Blog Tour Book Review – The Fear by C.L. Taylor

I was so excited to receive this book in the post – they had done an amazing job with the rose stuck inside and it definitely piqued my interest straight away!

 

the fear

The Blurb

The million copy Sunday Times bestseller returns with a taut, compelling psychological thriller that will have you glued to the edge of your seat.
 
Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…
 
Lou Wandsworth is used to being headline news as, aged fourteen, she ran away to France with her 31-year-old teacher, Mike Hughes.
 
Now 32, Lou’s life is in tatters – and she resolves to return home to confront Mike for the damage he has caused. But she soon finds that Mike is unchanged, and is focussing his attention on 13-year-old Chloe Meadows.
 
Determined to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself, Lou decides to take matters into her own hands. But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as she tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that Lou could once again become his prey…
 

What I Thought

Wow! I raced through this one and if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you will have seen me posting about this one as I read. I couldn’t wait to share my thoughts with you all!

The story is told from the perspective of three women who all have different relationships with a man called Mike. Lou takes centre stage – she was a young teen when Mike, her karate teacher, took advantage and started a relationship with her. She returns to the town she grew up in aged 32, where Mike is still living, and realises history is repeating itself when she see Mike kissing another young girl, Chloe. The character of Wendy is more of an enigma, and her story unfolds throughout the book.

I loved the fact we get to see the story told by the three women. It’s a great way of finding out their thoughts, feelings and motivations. I also enjoyed the fact that the book occasionally flicks back in time, so you get to understand what went on in Lou and Mike’s relationship.

Although a difficult theme, which is at times, uncomfortable to read, I feel the author handles it really well. Any thriller fan will enjoy the twists and turns and I would definitely recommend a read. I’m looking forward to future books from C. L. Taylor with eager anticipation.

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Author

 C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and son. She started writing fiction in 2005 and her short stories have won several awards and have been published by a variety of literary and women’s magazines.

In 2014, The Bookseller named C.L. Taylor as one of the year’s Bestselling Adult Fiction Debut Authors for The AccidentThe Lie and The Missing were Sunday Timestop 10 bestsellers in paperback, and both books hit the #1 spot on the Kindle bestseller list. She has sold 1 million books to date.

Twitter: @callytaylor

Instagram: @cltaylorauthor

Where To Buy

Amazon

Waterstones

 Thankyou to Avon Books for my copy of this book.  I was asked in return to write a review but all my opinions are my own.

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

 

April Book Reviews

Aside from the month going super quickly, I feel a bit meh about this month’s book reviews.  I just haven’t LOVED everything I have read this month which is a little disappointing and has meant I have struggled to swap my phone for a book in the evening.  For that reason I have about three books I am still wading through so they will now be on next month’s list.  Here are my reviews for this month.

Not So Stories

not so stories

The Blurb

Anthology of short stories from culturally diverse writers  writing in response to Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories.

Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories was one of the first true children’s books in the English language, a timeless classic that continues to delight readers to this day. Beautiful, evocative and playful, the stories of How the Whale Got His Throat or How the First Letter Was Written paint a world of magic and wonder.

It’s also deeply rooted in British Colonialism. Kipling saw the Empire as a benign, civilizing force, in a way that’s troubling to modern readers. Not So Stories attempts to redress the balance, bringing together new and established writers of colour from around the world to take the Just So Storiesback, to interrogate, challenge, and celebrate their legacy.

Including stories by Adiwijaya Iskandar, Joseph E. Cole, Raymond Gates, Stewart Hotston, Zina Hutton, Georgina Kamiska, Cassandra Khaw, Paul Krueger, Tauriq Moosa, Jeannette Ng, Ali Nouraei, Wayne Santos, Zedeck Siew, and Achala Upendran, with illustrations from Woodrow Pheonix.

What I Thought

I was really excited to read this, having read many of the Just So stories as a child.  The foreword did not disappoint and had me excited for the stories to follow.  However, they were not all as enjoyable as I expected, and I sometimes struggled to pick this book back up.  I think my two favourites were How The Spider Got Her Legs and Best Beloved.  The spider one definitely struck a nerve with me as it told the story of a mother fighting for her children.

