Yellow Room [blog tour review + guest post!]

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for The Yellow Room! Find out what I thought of this great novel (well, that gives it away a little!) and learn a little more about author Shelan Rodger’s writing inspiration below, as she tells all about how important the use of location is in her novels…

Yellow Room - Shelan Rodger

Title: The Yellow Room
Author: Shelan Rodger
Publisher: The Dome Press

[Synopsis]

Set in England and Kenya during the post-election crisis of 2008, a psychological drama that explores the power of secrets to run and ruin our lives.

Chala has grown up in the shadow of a tragic act—as a small child she killed her baby sister in their yellow room. Even now, in her thirties, her state of mind is precarious and both she and her partner struggle with the demons of her past. When a one night stand leaves Chala pregnant, and her beloved adoptive father dies, she decides to go to Kenya and visit the scene of her parents’ deaths. Slowly memories of  the events in the yellow room return, the political uprising puts a new meaning on life, and the future can only be faced by making a choice—to deceive or tell the truth.

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Shelan Rodger
[Guest Post: “The importance of location – in my life and in my books”]

I was recently described in a local Spanish newspaper as a ‘Nigerian author living in Andalucía,’ which I found amusing as the only thing Nigerian about me really is the fact that I was born there (I left when I was three). But it is true that the question ‘Where are you from?’ is one that I find impossible to answer. My father was born in India and grew up in Kenya where he is buried; my mother, also born in India, still lives in Kenya. When I was three, the family left Nigeria and went to the Northern Territory of Australia; my first school was a radio in the bush, my second was an aboriginal school with two classrooms on an island north of Darwin. When I was eleven, we moved to England. I went to a comprehensive school in Hampshire and then Oxford University where I graduated in French and Spanish. Then nine years in Argentina, followed by another period in the UK and six years in Kenya before moving to Spain in 2011. My professional career has revolved around international education, learning and development, and anti-discrimination.

Probably no surprise then that my writing is haunted by the question of what shapes us and our sense of who we are. How much is our personal identity moulded by the place we grow up or live in – the culture, the landscape, the language? And what happens if we move between different cultures, different landscapes? I don’t really feel English but I cannot tell you where I’m from. In my twitter profile, I define myself as a ‘writer and wilderness lover, with a patchwork life’. Connection with nature is extremely important to me; the need for wilderness is in my blood. So, there is a strange dynamic in my own life: strong emotional connections with certain locations and cultures combined with a sense of belonging to none – or all of them.

Twin Truths is set largely in Argentina and a big chunk of Yellow Room takes place in Kenya. I see Argentina and Kenya almost as characters in the stories. The relationship between the protagonists and the location is key to each story and to the journey of self-discovery for the protagonists in each book.

In Yellow Room, Chala is named after a lake in a remote part of Kenya. She volunteers at an orphanage in Naivasha, where she gets caught up in the turmoil of the post-election violence that killed over a thousand people in 2008. One of the things I wanted to explore with this book was the relationship between the internal world of our own inner stage and the external world, and how this affects our sense of who we are. Kenya – the events, the landscape, the culture, the people – has a profound effect on Chala and the outcome of her own personal story. Kenya is not just a setting but plays a role in the story of who she is and who she becomes.

Argentina has its own story. Buenos Aires in the nineties is a place of forgetting, but the shadow of Argentina’s dictatorship lingers. There is a kind of collective amnesia about the 30,000 disappeared, a gentle collusion almost everywhere to forget and move on, in the face of a reality too horrific to counter. In Twin Truths, Jenny’s journey too is one of forgetting, trying to move on. She does not really connect with the culture at first, using it like sex as a means of escape, trying it on like a piece of clothing, treating therapy as a game. But Argentina becomes part of her own story and there is one place that plays a pivotal role: Iguazu falls. There is a point where the falls converge in a bottomless crush of water called La Garganta del Diablo, a place that connects with Jenny’s own memory. ‘I was being sucked down into the depths of the ocean, no air, down and down into the devil’s throat.’

