Monday, 19 June 2017

Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson


Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty, but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.


Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything and Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.


Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what's on the outside counts for so much?


Title: Skin Deep
Author: Laura Wilkinson
Published By: Accent Press
Publication Date: 15th June 2017
Links: UK: Amazon  US: Amazon 

Our Review


One of the best things about being a blogger is that I'm often asked to review books that I wouldn't necessarily have heard about or chosen for myself and I think that is broadening my horizons and daring me to dip into different genre's.
If I had to choose two words to describe Skin Deep I would say it was unique and intriguing.
I loved the style of writing, the descriptive prose was very impressive and painted clear pictures of the settings and the characters.
Diana is a student in a dingy place in Manchester, she shares her digs with her best friend Linda and a scruffy but lovable guy called Alan lives next door. They also meet another guy called Jim who is very handsome and both girls fancy him even though he is a bit of a rough diamond.
The atmosphere of the beginning of the book suggests a very seedy lifestyle with drugs involved and when at a party in a scruffy flat Diana meets a young boy who is terribly deformed and has been hidden away. Even though she is initially terrified of him, she eventually falls in love with him and wants to adopt him.
Diana is very beautiful but because of her relationship with her pushy mother who wanted her to be a model she rejects her beauty. The relationship she has with Cal becomes confusing in that she almost reflects how her mother treated her and the love becomes conditional.
I don't know if I liked Diana all that much at first because she was such a contradiction to herself. She loved Cal so much but eventually expected too much from him. She was selfless towards him but also selfish at the same time. I felt sorry for her partner as he wanted a baby but she wouldn't have one because of Cal.
It is one of the most interesting books I've read and I couldn't stop thinking about it all day and felt relieved to get back to it as I was desperate to know what happened. I found that I really cared about the characters and my heart goes out to Cal.
A unique and intriguing story that will capture your heart. Thanks to Accent press for the ARC which I have reviewed voluntarily.

Sincerely
Book Angel x

Follow the blog tour here...


About the Author


Laura Wilkinson is the author of three critically acclaimed novels: Redemption Song, Public Battles, Private Wars and The Family Line. She grew up in North Wales and now lives in Brighton with her family.

My Favourite Things by Laura Wilkinson





Food  Savoury:
Vietnamese. I adore the freshness, the fragrance and the heat that runs through the dishes.



And sweet:
Victoria sponge cake. What’s not to like?



Drink:
Amaretto Sour. One of my favourite cocktail bars in my home town of Brighton is Valentino’s where they serve a mean Sour. Yum!



Film:
I find it impossible to name only one because I love so many. Here’s a small selection:
El Cid, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Legally Blonde, Pretty Woman, Raise the Red Lantern, Trainspotting, The English Patient, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Doctor Zhivago, Life of Brian, Dangerous Liaisons…



Book:
Ditto above! Rebecca, Emma, Beloved, The Handmaid’s Tale, Slaughterhouse 5, The Secret Garden, Perfume, After You’d Gone, One Day, The Friday Gospels, Animals, Heart of Darkness, Atonement, Possession, The God of Small Things, The Night Watch, The Time Traveler’s Wife, the list goes on and on…



Author:
I am constantly humbled by the talent out there but I am consistently awed by the likes of Maggie O’Farrell, Margaret Attwood, Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, Emma Donoghue, Claire Keegan, Kate Atkinson, Toni Morrison, Jojo Moyes, Sarah Waters, Louise Doughty, Jenn Ashworth, Sarah Rayner, Kate Harrison. Of the classics I adore Jane Austen, Daphne du Maurier, Kurt Vonnegut and Bernice Rubens (not strictly a classic but her work is incredible. I miss her).



Character:
Emma, from Austen’s classic, Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden, Cathy in Never Let Me Go, Laura in Animals, I could go on. You’d never guess I’m a list person, would you?!



Song:
It all depends on mood but I’m always up for Let Down from Radiohead’s OK Computer, Cut Here by The Cure and any Abba Song.



Holiday destination:
Greek islands, probably Crete, New York City, almost anywhere in Italy.



Animal:
Dolphins, otters, penguins. I’m a water sign and I’ve often wondered if this is why I am so fond of watery creatures. That said, I’m not keen on most fish (!)



