Today I am delighted to be sharing with you the beautiful cover for The Art of Loving You, the latest book by Amelia Henley, which is published on July 22nd by HQ.
The brand new emotional and heart-breaking novel from Amelia Henley. Perfect for fans of Rebecca Serle, Josie Silver and Sophie Cousens.
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They were so in love . . . And then life changed forever . . . Will they find happiness again?
Libby and Jack are the happiest they’ve ever been. Thanks to their dear friend, eighty-year-old Sid, they’ve just bought their first house together, and it’s the beginning of the life they’ve always dreamed of.
But the universe has other plans for Libby and Jack and a devastating twist of fate shatters their world.
All of a sudden life is looking very different, and unlikely though it seems, might Sid be the one person who can help Libby and Jack move forward when what they loved the most has been lost?
The Art of Loving You is a beautiful love story for our times. Romantic and uplifting, it will break your heart and then put it back together again.
Welcome to another wrap up. I read nineteen books this month, which is my best month yet. I read some great books and took part in two great readalongs with Tandem Collective UK and other bookstagrammers. The first was for All My Lies Are True, the sequel to The Ice Cream Girls. This took a different format and I particularly enjoyed having it start with the author reading the beginning of the book. The second was for A Court of Mist and Fury, the second book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series. I am now totally hooked on this series and am counting down to August’s readalong of book three.
I had been trying to decide if my favourite book this month was All My Lies Are True or The Resident when The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon swooped in at the final hour and claimed the title. I highly recommend all three books, particularly Nancy Moon.
Thank you to the tagged publishers for my gifted copies of the books.
What did you read in July? Did we read any of the same books?
Published: August 6th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Today is my stop on the blog tour for this spectacular sunner debut. Thank you to Rosie at Headline for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.
To unravel the story of that long-lost summer, she had to follow the thread…
Florence Connelly is broken-hearted; her beloved grandmother has just died and her marriage has collapsed.
But things change when she opens a box of vintage 1960s dress patterns, discovered inside her grandmother’s wardrobe. Inside each pattern packet is a fabric swatch, a postcard from Europe and a faded photograph of a young woman wearing the hand-made dress. Why did Flo’s grandmother never speak of this mysterious woman – Nancy Moon?
Her life in tatters, Flo decides to remake Nancy’s dresses, and to head across to the Continent to re-create Nancy’s Grand Tour of 1962. As she follows the thread, Flo begins to unravel an untold story of love and loss in her family’s past. And perhaps to stitch the pieces of her own life back together…
“Most journeys begin with a goodbye: to a friend or a loved one, often to a lover, and sometimes a place… Some goodbyes last merely a few hours, but some will have to last a lifetime.”
This riveting and uplifting debut encapsulates the essence of summer. It transported me from Brighton and Hove to Paris, Antibes, Capri, Venice and Tuscany, so vividly that I could feel the summer sun beating down on me and the breeze in my hair.
Florence is mourning the loss of her grandmother and her marriage when she comes across vintage dress patterns from the 1960s, each containing mementos from a European adventure taken by her Great Aunt – Nancy Moon. But Flo has never heard of Nancy before. Why did her family keep her a secret? And why has she never been seen or heard from again since that trip?
Florence decides to solve the mystery of what happened to Nancy, embarking on a pilgrimage retracing Nancy Moon’s Grand Tour; remaking the dresses and following in her footsteps, slowly unravelling the untold story of her family’s past.
There’s been a bit of a buzz about this book and I had heard some great things, but I still wasn’t expecting to fall so completely in love with Nancy, Florence and this beautifully told story of family, love, loss and long-held secrets. The author’s lyrical prose and rich imagery brought the story to life as clearly as if I was watching it play in technicolour on a movie screen.
The author effortlessly moves between the dual timeliness, immersing you in their world and the mystery of what happened to Nancy. The characters are compelling, likeable and memorable, and the narrators – Florence and Nancy – are relatable and easy to connect with. But there is something about Nancy that made her leap from the page; an air of glamour and mystery that radiates from her and reminded me of the aura surrounding Marilyn Monroe or Grace Kelly; that movie-star lustre, beauty and mystery that makes them feel out of reach.
Heartwarming, uplifting, emotional and immersive, The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon is a must-read, encapsulating the essence of summer like the sun is shining from the pages
MEET THE AUTHOR :
Sarah Steele trained as a classical pianist and violinist in London, before joining the world of publishing as assistant at Hodder and Stoughton. She was then for many years a freelance editor. She now lives in Stroud and in 2018 was the director of Wordfest at Gloucester Cathedral, which culminated in a suffragette march led by Helen Pankhurst. The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon is her debut novel.
