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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Behind Closed Doors by Susan Lewis

Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors by Susan Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Anyone who knows me well and is aware of what kind of books I love to read will know that I was super excited to get this book from Random House UK, Cornerstone to read and review.

I love Susan Lewis books. I look forward to each one she writes wondering what the topic of the story is going to be next and this story really did surprise me after the last one she had written. In a good way.

Sophie to all intense and purposes looks like she has ran away from home. She's taken her most prized possessions with her that any teen would know that is utter important for survival, her Laptop, her Cell phone and some of her clothes.

Her parents are naturally beside themselves.

One of the main traumatic added substance to this story is Andrea Lawrence, the Detective on the case who many years ago went through a tragedy similar to this one, except Penny was never found. We wonder how Andrea Lawrence can take this case on without becoming flawed and having history repeat itself and mar her better judgement. She even questions herself at one stage and plenty around her question her.

As the story unfolds secrets are revealed and it seems there are plenty hiding many thing.

Andrea Lawrence too has a family of her own which she needs to give attention to.

This is an all rounded kind of story that keeps you attached to it until you realize you have turned that last page and wonder what to do next, what to read next that is going to keep your attention as good as this one.

As always, Susan Lewis takes her to the heart, the very core of this stories existence.

For me, Susan Lewis can't write books fast enough, can't wait for her next one.

The powerful new novel about how life can change course in a heartbeat. From the Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of Never Say Goodbye.

When fourteen-year-old Sophie Monroe suddenly vanishes one night it looks at first as though she's run away from home.

Her computer and mobile phone have gone, and she's taken a bag full of clothes.

As the police investigation unfolds a wealth of secrets from the surrounding community start coming to light. And it seems everyone has something to hide.

For Detective Sergeant Andrea Lawrence, the case is a painful reminder of the tragedy that tore her family apart over twenty years ago. She is convinced there is more to Sophie's disappearance than teenage rebellion.

But is the past clouding her judgment, preventing her from seeing a truth that neither she, nor Sophie's family, would ever want to face?

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Mother Daughter Me by Katie Hafner

Mother Daughter MeMother Daughter Me by Katie Hafner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Mother and daughters relationship can most times be a complex one. This story is the truth. Mothers and daughters can have a love/hate relationship and no matter how bad or how good it is, we still are tied to that umbilical chord somehow.

Add Mother, daughter and Mothers Mom to the equation and you get all sorts of love/hate communications.

Complicated lives in three generations.
Complicated love in three generations.
Complicated complications! In three generations.

Katie Hafner told this with warmth, love and sometimes heartbreaking moments.

A story worth being told, a story worth being heard and a story definitely worth being read.

The complex, deeply binding relationship between mothers and daughters is brought vividly to life in Katie Hafner’s remarkable memoir, an exploration of the year she and her mother, Helen, spent working through, and triumphing over, a lifetime of unresolved emotions.
Dreaming of a “year in Provence” with her mother, Katie urges Helen to move to San Francisco to live with her and Zoë, Katie’s teenage daughter. Katie and Zoë had become a mother-daughter team, strong enough, Katie thought, to absorb the arrival of a seventy-seven-year-old woman set in her ways.
Filled with fairy-tale hope that she and her mother would become friends, and that Helen would grow close to her exceptional granddaughter, Katie embarked on an experiment in intergenerational living that she would soon discover was filled with land mines: memories of her parents’ painful divorce, of her mother’s drinking, of dislocating moves back and forth across the country,  and of Katie’s own widowhood and bumpy recovery. Helen, for her part, was also holding difficult issues at bay.
How these three women from such different generations learn to navigate their challenging, turbulent, and ultimately healing journey together makes for riveting reading. By turns heartbreaking and funny—and always insightful—Katie Hafner’s brave and loving book answers questions about the universal truths of family that are central to the lives of so many.

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Friday, 26 September 2014

Stolen Child by Laura Elliot

Stolen Child by Laura Elliot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an excellent story, although predictable.

This is a story of 2 different families, one of them where someone is unable to conceive.

Yes its about a stolen child which keeps you reading, the bit that kept me interested was the 'what if' aspect of it.

I had read this 2 years ago, the publishers have re-issued this book with a new cover.

