The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas

The Watcher by

Spring Reading Week

It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of. Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents. Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.

Review: I would like to thank Rachel at Authorright for asking me to review this book. Rachel sent an email listing a range of books for Spring reading week for us to choice to review, ‘discover something new’ and I remember thinking why not? I decided to try The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas a historical novel.

I was excited to read about life after war and how it had changed the family involved in this war veterans life.

It is well written and very deep, going into the thoughts and feelings of each character enable myself as the reader to really get to know the characters. You could really feel what the characters felt and picture their stories. It took me a little while getting into this story as the style of writing is different to what I have read recently but it in no way takes away from the greatness of this book.

I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it.

See below for an extract from the book.

About the Author: 

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Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002. In 2016 her first book Fifteen Words was published.

Extract

Netta was running for her life.
At least that’s how it felt when you were trying to outrun the boys. And she often did. She would much rather be charging around with Peter and Josef than sitting about chatting with Mia and Inge and swapping Glanzbilder with their soppy images of kittens in dresses and angel-faced children.etta was running for her life.

Josef was the son of Herr Ritter the school caretaker, whose entire family lived in the dingy basement under the school. Peter’s parents were both dead, he said. Now he had to live with his aunt – the witch who ran the sweetshop. No wonder the two of them couldn’t wait to run about the woods with Netta whenever they got the chance.

They had stood on the edge of the woods, fists in tight little balls, the way they had seen Olympic athletes stand in Peter’s magazine.

‘First one to the canal is the champion,’ he’d said.

‘Last one is a rotten egg,’ Josef had added.

Netta was smaller and younger than them both but there was no way she was going to be a rotten egg. Besides, this race was downhill nearly all the way, through the woods and out to the canal, which ran by her house. She was already as sure as she could be that she wouldn’t be last.

‘Ready, steady…’ Peter had said very slowly and everyone had slid their front foot through the grass a little hoping it wouldn’t be noticed.

Netta couldn’t bear to wait another half a second. ‘Go!’ she’d squealed and shot off with the boys complaining and running at the same time.

The complaining soon stopped as Peter and Josef needed all the breath they could get to speed them between the tree trunks, over the logs and under the branches. She heard their shoes getting closer and their panting like a couple of dogs. Then a yelp and a shiver of leaves told her one of them had fallen over. She didn’t dare look behind to find out which, in case she fell too. And then the ditch was before her and, with all the speed she’d gathered so far whooshing down the hill, she took off like a swallow and landed safely on the other side.

She heard Peter’s Wooo! and hoped that meant he was impressed by her jump over the ditch. But he was probably just enjoying his own little flight. And the thud on the ground behind her as he landed told her that was so.

Her little lungs were burning, her legs were like jelly, her ears were throbbing, but she broke through the tree line ahead of the boys and the canal was only yards away.

She had done it!

But what about stopping?

Winning was so important she hadn’t thought about what happened after, when your body kept going whether you wanted it to or not. When all the speed you had gathered from going downhill just kept you going straight into the water.

Peter and Josef were quick to help her out. They knew she couldn’t swim yet and her falling in the canal was just desserts enough for winning. They could tease her for it endlessly, but in order to do that, they had to save her life first.

The three wet kids slapped along the towpath in the grey afternoon back to the schoolhouse where they could use the communal showers. Netta’s family came here most evenings anyway to wash, as it was much bigger and better than the bathroom at home, which was so tiny you had to go in one at a time, so the wait could be forever.

The teasing started only a few yards down the path, but Netta was too proud of her win to be hurt and too interested in trying to work out who that was in the shadow of the trees by her house, staring at them as they passed.

But even the watcher was soon forgotten under a shower of liquid sunshine. Netta sat on the smooth blue tiles with the hot water pouring over her and she felt like a snowman melting. Peter had gone next door to ask Netta’s Oma for some dry clothes for her. He was glad her mama was too busy working in the surgery to be disturbed – she would be so much angrier about it, Peter thought, because her face always looked so serious.

