99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter – Review.

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About the Book

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?
When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.
What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared..

My Review

I moved this book to the top of the pile of books to read when I realised that the author was local and that there was an event to support the publication at the local bookshop.
Like many novels at the moment the synopsis concerns a missing child. Where the book does differ is that there is a connection to a child that went missing years earlier.
There are multiple narrators, some have said that they got confused but I found it easy enough to follow with most of the chapter headings saying who the narrator was. There were only a few occasions where the narrator was anonymous to keep the mystery intact. I thought that this was done very well, the narrators were all different and she managed to get into the heads of all of them. My favourite character was Maggie, the oldest one who has lost everything but still managed to keep going. I liked everything about her.
I thought the novel would be set in the local area, and even though one of the characters was from Preston it was mainly set elsewhere. This didn’t detract from the story, I found it all extremely enjoyable.
There is a twist, I could see it coming and thought I had worked it out but I was completely wrong. If you go into this novel assuming that it is just another missing person novel you would be wrong, most of the storyline is different to every other book that I have read.
It’s a great debut and after hearing about the next novel at the event I am looking forward to keeping up with this author.

99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter – Book Launch.

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On Tuesday 12th September Libby Carpenter had an event to support the launch of her debut novel – 99 Red Balloons at Waterstones Preston. I have been to a few events there in the last few years and this was probably one of the busiest. The evening was very enjoyable with a good selection of wine and nibbles. Libby answered many questions giving everyone a personal insight into her motivation for writing.

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I finished reading the book a couple of days ago and enjoyed it immensely, my review will be up next week.


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About The Book

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?
When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.
What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?
Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club – Diving In by Katie May – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

In the gorgeous seaside town of Whitstable, broken-hearted Deb begins to swim each day and gathers a new group of friends around her. But can the magic of sea heal the hurt of the past? Or will family ties drag her underwater again?
A heart-warming, funny and poignant story of romance, friendship and second chances. It’s also a song to the author’s home town of Whitstable, where the sea is smooth, the shingle is painful on bare feet, and the air is full of possibilities.

My Review

The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club – Diving In is the first part of a trilogy that will be released over the next few months. I have only ever seen something like this once before and liked the idea then.
After reading this delightful novella I am eagerly looking forward to part two. I liked Debs very much, and had a lot of sympathy for her and the way she felt she was treated by her estranged husband and adult children. I can see some great friendships form between all the women, even though they don’t initially have much in common. Part one focused mainly on Debs and Marcie, I feel that each of the women will be focused on in the rest of the series. One of them I wasn’t keen on but if we do get to know more about her later my feeling may change.
It’s not an area I know but I could picture it clearly. A quieter area of a seaside town that has the usual beach huts and bars that the little club wanted to protect. They all get pleasure from the club and all use it for different reasons.
There is poignancy and loneliness, humour and loss. And an overwhelming unity to keep the club going. Bring on Part Two.
With thanks for the publisher for the copy received for review.

 

Cocktail Hour

Cocktail inspired by The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club from Katie May.

My Instagram feed is testimony to the fact that I’m a bit of a cocktail fiend. Here is a cocktail to sip while you read.
West Beach Martini
A fragrant dry martini that reminds me of the beach in high summer.
50 ml gin (I love Bombay Sapphire in this)
I tsp white vermouth
1 strip orange zest
1 sprig rosemary
1 pinch sea salt

Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
Add all the ingredients, crushing the rosemary between your fingers as you put it in (this releases the oils).
Shake very well, and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with another shred of orange zest, or an olive

28775 Whitstable blog tour landscape

Debt to Pay by Reed Farrel Coleman – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

