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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Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon

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Publisher: Penguin | Michael Joseph

Publication Date: 14 January 2016

Rumours, secrets and lies. It’s all in a day’s work.
Tamsin and her best friend Michelle have been inseparable since they were teenagers. Even now they spend all their time together, along with Patrick, Michelle’s handsome husband.

So when Tamsin hears a rumour that Patrick is having an affair, she is furious. Unwilling to ignore it, Tamsin plots a scheme to catch Patrick in the act, using her assistant Bea as live-bait. It should be fool proof.

After all, Tamsin can trust Bea with anything. From her daily coffee order to fetching her dry-cleaning, writing reports and doing all the filing – Bea does everything with a smile on her face.

Except Tamsin never considered Bea might have her own agenda.
And if she does, then Tamsin really needs to watch her back . . .”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me this book to read and share my thoughts. I was intrigued by the blurb and couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

I have to say, the blurb didn’t come anywhere close to preparing me for the shocking first chapter, I was so confused! What I was reading was completely unexpected but it definitely caught my attention. My imagination was working overtime and I came up with many theories as to how Tamsin had found herself in that position. Luckily, in chapter two, Tamsin began to explain all.

I adored the conversational style of writing, it made me feel like I was chatting with a friend and on more than one occasion I found myself talking back (my family are now used to the fact that I talk to books so this is completely okay in my world).

Once I was fully updated on how the unexpected had happened, I then wanted to know what was next. This inevitably meant that I was turning the pages into the early hours of the morning, I simply couldn’t stop reading!

As I progressed through the book, everything began to slot into place and an understanding took over. But just when I thought I had it all figured out, along came more shocks as the storyline switched to Bea’s point of view. I think at that point I just gave up trying to predict what would happen.

Tamsin turned out to be quite the detective, and a very funny one at that. I really enjoyed following her crazy spy antics especially when she was joined by an equally funny sidekick.

This was an utterly compelling read, it brought out a whole range of emotions – everything from anger to laughter. I’ll definitely be reading more from this author.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Jane Fallon is the multi-award-winning television producer behind shows such as This Life, Teachers and 20 Things to Do Before You’re 30. Her previous books, Getting Rid of Matthew, Got You Back, Foursome, The Ugly Sister and Skeletons have sold over 710K to date and have been hugely successful bestsellers. Strictly Between Us is her sixth novel. She lives in North London with her long-term partner.

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Coco’s Secret by Niamh Greene Including Giveaway!

Coco's secret
Published by Penguin Ireland in August 2013.

“Coco Swan has always been embarrassed by her name. 

With a name like Coco, she thinks people expect her to be as exotic and glamorous as the famous designer, not an ordinary-looking small-town antiques dealer who could win an award for living cautiously. 

But when a vintage Chanel handbag turns up in a box of worthless bric-a-brac, Coco’s quiet world is turned upside down. Where did it come from? And is it just coincidence that it’s the same bag Coco’s late mother always wanted for her? 

When Coco discovers a mysterious, decades-old letter hidden in the bag’s lining, she sets off on a quest to piece together the story behind it, stumbling across secrets that span three generations as she goes.

Could the beautiful Chanel bag be about to teach Coco more than she wants to learn? Or will it show her just where her heart can take her if she lets it lead the way?”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me this book to read and give an honest review.

It began in Paris 1993 with a tragic event that made me care for Coco straight away, I felt very motherly towards this character who I’d only just met and this is something that doesn’t happen often.  I quickly discovered that Coco’s name wasn’t entirely appropriate for her but I loved the way she handled it – she seemed to be very laid back, making jokes whenever she felt uncomfortable.

The fascinating world of antiques led Coco to a very special vintage Chanel bag which held an intriguing letter – this was a mystery that I couldn’t wait to solve because the whole idea seemed rather magical and romantic to me.  Her journey to find out the history of the bag and letter became an addictive investigation, and not only for Coco! The twists and turns managed to surprise me again and again keeping me hooked on each and every word.

Coco’s Secret contained warm characters and a natural humour that made it a really easy book to read, I can easily say that I enjoyed every part of the storyline.

This was a charming read that completely captured my imagination and left me smiling.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Niamh Greene lives in the Irish countryside with her husband and two children.  Unlike the lucky heroine of this novel, she has never stumbled upon a vintage Coco Chanel handbag, although she’s not giving up hope yet.

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GIVEAWAY

**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**

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Everybody’s Got a Story by Heather Wardell

everybodys got a story“Both personally and professionally, Alexa knows all too well the power of words. Two years after her boyfriend Christophe’s vicious attack, she’s still trying to see herself as more than simply ‘his victim’, still trying to figure out her own story. 