After the shower, Josef had to stay in as it was nearly dinner time. Peter had to go too, so Netta had no choice but to walk home. She wasn’t ready to go inside yet, so she walked the short distance to next-door as if she were a snail.

It was funny how she could get so out of breath walking so slowly when she’d run all that way through the woods like an athlete. She looked at the yellow clouds above the trees as if she knew they were responsible, and that’s when she could have sworn she saw someone hiding there again. She started walking faster and fixed her eyes on the front door of her house up ahead. She heard a sound of leaves, a bit like when Josef had fallen during the race earlier, then footsteps heavier than hers were on the street behind her. And she ran for the door and hammered on it with all her might.

Her mother rushed from the surgery where she was finishing her notes for the day to answer the door in case it was an emergency.

‘What are you doing banging about like that?’ she said to the top of her daughter’s head as it rushed inside to the living room and the safety of the piano.

‘There was someone out there. They were hiding in the trees. Watching me. They were watching Peter and Josef and me earlier too and just now they started chasing after me.’

‘Who was watching you? Who was chasing you?’ her mama huffed, peering out into the empty street before closing the door.

‘Someone. I don’t know. I couldn’t see them.’ Netta began lightly fingering the keys. Their padded bounce was reassuring.

‘Well, if you couldn’t see them, they couldn’t have been that close, could they?’ her mama said going back to the surgery to finish her work.

‘Unless it was a ghost,’ Martha said poking her head in from the kitchen with a mischievous grin on her face, which was meant to distract and cheer up her granddaughter, but only served to frighten her further.

‘Did they make a sound? Did they speak at all?’ her father’s voice made her jump. She hadn’t even realised he was back from the Klinik already, sitting by the window, one of those blasted medical books on his lap. Yet since he was the only one who seemed to be taking her seriously she was happy to answer him.

‘No. They never spoke.’

‘Was it a man or a woman?’

‘I’m not sure.’ She wasn’t being much use and she didn’t want to disappoint him so she added, ‘A man, I think.’ Because who’d ever heard of the Bogey Woman?

‘Did you get a look at what they were wearing? Normal clothes or a uniform, like a soldier?’ he said, leaning forward.

This was the longest conversation she’d ever had with her father. This was the longest he had ever looked at her with such interest and concern. She didn’t want to ruin it by having nothing interesting to say. ‘It sounded like they…like he was wearing boots when he started to run after me.’

For more from Spring Reading week see below blogs where you can find more reviews.

Spring Reads 2018[206]

 

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The Summer of Secrets by Tilly Tennant

The Summer of Secrets by Tilly Tennet (1)

Can new love grow when you dig up old secrets?

Harper Woods wakes up every morning on Silver Hill Farm feeling like the luckiest woman in the world. She’s recently engaged to the tall, dark and handsome Shay, out of her window lie rolling golden cornfields, and just downstairs are the gorgeous tea rooms she’s always dreamed of owning. 

But Harper is about to discover a secret that will change her luck forever. For better or worse? She has no idea. 

Distracted by her find, Harper doesn’t notice Shay getting rather close to his ex from the village. And as news of Harper’s discovery spreads through Silver Hill, there are people who are keen to stir up trouble, in particular, Will Frampton, handsome recluse and Lord of Silver Hill House, the crumbling stately home the other side of the hill.

Can Harper trust any man in Silver Hill? And as relationships are tested and tea cakes begin to fly, will anyone catch the romance blossoming in the most unexpected of places?

Review: First I would like to thank Bookouture for letting me read and review this wonderful book. Yep, you read that right this is a wonderful book. I loved it. Tilly is a fairly new author for me but I heard so many good things about her books that I read some of her books set at Christmas and loved them, so when I saw The Summer of Secrets on NetGalley I knew I had to read it.

The first thing I loved about this book was the cover, so bright and pretty. Then on reading the blurb I got really interested, engaged to a handsome man but said handsome man gets close to his ex, oh dear that is a defiant no no and an unexpected find that encourages another handsome man into Harper’s life, interesting.

