The Ghost Tree by Barbara Erskine – Review – Ambassador Book Buzz.

About The Book

The past is about to become the present… 

Ruth has returned to Edinburgh after many years of exile. Left rootless by the death of her estranged father, she is faced with the daunting task of sorting through his possessions. Amidst the dust of her old life, Ruth discovers a hidden diary from the eighteenth century, written by her ancestor, Thomas Erskine. As she sifts through the ancient pages of the past, Ruth is pulled into a story that she can’t escape.

As the youngest son of a noble family Thomas’ life started in genteel poverty, but his extraordinary experiences propel him from the high seas to Lord Chancellor. Yet, on his journey through life, he makes a powerful enemy who hounds him to the death – and beyond.
Ruth has opened a door to the past that she can’t close, and meets a ghost in her family tree who wasn’t invited. She will have to draw upon new friends and old in what will become a battle for her very survival…

The inspiration for The Ghost Tree lies in Barbara Erskine’s own personal history – branching back to the days of Thomas Erskine, her great grandfather, five times removed. Once again, the Sunday Times bestselling author brings the past to life in vivid, spellbinding colour.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via LoveReading. It is many years since I read a novel by Barbara Erskine. I always enjoyed the ones I had read, so was looking forward to reading this new one, especially when I realised that one of the themes concerned genealogy. The author has done a brilliant job of combining her own family tree, a haunting and modern day fraud into a fictional work. I spent a lot of time looking at the handwritten family tree at the beginning of the novel.

The modern day story concerns Ruth, who is trying to protect her inheritance whilst reading and researching her family’s past, Timothy and April the siblings who are determined to get their hands on her property and Thomas the man who Ruth is descended from. And present throughout is Andrew Farquhar, the man who is determined to get revenge. Everybody has underestimated how far he is prepared to go in his resolve to make Thomas pay. His character was probably the strongest one. You can’t beat a malevolent spirit!

Some of Thomas’s story is revealed through Ruth reading his journals. I have to admit that I preferred him when he was younger. His time in the navy and when he first met his wife Fanny showed his better side. As he got older and more powerful I had a lot less empathy for him. Even though I did realise that he was being controlled by some. One of the more chilling parts of the novel concerned him witnessing a public hanging. Whilst I have read similar the account of how the crowd took a lot of delight in the act was horrifying.

I liked Ruth. She was loyal to Thomas, not interested in making money from his journals, just wanting to know more about what happened to him and his immediate family. But the modern day story I preferred was the one that concerned April and Timothy and the way that their whole life changed because of greed and dishonesty.

I would like to thank Charlotte Walker for asking me to be part of LoveReading’s Ambassador Book Buzz.

One Minute Later by Susan Lewis – Blog Tour Review.


About The Book

With a high-flying job, a beautiful apartment and friends whose lives are as happy as her own, Vivienne Shager is living the dream. Then, on the afternoon of Vivi’s twenty-seventh birthday, one catastrophic minute changes everything.

Forced to move back to the small seaside town where she grew up, Vivi remembers the reasons she left. The secrets, lies and questions that now must be answered before it’s too late. But the answers lie in thirty years in the past…

Shelley Raynor’s family home, Deerwood Farm, has always been a special place until darkness strikes at its heart. When Vivi’s and Shelley’s worlds begin to entwine, it only takes a moment for the truth to unravel all of their lives.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. One Minute Later is a book that I wouldn’t usually read but every now and again I need something a little different. The first half of it is dual narrative, Vivi, who has been diagnosed with a life changing illness in modern day and Shelley whose narrative starts in the 1980s and moves forward towards modern day. It was Shelley’s story I preferred. I liked the family’s efforts to make their farm a success, the hectic family life and the people in general. Vivi I couldn’t warm too, I found the way she was with her mother quite difficult to read.

The second half of the novel focuses on Vivi more and the way she has to live with her condition. I found her more likeable here, she has a better relationship with her mother, and I enjoyed reading about her relationship with Josh, the way she was accepted by his family and her finding out the truth about her father. But the most important factor to this part of the novel was the way it highlighted the importance of organ donation. It doesn’t force a reader to sign the register as such, more it shows how many lives could be changed and the way the person who needs a transplant has to live their lives.

