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The Flipside By James Bailey

The Flipside‘The Flipside’ is the debut novel by James Bailey.

When Josh proposes in a pod on the London Eye at New Years’ Eve, he thinks it’s perfect. Until she says no. And they have to spend the next 29 excruciating minutes alone together. His life is falling apart. Realising he can’t trust his own judgment, Josh decides from now on he will make every decision through the flip of a coin. Maybe the coin will change his life forever. Maybe it will help him find the girl of his dreams.

I was raging with myself when I started this book late one evening, as soon as I started I was snorting throughout and knew it was going to be an enjoyable story. So, the following day I put some time aside to properly delve it and boy, was it worth it.

The story starts at the point that Josh proposes to his girlfriend called Jade, having booked a pod on the London Eye, he wants it to be a magical. But by the time he has stepped off the London Eye, he’s single, homeless and jobless. With his tail between his legs Josh leaves the busy streets of London for the pub quizzes of Bristol as he tries to get his life back in order with his best friends, Jake and Jessie and the help of a 50p coin that he is convinced will help him make the best decisions in his life. But whilst supporting Jessie taking part in the London Marathon, Josh runs into a woman who affectionately becomes known as ’Sunflower Girl’ as they met in an art gallery and with the aid of the 50p coin and his best friends, finds himself flying across Europe hoping to meet her again.

Right from the start, this book was a fun and fresh story and it’s refreshing to see a man writing about romance and Josh has done is superbly with, the witty dialogue, the colourful characters and the hilarious scenarios that Josh gets into dependent on the flip of the coin.

The characters are completely fun and relatable, where they were are a point in their lives where it’s expected to know who and what you want to do be doing with your life. Josh approaches this pressure and questions with humour and for this, made the book a charming read. His parents are equally as fun, with his buying shop bought Victoria Sponge but adding some more jam to prove the illusion that she made it herself and his dad was a regular Del Boy with scams and moneymaking ideas at every opportunity. One thing, I loved was the dynamics of Josh’s friendship with Jake and Jessie, I loved it when the friends got together as the banter between was always honest and fun, but even though they think Josh is mad with the 50p flipping, they support him and are there for him along the way.

There are many parts of this story that I enjoyed but I really loved accompanying on his search across Europe to find ’Sunflower Girl’ and when it took him to Paris, I loved the vivid descriptions of ‘Shakespeare and Company’, a wonderful bookshop that I also visited on my own visit to Paris, so reading these entries were a welcome return.

I loved this debut and the concept behind it and would love to read more about Josh and his friends as they embark on new adventures in their lives. A deliciously fun and fresh story which is a welcome distraction from what is going on in the world, ‘The Flip Side’ is a roller coaster of a story, or should I say a London Eye. Packed with banter, drama and a seriously cute rabbit called Jeremy, I found this quick witted and cleverly written book to be the perfect pick me up, no matter what side your coin falls on.

You can buy ‘The Flipside’ from Amazon for 99p on the Kindle Store and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 20th November 2020.

Cracked By Louise McCreesh

Cracked‘Cracked’ is by Louise McCreesh’s debut novel.

Jenny Nilson hasn’t seen her former psychiatrist Phillip since she left the Hillside Psychiatric Unit eight years ago. She wanted to forget everything about her time there, so she kept her secrets buried deep. Especially from her new husband. But now the police are knocking at her door with evidence of her involvement in Phillip’s death. It seems as though everything she’s kept hidden is about to spill out. Jenny desperately needs to speak to old friends, and old enemies, from those dark years. Because they are the only ones who know what really happened at Hillside, and about the dark secret that Phillip kept for them all – that this is not the first death.

Cracked is Louise McCreesh’s debut novel and pardon the pun, but it is quite the cracking read.

The story is written in the past and present tense and is seen through the narrative of Jenny, who was once a patient at Hillside Psychiatric Unit when she was a teenager. Now she’s married to a policeman, an aspiring journalist and her time in Hillside is a distant memory, until one of her therapists is brutally murdered and she has to face up to the life that she left behind.

It’s during her time at the unit, that something terrible happen and this tragedy creates a bond between Jenny and 6 other people who now in the present tense are all suspects in the brutal murder.

This is a cleverly crafted story with an interesting protagonist. Jenny is in Hillside after trying to take her own life and is trying to get to the root of her unhappiness, she’s friends with Tom, Tony, Heidi, Alicia and Olivia who are all struggling with their own demons and their problems make for upsetting reading as they lash out at each other and put each other down and throughout their narrative, you can feel their anguish and pain.

In the present tense, Jenny has to face up to the life that she hid from others particularly her husband and finds herself the centre of the case when her own case file goes missing from the unit.

The story is a tense and compelling rollercoaster of a book that is set against the backdrop of a psychiatric unit that does make for a desperate and bleak setting. With short and snappy chapters that pull the reader in and unreliable characters that makes everyone a suspect, ‘Cracked’ is a sensitive and poignant story about mental health, how fragile it is and how easily a person can crack.

