Posts Tagged ‘Publisher-Avon’

The Lie

C. L. Taylor

I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes…
Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.
Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.
Jane has tried to put her past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves.

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
Initially I loved it. This had me hooked from the very beginning. I listened to this on audiobook and I don’t know if this added to the atmosphere but what I do know is that the atmosphere of this book is so intense and incredible. The book jumps between past and present and always leaves one time era on a cliffhanger before jumping to the next time era. It was a very clever trick to keep the reader turning the page – both metaphorically and literally! I was also gutted when my car journey was over and the audiobook had to be paused for a short while, always eager to return to the story. This is a very well written thriller that has a very intriguing twist at the end. It is the first C. L. Taylor book that I have read but it will not be the last.

Who was your favourite character and why?
Sorry to be boring with you all guys but as usual my favourite character was our main protagonist; Jane. She was just such an interesting character and it was so fascinating to read about how she was five years and how she was now. I absolutely loved how protective she was of animals and how much she cared about the new people in her life as well. I did get a bit disgruntled that she didn’t talk to Will about everything but I also know that when you’re hiding something, it’s probably not easy to just bring it all out into the open. I loved how much she had grown between her past self and her future self but also how much she progressed throughout the book as well. She was definitely and strong and fascinating character to have at the forefront of this book.

Would you recommend this book?
Absolutely. It is an incredible read that will truly hook you from the beginning and will, hopefully, shock you to your core by the end of it too. It’s the type of book that drip feeds you information and leaves you guessing before the big reveal. But even then because we had past and present, there was still more to occur. It was truly wonderful and everything you could wish for with a twisty, heart-racing and addictive thriller. So if you’re looking for a book that is full of vibrant characters, has a dark heart and an ultimate reveal at the end, then you should definitely make sure you read this book.

One sentence summary (Verdict)
An addictive, fast-paced, heart-wrenching thriller read that will have you reaching for the tissues as well as feeling pure hope and happiness too. A whirlwind of a read that you really do not want to miss.
Verdict: A very entertaining, fun and quick read that celebrates diversity and being a little bit different.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: April 2015
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 461
Genre: Thriller
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Library Copy
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The Perfect Retreat

Kate Forster

the perfect retretCan you live on love alone?
Willow Carruthers – British Oscar winner, style icon and mother of three is facing a crisis: she’s broke, discovery of her partner’s infidelity has left her a single mother and, if the banks have their way, she’s about to be homeless.
Meanwhile nanny to Willow’s children Kitty, is desperate to keep her job and knows just the place they can retreat to – her crumbling ancestral home in the Bristol countryside, Middlemist House.
To both women in their hour of need, the idea of leaving LA seems brilliant in theory, until Kitty’s brother Merritt returns home unannounced.
From London to LA, The Perfect Retreat is pure escapism – full of sex, scandal and intrigue.

Having read Kate Forsters ‘The Perfect Location’ I knew that this would be an instant ‘like’ for me. Actually it turned out to be a ‘love’!

Willow Carruthers is our main protagonist and although I wasn’t initially sure if I would warm to her, once I got into the book I found myself rooting for her especially on discovering the nature and character of her rock star (soon to be ex) husband! The author paints a great landscape and picture of the life that Willow and Kerr had together and you feel like you understand fully where they’ve been and where they are at and why. Although Willow seems to ‘have it all’ her life is falling apart, her marriage is over and the bank are threatening to repossess the house.

Kitty is her faithful and dependable nanny, who in all honesty Willow treats like a bit of a slave, just expecting her to be there at all hours and take on the main responsibility for the children. Kitty is comfortable with Willow’s three children more than she is with adults. She loves her job but is slightly daunted at the idea Willow has to home-school them – especially as Lucien doesn’t speak at all.