Published: June 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Thank you to Tandem Collective UK for the invitation to take part in the readalong and Bloomsbury UK for the gifted copy of the book.
Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court – but at a steep cost. Though she now possesses the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, the mesmerising High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates his dark web of political games and tantalising promises, a greater evil looms – and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can step into her growing power, heal her fractured soul and have the courage to shape her own future – and the future of a world cloven in two.
Sarah J. Maas is a global #1 bestselling author. Her books have sold more than nine million copies and been translated into 37 languages. Discover the sweeping romantic fantasy for yourself.
“Amarantha was just the beginning…”
This series has been my surprise reading joy of 2020. It was a series I’d had no plans to read in a genre I rarely pick up, but after reading the first book in this series I was hooked. Book two seems to be a fan favourite, with many who’d read the series telling me it’s their favourite installment, so I had high hopes for this readalong.
ACOMAF feels darker than book one. I has themes of resentment, rage, imprisonment and freedom, examines PTSD, toxic relationships and is full of revenge, murder, lust and sex; alongside faeries, mythical creatures and magic. I find it hard to remember that this is targeted at a Young Adult audience and don’t think I’d be comfortable letting a young teen read it.
“But I was ensconced in a cocoon of darkness and fire and ice and wind, a cocoon that melted the ring off my finger until the golden ore dripped away into the void, the emerald tumbling after it. I wrapped that raging force around myself as if it could keep the walls from crushing me entirely, and maybe, maybe buy me the tiniest sip of air — I couldn’t get out; I couldn’t get out ; I couldn’t get out —“
This one started slow for me; throughout part one I thought I was going to be the black sheep who didn’t like this book. This centered around the toxic relationship between Feyre and Tamlin, which was hard to read and at odds with their great love story in the first book. I admit, if this hadn’t been for a readalong I might have given up. But to my relief, it picked up in part two when Feyre arrived at the Night Court with Rhysand. This was also where I finally began to understand the love for Rhys that runs through the fandom. In book one it confused me as he’s a manipulative and abusive character, though we had been offered glimpses of his history towards the end of the book that hint at the reasons for his behaviour. But in this book we are given more of his back story and get to meet his inner circle. I am now Team Rhysand and Team Dream Court.
The storyline centers around a threat from King Hybern, who wants to take over the Faerie Realm and destroy the Mortal Realm. Feyre must find a way to save her home, both old and new, while learning to harness her new powers and navigating the politics of both realms. We are introduced to new characters and more of the magical world that Mass has created. I enjoyed this aspect of the book and seeing how differently characters we’d got to know in book one interacted with the new characters and revealed previously hidden sides to their character; some of them so much so they feel unrecognisable. For example, while Feyre remains the strong, fierce and independent warrior we met in book one, characters such as Tamlin and Rhys change drastically this time around.
“I want them to hear your story. And know that there is a special strength… to enduring such dark trials and hardships… And still remaining warm, and kind. Still willing to trust —and reach out.”
Overall, I can see why this book is so loved and it was certainly a hit for me, though I do feel unable to rate it five stars because of part one. Mass has once again ended the book on a cliffhanger, setting the scene for more action and conflict, and making me wish I could pick up book three straight away. I highly recommend this series, even if it isn’t your usual kind of thing. You just might find that like me it opens you up to a whole new genre.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.
Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she’s not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.
Today I’m featuring the beautifully written Idle Hands, as part of the blog tour. Thank you for Peyton at Agora Books for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.
You can call me Ella. You generally assign me a whole host of other preposterous monikers. I think the least imaginative name I’ve heard is “the devil”, but I’ll answer to it if I must.
After making the courageous decision to leave her abusive husband, Perdie and her three young children start over and finally find the safety and love they deserve. But years later, when tragedy strikes, Perdie is left wondering if the choice she made to leave has led them to this moment.
If she were given the opportunity to take it all back and stay, would she?
In a frantic bid to protect her family, Perdie makes a deal with the devil to do just that. But in a world where the devil pulls the strings, can Perdie really change the past?
Brimming with enlightened observations and brilliant voice, Idle Hands is a haunting examination of grief, resilience, and what we’d give to spend another moment with the ones we love.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Cassondra Windwalker earned a BA of Letters at the University of Oklahoma. She parlayed that highly marketable degree into degrees in bookselling and law enforcement before pursuing her writing career full time. She criss-crossed the country and then settled into happy seclusion on the coast of Alaska with a zombie cat, a useless dog, and a devoted husband. Her poetry, short stories, and essays have been published in numerous literary journals.