If we are what we eat, we are probably also where we live…Well, I tried that sentence out in Google and discovered this is exactly what someone called Jeff Speck, author of Suburban Nation, said at a conference about urban planning! Location, location, location…I hope you enjoy your travels in my books…

– Shelan Rodger


[My Review]

This is a beautifully written book which really made me think. I felt like it had a bit of everything – human relationships, family, some drama, travel and an element of surprise/ twists. All together these create a wonderfully crafted blend of tragedy, secrets and, through it all, hope.

I felt that the characters in Yellow Room are really convincing and well developed; though I didn’t agree with everything Chala did, I really felt for her. It made me stop and think about how much blame you can really pin on a child, and how difficult it must be for adults around her – especially Emma’s parents – to deal with what’s happened. It also deals with how one decision – whether to tell someone the whole ‘truth’ or not – can affect so many parts of a person’s life.

The travel aspect was interesting, and we saw how Chala’s personal demons eased a bit by being so far away, but at points I just wanted her to go home so I could see what would happen with her ‘situation’ (don’t want to give too much away!).

I absolutely love the way this book makes you think one way about someone – Chala’s husband, for example – but as the book reveals more your opinion changes and morphs with Shelan’s brilliant writing.

Thought provoking, surprising and emotional, Yellow Room is definitely a must-read!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to The Dome Press for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review, and for inviting me onto the blog tour!


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The Doll House [review]

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

Title: The Doll House
Author: Phoebe Morgan
Publisher: HQ Digital

[Synopsis]

You never know who’s watching…

Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.

But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…

How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…?

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[My Review]

The Doll House is such a gripping read! It kept me intrigued from page one right until the (great) end! The story is a great mix of creepiness and family / marriage dynamics, and there’s lots of surprises to keep the reader guessing.

Now, the characters themselves are a mixed bunch. I liked both Ashley and Corinne, but found Corinne a bit too reliant on everyone around her at times which left me feeling frustrated. That kind of adds to the tension though, as Corinne’s anxiety and worry means as you don’t know how she’ll react. Their partners – Dominic and James – seem to be good eggs, but the whole way through I was wondering whether they were hiding anything. In fact, I wondered this about each and every character, and I love novels that make me suspect everyone!

The plot is slower at times and ramps up the tension at others, but consistently kept me wanting to know more. Some of the ‘whodunnit’ element was pretty obvious so even I managed to work parts out long before the end, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment at all and some people I was sure were ‘dodgy’ surprised me!

The Doll House is atmospheric, fun to read and hits all the marks for a gripping psychological thriller and a truly fantastic debut!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to HQ Digital for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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Goodreads Monday [The Last Summer]

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners, and add your own links!

Judith Kinghorn books

I was lucky enough to receive three novels by Judith Kinghorn, from the lady herself (The Last Summer, The Snow Globe, and The Memory of Lost Senses) through the post the other day. So, I thought I’d pick one of them for this week’s post – they’re now on my Goodreads TBR list and all look great, but this one particularly!

Title: The Last Summer
Author: Judith Kinghorn
Publisher:

Publish date: 31 December 2012

The Last Summer - Judith Kinghorn

[Synopsis]

Clarissa is almost seventeen when the spell of her childhood is broken. It is 1914, the beginning of a blissful, golden summer – and the end of an era. Deyning Park is in its heyday, the large country house filled with the laughter and excitement of privileged youth preparing for a weekend party. When Clarissa meets Tom Cuthbert, home from university and staying with his mother, the housekeeper, she is dazzled. Tom is handsome and enigmatic; he is also an outsider. Ambitious, clever, his sights set on a career in law, Tom is an acute observer, and a man who knows what he wants. For now, that is Clarissa.

As Tom and Clarissa’s friendship deepens, the wider landscape of political life around them is changing, and another story unfolds: they are not the only people in love. Soon the world – and all that they know – is rocked by a war that changes their lives for ever.

Have you heard anything about this book, or have you got it on your TBR list? 

