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Book Addict Shaun (England, UK)

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The Little Flower Shop by the Sea
The Little Flower Shop by the Sea
by Ali McNamara
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this, 30 July 2015
Ali McNamara is one of my favourite Women's Fiction authors. I love her books and the day I pick one of them up and don't enjoy it is the day I fall a little out of love with reading. In terms of pure enjoyment, and that feeling you get inside at finishing an amazing book, The Little Flower Shop by the Sea might just be one of Ali's best books yet, and it is certainly one of her most magical.

Poppy Carmichael returns to the Cornish town of St Felix when her grandmother passes away, leaving Poppy her flower shop. Poppy's arrival in the town sees her witnessing a place that is vastly different to the one where she spent many happy summer holidays with her brother. I was immediately reminded of the seaside towns I visited with my family as a child, and the holidays we went on. I even found myself picturing those towns reading this book because they are so similar. They all to me had that magical feeling, that happy feeling where nothing can go wrong. It seems though that Poppy is about to find out that St Felix might go beyond just making you feel happy as her grandmother's flower shop is hiding some secrets... Each chapter is titled with a flower and what that flower means or represents which I thought worked really well. There's so many! The setting of St Felix is wonderful, brought to life so vividly by Ali it's a place every reader will wish they could visit, especially once they learn what secrets the flower shop is hiding.

Poppy is an intriguing character and it might be a lazy comparison, but she is almost like a flower herself as she starts her journey at the beginning of the book. To say she doesn't want to be in St Felix would be an understatement, her plans are to sell the flower shop and get on with her life. The reader discovers she has an aversion to flowers, and a slight aversion to people given that she's reluctant to form any friendships when she first arrives. Straightaway I wanted to know what the mystery was, and as the story develops I just couldn't help but warm to and fall in love with Poppy. Scarlett O'Brien will forever reign as Ali's greatest creation but Poppy comes an extremely close second.

Ali's novels always contain an eclectic mix of characters and this book is no different. This time around some of them come in the form of Ant and Dec, not the Ant and Dec but St Felix's own famous duo that run the local bakery. We even have a monkey by the name of Miley whose owner Jake soon catches Poppy's eye and who is also quite an intriguing character with secrets of his own. All too often in Chick Lit the romance element can feel rushed or forced, but in this story it never felt like that, and the romance in this book was one of my favourite things about it. It also wouldn't be an Ali McNamara novel without plenty of drama and without wanting to ruin things for readers, the drama this time around will have every reader firmly on Poppy's side cheering her on.

The Little Flower Shop by the Sea has everything you could possibly want from a book, and I really could sit here and discuss the whole thing, but it's one of those books that readers need to buy (right now) and fall in love with themselves. I read the book in just under a day, and enjoyed my time in St Felix so much that I didn't want to leave. It is a magical (literally!) place and if it was real I would move there tomorrow. There's some fantastic books being released this summer, and The Little Flower Shop by the Sea is at the very top of my highly recommended list. Ali's fans will love the story, and those new to her work will love it too.

by Charlotte Crosby
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.00

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Charlotte, 27 July 2015
This review is from: ME ME ME (Hardcover)
Charlotte Crosby's Me Me Me is the fourth book to be released from the Geordie Shore lot and I've now read them all. I found Charlotte's to be refreshingly honest, and it was almost like she was reading it to you herself because it was all so obviously Charlotte's voice. Sometimes I think a ghostwriter can uses words and/or phrases that the celebrity just wouldn't say but Lucie Cave (who I love!) has really helped bring Charlotte to life on the page, warts and all!

With someone like Charlotte who is so honest and, well, outrageous I wondered beforehand whether Headline might have toned her down, I'll just say that they definitely didn't! Charlotte clearly has no issues with sharing her whole life, good and bad - and that's the only way to be when you are sharing your life story. There's some moments and scenes in this book that are just so crazily out there and outrageous, including a disgustingly hilarious scene that's so bad, it didn't even make the cut on Geordie Shore, and in actual fact Charlotte almost never even got on the show because some of the bosses didn't believe the stories she was telling them. That should highlight just how shocking (and hilarious) Me Me Me is at times.

