of relaxation at home. Reading at home is good for your health and helps you transform your living room into a haven from the outside world.
“In partnering with The Man Booker Prize we know we are giving people the chance to read the best of this year’s books.”
Gaby Wood, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, said, “If you associate reading with holidays then you probably associate it with indulgence. And – it’s true – reading fiction can be, at its best, a form of escapism. But that doesn’t make it a guilty pleasure. It’s more like a fast route to better health. Our homes are filled with devices that allow the digital world to encroach on our private lives. Reclaim your privacy, and your imagination: read a book!”
At the IKEA Reading Rooms, visitors will be able to come to a dedicated space in IKEA Wembley and enjoy a good read in the most relaxing of conditions. Whether that is curling up on our cosy STRANDMON armchair, losing yourself in a story from our classic BILLY bookcase or propping your feet up after a long day on our comfy POÄNG footstool, this space will enable people to relax and unwind. With hour-long slots available from 10am-6pm Tuesday to Saturday and 11am-5pm Sunday, bookworms will be able to curl up with a book (which they can also take away with them) and unwind into a wonderful state of escapism in their own cosy, personal living room.
For more tips and inspiration on creating a living room space that helps you ‘relax into greatness’ at home, visit the IKEA website:https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/ideas/
The IKEA Reading Rooms, will be open to the public from Tuesday 31stJuly until Sunday 5th August.
About the Man Booker Prize
The Man Booker Prize was established in 1969 and is recognised as the leading prize for literary fiction written in English. In 2018 the prize celebrates its 50thyear with a year-long anniversary campaign to introduce new audiences to its winning, shortlisted and longlisted books. The 2018 longlist is announced on 24 July, the shortlist on 20 September and the winner on 16 October. The winner receives £50,000 as well as the £2,500 awarded to each of the shortlisted authors. Both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a worldwide readership plus an increase in book sales. The Man Booker Prize is sponsored by Man Group, an active investment management firm.
The New Girl is one of those books where the blurb doesn’t really fit the book, actually remove the word really from that sentence as it doesn’t fit at all.
But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you loved the sound of the blurb I suppose. There is no mention of the book being set in Sydney, something that I really liked and from reading other reviews I am not alone with that. The setting doesn’t have a big role, but I still enjoyed the walks on the beach.
The main character, Mary, is an interesting character. If you like your characters to be unreliable witnesses then Mary is for you. She is so very unreliable and as a reader I was never quite sure whether she was completely insane, mentally ill or a pathological liar. I also spent the whole of the book thinking that the name Mary just didn’t fit the character.
Mary’s relationship with her oldest friend Cat was complex and at times confusing, was she good or bad? Did she really have Mary’s interests at heart?
And then there’s Rachel, a character that comes in late but quickly becomes an important character, but is she who she seems?
So you might be getting the fact that the reader doesn’t really know what is going on and who is who for a good chunk of the book, it is full of unreliable characters and slow reveals. The start of The New Girl grabbed me, I was sucked right in and desperate to find out more, I did feel that the book lost its way a bit in the middle and was trying to juggle too many things, but I still wanted to keep reading so that I could find out what was really going on.
There’s a big twist at the end, one that you might have worked out already, or partly so, but that isn’t always a bad thing. There are, however, quite a few plot holes and loose ends that aren’t tied up or explained. I think that the book would have benefited from a shorter middle and a longer, less rushed, end.
The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra is an interesting read, it is a shame that the blurb isn’t truer to the actual book but it is a quick and easy read and one that I’m pleased that I read.
Thank you to Netgalley and Avon Books for a copy of The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
You’ve only just met.
But she already knows you so well.
When Rachel moves into the spare room in Mary’s flat, everyone is quick to jump to the conclusion that there’s something strange about her. Everyone apart from Mary.
And when Rachel starts sleepwalking, everyone’s fears grow. But there’s something about the new girl that Mary can’t help but trust, and having recently escaped a toxic relationship, she needs the support.
Rachel becomes a friend and an ally, and Mary soon discovers that they have more in common than she ever could have imagined.
In fact, Rachel seems to know more about Mary than she knows about herself…
About The Author:
Ingrid Alexandra is based in Sydney. Her work has previously been long-listed for The Ampersand Prize and while living in London, Ingrid had the privilege of being mentored by the Guardian First Novel Award shortlisted and Nestle Prize winning author Daren King. THE NEW GIRL is her first psychological thriller novel.
The New Girl by Ingrid Alexandra is out now on ebook and is available from Amazon UK. It will be released in paperback in October 2018.
I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Now You See Her by Heidi Perks. I really, really want to read this book but I just couldn’t squeeze it in in time for this post, so instead Heidi Perks has written a fabulous guest post about inspiring books that she’s read lately. I’ve read some of them and have to agree that they’re great books so I’m going to add the others to my tbr pile!
Five Books That Have Recently Inspired Me
I’ve always been a prolific reader, something I believe has undoubtedly helped me develop my own writing. I like to know what’s current in my genre – who the bestselling authors are and what topics they are writing about – but I also learn a lot from their style and characterisation.
As a child I devoured Enid Blyton and fell in love with the book, The Last Of The Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards.Having recently read this and The Castle of Adventure to my children I’m certain my love of writing is rooted in my eight-year-old self. In my twenties I was blown away by Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. This was the type of book I wanted to write too, I realised, though it wouldn’t be for another ten years that I finally started writing seriously.
Since then I read differently. I can still fall deeply into a story but often I find myself wondering about why the author chose certain techniques. Then sometimes I’ll take away something that helps me develop my own writing. Here are five books that have shaped the way I write:
The Dry by Jane Harper. I read this while I was well into round three of edits with my agent, Nelle Andrew. I could see straight away Jane Harper has an incredible skill for writing but what hit me most was her frugality with words. Her story was concise, there were no unnecessary sentences and as soon as I put the book down I went back to the start of mine and began the round of edits again, this time peeling back until I was happy that I was only saying what needed to be said.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Moriarty has a magical way of making her characters leap off the page in all her books. I read Big Little Lies at the point when I started writing Now You See Her and it taught me how effective a well-drawn character can be. Getting to know your own – their reactions and what makes them tick – is paramount. You might want your characters to surprise your reader but it shouldn’t be because they’re inconsistent.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman. If you want to cast one hundred characters in your book and you need each of them to earn their place on the page then this is a book you should read. I have nowhere near as many characters as there are residents of Beartown and I’m pretty sure if I did I wouldn’t be able to write them half as effectively as Backman. But what I took from this book was that you can create an effective picture of every secondary character in as a little as a couple of lines.
The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton. I read this a while ago but it has stayed with me ever since. I have no interest in visiting the Alaskan wilderness in the depths of winter but the book was so atmospheric I felt the icy coldness embedding into my bones even though I was reading it in summer.
Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon. I love a book with different time frames or points of voice because I find it gives the story more perspective. This is why I decided to use both in Now You See Her. While I flash forward two weeks, in Seddon’s book she flashes back to years before and what she creates so effectively is two more or less standalone stories that are then entwined to create an enthralling book.
Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.
Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable: tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.
Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.
Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.
Someone is hiding the truth about what really happened to Alice.
About The Author:
Heidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.
Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.
She successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing this, her first novel.
She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional.