Category Archives: #AroundTheUkIn144Books

2017 and beyond challenge!

Blog Tour – The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher *Book Review*

I’m absolutely thrilled to be one of today’s blogs, along with Laura Bambrey Books, hosting for The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher blog tour. Did I enjoy Kerry Fisher’s latest book? Read on to find out…

The Blurb

Would you risk everything for the man you loved? Even if you knew he’d done something terrible?

‘A heart wrenching and gripping tale. I was hooked from the very first page.’ Write Escape

Lara’s life looks perfect on the surface. Gorgeous doting husband Massimo, sweet little son Sandro and the perfect home. Lara knows something about Massimo. Something she can’t tell anyone else or everything Massimo has worked so hard for will be destroyed: his job, their reputation, their son. This secret is keeping Lara a prisoner in her marriage.

Maggie is married to Massimo’s brother Nico and lives with him and her troubled stepdaughter. She knows all of Nico’s darkest secrets – or so she thinks. Then one day she discovers a letter in the attic which reveals a shocking secret about Nico’s first wife Caitlin. Will Maggie set the record straight or keep silent to protect those she loves?

For a family held together by lies, the truth will come at a devastating price.

A heart-wrenching, emotionally gripping read for fans of Amanda Prowse, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain.

My Thoughts

Do you ever really know what goes on within a marriage?

I eagerly anticipated reading The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher after really enjoying her previous novel, After The Lie. There is always a little trepidation in reading the latest novel by an author you have previously enjoyed as you hope it will live up to the expectations you have. I am pleased to say that Fisher has delivered again with an enthralling book that is unputdownable.

Told in first person narrative by the two main characters Maggie and Lara, The Silent Wife tells the story of Maggie who has joined the Farinelli family as Nico’s second wife following the death of his first wife and Lara who is the second wife of Massimo, Nico’s brother. While Lara struggles to maintain the public façade of her marriage and that of Massimo as doting husband and father, Maggie makes a discovery about Caitlin, Nico’s first wife, that could potentially devastate her husband and stepdaughter. The story lines make for compulsive reading as you eagerly anticipate what the outcome will be for the two women and the family as a whole.

Covering emotive subjects such as the difficulties that come with blending two families together, domestic abuse, and the dynamics of families; Fisher writes with empathy and yet also a wicked sense of humour which serves to draw you into the characters making The Silent Wife an emotional yet never maudlin read. Fisher writes with honesty about the subject of the emotions a second wife goes through in relation to her feelings about her predecessor that few would admit to out loud. Her depiction of domestic abuse within a relationship is also realistic and Fisher has clearly researched this subject carefully.

You cannot help but care about the main characters and Fisher has done a great job of giving both Maggie and Lara their own unique voice. That sense of the way we view other people compared to the reality and how they actually feel about themselves really comes through and is portrayed brilliantly.

I raced through The Silent Wife, finding it compelling and interesting. There were sentiments and responses I could really identify with and Fisher writes with an emotional intelligence. There is so much to think about and discuss it would make a great read for a reading group.

All-absorbing, emotionally acute and yet funny The Silent Wife is a compulsive read about secrets, lies, the complexities of families and keeping up appearances. A highly recommended read that will have you both laughing and crying and desperate to know the final outcome.

A huge thank you to Kerry Fisher and Kim Nash at Bookouture for the advance copy and the invite to take part in the blog tour. This is my honest and unbiased review.

Published on 24 February 2017 by Bookouture.

Purchase Links

UK 🇬🇧 http://amzn.to/2gO2YZt
US 🇺🇸 http://amzn.to/2g9Uhay

About Kerry Fisher

Born in Peterborough, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian, and taught English in Corsica and Spain before climbing to holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually returned to England to ‘get a proper job’, and spent two years in features at Essentials magazine. She now lives in Surrey with her husband, two teenagers and a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy.

http://www.kerryfisherauthor.com/

Be sure to check out the rest of the hosts on The Silent Wife blog tour –


#AroundTheUKIn144Books – County: East Sussex  

 

Review – Old Friends and New Enemies by Owen Mullen

The Blurb

The body on the mortuary slab wasn’t who Glasgow PI  Charlie Cameron was looking for.

But it wasn’t a stranger.

Suddenly, a routine missing persons investigation becomes a fight for survival. As Charlie is dragged deeper into Glasgow’s underbelly he goes up against notorious gangster Jimmy Rafferty and discovers what fear really is.

Rafferty is so ruthless even his own sons are terrified of him.

Now he wants Charlie to find something. And Jimmy Rafferty always gets what he wants.