When Willow is facing homelessness it is Kitty – desperate to keep her job – that suggests they move to England where she is, in fact, joint heir to the family ancestral home Middlemist. Willow is shocked to find that Kitty part owns this amazing grand home which is in a great state of disrepair but which also provides ‘The Perfect Retreat’ they need. What they didn’t anticipate was Kitty’s brother Merritt who is usually off travelling the world, to arrive at the house the same evening and wonder what the heck is going on.

Merritt, who has his own demons having been married and divorced and had his wife cheat on him, is actually quite accommodating, allowing Willow and her three children to stay at Middlemist while Willow starts to find work again and get some money in the bank. A film part followed by a suggestion that Middlemist House would be a great backdrop to the movie that Willow is shooting means the house is suddenly full of film crew, actors and actresses and life starts to take on a few twists and turns for them all.

Merritt is a fabulous character – a typical hero in many ways and I really enjoyed how his character had depth and warmth. There is a real mix of characters and a couple of ‘villain’ style characters along the way that I enjoyed. I also enjoyed seeing Willow change and develop as a person especially in regard to her children, as they seemed to be quite a hindrance and a frustration to her at the beginning and you see their relationship change and gain more depth as Willow changes. The author also deals with a couple of disabilities in the book which I felt were dealt with sensitively and carefully and to me added extra layers and depth as those characters and those that love them dealt with these issues.

As you might guess, there are relationship ups and downs, miscommunications and broken hearts, all set against the backdrop of this fabulous house with it’s own history and secrets which get revealed over time.

Verdict: This has been a great read and one I would heartily recommend. I’m off to see what else Kate Forster has that I haven’t read yet!

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: March 2013
Format: eBook
Pages: 400
Genre: Chick Lit
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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You Had Me At Hello

Mhairi McFarlane
had me at helloWhat happens when the one that got away comes back? Find out in this sparkling debut from Mhairi McFarlane.
‘Think of the great duos of history. We’re just like them.’
‘You mean like Kylie and Jason? Torvill and Dean? Sonny and Cher?’
‘I think you’ve missed the point, Rachel.’
Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart. It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.
They’d been partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on: Ben is married. Rachel is not. Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.

I picked this up as a bargain e-book and it was a 99p very well spent! I loved this book, easy to read, good characters, funny writing and a plot that managed to keep me guessing. I usually feel with chick lit, romance type stuff that you know the main character will get her man in the end, the fun is in reading how it happens, however in this story I really began to doubt that this would happen. It is a good writer that can do this and you will have to read it to find out what does happen in the end.

Rachel and Ben met at Manchester Uni and had a strong bond. Their story is revealed through flashbacks, and it is obvious from when they first meet that their relationship is special. Unfortunately Rachel is dating someone else and can’t admit to her true feelings. Ben is a serial monogamist and they go through University as firm friends. As we eventually find out they did get their shot but due to their insecurities and some unfortunate timings things don’t work out. Ten years in the future Rachel is in the process of ending her relationship when Ben re-appears in Manchester but he has a wife in tow too.

Meanwhile Rachel has stayed with her boyfriend Rhys from Uni, they are now engaged but all is not rosy and Rachel finally breaks off the engagement. She finds a plush flat to house sit and moves out. As she and Rhys have been together for 13 years this is a huge deal for Rachel. She has been putting up with things for so long it is now time to figure out what she actually wants from life and whether she is going to have the courage to go out and get it. This is true in her professional life too where she is a court journalist for a local newspaper. She has been doing this for a long time and enjoys it, but is she going stale? Has she missed her shot at the big time? When she has to mentor the new girl on the block Rachel’s ideas and ideals are all put to the test. The lessons Rachel learns at work as well as in her personal life through the novel take her on a real journey. Even though she is already around 30 it feels a bit like a coming of age tale too.