Thank you to HQ for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBook ARC.
In a world of what-ifs, a connection has been made …
When Ryan spots a young woman on the tube on his commute, he can’t take his eyes off her. Instantly attracted and intrigued, he’s keen to find out more about his mysterious fellow passenger.
The woman he thinks of as Millie spends all day travelling the Underground, unable to leave for reasons unbeknownst to Ryan. For some inexplicable reason, he just can’t shake the feeling he wants to help her escape her endless commute.
This is a story of love and loss from the author of The First Time Lauren Pailing Died, perfect for fans of Anna Hope’s Expectation, David Nicholls’s Sweet Sorrow and Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life.
“And so the conversation ended as it had begun, with tales of the Underground and the girl who never got off it.”
Ryan has struggled to move on since the death of his girlfriend fifteen years ago. Then one day he notices a young woman on the tube and is instantly smitten. He tries to learn more about her and travels on the same train each day hoping to find the courage to speak to her. He soon discovers that the young woman appears to be trapped on an endless commute, spending her days travelling the underground but going nowhere.
Sylvie has travelled the underground each day since being fired from work eight months earlier. She’s caught in a meandering and never ending loop, waiting to find that elusive something that will enable her to feel able to stop her endless journey.
Can Ryan and Sylvie help each other break free of the ties that bind them to actions that prevent them from moving on with their lives?
Affecting, heartwarming and tender, Eleven Lines To Somewhere is a story of love, loss and moving on. Beautifully written, this was a slow burner for me, but by about a third of the way into the book I felt like I could really get into the story.
I liked Ryan and Sylvie. They were quirky characters who we meet at a difficult time in both their lives, but I found them easy to like and relate to. I was soon fully invested in their lives and rooting for a happy ending after all the grief and trauma they suffered.
In addition to the central characters, the author crafted a supporting cast who enhance and add depth to Ryan and Sylvie’s story that included friends, family and some strangers, who we don’t see how they connect with until late in the book. The London Underground that provides the backdrop for most of the book also feels like a character in itself, one that has entrenched the lives of the characters and become a part of them. It also felt symbolic of the lives of the characters; how they were confusing and chaotic, intersecting with one another in different patterns that change the course of their journey.
This charming, poignant and uplifting story is like nothing I’ve ever read before and has made me eager to read the author’s previous novel. A beautiful, character-driven story that I would recommend.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Alyson Rudd is a British journalist with The Times who writes about sport, mainly football, and literature in the book club section. She was born in Liverpool in 1963 and grew up in rural Lancashire. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics but began her career in fashion before becoming a financial journalist. She was an enthusiastic footballer with Leyton Orient Ladies. She is married, has two sons and lives in West London.
Happy eBook Publication Day to the new book by John Marrs! John is one of my favourite authors and his books are always highly anticipated. I can’t wait to read this latest one after reading some fantastic reviews. Head over to my Instagram for exclusive video content where John talks about the book. Thank you to John for my gifted eBook ARC.
The new high concept thriller from the author of the word-of-mouth sensation THE ONE – soon to be a Netflix original series. _________________________ Five strangers guard our secrets. Only four can be trusted…
In the 21st century, information is king. But computers can be hacked and files can be broken into – so a unique government initiative has been born. Five ordinary people have been selected to become Minders – the latest weapon in thwarting cyberterrorism. Transformed by a revolutionary medical procedure, the country’s most classified information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads.
Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. In return, they’re given the chance to leave their problems behind and a blank slate to start their lives anew.
But not everyone should be trusted, especially when they each have secrets of their own they’ll do anything to protect…
MEET THE AUTHOR:
John Marrs is the author of #1 Best Sellers The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, Welcome to Wherever You Are, Her Last Move, The Passengers and What Lies Between Us. The One has been translated into 30 different languages and is to be turned into an eight-part Netflix series in autumn 2020.
After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer.
Published: July 23rd, 2020
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
Trigger Warning: Domestic and Psychological Abuse
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this absorbing novel. Thank you to HQ for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC. Picture courtesy of Twitter.
Doesn’t every marriage have a dark side?