There is only one problem…Charlie doesn’t know where it is.

My Thoughts

A dead body, missing money and Glasgow gangsters result in what could be Private Investigator Charlie Cameron’s most difficult case yet…not least because the dead body is that of an old friend and it has become personal!

Old Friends and New Enemies is the second book in the Charlie Cameron series. Initially I felt I had missed out as I have not read the first book The Games People Play and it took me a little while to get into the characters and the setting as I didn’t have the benefit of the backstory that had gone before in the previous book. However, as the book progressed I settled in, got to know the characters better, and it worked well as a standalone novel.

Charlie Cameron is a great character who I really warmed to. He has the right combination of being straight-forward with hidden depth which makes you want to get to know more about him. Mullen has created a great cast around Charlie in his friends which results in the reader feeling fully involved in their lives. I really liked the dynamics portrayed in the Rafferty family and Mullen has made the ‘bad guys’ gritty and two-dimensional with insights into their family and personalities. This always adds extra to the story as I always love to know more about the villains and their motivations.

Fast-paced with ‘Oh my God’ moments, Mullen writes well keeping up the momentum until the very end. With two investigations running concurrently, Mullen effectively keeps the reader’s interest with both until they reach their conclusions. There are also moments in the book in which Mullen writes about Charlie’s thoughts and feelings with a depth and sensitivity I wasn’t expecting.

A thoroughly enjoyable read, Old Friends and New Enemies is a great book with a protagonist I look forward to seeing more of. The Charlie Cameron series is set to become a firm favourite and I will definitely be reading The Games People Play, the first book in the series.

A huge thanks to Owen Mullen for my copy in exchange for my fair and unbiased review.

Old Friends and New Enemies is published in paperback on 6 February 2017 and Ebook on 21 February 2017 by Bloodhound Books.



#AroundTheUKIn144Books challenge – County: Glasgow

Review – Mary’s The Name by Ross Sayers

Marysthename

The Blurb

An eight-year-old girl and her granpa are on the run…

“When me and Granpa watched James Bond films, he told me not to be scared because people didn’t have guns like that in Scotland. That must’ve been why the robbers used hammers.”

Orphaned Mary lives with her granpa, but after he is mixed up in a robbery at the bookies where he works, they flee to the Isle of Skye. Gradually, Mary realises that her granpa is involved. And the robbers are coming after him – and their money.

Mary’s quirky outlook on life, loss, and her love of all things Elvis, will capture your heart. Full of witty Scots banter, Mary’s The Name will have you reaching for the hankies, first with laughter, then with tears.

Get ready to meet Mary…

Heart-warming and heart-breaking, this darkly comic debut is from a fresh voice set to become Scotland’s answer to Roddy Doyle.

My Thoughts

There’s something about Mary…

It is always a thrill to discover a great debut author and I always love the anticipation of starting their book. Ross Sayers is one of those fantastic debut authors who blows you away.

Mary’s The Name is the story of eight-year-old Mary Sutherland and her grandpa who, after a robbery, move from Stirling to Portree on the Isle of Skye. Mary discovers that her Granpa was involved in the robbery and the robbers have followed them. A real coming-of-age story, we follow Mary as she begins to realise that not everything in the world is as it first appears.

The characterisation in Mary’s The Name is wonderful! I absolutely adored Mary and felt a great affection for her. As I was coming towards the end of the book I really did not want to let her go. How Sayers, an adult male, has captured the thoughts and feelings of an eight-year old girl is testament to his talent as a writer. Mary is incredibly lovable and her personality shines through. The affection Sayers has for his characters jumps off the pages. With wonderful prose that draws you deeply into the story, Mary’s The Name is told in first person narrative from Mary’s point of view and I went through a whole sea of emotions while reading this book.

Mary’s relationship with her Granpa is wonderfully portrayed and Mary has reached that age in which she realises there is more to him than just being ‘Granpa’ – that he has a whole history and backstory that goes beyond his role as her care-giver. Their love for each other is incredibly touching and, I admit, it made me cry.

Sayers mixes humour and poignancy with ease, really capturing the child’s view of the world which has you laughing out loud and also those tricky moments children (especially girls) go through in relation to their friendships. He really made me feel as though I were viewing things through a child’s mind and Mary’s observations on life and what goes on around her are funny and acutely written. The reader is engaged immediately and the pace of the book is pitched perfectly, with the right combination of dark humour and hold your breath moments. Portree really comes to life through the pages of the book and I was transported there every time I settled down to read.

