Love is in the air: Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis #BookReview @LisforLia @TrapezeBooks

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At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached addressed, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.

Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off from her job. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?

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How many times do you read a novel and when you finished it you want to start reading it all over again? It really doesn’t happen very often to me but this time it did! I absolutely adored this novel! Dear Emmie Blue is a novel about loneliness, homeliness, about family, friendship and love, about caring for someone and being cared for, and of course there’s an utterly enchanting romance involved at the very, very end as well. It’s not only the romance though that makes this book so amazing, all the other characters are so lovely and caring and fill your heart when reading (except maybe Emmie’s mother and Ana, Eliot’s girlfriend). A special mention though for Rosie and Fox, Emmie’s friends and colleagues who work with her at the hotel and who were wonderful and lightened up the mood every time, their comments were truly funny.

I don’t want to get into the plot, if you pay a little attention and have a sixth sense like me you will know where the story is going but that’s absolutely fine because it only builds that anticipation and makes you ache and long for that perfect happy ending.

A little word of warning that this novel does include the mention of abuse, a moment already spoken of in its first pages, but that moment is not written in any detail in the novel, it does play a role in the story though but it certainly shouldn’t hold you back from reading this emotional rollercoaster of a novel.

Dear Emmie Blue was able to do the craziest thing, it brought tears to my eyes and gave me a great big lump in my throat the size of eh.. an avocado more than once when I was reading this. They weren’t all sad tears and I often smiled through my tears but my heart did get a serious beating. The best romance novels are the ones where you truly fall in love a little yourself and you definitely don’t have to worry here, you’ll fall so hard you’ll hit your head. It’s not about the big words, it’s about the small gestures, am I right? The guy in this novel has my heart!

The blurb of this novel states boldly that it is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I’ll tell you even more, it is perfect for fans of Eleanor, of The Flatshare and of The Sight of You (which happen to be three of my favourite novels). If you enjoy reading romance Dear Emmie Blue should be on your list! It’s an absolute winner in the romance genre for me and if this novel doesn’t make my favorite list at the end of the year, I don’t know what will! This novel is guaranteed to be a bestseller and I can’t wait to read this author’s next novel!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher Trapeze Books for review. This is still my honest opinion.

The Minders by John Marrs #BookReview

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Five strangers guard our secrets.
Only four can be trusted…

In the 21st century, information is king. But computers can be hacked and files can be broken into – so a unique government initiative has been born. Five ordinary people have been selected to become Minders – the latest weapon in thwarting cyberterrorism. Transformed by a revolutionary medical procedure, the country’s most classified information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads.

Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. In return, they’re given the chance to leave their problems behind and a blank slate to start their lives anew.

But not everyone should be trusted, especially when they each have secrets of their own they’ll do anything to protect…

The Minders is published in e-format on 23 July 2020 and will follow in paperback on 17 September. US paperback publication will follow in February 2021.

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When has this author ever let you down? The answer is NEVER!

I recommend you read The One and Passengers first because the author gives little nods to these books, combining finding your match through DNA with driving autonomous cars and introducing a new trend in the future: storing information in our heads. We are still in danger of The Hacking Collective though, the same hackers who were able to create chaos and mayhem when driving autonomous became the new normal. So the government came up with a brilliant idea (well at least they think so) and that’s storing sensitive information in people’s minds. Sounds simple and it is but have you ever thought about the consequences? The pressure of knowing things and not being allowed to share them with people you care for, even if it would give them peace? Marrs always makes the impossible still look authentic and apart from making it seem so real he also gives so much room for thought every time.

The Minders follows 5 people who – for very different reasons – start over somewhere else, get a new chance at a new life, a better life. But will they get it? Can they leave their old life behind, can they change who they are as much as is needed? They get strict instructions not to contact people from their past or the other minders but it’s clear that every one of them is struggling with their new identity and each one of them reacts differently. As always the backstories of every character were very distinctive and made them all such interesting characters to follow. I found Flick and Sinead the characters who pulled most on my heartstrings though, as opposed to the men Bruno and Charlie, but all of them made for addictive chapters. There was also another character Emilia in the picture but we don’t know a lot about her, she doesn’t remember anything. Someone’s after her but it’s a mystery who. Who should she trust? The mystery woman who warns her or her husband who she doesn’t remember either? The truth and her role in the whole picture left me speechless. Gripping chapters, ruthless (gasp worthy) murders (the first one left me particularly stunned), cliffhanger-endings, you get it all in this novel.

