Skip to content

The Secret Keepers Daughter By Samantha King

The Secret Keepers Daughter’‘The Secret Keepers Daughter’ is the latest book by Samantha King.

Holly Mayhew has the perfect family set-up. But when her seven-year-old daughter, Marley, begins to act strangely, refusing to speak and rushing off to hide in her room, she knows something isn’t right. Desperate to understand why Marley has become so withdrawn, Holly creates a worry box, where Marley posts her thoughts each day. At first, the messages seem innocent. But when Holly finds a note saying secrets make me sad, she begins to question everyone entrusted with her care. Including her family.

I’m a bit late to the tour but for the last couple of days, I had my head stuck in this book.

The story is written in the past and present through the narrative of Holly, who’s little girl was withdrawn into herself and is leaving little notes giving Holly an insight into her fears. Holly is trying to deal with a new baby, a husband who’s never around whilst she’s dealing with a turbulent relationship with Amy. A woman who was brought into Holly’s life as a young girl and Holly was forced to adjust from being an only child to having someone disrupt your life at every turn.

I particularly loved the narrative from the past tense as it really gave an insight into Holly’s past and how Amy is introduced into her life. She’s brought to live with Holly’s family as her parents are friends with Holly’s and when her parents move to Paris for work. Her relationship with Holly is upsetting, she hurts her, lies and gets Holly into trouble, whilst Holly’s father fails to believe that Amy would do bad things. But as they grow older, they have a love hate relationship but are there for each other when things are tough they are there for each other.

Holly has a heart condition and because of this, she’s constantly wrapped up in cotton wool with her family tip toeing around her much to her frustration. As the story unfolds, we read new secrets and lies that we’re hidden from her and how her relationship is with her family was far from perfect.

The story is cleverly crafted with characters are both relatable and unlikable. Amy is a bit of toxic character, who’s jealousy toward sweet Holly is prevalent and even as older women, there’s an obvious rift between the pair.

A compelling and observational story about the dynamics of family relationships and the innocence of a child’s mind. ‘The Secret Keeper’s Daughter’ is a great read.

You can buy ‘The Secret Keepers Daughter’ from Amazon

A Mother Never Lies By Sarah Clarke

A Mother Never Lies‘A Mother Never Lies’ is the latest book by Sarah Clarke.

I had the perfect life – a nice house, a loving husband, a beautiful little boy. But in one devastating night, they were all ripped from me. It’s been fourteen years, and I’m finally ready to face the past. I’m taking my son back. He just can’t know who I am…or why we were torn apart.

I started this book one evening and once I started, it was difficult to put it down.

The story is seen through the narrative of mother and son Phoebe and Charlie. Phoebe had to give up Charlie for adoption but she’s never given up on him and now 18 years later, she’s hoping to reunite with him. Charlie who’s now called Ben is unaware of the strange woman who rescued him from almost being beaten up.

The flawed characters in this story make for fascinating reading. The story is written in past and present tense and it’s obvious that Phoebe once was happily married but her world fell apart and she’s now paying the price. Leaving with her parents, her alcoholic disillusioned mother who’s quite a sweet character. Ben has anger issues but sees something in Phoebe who is known as Fiona.

As the story flows between the various years, it gives a real insight into the type of person Phoebe was, carefree, happy and in love. The aftermath of that tragic night, has left her scared, unsettled and longing for a better life and to get her family back.

From the first page it’s obvious that something terrible has happened and Sarah has cleverly created a story that is filled with tension and intrigue as we delve into Phoebe’s life. Phoebe is a sympathetic character that we can relate to, she’s the underdog of the story that we all champion for a better life.

A tense and atmospheric domestic noir with short and snappy chapters that made for gripping reading, ‘A Mother Never Lies’ is a complex drama about the strength of a mothers love.

You can buy ‘A Mother Never Lies’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Songs In Ursa Major By Emma Brodie

Songs In Ursa MajorWith a beautiful and vibrant cover ‘Songs In Ursa Major’ is the debut novel by Emma Brodie.

From the moment Jane Quinn steps barefoot onto the main stage at Island Folk festival, her golden hair glinting, her voice soaring into the summer dusk, a star is born – and so is a passionate love story. Jane’s band hits the road with none other than Jesse Reid, the musician whose bright blue eyes are setting hearts alight everywhere. And as the summer streaks by in a haze of crowds, wild nights and magenta sunsets, Jane is pulled into the orbit of Jesse’s star. But Jesse’s rise could mean Jane’s fall. And when she discovers a dark secret beneath his music, she picks up her guitar and writes her heartache into the album that could make or break her: Songs in Ursa Major.

Set in the folk/rock music scene of the 1960/70’s, this story is loosely based on the great love affair between Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. Jane Quinn is the face of the Breakers, a musician who can sing as well as play instruments, she catches the eye of rockstar Jesse Reid when her band ends up playing his set. The pair share a mutual bond for music and begin an affair whilst touring together and Jane’s becomes more successful and recognised for her performing and songwriting skills.

