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.

 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

img_20190807_065029-0-1024x723

The Woman Who Wanted More by Vicky Zimmermann

The Woman who Wanted More by Vicky Zimmermann

 

42732506Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 30th May 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 448

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Two lonely women. An unlikely friendship. And one big life lesson: never be ashamed to ask for more . . .

No woman dreams of being unceremoniously dumped and moving back in with her mother on the eve of her 40th birthday. Food technician Kate Parker’s first response? Denial, long days under her duvet and bucket loads of cheesy pasta.

A reluctant Kate finds herself volunteering at the Lauderdale House For Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 96-year-old Cecily Finn – spiky and sharp as a pin, but the spark has gone out of her. She has resigned herself to the imminent End.

Having no patience with Kate’s self-pity, Cecily prescribes her a self-help book with a difference – it’s a 1957 cookery manual, featuring menus for anything life can throw at ‘the easily dismayed’. It promises the answers to essential life questions: ‘what shall one give to one’s rich aunt Emma that will be palatable but not prodigal; to one’s husband’s managing director, at once memorable and modest; one’s old love’s new love; the man one hopes will stay on after dinner; the man one hopes will not …’.

Can Kate find a menu to help a broken-hearted woman let go? If Kate moves forward, might Cecily too?

The cookbook holds the secrets of Cecily’s own remarkable and heartbreaking story, and the love of her life. It will certainly teach Kate a thing or two.

So begins an unlikely friendship between two lonely and stubborn souls – one at the end of her life, and one stuck in the middle – who come to show each other that food is for feasting, life is for living and the way to a man’s heart is . . . irrelevant!

Rating: five-stars

 

Kate Parker is rather happy with her life. She has been in the same job for years and she thinks she enjoys it, and she has a great relationship with Nick, who not only can brilliantly cook, but also asked her to move in with him. But first there is THE trip to France, and it doesn’t go according to the plan and Kate finds herself unsettled, wondering what she really wants from life and this relationship. Between wondering and moving back to her mum’s place, Kate starts to volunteer at a local old people’s home – Lauderdale House for Exceptional Ladies – doing cooking demos and getting to know 97 – year – old Cecily, who takes no prisoners, doesn’t mince her words and tells how it is. Despite all of this, they soon form a special friendship that is going to change Kate’s life.

I absolutely adored how the author created Cecily – you know that I am not in awe of the older, wiser characters that usually should make the book better, knowing everything and sharing their wonderful life experiences in a gentle, patient voice but in the end make them feel really wishy – washy, too overdone and all sugar, but here the character of Cecily was simply perfect. A woman with rough edges and character, really having something to tell. She was inspiring, bold, sharp and still felt believable. The banter between Cecily and Kate, and the scenes including them, were hilarious, especially after Kate stopping to fear Cecily so much and showing that you shouldn’t mess with her as well. Sharing her own life story, Cecily wisely, albeit sometimes very straight – forwardly, gets Kate to question her own life and decisions and pushes her to figure some things out, to find her own worth.
I think it was hard to make Kate such a nice character, when she has Cecily next to her, because everyone, compared to Cecily, would simply loose the battle. However, the author has managed to pull it off and I liked Kate from the very beginning. Sure, she made me feel desperate, I wanted to bang her head on the wall and simply I couldn’t forget her moping in her mother’s spare room, thinking about Nick and hoping to get back with him but she was likeable and believable in things she did.

The author, who is also knows as Stella Newman, has created some wonderfully sounding menus, for all circumstances, even though some of them were, hmmm, uncommon? But the descriptions made my mouth water, and they were so easily and vividly brought to life. Double pasta? Anytime!

The writing style is simply great, adapted to the situation. It’s light – hearted, but it also beautifully describes some more poignant moments and they were truly heart – breaking. The author immediately pulls you into the heart of her story, the pacing is just right, and I had a feeling that Vicky Zimmermann didn’t have a plan for her characters, she simply allowed them to take the lead and let them to continue and unfold the story. Which is probably not true but it felt like this and it made the reading even more better for me.

