You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

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Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: 1 March 2016

Jaycee is about to accomplish what her older brother Jake couldn’t: live past graduation.

Jaycee is dealing with her brother’s death the only way she can- by re-creating Jake’s daredevil stunts. The ones that got him killed. She’s not crazy,okay? She just doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for staying alive.

Jaycee doesn’t expect to have help on her insane quest to remember Jake. But she’s joined by a group of unlikely friends- all with their own reasons for completing the dares and their own brand of dysfunction: the uptight, ex-best friend; the heartbroken poet; the slacker with Peter Pan syndrome; and…Mik. He doesn’t talk, but somehow still challenges Jayce to do the unthinkable-reveal parts of herself that she buried with her brother.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. I love YA books and the description of this one seriously grabbed my attention. I just had to know more.

Jaycee talked about getting lost in such an honest, raw way that I could almost feel her emotions jumping off the page at me. It quickly became apparent that she wasn’t the only one with issues and I found myself really enjoying meeting each character and learning about their lives. Individually they were interesting but as a group they were compelling!

Telling parts of the story with illustrations added a memorable and different element to the book, it helped bring everything to life and in my opinion made it stand out from the crowd.

The storyline was kind of dark and eerie but also touching at the same time. Once I’d started reading I found it incredibly hard to stop (even at 2 in the morning) because I just had to know what the group of friends would do next.

Being a YA read there was the obligatory thread of love/romance running through it. The interesting thing about this one, for me, was the silence. I’ll let you make of that what you will!

This was an intense read at times but always utterly fascinating, I simply couldn’t put it down. Even when I did manage to pry myself away, I still found myself thinking about it.

You Were Here was a captivating journey of self-discovery and gets an easy 5 stars from me.

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Any Other Girl by Rebecca Phillips

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Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: 26 January 2016

“After a disastrous, reputation-destroying party at the end of junior year, Kat Henley has a new plan. When it comes to boys–especially other people’s boys:

Don’t touch.
Don’t smile.
Don’t charm.

In the past, drawing attention to herself helped distract people from what really makes Kat different–having two gay parents. But it’s also cost her friendships. Kat can’t afford to lose any more of those, especially not her cousin, Harper. They’re spending one last summer together at the lake, where they run into an intriguing newcomer named Emmett Reese. After years of trying to prove she’s just like everybody else, Kat has found someone who wants her because she’s not. A boy who could be everything she wants too–if Harper hadn’t liked him first. . .”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. It was the description that pulled me in and made me want to know more. I couldn’t wait to get started!

I was surprised to find that I disliked Kat to begin with. I did, however, love the fact that her homelife was so different from anything I’ve read before. As I got further into the storyline I felt as though I got to know and understand Kat better, therefore liking her more.

The author successfully created an atmosphere of tension and young lustfulness with her comfortable writing style. I found it so easy to become completely absorbed in the storyline – I lost all track of time as I flipped through the pages!

This was an absorbing read which mixed some complex life situations with the equally complex process of growing up. I couldn’t get enough so I’m giving Any Other Girl 5 stars.

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Kitty’s Countryside Dream by Christie Barlow

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: 25 February 2016

“New home. New life. New beginning. Love affairs can blossom in the most unlikely places . . .

When Kitty inherits Bluebell Lodge from her grandmother, a farm in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside, it’s time for fresh air and a fresh start. Up to her elbows in chickens and ponies, Kitty soon realises there’s an awful lot to learn about farming. Still, at least the locals seem friendly, not least her handsome neighbour Tom…

But just as Kitty is beginning to find her feet, and the possibility of love, the discovery of a long-hidden diary, by a mysterious character called Violet changes everything. Who is Violet and what is her message for Kitty? As Kitty fills in the lost pieces of her family jigsaw and discovers some shocking revelations, will her countryside dream and blossoming relationship fall to pieces? When it comes to life in the country, nothing is ever quite as it seems …”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook. I’m easily swayed by an attractive cover and this gorgeous specimen called out to me and made me want to read it before I’d even read the description!

