Book Review

The Family – Louise Jensen

I am a huge fan of Louise’s writing, so when I saw her latest book pop up on NetGalley I requested it instantly and that sat somewhat impatiently with everything crossed waiting to see if I would be approved. I was so excited when the email popped through – thank you so much to Louise and to her publisher, HQ, for approving my request.

BLURB:

ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.
 
But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.
 
Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…

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REVIEW:

As I said at the top of this post, I was thrilled to be approved for an advanced copy of this book, and even more excited when I found out that quite a few of my friends from The Fiction Cafe had also been approved. We decided that we would set up a read along for the book and so we now have a little chat in Facebook Messenger where we can swap our thoughts. I have never taken part in a read along before, but it was so much fun that I can’t wait to do another one.

The Family is a significantly darker book than Louise’s previous work and it felt a lot more emotionally charged than your average psychological thriller. From page one I was teetering on a knife’s edge between controlling myself or letting the tears flow. The grief and desperation in the opening chapters is almost painful to read and my heart hurt for Laura and Tilly.

I can see the appeal of the Oak Leaf Organics way of life – shut off from technology, the constant pressure from social media, accepted for who you are and not what has happened in your past. On the one hand, it felt idyllic, but on the other my head was screaming that Laura should run far and run fast! Although everything seemed so innocent and welcoming, I couldn’t shake the sinister feeling that hung over me.

I actually finished reading this book a little over a week ago and it has taken until now for me to get my thoughts in order sufficiently to write the review that it deserves. By the time the full story unfolded my head was in a spin, not knowing who to trust, what the truth really was. It was exhausting, but at the same time completely brilliant.

Every time I read a book by Louise Jensen, my first thought is always that there is no way she can top the previous book and every time I am proven wrong. The Family is no exception to this, and I honestly think this is her best book yet.

The Family isn’t released until 17th October, but you can pre-order your copy here.

For more information about Louise and her books, head on over to Goodreads.

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Book Review

Wunderkids: Wakefield Manor – Jacqueline Sylvester

Back in August last year, I was lucky enough to discover the first book in the Wunderkids series and I loved it. You can read my review here. Now, I am excited to be telling you all about the book’s sequel.

BLURB:

No peace for the mad.
No glue for the broken.
No shelter for the hunted.

Nikka Mason may have escaped the clutches of Wildwood Academy, but she now finds herself in Mexico, entangled in a more grand, and far more dangerous, web. 

Imprisoned in his childhood home, Izaya Wakefield is forced to face his demons and family secrets. Secrets that hold the key to destroying Wildwood Academy. Secrets that might also destroy him.

As the pair try to make their way back to each other, the decisions they make will determine not just their fate but each others future too. 

In the sensational second book in the Wunderkids series and follow-up to acclaimed Wildwood Academy, Wakefield Manor will take both Nikka and Izaya to the brink, where gilded lies and uncovered truths make their paths more twisted than ever . 

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PURCHASE LINKS:

You can find out more about this book, and purchase a copy here.

REVIEW:

Picking up almost instantly from the conclusion of Wildwood Academy, I found that I was instantly gripped by the events of Wakfield Manor. Where Wildwood Academy was a slow burning, scene setting start to the series to a certain extent, there is none of that with Wakefield Manor, and you are thrown straight in to the action and the new dangers that Nikka and her friends now find themselves in.

Wakefield Manor follows a split story line with chapters being split between Nikka and Izaya. Although Nikka’s story was the more action packed, I found myself drawn more to Izaya’s story, trapped in Wakefield Manor with his sinister uncle. The two different storylines balance each other well though, as you are thrown from the instant threat of danger to the underlying feeling of menace and back again.

Alongside the action and intrigue, Wakefield Manor is also laced with heartbreaking betrayals from every angle, and the the changing dynamics between the characters as more and more lies and deception come to light is fascinating.

I am already itching to get my hands on book three, to find out just what else these poor teens will have to deal with!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

16599005Jacqueline has had a colourful and dual life thus far; she’s lived in a refugee camp in Sweden, a castle in France, a village in Germany, and spent her formative years in between Los Angeles, London and New York. As a result, she speaks four languages. In 4th grade she won her school’s poetry contest and she has not stopped writing since. She has written in many forms ranging from poetry to screenwriting, from prose to copywriting, and on one occasion a viral jingle.

Jacqueline has a Bachelors in English Literature from the University Of Massachusetts, and a Masters in Screenwriting from Royal Holloway, University Of London. After graduating she wrote her first novel and began writing (and selling) cartoon screenplays. The two years she spent in an arts boarding school in the woods have inspired the particular world described in debut novel Wunderkids. She lives in London with her husband, her excessive YA collection and a hyper husky named Laika.

