Skip to content

Our Little Secret By Claudia Carroll

Our Little Secret ‘Our Little Secret’ is the latest book by bestselling Irish author, Claudia Carroll.

Sarah Dee has the perfect life. A high-flying job in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and a house to die for. So how does she find herself looking in through the kitchen window while another woman enjoys it all?
When Sarah takes pity on a struggling young graduate who can’t get a job, she thinks she’s doing the right thing. She’s being kind, generous and helpful to others, as she always is. But as Sarah allows the younger woman into her home, her law firm and even her family, is there more to this pretty youngster than meets the eye? And could this be a good deed that goes further than expected?

Claudia is back is another gripping and heart warming book, filled with her familiar mix of entertaining characters and Irish charm.

In this book, we meet three females. Sarah, her daughter Darcy and her best friend Liz. Sarah, is a single mother, who’s marriage recently split up. She’s a busy solicitor and her job and do-gooding takes up a lot of her time much to the annoyance of her only teenage daughter, Darcy, who spends a lot of her time mad at the world and mad at Sarah. Whilst, Liz has been Sarah’s friend for years, been there through the bad times and provides much entertainment in the story.

One day, Sarah meets Lauren, a trainee beautician who confides in Sarah that she is actually a qualified solicitor and is desperate to get into a firm. With a huge heart and kind spirit, Sarah takes it upon herself to train Lauren into being the best intern possible when a job becomes available at her practice. But, Sarah doesn’t stop at finding Lauren the perfect job, she also invites her to live in her house and start living the life she always dreamt off.

Lauren’s life has been far from perfect, orphaned and broke, she’s scrabbled and saved all her life, wanting to make a better life for herself. Sarah immediately falls for Lauren and her maternal instinct kicks in, she takes Lauren in under her wing and wants to help those poor unfortunate woman out who’s had such a hard life but her best friend Liz, is dubious about Lauren and her story and this causes tension between the two friends. Meanwhile, Darcy is going through a difficult time, still reeling from her parents separation, experimenting with drink and boys and is feeling peer pressure to fit in. She enjoys Lauren’s company, she sees her as an older sister, being fun whilst offering advice when Sarah isn’t around.

As the story progresses, it gets quite darker, as Lauren settles in, Sarah becomes uncertain of her new friend and begins to wonder if she was lied to, as Lauren regularly oversteps the mark, in both professional and personal life.

The story is seen through three narratives and all three voices made for interesting reading. Sarah is a kind woman who is always looking out for the underdog, when she meets Lauren she’s determined to help her get a better life and it’s interesting how the tables turn in the relationship. Once confident and happy, she becomes uncertain and wonders if her bolshy outspoken friend was right about her opinions, as Lauren tries to take over all aspects of her life. Liz tries to bite her lip, but she has serious doubts about Lauren and this really affects their friendship. She is sharp witted and scenes with her really did make for funny reading. Whilst Darcy, adds an element of vulnerability to the tale, her innocence and desire for her parents to get back together does make for sweet reading.

Another cleverly written tale that holds the readers attention from page one. Seamlessly alternating between drama, humour and filled with Irish wit and banter that had me giggling throughout, Claudia has delivered a wonderfully thrilling and observational tale about friendship, female relationships and questions whether you always believe everything that you are told.

You can buy Our Little Secret from Amazon from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Secret Of Ivy Garden Book Tour – Extract

The Secrets Of Ivy GardenToday, I’m hosting the book tour for Catherine Ferguson’s new book, ‘The Secrets Of Ivy Garden’ and I’ve an extract from the sweet book. So, sit back, relax and enjoy.

Whenever I think of the Cotswolds, where Ivy lived the last decade of her life, I think of the row of pretty golden stone cottages skirting Appleton village green and the gnarled old oak tree by the cricket pavilion. In my mind, it’s always summer there and the sky is always blue.