The book for me started a little slow, that’s not to say it was not written well because it was it just took a while to get into the story for me, but once the interesting discovery was made it got more interested and the story fell into place for me. Tilly’s characters are good. Some I liked more than others due to what they get up to in this book.

A feel good read perfect for a lazy summer’s day.

Million Love Songs by Carole Matthews (Blog Tour)

Million Love Songs by Carole Matthews

After splitting up with her cheating ex-husband, Ruby Brown is ready for a change. She’s single again for the first time in years and she’s going to dive into this brave new world with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. The last thing she’s looking for is another serious relationship.

Mason Soames represents everything Ruby wants right now: he’s charming, handsome, and perfect for some no-strings-attached fun, and yet Ruby can’t help feel that something is missing. Joe Edwards on the other hand is also lovely and handsome but he comes with the sort of baggage Ruby wants to avoid: an annoyingly attractive ex-wife and two teenage children.

Ruby soon has some very tough decisions to make. Is she ready for a relationship of any kind, and what type of life does she really want? Because while Ruby may think she knows what she wants, is that what she needs to be truly happy?

Review: I would like to thank Stephanie at Little, Brown Book Group for asking me to take part in the blog tour for Carole Matthews new book Million Love Songs. I was super excited to be asked. I am a massive fan of Carole Matthews and her books.

Million Love Songs is about Ruby Brown, a girl after my own heart, I love her. Caroline has created another very strong character in Ruby. The story is told through her eyes and follows her journey after she left her cheating husband. Two men appear in her life and as she makes choices to discover who she is, she finds both these men are very different.

I enjoyed reading about Ruby doing things out if her comfort. Especially, becoming a Take That mega fan! Now, who would I have as a cardboard cut out sitting in the corner of my bedroom watching over me, properly Chris Pratt, without a dinosaur chasing behind him. Carole’s sense of humour runs throughout this book.

Million Love Songs is sure to be a hit this Spring!

Below is Carole Matthews A Million Love Songs playlist on Spotify! Take a listen while you read.

Below is my Million Love Songs play list:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/chelrussell-gb/playlist/7mzPfLobYETCgM4oBp73dX

My Million Love Songs Playlist

  1. Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

  2. Perfect Duet by Ed Sheeran and Beyonce

  3. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

  4. When I Look At You by Miley Cyrus

  5. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams

  6. Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding

  7. A Thousand Years by Christina Perri

  8. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion

  9. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith

  10. Always by Bon Jovi 

 

 

 

Cover reveal! The Date by Louise Jensen

The Date: An unputdownable psychological thriller with a breathtaking twist 

Cover reveal the date

Something bad has happened to Alison Taylor. 

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future. 

By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her. 

Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her… 

From the no. 1 bestselling author of The SisterThe Gift and The SurrogateThe Date is a gripping page-turner that will keep you awake until the early hours. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go To Sleep. 

Wow! What a stunner of a cover. It looks amazing and the story sounds amazing I cant wait to get my hands on a copy to read!

 

cover reveal louise jenson

About the author:

Louise is a USA Today Bestselling Author, and lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat.

Louise’s first two novels, The Sister and The Gift, were both International No.1 Bestsellers, and ha

 

ve been sold for translation to sixteen countries. The Sister was nominated for The Goodreads Awards Debut of 2016. Louise’s third psychological thriller, The Surrogate, is out now.

Louise loves to hear from readers and writers and can be found at www.louisejensen.co.uk, where she regularly blogs flash fiction.

https://twitter.com/Fab_fiction

https://www.facebook.com/fabricatingfiction/

You can pre-order the book below: Only £1.99 at the moment! Bargain!

 

Part One of Ottercombe Bay by Bella Osboune

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Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

Review: What a charming tale. This is the first part of a novel by Bella Osboune. I have read a book by Bella before so was looking forward to reading this. I was not disappointed. This is a great chic lit book with a hint at romance.

Daisy arrives in Ottercombe under sad circumstances. Ottercombe Bay is a lovely setting in Devon which is beautiful written about in this book. Daisy has to stay in Ottercombe Bay to get her hands on her inheritance, for 12 months, surrounded in ghosts from her past. I have read a book recently with a similar plot idea and I found that hard to get out of my head as I read and this didn’t keep me as enthralled as that book did but this is a good first part to the story and is left on a real hook, which leaves the reader wanting more.

