Lies We Tell Mothers by Suzy K. Quinn

Lies We Tell Mothers by Suzy K. Quinn

 

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing46009806._sy475_

Publishing Date: 1st August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 247

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Bestselling author of the Bad Mother books Suzy K Quinn reveals the truth behind the lies we tell mothers, one sleepless night at a time.

Suzy and Demi were carefree twenty-somethings. They had fun! They didn’t have responsibilities! And then they decided to have a baby. Goodbye lazy weekends, hello sleepless nights, arguments and an addiction to industrial-strength hot chocolate.

In the midst of this major life change, Suzy discovered that most parenting advice should be taken with a pinch of salt—or ten.

For example:

#1 Lie—Just go with your mother’s instinct. But what if your instinct is telling you to hide under the stairs?

#10 Lie—Your new baby will tell you what it needs. Not if it can’t talk it won’t.

#23 Lie—You should never bribe your children. You will ALWAYS bribe your children.

Follow Suzy on the ultimate make-over—from nervous-wreck new mother to happy families. In this hilarious and refreshingly honest account for parents who prefer the realistic to the utopian, Suzy debunks the myths and takes us all along for the (bumpy) ride.

Rating: four-stars

 

Even though my daughter is already 7 years old I still can remember her baby time and how much of a shock it was for me. You can go to as many preparation courses and whatevers as you want but nobody will prepare you for this what’s really to come when the baby arrives. And because lately the mother – and parenthood books are showing that I was not the only one who experienced the first times with their own babies not feeling like a natural Mother Nature, I love reading them. And this book would probably be the one that I would have written if I had any writing talent.

The book is told through chapters dedicated to lies that are usually told mothers, tackling all the issues in a very direct, honest way. I’ve recognized many of those lies, oh yes I did… I’ve read one review totally slashing this book and I think, of course there are people who would give anything for sleepless nights and of course children are blessing but we can’t take everything so seriously, right? Even though I have a baby, I am still me, a person, a human being with ups and downs, and this book shows them all – it’s so simple.

I adored Demi and his relaxed attitude. Ma own husband maybe wasn’t as relaxed but he showed that he’s a real man in those hard times and I will owe him for ever.

It was funny, relatable, bitter – sweet and brutally honest, the author really isn’t afraid of writing how it is. I laughed, I cringed but most of all, I knew how the author felt. She delivers the difference between the expectations of being pregnant and imagining things and the brutal reality in a light, humorous and sarcastic way. But no matter how hard it is, it WILL get better and I would never had it any other way – and this is also the message in this book. Recommended!

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The Escape Room by MeganGoldin / Blog Tour

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

 

Publisher: Trapeze 44293962._sy475_

Publishing Date: 25th July 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thriller

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.

In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to get ahead.

When the four of them become trapped in an elevator escape room, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to put aside their fierce office rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator the dark secrets of their team are laid bare. They are made to answer for profiting from a workplace where deception, intimidation and sexual harassment thrive.

Tempers fray and the escape room’s clues turn more and more ominous, leaving the four of them dangling on the precipice of disaster. If they want to survive, they’ll have to solve one more final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?

Rating:  four-stars

 

Four co – workers from a high financial firm in Wall Street are summoned to a meeting that is supposed to be a team building exercise, a challenge that they’ve been told is compulsory. Even though it’s after hours and they have their own plans they actually know that something like “after hours” doesn’t exist in their world and so they all show up. So now they are all about to enter an elevator that in a matter of seconds is going to turn into an escape room, but not an ordinary one. Locked there over the next few days they are slowly working out why they are here but still have no idea who has entrapped them.

The author has created really well – developed characters, with Sam, Sylvie, Jules and Vincent being your typical Wall Street financiers, even if they’re not likeable characters. In fact, they are simply awful. They’re intelligent and hardworking, and while those are not bad things, they’re also ruthless, selfish, greedy and liars. They always put work first, no matter what’s happening in their private lives and they can’t, in fact, really make a use of their luxury apartments because they don’t have time, so sucked by the adrenaline that comes from making those billion – dollar deals. I didn’t like them, but I liked that we were slowly allowed into their lives and learn why it is them that found themselves in the escape room, as the story is alternating between the present day chapters in the elevator and past, told by Sarah Hall, a former employee in the same firm as our four Wall Street wolves.