Rachel engineers a meeting with Ben and over a few false starts they begin to grow close again. She has to deal with the fact that he has moved on and accepts an invitation to a dinner party at his house with his new wife and another insufferable couple. This provides a chance for plenty of embarrassment and humour and for Rachel to meet a potential date, as well as get a good look at Ben with his wife. The wife is, of course, beautiful, clever and has lots of money! But Rachel can’t escape the feeling that Ben isn’t really happy with her, and she convinces herself that she can be just good friends with him anyway. So what’s the problem?! Ben is committed to his marriage, it has its rocky moments but he wants it to work out. It does get difficult to see that there is any way that things will bring Ben and Rachel back together as anything more than friends.

But this is more than a ‘will they won’t they’ story. There is a great ensemble cast of characters. Rachel has a great group of friends who are all fully three dimensional people having their own ups and downs through life. They have all been friends since Uni and are not afraid to speak their minds to each other, sometimes with rather funny and dramatic results. They are certainly not afraid to advise Rachel in moving on with her life and in not getting too close to a married man. We also get Rachel’s take on their relationships. Theirs was such a believable friendship, and some of the antics between them had me laughing out loud.

Verdict: So read this if you like a romance with twists and turns, an ending that keeps you guessing until the end.
Read it if you like a laugh and witty writing and read it if you like characters that come off the page they feel so real.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: November 2012
Format: eBook
Pages: 465/641KB
Genre: Chick Lit, Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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A Weekend With Mr Darcy

Victoria Connelly

Katherine Roberts is fed up with men. As a lecturer specialising in the works of Jane Austen, she knows that the ideal man only exists within the pages of Pride & Prejudice and that in real life there is no such thing. Determined to go it alone, she finds all the comfort she needs reading her guilty pleasure – regency romances from the pen of Lorna Warwick – with whom she has now struck up an intimate correspondence.
Austen fanatic, Robyn Love, is blessed with a name full of romance, but her love life is far from perfect. Stuck in a rut with a bonehead boyfriend, Jace, and a job she can do with her eyes shut – her life has hit a dead end. Robyn would love to escape from it all but wouldn’t know where to start.
They both decide to attend the annual Jane Austen Conference at sumptuous Purley Hall, overseen by the actress and national treasure, Dame Pamela Harcourt. Robyn is hoping to escape from Jace for the weekend and indulge in her passion for all things Austen. Katherine is hoping that Lorna Warwick will be in attendance and is desperate to meet her new best friend in the flesh.
But nothing goes according to plan and Robyn is aghast when Jace insists on accompanying her, whilst Katherine is disappointed to learn that Lorna won’t be coming.
However, an Austen weekend wouldn’t be the same without a little intrigue, and Robyn and Katherine are about to get much more than they bargained for. Because where Jane Austen is concerned, romance is never very far away…

I am an Austen fan, I enjoy her books, but with the wealth of material out there to read I don’t re-read them all that often. Books about books I also enjoy and if that comes packaged in the form of a good story so much the better. This novel is a good story, does relate back to Jane, her life and her books, and does use the themes of her writing in its own weaving. On top of all that I thought this sounded like a bit of a giggle and it was that too, in particular the scene at the conference where Jace rides into the dining room on a horse!! I will leave it to you to find out more…

The blurb above covers the beginning of the story well and to tell you more I would have to include a huge spoiler! I saw it coming a few paragraphs early, but you can’t talk about the story much without giving the game away so I won’t do that.

Victoria has written interesting characters, I liked both Katherine and Robyn. Katherine has been a bit battered by her love life and brings that to the situations she finds herself in. As an Austen lecturer she is very knowledgeable and her thought s are often turning to Austen and Darcy in particular. She gives voice to that feeling that we might all have that it is unfortunate that there is only one Mr Darcy and no-one else quite seems to measure up. Robyn on the other hand has got stuck in a rut in her love life but is much more naïve than Katherine, and although she also is in love with the thought of Darcy she is romantic enough to believe it is possible (although maybe not for her…).

