#BlogTour BookReview – Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber @arrowpublishing #anydreamwilldo

any dream will doShay Benson adored her younger brother. She did all she could to keep Caden on the straight and narrow. But one day her best intentions got Shay into the worst trouble of her life. By protecting Caden, Shay sacrificed herself.

Drew Douglas adored his wife. But since losing Katie, all he could do was focus on their two beautiful children; everything else came a distant second.

Shay and Drew are each in need a fresh start, and when they meet by chance it’s an unexpected blessing for them both. Drew helps Shay to get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose. 

But when a devastating secret is uncovered, Shay and Drew’s new lives are threatened. It will take all of their strength, faith and trust to protect the bright future they dream of.  

Published 10th August by Arrow (UK) 

I seem to be making a habit recently of reading books by authors I’ve never managed to get to before. Despite having a couple of her books tucked away, Debbie Macomber is one such author. After reading Any Dream Will Do I’m literally kicking myself for this – why have I left it so long? I absolutely loved this charming, uplifting and moving book.

Shay hoped her life had turned a corner, she had a job and her wild past seemed to be behind her. But when her brother comes to her for help, she can’t turn him away and this lands her in prison. Forward three years later, freed from jail and with no where or no one to turn to, she finds herself in an open church. Drew, pastor of the church, is still mourning the untimely death of his beloved wife and struggling to juggle being a single dad with his church duties. But when Shay wanders in, he senses hope for the first time in a long time and in helping her, helps himself, his children and his community.

After reading so many gritty thrillers, Any Dream Will Do was like a breath of fresh air. Yes, there’s some serious scenes with some upsetting and violent consequences, however Debbie Macomber’s compassionate, empathy filled writing makes this book incredibly joyous and inspiring. The theme of the book is second chances, recogognising that good people make bad choices, and how small acts of kindness and faith in your fellow humans can literally turn lives around. And all this is conveyed with a charm that never wanders into the saccharine, despite the risks it easily could do.

I adored the relationship between Shay and Drew and I have so much respect for Macomber that despite Shay’s circumstances, there is a mutual gain and appreciation from both sides. This isn’t a hero, whisking a poor victim up and making everything better. It’s equal, both learning and moving forward to make a better life. They both make decisions that may not have been the right ones, but for the right reasons and I thought the point about bad choices not necessarily equating to bad people was delivered beautifully.

Any Dream Will Do is clearly influenced by the author’s Christian faith, however it never, ever feels preachy (which would be guaranteed to switch me off)  and is very subtle. It just reflects on acts of kindness and forgiveness – traits that anyone can relate to and appreciate. I welled up a couple of times reading this book, and it genuinely made me feel happy and hopeful. In a world where horrific stories of violence and suffering are daily occurrences, it’s like a little ray of light restoring faith in humankind. Absolutely feel good reading, I enjoyed this one very much.

( I read a copy courtesy of the publisher)

Any dream will do bt

 

#BookReview – I Know Where She Is by S.B Caves @Canelo_co @SB_Caves

i know where she isAn explosive, gripping thriller for fans of Karin Slaughter, Linwood Barclay and Karen Dionne, don’t miss this heart-stopping debut.

On the tenth anniversary of her daughter Autumn’s abduction, Francine receives an anonymous note containing just five words: I KNOW WHERE SHE IS

When a young woman approaches her the next day claiming to have sent the letter Francine wants to dismiss it as a cruel, twisted joke.

But the stranger knows things that only Autumn would know.

It soon becomes clear that Francine must go to dark places in order to learn the truth about her child’s kidnapping.

She will discover that danger comes from unexpected sources. She will do things she never imagined herself capable of.

But will Francine get her daughter back – or is it too late? 

Published 14th August 2017 by Canelo (UK)  

When I picked up this book I had no idea I was about to be thrown head first into an action packed, utterly gripping, edge-of-your-seat ride. There’s no gentle introduction – right from the beginning this is high tension reading, with dramatic, explosive scenes coming one after the other at breakneck speed.

The book starts at the approach to the 10 year anniversary of Francine’s daughter’s disappearance. Francine is a mess – drinking to excess then overexercising to counteract the damage. Her fragility and brittleness transcends from the page, and with the help of her aloof, distant and exasperated ex husband, it’s unclear how reliable she is. When first the letter and then the strange and disturbing Lena appear,  I had no idea if this was a trick, a desperate delusion or in fact real.

As Francine discovers more about Autumn’s disappearance and the intervening years, a sense of dread and horror settled over me. There’s some disturbing and upsetting themes covered, and I was physically shaken at some of the scenes. This book is pretty dark – more so than I originally anticipated. Yet there’s a sense of determination, unbreakable spirit and a fight for survival throughout, which had me gripped and praying for a positive resolution.