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The A to Z of Everything [audiobook review]

The A to Z of Everything - Debbie Johnson

Title: The A to Z of Everything
Author: Debbie Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Format: Audiobook

[Synopsis]

P is for Paris where it all began. J is for Jealousy where it all came undone. But the most important letter is F. F is for Forgiveness, the hardest of all.

Sisters Poppy and Rose used to be as close as two sisters could be, but it’s been over a decade since they last spoke. Until they both receive a call that tells them their mother has gone – without ever having the chance to see her daughters reunited.

Andrea, though, wasn’t the kind of woman to let a little thing like death stand in the way of her plans. Knowing her daughters better than they know themselves, she has left behind one very special last gift – the A-Z of Everything.

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[My Review]

This is a good book to listen to on audiobook – it’s easy to follow, has its sweet/ poignant  moments, and some humorous parts too, to keep it from becoming too sombre.

Of course, the subject matter itself is quite emotional, but it’s all written in a fairly light and entertaining way, though this doesn’t mean that at times I didn’t feel pretty sad reading it. It’s mainly uplifting, though, and following the two quite different sisters as they try to come to terms with their mother’s death, as well as their troubled pasts, makes for an interesting read.

In some ways the story is a little predictable and slightly corny at times but never overly so; the characters are like able and the story kept me interested. There were parts which seemed a bit unconvincing – such as the reason the two girls still don’t talk; I felt like at some point the sister ‘in the wrong’ would have managed to get the other to listen to her even for a few minutes – and then her explanation surely would have excused her? I don’t want to give any spoilers though, and there were other elements which kind of explained why Rose became so isolated. It does touch on very important issues, and I felt that this story was sensitively and interestingly crafted by Debbie Johnson.

Overall: an enjoyable read which worked well in audiobook format.

[Rating 3.5/5]

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The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde [review]

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde

Title: The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde
Author: Eve Chase
Publisher: Penguin UK – Michael Joseph

[Synopsis]

Four sisters. One summer. A lifetime of secrets.

When fifteen-year-old Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote Manor in June 1959, they expect a quiet English country summer. Instead, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before. As the sisters become divided by new tensions when two handsome neighbors drop by, Margot finds herself drawn into the life Audrey left behind. When the summer takes a deadly turn, the girls must unite behind an unthinkable choice or find themselves torn apart forever.

Fifty years later, Jesse is desperate to move her family out of their London home, where signs of her widower husband’s previous wife are around every corner. Gorgeous Applecote Manor, nestled in the English countryside, seems the perfect solution. But Jesse finds herself increasingly isolated in their new sprawling home, at odds with her fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, and haunted by the strange rumors that surround the manor.

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[My Review]

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is an absorbing, beautifully written story. It combines twists and mystery with an interesting storyline which never seems too sensationalist, even with the drama and intrigue that lies within its pages.

The novel focuses on both the summer of 1959 and the present day which meant I knew I’d find this novel at least interesting, if nothing else, as I love plots with dual narratives.

The characters in this novel are all very convincing and likable; though some have their faults, and Audrey herself can be a little annoying and silly at times, you can’t help but really feel their loss at Audrey’s disappearance, particularly poor Margot who I really felt for. Her sisters (Pam, Flora, and Dot) often overshadow her in various ways, but Margot seems really kind and I definitely liked her as a character. I felt like they could all be a real family – people you might meet in the street, despite their flighty mum who was just a law onto herself (but doesn’t feature hugely in the story anyway).

Moving forward to the present day story, I warmed immediately to Jessie, feeling sorry for her in her predicament with  teenage step-daughter Bella and baby daughter Romy. There’s a lot going on, but the tension and drama from 50+ years ago seeps through into their present-day life. I loved the atmospheric sense of time and place constructed in The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde, and – though I often enjoy stories in this style anyway – I felt this was particularly well-crafted by Eve Chase.

