Book Review | Befriended By Ruth O’Neill

eBook copy sent for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Let me preface this with a word of apology to the author – it has taken me a while to get round to reading this and is in fact only the second or third book I have read this year as I struggle to find the time to get any reading done around my freelance work, family and this blog. However once I picked up a copy of Befriended by Ruth O’Neill, I just couldn’t put it down.

Synopsis

Some secrets never leave us alone. . . Gemma Peacock’s life was perfect – or at least, she thought it was. She had a home she loved, a job she enjoyed, and a husband she adored. The only cloud on the horizon was the continuing tension between Gemma and her mother-in-law, but that’s the same for everyone, right? After the death of her beloved husband, Ritchie, everything begins to fall apart. Indiana Manors’ life, on the other hand, is far from perfect – but she knows just what she has to do to fix it. Befriend Gemma Peacock – and destroy her. Befriended is an exciting, contemporary thriller that will keep you on the very edge of your seat. This book will toy with your emotions time and time again – and keep you coming back for more.

My Review

Available at Amazon here {affiliate link}, Befriended tells the story of Gemma Peacock and what happens once Indiana Manors comes into her life. Grieving after the death of her beloved, perhaps even perfect husband, Ritchie and still young herself, Gemma struggles to find herself in the months after her death and Indiana comes into her life just when she needs people – little does she know Indiana is there to destroy her.

The character of Gemma is well written, you feel for her and you can’t help but root for her as she always tries to do her best by people. Indiana is extremely well written – you think you know what her intentions are and almost hate her – but you can’t quite hate her. Underneath the facade is a scared, unhappy little girl and the readers get somewhat of a sense of that – although the way she goes about things leaves you disgusted with her the majority of the time.

Every time you think Gemma has got away before Indiana completely destroys her, she somehow ends up back in the fold again and you are left wondering what is going to happen eventually. I must admit I did not see the massive twist coming and did reread those pages in shock and wonder at how the author managed to keep it from us for so long. The way the novel was resolved at the end was also pretty perfect, I thought – a great way to end the story and let some characters begin new stories of their own.

There was only one character that I was kind of indifferent to and that was Gemma’s best friend Maria. Perhaps she was written that way for a purpose but she seemed somewhat a little too overbearing when Gemma was grieving but oh so quick to believe newbie Indiana that Gemma had said certain things – before jumping into being fairly overbearing again. Whilst Gemma and Indiana’s friendship wasn’t healthy in the slightest due to the latter’s intentions to destroy the former, I can’t help but think Gemma and Maria’s friendship was too healthy either!

However, this was a fantastic read and I just couldn’t put it down. I have many friends who I know will enjoy this novel so will be recommending it to them. Have you read it yet?

Blog Tour | A Fractured Winter by Alison Baillie

Copy of the book was sent for review, all thoughts and opinions are my own
A couple of years ago, you may remember me talking about a book I absolutely adored, Sewing The Shadows Together by Alison Baillie. Well today, I am going to be talking about her new novel, A Fractured Winter which you can find on Amazon here {affiliate link}.

Synopsis

A missing girl.
Threatening notes.
Sinister Strangers.
Olivia’s idyllic family life in a Swiss mountain village is falling apart. She thought she’d managed to escape the past, but it’s coming back to haunt her.
Has somebody discovered her secret – why she had to leave Scotland more than ten years ago?
What is her connection to Marie, a lonely schoolgirl in a Yorkshire seaside town, and Lucy, a student at a Scottish university?
A story of shadows of the past, the uncertainties of the present and how you can never really know anybody.

My Review

As I expected, and much in the same vein of her previous work, I just could not put this down – this was a follow up that was definitely worth the wait. Alison has a way with words that completely enamours you and makes you want to keep turning the pages, whether physical or digital. Steve’s been back on nights working with my brothers so I have been enjoying getting in some reading time and have often gone really late into the night without realising it as I was so engrossed in the book!

I adore the different settings – whilst I have never been to Switzerland, I felt the author described it perfectly. She creates an atmosphere that keeps you wanting to know exactly what is going on. What happened in Olivia’s past? What connections does she have to Marie and Lucy?

The different settings and different characters were written so well – they were different people and different places but woven together so well to make the whole story.

This psychological thriller is emotional, it is atmospheric, it is gripping and it leaves you constantly wanting more. To me, that is the sign of a 5* book. It can be hard to follow up a debut as brilliant as the author’s first novel but wow, she’s done it. Why not check it out?

About The Author

Alison was brought up in the Yorkshire Dales by Scottish parents. She studied English at the University of St Andrews, before teaching English in Edinburgh secondary schools and EFL in Finland and Switzerland, where she now lives. She spends her time reading, writing, travelling, playing with her grandchildren and attending crime writing festivals.

