Thursday, 15 June 2017

Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah Morgan

Publication: 15th June 2017
Series: From Manhattan with Love #5
With thanks to NetGalley for sending me a copy to review.

Blurb:

The perfect summer escape…?

Professional dog-walker Felicity Knight loves everything about New York…until her ex-husband starts working at her local vet clinic. She hasn’t seen Seth Carlyle in ten years, but one glimpse of him – too gorgeous, and still too good for her – and Fliss’s heart hurts like their whirlwind marriage ended yesterday. So when her grandmother in The Hamptons needs help for the summer, it seems the perfect way to escape her past…

Their relationship might only have lasted a few scorching months, but vet Seth knows Fliss – if she’s run away to The Hamptons, it’s because she still feels their connection and it terrifies her. He let her go once before, when he didn’t know any better, but not this summer! With the help of his adorable dog Lulu, and a sprinkling of beachside magic, Seth is determined to make Fliss see that he’s never stopped loving her…

My Review:

I have been a fan of Sarah Morgan for a while now and I am absolutely loving her current series of books called From Manhattan with Love! Although this is the fifth book in that series, you can read them as stand-alone books. It is nice to know the whole story though as characters from the previous books appear frequently and it's like meeting an old friend and finding out what they're up to. You don't have to just assume that characters get happy-ever-afters with Sarah Morgan, you can see for yourself when they turn up in different stories!

Holiday in the Hamptons follows the story of Fliss who has a traumatic past which she holds so closely to herself that she can't deal with it or move past it. When Seth, who was a part of her past, appears in her life again, she takes the opportunity to see her Grams to try to avoid him. But it couldn't be that easy! This is an emotional story which deals with some heartbreaking topics, but as ever with Sarah Morgan's books, there is such a warmth to the story that it is very enjoyable.

I always enjoy the close sense of family and friendship in Sarah Morgan's books and this is no exception. I really liked Seth's character and his determination to get through to Fliss despite his own pain. I liked Fliss too, but her determination to take everything on herself was understandable but a bit frustrating. Grams and her friends were a lovely bit of light relief - and their tactics to bring Fliss and Seth together really made me laugh!

This is a lovely, romantic book, it gets 4 out of 5 from me.

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated 5 times for the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn't reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

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Website: www.sarahmorgan.com


Friday, 2 June 2017

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Published by HQ, 1st June 2017
Hardback £12.99, eBook, Audio Edition £12.99
With thanks to Midas PR and the author for sending me a review copy of the book.

Blurb:

Meet Ginny. She’s fourteen, autistic, and has a heart-breaking secret…

‘Brilliant’ – Graeme Simison, author of The Rosie Project

Ginny Moon is trying to make sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up….

After years in foster care, Ginny is in her fourth forever family, finally with parents who will love her.

Everyone tells her that she should feel happy, but she has never stopped crafting her Big Secret Plan of Escape.

Because something happened, a long time ago – something that only Ginny knows – and nothing will stop her going back to put it right…

A fiercely poignant and inspirational story a lost girl searching for a place to call home. Ginny Moon will change everyone who spends time with her.

My Review:

This is a heartfelt, emotional story of a girl's mission to take care of the only thing that mattered to her from a time of great difficulty.

Ginny is a very likeable, determined character and I thought that the author wrote very cleverly to portray the different thought processes of someone who is autistic. Obviously these may not be the same for everyone, but as an example, I liked the way Ginny couldn't answer if anyone asked her more than one question at once, they had to ask one question at a time or she would get confused about what they wanted. Ginny's story has definitely highlighted to me the daily challenges that autistic people may face with communication.

This book also highlights the challenges of adoption and raising an autistic child. I really felt for Ginny's "Forever Mom" and "Forever Dad" as Ginny could be difficult to handle. However, the attitudes of the mum also frustrated me a lot at times. Although some of her reactions were understandable, I felt like she stopped trying to understand Ginny for a while and that upset me a bit.

The pace is a little slow at times and there were also a few elements of the story which didn't wrap up as well as I'd hoped, however the story was gripping. Unfortunately, I did guess Ginny's secret pretty much immediately, but that did not stop this from being an insightful, moving and entertaining read, which also handles the issue of abusive parents and the social care system tactfully.

I would give this 3 out of 5.

The Author
Benjamin Ludwig is a middle school language arts teacher, who has been teaching both children and adults since 1997. He believes strongly in supporting the voiceless and the displaced, especially their need for attachment. Shortly after he and his wife were married they became foster parents, and adopted their first placement: a teenager with autism and developmental disabilities. Ginny Moon was inspired in part by conversations he had with other parents at Special Olympics basketball practices. He hopes to adopt again after his daughter transitions into adulthood. Benjamin lives in New Hampshire.


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Thursday, 25 May 2017

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Format: Paperback
Published 1st June 2017 by Penguin
With thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my copy of this book.