“The Woman Who Wanted More” was a tribute to Cecily Finn, so well deserved. It’s going to leave you glowing with warmth, perfectly mixing food, love and friendship. This was a comforting, thought – provoking, sharp read but with a feel – good factor to it, and yes, mostly it was funny, or making me feel desperate towards Kate or Nick, but it also made me cry a little. Charming and delicious read, perfect for holidays!

 

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

 

31930640Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 11th April 2019

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

Number of pages: 448

Genre: Mystery, Crime

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover (out on 16.05.2019)

 

Synopsis:

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear? The breakout thriller of 2019 that will make you second-guess everyone you meet.

We all know them. Those who exist just on the fringes of society. Who send prickles up the back of our neck. The charmers. The liars. The manipulators. Those who have the potential to go that one step too far. And then take another step.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living from these people. Each week she broadcasts a radio show looking into the past lives of convicted killers; asking if there was more that could have been done to prevent their terrible crimes.

Then one day she is approached by a woman desperate to find her missing friend, Cassie, fearing her abusive husband may have taken that final deadly step. But as Jessamine delves into the months prior to Cassie’s disappearance she fails to realise there is a dark figure closer to home, one that threatens the safety of her own family . . .

Set over a long, dark winter in London and perfect for fans of HE SAID/SHE SAID, THE DANGEROUS KIND is at once a gripping thriller and a stunning portrayal of the monsters that live among us.

Rating: three-stars

 

Did you know that 1 in 100 people fall into the category of “potentially dangerous”? It means that they’re very likely to commit a crime. Do you know who could this be? Your neighbour? Who, of the people that surround you, might be a potential danger?
“The Dangerous Kind” explores this topic. It starts with an encounter that turns into something dangerous. We then follow the BBC presenter Jessamine, who is asked to look into a disappearance of a young woman, and the story of Rowena, a thirteen – year – old girl, a very dark und unsettling tale of her life.

It was hard for me to get into this book. There were many characters introduced to us and I really wasn’t sure on whom I should focus. The author has also chosen to minusculely and meticulously describe everything – how the characters looked like, what they wore, the colour of the sky and how many leaves there were on the trees, and to be totally honest it was too much for me.

Jessamine was a character that stood out. She was feisty and was not afraid to break the rules to find the truth. She was honest and determined and often wasn’t afraid to put herself in danger. All the other characters were impressively well written, adding tons of tension and making you ask questions. They were all flawed, they made many mistakes, were troubled. Rowena’s story was heart – breaking, literally, reading about her life was incredibly sad and also made me feel so angry – because those things really happen. Jitesh’s narration, however, and I know his character has a purpose in the story, but it was still somehow strange, I wasn’t sure of its purpose and I’d be able to live without this subplot.

I must admit that while some of the subplots and reveals were not surprising for me, there were also some that took me by surprise indeed – I don’t want to tell here which is which as I don’t want to write any spoilers here but let me just tell you that there were moments that the author truly pulled the wool over my eyes. I liked how all the threads eventually start to come together.

As much as it was an important book, touching upon some very, very important and controversial issues, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I’ve already read many novels like this and not much could surprise me here. Sure, please don’t get me wrong, it was shocking and I gasped more than once when reading it, and it tugged at my heartstrings, and it was sad and brutally realistic but there weren’t many things that I haven’t read before. However, it was a thought – provoking thriller. It could be – you must be aware of this – upsetting for some, as it explores children sexual abuse or domestic violence however with sensitivity and without being too graphic, and thanks god for it. The writing style is assured and I had a feeling that the author really knows what she’s writing about – the research was done brilliantly and you can see that O’Connor cares deeply about the things she writes about, that they’re important to her. Hats off to the author for writing about such hard hitting storyline, about discussing uncomfortable truths. Recommended!

 

If We’re Not Married by Thirty by Anna Bell

If We’re Not Married by Thirty by Anna Bell

 

40376037Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 27th December 2018

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

Number of pages: 431

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A brilliantly funny, romantic and effervescent read, If We’re Not Married by Thirty is the irresistible new novel from the bestselling author of The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart and It Started With a Tweet. For fans of Lindsey Kelk and Sophie Kinsella.

