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review 2017-10-05 23:51
Review: Seeking Eden by Beverley Harvey
Seeking Eden - Harvey Alexander Smith with Beverley Billiris

Published by: Urbane Publications (6th July 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911331896

 

Source:  Review copy via author/publisher

 

Rating: 4.5*

 

Synopsis:

'50 is the new 30 - haven't you heard?'

Or so says Ben Wilde's record producer on the eve of his comeback. If only Ben could win back ex-girlfriend, Kate, he'd be a happy man. But married Kate has moved on, and moved out - to Eden Hill, a quiet housing estate in the suburbs. Lonely and homesick for London, can Kate resist ego-maniac Ben's advances and save her own flagging marriage?

 

Streets away, Kate's new friend Lisa, a Chihuahua toting ex-WAG, is primed for a fresh start - until her footballer ex-husband is found dead and she is vilified in the gutter press. But Kate, Lisa and Ben aren't the only ones having a midlife crisis; local shop owner Martin dreams of escaping his dutiful marriage, and develops an unhealthy obsession with Lisa and her friends in Eden Hill. Alongside a colourful cast of friends and family, Kate, Lisa, Ben and Martin are living proof that older does not always mean wiser because in Eden Hill, there's temptation around every corner.

 

Review:

Seeking Eden is full of interesting, well rounded characters and has a well-written plot with an unforseen ending. There is plenty to hold the reader's interest in this debut novel, which is definitely a page turner. All the different characters really work well together to pack a punch! Being a dog lover/owner, I especially loved the brilliant observations of and interactions between Kate, Lisa, Nellie and Ludo (fabulous name!)

 

There is certainly more to this tale of life in the suburbs than at first glance. There is lots of drama among the personal relationships and everyone seems to want something they don't have! It's like an infinitely more exciting and far better soap opera.

Special thanks to author Beverley Harvey and Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications for providing me with a digital copy in return for my honest review.

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review 2017-08-12 09:57
Review: Beware the Cuckoo by Julie Newman
Beware the Cuckoo - Julie Newman

Published by: Urbane Publications (18th May 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911129912

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

Two women. One man. A buried secret.

 

They were reunited at his funeral, school friends with a shared past. A past that is anything but straightforward. A past that harbours secrets and untruths.

 

Karen has a seemingly perfect life. An adoring husband, two wonderful children and a beautiful home. She has all she has ever wanted, living the dream. She also has a secret.

 

Sandra's once perfect life is rapidly unravelling. The man who meant everything to her had a dark side and her business is failing. To get her life back on track she needs to reclaim what is rightfully hers. She knows the secret.

 

As the past meets the present, truths are revealed - and both women understand the true cost of betrayal.

 

Review:

With  Beware the Cuckoo, Julie Newman has written a powerful debut centered around a sensitive subject matter. At times, this made for very uncomfortable reading. If you're the parent of a teenage girl, this book will certainly make you worry about what could happen right under your nose.

 

I like how the story is told in both present day and past tense, so we learn the story of Karen and Sandra's friendship from the beginning and the end at the same time. I found some parts of the story quite compelling, and others I managed to guess before they happened, hence just missing out on the 5* review. I was intrigued by the title of this book and not really sure what to expect, but I'm glad I decided to read it, it's really worth it. I recommend it to readers of psychological thrillers, crime and harder hitting women's fiction.

 

Thanks to Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications, Julie Newman and NetGalley for the ARC in return for my honest review.

 

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review 2017-05-18 08:00
Review: Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong by Gina Kirkham
Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong: The perfect laugh-out-loud comedy - Gina Kirkham

Published by: Urbane Publishing (18 May 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911331711

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

Meet Mavis Upton. As mummy to 7-year old Ella, surrogate to far too many pets and with a failed marriage under her belt, Mavis knows she needs to make some life-changing decisions. It's time to strike out into the world, to stand on her own two feet … to pursue a lifelong ambition to become a Police Officer. I mean, what could go wrong?

 

Supported by her quirky, malapropism-suffering mum, Mavis throws herself headlong into a world of uncertainty, self-discovery, fearless escapades, laughter and extra-large knickers. And using her newly discovered investigative skills, she reluctantly embarks on a search to find her errant dad who was last seen years before, making off with her mum's much needed coupon for a fabulous foam cup bra all the way from America.

 

Follow Mavis as she tackles everything life can throw at her, and revel in Gina Kirkham's humorous, poignant and moving story of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream.