Me Me Me is an autobiography with all of the good bits and none of the boring bits. Charlotte choosing to share stories about her life that she knows readers will be wanting to hear the most, and that includes everything about her relationship with Gaz, her relationships with men in general and how she has had to cope with living her life in the public eye. Charlotte is completely honest and any mistakes she talks about, she completely holds her hands up to them. There's a number of stories about the Geordie Shore lot and Gaz that I didn't know beforehand, and I liked how the whole book wasn't a complete recap of what we already knew. There were some chapters I wished were longer, such as her time in Big Brother but I especially enjoyed reading about Charlotte's life growing up, she's had quite the eventful life and truly tested the patience of her parents! Charlotte is a girl that other girls can really relate to which is why I think she's so popular.

Charlotte is now extremely famous yet what I like about her is how she has remained grounded, humble and completely down to Earth and this was the case throughout the whole book. Some of my favourite stories where when she meets other famous people, seeing them as famous but not herself. It reminded me of Jennifer Aniston in Friends whenever Rachel meets someone famous! It's crazy to think about how much she has achieved off the back of a show which is essentially about going out and getting p*ssed but it's quite admiral and something that the haters can never take away from her. I also liked how every other page wasn't a glorified advert for her products, yes of course they are mentioned but not in a 'OMG buy my stuff!' way. Fans of Charlotte will love Me Me Me and it has already hit number one. I finished the book with a lot of respect for Charlotte and I think other readers will too.

Twitter @bookaddictshaun

Sparkling Stilettos (Sparkling Book 1)
Sparkling Stilettos (Sparkling Book 1)
by Jess Wright
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Jessica Wright has always been one of my favourite TOWIE cast members and I've been excited to read ..., 23 July 2015
Jessica Wright has always been one of my favourite TOWIE cast members and I've been excited to read her debut fiction novel ever since it was announced!

Sparkling Stilettos opens and introduces us to shoe designer Megan Winter on the day of her wedding to the controlling Dylan Dunkin-Buckshaw. (I've sat here for ages trying to work out if that surname is an acronym for something bad!) She is experiencing some last minute doubts, and it's incredibly easy to see why as we learn more about their relationship. Part of me wondered why Megan had stuck with Dylan for so long (fiction imitating real life here!) and the other part couldn't wait for her to ditch him and get on with her life. It's all a little bit independent woman in the beginning, with Megan realising a lot about herself and what she wants from life, her feelings only exacerbated when she sees the headstone of an old woman with the line 'devoted wife', Megan wondering whether that was all the woman's life amounted to. Megan has dreams and ambitions and she is determined to achieve them.

Megan is a shoe designer, which added a little bit of a unique twist to the story as it's certainly not a profession I have read about in this genre before. Plus, I love how the shoes were kind of like a metaphor for the whole story. Women love shoes and I think they will end up wanting the ones from this book! Megan says that she wants women who wear them to realise their dreams, to feel special when they are wearing them and to ultimately feel like they can achieve anything. Just like she herself wants to. She has even added her own Louboutin-esque touch to them. Megan is an instantly likeable character, and I think female readers might perhaps be able to relate to her relationship with Dylan and all readers will definitely be able to sympathise with her for having to put up with such a pig for so long!

Sparkling Stilettos moves at a relatively sedate pace in the beginning, but I really enjoyed meeting Megan and her two fabulous friends, Brendon and Georgie (Porgy Pudding and Pie as Brendon calls her!) Brendon is the typically flamboyant and stereotypical gay character you often find within this genre but as always, those characters are a lot of fun to read about. The friendship between these three characters felt natural and believable, both characters bringing a lot to the story and helping Megan to discover a lot about herself, and to make some difficult decisions! Given where book two might end up going I hope we still get to see a lot of Brendon and Georgie.