Blurb:

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Review:

So I was immediately intrigued when I read the blurb of this book and was really excited to read it when I received my copy and I was not disappointed. This is a fantastic read which I couldn't put down!

There were really interesting dynamics between the characters as they are all very different and they all grew on me in different ways, especially as their relationships with each other changed as events occurred. They also all have very different motives to potentially have been the person who murdered Simon. Karen McManus kept the tension high and I was suspicious of all the characters at different times and I didn't guess correctly until the very end.

The book is told from the perspectives of all the main four characters who were in the room with Simon when he died which helps you to identify with them but then question them and the other characters even more.

The book is fast-paced and gripping and I can't recommend it enough, it gets 5 out of 5 from me. I can't wait to read whatever Karen writes next!

The Author:

Karen M. McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. Her debut young adult novel, ONE OF US IS LYING, will be released from Delacorte Press/Random House on May 30, 2017. It will also be published internationally in 18 territories including the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia.

To learn more visit www.karenmcmanus.com, or follow @writerkmc on Twitter.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Other Us by Fiona Harper

Paperback, 384 pages
Publication: May 4th 2017 by HQ, an imprint of Harper Collins
With thanks to Midas Public Relations for sending me a copy of this book for honest review.

Blurb:

If you could turn back time, would you choose a different life?

Forty-something Maggie is facing some hard truths. Her only child has flown the nest for university and, without her daughter in the house, she’s realising her life, and her marriage to Dan, is more than a little stale.

When she spots an announcement on Facebook about a uni reunion, she can’t help wondering what happened to Jude Hanson. The same night Dan proposed, Jude asked Maggie to run away with him, and she starts to wonder how different her life might have been if she’d broken Dan’s heart and taken Jude up on his offer.

Wondering turns into fantasising, and then one morning fantasising turns into reality. Maggie wakes up and discovers she’s back in 1992 and twenty-one again. Is she brave enough to choose the future she really wants, and if she is, will the grass be any greener on the other side of the fence?

Two men. Two very different possible futures. But is there only once chance at happiness?

My Review:

The Other Us is an entertaining read which pulled me in to Maggie's world completely and I couldn't put it down.

When Maggie wakes up one morning back in 1992 as her twenty-one year old self she seizes the opportunity to consider her options and to enjoy being young again. With the option to change her life she makes some different decisions and finds that she keeps flipping between two different realities. One with her husband Dan and the second with Jude. These two lifestyles are very different and she is a very different person in each of them. As the novel progresses and she gets older in each life she has to consider what she really wants and her actions. I liked the way the story split and flicked back and forth between these realities.

Maggie was generally a likeable character who does make her fair share of mistakes, even living life over a second, or even a third time and she grew a lot as the novel progressed. I was frustrated with her choices at times and honestly wasn't too sure on her relationship with Jude, I felt like it did not develop to the same extent as her relationship with Dan, despite her feelings towards him, but Dan has his flaws too.

The story is funny and emotional at different times and Maggie understandably struggles with being pulled from one life to the next without warning. I guess my only unanswered question is how did this happen to her, but I guess in some ways it doesn't matter too much. Maggie's choices and development as a character are the main focus of the book.

I would give this 4 out of 5, it is a really fun, enjoyable read.

The Author:
Fiona's first book was published in 2006 and she now has twenty-four published books under her belt. She started her career writing heartfelt but humorous romances for Mills & Boon, but now writes romantic comedies and feel-good women’s fiction for Harper Collins, as part of their HQ imprint.

She is a previous winner of the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Scheme Award, has had five books shortlisted for an RNA Award and won the ‘Best Short Romance’ at the Festival of Romance three years’ running.

Fiona lives in London with her husband and two teenage daughters.

http://www.fionaharper.com/home
@FiHarper_Author

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 27th 2016 by Viking

Blurb:

In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there's a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power - they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.

My Review:

As soon as I read the blurb for this book I was intrigued as to how the author would write it as it's an interesting concept. This is a cleverly written, dark, dystopian world that Naomi has created. The narrative is split between the 'present' and a distant future where two historians are debating a historical novel a man has written which challenges their understanding of the past. In the 'present' the story moves between Roxy, Tunde, Allie and Margot who all experience the sudden change in girls' abilities in different ways. I didn't find any of the characters particularly likeable but they were all very interesting due to their backgrounds, their reactions to the events in the story and the effect they have. The story is counting down to an unknown event, so sometimes months or years are missed which does help to keep the story moving.

I found the book a little slow to start with but then I was engrossed as the story got darker. The author creates some very disturbing scenarios of what could happen if power was flipped from men to women in this way. There are scenes that are uncomfortable and upsetting to read. Nevertheless, this book is a fascinating insight into our society and perceptions of gender roles. For anyone who is wondering, this book certainly doesn't paint a picture of sunshine and roses if women were suddenly more physically powerful than men but it is very cleverly done.

The author has taken a difficult concept and delivered. I've given this 4 out of 5.