Coming Home by Fern Britton – the blog tour!

Ooh – look where the blog tour is going to land on Sunday!!!

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Book Review: Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Still me

I was lucky enough to read the first chapter of this a couple of months ago, and really enjoyed it, so was very excited to read the book in its entirety!

In case you can’t be bothered to click on the link above, here’s the blurb:

“Lou Clark is back in the BRAND NEW Jojo Moyes novel Still Me, follow-up to the Number One international bestsellers Me Before You and After You.

Lou Clark knows too many things . . .

She knows how many miles lie between her new home in New York and her new boyfriend Sam in London.

She knows her employer is a good man and she knows his wife is keeping a secret from him.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to meet someone who’s going to turn her whole life upside down.

Because Josh will remind her so much of a man she used to know that it’ll hurt.

Lou won’t know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything.”

And – oh – it’s good!!

It was great to catch up with Louisa Clark and her friends and family again.  The book would probably standalone – but is much better if you have all of the back stories to everyone.

The setting of a large proportion of the book in New York is great – and even more so as we visited NYC with 2 of the kids last year. Things like ‘walking the High Line’ would have meant nothing to me before our last visit – but I could now really picture it (and totally do walk the High Line if you are in Manhattan, it’s a fabulous conversion of an old elevated train line into a public park, and feels like you’ve stepped into another world above the busy streets below). Similarly talking about Central Park (we too were ripped off by the blokes who give you a lift on a bike!) and the Loeb Boathouse (and the book has taught me how to pronounce it too!)

Lou’s relationships with her new employers, fellow staff members, neighbours, family and friends back home are all explored and are all really interesting – and change over the course of the book – dramatically driving the story forward.

Cross referencing Lou’s experiences with Will’s when he lived in New York by letters he’d written to his Mum, who’d passed them on to Louisa, was a lovely touch, and brought the trilogy full circle.

You are reminded how lovely Lou is – particularly when she has to keep a secret for her new employer.  I was (silently, the husband was asleep next to me) screaming at her to tell the truth and not cover up for someone else – but she is too nice.

I really, really, really enjoyed this. I confess to feeling that ‘After You’ has a bit of a ‘difficult second album’ about it – only because ‘Me Before You’ was such an AMAZING book, and ‘After You’ was still great – but this was FABULOUS.  And there was some snotty sobbing at the end – albeit not quite as much as when I read ‘Me Before You’ (and I still snotty sobbed at the end of the film version.  On a plane.  The children were MORTIFIED!!)

I am so pleased I read this – even though I’m struggling to fit it into an empty category of my 2018 Reading Challenge – but I enjoyed it so much, I don’t mind!

 

 

Book Review: Hide and Seek by M J Arlidge

Hide and Seek

 

“Prison is no place for a detective
Helen Grace was one of the country’s best police investigators. 
Now she’s behind bars with the killers she caught.

Framed for murder
She knows there is only way out: 
stay alive until her trial and somehow prove her innocence.

Locked up with a killer
But when a mutilated body is found in the cell next door,
Helen fears her days are numbered.

A murderer is on the loose. 
And she must find them.
Before she’s next . . .”

I’ve loved all of the previous books in the Helen Grace series by M J Arlidge – and have always pre ordered the next so it just magically drops onto my Kindle on publication date.  But I realised it was ages since I’d read Little Boy Blue and thought there must be a new one.  Seemingly my ordering in advance had failed massively and I’d missed 2 new instalments (along with some short stories I’d not noticed before) so I did a big Kindle purchase and stocked up!  And my next read was ‘Hide and Seek’.

I think this would stand alone – but you’d be missing out, so I would definitely recommend reading all of the 5 preceding books in the series if you can.  The back stories  of various characters are filled in as required – but clearly not in as much detail as if you’ve read the other books.

My initial worry was that it wouldn’t be as good as the previous books – with Ms Grace behind bars – and it would all be a bit ‘Bad Girls’ – but I need not have worried at all, it was as fabulous as the previous books in the series.

There are basically 2 stories running concurrently.  Helen in prison and the trials and tribulations that brings firstly with ‘normal’ prison life, but then with a serial killer loose in the prison!  At the same time, outside Holloway, Helen’s friend and colleague Charlie is investigating the man who framed Helen to put her away in the first place, in a bid to clear Helen’s name.

Both plot lines build to a simultaneous climax and really keep you on the edge of your seat.  It felt a bit different to the previous books – I guess due to the settings – but still just as much fun.

I am intrigued as to how the series will now develop – but it’s ok, I already have the next one to read!  It’s like binge watching TV box sets already having the subsequent instalment ready to go.

I think this will slot into ‘the next book in a series you’ve started’ in my 2018 Reading Challenge.