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The Betrayals By Fiona Neill

The Betrayals‘The Betrayals’ is the latest book by Fiona Neill.

Best friends Rosie and Lisa’s families had always been inseparable. But that summer, Lisa had an affair with Rosie’s husband Nick. And now, after years of silence, she sends Rosie a letter begging for help. A letter which exposes dark secrets. Daughter Daisy’s fragile hold on reality begins to unravel. Teenage son Max blames himself for everything that happened that long hot summer. And Nick must confront his own version of events.

It’s not often that I struggle with a book, but for me ‘The Betrayals’ was a difficult book to get into, filled with a complex and unlikable characters. Towards the end, I was almost looking forward to finishing it.

The story is seen from the perspective of the Rankin’s family, who all suffered badly when father, Nick was exposed for having an affair with Lisa, the best friend of his wife, Rosie. After this exposure is revealed, Daisy becomes unwell and develops OCD, creating many routines. She becomes consumed with the OCD, fearing that if she doesn’t act out her routines, that Rosie will die. Her illness spreads to her younger brother Max, who also becomes consumed, having to placate his sister and understand her reasons.

But just as Daisy finally recovers, her old symptoms reappear when Nick announces his engagement to Lisa, suddenly she’s counting in times of three and constantly having to check the knife drawer, all whilst fearing for her mothers safety. She tries to hide her illness but Max is fine attuned to her symptoms and begins to fear for her. But he’s other things on his mind, having met the mysterious Connie, an older woman who’s taken his heart. He finds Daisy irritating and is angry that she’s constantly looking for his attention and support.

Whilst the children deal with sudden reappearance of Lisa in their lives, Rosie throws herself into her work and Tinder, meeting men to distract her from what is going on around her.

Nick is paying for his infidelity, even though he loves Lisa dearly, he clearly regrets how things have turned out and how little his children think of him. He scares off his future and how bleak it will be without Lisa in his life, he pleads for her to seek proper treatment but she decides to go the alternative route, convinced that her cancer is her punishment for cheating on her best friend.

The story is written in the past and present tense. Going back to the time, when the affair was revealed and how it affected people particularly Daisy, who’s version of events is different to others.

The characters are complicated and self absorbed, all caught up in their own dramas and constantly seeking reassurance or forgiveness. At times, I found their neediness and drama irritating and just couldn’t find them relatable or engaging and also felt the sorry could have been wrapped up a lot sooner.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Fiona Neill and I’m disappointed that I didn’t enjoy it, although she is an author that I would like to look into, with the success of her previous book ‘The Good Girl’ which is on my TBR pile. Sadly, ‘The Betrayals’, a dark and obsessive story about lust and friendships just wasn’t for me.

You can pre-order The Betrayals from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 10th August 2017.

The Forever House By Veronica Henry

The “Forever House‘The Forever House’ is the latest book by Veronica Henry.

Hunter’s Moon is the ultimate ‘forever’ house. Nestled by a river in the Peasebrook valley, it has been the Willoughbys’ home for over fifty years, and now estate agent Belinda Baxter is determined to find the perfect family to live there. But the sale of the house unlocks decades of family secrets – and brings Belinda face to face with her own troubled past.

I started this book the other night and fell in love with the bittersweet tale.

When Sally’s husband, Alexander is diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease, they decide to sell up the family home, for something a lot more easier to manage. The home called ‘Hunter’s Moon’ has been in Alexander’s family for generations and holds many memories for the family and both Sally and Alex, as it was the place that they fell in love in, when Sally was hired as the family housekeeper many years. Deciding to move out of my their happy home, they invest their trust into Belinda Baxter, the local estate agent who invests her time and dedication to helping people find their forever home, the kind and gentle woman who feels an empathy towards the elderly couple.

The story is told in the past and present tense, when Sally and Alexander first met back in 1967 and Sally was employed as housekeeper for Hunter’s Moon, when Alexander’s mother, Margot was a bestselling author and invested all her time in writing and let the house go to wrack and ruin, but then Alexander met Sally and thought she would be perfect, homely and organised, she settled into Hunter’s Moon and quickly became part of the family. The present tense, is the elderly couple having to deal with the double blow of leaving their home as well as deal with Alexander’s as they both notice his health deteriorating. Meanwhile, Belinda has her own problems as she tries to find the perfect buyer for Hunter’s Moon, her past reappears bringing with them unhappy memories and old ghosts.

