Friday, 29 July 2016

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent (2016)

The last people who expect to be meeting with a drug-addicted prostitute are a respected judge and his reclusive wife. And they certainly don't plan to kill her and bury her in their exquisite suburban garden.

Yet Andrew and Lydia Fitzsimons find themselves in this unfortunate situation.

While Lydia does all she can to protect their innocent son Laurence and their social standing, her husband begins to falls apart.

But Laurence is not as naïve as Lydia thinks. And his obsession with the dead girl's family may be the undoing of his own


A thrilling, dark read.
I find myself still thinking about these characters even though it has been a good many days since I finished reading it. It is a little bit slower in pace than I normally like but it is a quick read none the less.

What I loved most about the story were the characters, especially Lydia. She is both scary and hilarious. She is very posh and thinks of herself as being a cut above the rest. She is very disdainful of everyone outside her immediate family. The death of a woman at the hands of her husband is merely an inconvenience and nothing to get worked up over. Her lack of conscience is astounding and her little quips and mannerisms add humour laced with acid. 

I couldn't help but feel sorry for their son Laurence who grew up under the influence of these twisted role models. His story makes compelling reading as he moves from young teen to adulthood. He isn't completely oblivious to his parent's crime and his own actions in response to this becomes his own undoing.

A psychological drama with a twisted ending I didn't see coming.

Thanks to Penguin Random House Ireland who provided me with an advance reading copy.

Available now in all good bookshops

The Book Depository currently have it on sale with 34% off and includes Free delivery internationally.

Publisher's Information and other praise for Lying in Wait

'Gone Girl fans will love Liz Nugent's Lying in Wait twists, it turns, its characters are utterly despicable and it is a compulsive triumph' Stylist 'A stunningly talented writer' Sophie Hannah 'An unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page' Irish Times From the award-winning author of the No 1 bestseller, Unravelling Oliver 'My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.' Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must - because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants ...This is a dark, twisty and utterly gripping domestic noir that you won't be able to put down from the author hailed as Ireland's answer to Gillian Flynn. 'A tense, taut, almost gothic thriller where the tension tightens to near unbearable proportions ...impossible to stop reading. A brilliantly written, stand-out novel.' Marian Keyes 'Taut, crisp, clear, a storm-warning of a book. It has the eeriness of The Turn of the Screw; but as these screws turn, a mighty tension takes hold. Masterly' Sebastian Barry 'Deliciously twisted, shot through with dark and acid humour and the denouement is truly chilling.' Sarah Hilary 'Lying in Wait is a gradual descent to the very heart of darkness. Liz Nugent's characters are as unforgettably monstrous as they are believable. A superbly crafted novel and an absorbing portrait of the purest kind of evil.' Jane Casey 'I thought it impossible to match the brilliant Unravelling Oliver, but this Liz has done. Not only is her style beautiful, but she keeps the reader on the edge of their seat from page one until the completely unexpected ending. I read Lying in Wait in one sitting. I just couldn't bear the suspense. I absolutely loved it.' Amanda Redman 'As I finished the last page I actually stood up and gave a round of applause to my empty sitting room. Seriously ...She writes compellingly, creates posh sociopaths like no-one else and she doesn't flinch when the end demands what it demands. Lying In Wait is a story you genuinely should not miss' Rick O'Shea, RTE

Friday, 22 July 2016

Girl Unknown by Karen Perry (2016)

Publisher's Information
When Zoe Barry walks into Professor David Connolly's office and announces that she is his daughter, he is left reeling. Suddenly his family - imperfect, flawed, but working - is trying to find space for someone new.
But Zoe's stories don't quite add up and lies become indistinguishable from truths. The family struggle to make sense of whether she is a sister, a daughter, a friend, an enemy. But no one could have expected where it all might end.

Because they have let into their home a girl that they do not know. And now everything they have built has begun to violently, determinedly, break apart.


The opening chapters really drew me in with its rosy view of academic life on campus. I felt really charmed by the descriptions and could imagine myself back at university in Queens studying History, attending lectures and reading Professor Connolly's work in Irish Economic and Social History, albeit by Professor Sean Connolly and not the Prof. David Connolly in Girl Unknown.

It's not long, however, before an air of menace and tension permeates the pages of the story as Zoe makes her existence known to the professor and wheedles her way into every facet of his life. His professional and family life slowly start to unravel the longer Zoe is involved. His wife is wary and unconvinced; she begins to suspect that Zoe may have nefarious intentions towards their family. As tension builds it isn't long before their whole world comes tumbling down around them.

I found the story so gripping because the nightmare situation they found themselves in was so believable and true to life. The tension, arguments and the relationships between the characters were so realistic. The characters weren't merely painted as black and white; good or bad. They're all so human and flawed. At different times throughout the book I felt sympathy, love and annoyance for most of the characters just as I would my own family or friends. 

A truly intriguing, unpredictable and gripping read.