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

The Octopus By Tess Little

The Octopus‘The Octopus’ is Tess Little’s debut novel.

When Elspeth arrives at her ex-husband’s LA mansion for his 50th birthday party, she’s expecting a crowd for the British film director. Instead, there are just seven other guests and Richard’s pet octopus, Persephone, watching over them from her tank. Come morning, Richard is dead. In the weeks that follow, each of the guests come under suspicion: the school friend, the studio producer, the actress, the actor, the new boyfriend, the manager, the cinematographer and the ex-wife, Elspeth herself. As stories of Richard’s past surface, colliding with Elspeth’s memories of their marriage, she begins to question not just who killed Richard, but why these eight guests were invited, and what sort of man would want to trap this mysterious, intelligent creature.

This book is a quirky whodunnit tale with an unlikely lead in a shape of an octopus.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of Elspeth and begins at the moment that she arrives at her ex husband’s 50th birthday. The party is a small one for the the narcissist and cruel man containing old and new friends and and old and new lovers. It’s whilst at this party that Richard dies and all 8 friends find themselves suspects in a crime.

The story flows back and forth in past and present tense. Flashbacks to when Elsapeth meets Richard and falls in love with the handsome director but only she knows his cruelty and need for perfection and when he hurts her one too many times, she flees with their only daughter called Lillie. Even though Richard subjected her to physical and mental abuse, Elsapeth always maintained that he was the perfect father and husband. Flashbacks not only feature the relationship between Elsapeth and Richard but also the night when Richard died and how everyone who attended that night all had motive to kill Richard.

Randomly in the background of all this drama, there lurks a huge Octopus called Persephone and her eerie presence throughout the story, really adds a chilling atmosphere to the story. She’s the only creature that really knows what happens that night.

The story is well crafted, fill a room with 8 people all with motives and throw in a great big hulking octopus and this will certainly grab the readers attention. Tess’s attention to detail is prevalent throughout the story and the level of research dedicated to octopus, was truly fascinating.

The past and present tenses to the story make for great reading, as Elsapeth deals with her own hatred for Richard and coming to terms with others, all whilst living in the public eye.

A story of murder, drama and suspense, with a stunning cover, The Octopus’ is an unique debut about the abuse of power and how easily a person can snap when forced.

You can pre-order ‘The Octopus’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 20th August 2020.

Win A Copy Of Holding By Graham Norton

HoldingI’ve a copy of Graham Norton’s debut novel called ‘Holding’ to give away to one lucky person.

The story of ‘Holding’ is –

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother of­ two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former­ love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

To be in with a chance of winning this book, simply answer the following question and leave your answer in the comment box below.

What is the name of the Irish village where the story is set?

The lucky winner will be revealed on Monday 21st November. Good luck.

Time To Say Goodbye By S.D. Robertson

Time To Say Goodbye‘Time To Say Goodbye’is S.D Robertson’s debut novel.

Will Curtis’s six-year-old daughter, Ella, knows her father will never leave her. After all, he promised her so when her mother died. And he’s going to do everything he can to keep his word. What Will doesn’t know is that the promise he made to his little girl might be harder to keep than he imagined. When he’s faced with an impossible decision, Will finds that the most obvious choice might not be the right one. But the future is full of unexpected surprises. And father and daughter are about to embark on an unforgettable journey together.

All over Twitter, people were expressing thoughts on this book, the emotions they went through when reading it and the tears they shed. I tried to avoid reading any reviews on the book as I wanted to read it with a fresh mind and it’s safe to say, this book repeatedly surprised me with its twists and turns over the last couple of days.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of single father Will Curtis and begins right at the point that he is killed in road traffic accident. Suddenly in limbo, Will can’t pass over to Heaven, until he can properly say goodbye to his six year old Ella, who he promised that he would never leave. Now, Will is stuck with a deadline to keep as he desperately tries to contact Ella and tell how sorry he is that he had to break his promise. Along this journey, Will is exposed to things that he never dreamt of happening, the secrets his family keep and people who he never thought he would see again.

As a debut, this book is definitely a great one and most certainly a story that stays with you long after you reached the final page. It’s refreshing to see a male author writing in this genre and it’s particularly nice, that it’s written from a fathers perspective.

Will is an interesting character, he is wrecked with his sudden death, leaving his daughter and it tears him up to think that she believes she left him and as he tries to reach out and reassure her, it makes for touching and very emotional reading as the two characters interact reflecting on their lives. He’s passionate with a fiery attitude and refuses to give up even when things are at their worst. Ella is an innocent and sweet little girl, who is confused and hurt that everyone close to her leaves.

The story is filled with many twists and turns that makes for enjoyable but genuinely heartbreaking reading. A story about saying goodbye and moving on, ‘Time To Say Goodbye’ is a tender tale that will have you reaching for the tissues.

You can buy Time to Say Goodbye from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.