For a few weeks a guy at the local bar has caught Megan's attention. The aptly-nicknamed Hot Guy. Hot Guy approaches Megan in Frank's Bar one night and things that night become a little bit heated. Following that we see chapters from Hot Guy (real name: James)'s point of view which I loved. Hearing from the man in books like this used to be relatively unheard of, which usually resulted in some pretty one-dimensional characters. James is a great character who I think most readers are going to end up falling for too, and a few will perhaps find themselves shouting at Megan a couple of times. There's a connection between them that is palpable, and they are a pairing that you can really believe in. Megan's life soon becomes a little bit of a whirlwind (and by soon I mean almost instantly as the book takes place over a really short time period) not only with James but also at work where there are some exciting developments. I won't say much more than that except that it sets everything up nicely for book two.

I read Sparkling Stilettos over the course of one afternoon. There's plenty of drama throughout the story with a couple of little unseen twists. The story was over far too soon for my liking, and I could easily have spent many more hours in this world. In terms of books ending on a cliffhanger, Jess has ended this one one of the best (and most frustrating!) that I have read this year and so readers are going to be left desperately wanting the sequel to see how things are going to pan out for our characters. All the way through the book I had an idea of how things were going to end and I ended up being completely wrong. Sparkling Stilettos is a really fun read, and one that I have no hesitation in recommending.

Scandalous Lies: An addictive, sexy beach read
Scandalous Lies: An addictive, sexy beach read
by Nigel May
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insanely good. And off the scale hot, 23 July 2015
To describe Scandalous Lies in one word: incredible. Insanely good. And off the scale hot. I already had high expectations after reading and loving Nigel May's Addicted, but Scandalous Lies is something else and is a book that everybody should be downloading to their Kindles this summer. Move over Rebecca Chance and Victoria Fox, Nigel May has stolen your crowns and is holding them ransom for the foreseeable. Once again I am kicking myself at never having read Nigel's books before. It's amazing what a publisher and some new covers can do for a book!

Scandalous Lies consumed me so much as a reader that I was did not want to put it down, in fact I was positively seething when I had to. I downloaded it to my Kindle for iPhone app, something that I only do for books that I need to read every spare minute I get. Like shopping in ASDA, glam it is not and I did have stop reading certain parts in public. Ahem. In all seriousness though there's a truly addictive quality to Nigel's novels, the kind I experienced the first time I picked up a Jackie Collins novel. Nigel packs so much into his stories that they are just so action-packed there's never a moment to pause for breath, it's a rollercoaster read from start to finish.

The blurb only touches on some of the characters that feature in Scandalous Lies and as much as I would love to sit here and discuss them all, we'd be here all day. In classic style we are introduced to a whole plethora of characters, some obviously connected and some not so. As the book progresses they all start to interact in the most brilliant of ways and towards the end of the book you know something bad is coming, you just don't know when, by who, and to who. The whole thing is brilliant and the story went in a way that I certainly didn't see coming. I had a whole other scenario playing out in my head! I loved following them around the glamorous locations Scandalous Lies take us to and whilst I envied their life, I was so glad I wasn't a part of it at times!

I will discuss some of my favourites though. Interestingly despite there being such a varied mixture of characters, there were only a select few that I actually liked. And some that I just loved to hate. My first favourites were probably weathergirl Georgia and her TV presenter boyfriend Charlie. One of those couples whose beauty makes you want to stare at them, and then stare at yourself and wonder why you aren't them. Just me? Georgia is on a mission throughout Scandalous Lies, a mission to find out what happened to her best friend Mitzi who went missing whilst on holiday in America with her boyfriend. In a world full of backstabbers, Georgia is a real normal, down to Earth character who I very quickly liked. And alongside Charlie this is a couple that you hope can survive all that Hollywood has to throw at them, like certain desperate housewives.

