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Don’t Turn Around By Amanda Brooke

Dont Turn Around‘Don’t Turn Around’ is the latest book by Amanda Brooke and it’s a thrilling and gripping story that really hooks the reader in.

Ten years ago, Jen’s cousin Meg killed herself after failing to escape an abusive relationship. Now, Meg’s ex is back and Jen’s domestic abuse helpline has started getting frightening calls from a girl who knows things about Meg – details that only the dead girl or the man who hurt her could have known. As Jen starts to uncover the past, someone is determined to stop her. Can she save this young woman from Meg’s fate? Or is history about to repeat itself?

The story is seen through the perspective of Jen and her aunt Ruth, who both never fully recovered from Ruth’s daughter’s suicide, Meg. Both are adamant that there is more to Meg’s death than meets the eye and now ten years later they are still fighting for the truth. To recognise Meg and other women who have been subject to domestic abuse, they set up the Megan McCoy Foundation, a helpline offering advice and one day they receive a call and are convinced that the woman is being abused by Lewis, the teenage boyfriend of Meg who they believe is responsible for Meg’s death. The story then follows both women as they try to rescue the woman as well as face up to old ghosts as Lewis reappears in their lives, after being gone for ten years.

This book is a dark and disturbing that does make for unsettling reading, particularly the flashbacks to Meg leading up to her taking her own life. Jen and Meg are best friends and Jen is in awe of her feisty cousin and could never believe that she would just give up and as long as she has breath in her body is determined to prove everyone wrong. But as Jen delves deeper in the past, she finds herself not only getting emotionally involved but also putting her life and others at risk.

Fast paced with tense scenes throughout, ‘Don’t Turn Around’ is a suspenseful tale about the search for justice and the truth and has a shocking ending, that will stay with you, long after you reached the final page.

You can buy Don’t Turn Around from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Waiting Game By Jessica Thompson – Review And Book Review

The Waiting Game’The Waiting Game’ is the latest book by Jessica Thompson.

Nessa Bruce waits for her husband to come through the double doors. She’d waited for him to return home from Afghanistan for what felt like forever, and now the moment was finally here. But Jake isn’t… Jake Bruce hasn’t come home, and it looks like he never will. Nessa’s life – and that of her daughter Poppy – is turned upside down in an instant. What has happened to the elusive man at the centre of their world? They hold onto the hope that he is still out there somewhere, alive… but as time passes by, Nessa is forced to look at her life, at the decisions she has made and the secrets she has kept. For maybe somewhere within it all lies the answer to the question she’s desperate to answer – where is the man she loves?

Jessica has firmly become one of my favourite authors. I immediately fell in love with her writing when she released her debut ‘This Is A Love Story’ a frank and honest account of a relationship between a boy and a girl and how blurred the lines are between friendship and love. Her books are from the heart tales about current affairs, that strike a chord and usually leave the reader with a lump in their throat and ’The Waiting Game’ is no different.

In this story, we meet Nessa Bruce, a quiet and sweet young woman who has committed her life to her husband and teenage daughter. Given up on her dream of becoming a midwife, she has let Jake, her husband follow his dreams of becoming a solider and waits for his term to complete from Afghanistan so he can return and make their small family complete. Whilst she waits for him, she has to put with her moody and ungrateful daughter Poppy, who openly looks down on her mother and worry about finances, as she struggles with her librarian job, she tries to provide for her high maintenance daughter, but it’s never good enough for the stroppy teenager. But one day, she Nessa hears the news that she has always feared, that Jake has been involved in an explosion fortunately he has survived the blast but is finding it hard to cope. When he returns home, Nessa is fully committed to looking after him but she never gets the chance because Jake disappears and Nessa has to prepare herself for the eventuality that he may never return.

I loved Nessa, she was a sweet and strong woman who had an accepting and kind nature, always putting others first and herself last. She had a difficult childhood as she and her younger sister were sent to numerous foster homes and she never fully recovered from a particular incident. Her daughter, Poppy was very volatile towards her mother and this sometimes made for unsettling reading as she didn’t seem to realise just how much Nessa did for her. Another interesting addition to the story was Will, who was Nessa’s childhood best friend and has always been there for her. At some point in both of lives they were in love with each other, but time was never on their side and he provides Nessa with not emotional but financial support during this difficult time, with his hipster way of life, he injects some lightheartedness into this poignant tale.

The story is written solely through the narrative of Nessa and flashes back and forth to various key moments in her life, from a teenage girl falling in love to marrying the love of her life. The story is a heartbreaking tale from the beginning and we see both Nessa and Poppy experience many moments of vulnerability and sadness as they deal with the fact that Jake has left them. There are many tender and bittersweet scenes that make for sad reading as they deal with their grief. Written from the heart, ‘The Waiting Game’ is a touching and sensitively written story that focuses on many issues such a dementia, grief and domestic abuse and shows how profoundly and differently it can effect people and how they deal with the uncertainty in life.

Now after reading my review of ‘The Waiting Game’ sit back and enjoy a letter that Nessa had written for her first love Will, but never had the courage to send.

