It’s Friday! 16/9

I don’t seem to have had an awful lot of reading time this week! I’m very unsettled as awaiting the new arrival still so I can’t seem to sit down and concentrate therefore not much new has been reviewed here this week!

But I have had a very lucky week and have won 8 books in total! In fact it’s got to the stage where if I say “Guess what I won today?” to my husband, his answer is “If it’s not the Euromillions then I’m not interested!” I’ve always been a rather lucky person but I have to admit it’s probably as I enter every competition I see so the odds are in my favour I suppose.

My first prize to actually arrive was a box of five books from the Scottish children’s publisher Kelpies and two of these books have become favourites already! I like my grandchildren to know they are a quarter Scottish (well one is actually half Scottish!) So loved being able to read these with them!

My First Scottish Colours…

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Say hello to green Nessie, wave a blue saltire and pick a beautiful purple thistle! Introduce your wee ones to their first colours — red, blue, yellow, orange, green and purple — with a Scottish twist! This bright board book is packed with lively images and simple, clear text. The chunky format and hard-wearing pages are perfect for wee hands.

This is a fabulous wee board book by Kate McLelland with colours associated to a Scottish connection. It’s bright and colourful and the pictures are not too detailed so just right for young minds. And the chunky board book is lovely and sturdy. This is becoming a firm favourite after only 2 days for a nearly two year old who is learning his colours. Just perfect! I’m off to check out the others in the series too now!

My First Scottish Colours (Wee Kelpies) is available from Amazon UK

My luve’s Like a Red Red Rose…

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O my Luve’s like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June; O my Luve’s like the melodie That’s sweetly play’d in tune. In this beautifully illustrated picture-book version of Burns’ classic poem, the lyrics have been re-imagined to explore the special love between parent and child. A mother and daughter feature in everyday scenes such as playing in a garden, splashing in the sea and going to nursery, each inspired by Burns’ eloquent words. With delightful, heart-warming illustrations by Ruchi Mhasane, this expressive new picture book is the perfect way to share Burns’ with very young children. It is also an ideal Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day gift.

This is just a stunning book! It has taken the poem by Burns and put it with some of the most beautiful and touching illustrations I have seen in a children’s book recently. The mother and daughter relationship is so poignantly drawn that it brought a tear to my eye! This one is perfect for my daughter to share with my granddaughter and I’m sure it will become a firm family favourite. I just loved it!

My Luve’s Like a Red, Red Rose (Picture Kelpies) is also available to buy from Amazon UK

 

 

It’s Friday and it’s Twin Day!

I thought that I would share a few of the books about twins that I have read recently in honour of my own twins whose birthday it is today!  Due to being a mum of twins, I have always been drawn to works of fiction featuring them and the complex relationship they have. Most people find twins fascinating, myself included, and I’m sure that’s why there has been an increase in the amount of books that have twins at the centre of them. So here goes!

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

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Apologies for the general email, but I desperately need your help.

My goddaughter, Coco Jackson, disappeared from her family’s holiday home in Bournemouth on the night of Sunday/Monday August 29/30th, the bank holiday weekend just gone. Coco is three years old.

When identical twin Coco goes missing during a family celebration, there is a media frenzy. Her parents are rich and influential, as are the friends they were with at their holiday home by the sea.

But what really happened to Coco?

Over two intense weekends – the first when Coco goes missing and the second twelve years later at the funeral of her father – the darkest of secrets will gradually be revealed…