It gives you insight to the mind of a tragic emotional person. Giving both sides to the equation rightly or wrongly.

I didn't feel it was the strongest book that Laura Elliot had written, but did keep me reading until the end.

I was given the 2nd edition of this book by HarperCollins UK, Avon as an exclusive which I very much appreciate.

When Carla Kelly and Robert Gardner marry, they seem destined for happiness. But tragedy strikes when their two-day-old baby, Isobel, is stolen. Distraught and bewildered, they must cope with the media frenzy that follows. As hope of finding her fades, their marriage disintegrates under the strain and they divorce. Robert moves to Australia and Carla, who had been a successful model, becomes reclusive and retreats into anonymity in order to escape the glare of publicity.

Meanwhile, many miles away in a small town, Joy Dowling, miracle baby, is the adored only child of Susanne and David. Her mother is over protective and attempts to rear Joy in isolation, but as a wilful and headstrong child, Joy will not be held back and comes into conflict with her mother. Susanne Dowling has her reasons for wanting to keep Joy out of sight but some things can't stay hidden forever.

As the years pass, hopes of finding Isobel fade, but Carla Kelly never gives up her search. Her love for her Stolen Child burns fiercely and soon, secrets long kept will be brought into the light.

Stolen Child is a love story about two families who are torn apart by deception and the consequences of a reckless act that shaped their futures

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Still Photo by Kim Harnes

Still PhotoStill Photo by Kim Harnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to get this book direct from the author Kim Harnes.

Just looking at the cover intrigued me, it told me of a person that was split, I thought, maybe split personality.
The dark tare in the middle, I thought was something sinister. I'm a sucker for book covers telling a story and this cover really did suit the plot.

We have Jessica. We have Brody. We have Jessica's Mother who is a drunk and abuses Jess. We have her Father who she loves, respects and looks up to.

But is all as it seems? No its not.

The start of the book was slow for me. It picked up though, and when it did it was a fast pace that kept me wanting to read more when I should have been doing household chores!

Its difficult for me to give you an outline of this book as no matter how I try I'm going to reveal a spoiler, so I don't want to focus on that, what I do want to focus on is the authors writing.

Kim Harnes has a way of telling a story, it really sucks you into its pages. The revelation at the end of this book was just not what I expected. I really didn't think of that at all!!!

Some chapters throw you back into Jess past with Jess life, ideas and emotions, then you come up to the present day and you wonder towards the ending what was real and what was not. Not in a confusing way, it was all to do with the "twist" the "plot".

I really don't know how Kim Harnes thought this brilliant story through, but whatever and however she materialized this plot is outstanding.

I would definitely urge you to read it. Keep with it, it really shocks the pants off you at the end.

Jess Waterford’s mother is evil. Since she took off seven years ago—just days after Jess’s ninth birthday—without so much as a wave goodbye, Jess has always wondered what happened to her. And despite the end of her mother’s mental and physical abuse, the memories and the scars still remain. Jess conceals the hurt within by practicing her photography, and by spending as much time as her dad will allow with her baseball star boyfriend, Brody Campbell. 

Determined to make use of her new camera, Jess dives into photographing everything in sight. But periodically the resulting prints are flawed, ever so slightly: a smudge on a tree trunk; a blemish in the bus window. These imperfections are not as random as they may seem, however, and Brody and Jess soon discover together that each of these pictures combine to form another image—the grisly image of a murder scene, with Jess’s mother as the victim. 

As the new photograph takes shape, Jess’s desire to complete it consumes her, and Brody’s health begins to deteriorate. Torn between her quest to reveal her mother’s killer and her continued worry over Brody’s failing health, Jess finally finds the last piece to the puzzle, and the answer sends her world spiraling into depths from which she may never recover

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Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Mirrors Within by Stephanie Molina

The Mirrors WithinThe Mirrors Within by Stephanie Molina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read and reviewed this lovely written indepth book straight from the author.

I really have to say how Stephanie Molina got inside the girls head. Her feelings, her emotions, her thoughts.
Selma is a girl that cuts. She's left with scars, big scars not only inside but outside. If anyone knows about this self harm they will know that you need to work on the 'inside' of a person before working on the outside as that will follow.

