Thursday, 27 October 2016

Book Review: Searching for a Silver Lining by Miranda Dickinson

Thank you to the author and publisher for a beautiful sparkly proof copy. This review is my honest opinion.

The Blurb

It began with a promise . . .
Matilda Bell is left heartbroken when she falls out with her beloved grandfather just before he dies. Haunted by regret, she makes a promise that will soon change everything . . .
When spirited former singing star Reenie Silver enters her life, Mattie seizes the opportunity to make amends. Together, Mattie and Reenie embark on an incredible journey that will find lost friends, uncover secrets from the glamorous 1950s and put right a sixty-year wrong.
Touchingly funny, warm and life-affirming, this is a sparkling story of second chances. Perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern, Searching for a Silver Lining will take you on a trip you'll never forget.
My Review

I have loved reading all of Miranda Dickinson's books. This new book is very different to her previous novels, but I still loved it.

It's a gently-paced story of a road trip with a difference. For a start, it leaves behind the glamorous locations of earlier novels and is firmly rooted right back here in England. But what it lacks in exotic location, it more than makes up for in vintage glamour, from the shop Matty runs full of 50's memorabilia to the indomitable ageing glamour-puss Reenie.

A tale of regret and sorrow, and the search for forgiveness, Miranda brings the 1950's alive through Reenie's memories and the pages of Matty's late Grandad's diary. 

Nostalgia aside, the theme of friendship is explored as Matty befriends the lonely Reenie and gets a bee in her bonnet about helping the older lady right her wrongs from years ago, along with the not-so-welcome help in the form of nightclub owner Gil, who, Matty presumes, is only along for the ride in order to protect his investment. 

There are some great characters in here, not least of all Matty's beloved campervan. Will Rusty survive the journey?

Searching for A Silver Lining is full of warmth, laughter and many touching moments that make this book sparkle.

The book is available now either as an ebook or paperback from Amazon or other retailers. If you haven't read any of Miranda's books yet - I highly recommend that you start now!

The Author

Miranda Dickinson has always had a head full of stories. Coming from a creative family where stories and songs were always present, it was perhaps inevitable that she would end up adoring words. A songwriter for over 15 years, Miranda has successfully penned over thirty songs, delivering both live and recorded performances in a range of venues across the UK and Europe. Her first solo project album, About Time is due for release this year. To hear her music, visit - and be sure to leave a message if you like it!

Miranda began writing in earnest four years ago with her first novel, Coffee at Kowalski's - a romantic comedy set in New York's Upper West Side. This was spotted on HarperCollins' site for unpublished authors, at the end of 2008 and was released by Avon (part of HC) as Fairytale of New York on 12th November 2009. She has also written several short stories, scripts and novel excerpts, many of which are published on Miranda is also a regular contributor for writing a range of local interest articles for the Birmingham area and national film and festival reviews.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Book Review: All That is Left of Us by Catherine Miller

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the Advanced Reading Copy.

The Blurb:
Dawn loves being a mother. No matter how Archie came into her life, or the fact he's a little different from other children, he is precious and loved. He is hers, after all. Especially because she’s never told anyone who the father of her son is.
So when Dawn’s twin brother David and his wife Rebekah are struggling to have their own child, Dawn agrees to become their surrogate, as it is the one thing she can do to help.
However, creating the perfect family doesn’t always go to plan and when Dawn realises just how much her nephew needs his mother, she begins to wonder if the time has finally come to confront the past she has kept secret for so long.
From the author of Waiting for You comes a story of friendship, motherhood and hope.

My Review:

A very well deserved 5 out of 5 stars for this stunning second novel from Catherine Miller.

I loved her first book, Waiting for You, and Catherine has smashed aside that 'difficult second book' syndrome.

The author's love of being a mother shines through in her writing. Actually that sounds a bit lame - absolute love, devotion and selflessness is more like it.

Surrogacy is probably one of the most amazing things a woman can do for someone else; to carry a baby to full term and then hand that baby over must be heartbreaking. Catherine writes with raw emotion, without falling into the trap of being of being twee or overly dramatic, creating a strong main character in Dawn.

The character of Archie is wonderfully written with sensitivity and empathy, giving us a great insight to someone who is slightly 'different'. His relationship with Joel is beautiful; everything about this book is beautiful!

Even Rebekah's behaviour in the story is wholly believable; even if I did want to shake her. But the emotions felt by everyone involved in the story are true and captured here with great skill, drawing the reader into the lives of Dawn and her family.

Thank you Catherine, for a truly mesmerising read.

You can buy All That is Left of Us here and at other retailers

About the Author:

When Catherine Miller became a mum to twins, she decided her hands weren't full enough so wrote a novel with every spare moment she managed to find. By the time the twins were two, Catherine had a two-book deal with Carina UK. There is a possibility she has aged remarkably in that time. 