I thought this was going to be an alternative bedtime story type book, and at least in part, suitable for me to read to the boys.  That wasn’t the case, and I think even my avid reading 9 year old would struggle with this, if that was the intention.

I wouldn’t discourage someone from having a read of this if it interests them, but I certainly wouldn’t be pushing people to either unfortunately.  I love the idea of changing something like the Just So Stories to be more modern and relevant but for me, most of the stories just did not grab my attention.

“I’ve talked at length about why it’s important that we see ourselves in children’s books.  All of us.  Because for  a person from a marginalised background to see themselves in fiction, it shows them that their stories are valid and they are seen”

Nikesh Shukla

“It’s a brave choice to take something so much a part of the canon as Kipling and make it more inclusive, and yet that’s what has happened in the following pages”

Nikesh Shukla
Thankyou to NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing for the ARC of this book.  In return I was asked to provide a review but all opinions are my own

Where To Buy

Amazon

Waterstones



The Queen Of Bloody Everything (Audio) by Joanne Nadin

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The Blurb

And in that instant I fall in love. Not just with him, though he is the better part of it, but with them both, with the whole scene: the house, the garden, the magazine perfection of it. And I want very badly to be in this picture.

As Edie Jones lies in a bed on the fourteenth floor of a Cambridge hospital, her adult daughter Dido tells their story, starting with the day that changed everything.

That was the day when Dido – aged exactly six years and twenty-seven days old – met the handsome Tom Trevelyan, his precocious sister, Harry, and their parents, Angela and David.

The day Dido fell in love with a family completely different from her own.

Because the Trevelyans were exactly the kind of family six year-old Dido dreamed of.

Normal.

And Dido’s mother, Edie, doesn’t do normal.

In fact, as Dido has learnt the hard way, normal is the one thing Edie can never be .

What I Thought

I was a little shocked at some of the content in this book, I will be honest.  I am no prude but some of the things the young Dido talks about, observes and hears are not for little eyes or ears.  She shouldn’t be being exposed to it.  However, I am under no illusion that children have and do grow up like this.

This didn’t put me off however, I really did enjoy this book.  Poignant, sad, laugh out loud and written with such raw emotion – it certainly takes you on a ride.  The author does a beautiful job of telling Dido’s story with some wonderful characters and an interesting look into this strange and unique mother-daughter relationship.  She also did a great job of capturing the sense of time with some good references to popular culture.  I listened to the Audible version and felt the reader did a great job in conveying the story in this format.  I especially loved the voice she gave to Edie.

I highly recommend giving this book a try, it was certainly the highlight of the month for me.  I really enjoyed the Audible version but I think I would have also enjoyed reading the physical book just as much too.

Where To Buy

Amazon

Waterstones

The Dressmaker’s Secret by Charlotte Betts

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The Blurb

Italy, 1819. Emilia Barton and her mother Sarah live a nomadic existence, travelling from town to town as itinerant dressmakers to escape their past. When they settle in the idyllic coastal town of Pesaro, Emilia desperately hopes that, this time, they have found a permanent home. But when Sarah is brutally attacked by an unknown assailant, a deathbed confession turns Emilia’s world upside down.

Seeking refuge as a dressmaker in the eccentric household of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, Emilia experiences her first taste of love with the charming Alessandro. But her troubling history gnaws away at her. Might she, a humble dressmaker’s daughter, have a more aristocratic past than she could have imagined? When the Princess sends her on an assignment to London, she grasps the opportunity to unravel the truth.

Caught up in a web of treachery and deceit, Emilia is determined to discover who she really is – even if she risks losing everything . . .

What I Thought

I actually didn’t read this one this month, but at the beginning of the year and ghave just realised I didn’t let you know what I thought.  This one gripped me withnin a few pages and had me hooked.  I am a big fan of historical fiction and enjoy all the nods to actual events that happened during the time the book was set.

