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The Paper Bracelet By Rachael English

The Paper Bracelet ‘The Paper Bracelet’ is the latest book by Irish author Rachael English.

For almost fifty years, Katie has kept a box of secrets. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home, and contains a notebook with details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets. Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision she has long kept at bay. She posts a message on an internet forum, knowing that the information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers. Soon, the replies are rolling in, and Katie encounters success, failure, heartache and joy as she finds herself in the role of part-detective, part-counsellor – chasing down leads, piecing together stories, and returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. But there is one bracelet in the box that holds the key to a story that may never be told.

‘The Paper Bracelet’ is the first book that I’ve read by Rachael English and I must admit that it was a truly charming story that tugged at the readers’ heartstrings.

The story is about a mother and baby home called Carrigbrack in Ireland during the 1960’s where young women who became pregnant were sent away to. These homes were by the Catholic church and the women were mistreated and babies were taken away, never to be seen again. The story is seen from the perspective of Katie, who was in a nurse in the Carrigbrack and decides she wants to help reunite mothers with their children, as she collected the paper bracelets that each baby was given with their date of birth and weight. The story is seen from her narrative with the help of niece Beth, as well as the perspectives of Gary, Brandon and Alish who have spent their lives looking for their real mothers. Another inclusion in the story is flashbacks to the Carrigbrack from the perspective of a young mother called Patricia who’s expecting a baby.

The sad thing about this story is that it is based on true events. Ireland had homes where women disappeared to have children and were exposed to harsh brutalities of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. They were punished for becoming pregnant, even though some of their pregnancies may have come from sexual abuse within the family. It’s a shocking read in parts, especially with the cruelties of the nuns and how they treated the women, they lacked compassion and sympathy towards the situations. The different narratives give a lovely slant to the story as we join Alish, Brandon and Gary find their mothers and try to piece their lives together and find their place in life properly. I loved Katie, having lost her husband, she’s now committed to helping reunite families and it makes for tender reading as we join her on this journey.

A heartwarming story that is reminiscent of a Maeve Binchy story, ‘The Paper Bracelet’ is a beautifully written and emotional story about the tragic hardships of mother and baby homes. Written with tenderness and filled with warmth and Irish charm, this book is the perfect page turner.

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

Out Of Love By Hazel Hayes

Out Of Love‘Out Of Love’ is the debut book by Hazel Hayes.

As a young woman boxes up her ex-boyfriend’s belongings and prepares to see him one last time, she wonders where it all went wrong, and whether it was ever right to begin with. Burdened with a broken heart, she asks herself the age-old question . . . is love really worth it?

On Sunday morning, I curled up on my sofa and started this book and found it impossible to put down. A touching and honest reflection and observation on the breakdown of a relationship and how it all can go tragically wrong.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of the protagonist of the story, who’s never named at the exact moment that her ex boyfriend returns to their house to pick up his stuff. It’s whilst this happens that the story then deals with the aftermath of the relationship as well as as travelling back in time to key moments in the couple’s relationship.

For me, this book really struck a chord. It literally felt like Hazel has delved into my mind and written about my own relationships and insecurities. I connected with the character on such a level that I hasn’t happened to me for a long time with an author. The loved the protagonist in this story, she’s flawed, unsure but embraces all of it with wit and warmth that made for gripping reading. It was atmospheric from the first page and the vivid descriptions of nights out in Dublin literally leapt off the pages at me. I too, have experienced the cattle market that is Coppers and Hazel’s description of it described it perfectly, I only wish I had known about this third hand when I visited.

Beautifully written, the story is observant and reflective piece on the breakdown of a relationship, when the passion and love is replaced by tension and misery and the only option is to let go. ‘Out Of Love’ is a beautiful debut that is On Sunday morning, I curled up on my sofa and started this book and found it impossible to put down. A touching and honest reflection and observation on the breakdown of a relationship and how it all can go tragically wrong.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of the protagonist of the story, who’s never named at the exact moment that her ex boyfriend returns to their house to pick up his stuff. It’s whilst this happens that the story then deals with the aftermath of the relationship as well as as travelling back in time to key moments in the couple’s relationship.