Reality TV star Nova is another memorable character for a couple of reasons. One of them being that she is the absolute epitome of what you expect someone like her to be like. She is so fabulously outrageous but also believable. A true fame whore if ever there was one she is only interested in what fame can bring her, and the 'friends' that she can gain from having such a successful career. She does love her son Charlie though, perhaps a little bit too much but at least she lavishes her attention on her one and only son as opposed to one of those famous mums who have tons of kids but favourite just a couple... Oddly I did favour some of the male characters over the females this time around. One in particular being gardener Aaron who achieved fame on a gardening version of TOWIE. Think of a more rugged and hairy Mark Wright. I loved witnessing how he got caught up in the whole fame game and with a rather trashy Russian oligarch's daughter whose husband was a bit of a drip with a revenge plan you doubted would ever come to fruition. And then there's characters you wish wouldn't fall victim to drugs and addictions and actually stand up for themselves, a la Victoria. I was almost screaming at her to stand up for herself and take her revenge, rather than the weak excuses she gave for her husband's infidelity with a home wrecking nanny.

As the title suggests pretty much every single character is lying and/or plotting some sort of revenge on the other characters and this leaves you wondering which characters will actually see out their plans and which characters will even still be alive by the end of the story. With such a huge amount of characters we don't know what fully connects them all in the beginning, this is revealed to us as we read and everything just falls into place wonderfully, allowing for some truly thrilling twists and turns to play out as we read. I actually failed to work out how things would ultimately end, especially in the case of what actually happened to Mitzi and her boyfriend. Amazing. I loved picturing all of these characters and trying to imagine who they could be in real life, or even just putting my own face to them going by the descriptions not only of their looks but also their personalities. There's a couple of shady characters in the background not least Jack Christie, a man who has recently been released from prison and is already plotting how he can 'earn' himself some serious money. Think Ross from Emmerdale.

It is clear on every single page the amount of fun that Nigel May must have had writing this book and creating these characters. It just shines through as you are reading. I also love that he is an author whose books exist within the same world, and so regular readers will recognise the character of Evie from Trinity. Scandalous Lies has everything you could ever want from a book and then some. It is wall to wall filth but with a truly engrossing and multi-layered story within. If Nigel May ever finds himself a little deflated with the bonkbuster genre then he is more than capable of turning his hand to crime fiction, because the mystery element here is brilliantly done. The sex in the book is so good it should come with a warning. And there's a scene with a food item I don't think I will ever look at in the same way again. Scandalous Lies is a book I didn't want to end because I was having that much fun reading it. It is full of exotic and glamorous locations making it the perfect book to escape into this summer. Your own holiday will look quite tame in comparison. Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off to convince Nigel to include me in his next book!

Vanishing Games
Vanishing Games
by Roger Hobbs
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does NOT let up until the end! Loved it, 16 July 2015
This review is from: Vanishing Games (Hardcover)
After reading and enjoying Ghostman I then read that a sequel was in the works, and I couldn't wait to read it. Vanishing Games is that sequel and for me it was even more thrilling and exciting to read than Ghostman.

Vanishing Games is one of those books you really need to read without knowing all that much about it. So the blurb tells us that after a heist in Macau goes badly wrong, a criminal mastermind known only as Angela must call upon her old friend Jack, the Ghostman, to help her fix things before she ends up dead. Jack arrives in Macau and finds himself embroiled in a criminal conspiracy bigger than he has ever seen. Jack and Angela soon have their work cut out for them trying to stay alive and attempting to escape. They are being chased by some very dangerous people who will stop at nothing to take back what was stolen from them. And in terms of what was stolen it makes for compelling reading, and had me reading up further online about real life cases.

To call Vanishing Games all the usual cliches: addictive, heartstopping, thrilling etc would be an understatement. It really is nonstop action all the way through with two of the best characters I have read about this year in Jack and Angela. I was a little bit confused in the beginning because I was convinced I knew so much about Angela already, but then I remembered about the Angela from Lorenzo Carcaterra's most recent novel, The Wolf. Both characters have various similarities however and Roger's Angela is one of the best female characters that I have ever read about. In Ghostman Jack was very much an enigma, a truly intriguing character and in Vanishing Games we are given further insight into his past, especially his relationship with Angela, somebody he hasn't seen for six years since she quite literally vanished from his life. They are both massively interesting characters, and when they are together on the page you can almost feel the tension yourself.