A Fractured Winter is available at getbook.at/AFracturedWinter

You can contact her through her website: https://alisonbaillie.com or follow her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/alisonbaillieauthor/ or Twitter @alisonbailliex

WIN | Little Budgie’s Done A Fudgie Hardback Book

Olivia is not quite ready for potty training yet but she has slowly been showing signs of knowing when her nappy is full. Now it has been quite some time since I potty trained a child so I will have to refresh my memory but it is great that there are so many fantastic resources out there now to aid parent and child when it comes to potty training.

I was recently contacting about reviewing ‘Little Budgie’s Done A Fudgie‘ by Simon Harris, a former teacher who is now a social media manager. Within 2 weeks the ‘Little Budgie’s Done A Fudgie’ video had over 18K views and went to number 1 on the Amazon Kindle Nursery Rhyme Book Sales Chart.

 

After struggling for what seemed like an eternity with potty training his toddler son, former French and IT teacher and dad of 2 (with the 3rd arriving imminently) Simon Harris had a fun idea.

“My three-year-old son Luke has been a little bit slow with his potty training so I decided to write a little story to try and help him – it’s called ‘Little Budgie’s Done A Fudgie.’

It’s a little bit ‘out there’ as far as titles go, however to my amazement he really identified with Little Budgie and how Mummy Budgie has helped him to keep trying and get there in the end.” 

Seeing the progress his son was making, with Luke feeling more confident and more like a “big boy”, Simon thought this could be great for fellow parents too. He’s created some fun as well as educational at what can be a very stressful time for both parents and children.

 

 

Priced at £5.99 for a hardback copy and £2.99 for an eBook copy, Little Budgie Does A Fudgie is a different potty training book for toddlers. Visit the Facebook page here or buy the book here on Amazon {affiliate link}.

I can’t wait to read the book with Olivia when she understands a little bit more and is on her very own potty training journey.

However I have a hardback copy for one of my lucky readers to win – all you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway ends at 23.59pm on the 28th of April 2018, UK only. Good luck all! For more information on the book, visit the website here!

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The Fairvale Ladies Book Club by Sophie Green | Review

Book sent for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Synopsis

In 1978 the Northern Territory in Australia has begun to self-govern and telephones are not yet a common fixture. Life is hard and people are isolated, but these five women find a way to connect.

Sybil, the matriarch of Fairvale Station, misses her eldest son and is looking for a distraction.
Kate, Sybil’s daughter-in-law, is thousands of miles away from home and finding it difficult to adjust to life at Fairvale.
Sallyanne, mother of three, dreams of a life far removed from the dusty town where she lives with her difficult husband.Rita, Sybil’s oldest friend, is living far away in Alice Springs and working for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
And Della, who left Texas for Australia looking for adventure and work on the land, needs some purpose in her life.
Sybil comes up with a way to give them all companionship: they all love to read, and she forms a book club. As these five women bond over their love of books, they form friendships that will last a lifetime.

Warm-hearted, comforting and richly told, this is the perfect feel-good read for book lovers everywhere.

About The Author

Sophie Green is an author and publisher who lives in Sydney. She has written several fiction and non-fiction books, some under other names. In her spare time she writes about country music on her blog, Jolene. She fell in love with the Northern Territory the first time she visited and subsequent visits inspired the story in The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club.

My Review – Buy the book on Amazon here {affiliate link}

Now when I was asked to review this book, I just had to say yes. I am an avid book lover as you all know – and I love a book about a book club, in fact I think there should be more of them! Knowing that this was about a book club from the title, I just had to say yes.

Set in Australia, the women’s lives become intertwined and they become firm friends despite the problems they face. Brought together by a love of reading, it shows how supportive friendships can be, even through the hard times they may go through. However the book club only formed a small part of the story, getting to know the five female characters and their lives and what they were going through is more of the plot than anything. It looks at their friendships, how they are there for each other whether they are far apart or close by and it explores some interesting themes that we will all also go through in our lifetime.

This is a book that makes you think – it definitely got me thinking about my friendships after I finished it. I would wholeheartedly recommend you pick this up, I am sure you will enjoy it just like I did.

 

Scandal by Sasha Morgan | Extract & Giveaway

Read on for an extract of Sasha Morgan’s fab new book, Scandal

Extract

Adam and her relationship had been good in the beginning, she reflected, once she was sitting silently in her dad’s passenger seat. Luckily he could read his daughter well enough to know just what to say and, more importantly, when not to say anything. On first meeting Adam, Megan had been struck by his boyish good looks and charm.

