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The Other Passenger By Louise Candlish

'The Other Passenger‘The Other Passenger’ is the latest book by Louise Candlish.

It all happens so quickly. One day you’re living the dream, commuting to work by riverbus with your charismatic neighbour Kit in the seat beside you. The next, Kit hasn’t turned up for the boat and his wife Melia has reported him missing.When you get off at your stop, the police are waiting. Another passenger saw you and Kit arguing on the boat home the night before and the police say that you had a reason to want him dead. You protest. You and Kit are friends – ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is this other passenger pointing the finger? What do they know about your lives?

Having won best crime and thriller book at the British Book Awards for her previous book called ‘Our House’ you’re always guaranteed a gripping and gasping book journey with Louise Candlish.

Like Louise’s previous books, the book starts right at the key moment that something significant has happened and then travels back to the time leading up to it and after.

After giving up a high powered job in marketing due to the claustrophobic commute, Jamie decides to work in a less pressurised job in a cafe that involves a compute on a river boat. It’s whilst on this river boat that he makes friends with Kit, a young man with a lust for partying and his stunning girlfriend Melia who works with Jamie’s wife Clare.

The four of them become firm friends despite the age difference until one day Kit disappears and the finger of blame is pointed at Jamie.

The story is primarily seen through the perspective of Jamie, which makes for interesting reading. He’s a character that envies Kit and Melia, a young couple who enjoy partying and socialising whilst Jamie’s partner prefers a slower pace of life. As the story progresses we see Jamie go from being a simple man to a man fuelled by lust and power and it’s fascinating to see this transition.

With short and snappy chapters, complex characters with a sharp and plausible plot line that really grabs the readers attention, this book was a great thriller to get absorbed in. An exciting masterpiece of suspense and drama, Louise has delivered another rollercoaster of a story with ‘The Other Passenger’ with an ending that certainly rivals that last line from ‘Our House’.

You can pre-order ‘The Other Passenger’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 25th June 2020.

The Secret Seaside Escape By Heidi Swain

The Secret Seaside Escape ‘The Secret Seaside Escape’ is the latest book by Heidi Swain.

Tess Tyler needs a break. Weighed down by her high-pressure job and her demanding father, she’s left little time to take care of herself. But after a shocking discovery sends her spiralling, she flees to Wynmouth, the seaside town she fell in love with as a child, to escape it all. With its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community, Tess feels like she can finally breathe again. And as she grows ever closer to local barman Sam, she dares to dream that she might never return to her real life. But when a familiar face returns to town, Tess realises that there are secrets in Wynmouth too, and that her own past may be about to catch up with her.

I’ve only read two books by Heidi and both books were exactly what I needed. Heartwarming with lovely characters against the backdrop of the seaside.

Tess decides to return to her childhood holiday retreat when life in her busy marketing role becomes too much. Recovering from her mother’s death, she needs a change of scenery and goes to the sweetly named Crow’s Nest Cottage in Wynmouth. It’s whilst she’s there that she begins to relax and enjoy life whilst making new friends and becoming part of the bustling village.

This book is the perfect book to curl up with. Tess is a lovely, kind relatable character, she’s warm and immediately fits into the village with her enthusiasm and charm wanting to share her knowledge and skills with the locals to make their businesses thrive. It’s whilst she’s away on this retreat is that she makes some discoveries about herself and her family. Tess isn’t the only lovely character in the story, there’s also Sam, Joe and Sophie, who all add their own charm and warmth to the seaside story.

Heidi has written a gorgeous heartwarming and fun love story about family secrets and new beginnings against sandy beaches, with such vivid imagery that you can almost feel the sand between your toes. The perfect escapism story to enjoy right now.

You can buy ‘The Secret Seaside Escape’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Escape To The French Farmhouse By Jo Thomas

Escape To The French Farmhouse‘Escape To The French Farmhouse’ is the latest book by Jo Thomas.

Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier…a new life in France – without Ollie. Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? Discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?

Last night I curled up with this book with the intention of only reading a few chapters. Fast forward three hours later and I finally put the book down after being unable to put the book until I finished the stories of Del and her new adventures in France.

I genuinely loved this book, everything in it was so vibrant from the setting, the characters as well the dialogue.

Del is a great character, she’s a brave woman who decides that her marriage isn’t working and makes the courageous decision to stay France whilst her husband returns to England. Alone and a stranger, Del decides to embrace the French way and to earn a few euros by making use of the lavender fields beside her house in recipes. With the help of her new friends Carine, Henri and the glorious Fabien, she establishes herself as a successful baker in the small town as well as an valuable asset to the small town.

