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Friday, 21 July 2017

Merryn Allingham The Secret of Summerhayes Blog Tour and give away

Merryn Allingham

The Secret of Summerhayes
Published by HQ in paperback original on
27th July 2017 - £7.99



A war-torn summer
A house fallen into ruin
A family broken apart by scandal…





Summer 1944: Bombed out by the blitz, Bethany Merston takes up a post as companion to elderly Alice Summer, last remaining inhabitant of the dilapidated and crumbling Summerhayes estate. Now a shadow of its former glory; most of the rooms have been shut up, the stunning garden is overgrown and the whole place feels as unwelcoming as the family themselves. What secrets does the hidden garden hold and what will it mean to uncover it?

Struggling with the realities of war, Alice is plagued by anonymous letters and haunting visions of her old household. At first, Beth tries to convince her it’s all in her mind but soon starts to unravel the mysteries surrounding the aristocratic family’s past.

An evocative and captivating tale, The Secret of Summerhayes tells of dark secrets, almost-forgotten scandals and a household teetering on the edge of ruin.

Merryn Allingham spent her childhood moving around as a soldier’s daughter, and the desire to travel stayed with her into adulthood when working for an airline introduced her to a vast range of people and adventures around the world. Later settling down in Sussex to raise a family, Merryn earned a PhD from the University of Sussex and for many years taught university literature until turning to her own writing. She has published six Regency period novels under the name Isabelle Goddard, and The Secret of Summerhayes is the 6th title under Merryn Allingham. www.merrynallingham.com



When I received this book to read my eyes went straight to the cover, its so bright and attractive, deep colours plus I took a look at the lady on the front cover who seems to be looking back over her shoulder at something or maybe someone. There's a large house or mansion in the background that caught my eye too, she appears to be standing in the grounds of it.

In 1944 Bethany was a school teacher, a primary school teacher, but the school got bombed.
So now Bethany is without employment and needs to find work.
She applies to become a companion to an old lady who lives in the Estate of Summerhayes. 

Going back to the front cover, you can see in the distance Summerhayes, I lovely building, regal standing there but, inside its fallen to pieces over the years. The old lady Alice lives in just two rooms.

With the war going on the Military have taken over parts of the building. Even the grounds are suffering. 

The companionship between Bethany and Alice grown, but then things take a turn. Alice starts to receive letters from her daughter who she hasn't seen in years. 
This takes Alice repeatedly back in the past. Bethany sometimes struggles bringing Alice back to the present. 

Are these letters actually from her daughter though? Or are there more mitigating circumstances.

This is a well written easy to follow read which lead me on quite a journey with Bethany taking care of her caree Alice. I thought the bond between them became stronger as time went on. 

I did feel complete sorrow for Alice where any Mother would react the way she did when a letter comes out of the blue, so many things, so many memories and so many wounds.


My thanks to HarperCollins UK for supplying me with this fabulous book. 

Released 27th July 2017

Please see my blog for the tour and book giveaway.


About HarperCollins Publishers
HarperCollins UK publishes a wide range of books, from cutting-edge contemporary fiction, to block-busting thrillers, from fantasy literature and children’s stories to enduring classics. It also publishes a great selection of non-fiction titles, including history, celebrity memoirs, biographies, popular science, dictionaries, maps, reference titles and education books, and its digital business is thriving. With nearly 200 years of history HarperCollins UK publishes some of the world’s foremost authors, from Nobel prize winners to worldwide bestsellers. In addition it publishes the works of Agatha Christie, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.
HarperCollins Publishers is the second largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 18 countries. With nearly two hundred years of history and more than 120 branded imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year in 17 languages, and has a print and digital catalogue of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the Man Booker Prize. HarperCollins, headquartered in New York, is a subsidiary of News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) and can be visited online at corporate.HC.com.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Review: A Mind To Kill

A Mind To Kill A Mind To Kill by John Nicholl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have had the privilege of reading all of this authors books. As soon as a new book of his comes out I finish reading the book I'm on and jump right in because I've learned to love his style of writing and the insight and ability he has to get inside the mind of his characters which then means he breathes air into them, thus, making the reader envision them as real people no matter how horrid some of them turn out to be.

We have Detective Inspector Gareth Gravel know as Grav.
It opens where he needs to impart some bad news to a couple.

Having a terrible unforgivable crime happen to your young daughter then despite all the interviewing and the going over and over of what happened, the CPS say there isn't enough evidence. And despite Grav knowing that justic hasn't been done, there isn't a single thing he can do.