But when I step off the train at Stroud – the nearest station to Appleton – I’m faced with a rather different view of the Cotswolds. Storms have been raging all week, causing destruction right across the country, and today appears to be no exception. I peer out of the station entrance at people scurrying for shelter from the steady drizzle and gusty wind.

I can’t afford to hang around. There’s only one bus to Appleton every two hours – and the next one leaves in ten minutes.

Grabbing a firmer hold of my suitcase, I start running for the bus station, dodging passers-by and puddles of rainwater. As long as the bus doesn’t leave early, I should just about make it.

And then it happens.

I round the corner a little too briskly, step to one side to avoid a man with a briefcase, and instead, cannon right into someone else.

Momentarily winded, I register the black habit and white veil the woman is wearing and my heart gives a sickening thud.

Oh God, I just nearly decked a religious person!

But worse is to come.

The nun, who I notice is remarkably tall, stops for a second to regain her balance. But she lists too far to one side and ends up staggering off the pavement into the water-logged gutter.

To say I’m mortified is a vast understatement.

‘I’m so, so sorry!’ I reach out to her, then draw back my hand, just in case she’s taken some kind of vow that forbids any form of physical contact during high winds. ‘God, are you all right?’

Shit, why did I have to say ‘God’?

She’s bending to retrieve her glasses, which mustn’t fit very well because they seem to have gone flying when she over-balanced. Her attempts at picking them up are failing miserably – so, flushed and overcome with guilt, I dive in, swipe them off the ground then rub them clean on my coat before handing them back.

She puts them on, almost stabbing herself in the eye, and that’s when I notice something odd. The glasses are attached to a large, false nose.

She sways and I grab her arm to steady her, wondering what on earth is going on.

‘Seen a bunch of people dressed as monks and nuns?’ she slurs in a voice that’s surprisingly full of gravel and several octaves lower than I was expecting.

‘Disappeared. And it’s my turn to get the beers in.’

Stunned, I shake my head. So not a nun, then. Not female either, come to that.

I glance at my watch.

Bugger!

Thanks to this stag-do buffoon, I’ve now missed the bus to Appleton and there won’t be another one along for at least two hours.

An arm snakes round my waist. ‘Hey, why don’t you come along? Join the pub crawl?’

Actually, how it sounds is Heywhydntcmlongjnpubcrawl? I stare up at his stupid false nose and black-rimmed glasses, the lenses of which are like jam jar bottoms. I’m amazed he can see through them. No wonder he charged right into me.

Like what you read? Then you can buy The Secrets Of Ivy Garden from Amazon

The Couple Next Door By Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door ‘The Couple Next Door’is the latest book by Shari Lapena and was awarded ‘WH Smith Book of the Year 2016’.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying. Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour. Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone. You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

Last year there was an awful lot of talk about ‘The Couple Next Door’ on social media, people were singing its praises and I was really curious to see what all the hype was about, so when it came next on my TBR pile, I grabbed it with both hands.

The story is about Marcus and Anne, a married couple with a 6 month old baby called Cora. On a rare night out and unable to get a babysitter, they leave Cora in their house next door and bring the baby monitor with them checking on her every half hour. But, it’s on their return that they discover that Cora has been snatched.

The story then follows as the couple become the prime suspects in the case, as the press and police point the finger of blame at them, particularly at them leaving their baby alone. As the story progresses, we delve deeper into the couples lives, the stress of both emotional and financial as parents and adjust to their new lives.

The book is cleverly written in a third person narrative and reads like an observation of both Anne and Marcus. It flows quickly between both of them as they struggle with being in the spotlight and trying to piece together their last moments with Cora. Both are complex characters, both with secrets that they have hidden from each other but as the story flows and the police investigate more, secrets are revealed and more people are convinced that they are involved.

Marcus has always felt inadequate to Anne’s family, they never really approved of him and show their true colours with Cora’s disappearance by making him feel unwanted and unloved whilst Anne struggles with post natal depression, she’s terrified she did something and blocked it out. An interesting addition to the tale is inclusion of the story being seen from the perspective of the detective, giving an insight to the police procedure.