Available now in paperback  ebook and audio

I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Seconds to Live (Scarlet Falls Book 3) by Melinda Leigh (2016)


Friday, 15 July 2016

The Viscountess Bequest: A Regency Romance by Sophy Hester (2016)

Publisher's information
England and France, 1817: Henry Wenton, 6th Earl of Brentford, is the black sheep of the family and deplored by good society as a bon vivant and wastrel. Then a French relative by marriage, the Vicomte de Maligny, the victim of an eventually fatal accident, bequeaths him his title. Under one condition: He must marry the Vicomte’s young daughter, Florence. It appears to be an enticing offer to Henry, and he sets out for France. Instead of a helpless young woman in mourning, he finds there an independent-minded, radiant beauty. The 18-year-old fascinates him. She is sensuous and innocent at the same time. Florence also feels herself drawn to the Earl. However, his domineering manner and his experience with women frighten her – and yet awaken in her a desire for love… 


Regency romance at its best.

The opening chapter gave me tingles of delight as I realised that this regency romance was going to be as good as a Georgette Heyer.
Humour is embedded in the story right from the beginning; first, through the letter from a dead man outlining his reasoning for wanting Henry to marry his daughter, and secondly, Henry himself, his younger brother Stacy and the rest of his eccentric family are hilarious.

I enjoyed watching Henry stumble through a quick engagement to Florence only to ruin it all through jealousies, misunderstandings and general bickering.
After some time apart, Florence decides that she will find someone else to marry and travels to London for the season. 
Henry has come to the conclusion that he loves Florence and sets out to court her. However, Florence is a popular lady and more than one young buck wants to win her affections. Not all of her suitors have good intentions towards her but Henry is more than able to scare away the competition and fight for the girl he wants to marry.

Despite her youth, Florence and Henry make a great couple. Neither conform well to the conventions of society but Henry finds himself changing his rakish ways the more he gets to know Florence and by the end of the book he has transformed into a gentleman of marriageable quality. 
I loved Florence's character. She is determined, loyal, and has a strong sense of self worth. She doesn't cow down to Henry's domineering ways and forces him to rethink his attitudes.

A delightful, charming book. I couldn't put it down. 

A writer to watch out for. I really hope this is only the beginning of a whole series of regency romances by Sophy Hester.

I kindly received a copy of The Viscountess Bequest from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Buy Now from Amazon 
or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Mysterious Doll: Amelia Moore Detective Series, Book 4 by Linda Weaver Clarke (2014) Narrated by Diane Lehman (2016)

Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specialises in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations, but she always solves the case. With the help of her partner, Rick Bonito, the business is flourishing.
Pauline Jones is confused why her boyfriend took off without telling a soul where he was going. But that isn't all. Sam Whitaker is accused of stealing a valuable porcelain doll from the museum. His disappearance makes him look guilty, but Pauline is convinced he is innocent. When Amelia finds Sam, she realses they need to prove his innocence. Where is the antique doll and who has taken it?


Having read the earlier books in the series, there are many endearing things that I love and look forward to reading with each new instalment; Amelia and Rick completing another item on their respective bucket lists, travelling to a new place, the burgeoning romance between the pair, trying new food and solving a complex mystery. 

The Mysterious Doll case is a wonderful addition to the series. The case is intriguing and a real puzzle. Rick and Amelia are really cute as a couple and they make a good team when solving a case together. The author adds some twists and turns along the way as well as a good deal of humour.

A fun, light read, suitable for the whole family.

I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, 4 July 2016

"Dying to Be Beautiful" Mystery Series: Book 2: Fashion Queen (2016)

Publisher's Information

The second book in the “Dying to be Beautiful” mystery series, “Fashion Queen,” begins with another murder on Eastern Long Island: 

The mystery series takes place in The Hamptons, where the murdered and suspected murderers are often arrogant and obnoxious with a sense of entitlement. Private Investigator Jenna Preston and her longtime friend, Detective Troy Johnson, work together to solve these murders and other crimes. 

Apparently, in the billion-dollar world of beauty—especially on the East End of Long Island—there are those who are literally… dying to be beautiful!

The idea of a murder mystery set in the glamorous world of The Hamptons really drew my attention and I was eager to dive into this book especially as I had seen that it is highly rated on Amazon and Goodreads.

However, I was a bit disappointed with the end result. The mystery itself was well written and complex, the characters were good and interesting; I just didn't enjoy the process of the investigation. There was no suspense. All the information was simply told to the investigator and detective who simply dawdled along from questioning one witness or suspect to the next. 
It left me feeling quite bored and glad when I reached the end.

It is a fast paced, quick read though and perfect for mystery lovers out there who like a gentler paced story. I suspect that if I had read book one in the series then maybe I would have enjoyed this book a bit more. Unfortunately it hasn't inspired me to go back and read it.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Survivor: A Graced Novella by Amanda Pillar (2016)

Publishers' Information
Billie Young is a city guard from Pinton with a troubled past – she was kidnapped, tortured and almost murdered by vampires. Though she managed to survive her attack, it’s left her scarred and damaged. Now, she wants revenge.

Vere Radcliffe is a vampire spy who answers directly to the king. Recently returned to the city, he’s stuck living with his family – a fate almost worse than death. But trouble is brewing in the streets of Pinton, and Vere is asked to investigate the abduction of a city guard and the murder of several other humans.