Letter from Nessa to Will (never sent)

01.08.1996

Dear Will,

I know we’ve been friends for a long time, ever since we were sat together in science class, tasked with making a basic circuit in Year 7.

I watched you as you fiddled around nervously with the tiny light bulb and the wires, barely able to speak to me. Your fingers trembled, your nails had been ferociously chewed. You were scared of girls in a primal way, like a mouse faced with a cat and no way of escaping.

I thought you were a bit funny back then, if I’m honest.

You smelt like mothballs, and you were horribly uncool. Your choice of words was pretentious, and you babbled on about things the rest of us didn’t understand. You were so vulnerable really, and so I just wanted to look after you. I guess I took you on as a project.

But then you changed so much Will, and so suddenly too.

Within just a few years you went from this spindly, knock-kneed Year 7 with a mouth full of brace, who would regularly fall over his own satchel while running for the bus, to this incredibly handsome lad in Year 10, with big broad shoulders and a smile to match. I mean look at you, Will… Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror, and realise it, realise how gorgeous you are?

I noticed the change. Not just in you either, but in the way the others at school responded to you. Boys started high fiving you, and picking you for their teams in P.E. Girls gazed in your direction across the classroom, unable to concentrate on Mr Smith’s never-ending lectures on string theory and neutrinos.

You didn’t notice, because you’re so lovely and humble. You don’t have an arrogant bone in your body, Will.

Instead of throwing things at your head and creating cruel rhymes about you, the girls now flutter their eyelashes, pathetically. They speak to you coyly behind locker doors, giggling at everything you say, even if it’s not that funny.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t matter anymore, like you hardly notice me and I’ve melted into the background. Why would I stand out? I’m not like them.

You get invited to all the cool stuff now, and you bring me most of the time, which is nice. But sometimes I wonder if you don’t see me as a bit of a little sister type, hanging around and tagging along? Perhaps you feel like you should, because I was your only friend back then.

I can’t believe how lovely you are Will, and you just keep getting better.

At 15, I’ve never loved someone before, but I’m sure I’m falling in love with you… When you call out my name my heart flutters, whenever you’re near me I feel like I could fly… I think of you all the time, hoping that one day you might pay me some real attention, like you do those pretty girls at school.

I don’t know how to tell you, or even when to tell you. I don’t know if I will ever pluck up the courage to give you this letter… Do you know that I’m falling for you Will? Is it obvious on my face, and the way I speak to you?

Are you surprised, and will you laugh at me, or do you feel the same?

Nessa
xxx

You can buy The Waiting Game from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

If you enjoyed today’s stop on the tour, then check out the poster below and follow the tour.

The Waiting Game Book Tour

One Step Closer To You By Alice Peterson

One Step Closer To You‘One Step Closer To You’ is the latest book by Alice Peterson.

After Polly ends her relationship with the father of her young son, Louis, she is determined to move on. All she wants is to focus on her job, her friends and to be a good mum. No more looking over her shoulder. No more complications…

Then Polly meets Ben. Ben is guardian of his niece, Emily. They become close, with Polly teaching Ben how to plait Emily’s hair, and Ben playing football with Louis. Their friendship is unexpected. Polly’s never been happier. But when Louis’s dad reappears in their life, all Polly’s mistakes come back to haunt her and her resolve weakens when he swears he has changed. Will she give herself a second chance to love?

Once again Alice has written another charming story that pulls the reader in creating a genuine connection with the characters.

In this story, we follow the life of Polly, a reformed alcoholic who is trying to turn her life around with the aid of her family, friends and weekly meetings with her AA group. She is an enchanting lead character, that is impossible not to like and warm to. Determined to get back on the right road, her life revolves around her little boy Louis and her visually impaired brother Hugo, with these important people helping and urging her forward, they help her block out the bad times and enjoy the now.

Cleverly written, the story flows back and forth from the present to past tense, right from the moment where Polly had her first drink that spiralled her life out of control and she then meets Matthew, who like her also enjoys a drink and together they begin a very volatile and turbulent relationship. Matthew is controlling and manipulative and after every incident, promises Polly this is the last time, drunk in love and alcohol, she believes him every time costing her, her relationship with Hugo to suffer and it’s not only until Louis is born that she realises that she has a choice and doesn’t have to a victim and that’s when she finally takes control of her life.

The supporting characters in the story are also great. Living in her brothers shadow, Polly feels that she is lesser loved of the two, due to his illness but that doesn’t mean that she loves him less and together they have a fun and protective relationship where they look out for one another. Even though he has a disability, Hugo doesn’t let it get to him and leads an adventurous life a passion for sports and a successful radio career. The main love interest in the story is Ben, who Polly initially met at an AA meeting. He was a lovely character from the start. Being thrown into the role of parent after his sister suddenly died, he finds it difficult to adapt looking after Emily and Polly helps him with this new responsibility and together the four of them become their own little unit, going on trips and having fun. Matthew is also particularly good as the villain of the book, charming and good looking, he leads everyone to believe that he is the perfect gentleman, it’s only when they are alone that we see the true side of him.