Selma is institutionalized. Her brothers are older than her and are protective of their little sister. They know deep inside the place she is in will help her but they also know its hard to leave her there. Again, if anyone has been through similar problems with a relative having a mental/emotional/psychiatric illness they will know how hard it is to leave someone in a hospital such as this. You know its for the persons own good and welfare but your own emotions you feel like you have failed your loved one.

The therapy that her Doctor uses is a mirror for her to look into. You see him ask "What do you see?" and at each stage Selma tells him what she sees. You also notice how this changes as she learns to become stronger. And cope.

I loved how the book went from past to present. It wasn't hard to read at all. It all tied in like a good jigsaw puzzle without any missing pieces towards the end.

The paragraph towards the end:
The Mirrors have the ability to show me how far I've come and teach me how to keep getting stronger every day. loved it.

Also towards the end of this book when a conversation was taking place with her Best Friend B, this brought tears to my eyes. Yes I'm quite a softie!
B had been with her through thick and thin. OK her lifestyle isn't what Selma would choose, she's also very loud and 'out there' but she is a character you would love to have in your own life. Solid, listener, and she's there for you. She has Selma's back at all times.

The start of the book at the beginning was a slow burner. But I stuck with it and how glad I am.

There were several men friends in Selma's life that proved to be great friends to her. I loved Hunter!

Colin! Well, what a twist! Is all I am going to say about that. But yet again Hunter and B's reasoning on the 'problem' was really well thought out, their reply really did make me think twice too about Selma's decision.

I thought the author has a great ability to think things through, but options that you or I wouldn't have thought of or seen coming.

Now, the only irritation and downside I had which kept me well frustrated was the use for CAPITALS when someone's dialogue caused them to yell or to shout.

Let me give an example:

This happened a lot throughout the book that I found annoying. Just typing the action would bring the emphasis home to the reader I thought not USING CAPITALS FOR SHOUTING.

The drawn out wording was annoying as well....

Quote: "I would have done garlic bbbbbuuuutttt" unquote

Just writing "I would have done garlic but......." She hesitates.

I know this is minor pickups from me and my own Personal Opinion, and this is not flaw on the actual story as I loved it.

My mean bit was about Sean. What a nasty pasty he was. I didn't see that coming and returning.

I loved how Selma learnt to cope with life, the ups, downs and all the mess we sometimes get ourselves into.

This was almost a 5 star rating from me but for the annoying bits. Minor, but annoying.

Don't let it put you off of reading this book though as the author has done a beautiful story, really does keep you on your toes and thinking.

I would like to thank Stephanie Molina for allowing me to read and review her book and hope and trust she would allow me to read further books from her so that I can see her grow in her remarkable talent. 

5 years ago Selma was institutionalized for a suicide attempt. Since then she's been struggling to keep her emotions at bay and live her life as uncomplicated as she can. That is until Colin moves in and changes her life completely. 

Colin is a bartender by night and a mental health counselor by day. Colin has a secret that could hurt Selma more than the events that caused her to be institutionalized in the first place

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Friday, 19 September 2014

Take A Look At Me Now by Miranda Dickinson

Take A Look At Me NowTake A Look At Me Now by Miranda Dickinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is well timed for this day and age. There are oh so many people loosing their jobs and two years ago my son was one of them.

Nell arrives at work one day only to be told the news that she is going to be made redundant. To anyone this is a horror story, to Nell, it means her 5 year plan has not got a dent in it!

Nell thinks for a fraction and decided to use her redundancy money to get away from it all. She heads for San Francisco. Her cousin Lizzie lives there so she won't be entirely on her own. She's found some accommodation and is quite content to plod and see what happens from one day to the next.

The author transported me to San Francisco where I have never been, but to read its pages it made me feel like I would love to go.

Nell is only there for a matter of 8 weeks in all but she has met some interesting people, many from all walks of life and has enhanced her life.

Miranda Dickinson is a breath of fresh air to read, here is a woman who doesn't have to live her life around a man. She's independent and knows just what her dream is and how to get it.

She wants to run a diner.

As always, the author Miranda Dickinson presents us with another lovely read.