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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The Word is Murder [review]

The Word Is Murder - Anthony Horowitz

Title: The Word is Murder
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Publisher: Century

[Synopsis]

A wealthy woman strangled six hours after she’s arranged her own funeral.

A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own.

A reluctant author drawn into a story he can’t control.

What do they have in common?

Unexpected death, an unsolved mystery and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of Anthony Horowitz’s page-turning new thriller.

SPREAD THE WORD. THE WORD IS MURDER.

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[My Review]

I always look forward to a new release by Anthony Horowitz; I grew up reading his Alex Rider books and hugely enjoy his ‘adult’ novels (for want of a better term) including the entertaining Magpie Murders [read my review here]. The Word is Murder is, to me, an even better read! It’s a really interesting and unique novel as it’s narrated by Horowitz himself, describing a job he takes on where he’s writing about an ex-detective called Hawthorne as he tries to solve a murder – all of which takes an even stranger turn…

I really liked this different way of telling the story, and think it adds something a little different to this novel. There’s humorous parts which make me laugh to myself and, though the novel has some dark themes (of course, it is about murder!) it’s never too heavy, always retaining a slight sense of light-heartedness which Anthony Horowitz does so well in many of his books.

The characters are sometimes rather unlikable – such as Hawthorne himself, who is a bit of an enigma and doesn’t hold the best views and preconceptions about people – but they’re very fun to read about, and the plot reveals plenty of red herrings and twists which kept me guessing throughout. An ‘old-fashioned-but-still-modern’ detective novel. Loved it!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Century and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

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WWW Wednesday [11 October 2017]

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words.

Visit her blog to take a look, and get involved too if you can, even if you don’t have a blog yourself – as she says, you can leave your answers in the post comments. I’d love to see your answers too!

The three W’s are:

    1. What have you finished reading?
    2. What are you currently reading?
    3. What will you read next?

What have you finished reading? 

Penhaligon’s Attic by Terri Nixon
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde – Eve Chase
The A-Z of Everything [audiobook] – Debbie Johson

Reviews for all of the above will follow soon!

 

What are you currently reading? 

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan

The Doll House – Phoebe Morgan. I’ve only just started this but it seems really good so far…!

What will you read next?

Yesterday– Felicia Yap (can’t wait!)

Shattered – Allison Brennan – but realized I haven’t read any of the others in the Max Revere series so I hope this won’t affect my enjoyment…!


What have you been reading recently? Any exciting books you’re looking forward to reading next?

If you do your own version of this tag please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your answers too!


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How To Instant Pot [review]

https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R3IPREMEOJ1MOY/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Title: How To Instant Pot
Author: Daniel Shumski
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company

[Synopsis]

Legions of home cooks are falling in love with the Instant Pot multipurpose pressure cooker, which does the work of a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, sauté pan, steamer, and chafing dish all in one. This collection of 100 easy, creative, boundary-pushing recipes makes ultimate use of this amazing and increasingly popular contraption. The only Instant Pot cookbook organized by function, with detailed instructions for mastering each, How to Instant Pot features dishes from satisfying breakfasts through tempting desserts, plus skill-building recipes that offer simple methods for basic dishes (Chicken Soup 3 Ways, No-Stir Polenta 3 Ways, Sweet Yogurt 3 Ways) and surprising hacks that make this already remarkable gadget even more indispensable. Hard-boil an egg in 5 minutes? Yup. Bake a potato in half the time? You bet. Quick pickle some veggies? Why not. Want to know how to Instant Pot? This book is all you need.

[My Review]

How To Instant Pot is such a great resource for anyone who has one of these magical devices – whether you’re completely new to them (and how I wish I had this book when I first got mine, many months ago) or have had yours for a while but would like some inspiration, or tips and tricks!

After a general overview/ introduction the book is then split up into sections relating to different functions of the Instant Pot; each section has some general operating instructions and tips, and then a load of great recipes to try out. There’s a section for pressure cooking – which is what I mainly use mine for, and what I bought the Instant Pot for, so that’s come in very handy – as well as a slow cooker section which is also great, plus other sections such as the rice maker, yoghurt maker, etc.