If you enjoyed The One and Passengers you already know the fantastic reading experience that awaits you when you pick this one up. If not, you really don’t know what you’re missing! I have to say that I still loved the previous two novels a teensy bit more but I can’t really explain what did it and in the end it doesn’t really matter as his three books are brilliant, more brilliant and most brilliant.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher DelRey via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson #BookReview

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The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the crime, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth . . . ?

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I have already bought Holly Jackson’s next novel, Good Girl Bad Blood so yes I absolutely bloody loved this YA mystery. It’s been so long since I read something YA that was so highly entertaining and well plotted.

Under the pretext of writing her EPC school project about the role of the media when  high school student Andie Bell disappeared 5 years before, Pippa goes on a quest to discover what happened to her. Andie’s body was never found and Pippa has her doubts about the alleged killer since the very beginning so this is her chance to dig in and she’s quite brilliant at this digging in. Pippa is your next Veronica Mars and there’s no trouble big enough for her so she goes to investigate, interview, befriend strangers or occasionally even trespass a friend’s house.

What I absolutely loved the most about this novel was the long list of suspects that Pippa compiles while working this case. It seems Andie wasn’t the perfect sweet girl that the media made of her after all. There were plenty of twists and turns and while Pippa started out with one suspect, the clues she follows make her add loads of suspects to the list. She didn’t make it easy on me as the list grows and grows.

Holly Jackson surprised me with her debut novel. She made the story really engaging as well by including sms conversations, police reports, productions logs where she includes the transcripts of interviews and most importantly shares her thoughts and conclusions of what she has discovered so far. As a reader you’re totally on the same page as Pippa that way and it’s pretty addictive to keep on reading so you can discover even more.

There’s much to like about this book. The protagonist is young but clever, she’s not your usual detective or journalist so people don’t see her as threat and she’s not running into dead ends right away, it’s silly how they underestimate her. It makes this novel a fast and easy read. She also gets help from Ravi, Sal’s brother who also believes in his innocence and although Pippa does most of the legwork and everything, his contributions were just what the story needed. I also thought I felt a spark of interest between them early on in the story and while it never takes the upperhand, I was actually hoping for them to give in as it would make me quite happy.

Overall an entirely compelling novel with a great ending too. I can’t wait to read her next book and I can only hope it’ll be just as great as this one.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh #BookReview

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Two sisters on trial for murder. They accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?

‘911 what’s your emergency?’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Sofia killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

‘My dad’s dead. My sister Alexandra killed him. She’s still in the house. Please send help.’

One of them is a liar and a killer.

But which one?

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This is the second book I read by Steve Cavanagh and let me fill you in right away, it was just as brilliant as Twisted, the first one I read. The title for this novel is perfect but just the same, he could also have called it Twisted 2 and it would work just as fine.

The general feeling I had when reading Fifty Fifty was that there was a conflicting war raging in my head and it started as soon as I had turned those first few pages. I simply can NOT have not knowing who the culprit is when I know full well it has to be one of only two suspects. I mean, how hard can it be? I’m a master sleuth after all :-). Well it was giving me a splitting headache, that’s how hard it was.

At first both sisters seemed possible suspects but then I thought more clues were leading towards one of them. One of them has mental issues, the other one is pretty organised and calculated, so you have your pick. I was well aware that it could of course also be a clever move from the author leading me on and that I needed to pick the other one… although if I were a profiler, I’d definitely be going with one sister.. at least I think… Argh, after a while I simply didn’t know anymore what to think. The best strategy in such a case I find is settling with ‘your initial thought’ so I did just that and guess what, everything added up for her being the one. Yeah and still I was wrong :-). I’ll tell you who else was wrong: her lawyer! Both Flynn and Kate are convinced that their client is innocent and at least one of them is in for a big surprise. That’s the only thing about the whole book that seems a bit unreal, they are both such goody toeshoes, neither wants to take clients on who aren’t innocent. I learned enough by now to know that a lawyer with a conscience, only prepared to defend innocent clients is not how the world goes round, and two of them in the same room… let’s just say it made me shake my head for far too long.

