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The Perfect Mother Blog Tour

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell! 
Please have a look around my blog and read some other posts!

I enjoyed the book although I thought it was slow to get going. I liked Roz and I liked her background, but I thought how she ended up in NYC was a bit contrived. I thought there was a lot of suspense but I wasn't sure how exactly the ending worked out for me. Still, I would read something else by the same author. 

She thought they wanted her baby. But they won’t stop there.
Roz is young, penniless and pregnant. All she wants is to be the perfect mother to her child, but the more she thinks about her own chaotic upbringing, the more certain she is that the best life for her baby is as far away as possible from her hometown in Ireland.
Determined to do the right thing, Roz joins an elite adoption service and can’t believe her luck. Within days she is jetting to New York to meet a celebrity power couple desperate for a child of their own. Sheridan and Daniel are wealthy and glamorous—everything Roz isn’t. Her baby will never go hungry, and will have every opportunity for the perfect life. But soon after Roz moves into their plush basement suite, she starts to suspect that something darker lurks beneath the glossy surface of their home.
When Roz discovers she isn’t the first person to move in with the couple, and that the previous woman has never been seen since, alarm bells start ringing. As the clock ticks down to her due date, Roz realises her unborn baby may be the only thing keeping her alive, and that despite her best intentions, she has walked them both into the perfect nightmare…

Author Bio:

An international #1 and New York Times, USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author, Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time, with over a million books sold.
As well as her crime series, Caroline also writes stand-alone psychological thrillers. The most recent, Silent Victim reached the Amazon number 1 spot in the UK, US and Australia and won first place as best psychological thriller in the US Reader’s Favourite Awards. Her previous thriller, Witness, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Awards in New York. She has also been shortlisted for ‘Best Procedural’ in the Killer Nashville awards. Her crime thriller, Truth And Lies recently became a No.1 New York Times best seller and has been optioned for TV. Her works have been translated worldwide and her book, The Silent Twin, has been converted as an interactive app in the Chapters Interactive game. 

The Understudy by B A Paris, Sophie Hannah, Clare Mackintosh and Holly Brown - Review

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

I bought this at The Book Vault in Barnsley in December and wanted to get to it quickly so I picked it up over Christmas. The front cover and blurb had appealed to me in the shop, and I was excited to read it.

It's about four women who are all mums of girls attending a prestigious staqge school in London. The women are Bronnie, Kendall, Carolyn, and Elise, and their daughters are Bel, Ruby, Jess, and Sadie. At the very beginning of the book all four women are sitting in the office of the headmaster, Adam, because a music box has been found in Jess' locker. It played her audition song Castle on a Cloud, and featured a mutilated ballet dancer, with one arm missing. Carolyn sees this as a clear threat against her daughter, especially given that the previous year Ruby bullied Jess. Carolyn wants Ruby expelled, but the girls are friends now. Adam smooths things over and asks the women to get the girls to look after a new student, Imogen.

They do this, but it becomes clear that something is wrong with Imogen. She always seems to be where she isn't supposed to be, and she gives Elise the creeps at a sleepover the girls have. She tells Bronnie one story about her life, and bad things seem to happen around her often. The women try to find out what is going on at the school.

The women aren't exactly friends, and their allegiances shift throughout the book. None of them are exactly likeable, and they all do really stupid things. I liked the beginning of the book but found the final third just didn't gel with me. The payoff wasn't worth it, to me.

The four authors write one of the women each. I'm not familiar with any of the authors except for Sophie Hannah who I read a few years ago, but I thought the women were written pretty well and differently from each other. I would have liked to see some more of the girls themselves, both with and without Imogen, but that might just be me.

As I say the ending didn't entirely work for me, so I'm giving this three out of five.