Mary’s The Name was an absolute joy to read. Simultaneously humorous and heart-breaking, this bittersweet, tenderly written novel touches you deeply and I guarantee you will fall in love with Mary. An accomplished debut novel, I really look forward to reading more by Ross Sayers in the future.

A huge thank you to Ross Sayers and Cranachan for the advance copy in exchange for my unbiased and honest review.

Published on 30 January 2017 by Cranachan publishing.


Challenge Banner[2422]#AroundTheUKIn144Books Challenge – County: Highlands

Book Review – Lies by TM Logan

Lies

The Blurb

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? A gripping new psychological thriller of secrets and revenge, perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and Tom Bale.

When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is ok, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared. 

And that’s when Joe receives the first message…

My Thoughts

Joe Lynch is a desperate man in a desperate situation. His whole world is rocked when, by chance, he sees his wife while out and follows her into a hotel to surprise her. He observes her having an argument with a friend and gradually everything he thought he knew comes crashing down around him. Joe realises his life has been built on lies.

From the blurb I expected Lies to be a fairly run-of-the-mill, wife-having-an-affair story. I don’t want to say anything at all about the plot—you really need to read the book—but I will say that Joe finds himself in a situation I wasn’t prepared for, taking me on a journey I really wasn’t expecting.

Racing along at an unprecedented rate, Lies keeps you frantically turning the pages in the pursuit to find out what will happen next. With a well written and perfectly pitched prologue, Logan hooks you in straight away building immediate interest to find out just what this story is going to be about.

Logan’s writing continues in this vein throughout with chapters just the right length and those all-important cliff-hanger endings. Told in first person narrative by Joe, the reader is effectively drawn into his life, following him every step of the way in the nightmare he finds himself in.

Joe as a character is a ‘nice-guy’. A teacher and good husband and father who puts his family first, but maybe a little bit naïve. I couldn’t help but root for him throughout the book. A lot of his naivety is around social media—something most of us are probably guilty of—and the role of social media in our lives plays an important part in this book. My views on the other characters changed as the book progressed and truths are revealed, as Joe, whose opinion of them we rely on as we see them through his eyes, realises his thoughts on the people around him are not necessarily accurate.

Logan’s observations on social media throughout the book give Lies a further edge and depth. As well as a great thriller, Lies is a commentary on how we play out our lives in public and the vulnerabilities this exposes us to. It also made me think about fate, chance and how a split decision action can change the direction of our lives in the blink of an eye.

Logan has written a great debut thriller. Lies keeps you gripped, guessing and turning those pages! I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Thank you to TM Logan, Bonnier Zaffre (Twenty7) and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Published on Ebook on 17 January 2017 and paperback on 4 May 2017 by Twenty7.


#AroundTheUKIn144Books Challenge – County: Greater London Challenge Banner[2422]

#AroundTheUKIn144Books – Challenge

Challenge Banner[2422]

You may have seen on Twitter and Facebook that Bloomin’ Brilliant Books is teaming up with Jenna at Jen Med’s Book Reviews and Rachel at Rachels Random Reads to complete an epic (crazy??) challenge.  We aim to read a book set in every county in the UK.  Are we mad? Probably, but it should be great fun and we hope you will join in along the way.  Jenna put out a post last week explaining the idea and ‘the rules’. 