Slowly we get to learn who is controlling the elevator and why and I really liked this reveal – the author has managed to outmanoeuvre us and even though I had my suspicions, they seemed impossible. The final confrontation is made impossible by the author and I think that maybe I would like to have it? But then the end should be totally different, and here I think that maybe, just maybe, Megan Goldin has simply chosen the easier way to finish the book. Personally I think that I’d rather see the characters somewhere else, held accountable for what they’ve done.

My copy was unfortunately almost impossible to read and I thought I will have to simply put it down but I preserved, as the plot kept me interested, and then I discovered what it was – all the “fi” and “fl” were missing, and it took me some pages to understand that “y” means “fly”, “rm” means “firm” and “gure” means “figure” (figure. Really. I think that figure was every second word in this book. Everybody has been “figuring” something all the time and I thought I’m going to start to shout when I see this word once more). I know it’s not the author’s fault but when I receive a review copy I’d rather expect it to be readable.

It was a read with a difference, and as much as mostly it seemed unrealistic, I totally enjoyed it and I’ve read the first half in two hours – would read further but life got in the way. It was provocative, but also thought – provoking and I think you simply have to suspend your disbelief to enjoy this novel – then it’s going to keep you glued to the pages.The author has brilliantly captured the atmosphere of distrust, the toxic environment and ghosting in the world where money and power is everything, and she described all those power games in breathtaking way. The feeling of anticipation and something hanging in the air (and no, I don’t mind the elevator) is ever – present, and the events that start as a small snowball begin to take the size of an avalanche. Megan Goldin has created a novel that brings to life the real world of corporate finance, a world that I never could be a part of, full of greed, lies and secrets. Highly recommended!

 

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The Holiday by T.M. Logan / Blog Tour

The Holiday by T.M. Logan

 

Publisher: Zaffre41973359._sy475_

Publishing Date: 25th July 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 496

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Seven days. Three families. One killer.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday – a group of families enjoying a week together in the sun. Four women who have been best friends for as long as they can remember making the most of a luxurious villa in the south of France.

But Kate has a secret: her husband is having an affair. And a week away might just be the perfect opportunity to get the proof she needs – to catch him in the act once and for all. Because she suspects the other woman is one of her two best friends.

One of them is working against her, willing to sacrifice years of friendship to destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined . . .

Because someone in the villa may be prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

my-review

 

Kate, Jennifer, Rowan and Izzy have been friends for years and they try to meet at least once a year – now, of course, with husbands and children. This summer they decide to have one week together in the sun of the south of France – it’s going to be the perfect holiday. However, things turn wrong right at the beginning, when Kate finds secret messages on her husband’s phone and is convinced that he’s having an affair, and not with everyone but with one of her best friends. But which one?

This book is a slow – burner, but the author really allows us to get to know the characters in the present and the dynamics between them, in both their relationships and friendship. The group of characters was really colourful. They were absolutely not likeable, uninspiring and a bit too wooden but I was intrigued to see who and why, and every chapter, every new information, made me even more confused, casting doubts on all of Kate’s friends and her as well. I liked the way the author has messed with my mind and my opinions. They all couldn’t be more different, and every one of them seemed to have a secret, something to hide.
Kate is the main narrator. She’ a forensic worker though it was really hard to say with the way she way thinking, suspecting her husband of having an affair, and mostly I just wanted to roll my eyes at her. Who wouldn’t confront their partner immediately, instead of jumping to conclusions and changing their minds constantly, not knowing what is true and what is not – but yes, without her acting that way the story wouldn’t develop like this.
We are also introduced to Kate’s husband Sean, their sixteen – year – old daughter Lucy and nine – year old son David. Then there is full – time mum Jennifer and her husband, counsellor, Alistair and their two teenage sons Jake and Ethan; highly successful Rowan, her husband Russ, who is a banker and their five – year – old very spoiled Odette; and finally, a free spirit and traveller Izzy, who comes alone. With so many characters it was really difficult to feel invested in the story and I’d love to have more background information about them, I knew nothing about their previous friendship.

