Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon

Blinding sunshine… A bend in the road… What became of the little girl with the sun in her eyes?

Amber was three when a car crash stole her mother's life. She doesn't remember the accident, but a stranger at the scene has been unable to forget. Now, almost thirty years later, she's trying to track Amber down.

Amber, meanwhile, is married to Ned and living on the other side of the world in London. When her father has a stroke, she flies straight home to Australia to be with him. Away from her husband, Amber finds comfort in her oldest friends, but her feelings for Ethan, the gorgeous, green-eyed man she once fell for, have never been platonic. 

As Ethan and Amber grow closer, married life in London feels far away. Then Amber receives a letter that changes everything. 'Before your mother died, she asked me to tell you something…'
'Paige really ratchets up the tension. You'll be in a reading frenzy by the end!' - Lisa Jewell, bestselling author of The House We Grew Up In

I was naturally very excited for this book. Paige Toon is my favourite author of all time, I could literally fan girl forever about how much I love all of her books.

Once again I just lost myself in Paige’s writing, set in beautiful Australia, and I’ve never been more tempted than when reading this book, especially to the Adelaide area.  It seemed so scenic, but with a lovely vibrant nightlife as well.
It is not just the setting that was great about Paige’s writing; I was hooked from the opening prologue and chapter. As usual, it is just so inviting, despite not such great circumstances for our protagonist, Amber.

Some of you may know that I am interested in wine (more than just drinking it) and have two WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) qualifications, which I absolutely loved doing, and hope to do my diploma and more, eventually becoming a Master of Wine. Isn’t that the coolest title?!  Anyway, I mention this because I was even more excited when I realised this book involves a winery and vineyard.  It was great to read a book talk a little bit more in depth about wine, rather than just mentioning it in passing.

I really liked Amber at the beginning, we get a brief glimpse of Ned, and it isn’t a great first impression, of course you instantly bond with Amber and how she feels.  What I found interesting is that, for the first time in a book by Paige, I found myself halfway through the book wanting to scream at the heroine of the story. She makes some bad decisions, but at the same time as thinking how stupid she was, I understood why and how she got there. No one is perfect, heck, I can honestly say that I have no idea what would happen, had I been in that situation.

While first impressions of Ned weren’t spectacular, he obviously cares when she is in Australia, and while I understand Amber’s disappointment and frustration that he put work first, it was obvious to me that he didn’t really want to, and the sadness he felt near the end of her trip was touching. Simon, my partner, works and stays in Cambridge during the week, so I only see him at weekends (I live in Somerset), and I miss him every single week, so being thousands of miles away for weeks must be horrible. 

On the other hand you have Ethan, Amber’s childhood friend who she’s always loved is just perfect when you meet him, a touch of bad boy but ultimately handsome and charming. There was always part of me holding back though, no one can be that perfect right?

Once again, Paige Toon has written a book I just adore, funny, sad at times, but altogether heart warming.

Released on 21st May 2015
Order on Amazon now!

Published by: Simon and Schuster UK

Gratefully received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Bride Without a Groom by Amy Lynch

I am so happy to be taking part in the book tour for 'Bride without a Groom', to check out the other stops, please look at the poster at the bottom of this post

Single, coupled-up or married, this laugh-out-loud summer read is the perfect anecdote for the wedding season!

Rebecca has chosen the most luscious, five tiered, wedding cake. The engagement ring that she has selected is celebrity inspired. The wedding singer is on speed dial. He doesn’t usually do Michael Bolton, but as it’s for a first dance he’ll make an exception. Father Maguire is checking dates for the parish church as we speak. The deposit on the white sand honeymoon is paid for in full on Barry’s card. She has fallen for an ivory lace couture gown that is to die for. The down payment may require her to sell a left kidney, but it will be worth it. Isn’t that why you have two?

There’s one teeny tiny problem. It’s nothing, really. No need to panic! It’s just that Barry has yet to propose. Says he’s not ready! He can be a bit of a kill joy that way. It’s time to face the harsh reality – Rebecca is a bride without a groom!

