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Forget Me Not By Claire Allan

Forget Me Not‘Forget Me Not’ is the latest book by Claire Allan.

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road. Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth. When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything. But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

‘Forget Me Not’ is the latest chilling thriller from Claire Allan and definitely leaves you double checking the doors before you go to bed.

In this story we meet Elizabeth, an elderly woman who when out walking her dog comes across a woman assaulted on the road, just as Elizabeth phones for help, the woman dies in her arms. Rachel is heartbroken that her best friend has been murdered, but it seems that the killer wasn’t only after Clare. Rachel, her other friend Julie and even Elizabeth is now being hunted, with threatening notes and bunches of Forget Me Notes left at their doors.

The story is fast paced and is written over a short period of time and in that time a lot happens! Rachel is unhappy in her marriage and finds herself in the middle of a nightmare when her best friend is brutally killed and herself and her family are being terrorised. I felt myself sympathising with Rachel, she seems a kind woman, but her marriage is feeling unsatisfied and she finds herself looking elsewhere for attention.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth has never fully recovered from the sudden death of her only daughter and finds the days long without company.

I used to read Claire’s romantic novels and even though I enjoyed them, she has really found her voice in thrillers. Her writing is clever and her characters are flawed, relatable and that really pull the reader in. In this story, we meet two women who are fundamentally quite lonely in life and struggling, whether it’s a death of a child or an unhappy marriage and for me this made for poignant and gripping reading. As both women find themselves battling against time to save their lives and figure out why they have become the attention of a killer.

Throughout the story, we meet suspicious characters, that puts doubt into the readers’ minds, but nothing prepares the reader for the revelation at the end.

Another thing that I love about Claire’s writing is the colloquialisms and for me, coming from Northern Ireland this adds an element of charm to the dark story.

Suspenseful from the first page, ‘Forget Me Not’ is an exciting and menacing story that will have the reader bursting to reach the final page.

You can buy ‘Forget Me Not’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

I Heart Hawaii By Lindsey Kelk

I Heart HawaiiSad times for Lindsey Kelk’s as ‘I Heart Hawaii’ is the eighth and final book in the ‘I Heart’ series.

When Angela Clark’s best friend Jenny invites her to join a press trip to Hawaii, three days of sun, sea and sleep sounds like the perfect antidote to her crazed life. At work in New York, she’s supposed to be the face of Having It All. But the only thing Angela feels she excels at is hiding in the printer cupboard, eating Mini Cheddars and watching Netflix on her phone and if this is living the dream, she’s more than ready to wake up. A few days away with Jenny sounds like exactly what she needs but Angela’s talent for getting into a scrape guarantees nothing goes to plan – and not even the most beautiful beaches, blue skies and daiquiris will get her off the hook.

It’s fair to say that Lindsey Kelk has delivered the final ‘I Heart’ book in the series with a bang.

With a rather unsettling start that leaves the reader on their toes, the story flashes back to a year earlier when Angela is about to start her new job, after having her baby Alice with rockstar husband Alex. She’s trying to cram everything into her life, but as per usual nothing is ever straightforward for her and she finds herself on a work trip to Hawaii with some of her best friends. This is the perfect time to relax, catch up with friends but instead she finds caught up in drama involving losing numerous phones, dealing with being away from Alex and Alice as well as questioning her own path in life. All these scenarios are delivered Lindsey’s trademark wit and sass that really does make for fun reading, but there is also some lovely poignant moments as Angela reflects on life as being mother and the fears that she has along the way.

I was a bit late coming to the ‘I Heart’ series but I have to say that it was one of the best book series that I’ve had to enjoy over the years. Angela has always had my heart, she’s fun, confident and a woman I aspire to be. She manages to get herself into some entertaining and outrageous situations that always made for fun reading as well as being the best friend that any person could ask for. Lindsey has an unique voice when it comes to writing, with funny phrases and scenarios that always manage to grip my attention, so much so with this book as I read it one day!

What was particularly nice about ‘I Heart Hawaii’ was the addition of Billy Buskins from Giovanna Fletcher’s books as well as Johnny Jefferson from Paige Toon’s stories, as all three women are good friends and would book tour together.

Deliciously funny and riddled with social media, high maintenance mothers and a picturesque location, Lindsey has delivered the final book beautifully, it has the humour, the glamour and the drama that we have all come to love, but it also has an element of sadness to it as she closes the final chapter on Angela’s life which does make for bittersweet reading. Can’t wait to see what’s next for Lindsey!

You can pre-order ‘I Heart Hawaii’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from May 30th 2019.

If You Could Go Anywhere By Paige Toon

If You Could Go Anywhere‘If You Could Go Anywhere’ is the latest book by Paige Toon.

Angie has always wanted to travel. But at 27, she has still never left her small mining town in the Australian outback. When her grandmother passes away, Angie finally feels free to see the world – until she discovers a letter addressed to the father she never knew and is forced to question everything. As Angie sets off on her journey to find the truth – about her family, her past and who she really is – will enigmatic stranger Alessandro help guide the way?

Everytime I read a Paige Toon book, I always come away with the same conclusion, this is Paige’s best book and with ‘If You Could Go Anywhere’ I totally had the same reaction, I read this book in two seatings and my only regret was that I didn’t read it in one!

The story is seen solely through the narrative of Angie, stuck in small Australian mining town, she always wanted to see the world but became the sole carer for her grandmother and any dreams of travelling the world were quickly shelved when her grandmother became ill. When her grandmother passes, Angie wonders what’s next for her in life now that all her family are gone until she discovers a letter and finds out her father is alive and well in Italy.