One of the real strengths of this series is the research carried out by Roger Hobbs, and his obvious knowledge about the subjects that he is talking about. He has captured the settings of Macau and Hong Kong and the various other places our characters find themselves in brilliantly. It felt as if I was part of the book myself, but I was relieved to not actually be a part of it. Roger goes into great detail when discussing technology, drugs, criminals and the underworld, some might say it can be too much detail because it does detract from the action somewhat but personally I want that level of detail and I doubt there will be a thriller released this year more authentic than Vanishing Games.

The story moves at a blistering pace as we follow Jack and Angela across this metropolis as they fight to stay alive. It's one of those stories where you never know what's around the corner, you only know that you can't wait to find out. Towards the end of the book in particular things become extremely intense, and I just had to finish the book in one sitting. Jack and Angela find themselves in so many situations that leave you wondering just how the hell they are going to get out of them, but as the masters of disguise they are two of the cleverest and most cunning characters I have ever read about. All too often you can read a thriller that is ruined by its ending, but the ending in Vanishing Games was just as good as everything that came before. I highly recommend that readers pick up this book, and Ghostman too for those that haven't already. Vanishing Games is one of those books that reminds me why I read and I loved every minute of it.

What Remains: David Raker Novel #6
What Remains: David Raker Novel #6
by Tim Weaver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.00

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As always, gripping and thrilling, 16 July 2015
To say I was excited about the release of Tim Weaver's What Remains would be something of an understatement. It was one of my most anticipated books of 2015 and so I was beyond thrilled when I received an early review copy. Tim's David Raker series is one of my favourites, and I always finish each installment saying that it was the best one so far and I'm saying that very same thing with What Remains as it really is his best book so far and one of the best I've read this year.

Missing persons investigator David Raker is finishing up on a case when he meets up with Colm Healy, for those new to the series they have a complicated history that I can't go into without spoilers but they do have an interesting relationship which could be loosely described as a friendship (sometimes). Colm Healy used to be one of the Met's best detectives until his failure to solve a case ruined both his life and his career. Healy is determined to find out who killed a mother and her two daughters and knows that if anyone can help him with that, it's Raker. Healy is an extremely damaged individual and in What Remains (and the books that came before) we really see the effect that a failure to solve such a brutal case can have on a police officer. It is a powerful and poignant story.

David Raker in the first few books had nothing to live for after the death of his wife. He found solace in the lives of the missing, seeing it as his calling to bring them home. Recently however he discovered that he fathered a child some years ago. Ordinarily Raker has no qualms about putting his own life in danger whilst on a case, however now that he has an adult daughter it adds a new dynamic to the story and and it's intriguing to witness how this has an effect on his life and 'job'. No sooner does Raker sit down to talk through the case with Healy than his daughter calls about an accident her younger sister has been involved in. Raker heads down to the hospital leaving behind an extremely angry and agitated Healy, and that's the last time Raker would see him for nine months.

I found myself once again completely consumed by this story and that's what I love most about Tim's books. It is so easy to just lose yourself in them (no pun intended). They are always so well researched and plotted that they are just a joy to read. In fact they are so intricately plotted that I would love to know how Tim sets about writing them, and how much of the story even he knows beforehand. He knows exactly how to hook a reader in, not giving too much of the story away in the beginning and making sure that there's enough red herrings and twists to throw most of us off the scent. I've said before not to bother trying to guess where the story will go, just sit back and enjoy the ride. There are some incredible developments in What Remains, some that well and truly slapped me in the face and left me reeling.

What Remains is a gripping read from start to finish and is a book that Tim Weaver fans old and new will love too. This is one of my favourite series and I have reviews of the previous books in the series on my blog for those that have missed them. If you already have this book and series on your TBR then do yourself a favour and pick them up right now. If you don't, then why not? Incredible fiction from a born storyteller and I can't wait to read what he writes next.

Anker® USB 3.0 to RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter Supporting 10/100/1000 bit Ethernet
Anker® USB 3.0 to RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter Supporting 10/100/1000 bit Ethernet
Offered by AnkerDirect
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 8 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Works brilliantly with my Acer Chromebook 13. Literally plug in the USB and Ethernet and I no longer have crappy Internet upstairs! (Use Powerline adapters to connect to the Hub downstairs).

