I’ve read many of Jodi Picoult’s previous books so am always eager to get my hands on a new release, and thanks to the publishers for allowing me an advanced review copy of this latest release.
Picoult is never one to shy away from emotive issues and this book is no exception, a shooter has taken hostages in an abortion centre and the police negotiators sister is an injured victim, his daughter a hostage caught up in the ongoing situation. But the book is about more then this situation it’s a revealing look at a series of characters and their connection to the abortion centre, both those in favour and those against the practice, as well as those who are there for very different reasons.
The book is very balanced and doesn’t sway to an opinion on either side of the abortion argument. There are parts of the story where you can’t help but be moved, and there was one particular part where a description left me very unnerved. You’ll find yourself drawn to each characters story and reason for being in the centre on the fateful day and left wondering how the situation will pan out, who will make it out?
There’s also a brilliant twist near the end which I would have liked to have seen more on (but perhaps it’s one for another novel).
Picoult really is a magical weaver of beautiful thought provoking stories!
A Spark of Light
Hodder & Stoughton
30 October 2018
The Center for women's reproductive health offers a last chance at hope - but nobody ends up there by choice.
Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder.
Now life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.
Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, A Spark of Light unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people - the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment - to this point.
And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose.
Nina is coming to terms with splitting from her husband who now has a baby on the way with his new partner, a friend has set her up on a blind date which turns out to be disastrous, the guy is definitely not for Nina and when she chokes on an alive it couldn’t be worse.. or could it?
Saved by the waitress Nina is very thankful but things soon take a turn when the waitress unexpectedly barges into Nina’s home followed shortly by her bloodied brother and a very young baby. What follows is a terrifying situation and one which pushes Nina to take many risks. The waitress Angel by name, but it seems not by nature.
I loved the way the first half of the book dealt with the traumatic hostage situation but the second half showed the aftermath and was in fact full of more twists and turns. This was more then your average crime thriller, it was thought provoking and had a family story on it’s heart. It was difficult not to be drawn into the main characters lives and feel for them.
A real thrill ride of a read!
Don't you cry
6th September 2018
She saved your life.
When Nina almost dies during a disastrous blind date, her life is saved by a waitress called Angel. But later that evening, Nina is surprised by a knock on the door. It’s Angel – and she’s pointing a gun at her.
Now she’ll make you pay.
Minutes later, Angel’s younger brother Lucas turns up, covered in blood shielding a stolen newborn baby in his arms. Nina is about to endure the longest night of her life – a night that will be filled with terror and lead her to take risks she would never have believed herself capable of…
With huge thanks to the publishers for allowing me an advanced Netgalley copy of this book prior to publication, having read the description of this new book by Helen Callaghan I was eager to get my hands on it ASAP and bump it to the top of my reading pile!
Sophia knows her parents, at least she thought she did but when she returns home to find the unthinkable has happened, her mum dead and her dead now in a critical condition she can’t believe how this could have happened. Her perceptions are challenged even more when she learns her mum was writing her book and the discovery of her hidden notebooks reveals to Sophia a whole hidden life her mum had before she was born, and the truth of that life could be dangerous to Sophia.
A bewitching novel about control and revelation – Sophia is a strong central character around which events unfold. In contrast her mother’s voice revealed through her notebooks is someone who seems to have been easily led and controlled, there are however parallels with Sophia’s own current situation at work, so the novel does show how control can take different routes. I found this to be a very powerful story with many twists and turns in its delivery, thought-provoking with a tight grip! Get this on your reading list now!
Everything is Lies
20 September 2018
What if your parents had been lying to you since the day you were born?
Sophia's parents lived quiet, ordinary lives. At least she thought so, until she came home to discover her mother hanged, and her father in a pool of blood.
Sophia is certain her mother didn't try to kill her father - but clearing her name will draw Sophia deep into a past she never imagined.
A past that hides a dark and twisted secret . . .
Because if everything you've been told is lies, then how dangerous is the truth?
Another book which was added to my to read pile on gifting from a relative, and the first Tom Thorne novel I’ve read. Although this is part of a series I had no problem in reading as a standalone – there are references to things which have obviously occurred earlier in the series, but missing the full history doesn’t impact on this novel.
Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner’s partner is murdered in their own home, and Tanner is sure the killers thought she was her. Tanner has been investigating a series of killings which she believes are connected as honour killings and her investigation has clearly got too close. Convinced her feelings about the killings are correct but being on compassionate leave means she can’t continue investigating herself (officially at least), she brings in Tom Thorne, someone with a reputation to not always follow the rules.
In the current age it could be difficult to deal with the subject matter at the heart of this story however I think Billingham has handled it with great care, producing a book which is considerate with the core subject but also believable. You are quickly a part of the story, and racing through to get to the conclusion and it’s clear that the author has done his research into this subject. I’m definitely happy to read more of this series!