There were plenty of twists and turns happening throughout the seven days but it took a long time until we arrived at the final surprise and, to be totally honest, I was a little tired with waiting for it – as it’s rather a huge book, I found it simply too late and too little. And well, it didn’t blow me as much as I hoped. Yes, I get it, it couldn’t be written differently and the six days were a slow – burning induction to the great reveal, nevertheless I think there were too many things being told and happening that a) made the things not significant or b) made the reveal not significant. The story was told mainly from Kate’s point of view but it was intertwined with different points of view as well and, honestly, I eventually wasn’t sure which and whose story is important for the development of the plot. It was truly frustrating to be given clues, tips and red herrings, yet we had Kate going in circles about something that, in comparison to what was happening, seemed so unimportant.

What I absolutely adored was the feeling of uncertainty – I had a feeling something is hanging over me all the time I was reading. The author has captured the tension and the atmosphere in the best possible way, I think I haven’t read a book like this before when this creepy feeling of something really bad going to happen was so overwhelming and giving me goose bumps. The oh so innocent mentions of the dangerous neighbourhood, the unstable moods of some of the characters, they were so strongly indicating that really something wrong is awaiting us soon, but we don’t know what it is and when it’s going to happen – I loved this aspect of this story. Altogether, “The Holiday” was a story about secrets, lies, broken promises and hopes and dysfunctional families, about how far you’d go and sacrifice yourself for your family – a great holiday read, though I wouldn’t take it with me if I were to spend it with friends, just saying.

 

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Honeymoon for One by Frankie Collins

Honeymoon for One by Frankie Collins

 

Publisher: Boldwood Books 46361238._sy475_

Publishing Date: 6th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 344

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

When disaster strikes, paradise calls…
As a published novelist, Lila Rose has been writing about fictional weddings all her life. But disaster strikes on her own big day when she hears her philandering fiancé, Daniel whispering sweet nothings to someone else.

With her dream day shattered, all Lila wants to do is run and hide, so she decides to fly solo on her own honeymoon.

When Daniel arrives in the resort with his new squeeze, Lila strikes up a ‘showmance’ with hot new movie star, Freddie Bianchi. Freddie is perfect for the part and Lila soon relaxes into her leading lady role.

But as truth starts to merge with fiction, could real love be in the air?

A sizzling holiday romance, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and Sophie Ranald’s Sorry Not Sorry.

Rating:  five-stars

 

Lila Rose is a romantic comedy author and she knows what her readers expect from her – happy ending of course, so she always gives them what they want. She’s planned so many weddings in her books that she knows well how her own should look like, without all the pitfalls and troubles her characters experience. However, what she hasn’t counted on was hearing her husband – to – be Daniel and her friend Eva confessing their love on the day Lila and Daniel are supposed to get married.
Lila does a runner, flying off on honeymoon on her own. However, San Valentino is supposed to be about coupled and for couples only, so she can’t even get a massage on her own. But can Lila find happiness, write her book and recuperate, when there is a man sharing her villa, and several others make an unwelcome appearance?

I immediately knew I have to read this book – Frankie Collins is, in fact, Portia McIntosh, and I love her stories, so there was no way that I was missing out on “Honeymoon for One”. And it absolutely lived up to my expectations, the book is like all the other ones that I fell in love with, full of brilliant, quirky characters and fabulous humour. I simply loved it, I think there was not a thing that I can complain about – not that I want to! It made me smile, it made me laugh, it had me cringe with embarrassment, shortly – it kept me entertained and this is what I needed so much at the moment.

The setting was gorgeous, the descriptions of the island were so vivid, bringing all the places to life – it was actually so brilliantly and realistically described that I wanted to have a look at Google and see if it actually exists.. There were some mentions of delicious, Italian food that made me hungry – don’t read it on an empty stomach! But as much as all the things were fabulous, those were the characters that made the book so, so adorably wonderful. I think I shouldn’t start on Freddie because I won’t stop swooning over him, the sort of hero you dream of, period. Ali was hilarious, I’m not sure how I was imagining a literary agent but for sure not like this, and I loved her fierce loyalty to Lila and simply, the way she was. Lila herself was my kind of girl, funny and sharp but also vulnerable. I couldn’t believe Eva and Daniel’s lack of shame, especially Eva’s, but also the way Daniel talked with Lila made me want to bang his head on the wall – I felt very protective of Lila, oh yes. Actually, all the other characters, no matter how background ones they were, were absolutely brilliant, full of personalities, adding so much meaning and fun to the whole story.