For me, this book really struck a chord. It literally felt like Hazel has delved into my mind and written about my own relationships and insecurities. I connected with the character on such a level that I hasn’t happened to me for a long time with an author. The loved the protagonist in this story, she’s flawed, unsure but embraces all of it with wit and warmth that made for gripping reading. As the story delves into her past, we are confronted with her struggles with abuse and mental health and how she has become the strong woman that she is now. It was atmospheric from the first page and the vivid descriptions of nights out in Dublin literally leapt off the pages at me. I too, have experienced the cattle market that is Coppers and Hazel’s description of it described it perfectly, I only wish I had known about this third hand when I visited.

Beautifully written, the story is observant and reflective piece on the breakdown of a relationship, when the passion and love is replaced by tension and misery and the only option is to let go. ‘Out Of Love’ is a beautiful debut that is witty and warm tale that had me laugh at the Irish charm and cry at the brutal honesty.

You can buy ‘Out Of Love’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Cutting Place By Jane Casey

The Cutting Place”The Cutting Place’ is the ninth book by Jane Casey in the Maeve Kerrigan thriller series.

Everyone’s heard the rumours about elite gentlemen’s clubs, where the champagne flows freely, the parties are the height of decadence . . . and the secrets are darker than you could possibly imagine. DS Maeve Kerrigan finds herself in an unfamiliar world of wealth, luxury and ruthless behaviour when she investigates the murder of a young journalist, Paige Hargreaves. Paige was working on a story about the Chiron Club, a private society for the richest and most privileged men in London. Then she disappeared. It’s clear to Maeve that the members have many secrets. But Maeve is hiding secrets of her own – even from her partner DI Josh Derwent. Will she uncover the truth about Paige’s death? Or will time run out for Maeve first?

Although this is the ninth book in Jane Casey’s series, this was the first book that I read by the author and I must admit it was a great story and introduction to a new series.

The story starts with the discovery of a dismembered female body and DS Maeve Kerrigan is called in to investigate. As she looks into the background of the victim, she begins to ravel the possible motives behind the woman’s death as well as the discovery of an elusive club.

The story is primarily told through Maeve’s perspective but there is an inclusion of chapters seen from the narrative of someone who has just done something terrible and their identity is not revealed.

I really enjoy a good murder thriller and ‘The Cutting Place’ was just that. DS Maeve Kerrigan is a great character, a strong woman who works hard in a predominantly male environment but has earned her colleagues respect through her eye for detail. Her relationship with her colleague and flatmate Josh Derwent is a turbulent one that makes for interesting reading, combining the professionalism and personal aspects of their relationship with wit and drama. The premise for the book revolves around a secret society club and it makes for interesting reading as Maeve investigates it and the sordid tales surrounding it.

The story is a tense and dramatic one, with suspense leaping off each page, the dynamics between the characters, as well as suspicious characters makes for truly gripping reading, that really leaves the reader on the edge of their seat.

Although in the book, Jane provides some character background, I was really intrigued by the relationship between Maeve and Josh and will most definitely be looking into reading the previous books from the series.

‘The Cutting Place’ is a gruesome and dark tale about the dark underbelly of high society, a fantastically written and a thoroughly well researched police procedural, packed with humour and some tender moments helping the reader recover from the darker ones, a must read!

You can buy ‘The Cutting Place’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Rules Of The Road By Ciara Geraghty

Rules Of The Road‘Rules Of The Road’ is the latest book by Irish author, Ciara Geraghty.

Tuesday morning starts like any other – until Terry discovers her best friend Iris has gone missing. Finding her takes Terry, Iris and Terry’s confused father Eugene, into an extraordinary journey – one that will change all of their lives. And, along the way, what should be the worst six days of Terry’s life turn into the best. Because friendship teaches us all to be brave. And, sometimes, the rules are made to be broken.

It’s been a while since I read one of Ciara’s book and her latest story is turbulent journey of friendship, loss and sheer determination.