We get to know the girl, the daughter who has now grown, left home, but has she got over and come to terms with her past?

Herein lays the story that is so awesomely told to us readers we will be flicking page after page.

"Just one more chapter" will be the statement of many a reader who reads this book because once you start, you can't relax.

This keeps you on the brink right the way through, well, it did me.

The chapters are quick and snappy so suddenly you are almost at the end.

Love the ending.

With this authors incredible talent, the way he can draw on his experiences in his prior work, the wheels of his ageless mind churning out such reads, I can honestly say I look eagerly to his book, after book, after book.

If you love audio I expect he will bring it out in that too as he did his previous books and with the voice of what I've heard from his other books it's so well done.

This is an author who likes to write and jump just a little over the edge sometimes to keep his readers gasping.

I love that!

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Giveaways coming soon, check out the new page. Also visit my Facebook review page. Read along with sue

I have some awesome news, due to many publishing houses I am now going to be able to host some giveaways from them, and also from authors and my own personal copies.

I will be using Random to select the winners once I have checked out what is required to win that item has been fulfilled. 

Here are some of the books I will be hosting as giveways soon. AND MANY, MANY MORE ......



OUT IN AUGUST








Review: One Last Thing

One Last Thing One Last Thing by Rebecca St. James
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Well I don't often have to do this thank goodness. But I am not going to star this review.

This is a book I got from Net Galley courtesy of Thomas Nelson--FICTION when I was eager to keep clicking to read more books, I have calmed down since then thank God. I do my research if its a new author to me and make sure its something that I have at least 80% chance of enjoying.

I just didn't enjoy this.

I read it from beginning to end, but from one reader to another, it was like trudging through thick mud.
This book really needs to be worked on.

I also didn't realise how religious this book is. Yes Christian orientated but really down your throat 'get in there' type of read which for me personally was quite off putting.

There are so many subject matters that are being addressed its quite lewd.
Pornography, prostitution, addiction, abuse, stripping, suicide, public shaming, sexual addiction and financial problems that are such wide topics that this book really can't solve within its pages.

This made the story seem cheap and nasty.

Enough explained I think



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Review: The Bullet

The Bullet The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Tried my best, but really couldn't get into this one.

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Review: Not Thomas

Not Thomas Not Thomas by Sara Gethin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars



When I first started to read this, I was a little put off in the way it was written, its through young Thomas eyes, using his words, his child way of looking at things which at first I personally found annoying as he would repeat himself. As the book grew on me and I stepped back from this thinking how a young boy Thomas age would talk, I got well into this.

This is a story that will 'knock your socks off' its shocking, its emotional and it darn right moving.
I grew to love Thomas and just wanted to pick him up, take him home and give him a childhood. Poor little love.

We find some hidden background behind his Mother. Shes quite young and had had issues herself.
That becomes clearer as the story unfolds.
As sometimes follow they get attracted or become attractive to the male rogues of this world and she was no different. Shes a bad Mother in all round the clock details.

Thomas doesn't know any difference its his 'normal' life.
He gets teased for his manners, teased for his mannerisms and teased because he smells.

A neighbour and her daughter wait outside his house gate each morning to walk him to school.

His teacher Lowri secretly feeds him sandwiches using the ploy that her husband has made too many.

School holidays are counted down by biscuits. There's not an adult to tell him.
He practically sees to himself, maybe a packet of crisps is his supper. But the pink packets are saved for his Mother. I thought very sweet, but, so undeserving of this boys thoughtfulness.

Yes there are visitors seeking if everything is OK, but they can't be let in as Thomas is on his own and he can't open the door if his Mums not there, he shouldn't go out either so his 'black chair' becomes his hideaway.

He has three objects that he cares for. And one that is left behind at his Grans and Granddads home which he used to live in, that he no longer lives in for reasons that become clearer as time goes on.

That's enough about the story.

The writing is superb. I got halfway through this read before I really and truly was hooked. It was my mindset I had to alter and adjust to reading from a child's POV.

It was very moving and there are more secrets that come out towards the end.

Never read a book by this author before and I can honestly say I never heard of her [sorry] but I will definitely be following her for future reads.

My thanks to Cottage Tours

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Friday, 14 July 2017

Review: Two Sisters

Two Sisters Two Sisters by Kerry Wilkinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Two Sisters by Kerry Wilkinson published by Bookoutour is a most stunning latest novel of intrigue and beguiling twists from this author. I never think this author can do better, but this one really did draw me in and make me forget whatever was going on around me.