Anyway it takes a lot of skill for a story to work for both characters and not be obvious who’s pulling the strings. Cavanagh really kept me guessing and spreading uncertainty with each new revelation that was brought up or dismantled in the courtroom. Flynn is one heck of a lawyer and Kate’s not too bad herself. I was hanging onto their words to see how they would discredit a witness or turn a testimony into their favour. I was very excited to see if the baddie would get away with it after all and of course I was more than interested to know why the father had to die in the first place. Everything falls into place in the end and afterwards you’ll just say of course…

I haven’t read the rest of the series yet (I certainly will though!) but I was at no disadvantage, this can be read perfectly as a standalone. Brilliant and addictive!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.

The Curator by M.W. Craven #BookReview

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It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6

Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?

And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.

And nothing will ever be the same again . . .

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This is such a great series and Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are back again as the wonderful complimentary duo in the author’s third book. The start of the novel gave me an immediate jolt with a crime that was happening before my own eyes, giving me an utter feeling of powerlessness. But what is it exactly that is being performed? In the next chapters there are different sets of the same body parts found at different places accompanied with a cryptic message (ah I think you’ll get the gist now) and it gets even more mysterious when it turns out these belong to more than one person and also, the colorful pathologist Estelle Doyle finds them to be extracted with different tools and post as well as ante-mortem. Intrigued yet?

If you think the previous novel (Black Summer) was baffling (it had an opening chapter that stays fresh in my mind btw) then you’ll be happy to hear The Curator is just as brain spindling this time with absolutely no discernable pattern to connect the crimes in the current investigation. And yet, there is, of course. It was a thrill to follow Poe, Bradshaw and their boss Flynn and see them take the meandering path towards The Curator.

I wish I could talk to you about all the new, nifty things I learned about in this book that can give away someone’s involvement in a case but sadly, I can’t. I’ll give you one thing though, I’ll tell you the bottom line of it all… it’s actually thanks to Edgar (Poe’s dog) that the case is cracked open, you’ll see when you read it, it made me smile that he was the unintentional instigator. It’s all in the details and Poe is always paying attention to the details, I love him for it!

All the books in the series have plotlines that you can sink your teeth in and that pose such great mysteries. They let you forget about the world completely. They take you to places and cover subjects you never imagined reading about and, ah before I forget, I even managed to finally have an answer to the eternal Chicken or the Egg conundrum. The question was answered in two seconds flat by the ever so brilliant Tilly of course.

Overall I can say that the whole of the series is wonderfully intoxicating, I love the complexity of the cases and the plot is always clever and air-tight. I can’t believe we have to wait another year for the next novel but it’ll be well worth the wait I’m sure.

Why didn’t I give 5 stars then you ask? I have no idea, I might as well. I’m rounding it up anyway on all platforms that don’t allow half points. Truthfully, I don’t think anything can top my appreciation for the previous novel’s promise of someone being dead AND alive. I also had an inkling about The Curator believe it or not (I had two people in mind) so I wasn’t entirely surprised. I was astonished however by how it all ended, I certainly didn’t see that coming!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

Dear Child by Romy Hausmann #BookReview

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A windowless shack in the woods. Lena’s life and that of her two children follows the rules set by their captor, the father: meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them.

One day Lena manages to flee – but the nightmare continues. It seems as if her tormentor wants to get back what belongs to him. And then there is the question whether she really is the woman called ‘Lena’, who disappeared without a trace over thirteen years ago. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle that doesn’t quite seem to fit.

