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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald

Meeting Lydia explores the very relevant topics of childhood bullying, midlife crises, the pros and cons of internet relationships, and how the psychological effects of these affect the main character and those around her. Readers will be gripped by the turbulent life of Marianne who navigates the onset of menopause, an empty nest, a suspected errant husband and a demanding new obsession that pulls her in deeper as the story unfolds. Those interested in the psychology of relationships will enjoy this novel, as well as those who delight in an enthralling story with relatable characters and the powerful question of what happens when the past catches up with the present. This second edition has reworked the early chapters of the first edition, making for a pacy and shorter version more in line with the audiobook.

Marianne comes home from work one day to find her husband talking to a glamorous woman in their kitchen. Old childhood insecurities resurface, stemming from a time back at school when she was bullied. Jealousy rears its head and her happy marriage begins to crumble. Desperate for a solution - and introduced by her daughter to social networking - she tries to track down her first schoolgirl crush, the enigmatic Edward Harvey. But Marianne is unprepared for the power of email relationships ...

Title: Meeting Lydia
Author: Linda MacDonald
Published By: Matador
Publication Date: 22nd March 2018
Links: UK: Amazon

Our Review

Marianne is a woman that I have a lot in common with in that we are both pre-menopausal, we both have university aged children and loving husbands and neither of us like the M word (menopause) or the thought of getting older. Also I have a daughter called Lydia so that drew me to the title of the book.
With this in mind I found it really easy to relate to Marianne and completely understand why she would not be happy when her good looking husband Johnny brings home his colleague, busty blond Charmaine.
Him doing this gives her permission to use Friends Reunited to seek out a man she knew slightly at school and a lot of the book is told in emails to and from herself and Edward.

Marianna had quite a lot of angst to work through with regards to her school life as she was often bullied there and she clung on to the memory of Edward because he was a nice person. She told him things that she hadn't told her husband.
I enjoyed their conversations and also the conversations that Marianne had with her psychology class as I found them quite interesting because they explained possible reasons for people doing certain things, especially as the subjects she discussed threw up things that she was trying to work through in her personal life.

Holly was Marianne and Johnny's daughter and she was the bond that held them together. I really enjoyed their relationships.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it especially to women of a certain age as they will definitely recognise their own actions in some of the things that Marianne says and does.
The outcome of the book will provide hope to anyone in a similar situation and hopefully will encourage people to open up to their nearest and dearest.

A fun and intelligent read.

Book Angel x


Linda MacDonald is the author of four novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind, The Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. All Linda's books are contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on relationship issues.

After studying psychology at Goldsmiths', Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. The first two novels took ten years in writing and publishing, using snatched moments in the evenings, weekends and holidays. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing.

Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham in Kent.

Follow her on Twitter @LindaMac1

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Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton

The first rule of Sunday Lunch Club is … don't make any afternoon plans. Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, they laugh, they bicker, they eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it's said in the wrong way.

Sitting between her ex-husband and her new lover, Anna is coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of forty. Also at the table are her ageing grandmother, her promiscuous sister, her flamboyantly gay brother and a memory too terrible to contemplate.

Until, that is, a letter arrives from the person Anna scarred all those years ago. Can Anna reconcile her painful past with her uncertain future?


Title: The Sunday Lunch Club
Author: Juliet Ashton
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Publications Date: 19th April 2018
Links:   UK: Amazon    US:  Amazon

Our Review

A comforting blend of the complexities of life in the heart of a loving family.

Every month the Piper family take it in turns to host Sunday lunch, Anna is the main protagonist and we see each of the family members through her eyes. Every chapter starts with the name of the person who is hosting the lunch and then the menu being served that day. This could be an elaborate and expensive range of dishes served by Anna's well off brother Neil and his husband Santi to a very basic meal only one step up from beans on toast served by her disorganised younger sister Maeve or their poor younger brother Josh. I know my stomach was rumbling throughout this book and I felt as though I was part of this crazy but loving family.

The book moves along at a gentle pace as it unearths the many secrets and insecurities felt by many of the Piper family but then races along towards the end with lots of new beginnings.

It was an interesting dynamic to have Anna's ex husband Sam as part of the Sunday lunch club ritual but he was completely accepted as very much part of the family.

While I guessed something that happened later on with Anna's free spirited younger brother Josh it didn't spoil the moment for me and I found myself tearing up at the level of love shown to him by his family.

More touching moments follow when Anna's story comes to an exciting climax and we find out whether everybody gets their happy ever after.