 

Book Review

An Incidental Lovestyle – Kiltie Jackson

I am beyond excited to be talking to you all about Kiltie Jackson’s third novel today. Before we go any further though, if you haven’t read her first two, A Rock and Roll Lovestyle and An Artisan Lovestyle yet, you really must (preferably before you read this one).

BLURB:

It only takes one small incident to change your life…

Jenny Marshall is your stereotypical, middle-aged, spinster. She works in a library, has two cats and likes cake. She has her dreams but not the courage to chase them.

Jeff Rowland fell in love at first sight with Jenny four years ago but hasn’t seen her since. When they bump into each other again, he realises his feelings haven’t changed.

When Jenny’s car breaks down on a cold winter’s day, it sets off a chain of events which brings them together in a way neither could ever have imagined. Both, however, have dark secrets in their past which begin to seep into their present.

Will these secrets bring them closer together?

Or will they shatter their relationship beyond repair?

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PURCHASE LINK:

Amazon UK

REVIEW:

Opening the front cover of one of Kiltie’s books feels like coming home after a long trip. Yes, you may have enjoyed the trip, but nothing quite beats being back in the welcoming arms of the familiar and the warm glow that Kiltie’s writing style generates.

As with the previous Lovestyle books, this reads perfectly well as a standalone, but I heartily recommend starting at the beginning, because you will see familiar faces popping up along the way, and I feel it’s nice to get to know them in the right order.

Reading about Jenny, and her secret bookshop dream, I felt instantly drawn to her. The way she describes her ideal bookshop, it felt like Kiltie had looked inside my head and discovered my own long held ambition. As the dream began to look as though it might become a reality, I felt as excited for Jenny as I would have if it was me doing it, and I felt lifted by the enthusiasm of each of the characters involved.

Once again Kiltie has created a cast of characters who feel more like family than fiction – the kind of family that anyone would long to be welcomed into. With the exception of one (who will remain nameless for you to discover) I fell in love with each and every one of them.

An Incidental Lovestyle is a book that made me laugh and cry in equal measure. I must have been driving one poor friend mad as I kept messaging her throughout the book telling her that she just absolutely had to read this book. It is brilliant in its story-telling and slow uncovering of long held secrets, and the ending is just perfect beyond words.

Without saying too much, there is mention of a possible future renovation project involving a windmill – Kiltie, if you should happen to read this review, please, please make this the subject of a future book!!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Kiltie grew up in Glasgow in Scotland. This is a very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life. When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then, after several years of obtaining interesting experiences -which are finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands.

Kiltie currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one grumpy husband. Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having plenty of moggies, there are no towers! The cats kindly allow her and Mr Mogs to share their house on the condition they keep paying the mortgage!

Kiltie loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles. She really dislikes going to the gym! Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job and write her stories for a living.

Kiltie’s debut novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, was released in September 2017 and won a “Chill With A Book – Reader Award” in December 2017. She first began writing her debut novel eleven years before it was released but shelved it as she didn’t think it was very good. In November 2016 when, having read more on a best-selling author who had begun her own career as a self-published author, she was inspired to revisit the unfinished manuscript and finally finish what she had started. Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing.

‘An Incidental Lovestyle’ is the third book in the Lovestyle Series. She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and the ideas still keep on coming.

Kiltie now lives her life around the following three quotes:

“I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!”

“Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?”

“Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”

Website – www.kiltiejackson.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kiltiejackson

Twitter – https://twitter.com/KiltieJackson

Book Review

The Reading Journal – S.L. Grigg

I’ve got something a little different for you all today. Instead of reviewing a novel, I am reviewing a journal that is perfect for book reviewers everywhere. Many thanks to S.L. Grigg, and The Fiction Cafe for providing me with my copy of this amazing tool.

BLURB:

The author of Coffee Break Companion brings you the next instalment in the collection – your very own reading journal. The perfect place to record and review all your favourite books, with a few bonus extras of colouring pages, puzzles, short stories and Top 10 book lists.

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PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

The Reading Journal is a great book, whether you are a serious book blogger, casual reviewer, or simply someone who likes to keep track of their thoughts about the books they have read. It is well presented, with oodles of space for notes on books that you have read, and lists of the books that you want to read.

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I would show you the pages that I have filled in, but no one needs to see my spider scrawl.

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As well as these smartly laid out, easy to use pages, The Reading Journal is filled with pages to colour in, puzzles to do, flash fiction pieces, and just what every book addict needs, lists of amazing books as recommended by the members of the amazing Fiction Cafe.

I have only just got started on filling my journal in as I make my way through my blog tour commitments and TBR list, but I already know that as soon as this one is full, I will be hurrying off to buy another one!

If you haven’t already discovered S.L. Grigg’s previous book, Coffee Break Companion, you can find out more about it and the author here.