‘Beautifully written, chilling and absorbing’ Adele Parks, Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of Lies Lies Lies
‘Her best novel yet… Twisty, malevolent and gripping’ Lisa Jewell, No. 1 bestselling author of The Family Upstairs
To the outside world Hannah married the perfect man. Behind the closed doors of their imposing home it’s a very different story. Nathan controls everything Hannah does. He chooses her clothes, checks her receipts, and keeps her passport locked away. But why does she let him? Years before, in the midst of a relentless storm, the tragic events of one night changed everything. And Hannah has been living with the consequences ever since. Keeping Nathan happy. Doing as she’s told.
But the past is about to catch up with them.
Set against the unforgiving backdrop of a Cornish fishing port in the ‘90s, this is a devastating exploration of the power of coercive control in a marriage where nothing is quite as it seems…
“It’s a storm glass… Seems there’s always been a storm coming, right from when he gave it to me.”
This beautifully written family drama was instantly intriguing and immersive. Questions swam in my head as I was transfixed by the mystery of what happened on ‘that night’ fifteen years ago. Just what is the secret still haunting Hannah and keeping her chained to a man she can’t stand?
Told in dual timelines from multiple points of view, The Storm is a story of secrets, lies and love set in Cornwall, one of my favourite parts of the world. But this isn’t a sunny summer tale, and the air is charged with something dark and foreboding, a powerful storm unleashing its fury, destroying lives in its wake. What will Hannah’s life look like once the storm has finally passed?
“Nathan drains me. The way he twists everything and the mental gymnastics I have to perform in order to keep my head straight is exhausting. It doesn’t matter how strong I feel when we begin a conversation, by the end I’m shattered.”
The characters are real and relatable, with Hannah someone I connected with on a very deep and personal level. To the outside world, Hannah and Nathan have a picture-perfect marriage. But behind the facade is a marriage of abuse and fear. While the author avoids being graphic, the abuse is written in an authentic way; Nathan ruling the house through fear, threats, isolation and financial control. I hated him. He sent shivers down my spine and anger coursing through my veins. He was a typical bully who cycles between demands, playing the hero and then the victim. A man terrified of being unmasked. Just thinking about him is making my blood boil!
Spectacularly written, absorbing and emotive, the malevolence and dread drip from the pages. I couldn’t put this down, compelled to keep reading late into the night as the truth is slowly revealed through clever twists and turns. The Storm is an outstanding mystery that I highly recommend.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Hello and welcome to my Author Page! So what do I write? Well, I love anything with a dark vein and secrets which affect families, and my books tend to fall into the psychological suspense category. My most recent books – In Her Wake and The Cliff House – are set in Cornwall. Cornwall is where my heart lies! My mother’s side of the family is from Penzance and I have many blissful memories of long summers spent here. I am never happier than when I’m beside the sea. Though I’m fond of a mountain too, especially when it’s got snow on it. I’ve skied since I was a child and it’s a huge passion. When I’m not beside the sea or up a mountain or sitting at my desk, you can usually find me chatting on the radio as a regular guest on BBC Berkshire’s weekly Book Club, or loitering on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I love meeting and engaging with readers, whether that’s on social media, or at libraries, book clubs and literary festivals. If you see me out and about at an event do say hello! What am I doing now? Well, I live just outside Henley-on-Thames with my husband, three daughters and an unruly menagerie of pets, and am currently writing my fifth book which will be published in 2020.
Today I’m delighted to share my review for this outstanding debut. Thank you to HQ for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.
She’s got your job. She wants your life…
When Katherine first meets her new intern Lily, she’s captivated. Young, beautiful and confident, Lily reminds Katherine of everything she once was – and it’s not long before she develops a dark fascination with her new colleague.
But is Lily as perfect as she seems, or does she have a sinister hidden agenda? As Katherine is drawn into an obsessive power struggle with the intern, a disturbing picture emerges of two women hiding dark secrets – and who are desperate enough to do anything to come out on top…
Breathlessly addictive and deeply unsettling, Precious You is a thriller like no other. Taut, terrifying and with shocking twists at every turn, it will keep you guessing until the very last page.
“It all began when I met you, Lily. Beautiful, dangerous, precious you.”
Obsession. Secrets. Revenge.
Precious You puts the psycho in psychological thriller. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the summer and I’ve been eagerly waiting to read it since hearing about it last year; it was worth the wait. Bold, unsettling, tense and fast-paced, this was like a rollercoaster ride I didn’t want to get off and had me holding on for dear life from the first page until the last.