Right from the start there was a sense of mystery, of a secret that was almost ready to be revealed but not quite yet.

I loved following Kitty as she began to find her way around her new life. I always think it’d be so exciting yet scary to start your life completely anew like that (not that I’d change my life for the world mind you but it’s still fun to daydream).

There was a gentle romance running through the storyline which built gradually but still managed to hit quite a few bumps along the way.

There were a lot of scenes that I enjoyed but some of my favourites included: a lunch stealing rooster, a bidding war at auction, a scary chicken feeding frenzy and last but certainly not least, journal entries which exposed some intriguing secrets.

I do, however, have one small word of warning for those of you who are sensitive about what you eat (like myself) – reading this book might put you off your favourite chicken dish for a while!

This was an entertaining read filled with revelations of all kinds and characters who were easy to like. For me, it was a 4 star read.

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The House of York by Terry Tyler

Publisher: Self Published

Publication Date: 19 October 2015

“Widowed single mum, Lisa Grey, and wealthy businessman, Elias York, are young and madly in love. A recipe for happiness? But Lisa is marrying into a complicated family. Her new sister-in-law doesn’t want to know her. Middle brother Gabriel’s marriage suffers under a cloud of infidelity and gambling debts, while the youngest, Richard, keeps his dark secrets well hidden—and his wife suffers in silence.

Lisa and her mother are bonded by their powerful intuition, but dare not voice their fears about York Towers—or certain members of the family…

Love and loss, abduction, incestuous desires and murderous intent form the basis of this compelling saga in which horrors float just beneath the surface, to bring forth a shocking outcome.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and share my thoughts. I have previously read and enjoyed some of Terry’s other books (reviews here) so I was looking forward to this one.

When I found out that this storyline was about a modern-day family but loosely based on events that took place during the War of the Roses, I was intrigued. I think it gave the book an extra twist of reality.

There were parts of Lisa’s life that I could really relate to and I feel this helped me connect to the storyline quicker than normal. In particular was her greatest ambition to be a wife and mother – it’s not often I hear others admit to that (although I’m happy to admit it to anyone who wants to know), even in books! This is something that stands out for me about Terry’s writing, it’s refreshingly honest and easy to read.

The complexities of York family life, and all their vices, were beautifully described and created vivid pictures in my mind. Each character brought something different to the storyline and held my interest completely.

There were some scenes of an uncomfortable nature but, in my opinion, the author handled them carefully and with skill.

A completely unexpected twist towards the end literally left me sat there with my mouth open and goosebumps on my skin.

This was a fascinating read with a fab set of characters who stayed on my mind even when I wasn’t reading! An easy 5 stars from me.

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Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publication Date: 2 July 2015

“One golden family. One fateful summer. Four lives changed forever.

Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family’s country estate where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, one stormy evening in 1968, it does.

The idyllic world of the four Alton children is shattered. Fiercely bonded by the tragic events, they grow up fast. But when a glamorous stranger arrives, these loyalties are tested. Forbidden passions simmer. And another catastrophe looms…

Decades later, Lorna and her fiancé wind their way through the countryside searching for a wedding venue. Lorna is drawn to a beautiful crumbling old house she hazily remembers from her childhood, feels a bond she does not understand. When she finds a disturbing message carved into an old oak tree by one of the Alton children, she begins to realise that Black Rabbit Hall’s secret history is as dark and tangled as its woods, and that, much like her own past, it must be brought into the light.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me this book to read and share my opinion. It had been sat on my ‘to read’ pile for such a long time and I had always been curious about it so I was glad to finally get round to reading it.

The prologue set the mysterious scene well, already I was imagining all sorts!

Reading from Amber’s point of view and learning about her family and life at Black Rabbit Hall really made me smile – the author created a wonderful atmosphere of happy days-gone-by. That was until things took a dark turn which left me holding my breath, wondering what had actually happened.