On the day that Terry Shepherd has to take dad from his nursing home due to a rats infestation, her best friend, Iris disappears. Iris unable to live with her progressive MS decides to travel to Switzerland for assisted suicide. But Terry being the friend that she is, is unable to leave her friend to deal with it alone and more importantly try to talk her out of it. So, begins an unlikely journey across Europe as Terry, Iris and Terry’s father Eugene accompany Iris on her final destination.

I absolutely adored this story, it’s written with warmth, wit and sensitivity. All the characters are wonderful, Terry is a sensible character and it’s only on the unexpected adventure with Iris that she begins to see a different side of life, she loses her sensible clothes and embraces new textures and begins to think of her herself. She reflects on her life and how taken for granted she feels by her husband and family. Her dad Eugene has been effected by dementia but has never lost his driving skills from being a taxi driver and is always there in the back ground with driving tips and stories of famous passengers, he injected an air of innocence and fragility into the story, which was heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time. Iris was a strong character, but the MS has taken away her independence and freedom of life and it’s understandable that she wants to take back the control.

This book is a beautiful story but be warned, it’s a heartbreaker. Touching on the cruelties of both dementia and MS, the illness and how it affects not only the sufferer but those around them. The trio make for entertaining reading, bouncing from poignant moments to humour, helping the reader get through the life affirming story.

Beautifully written with relatable characters and situations, ‘Rules of the Road’ is a modern day ‘Thelma and Louise’ adventure. A story about friendships, life and relationships, this book is an emotional roller-coaster that will you crying and giggling throughout with genuine characters that you hope will never reach their final destination

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

Filter This By Sophie White

Filter This ‘Filter This’ is the debut novel by Sophie White and it’s a fun and insightful story about the pressures and drama of social media.

Ali Jones is hell-bent on achieving her #lifegoals: 10,000+ Instagram followers and a win at the upcoming Glossie Awards. So when she inadvertently leads people to believe she’s pregnant and immediately gains thousands of followers, she realises that riding the ‘Mummy Influencer’ wave could be her ticket to Insta-success. But then Tinder Sam, Ali’s one-night-stand, resurfaces, determined to take his new role as baby daddy seriously. Elsewhere on Insta, Ireland’s biggest influencer (and Ali’s idol) Shelly Devine has it all — at least on screen. But beneath the immaculately curated feed, Shelly harbours a secret from her followers — and her husband — but who will be the first to discover what she’s been hiding? As Ali’s lies spiral out of control, and Shelly starts to take a hard look at her life choices, what will it take for them to realise what’s truly important before they lose what matters most?

The story is seen through the narrative of two women Ali Jones, an upcoming and aspiring influencer and Shelly Divine, one of Ireland’s most influential social media icons. Both women are at polar ends of the spectrum, one just starting out and the other is at the peak of her game. But both lives change dramatically and both women find themselves harbouring a secret that is detrimental to their careers.

After becoming a Wildcard at the Glossies Social Media Awards, Ali accidentally leads people to believe that she is pregnant after a cryptic post. Suddenly she’s in big demand, with brands wanting her face all over their products and the life that Ali had always dreamed off has become a reality. Meanwhile, Shelly has led her fans to believe that she has the perfect family and marriage, but it’s all quietly crumbling down around her as her husband tires of her lifestyle and there’s now another baby in the mix.

I genuinely loved this story with its bright and inviting cover, I gobbled this book up in one sitting as I joined Ali and Shelly on their social media journey.

Wittily written, the story reflects on the reality of social media, the pressure and demands to promote brands as well as to create a fake and artificial life. I really enjoyed the characters, both women are strong and are determined to make successful lives for themselves, they are also icons to their fans proving that influencers can lead successfully financially lives. I also enjoyed the location of the story. Set in the bustling city of Dublin, locations and venues stood out and I was able to make connections with them.

A keenly observed and relatable story about the world of social media and the pressures to maintain a perfect life, ‘Filter This’ is a fun and modern story that proves with filters and gradients, nothing is ever as it seems.

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