The Drowning Lesson by Jane Shemilt


Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 24 September 2015

The press conference, one year ago

Our home is a crime scene now.

I am in yesterday’s clothes. The clothes in which I kissed Sam goodbye. Then he’d belonged only to us. Now his image will be shared with the world.

We should be grateful.

‘Our son . . . Sam . . .’ My eyes fill with tears, the writing on the paper blurs. ‘Someone took him. Please help us . . .’

I back away from the microphone, the paper falls from my hands.

The anniversary

The Jordan family thought they would return from their gap year abroad enriched, better people, a closer family.
Not minus one child.

A year on, Emma remains haunted by the image of that empty cot, thousands of miles away, the chasm between her and the rest of the family growing with each day that Sam remains missing. Is her son still out there? Will the mystery about what happened that night ever be unravelled?”


Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me this book to read and share my honest thoughts. I have to admit, after reading the blurb I was concerned that the subject of the storyline would make it too difficult for me to read. On the other hand I was also intrigued: Why and how was Sam taken? Where were his parents at the time? Would there be a happy ending?

Before I even started reading my mind was conjuring up images of children from real newspaper stories, not all of which ended well – I desperately wanted this book to finish on a happy note.

The storyline began by switching between the past and the present, something that enabled me to build up a clear picture of events in my mind. An overwhelming sense of loss weaved its way through the author’s words and I was held tight by these and also the desire to find out what was going to happen next!

My feelings towards Emma were mixed. There were times when I just couldn’t understand her, I guess she wasn’t as motherly as I had expected and some of her thoughts were completely alien to me. Then there were times when she made complete sense and I could feel the pain in her heart.

There was such an honest vibe to the storyline, especially when the worst happened, the events unravelling on the page before me felt so believable and real. My suspicious mind worked overtime as I tried to figure out who was responsible and now I do know I think I’d like to re-read the book to see things through a more informed set of eyes.

I admit that I cuddled my little one a bit closer as I was reading certain parts of this book, I became so entrenched in the horror of the situation that I needed to remind myself it wasn’t happening to me!

This was a tense and thought-provoking read. It left me feeling kind of numb – I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, maybe it’s a bit of both!


While working as a GP, Jane Shemilt completed a post-graduate diploma in Creative Writing at Bristol University and went on to study for the M.A in Creative Writing at Bath Spa, gaining both with distinction. Her first novel, Daughter, was selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club and became a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller. She and her husband, a professor of Neurosurgery, have five children and live in Bristol.

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A Miracle at Macy’s by Lynn Marie Hulsman

Publisher: Harper Impulse

Publication Date: 18 October 2015

One lost dog. Two lonely hearts. A Manhattan Christmas full of magic.

Shy homebody Charlotte is planning her usual quiet Christmas celebration: Turkey for two for her and her beloved pet dog Hudson. Only, this year, little Hudson decides to take matters into his own paws and give his favourite human a holiday adventure she’ll never forget.

When Hudson runs away the week before Christmas, Charlotte is devastated. She’d rescued him from the trash years before and gave him a place in her home – and her heart. But with the help of uptight Englishman Henry, Charlotte ends up on a magical treasure hunt around Manhattan to find her furry, four-legged bestie.

Spotted in Central Park as one of Santa’s Little Helpers, or last seen in the arms of a supermodel in Times Square, Hudson leads Charlotte and Henry on a very merry dance around the Big Apple, where love, (or should that be Christmas?!) actually is all around.”


Firstly I’d like to thank the publishers for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. I was initially attracted by the cover but when I read the blurb I knew I just had to read it – dogs and Christmas are two of my favourite things!

I thought Charlotte’s relationship with her dog Hudson was wonderful, probably because it reminded me so much of my own relationship with our dog Flint. There was a definite mother and child thing going on between them.

Charlotte seemed very awkward around people to begin with, she was a homely person with a passion for cooking so she spent a lot of time indoors with Hudson. This was why, when Hudson went missing, Charlotte was so far out of her comfort zone. I really enjoyed watching her character grow as the storyline progressed and the hunt for Hudson intensified.