All is quiet in Paradise, except for a spate of innocuous vandalism.
Good thing, too, because Jesse Stone is preoccupied with the women in his life, both past and present. As his ex-wife, Jenn, is about to marry a Dallas real-estate tycoon, Jesse isn’t too sure his relationship with former FBI agent Diana Evans is built to last. But those concerns get put on the back burner when a major Boston crime boss is brutally murdered. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Jesse suspects it’s the work of Mr. Peepers, a psychotic assassin who has caused trouble for Jesse in the past.
Peepers has long promised revenge against the Mob, Jesse, and Suit for their roles in foiling one of his hits – and against Jenn as well. And though Jesse and Jenn have long parted ways, Jesse still feels responsible for her safety. Jesse and Diana head to Dallas for the wedding and, along with the tycoon’s security team, try to stop Peepers before the bill comes due. With Peepers toying with the authorities as to when and where he’ll strike, Jesse is up against the wall. Still, there’s a debt to pay and blood to be spilled to satisfy it. But whose blood, and just how much?

My Review

When I first picked up this novel I hadn’t realized that it was the 15th in a series or that the author had taken over the series after Robert Parker had passed away. I was a little worried about not being able to follow the plotline but I didn’t need to be, this book works perfectly well as a standalone.
Jesse and his colleagues are faced with a head on collision with a face from the past who is determined to get revenge. Mr. Peepers has no compassion, no morals and will destroy anybody who crosses him. Jesse discovers that his ex wife is in danger and feels the need to attend her wedding. Neither him or his current partner want to go but feel they have no other option.
The people they have to spend time with in Dallas are all wealthy, all-powerful and not very likeable. Jesse is out of his depth and starts to drink again. Alcoholism has been an issue for him in the past but with the problems that Mr. Peepers is creating it makes life bearable. And it helps him cope with Jenn. Mr. Peepers is an evil and cruel man. One of the strongest parts of the novel was when he abducted a total stranger and made her suffer just so he could punish her. In some ways I think his character was the strongest one in the book. He was definitely one who was a mystery and  he was the one who I would like to find out more about. The way he controlled everybody, even though he wasn’t always seen was chilling.
It’s not an easy book to review without giving away plot. There is a lot of action and danger. Not all of the focus is on Jesse, there are many others in the novel who are at risk and I found the ending unexpected.
I have read novels previously where an author has taken over an existing series. There will always be those who have concerns but I find it’s a way of introducing a series of books to a new audience. I enjoyed this book a lot and will read the earlier book in the series.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

DtoP BT FINAL

The Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson – Blog Blitz.

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About the Book

Thirteen years ago Olivia Adams went missing. Now she’s back… or is she?

When six-year-old Olivia Adams disappeared from her back garden, the small community of Stoneridge was thrown into turmoil. How could a child vanish in the middle of a cosy English village?

Thirteen years on and Olivia is back. Her mother is convinced it’s her but not everyone is sure. If this is the missing girl, then where has she been – and what happened to her on that sunny afternoon?

If she’s an imposter, then who would be bold enough to try to fool a child’s own mother – and why?

Then there are those who would rather Olivia stayed missing. The past is the past and some secrets must remain buried.

My Review

Whilst I have read the Jessica Daniels series and enjoyed them this is the first standalone novel that I have read by Kerry Wilkinson. And it is good, I will go as far as saying it is excellent. It is one that had me biting my nails with anticipation over what would be revealed.
When Olivia returns home to the village she was abducted from thirteen years earlier she gets a mixed response. Obviously, her parents are delighted along with family friends but there are also those who question her intent and her story. Some of the tales she tells about the life she had are a little extravagant and I was unsure at times whether to believe her, or if she wasn’t Olivia why was she insisting she was?
This was a book I raced through. Its mainly set in the modern day but there are sporadic chapters from Olivia’s childhood. These reveal what happened to her, how she was let down and how she fought back. They show a growing independence as well as a growing need to be loved. At times, they are sinister and upsetting. Some of the characters are intimidating, and  not just with Olivia. There are many people in the village who were controlled and threatened by a couple of people.
One of the things that Olivia did left me a little sickened and made me question her character but when all was revealed, I understood more why she did it. Even though it was something I struggle to accept.
A great read and a reminder that I need to read the books that I haven’t read by this author. With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

TGWCB - Blog Tour