250.000 copies sold in Germany – 5th bestselling paperback in Germany in 2019

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I really enjoy reading these types of books and yes I know books like Room, The Good Girl, The Marsh King’s Daughter and others talk about abduction, imprisonment and abuse, which is always hefty and disturbing to read but they also happen to really touch me to my core if done right. Dear Child was perfect and pulled at my heartstrings straight away. I fell into its pages from the start because it hits you full on with little snippets about what happened at the cabin, sending shivers down my spine. Fortunately the tension does let up after a little while because much more than a story about the time in the cabin is it a storyline about the aftermath, how everyone reacts, how the media doesn’t leave you alone, and how you are free then but not free in your head, it’s about the enormous trauma it causes. The main character struggles to trust, to enjoy, to be herself when her identity was demolished to the ground from the minute she found herself waking up in that cabin. She had to be someone else or suffer the consequences, so who is she now?

Dear Child is narrated by 3 different characters and keeps you guessing about what happened all those years ago and who took Lena. It’s quite a complex story and I loved how the author added another layer to it. It made me rather confused and puzzled about Lena though, some of just didn’t add up, she seems to be keeping something to herself but I couldn’t see how this piece of the puzzle fit into the greater picture, there was a sizeable mystery aspect woven into the story. Her father doesn’t recognize her in the hospital for instance which was beyond strange because he does recognize her daughter Hannah as his grandchild right away and she seems to have seen her grandfather at a garden party on one of the secret outings that her father didn’t know about.

I loved the determination of Matthias, Lena’s father, but also really liked to follow Lena’s daughter Hannah. Hannah is a young girl who knows everything about everything, she can give full definitions of the most complex terms and processes. In other ways she lacks emotions and she is quite chilling. Her view of reality is – understandably – very distorted. Sometimes I didn’t even know she was talking about things that weren’t real because I only had Hannah’s reality, only when I read further along I would then realise that it was her imagination and that would knock me back again.

The person I loved most in the end though was Lena and I only realised just how much when I was almost turning those last pages. The strength she had, the things she did for her children and how she made their life better, how she told them about the constellations and bedtime stories, preparing them for the moment they would be able to step into the real world, how my heart bled for her and how she was still busy working on a future when she couldn’t even tell if it was night or day.

The last part of the novel took a very unexpected turn, it turns into a real thriller there that made me sit up straight, and it gave the answers to all the much sought after questions I had stored in my head. I didn’t think it would happen again but my heart bled once more when I read about the reasons why this had happened. Although you wouldn’t say so, the story has so much to do with love, love for your wife, your father, your daughter, your children,… sometimes love knows no limits and this book shows the darkest sides but also the deepest and bestest side of love.

A dark and gripping story with a great twist! Well crafted and memorable!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher, QuercusBooks, via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

Here to Stay by Mark Edwards #BookReview

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A beautiful home. A loving wife. And in-laws to die for.

Gemma Robinson comes into Elliot’s life like a whirlwind, and they marry and settle into his home. When she asks him if her parents can come to stay for a couple of weeks, he is keen to oblige – he just doesn’t quite know what he’s signing up for.

The Robinsons arrive with Gemma’s sister, Chloe, a mysterious young woman who refuses to speak or leave her room. Elliot starts to suspect that the Robinsons are hiding a dark secret. And then there are the scars on his wife’s body that she won’t talk about . . .

As Elliot’s in-laws become more comfortable in his home, encroaching on all aspects of his life, it becomes clear that they have no intention of moving out. To protect Gemma, and their marriage, Elliot delves into the Robinsons’ past. But is he prepared for the truth?

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Wowzers! Now this is a bloody good book. I really didn’t expect to like it so much, but I had such a great time reading this, it was so satisfying!

It didn’t start off with a bang though but rather average which means I liked the first part of the novel well enough but Elliot is playing the part of a very naive guy much longer than I thought possible as (even) I could see it a mile coming that Jeff and Lizzy, Gemma’s parents who happen to stay with them for a few weeks, were not the in-laws to dream about. I don’t know what gave it away exactly, their nosiness, trying to suss whether Elliot was wealthy (asking questions about money is so not done, is it not), the fact that they have no respect for his home, or the worst of all, that one of them complains about the cat (how dare they!) and possibly locked the cat flap. There were so many triggers that I’d have my guard up in a flash but Elliot has a bigger heart than I have, there’s no doubt about that. All three of these examples out of so many more would make me pack up their bags and tell them to go fly. Easier said then done though come to think of it. What if your house guests don’t want to go?