All That Glitters
All That Glitters
Price: £3.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 3 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: All That Glitters (Kindle Edition)
I love Vicky Pattison and after reading her autobiography last year I couldn't wait to read her first fiction novel. Issy Jones is our main character and despite having a somewhat settled life, she has always wished for more and so when her dad puts her forward for a sensational new reality TV show, she soon finds that her dreams could be about to come true. I assumed from the blurb that the book would be Geordie Shore in book form, but the reality TV show is actually a hairdressing competition, where the contestants live together and are filmed 24/7, with one of them being voted out each week after completing various hairdressing tasks. The format actually works really well, allowing the story to move along at just the right pace.

Issy is an instantly likeable character and I think that was because in the beginning she was just so normal and easy to imagine as a real person. She wanted the life that fame could give her, but not at the expense of whoring herself out or going against her beliefs. In fact, once she's in the house and meets the other contestants she's actually quite naive which again just highlighted what a normal person she was. She's a girl that female readers will really be able to relate to and root for as they read this book.

There's a great mix of characters in All That Glitters and I won't list them all but often it's the ones that you detest that stand out the most and one character in particular was Mia. I love those characters that get your blood boiling and this time around that came in the form of this snooty posh girl, who looked down her nose at everybody else when really she was the trashiest one in there. She very quickly rubs the housemates up the wrong way and you just know she would be a nightmare to live with. Issy for the most part handles things quite well, but there's more than a few intense and drama filled scenes between the two.

Issy soon struggles with her new-found fame, and her inability to keep in touch with her family and friends and her fans across social media but she forges some friendships in the house (and some of the males soon catch her eye). I think Vicky probably put a lot of her own experiences into the story, especially those behind the scenes moments where we find out just how much of what we see on screen, or read in the press, is faked and untrue. In terms of where Issy's story goes it's difficult to discuss in detail but I got completely consumed by everything that was going on, and in terms of the romance in the story it's an addictive read with lots of twists and turns. I did work out a couple of things, but that in no way lessened my enjoyment. I found myself picturing this TV series actually being on TV and I think because of how amazing some of the drama is, it would be a huge hit. There are some brilliant scenes throughout.

All That Glitters is a hugely enjoyable read with a truly satisfying ending and it is a book that I have no hesitation in recommending as one of the summer's must reads. I can't wait to read more from Vicky Pattison.

Return To Bluebell Hill
Return To Bluebell Hill
Price: £2.99

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection, 18 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Return to Bluebell Hill was one of my most anticipated releases of 2015, and it feels like years since Rebecca made the announcement on Twitter about being signed by Carina! For those not from planet Earth Rebecca Pugh is a book blogger and her blog is one of my favourites to read. She just has a way with words that makes her reviews and blog posts an absolute pleasure to read. Rebecca sent me a piece of writing she was working on a while ago, and I knew then that it wouldn't be long before I was reading a published novel, and here it is! You just know Rebecca is somebody with a very active imagination which is buzzing with ideas every waking moment, and there's nobody better to write stories than somebody like that.

I kind of wish Return to Bluebell Hill had been released under a pseudonym just so I wasn't aware who the author was but I do think Rebecca has a very distinctive writing style, one that is easily recongisable and that shone through when I was reading this stunning debut. I set my alarm an hour earlier than normal (I was in work at 5.30am) and woke up at 3.30 to download and start this book because I was that excited. I think that's something you often miss out on as a blogger when you are fortunate enough to receive books months in advance. Nothing beats that feeling of finally purchasing that book you've waited so long to be released.

Our main character in Return to Bluebell Hill is Jessica McAdams and she's one of those characters that you very quickly fall in love with, or at least I do because I love those heroines that have lost their way a little bit, or haven't yet found their place in the world. I think it's because of knowing that they are about to go on a life-changing journey and that excites me when starting a book. Jessica has felt like she's never really belonged anywhere, and has never truly felt at home. She returns to the village of Bluebell Hill after the death of her parents, parents who she had a strained and distant relationship with. Jessica's plan is to box everything up, sell the beautiful family home - Bluebell House - and return back to her life in London. Throw in the reveal of a jaw-dropping secret and a hunky gardener and soon Jessica's torn over just what direction her life should be going in.