A great cast of characters and a great plot even though it is not quite as good as the past book has left me needing read on.

So keep you eye out for my review on part two coming soon and part three will follow.

A Good Heart is Hard to Find by Trisha Ashley

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Cassandra Leigh has woken as if from a bad dream: forty-four, childless and twenty-plus years into an affair with a married man. Max assures her they just need a little more patience and for his wife to die (!) but Cass is desperate for a baby and running out of time. Maybe Max is not the only man for her?

There’s her friend Jason – though he’s perhaps a little too rugged, and there’s something strange about the way his wife disappeared . . . Or there’s Dante, the mysterious stranger she meets on a dark night in his haunted manor house . . .

Cass must throw caution to the wind and claim the life she’s always wanted. Suddenly, it’s a choice between Mr Right, Mr Wrong or Mr Right Now . . .

Review: Another wonderful novel by Trisha Ashley, she is a firm favourite of mine so this review is totally biased ha ha.

I adore her quirkiness that flows through her writing in all her novels. This is a re-publication and was called Singled Out. This character writes horror stories but seems to have a much more interesting life then a character in a book. I have read similar books with this plot from Trisha were a woman is desperate for a baby but can’t find true love, however despite the plot being the same concept as some of her other books she creates a totally different story, with a smashing bunch of characters, which really engaged me.

A must read for all Trisha fans or anyone who is looking to become one.

Review Bundle

 

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Hearts of Resistance by Soraya M. Lane

At the height of World War II, three women must come together to fight for freedom, for the men they love—and for each other.

When Hazel is given the chance to parachute into Nazi-occupied France, she seizes the opportunity to do more for the British war effort than file paperwork. Alongside her childhood friend, French-born Rose, she quickly rises up the ranks of the freedom fighters. For Rose, the Resistance is a link to her late husband, and a way to move forward without him. What starts out as helping downed airmen becomes a bigger cause when they meet Sophia, a German escapee and fierce critic of Hitler who is wanted by the Gestapo. Together the three women form a bond that will last a lifetime.

But amid the turmoil and tragedy of warfare, all three risk losing everything—and everyone—they hold dear. Will their united front be strong enough to see them through?

Review: When I saw this book on NetGalley I knew I had to read it. I few things stood out for me about this book. It was set in the war and was about women who go to fight. I was not disappointed. This was an amazing read, told using different view points which really enhance the story,  its cleverly written. Loved it. Will be looking out for more by this author!

The Orphan Girl by Lindsey Hutchinson

Taken into service, orphan Lily Rae has heard all the stories about what entitled masters think their pretty maid’s duties include. But when the very worst happens to her, she knows scrubbing the scullery floors of Ryder House no longer provide refuge from the sadistic Sebastian Ryder… Cold and alone, Lily makes for the town of Wednesbury, knowing she has only herself to rely on…

Tilley Green has nothing to her name except a fine figure her worn, patched-up clothes can’t disguise, and the voice of an angel. Destined to be a chorus-hall star Tilley must first escape the clutches of her opportunistic and violent manager, a certain Seb Ryder…

Life has been a long tough struggle for both Lily and for Tilley, but the town of Wednesbury just could be where they can find their own glimmer of happiness…

Review: Another really good historical fiction book, there is so many out there at the moment but only some of them stand out and this one does. Lily even though she is in a different era I can relate to here. Such a lovely character that I came to love as I read her story. A story about a strong women who can overcome negativity that stands in her way. Powerful book and a brilliant read.

The Wedding that Changed Everything by Jennifer Joyce

Love happens when you least expect it…

Emily Atkinson stopped believing in fairy tales a long time ago! She’s fed up of dating frogs in order to find her very own Prince Charming and is giving up on men entirely…

But then she’s invited to the wedding of the year at the enchanting Durban Castle and realises that perhaps bumping into a real-life knight in shining armour isn’t quite as far away as she thought!

