Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Review - Flesh and Bone and Water by Luiza Sauma

Flesh and Bone and Water by Luiza Sauma
Publisher: Viking
Release date: 21 March 2017
Rating: *** and a half
Back cover blurb: Brazilian-born doctor André Cabral is living in London when one day he receives a letter from his home country, which he left nearly thirty years ago. A letter he keeps in his pocket for weeks, but tells no one about. The letter prompts André to remember the days of his youth - torrid afternoons on Ipanema beach with his listless teenage friends, parties in elegant Rio apartments, his after-school job at his father's plastic surgery practice - and, above all, his secret infatuation with the daughter of his family's maid, the intoxicating Luana. Unable to resist the pull of the letter, André embarks on a journey back to Brazil to rediscover his past. 

Flesh and Bone and Water is a curious little novel.

André is a Brazilian born Doctor who has lived in London for many years. He doesn't think much about home, except for the love he lost during his youth.

It is a letter from her that prompts him to revisit his home country and discover all that he left behind.

Flesh and Bone and Water is sort of a coming of age novel, but from an older man's flash back point of view. It is well written and full of teenage angst, sex and desire.

However long hidden family secrets are soon exposed to put André off his stride and are partly the reason for his arrival in London.

The novel moves back and forth between the present day and André's teenage years. Pure happiness never seem to be found in either. It seems like André needs to lay the past to rest before he can move on with his future.

Whether or not he can do this remains to be seen.

Flesh and Bone and Water is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.
Thank You to the publishers who invited me to view this title via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, 24 April 2017

Review - The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick

The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick
Release date: 23 March 2017
Rating: *****
Back cover blurb: Two sisters and one betrayal that will carry across generations . . . In wartime Cornwall, 1943, a story between two sisters begins - the story of Adele and Amelia, and the heart-breaking betrayal that will divide them forever. Decades later, the effects of one reckless act still echo - but how long will it be until their past returns? The Returning Tide will sweep you away to the beautiful Cornish coast, full of secrets and mystery, and will be loved by fans of Kate Morton and Rachel Hore.
The Returning Tide is the first of Liz Fenwick's novels I have had the pleasure of reading. I know she has written many more, but this one was recommended (and appealed) to me due to its historical setting.
The Returning Tide opens with limited information about something that is surely set to be hugely important to the novel. Some sort of betrayal has happened between Adele and Amelia, something unspeakable. The intrigue and tension is set for the story that follows.
Adele and Amelia are identical twin sisters, coming of age as World War Two breaks out. The War leads them both in different directions for the first time in their lives. Both become WRNS  or WRENs as they were more popularly known (Members of the Women's Royal Naval Service) and are given different postings.
Adele is posted away from Cornwall, she has never been away from her family or her sister, and she is scared, but excited to be undertaking an important, but sensitive and secretive assignment for the war effort. Amelia is remaining in Cornwall, her work equally important, but she remains close to her family.
The sisters write as often as time and the postal service will allow them, Amelia keeping Adele amused with her tales of beaus, and despairing of Adele's seeming inability to fall in love. It isn't that Adele doesn't want to fall in love, it's just that she isn't as confident as her sister and more importantly hasn't found the right man.
Running alongside this tale is a time slip story set in the present day with Lara nursing her dying Grandfather in Massachusetts. He never wants to talk about the war, but Lara is so proud of him looking at his photographs and documents on his death bed that she can't help but push him a little.
Her pushing leads her to Cornwall after his death, to discover exactly what he meant by mentioning a name she'd never heard before in his dying moments. Determined to find the truth, and discover if she may have family in Cornwall, Lara is unprepared for the treasure trove of family secrets that she is about to uncover.
I don't want to say too much more, so I'll just leave you with this - The Turning Tide is a beautiful novel, and Liz Fenwick now a firm favourite on my 'to read' list of authors.
The Returning Tide is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.
Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Review - Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick

Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick
Publisher: Bookouture
Release date: 22 February 2017
Rating: **** and a half stars
Back cover blurb: ‘I’m not safe – you have to help me…’. Little Lorna Bell is from a notorious family on a rundown estate. Everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work. The schoolchildren call her a thief. But Lorna’s hair is matted, her shoes pinch her feet and school teacher Claire Penny can’t help herself; some kids just need a bit more support, a bit more love, than the rest. As the bond between teacher and pupil grows stronger, Claire sees Lorna’s bruises, and digs to uncover the disturbing tale behind them. Heartbroken, Claire knows she has to act. She must make Lorna safe. Just when Claire thinks she has protected Lorna, a chance encounter brings enigmatic stranger Marianne Cairns into their lives. Marianne seems generous and kind but there is something about her story that doesn’t quite add up. Why does she feel so at home, and why is Lorna suddenly so unsettled? Claire has risked everything to save Lorna. But what can save Claire from the shocking truth?
Bad Little Girl is a psychological thriller with a difference. The victim is not the person that you might naturally think. I cannot say anymore on that for fear of revealing something I shouldn't.