Thanks to HarperCollins UK, Avon via Net Galley for the chance to read and review this book.

How far would you go to make a new start?

When Nell’s on-off boyfriend Aidan calls her into his office, losing her job is the last thing she expects.

Heartbroken and unemployed to boot, she makes a radical decision to blow her redundancy cheque and escape to the untested waters of San Francisco.

But is the glamour of the city too good to be true? And can Nell leave her past behind?

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Wishing on Buttercups by Miralee Ferrell

Wishing on Buttercups (Love Blossoms in Oregon #2)Wishing on Buttercups by Miralee Ferrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading the first book BLOWING ON DANDELIONS I was looking forward to reading this one.

Book 1

In the first book we learnt how Katherine Galloway struggled to carry on the running of a boarding house along with her young family after her husband had died . Then her Mother moves in who is so dominant and bossy it causes endless amount of problems in Katherine's life and her young children. Katherine has a young Teenage daughter so along with her mother to cope with, its beyond her. Micah Jacobs comes into her path along the way and her heart starts to beat again. This is something that Katherine thought would never happen again. Then things change.

Book 2

Beth has scars, physical scars that impinge on her life badly. It interferes with a lot of her decisions in life.

Her aunt gave her some advice "But dear heart, your peace can't come solely from your drawings, nor can you find your entire worth there. That must come from God." and hopes that Beth will take this onboard for her future well being.

I was thinking when reading this:
Many of us carry scars, whether they are physical scars or emotional scars, all have scarred our hearts and minds. The author Miralee Ferrell has delved deep within to bring out a very poignant read.

The story portrayed a good sense of family values and morals throughout which makes a fantastic change in todays society to prove that a 'good book' doesn't have to have people taking their clothes off every five minutes!

Yes its a tender love story.

Beth learns that not everything can come through her paintings, satisfaction and life has to be lived.

I really loved this book 2 in the series. Brought home to me a lot of thoughts.

I have read a few Christian authors books Karen Kingsbury is one of my best and now that I have found this authors books I will be furthering my reading matter in this authors work.

I would like to thank David C Cook via Net galley for the change to read this book. I look forward to reading more of this authors work.

This is my honest review. My personal POV and receive no monetary gain by doing so.

Can Love Survive When Secrets Collide? She’d kept her secrets safely hidden—those from her past, and those in the present. Some things, Beth Roberts knows, a lady simply doesn’t share, even in the 1880’s West. The townspeople would never understand. No one ever has. Jeffery Tucker, a handsome young writer, has kept his own secrets. He doesn’t have a right to pry into Beth’s affairs but finds himself strangely drawn to her and intrigued by the whiff of mystery surrounding her. Beth knows that one day someone will unravel the threads of her past. And when two men from her past arrive, the truth might just hurt . . . Beth’s future and her heart. As shadowy memories surface, Beth sketches the scenes she sees and is shocked by what—and who—her illustrations reveal. Dare she risk her heart again?

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Come As You Are by Theresa Weir

Come As You AreCome As You Are by Theresa Weir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Molly and Ian.

We start off with knowing that Molly has been adopted, that there was something between her adopted Father and her, some secret. Her Father dies of a heart attack and we arrive at the wake with lots of people paying their respects to him. He was well thought of and respected.....but.....not by Molly. Its quite the reverse and she feels stifled and wants to be left alone so she flees out from the wake, ends up in a bar where she meets the handsome Ian.

She ends up going back to his apartment, they both stare at the bed and both know what is going to happen. But although Molly is throwing herself at him Ian pushes her off and says it feels like she is raping him.

This is the start of a very complex read. Something has happened to Molly that made her damaged, but since her adoptive Father died she is even more damaged. I was perplexed. Intrigued.

Ian doesn't push Molly and he doesn't walk away from her either.


I kept turning the pages of this book late into the night, its not the best book I have read but there is something about it that stands out. Yes its a bit weak in places and drawn out in others, but like I say, there is something there that keeps you pounding to the last page.

I weighed up and stars and have decided to give this 4 stars as there only bit that is missing for me personally is a bit faster pace.

I would like to thank Belfry Press via Net Galley for the chance to read and review this book.