The sights, scents and sounds of Christmas in New York were beautifully described and paraded vividly through my mind as I read.

There were plenty of funny moments – Vijay in particular was a hilarious character and a real favourite of mine. This was combined with some magically romantic scenes which kept me flipping the pages.

Although it was pretty obvious where the storyline would end up, even just from reading the blurb, I still thoroughly enjoyed the journey to get to that point.

A Miracle at Macy’s was a feel-good, Christmassy read that put a smile on my face.


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Follow Me by Angela Clarke

Publisher: Avon Books

Publication Date: 3 December 2015


The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time’s running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?



Firstly I’d like to thank the publishers for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. I first heard about it on Twitter and was instantly intrigued, I hadn’t read a book from this genre for a while so I thought it would make a refreshing change.

Straight away the drama of the situation reeled me in, I just didn’t want to stop reading. Many questions were raised: Who was the ‘Hashtag Murderer’? Why did he/she choose those particular victims? Who was next on the list? etc. These questions played on my mind even when I wasn’t reading.

I loved the way Freddie found herself embroiled in all the action. She was an impulsive and sometimes selfish character who I couldn’t help but like. Her mixed emotions were palpable as she set about investigating the murders, this made me feel like I was involved too.

The idea of a Twitter murderer made the storyline relatable (and more chilling) for me because I use Twitter every day – it really made me look at it in a different light!

The author successfully created a dark, chaotic atmosphere with her words. The chaos might not appeal to everyone but it certainly worked for me. The only negative in my opinion was that I sometimes found it difficult to work out which perspective I was reading from.

As I neared the end, and the conclusion, my heart was beating so fast. I even had to turn the light on! I was keen to find out who the culprit was and when it was finally revealed I have to admit that I was surprised – I hadn’t seen it coming.

Follow Me was a mysterious and gritty read that swept me along with its edge-of-your-seat action!


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The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien

Publisher: Mira Books

Publication Date: November 2014

One betrayal is all it takes to change history

1382. Daughter of John of Gaunt, sister to the future King Henry IV, Elizabeth of Lancaster has learned the shrewd tricks of the court from England’s most powerful men.

In a time of political turmoil, allegiance to family is everything. A Plantagenet princess should never defy her father’s wishes. Yet headstrong Elizabeth refuses to bow to the fate of a strategic marriage. Rejecting her duty, Elizabeth weds the charming and ruthlessly ambitious Sir John Holland: Duke of Exeter, half-brother to King Richard II and the one man she has always wanted.

But defiance can come at a price.

1399. Elizabeth’s brother Henry has seized the throne. Her husband, confidant to the usurped Richard, masterminds a secret plot against the new King. Trapped in a dangerous web, Elizabeth must make a choice.

Defy the King and betray her family. Or condemn her husband and send him to his death.

Sister. Wife. Traitor.

She holds the fate of England in her hands.”


Firstly I’d like to thank ED PR for sending me this book to read and share my honest opinion. Although I don’t often read historical fiction I have found that I really enjoy books by this author (reviews here) so I was looking forward to getting stuck in.

Every now and then a book comes along that touches me in a completely unexpected way. The King’s Sister was one of those books – the wonderfully romantic tale of Elizabeth of Lancaster and Sir John Holland played on my mind long after I had finished reading!

Elizabeth as a character had so much zest and passion within her, she was a romantic at heart and I found myself willing her on in her sometimes defiant behaviour. Unsurprisingly she found herself drawn to John and the love story that followed was exciting, dramatic and heart-melting.

Once again I just loved the way the author brought these historical characters to life and, in a crazy kind of way, they almost felt like close friends by the time I got to the end of the book.

Family loyalty was a big part of the storyline but love was an even bigger part, this was a truly powerful love story that pulled a range of emotions from me. In particular, there were a couple of scenes towards the end which had me in floods of tears – I felt as heartbroken as the character on the page!

This was another enchanting read from Anne O’Brien, my favourite so far.


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Quick Book Review – Allegiant by Veronica Roth


This was an action-packed finale but for me it just didn’t have the same spark as the first two books in the trilogy. I was left feeling disappointed.