So begins the opportunity of a lifetime, to finally travel and meet the family she never knew she had. It’s on this journey that Angie really begins to figure out her place in life as well as meet Allesandro, a man who who is part of her family and who has taken Angie underneath his wing, so much so that she wonders if she really wants to return to the old life that she had back in Australia.

I genuinely loved this story. Angie is a fantastic character, she’s funny, warmhearted and completely unaware of the effects of her simple, kind gestures has on others. As she settles into life in Italy, we see her develop into a confident woman, discovering her roots as well as understanding her heritage. Her interactions with her father, are emotional and occasionally awkward as he shares stories of her mother, that she tragically never met and likes her understand the type of woman she was. Allesandro was also a great character, not only was he Angie’s tour guide of the city, he was also the person that she felt most comfortable with.

Paige’s stories are always emotional and inspirational journey’s but I found it much more with her latest book. This story isn’t just a romantic tale, it’s magical, charming and with the vivid descriptions of Rome that made me instantly want to book a holiday! A brilliantly written story of love, grief and new horizons, ‘If You Could Go Anywhere’, is an uplifting and poignant story about finding your way in life.

You can buy If You Could Go Anywhere from Amazon and is be available to buy from good bookshops.

The Girl Before You By Nicola Rayner

The Girl Before You‘The Girl Before You’ is Nicola Rayner’s debut novel.

Alice has always been haunted by the women from her husband’s past. As an MP and now a TV personality, George Bell’s reputation as a ladies’ man precedes him. But when Alice falls pregnant, her unease becomes an obsession. And there’s one ex in particular she can’t get out of her head: a beautiful student George dated in his first year, who went missing before they finished university. Ruth. When Alice sees a woman who looks just like Ruth, she can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to her disappearance than George has been telling her. But does she really want to know what her husband has been getting up to behind her back all these years?

This is Nicola’s debut and it really is an interesting read. The story flows in the past and present tense leading up to the disappearance of Ruth Walker, an adventurous young woman who disappears when one night and everyone assumes she is dead after her shoes and bag were left on the beach.

The story is seen from the narrative of Kat, Ruth’s friend, her sister Naomi and Alice, who’s convinced she saw has seen Ruth on her train.

She’s convinced that she saw one day and begins to investigate Ruth’s disappearance as well as her husband’s behaviour when he was at the same university as them. Her George is quite an unlikable character, he’s cocky, arrogant and has quite the disregard for women. Kat is best friends with Ruth, even though she’s in love with the man who’s besotted with Ruth. The scenes with Kat are the past tense leading up to Ruth’s disappearance and give an insight into Ruth’s personality and the mystery surrounding her.

As the three women tell their story, there’s a sense of paranoia and suspense throughout the story, as the women question whether Ruth died on that fateful. But as their obsession develops, we see them delve into something much darker and sinister than they ever imagined.

A cleverly written thriller that really pulls the reader in, ‘The Girl Before You’ is filled with interesting and complex characters that are all quite unreliable at times that they all become suspects in the story, that leaves the reader on the edge of their seats throughout.

You can pre-order ‘The Girl Before You By Nicola Rayner’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 22nd August 2019.

Degrees Of Guilt By HS Fields

Degrees Of Guilt‘Degrees of Guilt’ is HS Fields debut novel.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder. She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead. Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate. She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out. You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent. You will be wrong.

I’ve really come to enjoy Helen Fields writing over the years, with her DI Callanach series, so when a new book was released called ‘Degrees Of Guilt’ by Orion Publishing, I was curious to see what this court room drama had to offer. I started reading it on Saturday morning and didn’t put down until it was finished, as it was a bloody brilliant book.

The story is seen from two perspectives. It starts with Maria Bloxham phoning the police to tell them that she has killed her husband. Her husband, Dr Edward Bloxhom is a highly regarded consultant on environmental issues with a huge following, but he survived her attack with life changing injuries and Maria has been charged with attempted murder. The perspective is from Lottie, a young married mother who has been called for jury service on this complex case. She’s looking for more in her life than to be recognised as a mother and wife and finds herself relating to Maria in some ways. But as the story develops and Maria’s life is revealed, the jury finds themselves conflicted with their emotions and morals and unable to agree on their verdicts. It’s within this jury that Lottie meets Cameron, a passionate and outspoken man who brings out a new side in Lottie and has left her questioning the life that she’s currently leading.

Maria was a character that I felt a huge amount of empathy and sympathy towards. A deeply unhappy woman who thought she had found her Prince Charming over twenty years ago and instead was subject to years of emotional and psychological abuse with no one to confide in and reach out to. When she finally thought she was free from his grasp, she felt relief but instead was then subject to intense interrogation questioning her sanity in a crowded court where people are judging her.

There are so many reasons that I enjoyed this book, the story is cleverly weaved with two very different women, one the defendant and the other in the jury but both ultimately looking are for the same things in life. I loved Maria, she’s a strong woman, a voice for the people out there who have been subject to abuse and finally decided this was her time and she didn’t really matter what her future held as long as it didn’t feature Edward.

An addictive story of revenge and justice, ‘Degrees Of Guilt’, is a deeply dark and thrilling story that grips the reader from the very first sentence.

You can buy ‘Degrees Of Guilt’ from Amazon as an ebook and will be available from good bookshops from 5th September 2019.