This is truly, a lovely story. It’s a warm hearted and whimsical tale that is filled with charm as well as sadness, as Sally and Alexander prepare to leave their family home and deal with his illness. The scenes about Motor Neurone disease were sensitively written and researched well and I felt a strong empathy for Alexander as he challenged the changes in his body. The relationship between Sally and Alexander is a tender and interesting one, reading through the past chapters, it’s lovely how they went from friends to lovers and how seamlessly their relationship developed. Margot, Alexander’s mother was a vibrant character, self absorbed and dramatic, she loved being the centre of attention and struggled when this wasn’t the case. I particularly loved Belinda, her warm and soft nature and genuine care for clients made for sweet reading and I really empathised with her at times.

Beautifully written, ‘The Forever House’ is a poignant tale of love and loss, with tender characters and storyline, this book was an absolute feel good page turner.

You can buy The Forever House from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops

My Sister’s Wedding By Vicky Pattison

My Sisters Wedding's‘My Sister’s Wedding’ is the latest book by Vicky Pattison.

The Ashworth sisters couldn’t be more different. Becky is focused, driven and about to marry her lovely fiancé, Daniel Balfour. Lizzie, on the other hand, bounces from one temp job to another, keeps falling for the wrong man and is a whirlwind of chaos in Becky’s otherwise well-ordered life. But they love each other fiercely and the Ashworth way has always been family comes first. As preparations for Becky and Daniel’s wedding get underway, it soon becomes clear that the Ashworth way is not the Balfour way. Daniel’s family have never thought Becky was good enough for him but he loves her and that’s always been enough for the happy couple. But when Lizzie gets caught in the crossfire between Becky and the Balfours, Becky and Lizzie find themselves drifting apart at a time when they need each other the most. Will they be able to repair the damage before Becky walks down the aisle?

‘My Sister’s Wedding’ is another delicious book by Vicky Pattison, hailed as her best book to date, this book is filled with sass and attitude about sibling love.

Becky is a successful book editor, completely in love with her long term boyfriend, Daniel so when he proposes to her, she’s delighted even though she’s not overly impressed with his snobby parents and bitchy socialite sister, Nicola. But as news spreads of their upcoming nuptials, Becky finds herself the centre of attention with paparazzi following her every step and suddenly everyone wants a piece of her. And as Becky finds her life coming together with a successful career and a new fiancée, her younger sister’s Lizzie’s is unravelling with no job, sleeping on her best friends sofa and hated by the public, Lizzie is delighted that her older sister is getting married but can’t help feeling left out.

I really enjoyed this book, combine ‘Made In Chelsea’ and ‘Geordie Shore’ and this book is the end result. The story is primarily seen through the eyes of both Becky and Lizzie and both perspectives made for entertaining reading.

I loved both leading ladies and both of them had characteristics that were quite similar to Vicky herself. Where, Becky is strong willed and opinionated, she is fiercely protective of her younger sister, Lizzie is wild, independent and with quick wit. They compliment each other so well and majority of their scenes together are hilarious and warm hearted, as Becky is not only the older sister but a maternal figure as the sisters mother left them.

Warm hearted and fun from the very beginning, this book was an easy read that flowed at a lovely pace. Wittily and cleverly written, Vicky writes honestly about the consequences of being a reality star, the following photographers, the jealousy and the loss of independence, she writes frankly with each positivity, there is negativity.

An engaging and enjoyable read, ‘My Sister’s Wedding’ is a witty and romantic tale that was another great story from Vicky Pattison.

You can buy My Sister’s Wedding from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The People At Number 9 By Felicity Everett

The People At Number 9‘The People At Number 9’ is the second book by Felicity Everett.

Sara and Neil have new neighbours in their street. Glamorous and chaotic, Gav and Lou make Sara’s life seem dull. As the two couples become friends, sharing suppers, red wine and childcare, it seems a perfect couples-match. But the more Sara sees of Gav and Lou, the more she longs to change her own life. But those changes will come at a price.