Will Emily survive the wedding and walk away an unscathed singleton – or finally find her own happily-ever-after?

Review: The first thing that attracted me to the book was the cover. Bright and magical on the outside and on the inside the story was a truly lovely romance set in a castle in a great setting. This was an enjoyable read but did prefer the authors other works.

The Runaway Wife by Rosie Clarke

The hedonism of London in the roaring ’20’s is a world away from Annabel Tarleton’s ordinary country existence. Until a chance meeting with the charming Richard Fortescue at a society ball changes her life for ever.

Swept off her feet by the dashing Richard, and his renowned fortune, Annabel soon realises all that all that glitters isn’t gold. Her bid for freedom has come at a terrible price and she finds herself trapped inside a marriage that behind closed doors is cruel and brutal.

Annabel has no choice but to flee, and will do everything to save herself, and her unborn baby, from destitution. But the very rich and very powerful expect to get what they want – and Richard wants only one thing – Annabel…

Review: A lovely historical saga set in the 1920s. An era known for its glitz and glamour. I enjoy a good historical book I can get lost in and for me who was born in the late 80s I love going back in time and this was beautiful written and did just that.

Best Friends by Carys Jones

Four friends, a terrible secret, and one week to stay alive…

Grace doesn’t have a family. That was taken away one dreadful day when she was just six, and her twin brother Peter was killed. Instead she has her best friends and flatmates – Jasper, Franklin and Aaron – and nothing can tear them apart.

Living in London, and trying desperately to make a living, the four friends are rapidly running out of money and hope. So, when they find a discarded suitcase in a skip, they can’t believe their eyes when its contents seem to answer all their prayers.

But then there is a knock on their door, and a very disgruntled thug with revenge on his mind, gives them one week to return his belongings, or they will pay with their lives. Soon the fractures in their friendships begin to show, and when one of them ends up fighting for his life, the stakes are raised even higher.

Will any of them get to the end of the week alive, or will the best of friends become the deadliest of enemies..

Review: Upon reading the blurb this plot idea had me hooked. What would these friends do to survive? Would they survive? However, as I read the book it did not flow for me. It was written in a way I liked to read but the actual ideas didn’t fit in areas. I am not going to say what as it will give away spoilers and it is a good read when you over look these. I would read another by this author though.

Accidentally in Love by Anna Premoli

Sara Di Giovanni is a successful lawyer in New York City: she is the star of her profession, an excellent role model to her very vivacious little sister, but has so far been unlucky in love…

Ethan Phelps is the rich playboy trouble-maker whose only talent in life is spending money and dating women… 
That is until Ethan’s father dies with no will to his name, leaving his two sons the legal heirs to his billion-dollar company.

Sara is forced to become the court-appointed guardian to handle Ethan’s share of the fortune, as his family do not trust him to manage it himself. Sara thinks it should be easy, but it’s not so simple when Ethan is determined to get rid of her by whatever means necessary…

What ensues is a dramatic and hilarious power-play between Sara and Ethan… but what will happen when feelings start to get in the way?

Review: This sounded like a very funny story. I was not wrong. Having not read a book by this author I was not sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. A really good written book with a love/hate relationship which is not fast paced. Characters are strong throughout. A funny and witty read.

Last of the Summer Moet by Wendy Holden

She’s discovered a secret country village where the British elite own weekend mansions. Film stars, famous artists and top writers, not to mention Cabinet ministers and the cream of M16, land their helicopters in the grounds of the gastropub. Far from the prying eyes of the paparazzi they compete in the world’s most exclusive pub quiz and fight for parts in the celebrity panto.

But how is Laura to gain access to this undercover Eden, whose borders are strictly controlled? Luckily her billionairess friend Lulu, a logo-obsessed socialite with a heart as huge as her sunglasses, suddenly fancies a quiet life in the country.

Can Laura gatecrash the pub quiz, infiltrate the panto and write her exposé before the snobbish villagers discover her identity? And before Lulu gets fed up and flees back to Kensington?

