Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The Guest List by Lucy Foley

A wedding on a remote (and pretty scarily atmospheric) island off the coast of Ireland. A murder.
The book is structured so that we don’t know who had been murdered or how at the start of the book. We see the revelation of the murder and then we see the days leading up to the murder through the eyes of various people.
It’s wonderfully done. Clues are revealed about the problems and preoccupations of the various people in the wedding party until they all coalesce at the end to reveal the victim and the murderer. I really enjoyed reading this book. Gripping.

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Review: A Question of Us by Mary Jayne Baker

A Question of Us

A Question of Us by Mary Jayne Baker

Clarrie and Simon have been best friends since primary school. Clarrie doesn’t particularly want to grow up. Simon … well, Simon keeps asking Clarrie out. She keeps saying no. It’s a long running joke between them. Isn’t it?

This book revolves around a pub quiz league and a group of quiz enthusiasts who are almost, but not quite, grown up. I loved the banter between the friends. I spent my mid teens in West Yorkshire and this is exactly the way my friends would talk to each other! It made me laugh out loud.
The ‘found family’ dynamic between the friends was wonderful.

Clarrie is one of the lads, which was great, but sometimes you did want to shake her. That said, she’s a completely believable character because someone who is prone to anxiety would be scared at the idea of ruining things by moving out of the status quo. Simon was lucky enough to have figured out what (and whom) he wanted early on. I like a hero who isn’t too uptight to cry when things go horribly wrong.

I really enjoyed this book. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Buy link UK (affiliate links)

Book review: One Night Wife by Ainslie Paton

One Night Wife (The Confidence Game #1) by Ainslie Paton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finley’s charity is failing and she’s desperate enough to stand on a barstool and ask people to donate. That’s how she catches the attention of con man/ philanthropist Cal Sherwood. Cal and his family run a ‘rob the rich, give to the poor’ type enterprise involving elaborate investment scams. He’s a rogue, but such a charming one, with his heart in the right place, that you often forget that he’s a con man.
Cal ends up training Finley in the art of the con – she gets people to donate money to her charity, Cal gets an in to get people to invest in his fake company. Finley is so well meaning and straight laced, I was genuinely anxious for her when she found out about the con.

I really enjoyed this book. Great characterisation, sparkling dialogue and an unusual take on both the Millionaire trope and the fake relationship trope.
I’m looking forward to reading more books in the series.

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Book review: How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis

How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis: A Step-by-Step System for Enticing New Readers, Selling More Fiction, and Making Your Books Sound GoodHow to Write a Sizzling Synopsis: A Step-by-Step System for Enticing New Readers, Selling More Fiction, and Making Your Books Sound Good by Bryan Cohen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I should point out that this is a book about writing blurbs to go on the back of the book, not the synopsis that you send to a publisher/ agent.

I’d heard of Bryan Cohen and his ninja copywriting skills, so I thought I’d buy his book and see what I could learn. This book is clearly and concisely written (as you’d expect) and gives you a nice step by step guide to the art and craft of writing a book blurb.
I’ve tried to put these techniques into practice. It’s hard to do, but having some guidance helps, especially when you get to the ‘Okay, I’ve done a decent draft, now how do I make it better’ stage.

I’d recommend this book to self publishers who have to write their own back cover copy.

View all my reviews 

Buy link Amazon US:How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis: A Step-by-Step System for Enticing New Readers, Selling More Fiction, and Making Your Books Sound Good

Buy link Amazon UK: How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis: A Step-by-Step System for Enticing New Readers, Selling More Fiction, and Making Your Books Sound Good

Book Review: Just For The Holidays by Sue Moorcroft

Just for the HolidaysJust for the Holidays by Sue Moorcroft

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m a fan of Sue Moorcroft’s books in general, but I think this one is my favourite.
Leah agrees to help her sister and estranged husband out by tagging along on their family holiday and being the ‘Cool Auntie’ to their two teenagers. Poor Leah. I felt so sorry for her as things started off bad and got worse… and worse.
Ronan is recovering from a shoulder/collarbone injury after a helicopter crash and spending some quality time with his son Curtis.