Claire (Miss) Penny is a teacher at Lorna Bell's school. Lorna is from a notorious family on a run down estate. Impoverished and perpetually dirty, Lorna is a timid little thing who seems lonely in the playground.

Claire takes steps to take Lorna under her wing and encourage the girl to come out of her shell a bit. Quickly Miss Penny becomes the only adult that Lorna seems to trust.

I did guess the twist before it came, but I do think that's because I do read a lot of this genre. And I have to be honest, it didn't take anything away from the novel for me. If I'm honest, I even doubted myself for a little while, the writing is that good.

Bad Little Girl is a very impressive novel and I look forward to this author's next.
Bad Little Girl is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Review - the Escape by C.L. Taylor

The Escape by C.L. Taylor
Publisher: Avon Books UK
Release date: 23 March 2017
Rating: *****
Back cover blurb: Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…" When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't. The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise. What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her. No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

C.L. Taylor's novels get better every time. Her Fourth is no exception.

Jo Blackmore is easily startled. An agoraphobic suffering with extreme anxiety, after the premature death of her unborn son. she must stay strong for her two year old daughter Elise.

When a stranger, Paula asks Jo for a lift, Jo's first instinct is to say 'No'.

But Paula gets into the car anyway.

She has a glove belonging to Jo's daughter Elise, and she knows both her and her husbands name. But how? She claims to have a Son loving on the same street as the Blackmore's but Jo is convinced that this is a lie, and a manages to throw Paula out of the car and avoid giving her a lift.

Somehow she knows that this isn't the last of Paula she's going to see.

After picking Elise up from nursery in an anxious state, Jo wants to call the Police, but Max persuades her not to. Jo knows he thinks she is being irrational because of her anxiety, but she does understand where he's coming from. Even if she doesn't agree with him.

When Paula turns up practically on Jo's doorstep, Jo realises that both she and her daughter and in extreme danger.

But who on earth is Paula? And what does she want with them?

Max is no help, Jo knows that the more hysterical she becomes, the less inclined he is to believe her. Jo knows that she only has one option, to get away.

But even then will she be truly safe?

The Escape is a truly gripping novel that will make you question who you can really trust. Highly recommended.

The Escape is available from 23 March 2017.
You can pre-order it now via Amazon online.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Review - The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Review - The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay

The Stolen Child by Sanjida Kay
Publisher: Corvus
Release date: 6 April 2017
Rating: *****
Back cover blurb: Zoe and Ollie Morley tried for years to have a baby and couldn't. They turned to adoption and their dreams came true when they were approved to adopt a little girl from birth. They named her Evie. Seven years later, the family has moved to Yorkshire and grown in number: a wonderful surprise in the form of baby Ben. As a working mum it's not easy for Zoe, but life is good. But then Evie begins to receive letters and gifts. The sender claims to be her birth father. He has been looking for his daughter. And now he is coming to take her back...
The Stolen Child is the first of Sanjida Kay's novels that I have read. I am gutted that the authors previous novel Bone by Bone somehow bypassed me, because this is SO good.

The Stolen Child in question is 7 year old Evie Morley. Adopted at birth by besotted parents Zoe and Ollie Morley who had tried for years to have a child of their own. They are obsessed with their perfect little girl, and think that life couldn't get any better.

Until little Ben is naturally conceived. A little miracle of a Brother for Evie. Another child to cherish and shower with love and affection. Evie and Ben are equally loved by the Morley's. But not everyone shares this opinion.

Evie begins to receive gifts from an unknown person claiming to be her Birth Father. At first Evie hides this from her parents, thinking that they will take the presents away. Slowly Evie's Father begins to poison her mind against her adoptive parents and Evie begins to misbehave, claiming it doesn't matter what she does because they're not her 'real parents' and Ben is not her 'real brother'.

When Zoe discovers that Evie has been on the receiving end of some cards and gifts she is relieved, as it offers an explanation for Evie's sudden and dramatic change of behaviour. Sadly Zoe's relief doesn't last for long, as Evie vanishes after school one day, whilst Zoe is at the hospital with Ben.

The school are claiming Evie's Father picked her up, but Zoe knows that isn't true because she was with him at Ben's bedside and asked the teacher to keep an eye on her daughter. At first there seems to be one prime suspect - Evie's 'real' Father.

But how on earth could he have tracked them down? Is he really Evie's Father? Or is he just someone who likes to prey on young girls? Zoe and her Family, together with the police must find the answers, and fast. Everyone knows the first 24-48 hours are crucial no matter how many or how few suspects there are.

Naturally Zoe and Ollie begin to suspect everyone around them. Just who can they trust? The author has us the reader asking those same questions, and the answer is not always clear. The Stolen Child is a twisty, atmospheric literary thriller that I can't recommend highly enough.
The Stolen Child is available from 6 April 2017.

You can pre-order it now via lovereading.co.uk.
Thank You to lovereading.co.uk and the publishers who sent me an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.