#Review By Lou of Promise Me By Jill Mansell @JillMansell @Emily_JP @headlinepg @HeadlineFiction #ContemporaryFiction #readingcommunity #booktwt

Promise Me
By Jill Mansell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Promise Me by Jill Mansell is delightful and so engaging it is hard to put down as it pulled you immediately into the village of Foxwell. I was delighted to win this book in a competition ran by Headline Books. I entered having enjoyed previous books by Jill Mansell, long before I even began my blog. Find out what I thought of this one below and also discover the blurb below.


One minute Lou is happily employed, with a perfect flat. The next, her home and job have gone. Suddenly she has to start over.

The last thing Lou wants is to move to a tiny Cotswolds village. She certainly doesn’t intend to work for curmudgeonly eighty-year-old Edgar Allsopp. But Edgar is about to make her the kind of promise nobody could ignore. In return, she secretly vows to help him fall in love with life again.

Foxwell is also home to Remy, whose charm and charisma are proving hard to ignore. But Lou hasn’t recovered from the last time she fell for a charmer. She needs a distraction – and luckily one’s about to turn up.

Secrets never stay hidden for long in Foxwell, nor are promises always kept. And no one could guess what lies ahead…


With a main character called Lou, how could I possibly resist? That and Jill Mansell’s sublime writing, this is a book to slink back in a chair and take time to enjoy what is an engaging story.

Jill Mansell is one of the masters of having a main character and then also writing all sorts of characters, just as strongly, round about them, to create a whole community of all different ages in a charming setting and she’s done it again in Promise Me. She will also make you feel many emotions and has a knack of having you care one way or another about each character and be entranced by the words on the page, that suddenly sail by, as does time and before you know it, you’ve reached the end, and what a great ending it is.

There is a map of Foxwell and it looks ready to jump right in and begin a new life there, which is what Lou does. She feels she needs to move onwards with her life and for her, that means moving to a small, seemingly idyllic village in the Cotswolds. It totally has small village vibes, when you look beyond the perfect setting. It consists of people knowing each other and there being secrets that never are that for long and people breaking promises. Edgar is different and he makes a promise of a lifetime for her and vows to keep to it.

Edgar, an octogenarian curmudgeon is perfectly written, I’m sure everyone has or will come across a curmudgeon at some point. Lou ends up, unplanned, working for him and he seems a guy whose curmudgeoness is in every ounce of his body, heart and soul and is evident in absolutely everything, but then he has had some disappointments in his life. The pairing between him and Lou is great! Readers will see how she opens up his world too, which is heartwarming.

 There are also subplots pulled in as you get to know other people if Foxwell, such as Jess, who has an uncle who owns the antique shop and a dog called Captain Oates. There’s Sammy who’s perhaps going to be a music sensation and more… There’s also a single guy in town. Could there be someone perfect for Lou?
You get to see all the different relationships develop as well as the various buildings within the village and the food in the restaurant sounds delicious!

This is  a book I terrific book, which highly recommend. It’s a Must Read for a heartwarming story with life about it.


#BookReview By Lou of The Cliff House By Chris Brookmyre – Happy Publication Day to @cbrookmyre @LittleBrownUK #Mystery #TheCliffHouse #MustRead

The Cliff House
By Chris Brookmyre

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Problem is, everybody has a secret. But nobody wants to tell...

The Cliff House By Chris Brookmyre is a hen party like no other, set on a Scottish island, that has guests you wouldn’t ordinariliy invite together and twists like a country lane. Read on to find out more in the blurb and then the rest of my review below. Thanks firstly to Little Brown Books UK for an e-book proof copy of the book.

The Cliff House

Chris Brookmyre is a genius - Richard Osman


One hen weekend, seven secrets… but only one worth killing for

Image of book and ereaderJen’s hen party is going to be out of control…

She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think.

As well as Jen, there’s the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law.

It’s a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed.

Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.


Jen’s hen party is full of people whom you may not instantly think would be on an invite. There are definitely some interesting choices, especially the embittered ex-sister-in-law at the same party as the future sister-in-law. Immediate thought is that there are going to be fireworks at Clachan Geal, a remote fictional island in Scotland. There is much to explore on this remote island, which is an interesting and compact area for an intriguing mystery to take place.

There is Jen, whose hen party it is. Beattie, Helena – a music teacher and one time member of Michelle’s band, since ousted;  Michelle. What a life Michelle leads with her now starry status. There is also Kennedy and Nicolette from Jen’s tennis playing days, Joaiquin – a chef. Lauren, the houseowner of the house on the remote island.
Although there are a number of characters, each are separated in the chapters, so it cycles through each of their points of views and their lives and their connections. It’s a curious and intriguing group of people to spend time with in a book.