Coincidentally, a real life character in the novel, Jim Lynksey, was on a breakfast news talking about his wait for a heart and how important the register is. 


Pieces Of Her by Karin Slaughter – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

You’ve known her your whole life…
Andrea Oliver knows everything about her mother Laura. She knows she’s always lived in the small town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. But she’s hiding something…
Then one day, a trip to the mall explodes into a shocking act of violence and Andy suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. And it could destroy you both…
Hours later, Laura is in hospital, her face splashed over the newspapers. But the danger has only just begun. Now, Andy must go on a desperate race to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past. Unless she can, there may be no future for either of them…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Pieces of Her is only the second book that I have read by Karin Slaughter. Like this, that was a standalone novel. I am aware that she has a huge fan base and after reading this book, which left me at times with my heart racing and had me chewing on my knuckles I know why. And I know I have a huge back catalogue to enjoy.
It took me a while to get used to both of the main characters. Andy has some major issues, I couldn’t tell if it was lack of confidence or depression and at times she really annoyed me. But there was one moment in this book that my opinion changed completely and I was rooting for her. I don’t think I was meant to laugh but I did. I didn’t know what the situation was with Laura, I felt that she was pushing Andy away for her own safety but didn’t know why. The reason I came up with was totally wrong, and the real reason isn’t revealed until much later.
The narrative switches back and forth throughout the entire novel. The chapters are fairly long and the second half of the novel was when I was chewing on my knuckles, anxious to get back to find out more.
I’ve thought for a long time that a female author is better at creating a character that feels really evil. There are two characters in this novel that made me cringe every time they appeared. Karin Slaughter has proved me right in my thinking and has also showed that she is one of the best.

Pieces of Her blog tour banner

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims – Review.

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About the Book

It is Mummy’s 39th birthday. She is staring down the barrel of a future of people asking if she wants to come to their advanced yoga classes, and polite book clubs where everyone claims to be tiddly after a glass of Pinot Grigio and says things like ‘Oooh gosh, are you having another glass?’
But Mummy does not want to go quietly into that good night of women with sensible haircuts who ‘live for their children’ and stand in the playground trying to trump each other with their offspring’s extracurricular activities and achievements, and boasting about their latest holidays.
Instead, she clutches a large glass of wine, muttering ‘FML’ over and over again. Until she remembers the gem of an idea she’s had…

My Review

Like many who have read this book I became aware of it by the author’s Facebook page Peter and Jane. It is a ‘diary’ of how she wishes her life as a mother of two young children would be and the reality of how difficult it is to raise a family and work without losing her sanity.
I don’t have children but this novel is believable, especially the daily battles to get them into school on time, dealing with squabbles and illnesses and what appears to be a lack of support from ‘gadget twat’. At times I was doubled up with laughing, not able to explain to anybody why I was laughing so much.
At times Ellen annoyed me, I didn’t enjoy as much the ‘middle class’ parts of the novel or some of the decisions she made. She did appear at times to be selfish and inconsiderate.
I did read the novel in a short period of time, it is easy to read, but I would probably have liked it a lot more if I had spread it out rather than read it all at once. I imagine if you are a mother of young children you would see a lot of similar situations to your own life in this book. Recommended.

Fatal Masquerade by Vivian Conroy – cover reveal.

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Today, I am delighted to share with you the cover for Fatal Masquerade which is the latest in the Lady Alkmene series by Vivian Conroy. It is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a standalone.

About the book

Lady Alkmene Callender has always loved grand parties, but when she receives an invitation to a masked ball thrown by Franklin Hargrove – oil magnate, aviation enthusiast and father of her best friend, Denise – she’s never seen such luxury. The estate is lit up with Chinese lanterns in the gardens, boats operated by footmen float across the pond and the guest list features the distinguished, rich and powerful!
But below the glamour, evil is lurking. When a dead body is discovered, it forces Lady Alkmene to throw off her mask and attempt to find the true killer before Denise’s family are accused. If only her partner, Jake Dubois, weren’t hiding something from her…
This case might just be more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.
You can pre – order the book here

As you can see, this new cover looks perfect with the other books in the series which are published by Harper Collins.

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