A touching and heartwarming story of a family's most special moments as they share their problems, comfort food and love around the dining table.

Book Angel x

About the Author

I enjoy writing almost as much as I love reading. Books are constant friends; no fall-outs about borrowed shoes, no lusting after the same man. The books I write are about love in all its colours. Romantic love, of course - it makes the world go round, after all - but also family love, the way we feel about our friends and children and colleagues and the woman we see every day on the bus but never say 'hello' to.

There's no end of inspiration. Most authors are baffled by that commonly asked question, "Where do you get your ideas from?" The answer is simple: YOU. People are inspiring, with all their niggling faults and shimmering virtues. The tangles we get ourselves into, and the ludicrous ways we attempt to untangle ourselves, are a never ending source of material. In fact, most authors daren't use too much real life in their books because it would sound too much like fiction.

I've just remembered that this is supposed to be a biog, so here's some info about me. I live just outside London with my daughter, Niamh, who's 12, and my husband, Matthew, who's considerably older than that. The house hums with creativity, as I scribble downstairs and Matthew composes music for theatre and TV upstairs. We have two dogs, one of whom is wildly energetic, one of whom was born an old lady and prefers to sleep all day.

Hmm, what else? I'm Irish, but you wouldn't know that from my accent. I can't sing. My favourite crisp flavour is Roast Chicken, but I reserve the right to change that at short notice.

I hope you enjoy my books. They are the way I speak to the world.

You, Me, Everything by Catherine Isaac

You Me Everything is a heartfelt and unforgettable story about the lengths we are prepared to go to for those we love. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry, this is novel you will never forget.

You and me, we have history.
We have a child together.
We have kept secrets from each other for far too long.
This summer, in the beautiful hills of the Dordogne, it is time for everything to change.

Title: You, Me, Everything
Author: Catherine Isaac
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 19th April 2018
Links: UK: Amazon US: Amazon

Our Review

Beautifully written with a captivating charm this story is as uplifting as it is heartbreaking.

I have loved all Jane Costello's books and her lovely fresh humour manages to shine through in her first book written as Catherine Isaac. This provides a welcome balance to the heartbreaking storyline about a woman called Jess who is struggling to deal with the fact that her mum has an incurable and debilitating disease.
Her mum's wish is for Jess to encourage her son William to build a relationship with his father Adam whom she had split up from just after William's birth. Jess reluctantly books a holiday in France where Adam is living so that father and son can get to know each other better.

What follows is a beautifully written storyline with descriptions of the Chateau and cottages that were so vivid I felt like I was there. I could almost taste the delicious food and rich wine and smell the flowers in their pots.

Watching the relationship between Adam and William grow was as much a joy for me as it was for Jess and I can't wait to see who plays Adam in the film as he sounds gorgeous.

The descriptions of the awful illness were skilfully intertwined with flashbacks from Jess's childhood which were able to show how much the disease had taken away from Jess and her mother but one thing it didn't take away were the happy memories they'd shared. I found the relationship Jess had with her mum beautiful and their precious memories very poignant.

This book will take your heart and smash it to pieces but will also fill you with an uplifting sense of hope and a sense of how important it is to live every moment as if it's your last.

Book Angel x

About the Author

Catherine Isaac was born in 1974 in Liverpool, England. She studied History at the University of Liverpool, before completing a postgraduate diploma in Journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University. She began her career as graduate trainee at the Liverpool Echo. At 27, she was appointed Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post and held the position for five years. She wrote her first book, Bridesmaids, while on maternity leave and under the pseudonym Jane Costello. She has since written nine books, all Sunday Times bestsellers in the UK. You, Me, Everything is her first novel writing as Catherine Isaac. She lives in Liverpool with her husband Mark and three sons. In her spare time she likes to run, walk up mountains in the Lake District and win at pub quizzes, though the latter rarely happens. Film rights to this novel have been optioned by Lionsgate, and foreign rights have sold around the world.

A Home at Honeysuckle Farm by Christie Barlow

A family secret
One shocking argument and ten-year-old Alice Parker’s world was turned upside down. Her peaceful life at Honeysuckle Farm in the quiet rural village of Brook Bridge swapped for the bustling metropolis of New York City. Alice’s life was changed forever…

A second chance
Now, thirteen years later, Alice’s American dream is over. With her life in tatters, there is only one place Alice wants to be… home at Honeysuckle Farm. So, when Alice learns her beloved Grandie is ill, she knows this is her last chance to heal the family rift.