The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright by Beth Miller - Book Tour and Review

Saturday, January 11, 2020

I'm really happy today to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright by Beth Miller. I was intrigued by the premise of this book so signed up for the tour. I read the book before Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The book is about a woman called Kay Bright and at the beginning of the book she leaves her husband, Richard. She has been married to him for nearly thirty years and they have two children together, Edward and Stella. Edward lives in Scotland with his wife and children but Stella has only just left the family home in London to move out to Romford in Essex. Richard owns a few stationery shops and Kay is the manager of one of them. Richard's shops have kept him away from the family for years and Kay has finally got to the end of her tether. She packs a few things, goes downstairs, gives her wedding ring to Richard, and leaves.

Firstly she goes to Bryn Glas, in Wales, a family friend's cottage that she has used a few times for holidays. Her best friend Rose comes to visit and the two start reminiscing about past times and about all the things they wanted to achieve in life. They climb Snowden together and then Kay decides to take off to Australia to see their mutual friend Bear, who emigrated there many years before.

Meanwhile there are chapters from Stella's point of view too. She's blindsided by the fact that her parents are splitting up, and ends up having to look after her dad back in London. She has been working with her friend Gabby, but the distance isn't helping her relationship with her boyfriend Theo and she isn't sure what's going on with them. She ends up going to a support group for adult children of divorced parents.

I liked the book and thought it had a warmth to it. There were some bits I didn't like - like I thought what happened with Theo was a bit daft. Edward's character wasn't as well developed as I would have liked. But mostly, I thought this was an interesting and compelling book and I would read something else by the same author. I liked Kay, I wanted her to succeed, and I understood a lot of the things she did even if I thought they were daft in parts!

Christmas Present Books 2019

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Here's a post about the books I got for Christmas 2019! I got fewer books than normal, although I think that is partly because I did fewer Secret Santas than I've done in previous years.

I'm notoriously bad at reading books that I'm given for either Christmas or my birthday, even though I love them and often was to read them. So I've decided that this year, I will try to read all of these books before the end of January 2020. We'll see how I get on with this goal!

First of all, Lee's mum bought me this vegan cook book. I went vegetarian in January 2019 and she saw this and thought I'd like it. I certainly do like eating vegan, so I'm excited to get to some of these recipes!

My cousin and his wife bought me Call Down the Hawk and I'm excited to get to it after I loved The Raven King so much. I've heard so many good things about this

My friend Laura and I often buy each other books and this year she bought me three: the Catherine Dunne, the Rupert Thomson, and East by Meera Sodha, which is a vegetarian cookbook with recipes from all over Asia in it. I have made some of her recipes before and the book looks fantastic so I'm excited about it. I haven't read anything by the other authors so they're new to me which is always exciting. 

My friend Sam asked me if there was anything I wanted for Christmas so I said Elizabeth Acevedo's newest book as I really liked The Poet X. I have really high hopes for this!

And finally Lee bought me the only Detective Society book that I didn't already have, Mistletoe and Murder, back when we met Robin Stevens in Sheffield in December. I feel so happy to have a full collection now, I will be finding shelf space for them all to sit together in published date order!

All Out - The No Longer Secret Histories of Queer Teens, edited by Saundra Mitchell - Review

Friday, January 3, 2020

I got this book for my birthday in January from my BFF Lucinda, who is a children's librarian and is queer and who often combines the two in the books she reads. I was looking for something on my shelves and saw this, and realised that I hadn't yet read it. I find reading anthologies of short stories is really useful over the Christmas period when I don't have a lot of time to sit and read and am often tired at night, so I picked it up.

The premise is that each story features at least one queer protagonist from a different period in history. Queer people have always existed, but thanks to cruel and homophobic societies, it hasn't always been possible for people to be out. The authors included in this anthology are well known YA voices including Malinda Lo, Dahlia Adler, Elliot Wake, Alex Sanchez and Robin Talley. There are gay characters, lesbian characters, some trans characters, and even some asexual ones. As with all short story anthologies, there are some that the reader will connect with more than others thanks to their own histories and so on. I particularly enjoyed the stories of a deaf and queer Will Scarlet and a queer Robin Hood, and need a whole book of this immediately please! I enjoyed the stories about two girls mourning the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994, and I loved the story about an asexual girl who loved rollerskating. I liked all the stories; there weren't any that I disliked. 