After his trial, she moves from New York City to Toronto in an attempt to start over, but his words cling to her and even in a new country she can’t see how to move into relationships with the new people in her life while hiding the secret of Christophe’s worst offense. 

She can’t hide that secret from her coworker Jake, though, because the news buff has recognized her from the coverage of the assault and trial and knows every word she can’t bring herself to say about her ordeal. 

With Jake’s help, can Alexa reclaim her story and her life?”

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  I have previously read and enjoyed other books by Heather Wardell, you can find my reviews here.

The first few pages gave me a good idea of just what Alexa’s ex had done to her and it was then that I realised this book would contain some hard-hitting stuff!  I admit that there were some details which I found difficult to read but I definitely felt that they were essential to the storyline because it enabled me to fully understand Alexa.  I felt incredibly sad for her after the trial so I was keen to see how her fresh start in Toronto would pan out.

Jake was a character from a previous Heather Wardell book Blank Slate Kate (my review here) and I was pleased to see him back because he was really likeable.  He revealed something to Alexa quite early on that shocked and unsettled her, I wasn’t sure if it would affect their friendship so this was something I kept a close eye on.

Alexa’s new workplace threw up some difficulties for her, not only with the job itself but also with certain colleagues who didn’t behave very well towards her.  I admired the way she handled these situations and continued to slowly build herself back up after such an unimaginable horror.  One of the decisions she made shocked me but also made me curious to see where it would get her.

The addition of Stella the rescue cat was wonderful, it was another way to explain Alexa’s feelings and one that I, as an animal lover, found easier to understand.  Their friendship was built gradually, in my opinion this made it believable and showed just how deeply they had both been hurt.  Trust was a big factor in this book, it was woven into everything Alexa (and Stella) did and created some thought-provoking scenarios in my mind.

The author has a way of pulling you into the storyline so that you are unable to stop reading, this was definitely the case with me and I finished the book in no time at all.

This was a fascinating and touching book that I just couldn’t put down.  Another hit from Heather Wardell!

Buy the book:

eBook:

Amazon.com (Kindle) | Apple’s iBookstore | Barnes and Noble (for their nook reader) | Google Play | Kobo (ePub format) | Smashwords.com (variety of formats) | Sony (for their ebook readers)

Paperback: 

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Barnes and Noble | CreateSpace.com

Connect with the author:

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Do You Remember? – Mandy Baggot

Do you remember

“First Love. First Loss. Last chance?

2005 was the most traumatic year of Emma Barron’s life. It was the year her mother died and the year she met Guy Duval. Eight years on, she’s an English teacher with a doting boyfriend and a young son. Life’s been hard but now it’s comfortable. She’s settled and content…so why would she risk it all for another chance with the man that broke her heart?

Guy’s an international renowned footballer newly signed to a top UK team. But behind the confident facade is a man determined to drown the horrors from his childhood with fame, success and money.

Unable to confide in her best friend, Ally, Emma tries to hold her life together as her heart is pulled apart. Did she turn her back on love too soon?

Neither of them know what really happened on 5 September 2005 and as events are slowly revealed can anyone cope with the truth?”

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you’ll know just how much I enjoy Mandy’s books and this was no exception, I was captivated by Emma and Guy’s story and read it from start to finish in just a few hours (it was a very late night for me :)).  I couldn’t stop reading, I simply had to know what happened in 2005 to cause so much heartache!

The story began in France with a lovely encounter between the young Emma and Guy, I was given some brief details about the death of Emma’s mother and this made me feel quite protective of her very quickly.  The present day Emma seemed to be settled but not entirely happy when her past was suddenly brought back to her – this sent a wave of questions crashing through my mind and so began my quest to find out the truth about 5 September 2005.

The storyline alternated between the present day and 2005, I was treated to snippets of the time Emma and Guy spent together in France and this meant that I gradually connected all the dots to get the full picture at the end of the book.  I always enjoy reading both sides of the story so getting inside Guy’s head and knowing his thoughts was particularly exciting for me, especially seeing as he was a hot, sexy French footballer.

Towards the end there were little moments that suggested something sinister had taken place, this side of the storyline was unexpected but riveting – by this point I was desperate to find out what the big secret was!  As always with Mandy’s books there was a lighter side so I laughed and smiled many times throughout, I just loved that everything was ‘on skis’ and have already found myself saying it to my children (this will make complete sense when you read the book :D).

Mandy has the natural ability to capture you and pull you into the storyline so that it feels like you’re there alongside the characters and this is one of the reasons I enjoy her books so much, it makes my reading experience much more exciting.

This was a captivating read filled with romance and secrets, another hit for the fabulous Mandy Baggot!