A forever home?
But secrets still swirl in Brook Bridge, and Alice is no closer to discovering the truth. And for some reason her new friendship with local heartthrob Sam Reid seems to be making the locals tense.

Sick of the lies Alice knows it’s time to lay the past to rest once and for all. But could the truth ruin her hopes of ever calling Honeysuckle Farm home again?

Title: A Home at Honeysuckle Farm
Author: Christie Barlow
Published By: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 6th April 2018
Link - Amazon

Our review

This book grabbed me right from the start as I was intrigued as to why Alice Parker had been taken to live in New York by her mother at ten years old. I really felt for her as she missed her beloved Grandie so much and feared she would never see him again, you could tell that these words had really come from the heart.

Alice is a very likeable character who for various reasons was struggling to keep afloat in New York and when a chance for her to visit England arises she grabs the opportunity with both hands.

I loved the description of Brook Bridge Village and the wonderful Honeysuckle farm. I really wanted to pop into the teashop for one of Dorothy's delicious cakes. I also enjoyed the relationship that Alice was able to slip straight back into with her best friend Grace.

Whilst in England Alice has to try and unravel the shroud of mystery surrounding the argument her mum and Grandie had which resulted in her sudden departure to New York. She also has to face up to some uncomfortable and devastating news, some of which is revealed in a shockingly jaw-dropping twist.

A lot of books are about someone leaving a small town to go and live in the excitement of New York and this book provided a refreshing change where the protagonist leaves the excitement of the big Apple in order to settle in a quaint English town.
It was both heartbreaking and touching to see Alice being pulled into two different directions by the people she loved but also heartwarming to see how she was the link who could possibly mend two broken hearts and I haven't even mentioned the handsome man in it yet.

This is a delightful story of how families can learn to forgive and how a little bit of dancing can save the show and bring a community and a broken family back together.

Another uplifting book from Christie Barlow and if you haven't read her others then I encourage you to buy and devour each and every one.

Book Angel x

About the Author

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty's Countryside Dream, Lizzie's Christmas Escape, Evie's Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream and A Home at Honeysuckle Farm. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia.

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world.

She loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via her website Twitter @ChristieJBarlow and Facebook page Christie Barlow author

Friday, 13 April 2018

Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza

To commit the perfect murder, you need the perfect cover.
On an icy morning, a mother wakes to find her daughter’s blood-soaked body frozen to the road. Who would carry out such a killing on the victim’s doorstep?

Straight off her last harrowing case, Detective Erika Foster is feeling fragile but determined to lead the investigation. As she sets to work, she finds reports of assaults in the same quiet South London suburb where the woman was killed. One chilling detail links them to the murder victim – they were all attacked by a figure in black wearing a gas mask.

Erika is on the hunt for a killer with a terrifying calling card. The case gets more complicated when she uncovers a tangled web of secrets surrounding the death of the beautiful young woman.

Yet just as Erika begins to piece the clues together, she is forced to confront painful memories of her past. Erika must dig deep, stay focused and find the killer. Only this time, one of her own is in terrible danger…

From the global million-copy bestselling author comes a totally heart-racing, hold-your-breath read that will keep you hooked until the very last page.

Title: Deadly Secrets
Author: Robert Bryndza
Published By: Bookouture
Publication Date: 10th April 2018
Links:  UK:  Amazon     US:   Amazon

Our Review

Wow, what a ride that was.
Fast paced crime thriller Deadly Secrets is the sixth novel in the Erica Foster series.

When a young woman is found dead on Christmas morning, Erika Foster has to cancel her plans to attend the crime scene. Then along with her team which consists of Moss and Peterson she tackles the investigation with her usual unwavering persistence until personal circumstances pull her away from the case.

Robert knows how to set a scene and I actually felt quite scared at some of the creepier moments, he knows how to step into your fears and work those fears into a thrilling plot with strong well formed characters.

This book gripped me by the throat from the start and I found that when I had to put it down to get on with something else I would have that excited feeling in my gut, like the feeling when you're watching a brilliant drama or thriller on the telly and you can't wait for the next episode.

When she eventually gets to the crux of the crime it unearths some extremely disturbing secrets for one of the characters and I had no clue who did it until I found out at the end.

Huge credit to Robert Bryndza for another crime thriller which gets the blood pumping around the body for it's entirety. I thoroughly recommend everyone to read the whole of the Erika Foster series which starts with The Girl in the Ice.

Book Angel x

About the Author

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice, which is the first in his Detective Erika Foster series. It has sold over one million copies.