Love Like Blood
Tom Thorne novels
8 March 2018
A BLOODY MESSAGE
As DI Nicola Tanner investigates what appears to be a series of organised killings, her partner Susan is brutally murdered, leaving the detective bereft, and vengeful.
A POWERFUL ALLY
Taken off the case, Tanner enlists the help of DI Tom Thorne to pursue a pair of ruthless killers and the broker handing out the deadly contracts.
A CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE
As the killers target their latest victim, Thorne takes the biggest risk of his career and is drawn into a horrifying and disturbing world in which families will do anything to protect their honour.
I’ll start by saying this is the first book by Anthony Horowitz that I’ve read and I was gifted the book by a relative. The word is murder is a cleverly written fictional murder mystery, when Diana Cowper walks in to a funeral parlour to plan her own funeral she ends up dead by the end of the day. So did she know she was going to die or something more sinister afoot? Investigating her death is Detective Hawthorne, a character it seems we are built up to dislike, he is rude, homophobic and has a high opinion of himself.
His “sidekick” however is the real interesting part of this book, because it is the author himself and it is this character that is also the narrator of the book. The events and story are all fictional however you do seem to become more lost in the story due to this fact and it’s easy to forget that this is fiction… I’m not going to lie I had to google to double check!
The plot is full of the twists and turns of any good murder mystery and I was taken by surprise by the discovery of the killer at the end. I found this a very compelling story made all the more real by the interesting character / author blur. If you are looking for a twist on the classic Whodunnit, this one is for you! More please!
The Word is Murder
19 April 2018
SHE PLANNED HER OWN FUNERAL. BUT DID SHE ARRANGE HER OWN MURDER?
A woman is strangled six hours after organising her own funeral.
Did she know she was going to die? Did she recognise her killer?
Daniel Hawthorne, a recalcitrant detective with secrets of his own, is on the case, together with his reluctant side-kick – a man completely unaccustomed to the world of crime.
But even Hawthorne isn't prepared for the twists and turns in store – as unexpected as they are bloody...
I am a massive fan of Holly Martin and I have been eagerly awaiting her latest book. Coming Home to Maple Cottage takes us back to Sandcastle Bay, this time we follow Isla and Leo. Isla moved to the seaside village following the tragic death of her brother Matthew, in order to care for his young son, her nephew Elliot. Leo was Matthew’s best friend and god father to little Elliot. Leo has spent much of the last year proposing to Isla, offering to take care of her and Elliot. But Isla wants the real deal, love. Isla and Leo spent a night together 4 years previously and Isla has loved Leo ever since, but knows Leo doesn’t feel the same. But unbeknown to Isla, Leo very much has feelings for Isla.
As friends and relatives meddle, in order to try and bring Isla and Leo together, their lives become more complicated and tangled. Throw in the return of Leo’s birth mother and we know we are in for a cracking read.
It was great being back at Sandcastle Bay and meeting up with all the characters we had met over the previous books in the series. Isla and Leo’s story is one which I have been particularly looking forward to. We have had glimpses at their relationship throughout the previous books and know their relationship is complicated. I loved how Holly explore their relationship and the use of the dual narrative, allowing myself as the reader to hear the story from both Leo and Isla’s perspective. Both valued their friendship and both felt a great deal more than they led the other to believe in order to protect their own hearts, following their past relationships. Most of the story seems to stem from the night they spent together at Elliot’s christening.
Throw in Elliot, this gorgeous, happy little boy whom I wanted nothing more for than for him to be happy. He is desperate for Isla and Leo to be his parents, following the death of this father Matthew, and being abandoned at 1 years old by his mother Sadie. Isla is in the processing of trying to legally adopt Elliot, nut things aren’t always as easy and straightforward as one would hope. Throw Leo in to the mix and the untimely return of Sadie and we know we are in for some heart stopping roller coaster moments.
Coming Home to Maple Cottage is Holly back at her best, drawing us in to her world with her beautifully descriptive settings and relatable and likeable characters. I was quickly lost among the pages of this incredible story, laughing and crying as I followed the Leo and Isla through their story. I couldn’t get enough and before I knew it I had devoured the whole book. I certainly can not wait to see what comes next, but for now I will deal with the bittersweet feeling of being sad I’ve read and finished the book already but delighted to have experienced Sandcastle Bay and it all it has to offer.
Coming Home to Maple Cottage is a fabulous and heart warming book, which is there to be devoured. So make sure when you do pick it up, you have no plans that day….
Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.
Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books
Follow her on Twitter @HollyMAuthor
Coming Home to Maple Cottage
This utterly addictive new novel from bestselling author Holly Martin will make you smile until your cheeks hurt, sob tears of pure joy and fall head over heels in love with a totally unforgettable romance…
Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.
Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.
As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.
But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?
A glorious, feel-good romance that will make you want to snuggle up under a warm blanket with a hot chocolate and the one you love. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.