Review: I read a few of Wendy Holden’s books a while back when I was younger and really enjoyed them. So on seeing this on NetGalley I was interested to see what her newer books were like. I was not disappointed it was really good. Funny, Wendy has a great sense of humor that runs through her books and still do. A very fun read.

The Little Cottage on the Hill by Emma Davies

There’s blossom in the trees and daffodils as far as the eye can see. Maddie is looking forward to a fresh start in the countryside, but there’s just one little problem…

 

Miss Mary’s Daughter by Diney Costeloe

After her mother’s death, twenty-year-old Sophie Ross is left orphaned in London. With no money and little chance of an income, she tries to get work as a governess to avoid destitution. Now alone in the world, she only has the company of her erstwhile nursemaid and faithful friend, Hannah.

But unbeknown to Sophie, her mother instructed Hannah to post a letter to Trescadinnick House in Cornwall upon her death. The letter will be the catalyst that changes Sophie’s life forever as she learns of her mother’s romance, marriage and then ultimate rejection by her own father and the estranged family she left behind in Cornwall.

The Penvarrow family welcome Sophie and Hannah into their fold, but tensions rise and family secrets are revealed as Sophie attempts to rebuild her life and find happiness.

Review: This was an interesting read, well written and with some great characters, that keep you turning the pages to find out more.

All the Fun of the Fair by Lynda Page 

The unmissable new saga from bestselling author Lynda Page

It’s the 1950s and Grundy’s Travelling Fair arrives in town with a bang.

When night falls, the local town is drawn to the Fair. But when the fairgoers head home, the Grundys are left behind. Hours are long and the work back-breaking. But family and friends hold things together.

Gemma married into the lifestyle, her reliable husband Solomon making the work worthwhile. Solly’s Dad Samson is still the boss, but his other son, known as Sonny, is getting a reputation…

Times are changing. Can the family – and the fair – survive?

Review: A very enjoyable read. It was fun reading all about the fair folk set in the 1950s. A brilliant Saga.

The Candle Factory by Tania Crosse

Work at Price’s Candle Factory in Battersea is tedious for intelligent, seventeen-year-old Hillie Hardwick, but she knows she is lucky to have a job at all.

Her home life is no better, as she constantly battles with her exacting and bullying father in order to protect her mother and five younger siblings from his abuse.

Her only solace is her loving relationship with the chaotic Parker family and her best friend, Gert Parker.

When matters violently escalate for Hillie, smitten Jack-the-Lad Jimmy Baxter seems her only salvation.

But could this be the biggest mistake of her life, and should she be looking for protection nearer home?

A story that crackles with unease where courage and friendship are the only hope.

Review: This is my fist book by this author that I have read and it was a good read. I started off not sure about this one but as I read on the characters and story come to life more. It is a good read but not one of my favourites due to the plot being a little slow and not holding my attention.

Sunshine and Secrets by Daisy James

When newly heartbroken, michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity. Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia.

But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected….  With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed, cocoa pods going missing from the plantation and the notoriously relaxed island workmen to contend with, she’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Baxter, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focused on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?

Our Secrets and Lies by Sinead Moriarty 

Lucy dreamed of having a successful career after college. But when she found herself alone and pregnant with twins, she knew she had to abandon her studies to raise her children. Even if it meant losing someone she loves …

Now as a mother to 17 year olds, Lucy is determined they will have all the opportunities she missed out on, and that they won’t make the same mistakes she made.

But what if her dreams for her children aren’t what they really want? Is she forcing her children to live her life for her? Might Lucy actually be pushing the children for whom she gave up everything, to their breaking points?

As her beautiful and sensitive daughter Kelly contemplates the unthinkable, Lucy’s secrets are finally revealed and she is forced to face up to some difficult home truths.

Can Lucy give up her dreams to let her children find their own? And will her secrets bring her family closer together or push them further apart?

Review: This is an unbelievable good book. I was unable to put this down once I had started reading it. Emotional throughout of a mothers hopes and dreams for her children. If I only had one word to describe this book it would be powerful.