Emilia was a likeable lead, and this helped immensely as you read on to find out what happens to her.  It was also great to read about Caroline of Brunswick and I always love a book which inspires you to find out more about a character, as I have been with her.

A great read which combines history and mystery with a dash of romance.

Thankyou to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group for the ARC of this book.  In return I was asked to provide a review but all opinions are my own

Where To Buy

Amazon

Waterstones

That’s this month’s round ups!  I have an exciting post coming soon about a book I was sent and am LOVING so can’t wait to let you all know about that.  Fingers crossed I will be back with a bang and lots of great books next month.   As always let me know what you have been reading and would recommend in the comments below. Happy reading!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

This post may contain affiliate links.  These do not affect your purchases in any way, or cost you extra.  They may however, earn me some pennies if you click on them before purchasing an item.  Thankyou

 

February Book Reviews

I have rounded up the books I have read this month in one post again, aside from the ones I was on blog tour for, which you can check out by clicking those book titles below

Best Friends by Carys Jones

Last Of The Summer Moet by Wendy Holden

What She Ate by Laura Shapiro

what she ate

The Blurb

Dorothy Wordsworth believed that feeding her poet brother, William, gooseberry tarts was her part to play in a literary movement.
Cockney chef Rosa Lewis became a favourite of King Edward VII, who loved her signature dish of whole truffles boiled in Champagne.
Eleanor Roosevelt dished up Eggs Mexican – a concoction of rice, fried eggs, and bananas – in the White House.
Eva Braun treated herself to Champagne and cake in the bunker before killing herself, alongside Adolf Hitler.
Barbara Pym’s novels overflow with enjoyment of everyday meals – of frozen fish fingers and Chablis – in midcentury England.
Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown’s idea of “having it all” meant having almost nothing on the plate except a supersized portion of diet gelatin.

In the irresistible What She Ate, Laura Shapiro examines the plates, recipe books and shopping trolleys of these six extraordinary women, casting a new light on each of their lives – revealing love and rage, desire and denial, need and pleasure.

What I Thought

This book really appealed to me as I do like a good non-fiction book, especially biographies, and I liked the twist with this focusing on what relationship the women had with food.

My favourite parts were the ones which focused on Dorothy Wordsworth, Helen Gurley Brown and the author’s own comments about her experiences with food.  It was interesting to read about Dorothy possibly suffering from colitis as I suffer from Crohns.  To think of someone suffering back then without the kinds of medical interventions we have now is pretty horrible, they must have gone through hell.  Helen Gurley Brown’s story was also interesting as it appears she may have suffered an eating disorder or been very close to it.  I also enjoyed learning about Rosa Lewis, someone I had never come across before.  The similarities to the story of Eliza in Pygmalion were very true.

I was most disappointed with the Eva Braun section as I felt it focused more on Hitler and the Nazi’s in general rather than her.  It was still interesting but I was hoping to learn more about her.

For anyone interested in history and biographies like me I would definitely give this one a go, it wasn’t very long but had some great information from a different angle than many of the things you read about these women.

Book Club Question

FAVOURITE QUOTES?

“Whether or not we spend time in a kitchen, whether or not we even care what’s on the plate, we have a relationship with food that’s launched when we’re born and lasts until we die”

“We lived in a compound surrounding a busy temple, where the faithful were going in and out all day and everyone was vegetarian – as were we at the time, except for the bouillon cubes”

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty (Audible)

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Blurb

From Liane Moriarty, author of #1 New York Times bestsellers The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies, comes an unforgettable novel defined by her signature sharp wit, page-turning storyline, and lovable and eccentric characters. Sophie Honeywell always wondered if Thomas Gordon was the one who got away. He was the perfect boyfriend, but on the day he was going to propose, she broke his heart. A year later he married his travel agent, while Sophie has been mortifyingly single ever since. Now Thomas is back in her life because Sophie has unexpectedly inherited his aunt Connie’s house on Scribbly Gum Island—home of the famously unsolved Munro Baby mystery. Sophie moves onto the island and begins a new life as part of an unconventional family, where it seems everyone has a secret. Grace, a beautiful young mother, is feverishly planning a shocking escape from her perfect life. Margie, a frumpy housewife, has made a pact with a stranger, while dreamy Aunt Rose wonders if maybe it’s about time she started making her own decisions. As Sophie’s life becomes increasingly complicated, she discovers that sometimes you have to stop waiting around—and come up with your own fairy-tale ending.