Can Vere and Billie work together to find the killers, before it’s too late?

Having previously read and reviewed the first book in the series, Graced, I was more than happy to dive into the next instalment. 

I found it to be a surprisingly good and exciting read for a such short novel. I was enjoying it so much I didn't want to reach the end. I was enjoying all the suspense and romance too much. I wanted more!! The plot had plenty of scope for it to extend into a longer story. 

The story has two wonderful characters whom you can't help but like and cheer for. I love how strong Billie is and her determination to find the truth no matter the cost to herself. I found Vere to be quite endearing and I enjoyed their innocent and romantic interludes as they got to know one another.

There wasn't any reference to the Victorian type dystopian era of the first Graced novel and I liked how the story read without it. It had a much more contemporary feel and it felt more realistic in relation to Billie's lifestyle as a city guard.

The Graced series is proving to be a very enjoyable and addictive series!

I received a copy of Survivor in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Demons From My Past by J.L. Leslie (2015)

Publisher's Information
Everyone has a past. Kingsley Huxton is trying to move on from hers and repair her estranged relationship with her father. When her mother helps her get a job at her father’s hotel business, she knows she finally has a shot. She can make him see she’s changed. Earn his love and trust again. Easier said than done. Especially when she meets her sexy new co-worker, Paxton Rowe, and realizes he’s the man who just kissed her senseless! Completely senseless. In fact, she’s thought of his lips for days. When she walks into her father’s office and finds out he’s the CFO, it throws her for a loop. 

How can she focus on fixing things with her father when she can’t get Paxton off her mind? Then Paxton seems to run hot and cold…playing mind games with her. They definitely have chemistry, but he’s holding back. Kingsley realizes he has a few demons of his own. She must determine if he’s worth the fight. Then when tragedy strikes, Kingsley has to battle the demons from her past and find out if she’s strong enough win! 

*This book contains mature content, language, violence, and sexual situations. It is intended for mature readers only.*

Hum-drum, run-of-the-mill, sexy romances with no plot are taking over the romance genre and finding one to recommend can be hit and miss. Recently it has been more miss than anything else. Thankfully, I was introduced to Demons From My Past which completely restored my love of the genre. 

Demons From My Past is a story of second chances and forgiveness; of mending broken familial relationships and overcoming adversity. The plot is rich in detail and deep.

I adored Kingley's character. Apart for some paraphrasing of what she did in the past, we aren't really privy to what life was like for her or her family when she was a teenager and a drug addict but the adult Kingsley is feisty, talented, hard working, determined and loyal. Kingsley wants to prove to her family that she has changed but her father finds it difficult to trust her and forget the past. 
I couldn't help but cheer on every one of her successes and I felt a real feel good feeling every time she proved her worth and slowly chipped away at her father's hard shell. I couldn't wait for the two of them to finally restore their father daughter bond.

The romance between Kingsley and Paxton is sweet and sensual. Paxton has his own issues to deal with but he can't help but be attracted to Kingsley. The pair have to find a way to work together, be together and fend off a jealous ex lover who wants to keep them apart. Kingsley also tasks herself with helping her best friend stay off drugs; cue lots of drama and suspense.

A fast paced, exciting and emotional read. J.L. Leslie is a new author to me but after reading Demons From My Past I will certainly be reading more.

Buy now for 99p at Amazon Also available on Kindle Unlimited.

Thank you to the author who provided a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Hey! Don't Forget The Sunscreen! by Kimberling Galeti Kennedy (2013)


According to the Skin Cancer Foundation ''Suffering one or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing potentially-deadly melanoma later in life.'' 

What better way to teach children to stay safe in the sun than to read this lovely story by Kimberling Gelati Kennedy and put the safety tips into practice.

Little Stacey is excited to go shopping at the grocery shop as she often sees her friends there too. Her friend, John, is there with his aunt Donna who has a bandage on her nose. Here, Stacey's inquisitiveness leads Donna to explain all about her condition and how Stacey can take precautions and stay safe in the sun. 

The story is told in a lovely rhyming way which will help to reinforce the message with children as they reread it. The pictures are also lovely and charming.
Teachers will find this book very useful in the summer term when teaching about sun safety. The book itself is the perfect size for using with a visualiser and whiteboard.
Depending on the age of the children some teaching or discussion of the more challenging vocabulary will have to be done before the first reading of the book; ultraviolet rays, basal cell, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, hereditary, genes, water resistant etc.

I love how much detail and information is packed into this short book. Both adult and child alike will find plenty to interest and inform. It gently tells children how the sun damages our skin and why we need to wear sunscreen lotion with a decent SPF. It also explains, very simply,  the difference between the three forms of skin cancer. 
The story also gives tips on how to safely get your daily requirement of Vitamin D. This is an extremely important message to get across as well. The Irish Osteoporosis Society estimate that 88% of Irish primary school children have less than half of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D. 

I love audio books and as an added bonus when you buy 'Hey! Don't Forget The Sunscreen' you also receive a free audio download of the book!! :-)

Thank you to the author who provided a copy in exchange for my honest review.