It's a fantastic anthology for any reader, but especially for queer teenagers of all shades. 

The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware - Review

Monday, December 30, 2019

I recently picked up this book, which I've been wanting to read since I read The Woman in Cabin 10 last year. I had heard that this was better, which is good because I felt like The Woman in Cabin 10 lost its way a bit towards the end. I did think this book was much better, meaning I'll probably read more by Ruth Ware now.

Hal Westaway is twenty one years old and lives in Brighton. She works on Brighton pier as a tarot card reader, and has done since she inherited the booth from her mother three years ago. Her mother was killed in an accident just two weeks before Hal's birthday, and since then Hal has struggled to support herself. She is struggling financially and owes money to a loan shark.

Then a letter arrives informing her that her grandmother Hester has died and left her some inheritance, and that her funeral is to be held in her stately home in Cornwall. Hal is shocked because her grandparents, her mother's parents, died before she was born and she never knew them. But the name on the letter is Hal's own. She's sure there must have been a mix up, but she's also desperate for cash. Surely if anyone could pull off conning a family into believing she's their relative, she's the person to do it?

She isn't sure what to do, but the loan shark's enforcers are after her so she scrimps together what little cash she has and catches a train to Penzance. She googles the family and looks them up on Facebook so that she can learn a bit about them in order to convince them she's their niece. She finds details of her three "uncles" and their families. At the funeral, she meets the family solicitor, and then is invited back to Trepassen house to stay over and sort things out.

It's a perfect gothic novel after that. The house is creepy. Hal is given a room in the very top of the house which turns out to have bolts on the outside. There's a creepy housekeeper who hates her. Things get weirder and stranger and Hal begins to fear for her life.

I liked the book and although I guessed a couple of the twists, there were parts that I didn't see coming at all. The allure of the big house and a posh family was done marvellously, given that Hal is struggling and is pretty alone in the world. I did find it hard to distinguish between the men at times, and I did think there were woolly parts, but mostly I really enjoyed the book and am giving it eight out of ten!

New Independent Bookshop in Barnsley

Thursday, December 26, 2019

I live in Barnsley in South Yorkshire, and although the town itself stayed Labour in the recent election, my constituency, on the west of the town, went Tory. I was absolutely devastated - I still am. I immediately started thinking of things I could do to make a difference. One of the things I will do is email my new MP a lot - if she wants to represent me she can hear my voice. I'll be polite, don't worry! But she can definitely hear me. 

I thought of a couple of other things I can do that I will be putting into place in 2020. They both require applying for things, but I would love to make a difference in some way or other. Then I saw a tweet about a new independent bookshop opening in Barnsley town centre on Monday6 16th December, and I decided I would put my money where my mouth is and go support an independent shop.

Barnsley has only had The Works or supermarkets to buy books from since WHSmith shut down a couple of years ago. We don't have any other bookshops. It's a pretty poor state of affairs, actually. So I'm really happy The Book Vault has opened up. 

I asked my friend Sarah to come along too and said we could get some lunch afterwards. She then had to pick me up because my car was broken - I have had the worse luck with my car this year, this is the third thing I've had go wrong with it - but she was happy to and then we headed into town.

The shop was busy when we got there. There was a member of staff greeting us and we told her we had seen them on Twitter and decided to visit. There's quite a few books. Nothing was labelled when we visited which I found strange, but this may change. There was a big crime/thriller section. There were a few YA books filed in with the adult books, but I think kinks like that might get ironed out as the weeks go on.

I headed across to the YA section and thought it had a good selection of books. There were titles I haven't seen in shops before, as well as some popular books, and lots that I've read! I liked the section.

I bought three books and will definitely go back!

The outside of the shop. It's on a street that has a lot of charity shops on it, and it seems to get a lot of footfall. I hope people go into the shop!

One of the YA shelves

The other one

We headed for lunch after visiting the bookshop

And here's what I bought for £24.97!



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