Love And Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

An unforgettable story about love in all its chaotic glory from the author of Last One At The Party

A book synopsis is fundamentally ridiculous. How can I possibly convey, in only 100 words, the events of the past year and their impact on my perfectly ordered existence?

It is insufficient space to accurately detail how I was blackmailed into demonstrating my flawless algorithm to find a soulmate, despite having no desire for one. 

In my former life I avoided trivial human connections. I was alone, accomplished and brilliant.

Unfortunately, that solitary and driven woman no longer exists.

My name is Indiana Dylan and this is the extraordinary account of how I fell in love.

There: 100 words exactly.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have confession to make, I can’t remember the last time I read a romance novel. But having thoroughly enjoying Bethany Cliff’s debut novel Last One At The Party I knew I had to read this. And I am so glad I did, I loved meeting Indiana, Lina and Jack. And off course the slightly different characters Peggy and Spider.

It’s easy to see that Indiana, Jack and Lina had something missing in their lives, but  none of them could see it themselves. Indiana hid behind technology, convinced she would find her soulmate through her invention. Lina was struggling to balance her family life and her career and the real Jack was nothing like the Jack that he was in the office, the smiles and interest in his colleagues personal life were all fake. It made me wonder, how many people were like these three. Struggling and isolated and either not realising it or not knowing a way out.

I had a lot of sympathy for all three main characters. All of them lonely, slightly brittle and all coping differently. Indiana’s methods were a little unusual, her ‘colleague’ Peggy was a friend who not many would have, nor would they have Spider as an employee but these two made me smile a lot. Peggy showed her how to be a friend to others, especially those who needed it. Lina and Jack’s methods felt more real, and I think many will identify with both.

Set in the future, the novel concerned a slightly worrying advancement in technology. Much of this didn’t mean a thing to me but there were times, when reading, that I was wondering what my fitness watch could sense. And whether it was responsible for the many adverts that would appear across social media hours after anything was discussed!

A wonderful second novel by an author who is now one of my favourites. I’m looking forward to what she does next.

The Museum Of Ordinary People by Mike Gayle – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Still reeling from the sudden death of her mother, Jess is about to do the hardest thing she’s ever done: empty her childhood home so that it can be sold.

But when in the process Jess stumbles across the mysterious Alex, together they become custodians of a strange archive of letters, photographs, curios and collections known as The Museum of Ordinary People.

As they begin to delve into the history of the objects in their care, Alex and Jess not only unravel heartbreaking stories that span generations and continents, but also unearth long buried secrets that lie much closer to home.

Inspired by a box of mementos found abandoned in a skip following a house clearance, The Museum of Ordinary Peopleis a thought-provoking and poignant story of memory, grief, loss and the things we leave behind.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have never read a novel by Mike Gayle before and the first thing I did after finishing this lovely novel was look for his back catalogue. He is an author I had heard of via other readers but with being in a genre I never usually read I never looked at closely. More fool me!

When Jess has to deal with the heartbreak of losing her mother and followed very closely by the necessary task of house clearance she is overwhelmed by the memories that it brings. It is something that I have never had to do, thankfully, but know many who have and many of them have said how it feels.

There are items she reluctantly has to let go, but there are a few that she can’t bear to part with, even though she has no room for them in the home she shares with her boyfriend Guy. And that is where the museum comes in, who agree to take in her encyclopaedias and which consequently takes over her life. Jess, Alex and the small group of people who all work closely together never see the items as junk. They appreciate that everything they are looking after meant something to someone during their lives. But not all of them have happy memories for their former owners, which at first Jess and Alex hadn’t considered.

I loved everything about this novel. The lifelong friendships, the new friends met through the museum and the way that the stories connected to the items were revealed. The realisation that not everybody wants the same thing from a relationship, and the dignity in the way that was handled. I also liked the way that Jess was towards Alex, seeing his personality rather than his scars.

I feel that this is one of those novels that everyone will enjoy, it is one of those where everybody will feel differing emotions whilst reading it. Some may have regrets, some may remember events from their own family life that had long been forgotten and I would hope that every reader will realise that all of us can give a loved one something to reflect on in throughout their own life.

I thought this was a wonderful novel.

Return To Blackwater House by Vikki Patis – Review.

About The Book

You can run from your past, but you can’t hide forever…

Rebecca Bray has moved on from a childhood she desperately wants to forget.

She has everything she’s ever wanted – the perfect fiancé, a loving stepdaughter, a career she’s proud of, and now the house of her dreams.

