blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Ash Mountain – Helen Fitzgerald*

Fran hates her hometown, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway. She returns home to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends.

There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer.

As past friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…

Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1.

Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst Case Scenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph.

Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband.

My thoughts:

This is a timely tale of small town claustrophobia and the secrets, resentments and dangers that lie close to the surface just waiting to be revealed.

As Fran negotiates her relationship with her past and her family, dark deeds swirl up to the surface and forest fires loom in the dry brush.

As well as Fran, her daughter Vonny is also developing connections and a relationship to the small town, though hers is less fraught perhaps.

With a dramatic final act that wrecks devastation on many, this lingers with the reader long after the final page.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Just My Luck – Adele Parks*

It’s the stuff dreams are made of – a lottery win so big, it changes everything.

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.

But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever.

Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth £18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it.

My thoughts:

Adele Parks is one of those writers whose books I gobble up, I can tell without even reading the blurb that there’s going to be a really enjoyable story in there.

And this, Parks’ 20th novel, doesn’t disappoint.

Lexi and Jake’s win makes them targets for all sorts of terrible people, but perhaps the worst are the ones closest to home.

As things spiral away from her, Lexi takes refuge in an odd friendship with a grieving Moldovan man searching for the person ultimately responsible for his family’s deaths, failing to notice her daughter’s problems or deal with Jake’s excesses and betrayals.

The twist right at the very end made me gasp out loud, and there had already been several sharp turns before that.

This is a fantastic addition to Parks’ body of work and a bloody good read too.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Summer Villa – Melissa Hill*

Three women. One summer reunion. Secrets will be revealed…
Villa Dolce Vita, a rambling stone house on the Amalfi Coast, sits high above the Gulf of Naples amid dappled lemon groves and fragrant, tumbling bougainvillea. Kim, Colette and Annie all came to the villa in need of escape and in the process forged an unlikely friendship.
Now, years later, Kim has transformed the crumbling house into a luxury retreat and has invited her friends back for the summer to celebrate.But as friendships are rekindled under the Italian sun, secrets buried in the past will come to light, and not everyone is happy that the three friends are reuniting…

Each woman will have things to face up to if they are all to find true happiness and fully embrace the sweet life.

My thoughts:

This was a warm escapist novel about friendship, secrets and love. Moving between now and when the three women first met, slowly the story is revealed.

In the intervening years the women haven’t seen each other much and that has allowed secrets to flourish but a return to Italy will reveal them and test the bonds of friendship.

Considering I read this under the ongoing lockdown, I felt very envious of the characters getting away to Positano, and I really enjoyed this.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Secrets of Sunshine – Phaedra Patrick*

Mitchell Fisher has said a firm goodbye to romance. He relishes his job cutting off the padlocks that couples fasten to his hometown’s famous ‘love story’ bridge. Only his young daughter Poppy knows that behind his prickly veneer, Mitchell is deeply lonely – and he still grieves the loss of Poppy’s mother.

Then one hot summer’s day, everything changes when Mitchell bravely rescues a woman who falls from the bridge into the river. He’s surprised to feel an unexpected connection to her, but then she disappears. Desperate to find the mysterious woman, Mitchell teams up with her spirited sister Liza to see if she’s left any clues behind. There’s just one – a secret message on the padlock she left on love story bridge…

My thoughts:

This is a heartwarming slow burn love story. Mitchell is still all tangled up in his head with his late partner, mother of his daughter Poppy. His job in bridge maintenance means destroying other people’s love stories by removing their locks from the town’s bridges.

Mitchell is a good man, he dives into the river to save a woman, and then tries to help her sister find her. He’s made mistakes in the past and is determined to be a better man.

His relationship with Poppy is delightful, she’s the huge heart of this book, and the stumbling adventures her dad goes on are sweet and gentle.

This is a warm hug of a book and perfect for curling up with on the sofa.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Carer – Deborah Moggach*

James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands.

But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss.

Then something extraordinary happens which throws everything into new relief, changing all the stories of their childhood – and the father – that they thought they knew so well.

Deborah Moggach, OBE is an English novelist and an award-winning screenwriter. She has written nineteen novels, including The Ex-Wives, Tulip Fever, These Foolish Thing, Heartbreak Hotel and Something to Hide. She lives in London.

My thoughts:

This book did not go where I thought it would, with a heck of a twist, or two, this is a thoroughly enjoyable book where family hides a dozen secrets and revealing them can change everything.

The writing is warm and engaging, the characters realistic and relatable, the plot clever and shows what a skilled writer can do.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: My Lies, Your Lies – Susan Lewis*

His life was destroyed by a lie. Her life will be ruined by the truth.

Joely tells other people’s secrets for a living. As a ghost writer, she’s used to scandal – but this just might be her strangest assignment yet. Freda has never told her story to anyone before. But now she’s ready to set the record straight and to right a wrong that’s haunted her for forty years. Freda’s memoir begins with a 15-year-old girl falling madly in love with her teacher. As the story unravels, Joely is spun deeper into a world of secrets and lies.

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including the Sunday Times bestseller One Minute Later and her most recent novel Home Truths. Susan’s novels have sold nearly three million copies in the UK alone. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Susan has previously worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. She’s had homes in Hollywood and the South of France, but now lives in Gloucestershire with husband James, two stepsons and dogs.

My thoughts:

This was a clever, twisting story. What seemed to be one thing turned out to be another. Sometimes the truth isn’t quite what you think.

The story Joely is transcribing turns out to be only one side of the story, and when the tension ratchets up and tragedy seems to loom, Lewis does a bait and switch on the reader and goes somewhere completely different.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Girl in the White Dress*

The Girl in the White Dress is quite simply unforgettable and unputdownable.

It is based on true story .

Every Family has secrets.

Imagine discovering you were guilty of something you can’t remember.

1974 A family from London take a trip of a lifetime to the Caribbean aboard the cruise liner Oriana.

2005 The Peak District. Following the death of his wife , Paul finds a menu card from the Oriana covered in personal messages from the ghosts of his childhood.

One particular address catches his eye , and memories are stirred as he begins to dream about a girl in a white dress.Gradually with his mothers help he starts to unravel the identity of a long forgotten childhood sweetheart, and the disturbing truth about an incident that took place in their cabin.

Something that would implicate his whole family, a Pandoras box of lies and deceit.Paul never saw the girl again after the cruise .

Their shared guilt had remained hidden for 30 years.

That was until today…

It is a remarkable true story about loss and grief, and one persons quest for the truth. Sometimes in life things happen to us that are beyond our control; you don’t need to believe in ghosts or the supernatural, just believe in the Universe and the threads of random chance that link us all together.

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Paul Barrell is a keen sportsman, and has skied all over the world. He is a serial entrepreneur and has owned restaurants, wine companies and is passionate about food and wine. He came to writing later than most, and writes about real events and people that have shaped his life. His first book Postcards from Pimlico is currently being turned into a screenplay for TV. He now lives in the Surrey Hills with his wife and rescue dog Lottie.

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My thoughts:

This was a fascinating story of memory and the things that haunt us, even if we can’t name them.

Paul and his daughter move to Cheshire following his wife’s death; among their possessions he finds a menu card from a cruise his family took when he was 13. Among the names scribbled on the back is a local address. Paul’s vague memories of the trip draw him down memory lane and he looks for the girl in the white dress who starts to haunt his dreams.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.