I adore the cover, and I really loved this plot in this book.

Megan was 10 years old when her brother Zac went missing. Now a century on she gets a visit from the Police saying that her parents have been in a fatal car crash. Megan has a sister Chloe who is studying away and so they don't get to see each other often, but they need to go clear out the summer home that their parents had. So much to do, clear it out, clean it up and put it up for sale. A lot to do for two young people.

But that is not the only reason for Megan to return, she received a postcard a few days ago with the signature Z for Zac on it. Of course this stirs up a lot of unrest. Zac was never found so is he out there somewhere even now?

Megan has an eating disorder which becomes explicitly obvious early on. I felt for her, she had the raw deal growing up I thought and some issues. This has left her with very big mental health and emotional anguish which also becomes clear, there is a tenderness in Megan and I grew to quite like her as well as Chloe.

On and around the Island we see there are two sets of groups, the ones that live there and the youngsters who spend their summer there whilst their rich parents are jet setting around the globe.

I am not sure which is the more strange, the ones that life there or the young folk who visit, its clear that is lots that went on that Megan needs to find out so she asks lots of questions which sort of isolates her a little.

Its an intriguing story that will grow and grow and widen out so that there is so much depth within it you fall right in.

I have to thank Bookoutour via Net Galley for my copy

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Review: After I've Gone

After I've Gone After I've Gone by Linda Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have come across some very interesting subject themes and plots in my time as an avid reader then a reviewer for the past 7 years, this one will stand out in my memory as one that I have enjoyed so much I was either talking about it or anxious to get back to my Kindle to read more of it.

I actually read this in one day by the aide of sync on my Ipad and Iphone. I either had one in my hand or another whilst waiting in the car, waiting at the doctors, waiting for supper to cook.
I was glued.

Jess Mount is 22 years old. She lives a nice relatively quiet life with her dad. Her Mother passed away and Jess found this hard to deal with, she had a bit of a breakdown.

Sadie is Jess best friend, she is strong, loyal and loves Jess to bits very supportive and protective of her.

This is the age of cyberland, social media at its best. Namely, Facebook.

Whilst Jess posts normal stuff to her wall, there is something tragically puzzlingly wrong.
Her Facebook posts have skipped forward 18months, how can that happen? You can't go forward. This happens after she meets Lee, Mr Perfect.


She is now living side by side with Facebook, each time logging on to see her future unfolding.
Its unsettling, its made her anxious, of course it has, is this for real? Or is she having another breakdown.

She shows Sadie, only Sadie can't see it. No screen shots, nothing will show it up as proof.

Lee seems to be the perfect boyfriend, pays her lots of attention, compliments, kind, giving and supportive. Hes everything she needs right now.

But....
alongside this is the revelation that she is dead, yes DEAD. On facebook at least. What's happening, who is doing this, how could this happen, is she going mad?

Tributes from her Father
Heartfelt pour outs from Sadie, its all there. But how did she die.

This plays on her mind all the time. She refuses to look at her Facebook wall. But come on, its tempting right? Even if it scares you witless.

I just had to keep on reading and reading, who or what is happening and is this really going to happen to her?

I got so annoyed at Jess, I wanted her to just see what was happening in front of her eyes as the story unfolded. I wanted to grab her and shake her WAKE UP....
You can change this, you do have the power to change this.

I enjoyed this so much its shot up my charts of what I have read this year, for sure.

My thanks to Quercus Books via Net Galley for my early copy.



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Review: Champagne for Breakfast

Champagne for Breakfast Champagne for Breakfast by Maggie Christensen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This made a lovely fresh change from my usual reading, its great to get a different genre and break things up a little as a regular reviewer.

I was so glad to get the chance to read this. It was gifted to me in the post. My first thoughts were for the cover, a pretty mature young woman on the cover with the water and boats behind. Nice open blue skies. So first off the cover was inviting, and being a "mature" woman myself of a certain age, it was refreshing to read that yes, older woman [and men] still can pull!!!

Rosa is celebrating her 50th birthday alone after breaking up with her boss, a relationship that lasted 6 years. Like so many affairs with married men, do they really leave their wives? The percentage is low on that one. So of course, her Boss was never going to leave and marry her.

She can't stay in the same firm working for him can she, so she needs to look for another job. She finds a new job but within the same company and now meets Henry. Henry escaped some scandal, which we later find out.