Bluebell Hill is a fantastic little village, even with Jessica returning under unpleasant circumstances. She is reunited with Esme, an elderly lady who was her nanny when she was younger, and the only person she has ever felt close to. I loved Esme, but I wouldn't be able to cope with her chirpiness at stupid o'clock in the morning! There's some beautiful and heartfelt scenes between Jessica and Esme throughout the book. I did guess early on why Jessica had always felt so alone in the world, but if anything the whole thing just made me fall in love with her even more. I was desperate for her to find happiness, and found myself becoming frustrated with her when she began to push people away. I was almost shouting at my Kindle! Especially when she meets gardener Rueben, who female readers should prepare themselves to fall in love with. I love how natural their connection felt, and how believable the whole thing was. I obviously can't say too much except their parts in the story are perfect. I'm not an emotional person (I'm lying, I so am) and certain parts in this book were a tad emotional because of the very quick connection I established with the characters.

Return to Bluebell Hill really is a beautiful and wonderful story. One of those that you read in a day but one that you wish never had to end. My time spent in Bluebell Hill was sadly not long enough and I'd love to return again in a future novel! The character of Jessica can be explored so much further, and I'd also love to see best friend Sarah featured more prominently as she too was such a likeable character and I especially enjoyed her friendship with Jessica, that kind of friendship few people are lucky enough to experience. I finished Return to Bluebell Hill and wanted to read it again. Rebecca has an army of bloggers behind her, and the book is already storming up the charts, but those great reviews and sales only highlight what a great book this is. This is the first book I've read as a blogger where I feel I have been there for the whole journey from signing to publication day and I am so incredibly proud of Rebecca and hope the wait for another book isn't too long!

The Other Child
The Other Child
by Lucy Atkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 8 Jun. 2015
This review is from: The Other Child (Paperback)
I was very excited to read The Other Child when I saw it on NetGalley because both the title and the blurb left me incredibly intrigued. Tess is moving from England to Boston due to partner Greg's new job. Despite not being written in the first person, we immediately get a sense of how overwhelmed Tess is by the move. The affluent neighbourhood and big house she is moving into leave her with a feeling of dread and isolation more than excitement. Strange happenings on the first night, and Greg being away a lot - and then distant and strange when he is home - don't exactly help matters for Tess.

I think what I enjoyed most about The Other Child is how as the story progresses I started to come up with a number of theories as to what was going on, what that ultimate 'twist' would be and I probably had about four or five different scenarios playing out in my mind (and none of them were correct). We really get inside Tess's head, so much so that at times her feelings come across as paranoia more than anything else until she makes a jaw-dropping discovery. Most intriguing to witness was her relationship with Greg, who in the beginning I felt was a bit of a cold character, and it took me a while to get to grips with his character and connect with him. As each chapter ends you are left with more questions, more intrigue as to what is going on and the big reveal did surprise me, but it was fantastic.

The Other Child is an extremely thought-provoking book in the actions of our characters and some of the decisions that they make, not only in the present day but also in the past, which is explored in detail as the book progresses. It is a book that would certainly provoke a lively discussion at a book club. I wouldn't say we could relate to Tess unless we were in her situation ourselves, but as outsiders I think we can often be very quick to judge so I did have a number of opinions about the decisions that she made, and wondered how I would act in a similar situation myself. The story could have ended in so many ways and I think that's what makes it so thought-provoking as readers might have their own opinions as to how things could have ended.

A real highlight of the book was Lucy's brilliant writing. I've said it in the past but I cannot for the life of me describe writing but in The Other Child it is so wonderfully descriptive one minute but so full of intrigue and menace the next, keeping you turning the pages eager to find out what's going to happen next. Having Tess move to Boston, not being near her family and friends adds a different dynamic to the story, and you can really sympathise with her throughout. Overall The Other Child is a thoroughly enjoyable and at times gripping book, and one that I very highly recommend.

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