The story is well written and feels very authentic of this era and it’s obvious that Emma is a huge music fan with the level of the knowledge that is applied to the story. The story not only focuses on the rise of Jane’s stardom, her relationship with Jesse but also the music industry and how it’s perceived to a female artist, the misogyny and the sexism. I loved the characters in the story, both Jane and Jesse are battling their own personal demons and this is probably what makes them such accomplished writers and why their connection is so strong. Jane has never fully recovered from her mother leaving her family and she also was a songwriter but Jane is a strong woman raised in a family of strong women who do not marry, nor do they rely on men. The book focuses on the mental health and substance abuse attached to the rock and roll lifestyle of this time and parts of this makes for sad reading as people battled addictions.

For music lovers, this book is a must read, hazy, romantic and full of sass, ‘Songs In Ursa Major’ is an accomplished debut that made for intoxicating reading from the first page.

You can buy ‘Songs In Ursa Major’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Pug Actually By Matt Dunn

Pug Actually‘Pug Actually’ is the latest book by Matt Dunn.

Loyal rescue pug Doug wants his adoring owner Julie to find unconditional love and happiness – and he knows she won’t find either in the arms of Luke, her married boss. Doug is terrified that Julie will become a lonely cat-lover if she stays single too long, but he can’t let her fall for any more of Luke’s empty promises. Julie needs to move on – and Doug is convinced that Tom, a newly divorced V-E-T, is perfect for her (despite his questionable occupation). There’s just one problem: Julie and Tom can’t stand each other. Doug doesn’t quite understand the quirks and complexities of human relationships, but he won’t let that get in the way of his mission to bring Tom and Julie together. After all, being a ‘rescue’ works both ways.

It’s been a while since I’ve had the delight of reading a book by Matt Dunn. So when I was offered a chance to read his latest book, I jumped at the chance.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of Doug, a rescued Pug who has a good instinct and sense of smell. He loves his owner Julie and dislikes her boyfriend, a married man called Luke who’s just stringing Julie along and when they finally break up. Doug is delighted as this is the perfect time for Julie to find someone else and uses his match making skills to pair Julie up with a man called Tom and even though he’s a V-E-T, Doug thinks they’re perfect for each other.

I adored this book, it’s a cute and quirky love story that instantly brought a smile to my face. Having the narrative seen through the eyes of a Pug made for adorable reading as we saw the world through this tiny dogs’ eyes and how he wanted to put his owners world to right. He’s witty, fun and always up for a walk even when his little legs are tired. I loved how he saw the goodness in Tom and confronted his fear of the vets as well as getting himself attacked purely for Julie to spend some time with Tom.

I liked Julie, she lacked confidence and didn’t see herself worthy of love or full time relationships and was content with the short morsels that Luke threw at, she finds solace in drink and it was lovely to see her grow in confidence and begin to warm to Tom. Luke was extremely dislikable and I loved Doug’s interactions with Luke as their dislike was evident from the very start. The story doesn’t just focus on Julie’s relationships but also her dad’s, who’s also still grieving the wife he lost many years ago.

It was lovely to sink back in a book by Matt as his books always bring a smile to my face and they are so cleverly written. upbeat story about love, moody cats and a kind Pug called Doug, ‘Pug Actually’ is a pawsome story that was deliciously fun and filled with warmth and wit.

You can buy ‘Pug Actually’ from Amazon.

One Ordinary Day At A Time By Sarah J. Harris

One Ordinary Day At A Time‘One Ordinary Day At A Time’ is the latest book by Sarah J. Harris.

Simon Sparks is the man you know from behind the counter at the local Prince Burger (‘hold the gherkin!’), fry shovelling, shelf stacking, hiding away from the world. And Jodie Brook is the single mum you see crossing the street with her son Zak – always chasing a dream she can’t reach. What if life could be so much more? When Simon and Jodie’s worlds collide, it upends everything they know. But in chaos comes opportunity. And for every person who’s ever doubted them, they find someone who’ll finally believe…

If you want a story that will warm your heart and lift your spirits, then pick up a copy of the this uplifting book.

The story is seen through alternating chapters between Simon and Jodie who are both at crossroads in the world but find an unlikely connection with each other when they begin working with each other at Prince Burger. Simon was a child prodigy but ended up working in a fast food outlet whilst his twin brother is a top surgeon in New York. Jodie is a struggling single mother who aspires to become a teacher and be able to provide a better quality life for herself and her adorable little boy called Zak.

From the beginning, this story was easy to get absorbed in. It’s beautifully written with relatable characters that not only connect with each other but also with the reader. Simon is a fascinating character, although extremely intelligent, he lacks proper social skills and makes people feel awkward and uncomfortable around him, which in turn has the same effect on him. Jodie was a teenage mum, who’s trying to move on from her past but regularly finds it reappearing in her life and fearing for the safety of herself and her sweet little boy.

I loved the interactions between Simon and Jodie, initially it’s awkward but it’s lovely to see it progress towards friendship and develop confidence and support to each other.

This story is a warm one, but also has some tender and witty moments that add to the charm of the story.

A gorgeous and inspirational story about unlikely friendships and following your dreams, ‘One Ordinary Day at a Time’ is a heartwarming story that will bring a smile to your day.

You can buy ‘One Ordinary Day At A Time’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.