She liked the way his copper hair flopped into his blue twinkly eyes, the way his full mouth smiled mischievously, his ability to make her laugh with his quirky sense of humour, but all that seemed gradually to vanish over the months and was slowly replaced with an air of confidence bordering on contempt, assuming he could take his girlfriend for granted. So what if he appreciated other girls, there was no harm in looking, was there? Well, yes, there was, conceded his friends when they could see how blatantly he flirted with them in front of Megan.

Even they were perplexed at why she tolerated him. Well, not any more. His lovemaking had gone from tender and caring to an almost mechanical, cold act, which had left Megan feeling lost and lonely. It was over. Thankfully she hadn’t properly moved into his flat, so there was no need to call and retrieve her possessions, just a few bits and pieces that she could do without, or at least replace easily enough; she thought of her Ed Sheeran CDs, her Bridget Jones DVD, her collection of Jane Austen books and Cath Kidston toiletries, which all looked so out of place in Adam’s modern, black and white apartment, with chrome fittings and wooden flooring.

Her dad cast a sideways glance. ‘You all right love?’

‘No,’ she sobbed, ‘I can’t face having to work with him.’

‘Hmm,’ he replied by way of agreement. She could just imagine the gossip this would cause. The girls in her admin team often told Megan to dump Adam, but funnily enough it didn’t deter them from fluttering their eyelashes at him every time he entered their office. It didn’t help either that Adam was particularly good at his job as a solicitor. He had a way with words and knew exactly how to pitch his spiel and work his charm. Whether it be with a senior partner of the firm, or a rich client, he always extracted everything he wanted from them. As a result he was the golden boy, inevitably going places. Whereas Megan wasn’t going anywhere, she conceded. She was one of the many faceless admin staff that quietly went about their business. In fact, it was a miracle to her that Adam had even noticed her in the first place.

It had been a rainy Monday morning and Megan had forgotten her umbrella. She was rushing to the office, dodging the puddles, when suddenly the huge canopy of a golf brolly had covered her head. Sharply turning round, she was greeted by the most beautiful blue eyes and engaging smile.

‘Here, let me,’ Adam had said easily, walking alongside her. ‘We work in the same building, don’t we?’

‘Y… yes,’ stammered Megan, not quite believing the office heart-throb was actually talking to her. Droplets of rain ran down her cheeks, and she quickly wiped them away. He smiled again. That big, confident grin was beginning to melt her. Reaching the stone front steps to the solicitors’ office building, he casually held out his hand to guide her in, and for a second he touched her arm and it sent electric pulses through her.

‘Would you like to go for a drink after work?’ he simply asked, whilst pulling down his umbrella and opening the large glass door for her. Megan couldn’t believe it. The delayed reaction caused him to look quizzically at her, but still with an air of assurance.

‘Er… yes, thanks,’ Megan had finally replied.

‘Great. I’ll meet you here at six o’clock then,’ and with a final winning smile he took the lift to the second floor, where his office was and where a one-shot skinny latte was waiting for him on his desk.

All that seemed a lifetime ago now, Megan sadly reflected. It was impossible to believe that the Adam she had just caught fondling his secretary had been the handsome, charming man that had gallantly offered cover that bleak morning.

About the author and the book

Author bio

Sasha lives in a rural, coastal village in Lancashire with her husband and Labrador dog. She has always written stories from a very young age and finds her fictional world so much more exciting than the real one.

Book description

For all fans of Jilly Cooper and Tilly Bagshawe. Sex, scandal, horses and aristocrats, the perfect recipe for the perfect escapist read…

As the new custodian of the ancestral home, Treweham Hall, Tobias Cavendish-Blake soon discovers exactly what he’s inherited. Instant financial action is needed if the Hall is to survive the mounting debts it’s racking up. Adding insult to injury the family is forced to sell the Gate House on the estate to lottery winners Gary and Tracy Belcher – not the kind of neighbours Tobias was hoping for.

Megan Taylor inherits her grandmother’s country cottage in the village of Treweham and decides to make a fresh start there, taking a job at the local country pub.

When Megan meets Tobias, the attraction is clear, but she is determined to resist his charms, put off by his reputation and that of his best friends – the rakish Seamus Fox, son of a millionaire racehorse trainer and dastardly jockey Dylan Delany. But Tobias is a hard man to resist…

Scandal is the perfect rip-roaring, bonk-busting horsey escapist read for fans of Jilly Cooper and Tilly Bagshawe.

Where can I buy the book?

Amazon {affiliate link} | Kobo | Google Play iBooks

For your chance of winning an eBook copy of Scandal, fill in the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway ends at 23.59pm on the 21st of February 2018. Giveaway is open worldwide to all those who can receive eBooks.

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