Chris Brookmyre expertly shows the frictions in the relationships of the guests, different lifestyles and forgiveness. There are interesting arguments about vaccines that flair up. There are lifestyles in contention… The book also shows how the characters are even more forced to come together when things go really wrong. Those arguments soon left, there is panic, leaving no one feeling safe. There is also the question of who can they trust?

Things take a sinister turn with messages from someone posing as a “Reaper”. The more the story goes on, the more addictive a reading experience it becomes and unexpected secrets are revealed, that culminate into an unexpected, but brilliant end to a rivetting book.


#BookReview By Lou of All About Evie By Matson Taylor – Out Now! @matson_taylor_ @ScribnerUK @simonschusterUK #EvieEpworth #1972 #AllAboutEvie #BookTwt #MustRead

All About Evie
By Matson Taylor

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All About Evie - Matson Taylor

All About Evie is uplifting, incredibly humorous, poignant and a must read for anyone’s tbr list!
This is the second installment from the author who brought us the wonderfully funny and poignant book – The MisEducation Of Evie Epworth 
Check out more in the blurb and then find out about the rest of my review below.
Thanks first to Matson Taylor for arranging a copy to be given to me to review and for 


All About Evie CoverTen years on from the events of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth, Evie is settled in London and working as a production assistant for the BBC. She has everything she ever dreamed of (a career, a leatherette briefcase, an Ossie Clark poncho) but, following an unfortunate incident involving a Hornsea Pottery mug and Princess Anne, she finds herself having to rethink her future. What can she do? Is she too old to do it? And will it involve cork-soled sandals? 

As if this isn’t complicated enough, her disastrous love life leaves her worrying that she may be destined for eternal spinsterdom, concerned, as she is, that ‘even Paul had married Linda by the time he was 26’. Through it all, Evie is left wondering whether a 60s miseducation really is the best preparation to glide into womanhood and face the new challenges (strikes, power cuts, Edward Heath’s teeth) thrown up by the growing pains of the 70s.

With the help of friends, both old and new, she might just find a way through her messy 20s and finally discover who exactly she is meant to be…


Evie is now 26 1/2 years old and now living in London, and if there’s something the author – Matson Taylor does well, it is uplifting opening paragraphs and then sustaining that throughout the rest of a book.

Readers – Get re-acquainted with Evie Epworth! This time, the year is 1972 and she is at work doing a sound check at Broadcasting House in the Women’s Hour studio for a special broadcast of Princess Anne doing an interview.
Her best friend is Caroline, who brought her to London as they’re like sisters. She needs that kind of loving after still having her sparkley career in the morning and it vanishing by the afternoon… Then there’s the matter of her love-life and time is moving on and lots of guys are being picked off the shelf and coupled up, as her internal clock is also ticking away. It has a very entertaining, humorous Bridget Jones vibe, right down to a certain list, that fits well and seems a nice nod to those books/films. It’s a vibe that not everyone pulls off well, but Taylor does in this series and yet keeping originality in the characters and narrative.

Nestled amongst the hilarity, there are moments of poignancy and sadness in family matters, but not deeply depressingly sad, it’s another side of grief and dealing with the deceased belongings, a tender, bittersweet moment that is realistically captured, before moving back to Evie working on a plan of action for her next stage in life (sort of).

There are interesting interludes throughout the book, much like there were in the first book – The Miseducation of Evie Epworth. This time it is like a bit of a tour around different parts of Scotland and Yorkshire, giving insights into what happened for a person to get to where they are now. It may not sound like this works on paper like this, but in the book it does and flows naturally. The fact there are interludes sort of reminds me of a style in a drama I used to watch. The interludes in this book add much depth and poignancy.

I am absolutely hooked on reading about Evie Epworth and I am sure others will be too. I can’t wait to see what Matson Taylor writes next!

I highly recommend this book.


#Review By Lou of The Daves Next Door By Will Carver @will_carver @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #WillIBlowUpThisTrain #TheDavesNextDoor #MustRead #PsychologicalThriller #BookRecommendation #BlogTour

The Daves Next Door
By Will Carver

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Darkly thought-provoking as Will Carver’s books are; The Daves Next Door is another highly unique, shockingly plausible thriller. Find out more below in the blurb and the rest of my review below, as well as a bit about the author. Thanks first to Orenda Books and Random T. Tours for a spot on the blog tour to review and for a copy of the book.

The Daves Next Door cover


A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care.

An injured young sportsman wakes up find that he can see only in black and white.

A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory.

Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows.

Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode.

Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?

Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver’s The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human … or not. 


The events within the book, as it says near the start, are pretty close to the truth, but are actual fictional. There are many stories in the universe, big ones and small ones and this is shown within this book and majestically points this out in a captivating way, right from the prologue. The book isn’t really about that terrorist attack at all, it’s about insights and observations of society. It isn’t your typical thriller with such characters as is within the blurb, with death, blood, guts and gore. It’s more a cerebral, psychological thriller; which is where Will Carver’s books tend to settle in.