I was so happy to be offered the opportunity to review this book. The premise sounded great, and the book delivers on the sense of bubbliness and fun you get when reading the synopsis. The antics the Rebecca gets up to are hilarious and I found myself gasping at the sheer nerve of her sometimes (in a good way of course).

Rebecca, simply put, is absolutely outrageous. One of the biggest drama queens I’ve ever read. She is somehow a massive bride-zilla even though no one has actually proposed. Her exaggerated over reaction everything is silly, but this makes for a great, funny read.
While for Rebecca may have come across as annoying with her marriage–obsessed ways, I have to say I did feel some sympathy for her, it struck a chord with me as my boyfriend of 12 years has not popped the big question. So while I empathise with Rebecca, I don’t think I will be employing any of the tactics she had in this book.
At the start I really felt sorry for Barry, putting up with Rebecca, but as the book progresses I felt less and less sorry for him. Rebecca and Barry were absolutely made for each other.

Shelley, Barry’s colleague was just despicable, while Barry and Rebecca annoyed me at times (everyone has their faults), I could forgive them because there were likeable parts for both characters, whereas Shelley came across as 100% manipulative, and while what happens is obviously not all her fault, she comes across as the ‘more guilty’ one, maybe this is me being irrational, I don’t know.
Overall this book is light, fun read that you will just laugh out loud at.

Order on Amazon now! 

Publisher: Maze
Gratefully received from the publisher for review -  Also big thanks to Amy for being so patient!

Once again I am so happy to be taking part in the book tour for 'Bride without a Groom' please check the poster below to check out the other stops!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Bite by Nick Louth

The most gripping thriller you’ll ever read, Bite is a breath-taking ride of a novel, a high-concept conspiracy thriller about a virus outbreak and a man who will never give up the search for his missing girlfriend. 

Tomorrow should be the greatest day of Erica Stroud-Jones's life. In just 24 hours this brilliant young scientist will present her secret work to a conference in Amsterdam - research that promises to revolutionise the battle against a deadly tropical disease. Millions of lives could be saved; a Nobel Prize beckons. 

Arriving to watch her are sceptics and rivals, admirers and enemies. Erica's own eyes will be on sculptor Max Carver, her American new love to whom she will dedicate her achievement. 
Tomorrow never comes. 

Erica vanishes during the night. Max, desperate, terrified, sets out to find her, descending into an underworld full of malice and cunning. But even he is shocked by the dark terror he finds in the heart of the woman he loves. 
Since I started blogging I have started to read more thrillers, and this one sounded really exciting and fast paced. This book is more gritty than others I have read and I think this is because while the main plot focuses on a couple, the setting has a side plot which has worldwide consequences.
The opening chapter is amazing, and got me hooked straight away. The tone started out incredibly mysterious and you learn very little about the protagonist and what he is doing aboard the plane.  It all sounds very sinister, but then at chapter 2 you are introduced to Max and I put the mysterious man into the back of mind mind.

Max and Erica have only been together three months, but you can tell Max cares immensely for her, even in the brief scenes we see them together before he finds out she is missing. When she does go missing he finds himself in more dangerous situations than he ever imagined.
I really liked Henk, he was such a good friend to Max, when others would have abandoned him.  My favourite character is definitely Lisbeth, she was unusual and funny, and the perfect lift to what is often serious and dramatic.

My favourite part of the book was the third part of the book where we are shown Erica's journals from when she was held hostage while travelling in Africa. These parts were chilling and compulsive reading, I could have read a book purely with these extracts. The punishments and things the hostages go through, especially the last one, is terrifying and made me flinch just thinking of it.

The ending was surprising and it was a great read overall.

Order on Amazon now!

Published by:  Sphere

Gratefully received from the Publisher for review.

Thank you to Clara at Sphere for the opportunity to review this book and take part in the blog tour - check out the other fantastic reviews - Click to get a bigger picture!

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