Person:
My husband, Fred, aka The BigFella, and my sons, the Gingers (1 & 2). It’s a cliché but they really do make the good things worthwhile and the not-so-good bearable.



Place to write:
I have a garden office and it’s quite new, and I love, love, love it! After years of writing wherever I could find a corner in our not-terribly-big house it is such a joy – and privilege  - to have such a space. I’m very lucky.



Season
Summer all the way. I’m passionate about clothes and style (not that you’d often know it to look at me) and a beautiful dress gets me very excited. And most dresses look soooo much prettier with bare legs. Or thick black tights. God bless the person who invented opaque tights. To summarise: Jamaica over Siberia, though I do love that we have four seasons in the UK. Change is good.



Tradition:
Phew, I’m not huge on tradition though I recognise how important it can be. We humans mark significant transitions in order to understand and give voice to our joy, pain, confusion, sense of being part of a whole, something bigger than ourselves. Christmas, Easter and the like are fantastic for family gatherings but I enjoy the smaller traditions like fresh coffee in the morning and marvelling at a full moon as much.



Inspirational quote:
‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars’ (Oscar Wilde)



Thing in the whole world:
Life itself. What an incredible adventure it is.




Skin Deep Blurb:

It’s what’s inside that counts…

Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what's on the outside counts for so much?



Buy links






About Laura:

Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories, some of which have made the short lists of international competitions. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including the Frome Festival, Gladfest, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands. She lives in Brighton with her husband and sons.


Thanks so much for joining us on My Favourite Things
Sincerely
Book Angel x






Thursday, 15 June 2017

After the Fall by Julie Cohen




From the author who brought you Dear Thing, Julie Cohen, comes After the Fall--a poignant, beautifully heartbreaking novel about what it means to be family, the ties that bind us, and the secrets that threaten to tear us apart.

When an unfortunate accident forces Honor back into the lives of her widowed daughter-in-law, Jo, and her only granddaughter, Lydia, she cannot wait to be well enough to get back to her own home. However, the longer she stays with Jo and Lydia, the more they start to feel like a real family. But each of the three women is keeping secrets from the others that threaten to destroy the lives they've come to know.

Honor's secret threatens to rob her of the independence she's guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo's secret could destroy the "normal" family life she's fought so hard to build and maintain.

Lydia's secret could bring her love--or the loss of everything that matters most to her.

One summer's day, grandmother, mother and daughter's secrets will be forced out in the open in a single dramatic moment that leaves them all asking: is there such a thing as second chances?


Title: After the Fall
Author: Julie Cohen
Published By: St Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: 2nd May 2017
Links: UK: Amazon   US: Amazon

Our Review



This is my first book by Julie Cohen and I have to say its one of the most beautiful and thought provoking books I've ever read. Having just finished it I can still feel tingles down my spine.

The book begins by an elderly lady, Doctor Honor Levenson falling down the stairs and breaking her hip, we find out that she lives alone and is rushed off to hospital.

The story then switches to a single mum called Jo who has a teenage daughter called Lydia from her first marriage and two younger children from her second marriage, she is trying her best to raise her children and trying not to hold a grudge against the au pair her second husband ran off with.

Then we switch to Lydia's point of view, she is about to do her GCSE's and is suffering from the usual teenage angst but also whilst trying to deal with her sexuality. She also still carries grief from her father's death.

Then we discover that the link between the three women is that Honor is Jo's first husband's mother and Lydia's grandmother. Jo is surprised to find that Honor put her down as next of kin as the two women had never really got on.

Jo is a lovely character who always thinks of other people but Honor doesn't appreciate this, even though Jo invites her to live with them until she recovers. When Honor realises she can't afford a private nurse she reluctantly takes up Jo's offer.

Lydia is my favourite character, at first she seems really popular, cool and level headed but then just one embarrassing slip causes her world to be turned upside down. Having a teenage daughter myself I know how realistic the scenario is and how fragile our teenagers are. I thought that the subject of mental health was handled very sensitively and responsibly.

The story unfolds by switching to each of the three women's points of view and I found the characters were so well written that I was able to immediately feel the pain and joy that each of them went through even though they were three different generations.

The story really explores the feelings of guilt that one has both by being a mother and a daughter and always wondering if you are doing the right thing.