This book is a twisted and dark story of jealously and lust.

Originally, when Lou and Gav moved into the house next door, Sara was in awe of the bohemian couple with their glamorous careers, successful friends and endless parties. Sara envies them and can only look at her quieter less exciting life with contempt. So she edges closer to the couple, befriending them and becoming more than a just next door neighbour but an intricate part of their lives, offering advice, babysitting and eventually teaching the children. In return, Lou and Gav give Sara the confidence to leave her job and follow her dream of becoming an author and allow her to be part of their clique.

Caught up in the couple’s exciting lifestyle, Sara begins to dislike her own, finds her husband boring and constantly comparing their lives. But as she spends more time with the couple, Sara begins to notice that Lou and Gav aren’t as perfect as she initially thought and begins to see another side to seemingly perfect couple.

When I initially started this book, I was disappointed to see that the perspective of the story was only seen through the eyes of Sara, I was hoping to see how the other people were settling into the new neighbourhood, but this was infact a clever move by the author, as for me Sara was the most interesting character.

She’s quite an unlikable person, regularly swaying from dark emotions from jealously and obsession, she becomes consumed by the new arrivals and wants nothing more than to belong to their luxurious lifestyle leaving her old friends behind and looks down on them for not being as exciting as Lou and Gav.

She’s selfish and self absorbed but also relatable as she idolises their couple and the life that she would long to have.

Cleverly written with intriguing and mysterious social butterflies, that made for unsettling reading, this book gripped me on all levels.

A dark and voyeuristic story of jealously and obsession, ‘The People At Number 9’ is about the complexities of friendships particularly female, and deals with the raw emotions that we all try to hide.

You can buy The People at Number 9 from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

That’s Your Lot By Limmy

That's Your Lot‘That’s Your Lot’ is the second book by Limmy.

This is Limmy’s second book. It’s a whole load of new, odd, and hilariously grim short stories. Tom is in a soft play with his daughters. He’s bored. He’s so bored he can move things with his mind. A man fills up a mate’s biscuit tin without ever telling him, to see what happens. Maggie’s boyfriend Iain bought a curtain. It keeps attacking them. She wants it out the house. A man is sitting in his wheelie bin at two in the morning, and he wants to tell you why. Kenny’s mate Scott is suicidal and ridden with guilt. Kenny takes him on holiday to Benidorm. It’ll be some laugh.

I first became aware of Limmy, a few years ago, my partner was a fan of his sketches and introduced me to his dark and eccentric mind, I came to enjoy his shows and some of the characters that he created.

When we heard that he was doing a tour for his new book called ‘That’s Your Lot’, we jumped at the chance to see the man in the flesh and got the chance to get our copies of the book signed.

I spent the following day, absorbed in the book, only putting it down to replenish cups of tea or for toilet breaks.

’That’s Your Lot’ is Limmy’s second book and is another collection of short stories. The stories are short, snappy and easy to consume in one sitting. They vary from deeply dark and disturbing such as ‘The Icon’, about an app icon that kills people to stories that I felt an empathy with, like ‘Boxset’ about a man who’s raging with his partner for watching an episode of a show without him and, I’m sure at one point in our lives, we have all felt like that when our partners sneaked ahead with ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘Games Of Thrones’.

His writing goes to dark and ridiculous places that had me laughing at but occasionally he touched on other more serious subjects such as loneliness and depression that really did change the style and tempo of the book.

The thing that I enjoyed most about ‘That’s Your Lot’ was the engagement and the style of writing, Limmy writes as he speaks, there’s no formalities, it’s pure Glaswegian throughout and for me, I found this to be comfortable and enjoyable reading, it almost felt I was sitting in the pub and Limmy was reading the stories to me.

With a black cover that gives absolutely nothing away, ’That’s Your Lot’, is a unique blend of comedic and peculiar stories, with an original spin on relationships, interior design and everyday life, Limmy brings to life some of things we fear to say or do incase we are judged but delivers it in an original style that will have you snorting throughout.

You can buy That’s Your Lot from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.