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On The Up By Alice O’Keefe

On The Up‘On The Up’ is the latest book by Alice O’Keefe.

Sylvia lives in a flat on a council estate with her not-quite-husband Obe and their two young children. She dreams of buying a house on a leafy street like the one she grew up in. If she closes her eyes, she can see it all so clearly: the stripped floorboards, the wisteria growing around the door. It’s not ideal that she’s about to be made redundant, or that Obe, a playworker, is never going to earn more than the minimum wage. As sleep deprivation sets in, and the RnB downstairs gets ever louder, Sylvia’s life starts to unravel. But when the estate is earmarked for redevelopment, the threat to her community gives Sylvia a renewed sense of purpose. With a bit of help from her activist sister, and her film-maker friend Frankie, she’s ready to take a stand for what she believes in.

In her mid thirties, Sylvia finds herself looking at her life and comparing it to others. Living in Priory Court with her partner Obe and two children, she wants more from life.

One day, she decides to move house and finds the perfect family home that is way out of their budget. Currently on maternity leave and Obe on a low income, Sylvia finds herself scraping and saving to get by and Sylvia finds herself taking against Obe because of their situation. Once a happy couple, they are now in a place where they are pitted against each other due to their frustrations in life.

The story is well written and has complex and relatable characters. I really liked Sylvia and found myself sympathetic towards her and her situation. In the current climate, that revolves around culture and money, the story touches on the pressure that society puts on ourselves to succeed and to be on par with our peers.

As well as battling with poverty, Sylvia also has other struggles such has juggling two young children as well as her own health. Her relationship with Obe makes for interesting reading, occasionally witty, there is an element of sadness to their relationship.

The story focuses on poverty and mental health, as well as an exploration into relationships. An uplifting and insightful story about the struggles of life, relationships and health, ‘On The Up’ is a tenderly written and observational story about modern life and the struggle to keep up with the Jones’.

You can buy ‘On The Up’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Win A Copy Of Ask Again Yes By Mary Beth Keane

Ask Again, YesI’ve a copy of Mary Beth Keane’s new book called ‘Say, Yes, Again’ to give away to one lucky person.

What the back cover says –

Gillam, upstate New York: a town of ordinary, big-lawned suburban houses. The Gleesons have recently moved there and soon welcome the Stanhopes as their new neighbours.

Lonely Lena Gleeson wants a friend but Anne Stanhope – cold, elegant, unstable – wants to be left alone.

It’s left to their children – Lena’s youngest, Kate, and Anne’s only child, Peter – to find their way to one another. To form a friendship whose resilience and love will be almost broken by the fault line dividing both families, and by the terrible tragedy that will engulf them all.

To be in with a chance winning the book, simply answer the following by leaving your answer in the comment box below by Monday 30th September.

What is the name of the town where the story is set?

Good luck!

Then She Vanishes By Claire Douglas

Then She Vanishes‘Then She Vanishes’ is the latest book by Claire Douglas.

Jess and Heather were once best friends – until the night Heather’s sister Flora vanished. The night that lies tore their friendship apart. But years later, when a brutal double murder shakes their childhood town, Jess returns home. Because the suspect is Heather.

I started this book one evening and found it so good that I even missed an episode of ‘Love Island’ because it had gripped my attention so much.

The story is seen from the narrative of journalist Jess and the mother of her former best friend Margot. Many years ago, Margot’s eldest daughter Flora disappeared and was never found, Margot and her other daughter Heather never recovered until many years later two people were murdered and Heather is left with a self inflicted wound with no memory and people are assuming that she murdered the people.

Once a successful journalist, Jess has returned home to a weekly newspaper and is struggling to find out why her childhood best friend might have murdered two people and finds herself reconciling with Margot as the two of them try to pierce together Flora and Heather’s last movements.

I really enjoyed the pace of this story and the dual narratives as they gave an interesting insight into the two women. As well as their narratives, there was also Flora’s last movements and this was particularly gripping. It was also insightful seeing Jess battle with morals as journalist she’s looking for the big reveal but also has a connection with the main suspects.

Cleverly written with interesting and unreliable characters that made for thrilling reading, ‘Then She Vanishes’ is a complex and suspenseful psychological thriller. Filled with plot twists and drama, this book was impossible to put down.

You can pre-order ‘Then She Vanishes’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 8th August 2019.

The Nanny By Gilly Macmillan

'The Nanny‘The Nanny’ is the latest book by Gilly Macmillan.

Seven-year-old Jocelyn loves her nanny more than her own mother. When her nanny disappears one night, Jo never gets over the loss. How could she vanish without saying goodbye? Thirty years on, Jo is forced to return to her family home and confront her troubled relationship with her mother. When human remains are discovered in the grounds of the house, Jo begins to question everything. Then an unexpected visitor knocks at the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again as, one by one, she discovers her childhood memories aren’t what they seemed. What secrets was her nanny hiding – and what was she running away from? And can Jo trust what her mother tells her?

‘The Nanny’ is a thrilling story by Gilly MacMillan which is riddled with drama and suspense.

In this story, we meet mother and daughter Virginia and Jocelyn, they have a complicated and intense relationship. Virginia is cold hearted woman who rarely showed affection or spent time with her daughter whilst Jocelyn is wary of her mother, having to return home from America after her husband died. For all the affection that Virginia lacked towards Jocelyn, she gives openly to Jocelyn’s only daughter. Things have never been the same between the mother and daughter since the nanny suddenly disappeared one night and now many years has reappeared into their lives much to the dismay of Virginia.

The story is seen through the narrative of both Virginia and Jocelyn and gives an insight into the complex relationship of the pair of them and just how differently they think. Virginia is an old-fashioned woman, married into wealth and becoming the Lady of the Manner, affection isn’t high up on her list of priorities and seeing how it turned out with her daughter, she’s actively working to redeem her relationship with Ruby, a little girl that she actively loves with her curiosity and bubbling personality. Meanwhile Jocelyn, is finding it hard to adjust to being back with her mother and finds old memories constantly popping up and finds herself delighted to have her old nanny reappear and help with her troublesome mother.

As well as the narrative from the mother and daughter, there is also an unknown voice in the story that gives the book quite an interesting twist. The story is cleverly written with unreliable and unlikable characters, scenes betweens Virginia and Jocelyn are occasionally fraught with arguments and this does make for interesting reading. With the reappearance of the nanny, Jocelyn begins to question her childhood, especially when those close to her have different sides to the story.

A tense and exciting story that will have the reader gripped from the first page, ‘The Nanny’ is a twisty tale of family secrets that will have you guessing throughout.

You can buy ‘The Nanny’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

Playgroups And Prosecco Giveaway

Playgroups And ProseccoI’ve a copy of Jo Middleton’s hilarious new book called ‘Playgroups And Prosecco’ to give away to one lucky book lover.

What the back cover says –

January 3rd

Jaffa Cakes – 7. Times I was forced to watch a small child do a dance involving a dusty piece of ribbon found under the sofa – 4. Inappropriate thoughts about Zac Efron – undisclosed.

Single mum Frankie’s whole life revolves around her kids. But when your toddler has a more active social life, something has to change. Forget ‘me-time’, Frankie would settle for some adult conversation, and watching something other than the Disney channel.

The local playgroup may be ruled by Instagram mums with perfect husbands but Frankie accidentally forms a splinter group of single parents. After all, Mummy really needs a playdate of her own. (Now pass the prosecco.)

To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the following question with leaving your in the comment box below.

Who does Frankie have inappropriate thoughts about?

The winner will be revealed on Monday 29th April. Good luck!