What I really love about this book is that, on the whole, the recipes aren’t horrendously complicated but they are different and inspiring. You won’t get the same selection of tired old recipes that I see in every other Instant Pot ‘recipe book’; there are exciting new combinations and tips for things to make which you might not have thought could be done with this apparatus. I don’t think I’d personally bother with the yoghurt reicipes or the different rice recipes, but the other sections have some really interesting ideas.

I liked that there were pictures included but, as always, wished that there was an image for each recipe.  Still, this has reignited my love for the Instant Pot and encouraged me to try new recipes. Really impressed – if you only buy one Instant Pot recipe book, buy this one!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Workman Publishing Company for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.

How To Instant Pot is out on 31 October.

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Goodreads Monday [Left To Chance]

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners, and add your own links!

Today I’ve picked Left To Chance, a novel I’m hoping to be approved for on Netgalley (fingers crossed!) because it sounds really good! Otherwise I’ll likely buy this at some point anyway…

Watch this space!

Title: Left To Chance
Author: Amy Sue Nathan
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish date: 21 November 2017

Left To Chance - Amy Sue Nathan

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[Synopsis]

No one knows why Teddi Lerner left her hometown, but everyone knows why she’s back.

Twelve-year-old Shayna— talented, persistent, and adorable—persuaded “Aunt Tee” to return to Chance, Ohio, to photograph her father’s wedding. Even though it’s been six years since Shay’s mother, Celia, died, Teddi can hardly bear the thought of her best friend’s husband marrying someone else. But Teddi’s bond with Shay is stronger than the hurt.

Teddi knows it’s time to face the consequences of her hasty retreat from family, friends, and, her old flame, but when she looks through her viewfinder, nothing in her small town looks the same. That’s when she truly sees the hurt she’s caused and—maybe—how to fix it.

After the man she once loved accuses Teddi of forgetting Celia, Teddi finally admits why she ran away, and the guilt she’s carried with her. As Teddi relinquishes the distance that kept her safe, she’ll discover surprising truths about the people she left behind, and herself. And she’ll finally see what she overlooked all along.

Have you heard anything about this book, or have you got it on your TBR list? 

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My Top Picks for the rest of 2017 [top 10]

Here’s what I’m most looking forward to reading before Christmas and the New Year rolls around… it may seem ages away but it’s really not! There are loads of titles on my TBR list and plenty of others I don’t own/ have for review but which I’d like to, so to keep things (sort of) succinct, I’m sticking to those I own for now, and have picked my top 10 (in no particular order)…


31450644Shattered – Allison Brennan 

[Synopsis]

Over a span of twenty years, four boys have been kidnapped from their bedrooms, suffocated, and buried nearby in a shallow grave. Serial killer or coincidence?

That’s the question investigative reporter Maxine Revere sets out to answer when an old friend begs her to help exonerate his wife, who has been charged with their son’s recent murder. But Max can do little to help because the police and D.A. won’t talk to her—they think they have the right woman. Instead, Max turns her attention to three similar cold cases. If she can solve them, she might be able to help her friend.

Justin Stanton was killed twenty years ago, and his father wants closure—so he is willing to help Max with her investigation on one condition: that she work with his former sister-in-law— Justin’s aunt, FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. Trouble is, Max works alone, and she’s livid that her only access to the case files, lead detective and witnesses depends on her partnering with a federal agent on vacation. She wants the career-making story almost as much as the truth—but if she gets this wrong, she could lose everything.

Haunted by Justin’s death for years, Lucy yearns to give her family—and herself—the closure they need. More important, she wants to catch a killer. Lucy finds Max’s theory on all three cases compelling—with Max’s research added to Lucy’s training and experience, Lucy believes they can find the killer so justice can finally be served. But the very private Lucy doesn’t trust the reporter any more than Max trusts her.