This book packs a punch! Will Carver and his bravery of saying things how they are in excellent story-telling that captivates until the very end, meaning for many a late night reading one of his books. What Will Carver expertly does is shows the consequence and the aftermath of an event. The events are explosively shocking! People who didn’t initially know each other now have a connection. He has taken a different angle starting with the prologue and then ingeniously finishes the prologue on a question, so how can you not be enticed to read on?

Then the book takes readers to the Daves. They are terribly unwell, both psychologically and physically, but there is some unexpected optimism in tone at certain times.

The book shows a little about being in a life or death scenario and the human condition. There’s an old man and the Daves and a young sportsman who have of course been in better ways in their health and life. There’s also Vashiti, the nurse, who questions her ability to care, whether she actually does care and then re-learns this. There’s also a could be terrorist and what thoughts go on. There is also, intriguingly, some chapters called God? Terrorist? Narrator? – all 3 mentioned in the title, before splitting off a bit. It’s a very unique book and this poses a very different set of questions, compared to the Daves or the nurse. 

There’s so much that is thought-provoking that makes you see things in different ways as the book takes readers on a journey into the human psyche. This is something Will Carver does rather expertly and then fictionalises it just enough to create an entrancing, yet very plausible story that shows elements of society and perhaps shows parts in a true light. He finds all the darker, often hidden in plain sight corners and reflects them back to the reader.
There are elements of themes and writing style that are reminiscent of Nothing Important Happened Today and Hinton Hollow Death Trip, but it is perfectly okay not to have read these first as The Daves Next Door is standalone. They all shine a light in the most original ways on society in storytelling that I certainly hadn’t seen before. So, if you need something to read that is entirely new, check out Will Carver’s books.

The Daves Next Door is compulsive and immersive reading. Like his other books, it provides great insight into the world and people’s minds, parts that aren’t particularly talked about, but are there, quietly existing amongst the earth today. Will Carver takes people out of the everyday thoughts and observations and gives a different, but still truthful, perspective on society. It’s yet another must read book. I know, I know, I’ve said this about every single book by Will Carver that I have read and reviewed, which is almost all of them, but it isn’t something I say lightly. Books by him go deep into your soul, are unforgettable and could, if everyone read them, have people having a deeper understanding, a deeper insight and perspective into society as well as thinking about their own lives, all in what are works of fiction, but a white-knuckle journey, close to the truth.


About The Author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books, The Beresford is out in July. His previous title Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was
longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good
Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

The Daves Next Door Blog Tour Banner

#BookReview By Lou of The Homes By J.B. Mylet @JamesMylet @ViperBooks #CrimeFiction #Thriller #FictionBasedOnTrueStory #Lesley #Jonesy #TheHomes #mustread

The Homes
By J.B. Mylet

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Homes, J B Mylet, crime books, thriller books, Scottish book, murder mystery, book club read

The Homes – fiction based on a true story, is a Must Read, breath-taking phenomenal thriller. It’s a fabulous Scottish Crime book that is hard to put down, and I don’t use that term lightly. Find out more in the blurb and more of my thoughts in my full below. Thanks firstly to Viper Books for sending me a lovely hardback copy to review from. Chris Brookmyre reckons it’s ‘Set to be one of the Scottish crime books of the year’. I can totally see that happening with its original story-telling and setting.


The Homes, J B Mylet, crime books, thriller books, Scottish book, murder mystery, book club read

There were good people in The Homes. But there were also some very, very bad ones…

The HomesA thousand unwanted children live in The Homes, a village of orphans in the Scottish Lowlands on the outskirts of Glasgow. Lesley was six before she learned that most children live with their parents. Now Lesley is twelve, and she and her best friend Jonesy live in Cottage 5, Jonesy the irrepressible spirit to Lesley’s quiet thoughtfulness.

Life is often cruel at The Homes, and suddenly it becomes much crueller. A child is found murdered. Then another. With the police unable to catch the killer, Lesley and Jonesy decide to take the matter into their own hands. But unwanted children are easy victims, and they are both in terrible danger…

Inspired by a true story, and introducing readers to the unforgettable voice of young orphan Lesley, The Homes is a moving and lyrical thriller, perfect for readers of Val McDermid, Chris Whitaker, Jane Casey and Denise Mina.