But when the family move to the Cornish village where Rebecca grew up, everything she wanted to bury from those years starts to claw at the surface.

Then, when her stepdaughter goes missing at a New Year’s Eve party, Rebecca must finally face the ghosts of her past – or Ava might never come home safely…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. When Rebecca returns to the area she lived in as a child as new owner of Blackwater House she has mixed feelings. Her childhood was difficult, neglected because of drug and alcohol abuse and the only one who was willing to help was Gwen who had left the house to her. She is determined to make the best of it for herself, partner Daniel and his daughter Ava. But when Ava disappears she has to face her demons to try and get her home.

With flashbacks to her childhood, her anxiety over Ava’s disappearance and the noticeable lack of support from Daniel you get to see how strong a character Rebecca was. Even though she couldn’t see it herself. The people she meets, from her childhood, who also show that they have changed since their teens. One of them is her family liaison officer, who features quite strongly in both a professional and personal capacity. I found this really interesting because all too often you only see the job. Another was Ashleigh, whose storyline was unexpectedly more devastating than I expected it to be 

But it was Rebecca who touched me most. I loved her relationship with Ava, her need to keep Ava’s mother’s family in their lives despite the increasingly obnoxious Daniel’s wishes. I also had a lot of respect for her determination to escape her past, seek vengeance and protect Ava. All I could do was admire her. Admittedly, I didn’t see any of twists as I was reading but this increased my enjoyment. 

I will definitely be looking at this author’s back catalogue, this was a book I liked a lot.

First Born by Will Dean – Blog Tour Review

About The Book

Molly lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.

Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.

But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin’s last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Despite reading books from Will Dean’s Tuva series this is the first standalone that I have read. It concerns twin sisters, once close but now living in different countries, a distance made greater by a disagreement they struggled to overcome. When the older, more outgoing twin Katie is found dead in her New York apartment Molly has face her fears and travel over to support their parents and accept the loss of her sister.

I have to admit that I found Molly and her obsessions infuriating at times but as she started to adapt to a different way of life in New York she seemed more at ease. But for some reason I still didn’t take to her,or most of the other characters. The only one I really cared for was the smoothie seller Jimmy who seemed more approachable and caring than many of the others. 

I read many crime novels but this was the first that I’ve read where a victim was a twin, I liked the way the author showed how the grieving process seemed different, how the loss affected Molly and also the way it made Katie’s friends feel. Knowing that she was dead but still being able to ‘see’ her. It felt a little strange and unnerving.

I loved the description of New York, somewhere I had the pleasure of visiting once and  I could clearly see the areas around Central Park and Times Square. I remembered seeing it as Molly and her parents did, overawed by its size and grandeur. 

I did see the twists in this novel but knowing didn’t impact on my feelings, I know that this book will just be as successful as the author’s previous novels.

The Shadow House by Anna Downes – Review

About The Book

When single mother Alex arrives at her new home with her two children, she can finally breathe easy. Pine Ridge, a rural community near the Australian coast, is beautiful, peaceful and most importantly, far away from the trauma she left behind.

Then unexplained boxes start arriving at the house, and Alex’s teenage son begins to retreat into himself more than ever. As rumours and legends swirl through the community, Alex realises that Pine Ridge is guarding long-held secrets of its own.

Something is lurking in the shadows, and Alex and her family are in grave danger. She must protect her children from the darkness at all costs – before it engulfs them whole…

A tense and haunting tale of one mother’s fight for her family, in a place where no one can hear you scream. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I thoroughly enjoyed Anna Downes debut novel so was looking forward to reading this new book. It concerns Alex, mother of a rebellious teenage son, Ollie, and baby daughter Kara who has run from an abusive relationship to what she hopes is a new start. She has found an eco village and it should have provided everything she needed. But almost immediately strange things happen, the children aren’t settled and she  is too exhausted to cope. Plus not all of her neighbours are welcoming. At the same time there were flashbacks to Renee and her family where there are strong similarities to some of what Alex was facing. I have to admit that I had little liking or sympathy for Ollie, but did for Gabriel, Renee’s son. However my thoughts regarding Ollie changed the more I read and knew more about him. 

Much of the time I can workout which way a storyline is going, I had no idea with this book. It’s not really full of twists, instead there are secrets that are gradually revealed and there was more than just Ollie who I liked and understood more as I read. 

It’s original with a perfect setting that was also different to most.