The writing style is flowing. It is warm and chatty and full of sarcasm and brilliant one – liners, and the banter between the characters is what makes it so outstanding. And some of the twists in the plot made me go “whaaaaaaat”, surprising and unexpected, which is only a huge bonus.

There is sun, heat, sea, delicious food, idyllic location, some incredibly hilarious things happening, the best banter between the well developed characters and hot romance mixed with poignant moments and while it might not be a book that is going to stay with for ever, I loved it and everything that happened between the covers. It was like a welcoming embrace, a great warm hug giving you comfort, a breath of fresh air, I think one of the author’s best books. Now I only need a porn star martini. Highly recommended! (The book. Not necessary martini. Though why not?)

 

The Icing on the Cake by Cressida McLaughlin

The Icing on the Cake by Cressida McLaughlin

 

Publisher: Harper Collins 51cxfwg0w3l

Publishing Date: 25th July 2019

Series: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus #4

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 100

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Part Four of the charming new series from the author of The Canal Boat Cafe. Perfect for cake lovers and old-fashioned romantics!

‘Captivating’ Heat Magazine ‘Beautiful… heartwarming’ Zara Stoneley ‘A wonderful ray of reading sunshine’ Heidi Swain

Can Charlie pull off the perfect showstopper?
Charlie has fallen in love with Porthgolow village and they adore her vintage bus, now getting a new lease of life as the best place to have a Cornish Cream tea in the whole of Cornwall. Charlie and her bus have heralded a new start for Porthgolow too, but the one fly in the ointment is Daniel Harper who is still resisting the charms of Charlie and her bus. Can Charlie bake her way into his heart or is it time to admit that her Cornish dream has got a soggy bottom?

Rating: four-stars

 

So, the highly anticipated final part of the brilliant series The Cornish Cream Tea Bus by Cressida McLaughlin has finally arrived. I loved the series, written in such a gorgeous, inviting and warm way, and Cressida McLaughling had me glued to the pages, enjoying the stories, characters and fabulous setting. And delicious, mouth – watering food, mmm.

 This part brilliantly ties up all the loose ends and everything is beautifully – if a bit too rushed, for my liking – wrapped up. Charlie has been taken – and we together with her – on a real roller coaster journey full of emotions, feelings, ups and downs but she was so determined and ambitious that she really didn’t allow anything to stand in her way. However, before it happens, she has to solve some problems that part four throws her way, and really, the author keeps us in suspense till the very end. Charlie also seems to have learnt a lessons, there is no more wild jumping to conclusions and she was able to find the truth without blaming all people around her, and I so wanted to give her standing ovation for this. 

Porthgolow is a place that is going to stay with me for longer, Cressida McLaughlin has created a fictional world that I’d love to be a part of, together with the lovely, noisy gang of characters that pulled together to create another wonderful festival. The title of this final part, “The Icing of the Cake”, is simply perfect, as it’s a real icing on the cake, this lovely, heart – warming and uplifting read, full of characters that you love or love to hate, gorgeous setting and perfect plot. Highly recommended!

Scones Away! by Cressida McLaughlin

Scones Away! by Cressida McLaughlin

 

Publisher: Harper Collins cover156081-medium

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

Series: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus #3

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 101

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

Part Three of the charming new series from the author of The Canal Boat Cafe. Perfect for cake lovers and old-fashioned romantics!

‘Captivating’ Heat Magazine ‘Beautiful… heartwarming’ Zara Stoneley ‘A wonderful ray of reading sunshine’ Heidi Swain

Charlie’s toughest technical challenge yet…
Now that Charlie’s Cornish Cream Tea bus has taken off, everything should be going swimmingly – the locals love her baking, Marmite adores getting his paws wet in the crystal-clear sea at Porthgolow beach, but Charlie has manged to get on the wrong side of the mercurial owner of The Porthgolow Hotel, Daniel Harper. He wants her to pack up her doillies and pastry cutters and take her bus elsewhere, but can Charlie convince him that they have just got off on the wrong foot and that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village?

