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What Fresh Hell By Lucy Vine

What Fresh Hell‘What Fresh Hell’ is by Lucy Vine.

Meet Lilah Fox. She’s on the hen do from hell. Then she gets a message (44 of them, actually) from her best friend with big news: she’s getting married in six months. Oh, and Lilah’s her maid of honour. Which means she just got signed up for.

Lucy Vine is a relatively new author for me, I’ve read 2 of her books and have 2 more of her books to look forward to reading.

In this book we meet Lilah, who’s at the age where her life is filled with weddings and hen weekends, her bank account is being drained due to wedding gifts and the constant question being directed at her is when she will she be next? Her once laid back best friend has announced her wedding in 6 months and is determined that Lilah will make it the best wedding ever.

I adore Lucy’s books, her books read like a spokesperson for women of a certain age, where marriage and settling down is expected not trying to get further in their career and enjoying being single and child free.

Her writing is fresh and honest and makes for instantly relatable reading that is easy to sink into and connect with on so many levels.

I loved Lilah, she’s fun, outgoing and packed with wit and finds it impossible to say no hence the debilitating bank account. Her boyfriend is a sweetheart and her divorced parents hate each other and mostly talk to each other with the most inventive insults ever. Lilah is a generous character and she’s easily taken advantage off by, her friends, family and workplace. But as the story progresses, we see Lilah struggle with keeping others happy and putting others before herself.

This book is a riot from start to finish, with boisterous characters, fantastic one liners and scenarios that are instantly relatable and over the top. Lucy’s writing is sharp, quick witted and really connects with her readers.

If you’re looking for perfect escapism story that will lift your spirits and distract from the drama outside, I’d wholeheartedly recommend ‘What Fresh Hell’ and every other book by Lucy Vine.

You can buy ‘What Fresh Hell’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Shadow Of A Doubt By Michelle Davies

Shadow Of A Doubt‘Shadow Of A Doubt’ is the latest book by Michelle Davies.

The whole world believed nine-year-old Cara killed her younger brother on that fateful night. But she blamed it on a paranormal entity she swears was haunting her house. No one believed her and after two years of treatment in a psychiatric unit for delusional disorder, Cara was shunned by her remaining family and put into foster care. Now she’s being forced to return to the family home for the first time since her brother’s death, but what if she’s about to re-discover the evil that was lurking inside its walls?

If you like ghostly thrillers, then this book might be for you.

The story is about Cara, who’s returned home after the death of her mother. She was abandoned when she was a child from her family when she was falsely accused of her brother’s death even though she alleges it was a ghost called Limey Stan who killed him. Now, years later after being banished from the family, her mother has left her childhood home giving Cara an opportunity to put old ghosts to rest.

The story is mostly seen through the narrative of Cara and her aunt Karen, who’s raging that Cara has been left the house after everything she did for her sister. Whilst Cara is battling with emotions, trying to hide her past from her present as well as trying to clear her name and finally prove her innocence.

I really enjoyed this book, it’s a fascinating premise, with a paranormal twist to it. Cara is an interesting character, battling mental health issues due to her childhood and there’s regular entries from her time in a psychiatric hospital, so it does make the reader wonder about how reliable her story is. Whereas her aunt Karen, is quite bias in the story after becoming her sister’s support when her little boy was murdered and her daughter was the suspect.

A story primed with eeriness and suspense and is filled with regular twists and drama to keep the reader engaged at all times. The story is also sad in moments when Cara reflects on the life that she could have had, if people had believed her and it’s upsetting at times how her whole family shunned her.

Chilling and cleverly written, with an interesting perspective on the handling of grief, ‘Shadow Of A Doubt’ is an atmospheric psychological thriller with ghostly encounters that made for thrilling reading.

You can buy ‘Shadow Of A Doubt’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Hot Mess By Lucy Vine

Hot Mess‘Hot Mess’ is the debut novel by Lucy Vine.

Have you ever shown up to Sunday brunch still smelling of Saturday night? Chosen bed, Netflix and pizza over human contact? Stayed in your mould-ridden flat because it’s cheap? Meet your spirit animal, Ellie Knight. Her life isn’t turning out exactly as she planned. She hates her job, her friends are coupling up and settling down, and her flatmates are just plain weird.

I came across this book whilst listening to the ‘The Bestseller Experiment’ podcast, Lucy was chatting with her editor about how she wrote her book over a 2 month period, with a deadline of 10,000 words a week.

As an aspiring writer myself, I was curious to see if this plan could also work for me but I also had more of a curiosity to read the book itself.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Ellie, a young fun loving woman who’s enjoying life and meeting new people but is feeling the pressure to settle down, as it is what society has expected her to do.

The story follows her as she goes on a series of disastrous dates, tries not to fall for her hot flatmate as well as try to pave out a proper career for herself.

I loved Ellie, she kinda is my spirit animal that I empathised with on so many levels. It’s so pressurising to be a woman of a certain age that it’s expected that if you’re not settled down, married with child, then there’s something wrong. And, we get a lot of that pressure from people our own age which is extremely frustrating particularly females.

I read this book over the Christmas holidays which was a godsend as I had read it into the early hours. The story is written with humour and warmth, filled with fabulous characters that made for intoxicating reading. Ellie is a brilliant character, that I instantly warmed to with her wit and drama. I adored Ellie’s father, who was a constant positive energy in Ellie’s life and his own desire for writing made for a fantastic inclusion in the story, as he wrote his own take on the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ novel. Ellie’s older sister Jen is a tyrant, who’s quick to speak her mind and not afraid to offend at any opportunity.