What I Thought

I can’t seem to get enough of Liane Moriarty books on Audible, this is now the third I have listened to and each one has been fantastic.  The lady who reads her stories has an amazing voice to listen to and really helps bring the story to life.

This book had everything you need.  A good mystery (which kept me guessing until the very end and I did not expect the twist it took), great characters (Grace was one of my favourites and her side story line about postnatal depression was extremely moving) and a bit of romance (but not so much that it just turned into another girly, love story with a soppy ending).

Scribbly Gum Island seems pretty idyllic and makes a perfect setting for the story to take place.  The family is a great one and all the different characters in it add something to the whole story and make it sound very realistic with all the different personalities and things they each have going on.  Although the book focuses on Sophie, I feel all the characters are just as important in this book and the story lines that run alongside hers such as Grace and her PND and Margie’s weight loss adventure are equally as enthralling.  Even Ste found himself being drawn in and would often put his own book down to have a listen when I had it on in the car.

Whether you choose the Audible or paper version, I very highly recommend this, as I do all of Liane’s books, which are just outstanding.

You can still sign up to the book club/reading challenge on the home page (scroll down towards the bottom) and this month’s newsletter will be sent out soon.  What books have you read and enjoyed this month?  I always enjoy hearing a recommendation or two so pop them in the comments below and I will see you again with more books at the end of March.

 

BlogMas Day Twenty One – Our Favourite Children’s Christmas Stories

So today me and the boys are sharing our favourite Christmas stories which we like to read at this time of year.  I love reading and it is something I have encouraged from a young age with the boys.  They are both now very good readers and enjoy doing so.  Every year they get a new Christmas story in their Christmas Eve box to read that night and they will both always get new books for Christmas too.

Here are some of the stories I will be reading to them before bed in the next few days.

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The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

This is a traditional Christmas story which I remember being told as a child. I also love the film. I got this when Leo was born for his first Christmas. This one has a CD which tells the story too which the kids love as it’s something different. For those that don’t know the story is about a snowman that comes to life and has a night full of adventures with the little boy who made him.

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The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

I absolutely adore the Jolly Postman series and this is no exception. The story follows the postman delivering the mail to lots of famous storybook characters which children will recognise. The added bonus being that the children get to open the envelopes and see what is being delivered. This book was firmly kept on the shelf for many years until I could trust the boys were old enough not to rip it, but they love to read it together and open the envelopes throughout. The Ahlberg’s wrote some of my favourite children’s books and this one is up there with the best in my opinion.

Father Christmas Needs A Wee! and Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps! By Nicholas Allan

Definitely one of the boy’s top choices and they love this one all year round, not just at Christmas! What is it about boys and toilet humour? I really quite enjoy the stories though too, and like the way they rhyme. Funny and entertaining and we can’t not laugh at a good toilet joke in this house!



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Sproutzilla Vs Christmas by Tom Jameson and Mike Byrne

Lots of fun and you can’t have Christmas without a sprout! This was last year’s Christmas Eve book and both boys really enjoyed it. We aren’t sprout fans in this house but the story got a big thumbs up!

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The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

Last but not least, a Christmas classic. I absolutely love this and the boys are always enthralled as I read it to them. This version is beautifully illustrated too, which makes it even better. It’s one of those stories like The Gruffalo, which you end up being able to read off by heart and the rhyming pattern makes it even more beautiful sounding. This should be a part of everyone’s Christmas!

So there are our top five (or six) children’s Christmas stories. Please let us know your favourites in the comments below and if you haven’t read any of these yet, be sure to let us know if you enjoy them as much as we do!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night… Xxx