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The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings By Jo Nadin

The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings‘The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings’ is the latest book by Jo Nadin.

1988, Pencalenick, Cornwall. At 17, Jason wants much more from life than working at his father’s pub, and when fate, in the form of twins Daisy and Bea and their small circle of friends, offers him a glimpse of another, more glamorous, world, he’s determined to become a part of it. It’s Daisy who Jason is most entranced by, though. Everyone is: she’s the sun around which others orbit. The trouble with the sun, of course, is that those who get too close risk getting burned—and by the end of the summer, one of the group will be dead. 2018, Camberwell, London. When famous actress Daisy Hemmings decides it’s time to publish her autobiography, she chooses James Tate to write it. James is a ghost writer: it’s his job to step into other people’s shoes; to tell their stories for them. And he’s good at it. Very good. After all, he’s had years of practise at pretending to be someone he’s not. But what happens when past and present—and truth and lies—collide?

You can buy ‘The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Girl Friends By Holly Bourne

Girl Friends‘Girl Friends’ is the latest book by Holly Bourne.

From the day they first meet as teenagers Fern and Jessica are best friends. Despite their differences, they are there for each other throughout everything, navigating the difficulties of growing up and fitting in. That is, until Jessica crosses a line that Fern can’t forgive. But now, more than ten years later, Jessica has unexpectedly reappeared in Fern’s life. A lot has changed for them both – but can their relationship be different now they are older? Is it possible for either of them to rewrite the role that they have been cast in? Or will their shared history ultimately be doomed to repeat itself?

You can buy ‘Girl Friends’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Little Sister By Gytha Lodge

Little Sister‘Little Sister’ is the latest book by Gytha Lodge.

Two sisters went missing. Only one of them came back. Detective Jonah Sheens is enjoying a moment of peace and quiet, when a teenage girl wanders out of the wood. She’s striking, with flame-red hair and a pale complexion. She’s also covered in blood. She insists she’s fine. It’s her sister he needs to worry about. Jonah quickly discovers that Keely and her sister, Nina, disappeared from a children’s home a week ago. Now, Keely is here – but Nina’s still missing. Keely likes to play games. She knows where her sister is – but before she tells, she wants Jonah’s full attention. Is she killer, witness, or victim? And will Jonah find out what Keely’s hiding, in time to save Nina?

You can enjoy ‘Little Sister’ on your Kindle and is available to pre-order from Amazon from 5th January 2023.

The Vanishing Of Margaret Small By Neil Alexander

The Vanishing Of Margaret Small‘The Vanishing Of Margaret Small’ is the latest book by Neil Alexander.

Meet Margaret Small: 75, plain spoken, Whitstable native and a Cilla Black super fan. Shortly after the death of her idol, Margaret begins receiving sums of money in the post, signed simply ‘C’. She is convinced it must be Cilla, but how can it be? To solve the mystery of her benefactor Margaret must go back in her memories almost 70 years, to the time when she was ‘vanished’ to a long-stay institution for children with learning disabilities.

This story is one of the most beautifully written stories that I’ve read this year, with a clever and sensitive storyline and a leading lady that you desperately wanted to get her happy ever after.

The story is written in the past and present tense of Margaret Small, who from a young age until her early forties spent her life in hospitals under the watchful and controlling eye of nurses. Margaret is a meek girl who likes to keep other happy and throughout her time at the hospital she made friends and lost friends. She’s independent but was never given the chance to read and write and has to rely on others to help her and when she’s given the opportunity to life outside in the real world with the help of her kind carer and Madonna fan, Wayne. Now into her 70’s, Margaret real companion is the Cilla Black autobiography that she listens on her CD Walkman and she has a real connection and admiration for the Liverpool singer. But when she starts receiving mysterious notes and money marked from a sender called ‘C’, Margaret is convinced that Cilla is trying to reach out to her.

There are so many elements of this story that I genuinely loved, Margaret’s sweet and witty way of behaving, her relationship with Wayne and Cilla. The scenes of the harsh treatment of hospitals back in the 1940’s from the nurses and fellow patients and just the general flow of the story with its many twists weaved throughout.

I’m not sure if this is the first book by Neil but if he’s written more, I’ll certainly be looking into them as he really knows how to create a character that’s relatable, engaging and and the reader forms a connection with. His writing is witty, empathetic and really pulls the reader into Margaret’s world, speaking her dialect and seeing the world through her innocent and sheltered eyes.

A tender and poignant story that will make you cry, laugh and break your heart all in one go, ‘The Vanishing Of Margaret Small’ is a heartwarming story with a leading lady that you’ll immediately fall in love with.

You can buy ‘The Vanishing Of Margaret Small’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Simon Says Die By Erika Strauss

Simon Says Die‘Simon Says Die’ is the latest book by Erika Strauss.

For the last 10 years, Angela Thompson has been living a nightmare. While motherhood was never her goal, she has tried everything to connect with her son, Max. It was supposed to be two of them against the world until Max’s behavior grew increasingly disturbing. The missing items, lost pets, and strange drawings she could handle, but now, the murder of little Tommy Marshall has the entire town of Oregon, Ohio on edge. Beaten with a large rock and left to die in the woods, the police search frantically for a sadistic child killer. Unfortunately, all of the evidence points to Angela as she begins to doubt everything and everyone around her. She swears that she would never hurt a child, but have her troubled son and loneliness pushed her too far? Her gut tells her that Max is involved, but authorities find it hard to believe that a 10-year-old boy could pull off the perfect murder and put his mother on death row. In fact, nobody believes her! But they don’t know Max like she does. They don’t know how sick and depraved her angelic little boy can be. Unfortunately, everyone is about to find out the hard way.

To be honest, I’m glad this book was only 200 pages long because the unsettling creepiness of Max was a lot to take in.

The story is seen through the narrative of mother and son, Angela and Max. Max is strange boy who thrives on causing pain to others particularly others and when a little boy is found dead, Angela knows her son did it and planted her DNA at the scene. Even though she denies any involvement, no one believes her and she finds herself on death row.

There’s something really unsettling about creepy children and the author has created such a creepy child that I raced through the book just to finish it!

It’s sad in parts as Angela tries to warm to her only son but is unable to love him due to his behaviour, she feels like a failure. Max is a strange boy, he lacks empathy and thrives on causing pain to others and his lack of remorse is shocking at times. The dual narrative also gives an interesting insight into the story.

Dark, twisted and disturbing, ‘Simon Says Die’ is a fascinating insight into a far from normal mother/son relationship that made for incredibly uncomfortable reading.

You can buy ‘Simon Says Die’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.