Review of Deep State by Chris Hauty

This book is a rare combination of excellent writing and a cracking story. It’s written in the present tense and this, coupled with the concise writing, gives the plot a sense of urgency. What I particularly like is the way the author projects forward, using the future tense, in order to explain what happens to some of the main characters. The heroine, Hayley, is enigmatic, but although she is a woman of few words, her character comes through. If I have any criticism of this book, it is that some of the characters are two dimensional but that did not detract from my enjoyment. The author grabs the reader’s attention at the beginning of the book and takes you on a roller coaster journey. It’s one of those books you will stay up to finish.
Thank you LoveReading for giving me the chance to review this book

Review of A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

I really enjoyed reading A Single Thread and thought it was even better than Girl with a Pearl Earring. It ticked all the boxes for me – well-written, a great story and characters I cared about. Set in the 1930s – with memories of one war and fears of another – it tells the story of Violet, one of the generation affected by the loss of Britain’s men due to the First World War. It’s also a commentary on inter-war society and how women like Violet and her friends are daring to push against societal norms and question their own attitudes. I love that the women in the story are taking control of their own destiny, pushing back the boundaries one step at a time. This book is a great read – I finished it within a day, not because it lacks depth but because I needed to know how it ended. I would absolutely recommend this book.

As always, thanks to for allowing me to review this book

Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland

This is quite a small book so at first sight the reader would not perhaps expect a particularly in-depth story. However, the reader is in for a big surprise. The story is beautifully written: the language is sparing but is ideal for this stark tale of love, loss and betrayal. The descriptive writing takes the reader into the scene of the action, often heart in mouth as the narrative becomes darker. It’s the book equivalent of hiding behind the settee and peeping out through your fingers. The two main protagonists, enigmatic and grumpy Lucie and eccentric and forthright Mac, tell this story between them and the use of the first person adds atmosphere and urgency. Unlike with some novels, this technique does not detract from the other characters who interact with Mac and Lucie and they are well-rounded and believable. There are clues as the story progresses if you look carefully but the ending is shocking and unexpected. This book is definitely one you won’t be able to put down until you’ve finished the story. I loved it and look forward to reading Sandra Ireland’s first novel and any novels she writes in the future.

Thanks again to LoveReading for sending me this book to review

Review of Watching You by Lisa Jewell

The story starts with what’s clearly been a murder but that’s the only certainty until you get to the end of the book. This book is very cleverly written. It lulls the reader into a false sense of certainty: you are convinced you know who is the victim, who is the murderer and why the crime was committed. But as the story progresses, you realise that all is not as it seems.There are hints of dark and illegal deeds but who is lying and who is telling the truth? Who is watching and who is being watched, and why? The story progresses at a good rate and the characters are believable and complex and I certainly cared about what happened to them. This book is very enjoyable and once you start reading, it’s very hard to put it down. Based on my experience with this book, I will definitely seek out more books from Lisa Jewell

Thanks to LoveReading for giving me the opportunity to review this book

One in a million by Lindsey Kelk

On the face of it, this is a “chic lit” book featuring the usual cast of characters (best friends, gay mate, handsome neighbours, slightly disfunctional family). However, this book is much more in-depth than that. It’s funny and intelligent, much like its chief character and narrator, Annie. I fell in love with Annie and Sam. Their story made me laugh out loud, and occasionally cry. I was caught up in the story, didn’t want to put it down, finished it within 2 days, then wished I hadn’t as I wanted to carry on enjoying it. There’s a definite feel-good factor to this book. It’s beautifully written, with wit and insight which extends beyond Annie and Sam to the proliferal characters, who were well rounded and believable. I particularly liked the way the author started and ended the book with the same premise, again a sign of a well-written story. I really, really loved this book and would highly recommend it as it deserves to be a big hit.

Thanks to Love Reading for sending me this book to review

Love will tear us apart by Holly Seddon

What’s the secret that Kate is carrying around in her pocket? All will be revealed but not until the end of the book. It’s a tale of love, friendship and family and how families are more than shared blood. The author explores the relationships between Kate and her family and brings home to the reader how childhood shapes adults and can even have repercussions much further down the family tree. The narrative moves seamlessly between past and present describing how Kate and Paul have arrived at the current point in their shared history. Unlike many authors who use this device, Holly Seddon does not confuse the reader and the story is told clearly and concisely by Kate although it would have been interesting to hear Paul’s point of view. This is a lovely story which will make great holiday reading and I would highly recommend it.

Thanks to Lovereading for giving me the opportunity to review this book

Review of We Were the Salt of the Sea

This is one of the few books I have ever considered re-reading straightaway: partly because it was so enjoyable and partly because I wanted to re-visit the characters, to try to get to know them properly. There are lots of layers to the characters in this story and even at the end, there is a mystery still to be solved. The story is set in a fishing village in Canada, the sort of village where people have long memories and hold deep grudges. It’s up to the two main protagonists – a young woman dealing with bereavement and disappointment and a disillusioned detective whose marriage is in trouble – to try to get to the truth. The story is told through their eyes and it’s their joint stories which lead us to the truth, although even at the end of the book,one of them still has a question to be answered.

Even if this book is one you would not normally read, I would recommend that you try it. You will soon be drawn in and once drawn in, you will not want to put the book down until it is finished. It really is a lovely book.

Author: Roxanne Bouchard

Thanks to LoveReading for allowing me to review this book

The Madonna of the Mountains by Elise Valmorbida

This is a lovely, gentle book. It’s beautifully written and very descriptive. It’s the story of Maria, told over a 30 year period starting not long after the First World War, and set in the Italian countryside. Maria is deeply religious and has a strong sense of right and wrong. Her life revolves around doing right by her family, initially her parents, then her husband and finally her children. Sadly, Maria is often not their priority so her needs always come second to those of others and she has to make many sacrifices to keep herself and her family safe, although the reader may not always agree with the choices she makes. It’s a very patriarchal society but by the end of the book, the reader senses that maybe change is coming, albeit slowly.
It’s Maria’s story but it’s also the story of Italy and how, in the end, there is hope for both.
(Book courtesy of Love Reading. It will be published April 2018)

You, Me, Everything by Catherine Isaac

This is a truly lovely book,very easy to read, but keep the tissues to hand. It’s mostly set in rural France, so much of the story plays out against a backdrop of a few weeks one glorious summer, the descriptions making the reader feel they are right there, drinking the wine and listening to the cicadas. Although ostensibly a “will they, won’t they get back together” story, it goes much deeper. It’s all about relationships, and love between partners, friends, and parents and children: and it’s about learning to trust when times are dark. It’s well written and the reader can really empathise with the characters. I would definitely recommend this book and would definitely read further books by Catherine Isaac.

(To be published 19th April 2018)


Blood Ties by Julie Shaw (courtesy of

This is the story of Kathleen and her quest for happiness. The story is set in inner-city Bradford and is the fourth in the series about the Hudsons, a well-known criminal family from the city. However, there was very little mention of the Hudsons, and Kathleen’s story could have been set anywhere: nor was there anything which linked her to the Hudsons. I had read the first book in the series, “Our Vinnie” and was expecting something similar but I was very disappointed. This story was much less gritty and the characters not so well-drawn. Having grown up in Bradford during the 1960s, I enjoyed the references to the city but otherwise I was disappointed with this book.