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.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

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Falling by Julie Cohen

Publisher: Black Swan

Publication Date: 28 July 2016

“Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.

Lydia’s could bring her love – or the loss of everything that matters to her.

Grandmother, mother and daughter – three women whose lives are falling apart. But one summer’s day, a single dramatic moment will force their secrets into the open.

Can they save each other from falling?”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me this signed proof to read and share my opinion. The blurb was one of those that got my imagination running wild and left me needing to know more.

The first chapter thoroughly intrigued me, it raised so many questions about Honor and her situation. To begin with Jo and Lydia didn’t interest me quite as much but that soon changed and I found myself equally looking forward to reading from each character’s point of view.

Falling told the story (and secrets) of three generations, the atmosphere felt real and fresh, in particular Honor’s old-fashioned stubbornness, Jo’s struggles as a single mum and Lydia’s diary writing.

There were some pretty serious subjects tackled but the author did it in a natural, and sometimes humorous, way. Added to that was a dash of romance which lifted the storyline and, I think, made this book an all-rounder.

Falling was an enjoyable read but I didn’t feel the need to frantically keep reading until I’d finished it. I enjoyed picking it up every now and then at my own leisurely pace and absorbing every word fully. I gave it 4 stars.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

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A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love by Linn B. Halton

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Publisher: Choc Lit

Publication Date: 15 January 2016

Previously released as Sweet Occasions by the author. Revised and edited by Choc Lit December 2015.

“Life isn’t all love and cupcakes …

Katie has had her fair share of bad luck, but when she finally realises her dream of opening a bakery it seems things can only get better.

But the reality of running a business hits Katie hard and whilst her partner, Steve, tries to help she begins to sense that the situation is driving them further apart. Could Katie be set to lose her relationship and her dream job?

Then, one winter’s day, a man walks into her shop – and, in the space of that moment, the course of Katie’s life is changed.

But nobody finds happiness in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it takes two Christmases, three birthdays and a whole lot of cake to get there …”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and share my honest review. I’m a big fan of Linn’s writing so I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. You can read my reviews of Linn’s previous books here.

An intriguing start pulled me into the storyline quickly, I was curious about the mysterious, dripping wet stranger and wanted to know more. I was also keen to find out more about Katie’s business which sounded yummy, especially to someone who is currently on a diet!

If you’re a regular Me, My Books and I reader you’ll know that I love to read from the male point of view, well this book ticked that box beautifully for me as I was regularly treated to Adam’s thoughts on what was going on around him. I also got to read from the perspective of a few other characters giving me an all round feeling of knowledge (something that doesn’t happen every day) and the sense that I was truly involved in their lives.

The romantic tension was interesting and built up as the storyline progressed, I liked that it kept me guessing throughout. Something else I particularly enjoyed were the unexpected touching moments which highlighted the importance of family and the small things that can mean so much to a person.

For me the writing style created a warm, emotional atmosphere and this made it an absolute pleasure to read. The scenes with Adam and Grace oozed that homely feeling you only get when you’re around the ones you love most in the world. While I’m on the subject of Grace, she was definitely a favourite of mine, she was such a powerful character who genuinely touched my heart with her courage and strength.

The Epilogue was incredible, it actually gave me goosebumps, it just couldn’t have been more perfect for this story.

A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love made me laugh, smile and cry (a lot). A fabulous addition to anyone’s library!

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

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Jera's Jamboree/Talk of the Town

The Drowning Lesson by Jane Shemilt

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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?”

MY REVIEW

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!

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

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.

Blog | Twitter

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

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Love is a Number – Lee Monroe

Love is a number

“When her beloved boyfriend Huck dies, Eloise is wrecked. The ultimate golden couple, she will never find love as perfect ever again. But then Eloise begins to unravel her ‘perfect’ relationship and finds she has questions. And so, angry and sad, she texts Huck’s phone as if he can receive her messages from beyond the grave.

She never expected to get a reply …

Dan is travelling Spain in one last hurrah before uni and real life kick in. He’s ready for love, but not of the casual kind. He’s not met a girl that’s set his world alight. But he’s ready for her when she decides to make an appearance.

One night on his travels, Dan discovers an abandoned phone.
He pockets it, then forgets about it.

He never expected it to ring …

Firstly I’d like to thank Hachette Children’s Books for sending me this book to read and give an honest review.  I loved the Dark Heart series (review here) by the same author so I was very keen to start reading this one which is her latest book.

It seemed to take me a while to really get into the story, about halfway through it definitely got more interesting and it was at this point I became hooked, by the time I got to the last few pages I just didn’t want it to end – it was so adorable!

For me Eloise was an up and down character – there were times I really liked her and thought she was very sweet but there were also times (mainly at the beginning) when I simply couldn’t take to her.  I loved Daniel pretty much as soon as I met him – he was wonderfully honest and a little bit shy.  I couldn’t wait for the interaction between these two characters to start and when it did I found myself smiling at the cuteness of it all :).

Eloise’s grief after Huck had died was superbly described, her life had been completely turned upside down, learning about their time as a couple initially made me feel sad for her but I soon got the impression that all was not as perfect as it first seemed.  Eloise’s mother and so-called friends were all rather irritating, I definitely rolled my eyes a lot at the things they said and did.

Daniel was quite an amusing character, I hadn’t been expecting humour from this book so that was a welcome surprise. I particularly enjoyed the times when he was trying to be more of a bad boy than the clean-cut lad everyone thought/knew he was.  The author wrote about the tidal wave of teenage insecurities clearly and concisely, this is what makes it such a great read for teens!