Katherine has worked for Lifestyle for twenty years and has managed to survive the recent takeover. On her way to meet the new owner of the magazine she meets Lily, a young, ambitious journalist who also happens to be a new intern at Lifestyle. The battlelines are instantly drawn in the duo’s toxic rivalry and what follows is a story of two women who will go to drastic lengths to not only keep their secrets, but get what they want.
“I never fully realised how much danger a person is in when the individual they trust least is themselves. After you, Lily, I’ll never ignore my first instincts again.”
What a book! This is an outstanding debut novel. The writing is sharp, suspenseful and dripping with malice. Like Katherine, I was trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out exactly why Lily wanted to tear her life apart but other than one wild theory that came out of leftfield, I had nothing. I won’t tell you what it was or if I was wrong, but I will say this was cleverly written, full of an array of twists and turns, and kept me on my toes right until the end.
“I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I was hurt first. That’s where it started. I’ve been made this way and it isn’t all my fault anyway. I can’t help it if other people are weaker than me. But they don’t see it like that.”
The story is told from both Katherine and Lily’s points of view, with Katherine telling the story in past tense to Lily and extracts from Lily’s diary offering her perspective. I liked this difference in the narrative as it gave a clear distinction between the two voices. Though I thought I’d relate to Katherine with us being the same age, Despite the fact I didn’t really like either woman, I loved reading both of them. Lily in particular was fascinating to me. She was the anti-heroine and enjoying her felt like enjoying Villanelle’s character in Killing Eve, her dark, chilling psychopathy leaping from the page. It was addictive and I needed to know more. What would she do next? Just how would she take everything from Katherine? And why? The author has created two memorable women who made for enthralling and entertaining reading. The one thing that was a little strange to me, was both characters’ obsession with their ages and generational differences. For me this distracted a little from the rest of the plot as I didn’t understand their hostility based solely on these things.
So if you love deliciously dark and menacing thrillers full of psycho characters that you love to hate, then this is the book for you.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Helen Monks Takhar worked as a journalist, copywriter and magazine editor having graduated from Cambridge in 1997. She began her career writing for financial trade newspapers in 1999 before contributing to UK national newspapers including The Times and The Observer. Born in Southport, Merseyside in 1976, she lives in North London with her husband and two daughters. Precious You is her first novel.
Published: July 9th, 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Kindle, Audio
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour. Thank you to Head of Zeus for the invitation to take part and for the eBook ARC.
It was meant to be your daughter’s first sleepover. Now it’s an abduction.
Lucia Blix went home from school for a playdate with her new friend Josie. Later that evening, Lucia’s mother Elisa dropped her overnight things round and kissed her little girl goodnight.
That was the last time she saw her daughter.
The next morning, when Lucia’s dad arrived to pick her up, the house was empty. No furniture, no family, no Lucia.
In Playdate, Alex Dahl puts a microscope on a seemingly average, seemingly happy family plunged into a life-altering situation. Who has taken their daughter, and why?
When seven-year-old Lucia begs her mother to be allowed to have a playdate with her new friend Josie, Elisa agrees. When she later asks to have her first sleepover Elisa can’t turn down her excited daughter and drops round her overnight things. But when Lucia’s father goes to collect her the next day the house is empty, there is no furniture and no sign of the family living there. Where is Lucia and why did someone take her?
This story is every parent’s worst nightmare. All I could think of is the many playdates and sleepovers I’ve sent my own children on, getting chills at the idea of them not coming back the next day. This made it easy for me to relate to Elisa and feel everything she did. But from the start I had a sense that she was hiding something important that could be the key to finding who took Lucia, though I had no idea at all what it might be, increasing the mystery and tension.
Told in multiple voices, including Lucia herself, we are offered a glimpse into their inner thoughts and fears. The story is very character-driven so this insight into their psyches is what drives the narrative and helps solve the mystery of Lucia’s abduction. Complex, intricate and layered, it is hard to see how all the pieces fit together at first. But through many twists and turns the author slowly unveils the truths being hidden to reveal the answer everyone has been searching for: why.
Gripping, suspenseful and terrifying, Playmate is a cleverly crafted psychological thriller about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. This is a great read for anyone who enjoys character-driven thrillers.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Alex Dahl was born in Oslo, Norway, and is half American, half Norwegian, fully Francophile, and London resident. Alex is the author of The Boy at the Door, published world-wide in 2018.
She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, as well as an MSc in Business Management. Alex loves to travel and has previously lived in Moscow, Paris, Stuttgart, Sandefjord, Switzerland and Bath.