With a fast paced story that keeps the reader on their toes and thoroughly engaged. ‘The Couple Next Door’ is a cunningly written tale, filled with unlikable and occasionally sympathetic characters plus plenty of suspects. Packed with tension, twists and a hell of an ending, this book is must definitely worthy of all the hype!

You can buy The Couple Next Door from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

When I Was Invisible By Dorothy Koomson

When I Was Invisible‘When I Was Invisible’ is the latest book by Dorothy Koomson.

In 1988, two eight-year-old girls with almost identical names and the same love of ballet meet for the first time. They seem destined to be best friends forever and to become professional dancers. Years later, however, they have both been dealt so many cruel blows that they walk away from each other into very different futures – one enters a convent, the other becomes a minor celebrity. Will these new, ‘invisible’ lives be the ones they were meant to live, or will they only find that kind of salvation when they are reunited twenty years later?

In Dorothy’s latest book, we meet two girls who both have the same names only with different spellings, Veronica Harper and Veronika Harper. To avoid confusion, Veronika is known as Nika whilst Veronica is known as Roni. They meet in primary school and sharing the same name plus their passion for ballet become inseparable, but life gets in the way of the friendship and two girls are pulled apart both moving in opposite directions and both living lives that they never dreamt off.

The story is written in both past and present tense and is seen through the narrative of two women, now grown up and trying to rebuild their lives from the secrets that they both ran from.

Running from her past Nika, is determined to get her life in order. Having left an abusive and public relationship and with no money, her only option is live on the streets, with a new identity and scrapes together some money to finally invest in setting up a new life for herself. But her journey isn’t an easy one, meeting many nasty characters along the way, Nika becomes a strong woman, that other unfortunate people come to looking for help and support. As she finally begins to get her life together, her past comes back to haunt her and new friendships begin to get in the way.

Whilst Nika is roaming the street, Roni has given her life to God and became a nun. Rather take a vow of silence than speak of what happened to her as a child, Roni has conflicted emotions about the path she decided to take and returns home, where she is greeted with a less than warm welcome. With an outspoken and pass remarkable uncle and a temperamental mother, she wonders what to do with her life and wonders about Nika, her once best friend.

As the story progresses, we meet two very strong and independent women who each have been dealt difficult and traumatising cards in life, but they share a secret, a secret that should have brought them together during a hard time but instead pulled them apart and made them into harder people who are wary of trusting people.

Like Dorothy’s previous books, she touches on serious issues of child and sexual abuse as well as homelessness, but she handles the topics with such sensitivity and compassion. Her books are gritty page turners, filled with relatable and engaging characters, that you create a bond with. An emotional and powerful story about friendship and new beginnings, ‘When I Was Invisible’ is a powerful and thought provoking book.

You can buy When I Was Invisible from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Book News – The Break By Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes

I am absolutely delighted to see that Marian Keyes will be returning to our bookshelves with a new book in September called ‘The Break’.

Not much has been revealed about Marian thirteenth novel, only that it tells the story of a relationship that “everyone thought was forever and which is now in danger of being for never”. The news was announced on The Bookseller website and according to her publisher, Michael Joseph, it is about discovering that you can’t take anyone or anything in life for granted.

“It is Marian Keyes at her hilarious and insightful best,” the publisher said.

Louise Moore, manager director of Michael Joseph, added: “Michael Joseph has the great privilege of publishing Marian’s thirteenth novel, ‘The Break’. It is Marian at her funniest and most insightful; she is a writer who encapsulates perfectly the complications – both painful and wonderful – of love.”

Back in 2016, Marian celebrated 21 years with Penguin Random House since her first novel ‘Watermelon’ was published in 1995.

With no cover to reveal as off yet, ‘The Break’ is most definitely one of the books I will look forward to reading in 2017. Roll on September!

You can pre-order The Break from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 7th September 2017.