I loved the texting parts of the book (always a favourite of mine), I was eagerly awaiting each message to see if my predictions were going to be right.

This was a sweet, romantic read that took a while to warm up but left me smiling!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lee Monroe was born in London, but spent a short time living by the sea with her family when she was a teenager. She moved back to the heart of the city as soon as she could, and now lives in Westminster. Lee was an obsessive reader as a child, and still is. She has worked in publishing and contributed to, and ghost-written books.

Love is a Number is published by Hodder Children’s Books on 4 July 2013 and can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

Husband, Missing – Polly Williams

Husband Missing

“When you know, you know.

This is what Gina told friends when she married Rex six months after meeting him.  Passionately in love, Gina feels like the luckiest woman on the planet.

Until Rex vanishes without trace on holiday abroad.  Her dream new marriage slipping into a nightmare, Gina never wavers in her belief that he’s alive.  That she’ll find him.  When her frantic search unearths troubling secrets from Rex’s past, Gina begins to question how well she really knows her beloved husband.  But sometimes when all seems lost, unexpected, wonderful things are found…”

Firstly I’d like to thank Caitlin from Headline Books for sending me this book to read and give an honest review.  I loved the cover and the title really grabbed my attention – it sent a wave of questions and possible answers rushing through my mind.

The prologue detailed the moment that Gina met Rex and oh my goodness it was romantic – he was the perfect hero!  I absolutely loved the different way this book was written, in my mind it was like a letter from Gina to Rex as she talked to him instead of the reader.  I quickly realised that this would be a story full of memories and that is how I would piece together her time with Rex, many times I found myself smiling at what she said about him.

As the book progressed and I learned more about Rex I have to admit that my feelings towards him changed, there were so many secrets and untold truths and I just knew that these would cause so much heartache for Gina.  Rex’s younger brother Jake was another character who I changed my opinion on throughout the story – to begin with he seemed very guarded and I couldn’t quite figure him out, this made me keen to get to know him and it seemed that the more I learned about him, the more I liked him.

A strong feeling of desperation drifted off the pages at me, it was almost like I could feel Gina’s pain and as her life got even more difficult and confusing I found myself feeling very protective of her.

The introduction of Mandy confused me at first, I didn’t know how she fit into the storyline but it made me think of even more possible scenarios and this meant that I just had to keep turning the pages to find out if any of my ideas were correct.  The guessing and trying to piece together the clues was a big feature of the book, it was a mystery that I felt I needed to solve and this is what made it such an addictive read.

There were many touching moments that the author had described so beautifully tears filled my eyes, but there were also moments that had me laughing out loud.  Basically this book was so much more than I had expected from reading the blurb and I really didn’t want it to end.  I will definitely be reading more from this author.

With many twists, turns and secrets this was a fantastic page-turner of a book that I would highly recommend!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Polly Williams’ first novel was The Sunday Times top ten bestseller, The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy.  Polly has also written for many publications including The Sunday Times, Style, You magazine, The Mail, Stella, Red, Marie Claire and Grazia.  She is married and has three children.

To find out more about Polly Williams click on the following links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Husband, Missing was published by Headline Review and can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

The Love of My Life – Louise Douglas

“Olivia and Luca Felicone had known each other nearly all their lives, but when they fell in love as teenagers and eloped to London, they broke the hearts of those closest to them.

Luca’s parents run Marinella’s restaurant, the colourful hub of life in the otherwise bleak north-eastern seaside town of Watersford, and his mother, Angela, has never forgiven Olivia for causing such a rift in her beloved family.

On a freezing January night Olivia’s life is shattered when she learns that Luca has been killed in a car accident on the M1. She is left with nothing, and after suffering from weeks of overwhelming grief, she abandons her job and returns North to where Luca has been buried in Watersford, just to be close to him – even though she knows she will not be welcome at Marinella’s.

Olivia’s chance meeting with Luca’s married twin brother, Marc, leads to the realization that he is experiencing a loss almost as painful as her own. Their desolation draws them into an affair which both know has no future, but fills the space where Luca should be. It is a course of action that can only spiral out of control, and when it does, the consequences are both explosive and cruel.”

I bought this eBook after reading a ‘Caught my eye’ blog post on Jera’s Jamboree, it sounded so interesting and was such a bargain on Amazon that I went ahead and got it.

The prologue was intriguing and captured my interest straight away.  Everything seemed to happen very quickly at the beginning so I didn’t really get a chance to feel upset about the funeral (this was a relief because I thought I would cry my eyes out at that part), I just wasn’t emotionally involved enough at that time to feel sad.

The story switched comfortably between Olivia’s past and her present to give the reader a better understanding of why she behaved the way she did.  I enjoyed reading about Luca and Olivia’s relationship before the accident and also their history as children.  I was so curious about what Olivia had done to make the Felicone family dislike her so much.

In my opinion some of Olivia’s actions were selfish and this did annoy me about her, she seemed to act before she thought.  Even though a part of me could understand the reasons why she behaved like this, I did find those parts difficult to read.

There were some real heart-breaking moments that had my eyes filling with tears and other moments that had me feeling angry, in particular the headstone incident – I could almost feel Olivia’s rage jumping out of the page at me.

This was a sad and emotional book that I just couldn’t stop reading and it joins the many other one-day read books on my shelf.

You can follow Louise Douglas on twitter here.