The first book that I read by Alice Peterson was ‘By Your Side’, I loved it and ‘One Step Closer To You’ was just as good. Powerful and tender from the very beginning, it highlights the issues of alcoholism and domestic abuse and handles these subjects with sensitivity. Compelling from the very start, this book was almost impossible to put down, beautifully written with an unexpected twist, this book is most definitely worthy of its recent award of Best Romantic Read at the Romance Festival. I loved it.

You can pre-order One Step Closer to You from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 25th September 2014.

Me And You By Claudia Carroll

Me And You‘Me and You’ is the latest book by Irish author, Claudia Carroll.

Angie knows a lot about her best friend Kitty, she knows Kitty is mad and wild and loves to wear clashing colours. She knows she’s incredibly funny and generous but also very unreliable. And she knows that there is a perfect explanation for Kitty standing her up on her boyfriend. She thinks she knows everything about Kitty, except she doesn’t. Kitty’s knows that she’s the happiest that she has ever been. She knows she’s so lucky to have a lovely boyfriend and a best friend like Angie. But what she doesn’t know is that on this night, her past is finally going to catch up with her and change everything.

‘Me and You’ is quite a unique tale that certainly made for a gripping story. The story is mainly told through the eyes of Angie, beginning on the day that her best friend, Kitty first disappears and immediately we are thrown into the panicked and distraught world as Angie discovers that her flighty although normally reliable friend is missing. The story follows on, in almost a diary entry style, as Angie records times and places as events happens. The story then follows on over a two year period, as Angie and Kitty’s boyfriend Simon deal with the aftermath, uncertain of the future but somewhat clearer about the girl that they thought they knew. Through a series of heartwarming and quite graphic flashbacks, we see the history of Kitty and how she turned out to be quite a flamboyant character with a vibrant spirit and a lust for life, but what happened on that day for her to magically disappear.

The main characters in the story are all quite likeable and charming, Angie is almost like the mother of the story, taking on the maternal role looking after Simon deal with his heartbreak, her soft caring nature is sweet to read and as the story flowed along, I found myself hoping that she would get the happiness that she so rightly deserved. Simon was the the heartthrob of the story, a quiet and brooding man, it was hard not to fall for him as his world was so cruelly torn apart with a sensitive and gentle nature, regularly I wanted to reach out and give him a hug. Kitty herself is quite a complex character, as the story develops, we see more about the young wildcard and how her life wasn’t as easy as she led others to believe. One character in the story that I did find quite delightful was the leading policeman in Kitty’s case, Detective Sergeant Jack Crown, a loveable, masculine rogue that was easy on the eye and added a sense of control to the situation.

‘Me and You’ is a courageous story that had me hooked from page 1. Although it is filled Claudia’s trademark humour, wit and distinctly Irish dialogue there is a somewhat of a darker nature to the story as it deals with the issue of control and domestic abuse. A story of courage and friendship, ‘Me and You’ is a remarkable and commendable story, that will hopefully inspire and encourage women to do the same and that there are most definitely other options available. With a prettily illustrated cover, this is a wonderful and emotional story about how hard it is to leave the past behind from one of my favourite Irish authors.

You can Me and You on Amazon

Dearest Rose by Rowan Coleman

Dearest Rose

“Dearest Rose” is the eighth book by Rowan Coleman.

When Rose Pritchard turns up on the doorstep of a Cumbrian B&B clutching a postcard written by a man who changed her life, it is her last resort. She and her seven year old daughter Maddie have left everything behind. Rose wonders if she has made a terrible mistake. She knows that she can’t return to the life that she left behind. She’s been given a second chance at life, but does she have the courage to take it?

What can I say about “Dearest Rose” that hasn’t already been said. It has got to be one of the most poignant and courageous stories that I’ve had the delight of reading this year.

With a wonderful host of characters with some of the most interesting attitributes this book had me hooked from the start. Immediately we are drawn into the desperate world of Rose’s life as she tries to escape the turmoil that is her marriage. In the beginning, our brave heroine is seen as quite a delicate and fragile character that to the outside world, she can easily break. But as the story progresses and Rose begins to discover her true self, she thrives and becomes a stronger more self assured character. Other supporting characters such as her slightly odd but enchanting daughter, Maddie and brash best friend Shona, gave the story an element of humour in the most unlikeliest of places.

“Dearest Rose” is a beautifully written story that will tug at the hardest of hearts as we join Rose on her journey of self discovery, escaping an emotional and physical marriage with the intention of finding love once again.

Engaging from the first page, this story will captivate you and have you reading into the early hours. Beautifully honest, “Dearest Rose” is a tale for every woman who has ever been in an unhappy relationship, as you can discover that you are not alone and there is help out there.

A brave and inspirational story that will have you weeping and smiling, join Rose in her turbulent adventure as she tries to find her happy ever after and discover that everyone is worthy of love.

You can buy Dearest Rose on Amazon and will be available to buy from 27 September 2012.