The modern-day perspective came from Lorna who was planning her wedding. I got chills when she found herself at Black Rabbit Hall although, at that point, I couldn’t figure out why.

For me, there was an overwhelming feeling of fate weaving its way through the storyline. It kind of felt like everything was happening for a reason, I just couldn’t work out what that reason was until the end.

A thread of romance lifted things and brought about a sense of anticipation which I particularly enjoyed.

The authors descriptions made each scene so easy to visualise. As I progressed through the book I was captivated by all the goings on at the house, both past and present.

This was a mysterious and addictive 5 star read. A puzzle to be pieced together bit by bit.

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The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee

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Publisher: Twenty7

Publication Date: Ebook – 3 March 2016 | Paperback – 28 July 2016

“Sarah is in a coma.

Her memory is gone – she doesn’t know how she got there. And she doesn’t know how she might get out.

But then she discovers that her injury wasn’t an accident. And that the assailant hasn’t been caught.

Unable to speak, see or move, Sarah must use every clue that she overhears to piece together her own past.

And work out who it is that keeps coming into her room.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Midas PR for sending me this uncorrected proof to read and share my honest opinion. The blurb really captured my attention and I wanted to know more.

The atmosphere was dark. Sarah’s confusion and frustration enveloped me as I was reading and my curiosity was piqued very quickly.

Straight-talking Kelly was a bit of a mystery to me, I assumed she was an important part of the storyline but, to begin with, I couldn’t quite figure out where or how.

However, as I progressed through the book I found my interest waning. There were times I found myself thinking about another part of the storyline whilst reading a different scene. My favourite perspective was always Sarah’s because her situation was just so fascinating.

For me it didn’t have the most satisfactory of endings either but I guess it did feel fitting for the storyline.

Although it didn’t manage to hold my interest throughout, I know people who would love this raw, dark read. So if thrillers are your thing then I’d definitely say give it a go!

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Deborah Bee studied fashion journalism at Central St Martins. She has worked at various magazines and newspapers including Vogue, Cosmopolitan, The Times and the Guardian as a writer, a fashion editor and later an editor. Currently, she is a Creative Director in luxury retail.

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I’m Pregnant… Again!!!

You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven’t been around much recently. I’m here today to explain why – I’m expecting our fourth child in September!

12 Week Scan

It’s been a difficult few months with nausea 24 hours a day and some scary bleeding incidents. Add to that all the usual pregnancy ailments, throw in a crazy everyday life with three children (hubby has done as much as he possibly can but those bills won’t get paid if he doesn’t go to work so obviously he hasn’t always been at home to help me) and I’m afraid something had to give – in this case, my online life.

So here I am at 20 weeks pregnant, finally feeling a bit more human and I find myself sitting at my computer. It feels like a stranger after such a long break. I look at the mountains of emails, tweets and comments and to be honest I feel a little overwhelmed. I plan on taking baby steps to get back into the swing of things so please bear with me while I find my feet again. Blog posts and replies may not happen on a regular basis but I promise I will get round to them when I can.

I have a few reviews waiting to be typed up, firstly on Me, My Books and I:

  • Book review of Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
  • Book review of The Last Thing I Remember by Deborah Bee

Secondly on V Family Fun:

  • Review of a mobile phone wallet from Tuff-Luv
  • Review of the Wicked Mega Bounce XL from Wicked Mania
  • Review of a personalised mixing bowl and wooden spoon from ijustloveit.co.uk

I’m hoping to get these posted over the next few weeks.

Now back to the pregnancy – we’re all extremely excited and nervous at the same time. For me, this will be my fourth c-section and although I’m trying to put that part of it to the back of my mind, it’s difficult not to think about it. This is also the smallest gap between our children with E being just 2 years old so that will be a new challenge for us.

I plan on writing some blog posts on V Family Fun exploring our experiences with this pregnancy further so keep your eyes peeled.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has had the same or similar experiences so feel free to leave a comment.

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