A wittily written story of self discovery that made for fabulous reading. A truly recommended read that reassures that we all travel our lives at our own pace.

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

Book Tour – 33 Women

33 WomenOn the book tour for Isabel Ashdown’s thrilling new book called ’33 Women’ sit back and enjoy an extract from the story.

THE SISTERS OF TWO CROSS FARM :
CODE OF CONDUCT

1. Come as yourself, sister, whoever that may be.
2. No man shall enter through the gates of our community.
3. In all things, sisters are equal.
4. Trust is implicit, loyalty a given.
5. 33 will be the number at our table.
6. 6 will be the number of our Founding Sisters, the caretakers
of our community.
7. All who dwell here must first shed their limpets, who or
whatever they may be.
8. Come for a day or stay forever, but all must come in the
spirit of sisterhood.
9. Every sister will be afforded a week to weep and a lifetime
to grow.
10. Each sister will rise with the sun and rest with the moon.
11. She will labour six days out of seven for her weekly shelter.
12. Banishment is final.

1. VANESSA
March 2005

There is a moment in which pain and fear slips into acceptance.

I am there now, and all around me is still, a midnight hush
of shock and awe. No more can I feel the weight of fists slamming into my jaw, or the snap of my ribs, or even the gasping pressure of fingers closing around my throat. In fact, I barely feel a thing, just the frost-damp grass beneath my palms and the cool white whisper of my breath as it slips through my broken lips. Above me, the stars are out, the indigo sky quite lit up by them, and, as white wings soar by, it occurs to me that they are silent witnesses to my passing. I wonder if I should feel afraid.

But then I am sixteen again; I see Celine and Pip shrouded
in sunlight at the kitchen table, laying out bread for cheese
on toast, and Celine is cutting the crusts off Pip’s because she
won’t eat them, and drizzling Worcester sauce on mine because
that’s how I like it. And I’m standing there in the doorway in
my school uniform, biting down on my lip because I love these
two so much – I’m feeling too much – and it’s chaos inside my
head; and now we’re sitting on the back steps, arranged like pot
plants, one-two-three, eating our toast and looking out across the courtyard, naïvely planning summer day trips and meal rotas,
and Celine is saying ‘Delilah who ?’ and the light is radiating
through Pip’s scruffy blonde hair and she’s sticking two fingers
in the air, blowing raspberries and we’re laughing, all three of
us through tears, and we have each other and we’ll cling to that,and we’ll never walk away . . .

A sound, a thud like iron against hard earth, brings me back
to this starry night, and even through my inertia fresh panic
grips me. How will they know how to find me? How will my
sisters know where to look?

The night sky is obscured as women gather over me, their
faces lined with age, eyes moving closer, closer, closer still, testing me for life. Whether they see it or not, I wish them only love in this final breath, before their eyes, like the stars, fade to nothing.

If you liked this short extract from ’33 Women’, you can buy it from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Like Mother Like Daughter By Elle Croft

Like Mother Like Daughter‘Like Mother Like Daughter’ is the latest book by Elle Croft.

If what they said was true, then the grotesque and the monstrous ran in her blood. It was imprinted within her very core, her DNA, a part of every cell in her body. Kat’s children are both smart and well-adjusted. On the outside. Kat has always tried to treat Imogen and Jemima equally, but she struggles with one of her daughters more than the other. Because Imogen’s birth mother is a serial killer. And Imogen doesn’t know.

I’ve read a books by Elle Croft before and they are always a gripping and thrilling story. So, if you enjoy suspenseful stories about dysfunctional relationships, then ‘Like Mother, Like Daughter’.

The story is about mother and adopted daughter, Kat and Imogen, they have a turbulent relationship. Imogen is known for a quick temper and when she’s sent home from schools for getting in a fight, Kat begins to wonder about her daughter and when Imogen disappears one day, Kat finds herself fearing the worst and having to face up to her past.

The story is seen through multiple narratives, from Kat and Imogen to a character called Sally who has quite a sinister past. Kat believes that Imogen is off in search of her real family hoping to get some answers but in doing so, will discover something that Kat has tried to keep hidden. She and her husband Dylan have a strong marriage and not being able to have children made them stronger and closer, even though they were fortunate to have a child after Imogen was adopted. Imogen never felt part of the family and always thought her younger sister Jemima was the favoured one so it made sense when she discovered that she was adopted. Now, she’s off on a journey of self discovery hoping to finally find her place in life and belong. The chapters from Sally are quite unsettling to read and feature child abuse and torture, she’s a delusional woman who thinks she was the perfect mother.

The story is well plotted with plenty of twists in the tale to keep the readers’ attention, the different perspectives give the story an interesting slant as one mother battles to keep her daughter safe. Like Elle’s previous books, this psychological story was a gripping tale that was cleverly weaved with clues and shocks throughout, coming together with a shocking conclusion that left the reader in shocked.

A dark and thrilling story about a mother’s love, ‘Like Mother Like Daughter’ begs the question, is blood thicker than water, Elle Croft certainly explores this theory in this tense drama.

You can buy ‘Like Mother Like Daughter’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.