Here is what she said…

So. Since yesterday when I introduced the idea of the Read the UK challenge, it has taken on a personality all of its own. It seems to be a very popular idea and I guess I can understand why. It also led to some debate over definition of a county and, if you take modern definition or current county boundaries, then the list is longer. A lot longer. Like an extra 58 books.
Never ones to run from a challenge though, Abbie and I are quite happy to redefine boundaries but it does mean that the challenge will take a little longer to complete. That’s okay. We have no time scales, we just want to know if it is possible. That said, it gets awful lonely on a long trip and while one of us is ‘driving’ the other will be sleeping (fat chance with two insomniacs on board lol) so we need a little company along the way.
And we found it. Joining us on this now epic 144-book challenge is none other than Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Reads. As Rachel reads different genres to me and Abbie we stand a much greater chance of completing so we are going to tackle all 144 counties, metropolitan boroughs or whatever the heck they are called these days in the UK and NI including all of the islands. Yep. Epic challenge indeed.
Our plan is thus:
1. No timescales. We read as we always intended to but we will endeavour to cross off all counties along the way. We may come looking for help i.e. book suggestions, and we’ll certainly be looking up all suggestions made so far – thanks for those.
2. We will post our review as and when the book is read and tag all posts #AroundTheUkIn144Books. Hopefully with your support we can get it trending on Twitter too – wouldn’t that be a hoot.
3. At least once a month we will try and ‘meet up’, perhaps reading a book from the same county but certainly delighting all you lovely bookish folk with a group update.
As for the rest… we’re winging it. This has to be a fun journey and it can’t interfere with the normal running of our blogs or it just won’t work. That said, it will be great to take stock this time next year and see how many counties we have visited between us. I’ll even try and find someone to map it for us because lord knows, I’ll be no good at that.
The new list of counties we are attempting to visit is below (note we are including London as one big lump as I’m too old and tired to try and separate books into the relevant boroughs and there will be much crossover anyway):
Aberdeen City                                                       Luton
Aberdeenshire                                                      Medway
Angus                                                                       Merseyside
Antrim                                                                      Merthyr Tydfi
Argyll and Bute                                                    Middlesbrough
Armagh                                                                   Midlothian
Bath and North East Somerset                     Milton Keynes
Bedford                                                                   Monmouthshire
Berkshire                                                                Moray
Blackburn with Darwen                                   Na h-Eileanan Siar
Blackpool Neath                                                 Port Talbot
Blaenau Gwent                                                    Newport
Bournemouth                                                       Norfolk
Bridgend                                                                 North Ayrshire
Brighton and Hove                                             North East Lincolnshire
Bristol                                                                      North Lanarkshire
Buckinghamshire                                                North Lincolnshire
Caerphilly                                                               North Somerset
Cambridgeshire                                                   North Yorkshire
Cardiff                                                                      Northamptonshire
Carmarthenshire                                                 Northumberland
Central Bedfordshire                                         Nottingham
Ceredigion                                                             Nottinghamshire
Cheshire East                                                       Orkney Islands
Cheshire West and Chester                            Oxfordshire
City of Edinburgh                                               Pembrokeshire
Clackmannanshire                                            Perth and Kinross
Conwy                                                                     Peterborough
Cornwall                                                                Plymouth
Cumbria                                                                 Poole
Darlington                                                             Portsmouth
Denbighshire                                                       Powys
Derby                                                                      Redcar and Cleveland
Derbyshire                                                            Renfrewshire
Devon                                                                     Rhondda Cynon Taf
Dorset                                                                     Rutland
Down                                                                      Scottish Borders
Dumfries and Galloway                                  Shetland Islands
Dundee City                                                         Shropshire
Durham                                                                 Somerset
East Ayrshire                                                       South Ayrshire
East Dunbartonshire                                       South Gloucestershire
East Lothian                                                        South Lanarkshire
East Renfrewshire                                             South Yorkshire
East Riding of Yorkshire                                 Southampton
East Sussex                                                          Southend-on-Sea
Essex                                                                       Staffordshire
Falkirk                                                                    Stirling
Fermanagh                                                          Stockton-on-Tees
Fife                                                                          Stoke-on-Trent
Flintshire                                                              Suffolk
GL: Greater London                                         Surrey
Glasgow City                                                       Swansea
Gloucestershire                                                 Swindon
Greater Manchester                                        Telford and Wrekin
Gwynedd                                                             Thurrock
Halton                                                                   Torbay
Hampshire                                                          Torfaen
Hartlepool                                                          Tyne and Wear
Herefordshire                                                    Tyrone
Hertfordshire                                                    Vale of Glamorgan
Highland                                                             Warrington
Inverclyde                                                          Warwickshire
Isle of Anglesey                                                West Dunbartonshire
Isle of Wight                                                      West Lothian
Kent                                                                      West Midlands
Kingston upon Hull                                        West Sussex
Lancashire                                                         West Yorkshire
Leicester                                                             Wiltshire
Leicestershire                                                   Worcestershire
Lincolnshire                                                      Wrexham
Londonderry                                                     York

So – where can you follow us on our epic UK ‘road trip’? Well here of course (Jen Med’s Book Reviews). It was my daft idea – can’t abandon the team now. I’m the designated driver – just call me Jennie Sat Nav.
You can also follow Tour Director – Abbie Rutherford over on www.bloominbrilliantbooks.com

Entertainment Director – Rachel Gilbey over on rachelsrandomreads.blogspot.co.uk
The adventure starts here. Wish us luck. Alternatively it you want to get on the ‘library bus’ and travel with us, let us know. The more the merrier.
Happy Reading All
JL

Given that anything below Hull is merely ‘somewhere down south’ to me this should be an interesting journey!  As Jen says, feel free to join in it should be a lot of fun.

Abbie x