The novel really switches gears when it finally dawns on Elliot that something is off and he finally gets that it might be a bit of a problem to get rid of them. The real fun starts then! The Robinsons feel right at home and with nowhere else to go, why wouldn’t they stay?

I never ever in a million years imagined it would be so difficult to get someone out of your house. I wondered how accurate that was because it felt quite unbelievable and I would have asked around if it wasn’t for this lockdown (imagine that being the case in this novel!) but I accepted it for that time being and I googled it after I finished the novel. It seems I wasn’t the only one interested in that answer and I found a (US) post that confirms it, the police can’t do much if they play it right and it can be pretty difficult to evict an unwanted guest

I felt for Elliot and held my breath more than once, not least because I was scared the cat would get hurt in the process (I can’t even recount how many times I said ugly words out loud while reading!) and wanted nothing more than the Robinsons (well Jeff and Lizzy at least, I felt pity for the younger daughter Chloe) getting a piece of their own cake. Oh how I wanted the repulsive people that they were to get theirs. I refuse to feel guilty and actually find it quite funny how worked up I got about them. It was great to hate them so much and to follow the power plays going on because luckily and thankfully, Elliot isn’t prepared to just roll over and give up the rights on his own house. This unsettling and threatening vibe that something or someone is going to have to give is driven to the max towards the ending and there was more than one surprise in store in those final chapters that made me punch the air and left me lost for words all in the matter of turning a few pages.

Here to Stay is a terrifying novel that makes you appreciate your own family that little bit more than before. You don’t want to imagine this scenario coming true! Here to Stay has a wicked plot that was brilliantly executed and his next novel, The House Guest sounds like your next perfect nightmare.

Last bit of advice from me after reading this: choose your in-laws wisely to avoid all risk.  

I bought a hardback copy of this novel at the Capital Crime Festival in 2019 (and Mark Edwards happens to be the first author I ever met, so I couldn’t be happier now). This is my honest opinion.

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs #BookReview @johnmarrs1 @AmazonPub

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They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

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I bumped this one up my readlist the minute I got my hands on the ecopy. Honestly, I didn’t know what this novel was about anymore when I started reading it, I trust this author enough not to care, and I can only recommend doing so because I was in for a surprise real soon this way. The only thing you need to know is that Maggie and Nina live in the same house and that Maggie never leaves the house, so the only hobby she has is spying on the neighbours and reading the books Nina brings her. Don’t be mistaken though, there is a constant battle going on between them and Maggie thinks twice about every word she says to Nina. This resentment also created a tug of war in my feelings for both of them. In what they say and do they both seemed very reasonable women at the start. That really wasn’t the right conclusion to make though.

I strongly felt for Maggie in the beginning, only to feel some understanding for Nina after a while too because of all she went through in her reckless teenage years, until that was overshadowed again with pity and sympathy for Maggie… They both made mistakes in the past, because Nina was young, because Maggie loved her daughter and wanted to do what she thought was best. It is debatable if that was the right thing to do but all I do know is that it backfired in the most horrible way. She is treated horribly by her daughter and there’s literally little she can do about it. She could tell her the truth but even in her most ugly predicament Maggie still doesn’t grab this opportunity. Maybe that is something I didn’t agree upon but I can’t argue the deep love for her daughter.

Nobody lives happily ever after at the end of What Lies Between Us and it won’t come as a surprise either when you read the novel that it does not have this all American ending but in its own way the author wrote a rewarding closure to this sad and tragic story.

I held my breath quite a few times while I read this novel, fearing the worst and hoping for the best. The action and reaction between mother and daughter was relentless and I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad that a third person was getting closer to them without knowing what was going on in that house. What Lies Between Us is a very dark and gripping story that will leave nobody unfazed. The novel was built on plenty of deceit, secrets, love and revenge, abuse, loss and obsession. All the best ingredients for an amazing page turner and that is exactly what this is!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.

The Sight of You by Holly Miller #BookReview @ByHollyMiller @HodderBooks

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Joel is afraid of the future.
Since he was a child he’s been haunted by dreams about the people he loves. Visions of what’s going to happen – the good and the bad. And the only way to prevent them is to never let anyone close to him again.