There is more than one love story in this story, which I enjoyed, shifting the focus between the two women also allowed Victoria to use different parts of Austen, falling in love with the wrong people, the help of chaperones, waiting for the right time and the right man, overcoming deceit, dealing with first impressions, following your own heart, not settling for second best and so on. I could see Persuasion, Emma, Pride and Prejudice themes all coming out. These themes are often there in romantic literature but with this being an Austen book you can’t help but feel this is not accidental. More than one love story also provides more good looking men to read about too!

Verdict: So in short, if you enjoy Austen (but are not snobby about it) and enjoy a good romance then you should definitely read this. A great light read.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 2010
Format: eBook
Pages: 453/387KB
Genre: Chick Lit
Age: Adult book review
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British Book
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Letters From Home

Kristina McMorris

Two people. An unforgettable moment. One extraordinary love story.
In Chicago, Illinois, two people are about to lock eyes across a crowded dance floor. The following moment will spark the love story of a lifetime…
The year is 1944 and America has just entered the war. Young men and women are being drafted in to fight with their allies on Europe’s distant shores. Throughout America, sweethearts are saying their last goodbyes.
Liz Stephens is already betrothed to budding US politician Dalton Harris, but when she meets GI Morgan McClain, she feels an instant and intense connection. But then he dances with her flirtatious best friend Betty and Liz is left feeling like just another soldier’s fancy.
Betty is mesmerized by Morgan and begs Liz to write letters for her to post to him overseas. Liz reluctantly agrees, in the end anxious to retain a connection to him. As the last searing days of World War II loom, a correspondence begins that will alter the course of their lives forever.

I picked this up on one of those supermarket two for £xx deals. I really wanted the other book and took this as I can’t resist a book bargain and ironically I enjoyed this more than the one I had really wanted in the first place.

I have always had a bit of a fascination with WWII and part of that is the way it affected people at home. I’ve read plenty of novels that are based in those times and touch on many issues, but I have never read one that was set in America during the war. It is a little different from the UK as I am sure you will appreciate!

Having read this story though, the things that stand out for me were the similarities between the lives of people here and there. People are people wherever they are! There are the obvious differences, less rationing, more men at home and the women are less directly involved as there are men there to do ‘men’s’ jobs. But the women in this tale are living lives dominated by the war and dominated by the men who are at home and away fighting. In some ways it feels that they have even less freedom than British women at this time, some of whom were experiencing things they never would have had the opportunity to do before. However there is that over-riding popular view that women belong at home and their job is to support their man and have the children! Even though this is a clever love story reading this from a 21st century perspective the women seem quite trapped, and some of them don’t even feel or seem to notice it. It is not that they are unhappy; their expectations are just so different.

There are three girls at the heart of this novel. Liz meets a GI (Morgan) and falls head over heels, despite her being attached to someone else, and despite the fact that her friend Betty likes him too. As Betty agrees to write to Morgan and then doesn’t follow through Liz takes up the job with far-reaching consequences. Betty is a bit of a good time girl. She really wants to be a singer but through the turn of events ends up being a nurse in the jungle; this is not a situation that pleases Betty! Finally there is Julia who is excelling in her clothes design course but passes up the opportunity to work for Vogue magazine so she can support her Fiancée Dalton in his ambitions, and not disappoint their two families.

Through these three women’s lives we get a clear picture of what it was like in 1940’s America. Feminism hasn’t arrived yet and there is huge pressure to fit with the social norm. These three women all find ways to overcome that pressure and have their own rebellion in pursuing what is important to them despite what other people may think.

There is insight into the frontline war as well with Morgan’s letters giving us a realistic illustration of the terror and hardships suffered by soldiers, along with the guilt, loneliness and the battle to remain true to yourself in a wartime situation.

Verdict: Even though I have dwelt on the elements of this book that interested me in this review it is primarily a love story. There is happiness and heartbreak, unrequited love, misunderstandings, friendship, families and warmth. It did take me a few pages to really get into it but once I did I couldn’t put it down.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Genre: Historical Fiction, Chick Lit
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: Oldest Book
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