Max and Lucy must find a way to work together to untangle lies, misinformation, and evidence to develop a profile of the killer. But the biggest question is: why were these boys targeted? As they team up to find out what really happened the night Justin was killed, they make a shocking discovery: Justin’s killer is still out there … stalking another victim … and they already may be too late.

Don't Wake Up

Don’t Wake Up – Liz Lawler

[Synopsis]

Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.
The man who stands over her isn’t a doctor.
The offer he makes her is utterly unspeakable.
But when Alex re-awakens, she’s unharmed – and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.
And then she meets the next victim.
So compulsive you can’t stop reading.
So chilling you won’t stop talking about it.
A pitch-black and devastatingly original psychological thriller.

The Spark Girl - Fiona FordThe Spark Girl – Fiona Ford

[Synopsis]

Spring 1940. Kitty Williams has suffered more than her fair share of tragedy but rather than wallowing, she’s more determined than ever to do her part in the battle against Hitler. Stepping up her own war effort, Kitty leaves her home town of Coventry and joins the Auxiliary Territorial Service (Women’s Army – ATS) where she finds new friends in Di, Peggy and Mary but also new obstacles to overcome in both her professional and personal lives.

Can You Keep A SecretCan You Keep A Secret? – Karen Perry

[Synopsis]

It’s been twenty years since Lindsey has seen her best friend Rachel

Twenty years since she has set foot in Thornbury Hall – the now crumbling home of the Bagenal family – where they spent so much time as teenagers. Since Patrick Bagenal’s 18th birthday party, the night everything changed . . . for good.

It’s time for a reunion.

Patrick has decided on one last hurrah before closing the doors of his family home for good. All of the old crowd, back together for a weekend.

For the secrets to come out

It’s not long before secrets begin to float to the surface. Everything that Lindsey shared with her best friend at sixteen . . . and everything that she didn’t . . .

Some secrets should never be told.

They need to be taken to the grave.

While others require revenge at any cost.

Before This Is OverBefore This Is Over – Amanda Hickie

[Synopsis]

How far will a mother go to save her children? A twisting, edge-of-your seat drama that you’ll never forget.

BEFORE THIS IS OVER by Amanda Hickie is a powerful, thought-provoking drama that looks at one family in the heart of a devastated community and compels us to ask: how far would I go to save my children? ‘Shatteringly suspenseful…it’s impossible not to be super-glued to the page’ Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of PICTURES OF YOU

A normal family. A quiet, leafy street. A terrifying epidemic.

It’s been coming for a while: a lethal illness. With sons of five and fourteen to look out for, Hannah has been stockpiling supplies, despite everyone telling her that it’s unnecessary.

Then it arrives.

At first there are a few unconfirmed cases. Then a death. Now the whole city is quarantined. But Hannah’s family is not yet safe behind their locked front door…

Basics soon become luxuries, and neighbours become hazards. There are power cuts, food shortages and an ever-growing sense of claustrophobia. How will the family cope?

How would you cope?

How far would you go to protect your children? 

Shadow Man - Margaret KirkShadow Man – Margaret Kirk

[Synopsis]

Two brutal killings rock Inverness, and bring ex-Met Detective Inspector Lukas Mahler the biggest challenge of his career…

The body of the queen of daytime TV, Morven Murray is discovered by her sister, Anna, on the morning of her wedding day. But does Anna know more about the murder than she’s letting on?

Police informant Kevin Ramsay’s murder looks like a gangland-style execution. But what could he have stumbled into that was dangerous enough to get him violently killed?

Mahler has only a couple of weeks to solve both cases while dealing with his mother’s fragile mental health. But caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, is ex-Met DI Lukas Mahler hunting one killer, or two?

The Frozen Woman - Jon MitcheletThe Frozen Woman –  Jon Michelet

[Synopsis]

A frozen body, a murdered biker, and a lawyer with nothing left to lose. In the depths of the Norwegian winter, a woman’s frozen corpse is discovered in the garden of a notorious ex-lawyer, Vilhelm Thygesen. She has been stabbed to death. A young biker, a member of a gang once represented by the lawyer, is found dead in suspicious circumstances. Thygesen starts receiving anonymous threats, and becomes ensnared in a web of violence, crime and blackmail that spreads across Northern Europe. Does the frozen woman hold the key?