Callie can’t let go of the past.
Since her best friend died, Callie’s been lost. She knows she needs to be more spontaneous and live a bigger life. She just doesn’t know how to find a way back to the person who used to have those dreams.

Joel and Callie both need a reason to start living for today.
And though they’re not looking for each other, from the moment they meet it feels like the start of something life-changing.

Until Joel has a vision of how it’s going to end . . .

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This is one of those books that take a bit of time to get over them and this one is asking for a couple of days… even though this novel is so bittersweet in the end, I want to keep it alive in my head for a little bit longer. Ever since I read The Man Who Didn’t Call I’ve been searching for a novel to match it, a novel that could make me feel the same way and I had to wait until this one to finally find it, The Sight Of You is the answer to my quest. I felt my throat closing up and a single tear (that’s all I’ll admit to!) might have snaked its way out of the corner of my eye. My suffering was silent, much like how this novel presented its secret. Nothing was overdone or written to be sensational or super dramatic, there was in fact just a quiet kind of sadness that you can feel and read throughout the pages.

I love novels about impossible love stories, but is this one impossible? At times I thought so, other times I felt the exact opposite. There’s so much love though, even if people keep fighting it, if they don’t admit it, if they don’t want to fall in love. What are you going to do? The heart wants what it wants and love hurts, every single time. And then it really begins. Joel has dreams about the people he loves. It’s his best kept secret and has messed up his life since he was about 9 years old. So you can’t blame him for not wanting to fall for Callie. It’s not a big surprise how the story develops, the title is pretty much an omen, but that doesn’t matter because it’s just written with the right amount of dazzle.  

My heart is so full for this novel, and I think I could talk about it for days. It’s very much a head versus heart kind of novel, and one that makes you think too. How would you react? There’s an important lesson here to live your life and I was happy to see both Joel and Callie do just that. A beautiful novel, very highly recommended! Don’t miss out on this heart-breaking tale!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher Hodder and Stoughton in exchange for my honest opinion.

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah #BookReview

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All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.

Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora Braid for twelve years.

But she can’t resist. She parks outside Flora’s house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car. Except…

There’s something terribly wrong.

Flora looks the same, only older – just as Beth would have expected. It’s the children that are the problem. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Beth hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.
They are no taller, no older.

Why haven’t they grown?

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review-2

5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

What the… what the… what the… hellllll is going on? If I haven’t asked myself this question 30 times or more I haven’t asked it once as I just couldn’t explain how the children didn’t age at all in 12 years. Well I had my ideas right at the start but my train of thought just evaporated and I just let the story take me wherever it was going. Ah, this novel is one big brain twister with thankfully a really great answer waiting for me in the end.

I really liked Beth and her family, especially her daughter Zanah (short for Suzannah). She might still be studying for her GSCE’s, or that’s what she should be doing at least, but I loved her assistence and everyone who reads this book will agree, you’ll probably love to have a daughter like her, she is one incredibly bright girl. It’s maybe a little onorthodox because she’s only 16 years but she’s just a great character who propels the story forward, asking the right questions and keeping the calm in the family and as such she’s the real voice of reason in this novel. I also really loved the fact that Beth nor anyone else doubts what she saw so we don’t get stuck in the paranoia/mad woman routine but we’re quickly running through possible explanations, none of which seem to be the right one though. And yet, there is people!

Beth is like a dog with a bone and I’m so happy she didn’t let off. Even though she gets in contact with Flora and Ben, friends she broke all contact with for some reason 12 years ago, she can feel they are hiding something. There are lies and charades aplenty and well there were so many alarm bells going off I’m surprised the police didn’t knock on my door :-).

I read one novel by this author before and let’s just say that wasn’t a satisfying experience so I didn’t really plan on reading more books in the immediate future but now I’m sooo happy I did. She’s definitely on my radar for the future because I love an ending that you never imagined and is just so brilliant and clever, and much more evil and dark than expected.

I normally read a novel per week and I devoured this one in two days. I’m not even sorry I sacrificied some of my sleep for it, it was just so intriguing and addictive, I had to find out the truth!

I received a free copy of this novel from publisher Hodder & Houghton in exchange for my honest opinion.