Its not just a mature love story this, its a great read with some hidden agendas behind it which made it much more than 'just a romance'.

The writing is well thought out as is the story line.

And what a great title.

If you are looking for a nice easy read, something to curl up with, then you won't get far wrong with this.



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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Review: Guilty

Guilty Guilty by Laura Elliot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a read! I absolutely loved this book. Laura Elliot can sure tell a tale as she has in her previous books which has also gripped my attention from beginning to end.

Guilty starts off with a gripping narration.
A point where it says "A message to the Fearless.
Then it says that no one can call them chicken again.

Intrigued? I know I was.

Just the cover drew me in, but once I started to read I just honestly couldn't put this down.

Karl Lawson has his own wife and family, nearby lives his brother and his wife and family. Their eldest daughter Constance loves her Uncle Karl and seems to turn to him when she has arguments with her parents as most teens do. This particular argument involves Karl as hes provided a night out for the Constance and the girls but under his supervision.

But her parents isn't agreeable to this.

Karl knows a bit of what Constance has been doing, but sorted it. Justin his brother doesn't know, so imagine when it all comes out.
Except.....
Constance is missing.

There ensues the story of a brilliant plot.

What if everyone had suspicions on you. Karl was under great suspicion with the Journalist outside his home, his wife even not sure about him, so much so she moves out taking his daughter with her.

He looses his job too.

I just really got my teeth into this one big time.

There is a huge twist in this that you won't see coming and not everything is as it seems.

I personally recommend this book.

My thanks to Bookoutour for my copy via Net Galley

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Review: Forsaken

Forsaken Forsaken by Laydin Michaels
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I am not going to rate this book. I see a lot like it and a few didn't. I am leaning to the side 'didn't'.

I thought it sounded really good going by the blurb which enticed me to read this. I picked this up several times and laid it aside for another book more than once.

This is a love story between two women. Its intense, erotic and could have been so tender but its written in a rushed way. It all happens just a little bit too soon. Its not a well rounded story, its not well written and I am wondering out it got published with the results it has.

It really wasn't for me at all. Not the story, that would have been fine, but there was something missing from it which I would say 'emotional substance' it was a bit wooden.

Thank you to Bold Strokes Books via Net Galley for the chance to read this.

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Review: Disclaimer

Disclaimer Disclaimer by Renée Knight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A well told psychological thriller fast paced and snappy.

Revelations coming out left right and centre, so much so that it left me dizzy and like a dog chasing its tail. Hence the 3 stars, it lost me!

I just couldn't connect to most of the characters, they didn't seem real to me, a bit wooden and stiff.

Catherine's past comes back to haunt her.
Same kind of story that's been told over and over really. I did enjoy the mystery of it once it was revealed [I did sorta guess though].

Raw emotions within the plot, I got that.
Its just a subject matter that's been written time and time again, just with different characters.

Its a middle of the road rating from me, it just didn't blow me away as an avid reader.
It just didn't stand out from many books like this in this genre and subject. Not for me anyhow.

My thanks to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for my copy via Net Galley.

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Review: Together

Together Together by Julie Cohen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love stories are not usually my thing. But I did enjoy this one as I do like this authors books.

Robbie and Emily have been married for several years. Two sons and grandchildren have blessed them in their latter years.

Robbie was a boat builder and Emily and daughter did love to spend his hard earned money. Emily was an obstetrician to both well paid jobs.

An OK life, a good life, or so it seemed.

Age has now kicked in and Robbie has developed dementia. I thought then it was going to be based on that and his deterioration however I was wrong.

There is a huge secret they both share that if it comes out will change all their lives.

This is written in a kind of reverse order, it made a good change and kept me on my toes.

I need to thank Orion Publishing group for providing my copy via Net Galley.



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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Review: You Belong To Me

You Belong To Me You Belong To Me by Samantha Hayes
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This book was so addictive that I couldn't put it down. It took my mind off my coughing, I'm laid up with the flu.

I read this in one sitting.

I've read other books featuring obsession but this one goes right to the brink. I never want this to happen to me or anyone.

Isabelle has a past, shes living and working in India now as a teacher. A letter arrives stating that her parents have been killed in a car crash and would she return home.

There starts a unfolding of her to loose her grip on reality, a journey of manipulation to great proportions.

I dare not say much more or I'll spoil the story.

Will she be driven crazy?