Reviewed January 2016

As soon as I heard Alex Marwood had a new book out I pre-ordered it from Amazon. Having a chance to read it early with a review copy was a fantastic opportunity for me as I am an incredibly impatient reader when it comes to books by my favourite authors. In fact, I normally read my books in order of publication (it does border on ocd to be fair!) but I made a huge exception for The Darkest Secret as I physically couldn’t wait!
I don’t want to go into the plot of this book too much as I think people should read it with no preconceptions. Sean Jackson is holding his 50th birthday party over a Bank Holiday weekend in August attended by various friends and family. Over the course of the weekend, one of his twin daughters, Coco aged 3, goes missing. Ten years later Mila, Coco’s half sister, and Ruby, Coco’s twin, come together to attend his funeral. The story unfolds in 2004 and is told from the viewpoints of various party guests and then alternating with Mila in 2014, who is trying to make sense of her relationship with her deceased father and her half sister Ruby but may also be about to uncover the truth about Coco.
It’s amazing that an author can take a bunch of unlikable and immoral characters and make you want to keep reading about them! You are watching what is happening with a hand over your eyes, dreading what you will find out about these dreadful, narcissistic “friends”. It shows how the actions of adults can ripple down the years to affect children, even when they are adults. It’s very true to life unfortunately.
I loved this book. The apprehension as you read, to find out what has happened to Coco, builds up gradually until you don’t want to read further as the truth is revealed but you just have to know! I adored the relationship between Mila and Ruby and the way it developed over just a few days. And I started off hating another character but as the story unfolded further my opinion turned on its head as it also did with other characters but in reverse!
A superb read from Alex Marwood and will certainly be one of the big reads for the start of 2016. Her best so far I think and as a huge fan of The Wicked Girls that is saying something!
I received a copy of the book via netgalley in return for an honest review.
The Darkest Secret is available to buy at Amazon UK

Beside Myself by Anne Morgan

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Helen and Ellie are identical twins ? like two peas in a pod, everyone says.

The girls know this isn’t true, though: Helen is the leader and Ellie the follower.

Until they decide to swap places: just for fun, and just for one day.

But Ellie refuses to swap back…

And so begins a nightmare from which Helen cannot wake up. Her toys, her clothes, her friends, her glowing record at school, the favour of her mother and the future she had dreamed of are all gone to a sister who blossoms in the approval that used to belong to Helen. And as the years pass, she loses not only her memory of that day but also herself ? until eventually only ‘Smudge’ is left.

Twenty-five years later, Smudge receives a call from out of the blue. It threatens to pull her back into her sister’s dangerous orbit, but if this is her only chance to face the past, how can she resist?

Reviewed in January 2016

I am a total pushover for books about twins (especially twin girls due to having my own!!) as twins are still seen as something a little bit different, with a mystical quality that still makes complete strangers stop and ask questions. I’ve been through them all personally myself “are they twins?” “are they identical?” and everyone’s favourite quote “double trouble! You’ve got your hands full there!” So I was looking forward to this darker novel about twin girls who decide to swap places one day when they are six and, as one of them refuses to change back, it affects the lives of both girls into adulthood.
Helen is the “good twin” who does well at school and is much loved by their mummy whereas Ellie is a little slower, not so popular at school or home. One day Helen thinks it would be fun to change places and they swap clothes, hairstyles etc. But Ellie likes the attention and enjoys being Helen so refuses to swap back. This leaves Helen stuck in the “personality” of Ellie which gradually because hers when no one believes what has happened to her.
I found this such a sad book and was totally frustrated by it. The girls mother Margaret is awful! How 2 small girls can fool their own mother is totally unrealistic in my opinion but there are many hidden layers in this well executed debut novel and so you suspend believe as you get sucked into the story. It’s a moral tale of how we act when we are pigeon holed into a specific role in life. My twins have taken place in studies since they were very young to see if it is nurture or nature that defines who we become as an adult. In this case, mental illness in the twins as adults is thought-provoking in very different ways, both girls affected by the differing life experiences and the personalities they took on.
Our main focus is Helen-who-becomes-Ellie and we don’t get such an insight into Ellie. I would have liked more of her story if I’m honest to get a balanced idea of why things happened and how and why she reacted the way she did. But that didn’t spoil my reading experience of this disturbing insight into how society defines us from a very early age. I will certainly look out for books by this author in the future.
I received a copy of the book from a competition giveaway in The Book Club.
Beside Myself is available to buy at Amazon UK

Dont Say A Word by Jennifer Jaynes

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Death has always stalked single mother Allie Callahan. For the first time in her life, she has found a fragile sort of happiness living a quiet, peaceful existence in East Texas with her young son, Sammy, and her adoptive mother.