Do You Remember? is published by Harper Impulse and is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

To find out more about Mandy Baggot click on the following links:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | Loveahappyending Bookshelf | The Romance Reviews  | Romantic Novelists’ Association | Sapphire Star Publishing | Harper Impulse 

To read all my Mandy Baggot reviews click here

Night School Legacy – C.J. Daugherty

Legacy

“In the last year, Allie has survived three arrests, two breakups and one family meltdown.  The only bright point has been her new life at Cimmeria Academy.  It’s the one place Allie feels she belongs.  And the fact that it’s brought the dreamy Carter West into her life hasn’t hurt.

But far from being a safe haven, the cloistered walls of Cimmeria are proving more dangerous than Allie could’ve imagined.  The students are under threat and Allie’s family – from her mysterious grandma to her runaway brother – are at the centre of the storm.

Allie is going to have to choose between protecting her family and trusting her friends.  But secrets have a way of ripping even the strongest relationships apart…”

I bought this book after reading the first book Night School (review here) and absolutely loving it, this was a book that I was very keen to read!

It had an exciting start with Allie being chased by some scary guys and I was intrigued as to how she had gotten into such a serious situation.  When all was explained I realised that the danger from the previous book was quickly spilling into this one (just what I want as a reader, thank you very much!).

When Allie eventually returned to Cimmeria there was a lot going on as the big clean up, after the fire, was well under way.  I was looking forward to her reunion with Carter and also with Sylvain as I sensed she was starting to warm to him again at the end of the first book.  Speaking of the two guys in her life, the whole Allie/Carter/Sylvain love triangle was even more interesting this time round, Allie was extremely confused about her feelings and I have to admit that I fully understand why – normally I have an opinion on who a character should choose but this time I just couldn’t decide.

I learned a bit more about the mysterious Lucinda and I feel like I’m now building a better picture of who she really is.  There was also a lot more information about Night School itself as I followed Allie during her introduction to the exclusive group.  Part of this introduction saw Allie partnered with Zoe who was small but very strong, I wasn’t too keen on her to begin with but she soon grew on me with her innocent mind and passion for kicking things :D.  I found myself smiling at her reaction to the magpie she spotted – I too am rather superstitious about the magpie poem so this was something I could relate to.

I loved the humour that ran throughout the book, it was a great way of lightening some of the more serious moments.  There were a lot of trust issues going on with quite a few lies being told and this was something that kept me on the edge of my seat as I was reading – I was wondering who could and couldn’t be trusted, who was lying and if their lies would be discovered.

The ending was fantastic and sad all at the same time, I was utterly gripped by the events that led to the last page.  This was another one-day read for me and I felt so upset when I read the final words because I didn’t want it to end!  Needless to say I’m looking forward to the next book :).

This was another amazing read filled with excitement, danger, laughs and a sprinkling of love.  A perfect all-rounder.

Night School Legacy can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

To find out more about C.J. Daugherty click on the following links:

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Night School – C.J. Daugherty

Night School

“Allie’s world is falling apart…

She hates her school.  Her brother has run away.  She’s just been arrested.  Again.  And now her parents are sending her away.

But instead of hating boarding school, Allie is happy.  She’s making friends.  And there’s Carter, a brooding loner with whom she feels an instant connection.

Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school.  Her classmates – and maybe some of the teachers – are hiding a secret.  And soon it begins to feel like a very dangerous place…”

I had heard many good things about this book so I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about – well now I know that it was a fantastic read that I just couldn’t get enough of (another one day read for me).  This was one of those books that come along every now and again and manages to completely blow me away!

The very first chapter caught my attention quickly and raised many questions in my mind.  Allie and her friends were caught vandalising at school and this was the catalyst for her parents to send her to a boarding school.  Allie’s arrival at this new school was fascinating to read, there was definitely something mysterious about it and I was on the edge of my seat waiting for its secrets to be exposed.

As if I wasn’t enjoying the story enough, along came an exciting love triangle!  It was written beautifully with the tension between Sylvain and Carter being the perfect combination of male rivalry and protectiveness over Allie.  I loved every minute of their time with Allie and I’m really hoping this carries on to the next book.

Many strange things happened during Allie’s time at the Cimmeria Academy, I just couldn’t predict what would happen next – I always seemed to be on the verge of finding out something really important but never quite getting there!  When the big moment finally came and I discovered the truth, or part of the truth, I was literally holding my breath whilst reading it.  There was also a super exciting lead up to the end and I was left wanting so much more, thank goodness the next book Legacy is already out!

The author has a very natural writing style which made it easy for me to whiz through the pages, it also made me feel like I was there alongside Allie as she faced everything that was thrown at her.

This was an addictive read that captivated me from start to finish, I would highly recommend this book!

Night School can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

To find out more about C.J. Daugherty click on the following links:

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