The relationship between all three women grows as they begin to understand and appreciate their differences and maybe come to realise that in some ways they are not so different after all. One of the observations I think the book highlights is that how we are all pulled in different directions by the various relationships we have with people, be it friends, daughters, mothers, lovers.

A beautifully written heart wrenching story with wonderfully complex characters that gradually learn to fit together.

Thank you to Transworld for the ARC which I have reviewed voluntarily.


Sincerely
Book Angel x



About the Author

Julie Cohen grew up in the western mountains of Maine. Her house was just up the hill from the library and she spent many hours walking back and forth, her nose in a book. She studied English Literature at Brown University and Cambridge University and is a popular speaker and teacher of creative writing, including classes for The Guardian and Literature Wales. Her books have been translated into fifteen languages and have sold nearly a million copies; DEAR THING was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. Julie lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and a terrier of dubious origin.

You can find Julie on Twitter: @julie_cohen or you can visit her website: www.julie-cohen.com.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Map that leads to you by J. P. Monninger



Two strangers take the road less traveled...

Heather Mulgrew's world is already mapped out: she is going to travel abroad with her friends after college, come back to a great career in September, and head into a life where not much is left to chance. But that was before an encounter on an overnight train introduces her to Jack, a passionate adventurer who changes the course of her journey and her life.

Throwing Heather's careful itinerary to the wind, they follow Jack's grandfather's journal through post-World War II era Europe: Vienna, Budapest, Turkey--exotic places that serve only to heighten their feelings. As September looms, Jack urges Heather to stay with him, to keep traveling, to give in to the romance of their experience; Heather convinces him to return to the United States.

Jack has a secret that could change everything. And Heather's world is about to be shaken to the core.

J.P. Monniger's The Map That Leads to You is a breathtaking novel about love, loss, and the best-laid plans that are meant to be broken.


Title: The Map that Leads to You
Author:   J.P. Monninger
Published By: St Martin's Press
Publication Date: 13th June 2017
Links: UK: Amazon  US: Amazon

Our Review


A beautiful heartbreaking love story about a young couple who meet on a train whilst travelling round Europe.
Heather is travelling with her two best friends, Amy and Constance and I really loved their friendship as they had such a strong bond.
Amy is more flighty than the other two and enjoys a flirt but when Heather meets the gorgeous Jack on the train they strike up a relationship straight away and Constance falls for his Australian friend Raef.
Jack was very handsome and playful but with a great depth to him. I have to admit I fell in love with him myself and really felt part of the journey.
He was a little hard on Heather because she had a job in a bank all lined up for when she returned to New York and he tried to open her eyes to the fact that life had more to offer than a boring office job.
The reason he was travelling was because he was following a journey his grandad took just after the war. He had written about his travels in a journal which Jack was fascinated with.
Jack injected lots of excitement and adventure in Heather's life as he encouraged her to go off the beaten track with him and find out more about the countries they visited rather than doing what every tourist does.
I really enjoyed the glimpses of the different countries they visited and also how strongly their feelings developed for each other. Neither of them had expected to meet someone that they would fall in love with.
I think the message I got from this book was that you should live for the moment.
I especially loved the planting of the tree moment. I don't want to give anything away but when something unexpected happened I literally couldn't put the book down until I finished and then it broke my heart. I think this book will stay with me for a long time.

Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author

J.P. MONNINGER, author of The Map That Leads to You, is an award-winning writer in New England and Professor of English at Plymouth State University.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza


He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.


When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Last Breath will have you on the edge of your seat, racing to the final dramatic page.

Title: Last Breath
Author: Robert Bryndza
Published By: Bookouture
Publication Date: 12th April 2017
Links: UK: Amazon     US: Amazon

My Review

Robert Bryndza does it again with his latest book 'Last Breath.' My body was tense and I was quite literally on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it.

Detective Erika Foster is desperate to work on a murder investigation when a young girl's body turns up in a dumpster. Her determination pays off and she is soon on the team. She is the one who links it to another case and discovers that it wasn't a one off killing but a serial killer they were dealing with.
The build up of suspense escalates throughout the whole of the book and I'm sure I was holding my breath for most of it.

The use of social media and online dating involved in the crimes that are covered in this book are very realistic, highly topical and actually terrifying when you see what happens if the wrong person is able to access your details

Erika's relationship with Peterson has developed a little but I'm still not convinced he's the right one for her. She has become a lot better at following protocol but she does make a mistake which at one point seems like history is repeating itself.