Chase the RainbowChase the Rainbow – Poorna Bell

[Synopsis]

An honest yet uplifting account of a woman’s life affected (but not defined) by the suicide of her husband and the deadly paradox of modern-day masculinity.

Punk rocker, bird nerd and book lover Rob Bell had a full, happy life. He had a loving wife, a big-bottomed dog named Daisy and a career as a respected science journalist. But beneath the carefully cultivated air of machoism and the need to help other people, he struggled with mental health and a drug addiction that began as a means to self-medicate his illness. In 2015, he ended his life in New Zealand on a winter’s night.

But what happened? How did a middle-class Catholic boy from the suburbs, who had an ocean of people who loved him, and a brain the size of a planet, end up dying alone by his own hand? How did it get to this point?

In the search to find out about the man she loved, and how he arrived at that desperate, dark moment, Poorna Bell, Executive Editor of The Huffington Post UK, went on a journey spanning New Zealand, India and England to discover more about him.

A month after his death, she shared her personal tragedy in an open letter to Rob on the site, which went on to be read by hundreds of thousands of people across the world. This is Poorna’s story, not only of how she met the man of her dreams and fell in love, but also Rob’s story and how he suffered with depression since childhood and had secretly been battling addiction as a means to cope with the illness.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 and a staggering 1 in 4 of us will experience mental illness disease at some point in our lives, but the stigma surrounding mental health means that millions still suffer in silence.

Chase the Rainbow is an affecting, poetic, and deeply personal journey which teaches to seek hope and happiness, even in the most tragic of circumstances. Shattering the stigma surrounding depression and suicide, Poorna Bell challenges us talk about what we most fear, and to better understand the personal struggles of those closest to us.

First Comes Love - Emily GiffinFirst Comes Love – Emily Giffin

[Synopsis]

What happens when love, marriage and children don’t come in the expected order?

Fifteen years after the tragic death of their older brother splintered Josie and Meredith’s already fragile relationship, the two sisters are following very different paths.

Hardworking, reserved Meredith thought she’d done it all the right way round – married the perfect man, had the perfect daughter – but now she’s wondering if she got the love part wrong.

Impulsive and spirited Josie has been single for years. She wants a child so much that she’s preparing to head straight for the baby carriage all on her own.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and secrets from the past surface, Josie and Meredith must come to terms with their own choices. Perhaps they’ll find that they need each other more than they know…

Gifts For Our TimeGifts for our Time – Anna Jacobs

[Synopsis]

Germany 1939, and Christa Sommer boards the Kindertransport, unsure that she’ll ever see her beloved mother and father again.

Once in England she is taken in by elderly Mrs Pelling, who grows to love Christa as the daughter she never had.

But in 1945 Mrs Pelling dies. While her will cannot be found, her money-grabbing niece appears out of the blue to claim her inheritance and turfs Christa out, with only a suitcase to her name. The prejudice against Germans still runs high in England, and Christa is unable to secure a job or a place to stay…

Luck comes her way when a lady she saves from being mugged turns out to be Mayne Esher’s friend Daniel’s mother. Taking pity on Christa, they take her to Rivenshaw where they plan to start a new life as part of the Esher building firm.

There Christa is welcomed with open arms and she soon develops a love for the place, the people and, Daniel…

But Esherwood is not the trouble-free sanctuary she first thinks.

Determined to do their bit for soldiers returning from the war they have agreed to allow the council to build prefabs on some of Esherwood’s garden. But an empire-building town planner seems set on taking all of Mayne’s land for the war effort…

Mayne has also discovered a secret door at the back of the old Nissen hut, with a complicated locking mechanism that has local locksmiths dumbfounded.

Just what is hidden behind the door to warrant such high security?

Lots to look forward to reading!

Have you read any of these? If so what did you think?

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