I’m giving Allegiant 3 stars.



Competition News – Falling: Angels Among Us by Linn B Halton

Today I have news of an exciting competition from Linn B Halton

FCL sml

Author Linn B Halton is celebrating with a competition running from 5th November – 5 December, 2015!

In the UK, Falling: Angels Among Us The complete series (published by Harper Impulse) will be on the shelves in some of the WHSmith stores for a four-week promotion. The star of Falling, Ceri, is sprinkling a little ‘festive’ love …WHSmith

Launching the Rafflecopter #FallingComp

1st prizeone lucky winner can choose a gift of their choice, valued at £100/$150* (International)

2nd prize two lucky winners will each receive one signed paperback of A Cottage in the Country – released 23 Sept 2015 (UK only; non-UK ecopy)

3rd prize six lucky winners will each receive an ebook of their choice from any of Linn’s titles (International)

*(gift to be chosen from across the Amazon stores, or full cash prize via Paypal if you prefer to shop locally)

Take part below – there are lots of different ways to join in the fun and get your chance to be a winner!

What would YOU choose?

A special something just for YOU?

Or use the CASH to pamper yourself – or even to help out with those holiday expenses!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ceri thinks she sees angels … everywhere. She struggles to keep separate what feels like two very different sides to her life. As a manager in an advertising company she’s been working with the gorgeous Alex for two years. The have a friendship based upon the image she portrays whilst she’s at work and it helps to keep her sane. One mad, crazy night spent sharing their secrets and a lot of wine result in them ending up in bed together, and their relationship changes. When Alex explains that the reason he doesn’t date is because someone broke his heart, how can Ceri admit that she feels a deep connection to him?

Ceri knows she’s different. What she doesn’t fully appreciate, is that her task in life is to correct a series of incidents that affect some of the people’s lives with whom she comes into contact. She’s simply putting right little errors that could ripple outwards and change the course of their destiny. When she finds herself getting pulled into things that happen around her, how can she prove that she really has made a difference? Is it all in her head?

She’s alone for a reason; she’s not meant to fall in love in her earthly life. Alex is supposed to cross paths with her and help Ceri, during a phase where she begins to question the signs she’s being given. It’s meant to be a turning point for them both—but in opposite directions. They are destined to travel very different paths … but Ceri doesn’t know that and neither does Alex …

FallingComp Nov

RGB-HarperImpulse-3Linn author pic revSomeone has to win and it could be YOU!

Falling: Angels Among Us the series
is published by Harper Impulse.

Author website:

Linn’s books:

Entrants must be over 18 years of age. A gift (or gifts) to the value of £100/$150 may be chosen by the designated winner from Amazon, OR funds to that value will be transferred into the winner’s PayPal account upon receipt of details.

Proof of entry requirements must be met before the prizes are awarded.
Winner(s) will be contacted by email within 5 workings after the giveaway ends.

Good luck!

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

To be published by Orchard Books in January 2016

“Can the best thing happen at the worst time?

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother.”


Firstly I’d like to thank the publishers for sending me this ARC to read and share my honest opinion. I had heard so many good things about this book and I was looking forward to checking it out for myself.

Wow. It’s difficult to put my finger on just what it is that makes this book so unique. The storyline is another variation of the standard teen love story but this has something extra, something almost magical within its pages. The writing style has an atmosphere all of its own and the authors words pulled me in until I felt like I was part of the book.

Lucille’s honest thoughts were endearing and I found myself nodding along with familiarity over her crush on Digby – we’ve all been there at one time or another haven’t we! Her struggles at home made my heart hurt, somehow I had become completely attached to this character and her welfare in just a few pages.

Have you ever had a grateful bellybutton? Apparently Lucille did and it was this kind of lovely little phrase that made This Raging Light so special in my eyes.

If you like a bit of mystery when you’re reading, this covers that too. A mysterious good Samaritan had my mind working overtime, I just couldn’t figure it out!

The ending came far too quickly and was a little unusual. It left me feeling like I needed more, I really hope it’s leading the way for a sequel.

This was a raw, unputdownable read. It oozed passion and warmth from every page.


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