I loved that Leah was happy with the single life and that she was a complete petrol head. I also liked the way the teenagers kept getting in the way of … well, everything.
You really feel for both the main characters.

I really enjoyed this book. Highly recommended.

Disclaimer as always – I know Sue Moorcroft through the Romantic Novelists Association. I am also a fan of her books.

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Goodreads Book Review: Fat Chance by Nick Spalding

Fat ChanceFat Chance by Nick Spalding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. The main characters were so warm and likeable. Some of the bits at the start were genuinely laugh out loud funny. My favourite thing about the characters was how Greg was totally in love with his wife throughout… regardless of her weight.
I also like the hint of good things in the ending. The full extent of their happy ever after wasn’t explicitly stated… but then, it didn’t need to be. Lovely.

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Goodreads Book review: Falling by Julie Cohen

FallingFalling by Julie Cohen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I saw this book up on Netgalley, I grabbed it because I’ve never, ever been disappointed by a Julie Cohen book. This is what I call a ‘burning dinner’ sort of book – one I couldn’t bear to put down for very long, so I end up reading it while stirring things on the hob. It’s lovely!

Jo is struggling to keep everything going. She is a really, really nice person and tries to help everybody. But somewhere inside, she’s still getting over the death of her first husband. Her second husband’s betrayal seems almost an incidental annoyance compared to how much she feels about her first husband. I sympathised with Jo, especially when it came to the bits where the kids were going nuts. Oh yes.

Lydia is in love with her best friend and can’t come out about her sexuality without risking losing her best friend. She’s about to sit her exams too, so the pressure is really on. The high pressure environment of school and the casual cruelty of teenagers was really well captured. Lydia was a fantastic character.

Honour was my favourite. She’s old, cantankerous and fiercely independent. The way she treated Jo at the start was shocking, but she mellowed wonderfully as the story progressed. She was wonderful. When I grow old, I totally want to be as fiery as Honour (although, maybe not as rude!)

This is a wonderful book about how we orbit each other, trapped in our little worlds without really understanding what other people are going through. I especially liked that Jo and Honour were in-laws, because it was different to a mother-daughter relationship (whilst also being fairly similar to a mother-daughter relationship in so many ways).

This is a wonderful book. Go buy it.
(I received a free copy from Netgalley, in return for an honest review)

View all my reviews

Book review: Falling by Julie Cohen

FallingFalling by Julie Cohen  (In the US it’s called After the Fall)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I saw this book up on Netgalley, I grabbed it because I’ve never, ever been disappointed by a Julie Cohen book. This is what I call a ‘burning dinner’ sort of book – one I couldn’t bear to put down for very long, so I end up reading it while stirring things on the hob. It’s lovely!

Jo is struggling to keep everything going. She is a really, really nice person and tries to help everybody. But somewhere inside, she’s still getting over the death of her first husband. Her second husband’s betrayal seems almost an incidental annoyance compared to how much she feels about her first husband. I sympathised with Jo, especially when it came to the bits where the kids were going nuts. Oh yes.

Lydia is in love with her best friend and can’t come out about her sexuality without risking losing her best friend. She’s about to sit her exams too, so the pressure is really on. The high pressure environment of school and the casual cruelty of teenagers was really well captured. Lydia was a fantastic character.

Honour was my favourite. She’s old, cantankerous and fiercely independent. The way she treated Jo at the start was shocking, but she mellowed wonderfully as the story progressed. She was wonderful. When I grow old, I totally want to be as fiery as Honour (although, maybe not as rude!)

This is a wonderful book about how we orbit each other, trapped in our little worlds without really understanding what other people are going through. I especially liked that Jo and Honour were in-laws, because it was different to a mother-daughter relationship (whilst also being fairly similar to a mother-daughter relationship in so many ways).

This is a wonderful book. Go buy it.
(I received a free copy from Netgalley, in return for an honest review)

Buy link UK

Buy link US (After the Fall)