The Homes, J B Mylet, crime books, thriller books, Scottish book, murder mystery, book club read


The Homes is an orphanage village in Glasgow called The Homes. The book immerses you into this with its fast-paced chapters. I read this in a couple of days. Chapter after chapter went by. I was utterly hooked. It would have been one day, but the need for sleep eventually defeated me. The characters within The Homes are great to know as you follow their daily lives, especially Lesley, Jonesy and Eadie. Then murder strikes and then there’s a mysterious disappearance and everyone is in danger, and could there be someone else who is next? Everything changes!
How safe are the people in The Homes?
Detective Walker is then deployed to be on the case.
It’s told from the children’s point of view, which is perfectly and exquisitely executed as their personalities shine through, right to the way they speak and interact with each other, especially the main characters – Lesley and Jonesy as they try to guess who the murderer is, so off Lesley trots to The Homes Library, which sounds great in this complex of homes, to see what they could find out. This also reveals more about their differing personalities, but also their connections to each other.

Readers will get the feel of what it is like to be in an orphanage through Lesley and Jonesy and also the friendship that’s developed between them. In this sense, it is heartwarming, but there are emotional elements that would break your heart too, apart from the murder, there’s a gran who is pivotal to their story too and some real questions are asked as there’s much pondering from Lesley about grown-ups in general and why her mum didn’t want her, or how this is percieved. The gran is simply wonderful and also brings a heartwarming element to this story that has the darkest of undertones. It’s a thought-provoking crime book as well as absolutely all encompassing and enthralling. Read the Postscript at the back too. It’s utterly fascinating about how this story needed to be told and how it came about.

This is a book I absolutely highly recommend!



#BookReview by Lou of This Shining Life by Harriet Kline @HareandHarriet @tabithapelly @DoubledayUK @RandomTTours

This Shining Life
By Harriet Kline

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This Shining Life is beautifully written. It’s timely, poignant and warm. If you like Rachel Joyce’s books, you’re sure to like This Shining Life. I highly recommend it!
Discover more in the blurb and my full review and a bit about the author. That is when you can take your eyes off the gorgeous cover.
Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour for reviewing and for them and for publisher – Double Day for gifting the physical proof of the  book.

This Shining Life Cover


For Rich, life is golden.

He fizzes with happiness and love.

But Rich has an incurable brain tumour.

When Rich dies, he leaves behind a family without a father, a husband, a son and a best friend. His wife, Ruth, can’t imagine living without him and finds herself faced with a grief she’s not sure she can find her way through.

At the same time, their young son Ollie becomes intent on working out the meaning of life. Because everything happens for a reason. Doesn’t it?

But when they discover a mismatched collection of presents left by Rich for his loved ones, it provides a puzzle for them to solve, one that will help Ruth navigate her sorrow and help Ollie come to terms with what’s happened. Together, they will learn to lay the ghosts of the past to rest, and treasure the true gift that Rich has left them: the ability to embrace life and love every moment.

Wonderfully funny and achingly beautiful, this is a story about love in all its forms: absent, lost and, ultimately, regained.


This Shining Life CoverMeet Ollie, Nessa, Angran, Rich, Ruth and Marjorie, the main characters who take a few chapters or so at a time to create this beautiful book. What hits and made me take a sharp intake of breath, was the first line of the first chapter, after the prologue. What is said is insumountable and very matter of fact. It’s a strong opening! Every so often, one line punctuates the opening to a chapter, that is stark and true and just fabulous. No beating about the bush, it tells of a life event how it is and for what it is. In this instance, I like that and it fits the book so well. You’ll have to read the book to find out what it is…

This book will tug at anyone’s heartstrings, like the saddest tune from a solo violin at the very least, and certain short, sharp sentence (I won’t say what or it will spoil it), may pierce hard through your very being and reverberate round. It’s terrific and matter of fact! The book is also full of love and the warmth that brings.

Grief is inescapable at the moment and that’s what makes this book, perhaps even more timely and poignant. It beautifully portrays grief and being surrounded by it within a family very well and truthfully. It shows how people have different ideas for what to do when someone dies and how grief isn’t the same for everyone. It’s also about the love of dead loved ones and the comfort from the living.

There is also the mismatched presents that Rich had left, which further shows his love of life and the people around him. It also keeps people busy as they try to fix them out.

The book, although emotional, is far from depressing. It has that warmth and some pockets of humour. There’s other parts of life being shown as having being lived, such as a a well stocked up picnic. The nature provides a layer of peacefulness along with the layer of  anguish of death, love and life that converges together.

The peacefulness of nature is conveyed exquisitely against the forefront of the sting and in Ruth’s case, especially, the almost suffocation, sometimes claustrophobic feeling of grief closing in and confusion of grief, that all of the characters feel in one way or another. It is all brought with tenderness, but an absolute realism, right to the very end and with the comfort and love of the supporting characters.

About the Author

HARRIET KLINE works part time registering births, deaths and marriages and writes for the rest of the week. Her story Ghost won the Hissac Short Story Competition and Chest of Drawers won The London Magazine Short Story Competition. Other short stories have been published online with LitroFor Books’ Sake, and ShortStorySunday, and on BBC Radio 4.