Rating:  three-stars

 

“Scones Away” is the third part in the uplifting, wonderful series from Cressida McLaughlin, full of delicious descriptions of food and characters that I’ve immediately warmed to. Charlie is still full of ideas for her Cornish Cream Tea Bus Gertie but this time, ladies and gentlemen, our lovely Charlie annoyed me a little, jumping to conclusions instead of letting people speak or simply thinking things over – too much and too often for my liking. Not everyone in the world is against you, Charlie! 

This time Charlie is entangled  in a blossoming love triangle and it was so interesting to see which of her two admirers she’s going to choose, as they were so different! One of them open and honest, which is just what she needs, what with her trust issues, and the other not so easy to read but there is such sparkling chemistry between them! What is it going to be for Charlie, head or heart? Porthgolow finally seems to start accepting Charlie and her bus and it was lovely to have this heart – warming community spirit back and the locals enjoying her baking. The author has – again – created a world that I want to be a part of and try the famous cream tea. And I loved the idea of the tour that Charlie plans to establish with her bus, just imagine all the beautiful sights of the gorgeous Cornwall with the added bonus of Charlies’s brilliant food. But I also had a feeling that this time this part was not as filled with events and surprises as the previous two parts, and it dragged a little, but it’s still a warm, colourful read that I enjoyed, no worries! 

This part ends, of course, on a cliff hanger and I can’t wait to see how everything comes together at the end, and which surprises are awaiting us in the final instalment – with so many plot twists I am sure that Cressida McLaughlin has many revelations for us.

The School Run by Helen Whitaker / Blog Tour

The School Run by Helen Whitaker

 

44024870._sy475_Publisher: Trapeze

Publishing Date: 8th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Two mothers. Two best friends. One school place.

Old friends, Imogen and Lily realise they are both applying for a school place at St Peter and Paul’s Infant School – one of the prestigious schools in the area. Their daughters, Enid and Winnie, quickly become the best of friends.

The two women have led different lives since their cohabiting days of hangovers, unsuitable boyfriends and wild nights out.

But from faking their beliefs to bogus breakups, as competition heats up, the two women will go to any lengths to get their daughters in to the perfect primary school. And so will all the other mothers.

my-review

 

Lily and Imogen (and many other parents) are desperate to get their daughter to the highly appraised St. Peter and Paul’s school, but it isn’t too easy – you have to live at the right address, show your dedication to the school and its beliefs, be a devoted church goer and those are only few of the things they’re ready to go. But won’t they forget, among all of those little wars and school – gate politics, what’s really important?

 I’m a sucker for any school run and not – so – yummy – mummies stories so I was probably the first in the virtual queue to sign for this blog tour. This book was, just like I hoped it’s going to be, brutally honest, and oh my, I’ll never stop wonder about all those school – gates politics, the tension, bitching and frenemies. It’s really stressful and I’m lucky that my daughter goes to school by bus, so I can avoid all of those above mentioned. However, with this book, I’m not so sure what it wanted to tell us, what was the story – yes, I know, about getting a place at school, but other than that? I missed more depth to it and consistency. But I, of course, appreciate what the author did with her story, touching upon so many burning and actual issues of being a parent, no matter if working/non – working, juggling life and job with trying to give your child the best future possible, and the book was just like real life, full of hopes and disappointments. 

“The School Run” introduces us to a great number of characters but it’s really easy to follow them all and to know who is who and to whom they belong. Lily and Imogen are the main ones, in fact, they used to be friends but they haven’t seen each other for a long time so when they meet again dropping their daughters at school maybe their friendship has a chance of reviving? Their lives are not gardens full of roses and I sympathised with both of them, though I actually never warmed to any of them as much as I thought I’m going to, no particular reason why. There is also, of course, a group of “Organic” mums, led by Yasmine, who doesn’t feed their children any chocolate because of sugar of course. But no matter who you are, who your group is, how old are you and what’s your job, the author shows that parenthood is a hard job for all of them.

It was a genuine, honest and fast – paced novel about friendship and realising what is really important in life. Helen Whitaker’s writing style is refreshing, chatty and engaging and the story she tells make you nod when you realise that you’ve been in some of the situations at least once in your life.

 

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