My thanks to Random House Cornerstone. Via Net Galley

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Review: After the Crash

After the Crash After the Crash by Michel Bussi
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I always get my doubts, when a book is translated from another language to English; however, it was done very well and I was pleasantly surprised.

This is a weird but wonderful concept of a plane crash, the only survivor being a 3 month old child.
Known as the Miracle Child.

A battle of custody ensues from the two sets of Grandparents.

Set in the 1980's they didn't have the DNA expertise as they do today so it wasn't as easy to determine a child's paternity.

I just found the twist a little OTT
It left me somewhat dizzy with some of the unbelievable concept that the author tried to make me as a reader believe.

Far too many shocks in this book that became the norm, and I wasn't shockable anymore.

The safety net of the plot ceased to be, it was almost a train wreck.

I see that quite a lot of reviewers loved this book, however, for me, it left me gasping, and not in a good way.

Thank you Orion Publish via Net Galley for my copy

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Review: Three Twisted Stories: Go Deep, Necessary Women, Remmy Rothstein Toes the Line

Three Twisted Stories: Go Deep, Necessary Women, Remmy Rothstein Toes the Line Three Twisted Stories: Go Deep, Necessary Women, Remmy Rothstein Toes the Line by Karin Slaughter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Go Deep

What a great humdinger of a story was this!
This is about Charlie. He owns a car dealership, has a wife, daughter who love to spend his hard earned money.

He has a girlfriend on the side and nearly 70 employees.
A very busy man.

There is a fast paced unexpected crime that will happen that will knock your socks off.


Necessary Women

A 14 year old girl watches her Mother die in poverty. Her Dad is a truck driver who is gone for long periods before he goes to his next destination.
She tells her dad about a boy she likes however her Mother wants her to stay away from him.

She explains how she got pregnant with her and hadn't fulfilled her dreams.
She wants more for her daughter and for her not to end up like her living the life she had.

Father and daughter has tricks up their sleeve that are full of dark humor and will surprise you.


Remmy Ruthstein tows the line

Mindy is searching for Remmy when she meets his half brother, then his Mother, then a facial hairy nasty old woman.
This was an hilariously fun read.
Clever and ingenious.
The longest tongue in the world.



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Review: Missing You

Missing You Missing You by Harlan Coben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this a bit slow going at first, so was a struggle to get into it.

Once I got to the part where Kat's friend who sets her up with a dating service account things started to warm up quite nicely.

Shocks and surprises happen when she logs onto her account. A lot started to go on within these pages which starts to heat up your interest.

Lots of twist and turns which Harlan Coben is known for.



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Review: The Darkness Within

The Darkness Within The Darkness Within by Lisa Stone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I adore Cathy Glass books and have done for many years, so, when I saw she was releasing a psychological thriller totally unlike the books she writes and using the pen name Lisa Stone, I just hadto read it.

So this is her debut novel in this genre and that is how I chose to read it. Like a totally different person. It worked well for me so that I could mentally pull back on how I knew her to write.

I read this as I would a debut novel from any new aspiring author.

Psychological thrillers are right up my street and back again.
This has proved to be of no exception.

I could see that the character Shane, was a nasty piece of work. He treated Rosie his girlfriend in the most abusive manner.

It starts when Shane goes out driving under the influence of many disagreeable substances and ends up dead.

Jacob has been waiting on the heart transplant list for some time, his health is deteriorating rapidly, he has a change of an organ left from Shane's terrible accident.

His dad is a Rev and of course very religious. His Mother is worried about Jacob of course as she doesn't want to see her son die.

Rev Andrew and Elizabeth are an upstanding family in the community, Shane is a very amicable young man.

Jacob receives Shane's heart.

Hence starts the tale of Cellular Memory.
That's when I recalled a couple of films I had watched in the past so this is not a new thought or concept but a very interesting one.

Now whether this is feasible or not it evoked an intriguing thought.

I remember a film where someone's hand was transplanted onto someone else's arm, it took on the form of this evil person who once owned it.

The premise of the story is well thought out, well written and emotional for all parties. I found myself Googling this Cellular Memory for any latest thoughts in this area.

There were a couple of question marks over the exchange of drugs, but its minor details compared to how the story was told and the impact it has on its reader.

Thought provoking stuff I would say!!

I think the Rev should have had more of a role to play, but this is just my preference.

I feel this author has a lot more to give in this genre if this debut novel is anything to go by.
I look forward to what she does next.

My thanks to the author and Avon Books UK for my early copy via Net Galley.

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