Lydia’s not exactly #LivingHerBestLife. She never imagined she’d be here at thirty – newly single, a job that’s going nowhere and her friends all winning at life when she’s still barely taking part. So she jumps at the chance of a free holiday and jets off to sunny Spain.

Then, out of the blue, she bumps into her childhood friend, the handsome and charming Danny Whittaker. She’s always had a crush on him and they soon enter into a passionate holiday romance.

But this relationship could be more than just a fling. Years ago they made a pact that if they were still single when they turned thirty they would get married. But noone really follows through on these pacts . . . right?

Could Lydia’s back-up man really be her happy ever after?

Rating: four-stars

Ten years ago, at her sister’s wedding, Lydia made a pact with Danny that if they’re not married by they’re thirty, they will simply marry each other. Forward ten years on, and Lydia, an event – coordinator, finds herself newly single. She hasn’t seen Danny in a while but they stayed in touch via letters and emails. However, a chance encounter brings them together – they’re both thirty, both single – will they go through with their pact?

I liked the fact that the characters used to know each other for ages, what with their mothers being best friends. It saved us the whole getting to know each other phase, and they felt so comfortable around each other. I immediately warmed to Lydia, she was my kind of girl. She felt a little disappointed with her life, as she felt that everyone is moving around and ahead with their lives, only she’s staying put. She was pretty relaxed and down – to – earth, and what I liked so much is the fact that she was surrounded by her family and friends, they were all going strong together. She relied on them, they relied on her and they were supporting each other, and it was lovely to see. She, as well as the other characters, was relatable and full of flaws, she wanted a better life but she wasn’t so quick to change it, to take matters in her own hands, which – let’s be honest – is a totally normal thing. How often does it happen that we’re not happy with our own lives but as they’re comfortable enough we do nothing to change them. Lydia said the wrong things, put herself in embarrassing situations and this all made her much more human and likeable.
But, to be honest, I had awful problem with Danny. All the time I had a feeling that he’s hiding something, that I can’t trust him completely, that he’s going to hurt Lydia, that he’s not honest. Also, instead of “when will they eventually” I was wondering if they will/they will not – I simply was missing this last tick, this last final touch that would convince me completely to the fact that Lydia and Danny were truly destined for each other.
The best parts of the books were when the mothers were entering the scenes. Though, as much as I loved them, I am very grateful they’re not my mother, phew. Don’t get me wrong, they were absolutely brilliant, they always meant well but they were slightly… embarrassing. But they were also incredibly funny and I loved their antics. Those two were best friends and they were rooting for their children to finally get together but, of course, as it usually happens, in trying to achieve this, they usually made things much more difficult, and I adored how stoic Lydia and Danny were about them. Hazel and Linda weren’t afraid of anything, their friendship was simply brilliant.

The banter and interactions between Lydia and Danny were great, you could see the sparks flying. However, I’ve missed a little more depth to this relationship to be honest. We can also wonder here and dispute if people really still make such pacts as the main characters but that’s not the point. The point is that it worked in this book and it made for an amusing, funny and entertaining read. There were plenty of hilarious and embarrassing scenes and Anna Bell’s writing style is so seamless, she effortlessly transports us into the characters’ world, you really feel like a part of the book.

I had some problems to get into the book, the beginning, even though the scenes were supposed to be funny, simply didn’t sit with me, and it made me feel uncomfortable, because hell, it is Anna Bell’s book! What’s that supposed to mean? But as soon as Lydia arrived to Spain the book gathered its pace and from then on it was a roller – coaster ride of more or less embarrassing situations – Lydia was truly prone to accident or to jump to false conclusions, which was often hilarious.

It was incredibly light – hearted, engaging and amusing read. There weren’t any life changing twists but I also haven’t expected them in this book. The standard misunderstandings, the ups and downs, hiccups and some challenges on the way were really enough to make the reading interesting and me glued to the pages. Altogether, I’ve enjoyed this book a lot, there was everything I could expect from Anna Bell’s novel and I am already looking toward her next release. In the meantime, I really recommend “If We’re Not Married by Thirty” to you.