The Night Stalker, Dark Water, Last Breath and Cold Blood are the second, third, fourth and fifth books in the series. The sixth book, Deadly Secrets, has just been published.

Robert's books have sold over 2.5 million copies and have been translated into 27 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 and on Twitter and Instagram @RobertBryndza

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Monday, 9 April 2018

The Stranger by Kate Riordan

Cornwall, 1940.

In the hushed hours of deepest night a young woman is found washed up on the rocks.

Was it a tragic accident? Or should the residents of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in?

In the midst of war three women arrive seeking safety at Penhallow Hall.

Each is looking to escape her past.

But one of them is not there by choice.

As the threat of invasion mounts and the nightly blackouts feel longer and longer, tensions between the close-knit residents rise until dark secrets start to surface.

And no one can predict what their neighbour is capable of . . .

In a house full of strangers, who do you trust?

Title: The Stranger
Author: Kate Riordan
Published By: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: 22nd March 2018
Links:   UK: Amazon     US:  Amazon

Our Review

A beautiful historical novel with an edge of mystery and intrigue.

Three Landgirls find themselves working at Penhallow Hall in Cornwall during the war.
Diana, Rose and Jane are completely different personalities who share a dormitory but not their secrets which are gradually exposed throughout this beautifully written novel.

The lady of the house Mrs Fox and her daughter Eleanor have a very difficult relationship and the reason behind that becomes clear through a mix of present day happenings along with depictions of Eleanor's memories from 1924 when everything seemed to stand still for the family who lived at Penhallow Hall.

The story is told through a mixture of Diana's diary entries and Eleanor and Rose's movements.
There is also a countdown to when one of the girls goes missing and a build up of intrigue as to whether someone is responsible for her disappearance as she manages to upset quite a few people along the way. She is not a likable character on the surface but beneath the bravado we find that she is quite a complex character with a disturbing past.

The writing is a dream to read and to learn from if you are an aspiring writer.
The haunting descriptions of Cornwall and Penhallow Hall are vivid and accentuated by the weather and the underlying fear of the German aircraft flying over.

It is set at a wonderfully relaxed pace which enables the reader to appreciate the prose. 

Book Angel x

About the Author

Kate Riordan is a British writer and journalist. After working on staff at the Guardian and Time Out London, she left the capital and moved to the Cotswolds in order to concentrate on writing novels. Published by Penguin, HarperCollins and Heyne, she's currently writing her fifth book.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Our House by Louise Candlish

When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?

Title: Our House
Author: Louise Candlish
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 5th April 2018
Links: UK: Amazon     US: Amazon

Our Review

Fi Lawson has just walked into a living nightmare when she finds a couple moving into her beloved house in Trinity Avenue. Her neighbour Merle tries to support her but that becomes difficult when she realises all her belongings have disappeared along with her husband.

The story is told by switching between Fi's side of the story through an online portal called The Victim which is a show that allows victims of real life crimes to tell their stories, but also allows social media users to comment on them and her husband Bram's side which is told in the form of a letter he writes. Both sides of the story are interspersed with what is happening to both of them in the present.

I actually really liked Fi and surprisingly Bram too and my heart went out to both of them especially as some of the characters and events were beyond sinister.

The tension is quickly felt at the start of the book and it doesn't ease up throughout giving you that feeling of unease in the pit of your stomach. What happens to Fi is absolutely gut wrenching and something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy but the same can also be said for Bram who isn't an angel but has various problems that aren't so black and white.

This book is cleverly constructed, as gripping as it is chilling and made my blood run cold on numerous occasions but especially with the sting in the tail at the end when I was frantically flicking through to find a different result that was not to be. All I could say at the end was NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It was a real shocker.

This book was my first introduction to Louise Candlish and I will definitely be reading the back catalogue of this hugely skillful author.

This would make a fantastic movie that would have people shouting at the screen.

Book Angel x

About the Author

Louise Candlish is the bestselling author of twelve novels, including THE SUDDEN DEPARTURE OF THE FRASERS (2015) and THE SWIMMING POOL (2016). Her new thriller OUR HOUSE is published in the UK in April 2018 by Simon & Schuster.

Though her stories are about people facing dark dilemmas, Louise tries to get through the day without too much drama of her own. She lives in South London with her husband and daughter and is very attached to her dog Maggie and cat Tilly. Follow her on Twitter at @louise_candlish or find out more at or

Author photos ©Jonny Ring; ©Joe Lord/Archant