 

Review:

Based on the author's experiences as a police officer, this book is funny yet touching in parts. Mavis herself is larger than life, getting herself into all sorts of mischief and is all the more likeable because of it. I'm not sure she's entirely believable, but that doesn't seem to matter one bit. 

 

I like that we get to see both sides of Mavis - the police officer and the mum/daughter. Her interaction with her fellow officers is great, I love the banter; it's like taking a step back in time into one of the British comedies of yesteryear. The interaction with her mum is fantastic too, had me laughing out loud!

 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a giggle, likes humorous books and likes a moving story. Thanks to Matthew at Urbane Publications and NetGalley for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.

 

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review 2017-05-09 06:08
Review: Electric Souk by Rose McGinty
Electric Souk - Rose McGinty

Published by: Urbane Publications (23rd March 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911129820

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

Ireland's gone bust, and with it Aisling Finn's life. She flees austerity for adventure in the desert. But the Arabia she finds is not that of her dreams. Everyone is chasing a fast buck, a fast woman and another G&T. Expats and locals alike prickle with paranoia. Debonair fixer, Brian Rothmann, charms Aisling with champagne brunches and nights at Bedouin camps. But is Brian a hero or a desperate expat prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants? Is this Aisling? Or is he using her as bait? Her only hope is Hisham, a local activist. But where do his loyalties lie? Aisling faces severe peril when the sleazy expat and blood-lusting desert worlds collide, as the Arab Spring erupts. She has to ask, whom can she trust? Can she trust her instincts?

 

Review:

Rose McGinty's debut novel is quite unlike anything I've read before. It's difficult to know what genre I'd class it as because it has elements of many, but I guess 'thriller' is as good as any. The description is breathtakingly good; I can almost taste the fragrant spices and see the jewel coloured pashminas in the hustle and bustle of the night time souk.

The characters are similarly brought to life. Aisling is likeable and believable throughout, Brian is in turn both charming and loathsome and there are plenty of other characters to like and dislike, Mozah and Laila in particular.

Electric Souk is fascinating, frightening, heartwarming, gripping, horrific, and hauntingly descriptive. I found out utterly compelling and read it in two long sittings as I was unable to put it down once I'd started! It will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Thanks to Matthew at Urbane for the ARC, via NetGalley, in return for my honest review.

 

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review 2017-04-23 16:05
Review: Imperfection by Ray Clark
Imperfection - Terry Ray Clark

Published by: Urbane Publications (30 March 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911331247

 

Source: Netgalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

Imperfection is a new crime series featuring D.I. Stewart Gardener and D. S. Sean Reilly, and set in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds.

A haunting message scrawled on the dressing room wall of a theatre: the scene of a murder. It had been written using the blood from the victim, previously drained in a separate location. At the autopsy, D.I. Gardener and D.S. Reilly are shown a riddle carved into the chest of the corpse, informing them there would be more. Their efforts to find out why are continually blocked by a wall of contradiction, with little in the way of evidence to support their cause. Steered back to the scene of the crime and a disused prop room, Gardener and his trusted sergeant find another puzzle. The murderer, it seems, is playing games.

It soon becomes clear to Gardener and Reilly that to find the killer they need to solve the clues, and to do that, they must tunnel their way into the past, where the streets were paved with gold, and to a man who had terrified people before either of them had even been born...

 

Review:

Imperfection is a different kind of crime novel, as we are introduced to the killer early on; we just don't know his identity at first. From the outset, he leads Gardener and Reilly in a game of cat and mouse, leaving seemingly unsolvable clues for them at the scenes of his crimes. Although it doesn't give a specific time period in the book, it seems as though it is set in the past, as there is no reference made to googling the clues! That would have been the first thing I would have done, so I found it rather frustrating that Gardener and Reilly weren't doing so! I felt there was a Sherlock Holmes-type vibe to the story on the whole, which would also fit with being set in the past, but it's just my theory.

I really enjoyed the parts with the killer and all his different guises, but I found some parts rather slow and quite hard going. Usually it takes me a few days to read a book, but I kept losing interest, so it took me much longer to read this one. It didn't surprise me to learn that Ray Clark writes fantasy novels; I'll have to read some.

If you like lots of detail, prefer a train journey over a rollercoaster ride, and have a thing for Sherlock, I recommend Imperfection.

Special thanks to Matthew at Urbane Publications for providing me with an ARC via Netgalley in return for my unbiased review.

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