Still, Allie fears she may be susceptible to the same mental illness that destroyed her serial-killer mother and brother. She’s haunted by the idea that she could become incapable of caring for Sammy.

When twelve-year-old twins Zoe and Carrie arrive on her doorstep late one night, their parents slain in a vicious double homicide, Allie’s strength and sanity are put to the test. What did the twins see on the night of their parents’ horrific murder? They are too frightened to say.

Soon faced with a series of menacing phone calls, a rising body count, and the pressure of keeping the girls and her own son safe, Allie fears she’ll lose her mind—and her one shot at happiness—once and for all.

I reviewed Don’t Say a Word by Jennifer Jaynes in May 2016

The Silent Twin by Caroline Mitchell

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I’m alone in the dark, please can you find me …

Nine-year-old twins Abigail and Olivia vow never to be parted. But when Abigail goes missing from Blackwater Farm, DC Jennifer Knight must find her before it’s too late.

Twin sister Olivia has been mute since Abigail’s disappearance. But when she whispers in Jennifer’s ear, Jennifer realises it is Abigail’s voice pleading to be found.

A damp and decaying house set in acres of desolate scrubland, the farm is a place of secrets, old and new – and Jennifer must unravel them all in order to find the lost girl. But could Olivia’s bond with her twin hold the key to finding Abigail? And can Jennifer break through her silence in time to save her sister’s life?
The Silent Twin: A dark, gripping detective thriller (Detective Jennifer Knight Crime Thriller Series Book 3) is available to buy at Amazon UK

Too Close by Gayle Curtis

This is going to be next next “twin read” and here is the blurb..

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A devastating and unsettling story of a powerful and unshakeable twin bond, Too Close is a twisty and gripping tale of secrets and lies. For fans of The Twins by Saskia Sarginson.

Cecelia and Sebastian have a connection like no other – more than just brother and sister, they’ll go to any lengths to protect each other. Growing up in a bleak old farmhouse, their mother gone and their father violent and abusive, the twins have only each other to keep them alive.

But when the secrets of their mother’s disappearance start to emerge, and truth and lies are thrown into question, events take a terrifying turn . . .

As Cecelia tries to break away from the ties that bind her to her brother, Sebastian is determined that the twins should be together – whatever the costs.

 

So that’s just a few of the twin books that have come out in 2016 so far! Have you read any others that I might have missed? And after reading these books I thank my lucky stars that MY twins come with a lot less drama. Happy birthday girls!!

It’s Friday!

I haven’t been able to read as much this week due to it being the school Easter Holidays but I did manage to read a fair few books over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The Missing by C L Taylor

The Good Mother by A L Bird

Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean and Me by Caroline James

Bloq by Alan Jones

Vulnerable (Morgan’s of Nashville #4) by Mary Burton

Denied by Marissa Farrar

I attended a launch party for the 20th book release titled Denied by the LOVELY Marissa Farrar and was very excited to win a prize which is winging its way to me as I write this! Thankfully not full sized 😉

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So I am currently reading two books (real book downstairs and Kindle in bed is usually the way I roll nowadays-more real books since I started blogging!) I am still reading the #MysteryThriller which I LOVE and is going to be huge this summer. Keep an eye out as there could be some very exciting news regarding a cover reveal for this one TODAY!! Follow on my Twitter feed as I will retweet as soon as I can. The book I am reading on my Kindle is Tastes like Fear by Sarah Hilary so expect a review soon.

I had two approvals on netgalley this week..

I also got a free sample of S.K Tremaynes newest book on Amazon this week. I loved The Ice Twins (anyone who knows me knows I am a totally sucker for books about twins!) So was excited to get a free taster of The Fire Child. Anyone interested can download their own sample Here

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Have a lovely weekend full of books and finishing off those Easter eggs!