Molly Young has a secret. To keep it she holds the world at a distance. Behind her lies a trail of dumped boyfriends who came too close to discovering what no one can know. When her estranged father dies of an unexpected heart attack he leaves an even deeper secret, one tied to Molly's.

At the funeral repast Molly is unable to tolerate the shoulder-to-shoulder mourners and runs out the door and down the street to the nearest bar. Come dawn, with no memory of the past ten hours, she finds herself in bed with a beautiful stranger. She slips away before he wakes up, unaware of the role he's about to play in her life. Is he the one guy who can convince Molly to face her painful secret and become the person she's meant to be?

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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

Dear DaughterDear Daughter by Elizabeth Little
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one hell of a good thriller/mystery.

I have traveled around with this book on my Kindle today as I had a lot of 'waiting in the car' to do at the hospital car park! I many times forgot where I was because I was so lost inside the covers of my Kindle. The way this author writes is hypnotic. I was glued.

It starts with Janie being released from prison. She had been accused of murdering her Mother.

Through the pages you don't know if she was in prison because she did kill her or if she didn't. I was totally hooked. I was so annoyed when my daughter came out ready for me to move off to the next destination in the car, I wanted to move to the next destination in the book!

I was totally.........what! at the end of this book. I really didn't want it to end.

God knows what I am going to read next that matches this.

I would like to thank PENGUIN GROUP Viking via Net Galley for allowing me to read and review this lovely book. I've had hours of pleasure. Highly recommended.

'As soon as they processed my release Noah and I hit the ground running. A change of clothes. A wig. An inconspicuous sedan. We doubled back once, twice, then drove south when we were really headed east. In San Francisco we had a girl who looked like me board a plane to Hawaii.

Oh, I thought I was so clever.

But you probably already know that I'm not.'

LA IT girl Janie Jenkins has it all. The looks, the brains, the connections. The criminal record.

Ten years ago, in a trial that transfixed America, Janie was convicted of murdering her mother. Now she's been released on a technicality she's determined to unravel the mystery of her mother's last words, words that send her to a tiny town in the very back of beyond. But with the whole of America's media on her tail, convinced she's literally got away with murder, she has to do everything she can to throw her pursuers off the scent.

She knows she really didn't like her mother. Could she have killed her?

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Wanton Regard by Geoffrey Neil

Wanton RegardWanton Regard by Geoffrey Neil
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven't read a book lately that has thrilled me more than this one has as regards 'the guessing game'.
I'm flicking through pages left right and center. Its really creepy. The one that is stalking is really scary its like you can hear his voice in your head.

Hailey Vaughan lives an affluent life, well off and has a rather over protective husband, as you read, you can see just how much 'over protectiveness' he emits.
He would really bug me.

The downside was, Hailey was supposed to be in control of her life, quite a confident woman, I thought in the beginning she seemed easy pry. I can only say that she was easily moved because of the admiration.

There is also a religious cult involved here, so I won't say more than that as I don't want to reveal anything, its hard to continue to write a review without giving the game away.

The only other thing I would like to add is, the blurb really doesn't 'sell' the book because its just SO MUCH MORE to this than it entices.

Just look at the book cover! wooooo

I was given this book to read and review from Priorities Intact Publishing via Net Galley who I would like to thank, without them allowing this I may have missed out on pretty dam good thriller

Successful executive, Hailey Vaughan, lives a privileged life in a secure, gated community with an insecure, overly-protective husband. When a mysterious admirer approaches her, Hailey allows herself to enjoy a "safe" amount of his flattery--with disastrous results. Her admirer is an obsessed stalker who already knows all the most intimate details of her life. Hailey attempts to salvage her already-rocky marriage by hiding her dilemma from her suspicious husband. Her problems deepen when a fanatical leader of a religious sect in town targets her for conversion to his cause and won't take no for an answer. Hailey must find a way to free herself from the unrelenting stalker, a religious fanatic and a jealous, gun-toting husband who converge in a battle to control her. A last-minute business trip offers Hailey the perfect escape from the life-threatening attention. But her trip will become more terrifying than she could have imagined after she learns that it’s one-way. This chilling, fast-paced story of high-tech stalking will make you wary of every object in your home, in your car, in your office ... and on your body.

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