What I really liked about this book was the developement of Francine, from broken and unstable to quite frankly, kick ass. Yes, there’s quite a lot of suspension of belief needed here (for reasons I can’t really go into to avoid giving away spoilers) but the action scenes towards the end literally had me holding my breath. I thought I’d worked out another big secret, which I expected to be revealed at the end and was surprised when the book petered out much more quietly than I expected. I may have misread the hints, but it just felt slightly unfinished and could have done with a little more closure in my opinion. Overall though, this is a gut-punching, fast paced read which I couldn’t put down. I’d definitely read more by this author in future.

(I read an advance e-copy courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)

#BookReview The Vanishing Of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase @MichaelJBooks

tvaw*** From the author of the immensely popular Black Rabbit Hall, comes Eve Chase’s new novel The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde *** 

From the present day . . . 

Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds. She believes it’s the perfect escape for her troubled family. But the house has an unsettling history, and strange rumours surround the estate.

to the fifties . . .

When teenage Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote during the heatwave of ’59, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter Audrey five years before.

The sisters are drawn into the mystery of Audrey’s vanishing – until the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. Will one unthinkable choice bind them together, or tear them apart?

Step back in time for a richly evocative mystery, where the beauty of a Cotswolds summer is vividly contrasted with the violence which shatters it. 

Published 13th July 2017 by Penguin (UK)  

If you follow me on social media then there’s a good chance you’ve heard me shouting my love for this book over the last couple of days. I make no apologies – I adored it. You know that feeling when you settle down with a book and immediately know you’re going to love it? The Vanishing Of Audrey Wilde is one of those books and I savoured every single word.

The book is told in two, alternating time frames. Jessie in the present day is the second wife to a man who lost his wife in tragic circumstances and step mother to resentful and distant Bella. She’s never felt good enough as a replacement for Bella’s mother but hopes a move to the country will cement them as a family and banish the ghosts of the past. Bewitched by the stunning but derelict Applecote Manor, Jessie is convinced this is the place to bring them all together. But Applecote Manor has ghosts of it’s own…

The second time frame is 1959. Margot Wilde and her three sisters have been sent to live with their Aunt and Uncle at Applecote. The girls are intent on enjoying one last, glorious summer together before the eldest, Flora, leaves for Paris. But a sadness hangs over Applecote, in the memory of Audrey Wilde – the sisters beloved cousin who vanished mysteriously several years ago.

The alternating chapters of past and present compliment each other so well in this book. In the present, both Jessie and Bella are struggling to lay the ghost of her mother to rest, while in the past it’s the conspicuous absence of Audrey who haunts the Wilde sisters. The theme of loss and grief holding back and impacting the living runs throughout both periods, as does the need to let go to allow moving on.  There’s also a strong sense of coming of age in both era’s as well. Margot, ever overshadowed by her vivacious sisters struggles with her own identity, while Bella is caught up in grief at the loss of her mother and unable to forgive Jessie for taking her place. Despite there being sixty years between them, both girls are mesmerised by the missing Audrey and what happened to her.

The mystery surrounding Audrey is fascinating and had me gripped, I desperately wanted to know what had happened to her. Eve Chase’s beautifully, descriptive writing is so evocative that I could feel the heat and atmosphere of the scorching 1959 summer, almost see the haze of the sun and feel the excitement and nervous tension in the air as the Wilde sisters attempt to make this the summer of their lives, while the secrets and fate of their cousin hangs over them oppressively. In the present, there’s a tangibly cold, eerie and empty feeling to the house as Jessie tries to bring it back to life, with the suggestion of secrets being revealed around every corner.

The Vanishing Of Audrey Wilde is quite simply, stunning. It has that deliciously gothic vibe of family secrets with a haunting house at it’s center. It envolopes you in beautiful prose and transports you completely to a different time, while the mystery of what happened to Audrey will keep you gripped. I was captivated by this book, snatching any chance I could to loose myself in it. One of my favourite books this year, I can’t recommend it enough and will continue to do so to everyone I know!

(I read an advance ecopy courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley)

 

 

 

Six In Six – A Look Back At Some Of My Top Books Of 2017 So Far…

6 I saw this over at Cleopatra Loves Books, and thought it was a great idea to look back at books read so far in 2017. Hosted by Jo’s Book Journey, the idea is sharing 6 books, in 6 categories from the first half of the year. So here’s my choices:

6 Books I Have Enjoyed The Most 

 

 

6 Psychological Thrillers I Have Read & Enjoyed 

 

 

6 New To Me Authors 

 

 

6 Covers I’ve Loved

 

 

6 Books Which Took Me To The Past 

 

 

Six Books I Own & Can’t Believe I Haven’t Managed To Read Yet