Catherine was a NHS physiotherapist, but for health reasons (Uveitis and Sarcoidosis) she retired early from this career. As she loved her physiotherapy job, she decided if she couldn't do that she would pursue her writing dream. It took a few years and a couple of babies, but in 2015 she won the Katie Fforde bursary, was a finalist in the London Book Fair Write Stuff Competition and highly commended in Woman magazine's writing competition. Soon afterwards she signed with Carina. Soon after that, she collapsed in a heap and was eventually revived by chocolate.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Book Review: The Deadline by Jackie Kabler

This weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of The Deadline, the second novel by TV presenter and author Jackie Kabler, and I also received an advanced copy to review. 

The Blurb
Cora Baxter is back - and this time, she's facing the most important deadline of her career...
When TV reporter Cora Baxter attends the scene of a murder in a London park, she's horrified to discover the victim is someone she knows and devastated when one of her best friends is charged with the crime. Suddenly the fun-filled life of Cora and her eccentric camera crew takes a darker turn.
Cora is convinced that her friend is innocent, but with seemingly solid evidence, the police investigation team reluctantly led by Cora's boyfriend DCI Adam Bradberry believe the case is closed.
With a trail of clues that leads all the way to New York, can Cora find out the truth before the trial begins or is it already too late?
The Deadline is the second in the hugely popular Cora Baxter Mysteries series by acclaimed broadcaster Jackie Kabler.
My Review

My review is a little late, the book being published on 20th October, so I missed my deadline (see what I did there?). But I have finished it now, and I can honestly say it is brilliant!

I haven't read the first in this crime series, but this second book reads well as a stand-alone story, with the author filling in necessary points from Cora's first adventure without giving it away. Hence I will be reading The Dead Dog Day shortly.

I remember Jackie's humour from her days as roving reporter on GMTV, and I was pleased to see it shining through this did-she-or-didn't-she-and-if-not-then-who-did tale. There are some genuine laugh-out-loud moments, which, I am told, are based on true events which have happened either to Jackie herself or her colleagues. These funny moments keep the pace up, balancing out the more serious aspects of the story.

It's a crime thriller, but the overriding theme for me was that of friendship. Cora has strong friendships here; between her and her studio team, Sam, Alice & Wendy; her friends from back home, Rosie and Nicole; and the brilliant camardarie within her reporting team, Nathan, Rodney and Scott. I particularly love the way Sam's work colleagues all join forces to help Cora in her quest to prove Sam's innocence.

It's well-plotted and the dialogue flows naturally between the well-rounded characters. The climax of the story is jaw-dropping, and perhaps a little stretch of the imagination, but what the hell, this is fiction! It is fun, set in the world of live TV where anything can happen (and frequently does) and is a tightly written, fast pace story. I look forward to reading more of intrepid reporter/investigator Cora's adventures.

The Deadline is published by Accent Press and is available from AmazonWaterstones and other retailers.

The Author

Jackie Kabler spent 20 years as a journalist, starting in newspapers and then moving into TV as a reporter and newsreader. She is most famous for her time on GMTV, where she covered major stories such as the Soham murders and the 2004 tsunami, and also worked for ITV news and BBC Midlands. Jackie now works for QVC and lives between London and Gloucestershire.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Blog Tour & Book Review: Medea's Curse by Anne Buist

The Blurb:
Forensic psychiatrist Natalie King works with victims and perpetrators of violent crime. She rides a Ducati a size too big and wears a tank top a size too small. Likes men but doesn’t want to keep one. And really needs to stay on her medication.
Now she’s being stalked. Could it be a hostile former patient? Or someone connected with a current case?
Natalie doesn’t know. And with another missing child case on her desk, the time for answers is running out.
My Review:

Thank you to the publisher and author for the ARC.

This is a fast paced novel which kept me turning the pages. There were a lot of terms relating to the Mental Health profession which I am not familiar with, and I have to admit I found myself skipping over these parts, but the story is excellent. I did wonder how I was going to cope with reading about women who kill their children, but it was dealt with in a very sympathetic way and shows that no one's story is black and white. The tension builds throughout as we try to work out who is stalking Natalie.

Natalie is a fantastic character, with many flaws. She is a unreliable 'witness', dealing with her own demons, and seeing how her moods affect her and those around her is interesting. She doesn't always make the best decisions, and watching her deal with the fall-out is fascinating.

The other characters in the book are equally as well-rounded, from the love interest to the women prisoners. Seeing how some of these women could be seen as victims themselves is heartbreaking.
I look forward to reading more stories about Natalie King.

About the Author:
Anne Buist is the Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and has over 25 years clinical and research experience in perinatal psychiatry working on cases of abuse, kidnapping, infanticide and murder.

She has published ten erotic romance- suspense novels under the pseudonym Simone Sinna. She is married to novelist Graeme Simsion and has two children.

Twitter: @anneebuist

You can buy Medea's Curse here (other retailers are available!).