There is another investigation which is being carried out and I think that we will possibly find out more about that in subsequent books.

I think there could be something between Erika and Marsh in the future as I think they have chemistry.

I really like the relationship between Erika and Isaac as I think he is a great friend to her.

The only problem I have with a Robert Bryndza book is that it's always over too quickly and I can't wait for the next one.

Thanks to Bookouture for the Arc which I have reviewed voluntarily.

Sincerely
Book Angel x

About the Author



Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller is the first book in the Detective Erika Foster series.

The Night Stalker, and Dark Water are the second and third books in the series, and you can now pre-order the fourth, Last Breath which will be published on April 12th 2017.

Robert's books have sold over 1.7 million copies, and have been translated into 26 languages.

In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

You can find out more about the author at www.robertbryndza.com and on Twitter and Instagram @RobertBryndza

Sign up to Robert Bryndza‘s New Release Mailing List here: http://eepurl.com/UITxz

My Favourite Things by Paige Toon, Author



 
Thing: My campervan, Hermie

Hermie – otherwise known as Herman the German – is our 19-year-old campervan. Last summer, I went to Padstow, Cornwall, with my family, and as we were driving out of the campsite, I thought, this would be the perfect setting for my new book. The Last Piece of My Heart is set at the same campsite, the locations are all real, and even Hermie features in the book!



Holiday destination: Australia

I grew up in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia and my entire family still lives Down Under, so I try to visit as often as I can. Sometimes that’s only every two years and then I feel pretty homesick. So many of my books are inspired by my time growing up there – in fact, Pictures of Lily is set in the Adelaide Hills, so it feels very close to home.



Song: When You Were Young by the Killers

This song came out around the time I got a book deal, and I listened to it so much during the writing of Lucy in the Sky that it will always remind me of that, which was one of the best times in my life. I have written stories, poems and songs ever since I can remember so I was so happy to have a book deal after thinking it might never happen. It would’ve been the biggest regret of my life and I still pinch myself every day.



My new book, The Last Piece of My Heart, is out now! Click here to buy Sign up to The Hidden Paige at paigetoon.com to receive my emails, which often include free hidden chapters and mini sequels.

Bio:
Paige Toon was born in 1975 and grew up between England, Australia and America, following her racing driver father around the globe. A philosophy graduate, she worked at teen, film and women's magazines, before ending up at Heat magazine as Reviews Editor. Paige is married, has two small children and lives in Cambridge.


Thanks so much for joining us on My Favourite Things

Sincerely
Book Angel x




Monday, 5 June 2017

My Favourite Things by Rebecca Pugh, Author & Blogger




Food Savoury and sweet:
Savoury food 
Chicken tikka curry!

Sweet food
Cinnamon buns.

Drink
A nice, hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning.

Film
Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Book
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Author 
Jill Mansell, without a doubt.

Character
I LOVE Meryl Steep’s character (Miranda) in The Devil Wears Prada, but book-wise I adore Belle from Beauty and the Beast. There’s something gentle yet subtly determined about her, and I love that combination.

Song
Kiss from a Rose by Seal

Holiday destination
I haven’t visited but I would say my favourite *dream* holiday destination would be Hawaii.

Animal
Elephants.

Person
My mother.

Place to write
Sat cross-legged on the bed.

Season
Winter.

Tradition
To go home on Christmas Eve and enjoy the best time of the year with my family and loved ones.

Inspirational quote
‘Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m Possible’.’

Thing in the whole world
That little burst of happiness that surfaces at the most random moments but puts a massive smile on your face and makes you feel as if you’re on top of the world.


                                                  Bio:
I’m Rebecca Pugh and I’m a twenty-four-year old writer of digital eBooks with HQ Digital UK. I’ll usually be found writing my own books or reading somebody else’s, and I love nothing more than curling up with a good book and a hot cup of tea while it’s pouring down outside. That, to me, is the very definition of cosy!

Book links
My books UK - Amazon

My books US - Amazon


Social Media Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Rebecca-Pugh-439789726361137/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/rebeccapughuk

Thanks for joining us on My Favourite Things Rebecca

Sincerely
Book Angel x