Everything in this story is so lovely, from the interactions with the characters, the beautiful settings which is described so vividly to the lavender fields that leap off the pages. The story is wonderfully written with relatable characters particularly Dell. The one thing that she dreamt off was to have a family, but feels at a loss that she can’t and begins to doubt her worth, but in this new surrounding she emerges a great strong woman who helps so many people in the town and making such significant changes, from helping the homeless and poor.

A story of heart and community, ‘Escape To The French Farmhouse’ is a beautifully written story about new friendships and new beginnings, this book was a captivating story from the first page.
You can buy ‘Escape To The French Farmhouse’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Like A House On Fire By Caroline Hulse

Like A House On Fire‘Like A House On Fire’ is the latest book by Caroline Hulse.

Things Stella and George have had blazing rows about:

– Misquoting Jurassic Park
– Leaving a Coke can on the side of the bath
– Fitting car seats for their hypothetical kids

In other news, they’re getting divorced. But first, Stella’s mum is throwing a murder mystery party and – with her dad losing his job, her mum’s recent diagnosis, and some very odd behaviour from her sister – now is not the time to tell everyone.

I loved Caroline’s previous book called ‘The Adults’ so I was delighted to receive a copy of her new one about another dysfunctional family.

After years of being together, the non stop arguing has finally forced George and Stella apart, they thought they were in it for the long haul but now they are seeing a marriage counsellor separately to try to sort themselves out. Even though they have finished, Stella has asked George to attend her parents anniversary dinner, a murder mystery night for last time before they break the news, but it seems that there are more than just Stella and George keeping secrets.

This book is a wonderful and relatable story, concentrating on the demise of a relationship and how the smallest of things can trigger an argument. Both Stella and George are great characters, both are outspoken and proud and moments between them vary from volatile to tender as they reflect back on their years.

The story takes place at a murder mystery party that Margaret, Stella’s mother has organised and there’s a wide array of personalities involved from Cheryl who’s been taken the murder very seriously to Scott, the seedy entrepreneur that Stella lost her virginity to.

The story is seen most from the perspectives of George and Stella but there are insights from other members of the family, Margaret the controlling mother, who’s planned for the perfect night to go without a hitch, Tommy the father who for all his kindness seems to be constantly offending something and Helen, Stella’s oldest sister who’s been portrayed as the perfect one.

Each character is struggling with something and as the story progresses we seen a family that are usually at loggerheads begin to bond with each other. A witty and warm-hearted story about the dynamics of family and relationships, ‘Like A House On Fire’ is an observant and deeply human story from start to finish with sharp one liners and flawed characters that made for truly enjoyable reading.

You can buy ‘Like A House On Fire’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops

Very Nearly Normal By Hannah Sunderland

Very Nearly Normal‘Very Nearly Normal’ is the debut novel by Hannah Sunderland.

Matilda ‘Effie’ Heaton has always felt like she’s swimming against the tide. Everyone around her has life sorted, but Effie’s living with her parents and crying into a wine bottle at night. The only thing she loves is her job at a bookshop, where she can lose herself in other people’s stories. But then she meets Theo, who knows only too well that life isn’t something to take for granted. Because Theo has a life-changing secret, and as Effie starts to realise that she’s falling in love instead of falling apart, fate steps in and deals her a new hand. And this time, the stakes are high.

If you’re looking for a warm and funny story then I would wholeheartedly recommend this story.

Seen from the perspective of Effie, a sarcastic and moody woman, who’s upset that she’s not the successful writer she aspired to be. Instead she lives with her parents, working in a bookshop and she begrudges everyone else’s happiness. When a Tinder date ends in disaster with a handsome stranger coming to her rescue called Theo and helps her end life through a different lens only to disappear.

I loved this story, the characters are great. Effie is outspoken, fun and completely relatable. She’s tried of the falseness of social media and the filters that people put on their lives and wishes she didn’t envy everyone else’s happiness. She works in a bookshop with with a manager called Arthur and I loved the scenes and banter between the two of them. When Theo comes into Effie, we see a softer side to her, she becomes gentler, more open minded and it’s lovely to see her progress as well as the relationship and Theo makes her value and understand the important things in life.

I also loved Theo, handsome and funny, he helps Effie realise her worth and when he disappeared I did find myself longing for his return.

A quirky and uplifting love story that is filled with funny and relatable characters, with a plot that travels at a lovely pace. ‘Very Nearly Normal’ is by a new voice in female fiction, a voice that made me giggle at witty dialogue, fun situations and makes you appreciate the smaller things in life.

You can buy ‘Very Nearly Normal’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshop.