#Review By Lou of Woman In The Middle By Milly Johnson #bookreview @MillyJohnson @SimonSchusterUK #TeamBATC @ed_pr #WomanInTheMiddle

The Woman In The Middle
By Milly Johnson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Moving with a personal feel to it is what Milly Johnson brings to her latest book – Woman In The Middle. It’s got a bit of a different feel from other books I’ve read and that’s still okay in this pleasant read that delves so much into family life. Thanks to Books And The City at Simon & Schuster for gifting.

Blurb

woman in the middle cover picThe emotional, uplifting and completely relatable new novel from Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson.

Shay Bastable is the woman in the middle. She is part of the sandwich generation – caring for her parents and her children, supporting her husband Bruce, holding them all together and caring for them as best she can.

Then the arrival of a large orange skip on her mother’s estate sets in motion a cataclysmic series of events which leads to the collapse of Shay’s world. She is forced to put herself first for a change.

But in order to move forward with her present, Shay needs to make sense of her past. And so she returns to the little village she grew up in, to uncover the truth about what happened to her when she was younger. And in doing so, she discovers that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find the only way is up.

Review

Shay Bastable has a lot to juggle in her family. Caring for parents, keeping her own family going will be relatable to many people. I certainly relate to the caring for parents, in my case to keep the rest of the more adult family than in the book, going in some ways. For Shay it’s a struggle to keep all the balls freely in the air and they do indeed come crashing down all around her. Shay also has children and all their demands, especially determined, strong-willed daughter – Courtney to take care of,then there is her son who is supposed to be getting married, but she is concerned that something isn’t right within the relationship.  You feel that this would no doubt have quite an impact. The book explores this as well as how her sister does little to help and her husband, Bruce is not at all useful and practically ignores what is going on around him, which makes matters even worse as there’s not the backup needed in such a situation. There’s definitely a lot to feel sorry for Shay and how her life is panning out. So, she tries to then put herself first, which seems somewhere between sensible and losing selflessness for awhile, but you can see where she is coming too and shows the challenges of life faced in this situation, trying to also take care of yourself as well as others.

You really get the sense that Shay is The Woman In The Middle instead of at the top of her family, yet is also the glue of her family holding it all together, even though the stickyness of that glue is waining along with her resillience as the weight of pressure, conveyed so well by Milly Johnson gets to her more and more, making its impact. You get the feeling that so much has shaped her life and is still shaping it, but not necessarily as she would have planned.

#Review By Lou – A Little In Love By Florence Keeling @KeelingFlorence @simonschusterUK #TeamBACT #DigitalOriginals @BookMinxSJV #Fiction #Romcom #RomanticFiction

A Little In Love
By Florence Keeling

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A Little In Love is a laugh out loud rom-com and there aren’t many rom-coms I say that about. It’s so much fun. Thanks to Books And The City, Simon & Schuster for gifting me a copy of the book of which you can find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below as well as praise by other authors for this book.

A Little in Love cover pic

Blurb

The little village of Weddington is fast becoming THE place to get married. With its stately home, castle and two churches it has something for everyone, and now, famous after appearing in huge romcom movie hit A Little In Love, it’s hosting a monthly wedding fayre…

Rose Pedal is the proud owner of Pedals & Prosecco, a brand new business serving ice-cold fizz from a vintage bicycle, and she’s excited to be attending her first wedding fayre. But, on the way to Weddington Hall she’s involved in a near miss crash involving dashingly handsome James from Blume’s Florist.

Arriving at the beautiful stately home drenched and disheveled, Rose is horrified to find James is not only not sorry for nearly knocking her off her bike, but he’s gatecrashing her allocated spot on the lawn. His arrogance gets her back up and it’s definitely a case of hate at first sight.  But as the wedding fayre season continues, James gently wins Rose over, and their relationship starts to bloom.

Can being just ‘a little in love’ help Rose and James find their own happy-ending…

Review

Rather apt for now, the book opens up with a bit about the environment and gas guzzling vehicles.
This is a gorgeous book about Rose Pedal and her new business – Pedals & Prosecco, set up after dropping out of university for reasons that are rather funny. She first gains some experience in the working world from working with Mr Booth at his off-licence and all wasn’t lost as there are connections to what she learnt there to her inspiration to what she would do in her new business, running from a vintage bike, complete with wicker basket and then she looks for a trailer to put her bottles of fizz in. She has a penchant for weddings, so makes this her customer base. The book is all rather warm and cute with an edge of conflict. At a wedding when a florist turns up and tensions arise. It’s great that Rose stands her ground. She’s a woman with some sass and gumption, which is great to see in such a book.

The book is rather fun, with that cosy, entertaining rom-com feel and it’s so easy to get swept along with the romance of the wedding atmosphere as well as seeing the changing atmosphere between James Blume and Rose Pedal. There’s the most fun conversations between Megan and Rose about James. The dates between Rose and James aren’t exactly what you would expect, certainly not traditional things to do at venues and there’s always something going on. There are also places like The Copper Kettle, a quaint cafe turns out not to be so easy to find either. The book becomes more hilarious as it goes on. It’s most certainly a laugh out loud book with chemestry and all the fun and splendour of weddings.

The book ended unpredictably and that was rather nice indeed.

The book is just perfect for sitting back with a glass of fizz as the words, creating fun scenes on the page lightly bubble through the book.

Praise for the Author By Other Authors

A warm, delightful joy of a book’ PATRICIA SCANLAN, Sunday Times Bestselling author

‘The perfect romantic read’ HEIDI SWAIN, Sunday Times Bestselling author

‘You’ll fall a lot in love with A Little in Love. Weddington is the village we all dream of living in, and there’s really no mystery why our heroine Rose falls for the handsome James. Secrets, romance, escapism – yes please!’ JULIET ASHTON, bestselling author of The Sunday Lunch Club

‘An absolutely charming and joyful read with lots of laugh-out-loud moments along the way.  Overflowing with fabulous friendships, dreamy romance and all things weddings, it really did warm my heart and leave me with a big smile on my face’ KIM NASH, author of Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove

‘I fell more than a little in love with this book. Florence is an incredible storyteller and this book is the perfect cute romance read’ LUCY KEELING, author of Just Friends

‘A warm, comfort read of a book with the kind of rom-com characters you recognise and root for’ ANNA MANSELL, author of What We Leave Behind

‘I thoroughly enjoyed this heart-warming and ever-so-cute story. What an adorable tale!’ LUCY MITCHELL, author of Instructions for Falling In Love Again

‘Fun, fresh and full of fizz, I loved it!’ LAURA KEMP, author of Under a Starry Sky

‘I absolutely loved this charming romance! It was funny, fresh and an utterly fabulous read’  HOLLY MARTIN, author of Sunlight Over Crystal Sands

‘Tender and engrossing, this romance will touch your heart and make you smile’ RACHEL HORE, Sunday Times bestselling author

‘A good old fashioned ‘will they, won’t they’ romance filled with as much fun and sparkle as the bubbles in Rose’s prosecco. Perfect escapism, best enjoyed with a glass of fizz!’ KATHLEEN WHYMAN, author of Wife Support System

#BookReview by Lou – The Heights by Louise Candlish @louise_candlish @jessbarratt88 #TeamBATC @simonschusterUK #Thriller #PsychologicalThriller #blogtour

The Heights
By Louise Candlish

Rating: 5 out of 5.

louise candlish, the heights, the other passenger, our house

The Heights is a well-plotted, compelling psychological thriller with twists and large themes and buildings to explore… The Heights, by bestselling author – Louise Candlish, provides the reader with much suspenseful atmosphere and excellent characterisation, scenery and twists.
Find more about the book in the blurb and my full review below and then more about Louise Candlish and her exciting news about one of her books – Our House.

Thanks to Jess Barratt for inviting me to review as part of the blog tour and as part of Team Books And the City (TBATC) – Simon and Schuster and for sending my a physical proof copy of the book.

The Heights cover

Blurb

From the author of Sunday Times bestsellers OUR HOUSE (Winner Best Crime Novel 2018) and
THE OTHER PASSENGER, comes a nail-biting tale of tragedy and revenge

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building amongst the warehouses of Shad Thames, its roof terrace
so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed at all, if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat opposite.
But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognise anywhere.
He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him. Which makes no sense at all,
since he’s been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact.
Because you’re the one who killed him.

The Heights pic 2

Review

The Heights pic 1The Heights tells the story from Ellen’s point of view and then from Vic’s viewpoint of what happened that fateful day and how they both view Kieran, within 4 parts of the book in this slow burn of a psychological thriller that will keep readers gripped and hanging onto the very end.
There are also several continuations of the newspaper article, titled – ‘Killing Time’, which is also a very prominent part in telling the story of what occurred…

The book begins with an article in the prologue about Felix Penney is a high profile author of crime novels and writing manuals. It starts with an acknowledgement of the underfunding of libraries. There are then more newspaper articles interjecting througout the story, an even bigger and darker story of a crime (yes, even more criminal than the underfunding of libraries)… one of every mother’s nightmare…
There is more to it than meets the eye in that first article, with a huge revelation at the end, as that first article comes full circle to reveal more…

louise candlish, the heights, the other passenger, our house

There is an absolutely striking first chapter, that takes readers to Shad Thames (Louise Candlish explains very well what this is, as well as who Kieran Watts was). It grips from here because of course, I wanted to know more about what he had done that was so awful to a person, that it could have destroyed his victim, and I think other readers will too. This isn’t as black and white as that though. This also adds intrigue as to what was so awful that he himself could be dead… but the book questions this in the beginning and also what really happened in The Heights… Louise Candlish tells a sinister tale of credible characters and towering buildings. It all adds to this sinister feel from the beginning and creates an almost claustrophobic atmosphere as suspense builds throughout. This tells a story of Ellen, Vic, Lucas and Kieran with well-plotted layers of twists, crime, suspense, emotion and a question of how the reader may react, all in a thriller that may just keep you reading into the wee small hours…

Then there is an Edwardian house, where the family relationships can be seen.  Attitudes to class, or rather those in lower classes, also comes into it and there is some great, cutting dialogue, that shows a certain truth of certain attitudes to those coming from different backgrounds from themselves and those usually around them.

Readers get to know Kieran, the crime and the criminal justice system pretty well. All of which has further depth and richness of what happened and is just as involving as this fascinating thriller moves ever onward.

In most pages, there are scenes that are rich and adeptly paint a picture in words, immersing the reader right there in the area and in the mood of what’s going on all around them.

This is a book that is easy to get so involved in and keeps you hanging on right to the end where there’s a clever twist and a huge reveal of what really happened in the characters lives, where not all, in a particular crime, is all as it first appears…

About the Author

Louise Candlish is the Sunday Times bestselling author of fifteen novels. Her 2018 thriller OUR HOUSE, which has sold over 250,000 copies in the UK to date, was a #1 bestseller in paperback, ebook and audiobook and winner of the Crime & Thriller Book of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards. It is soon to be a major ITV drama series made by Death in Paradise producers Red Planet Pictures. THOSE PEOPLE (2019) was a #2 Sunday Times bestseller in paperback and is in development for TV by Company Pictures.
THE OTHER PASSENGER (2020) is a Sunday Times bestseller in paperback and under option for a feature film with Moving Image Productions. Louise lives in South London with her husband and daughter.

The Heights blog tour poster