Sunday, 30 September 2012

Review - Do Me No Harm by Julie Corbin

A gripping and fast-paced psychological thriller!

When single mom and Doctor Olivia is called to hospital she is told that her son has taken an overdose, but she finds it pretty unbelievable that he could do such a thing and thinks his drink was spiked.  As a doctor she took an oath - to do no harm to others.   One night, her and her family return home, to find a distressing word placed strategically in their house and she now wonders whether it is herself who is being targetted rather than her son.

She spends her time investigating the evidence and revisiting her past, and to a mistake she made when she was a student Doctor and disaster struck.   Someone who knows about her past is terrorising her and her children and she is determined to find out who and why!

This book certainly had me holding my breath in places and wanting to read it hidden behind a cushion.  It was gripping, fast-paced and heart-poundingly tense.  

It shows what lengths a Mother will go to, to protect her children and also shows how some people cannot let the past go without it affecting the rest of their lives.  It shows a family who are so strongly bonded that they will stick together through thick and thin even though the edges are sometimes a little blurred. 

The book showed that secrets that were kept from Olivia many years ago, by people who didn't think she could handle the truth, and thought that she would never find out about, came back to bite her and affect her life now. 

Brilliantly written, with just the right amount of suspense to make you nervous but not over distressed, this book was one that I couldn't put down.  I was determined to help Olivia to solve the mystery and couldn't rest until I knew what was happening. 

Olivia put herself into many situations where I really was concerned for her safety and wanted to shout at her not to do certain things. 

With a mysterious and wonderfully designed cover, this book called to me from the minute it arrived in the post.  The cover made it so appealling and I could feel a wonderful energy from this book.  It was an extremely engrossing read. 

This was the first book that I have read from Julie Corbin but I can assure you it most certainly won't be the last. 

Julie was born and lived in Scotland, until her husband's job took the family to Sussex where they now live.  They have three sons; two are still at home, the eldest is working in Hong Kong.
Her writing started at primary school and after completing a creative writing certificate in June 2007, she found an agent and went from strength to strength.  In 2009 Julie gave up her job to write full time. Her favourite time of day is when walking her dog on the Ashdown Forest and that’s usually when characters take shape in her head. 

For any aspiring writers out there, her advice would be to stick at it, sign up for some courses, make writer friends, start your own writing group, listen to criticism, digest it, act on it – don’t give up!
You can like Julie on Facebook
You can follow Julie on Twitter

Her website is

You can buy this book via Amazon by clicking here.

Review - The Quintessential Gemini by Linn B Halton

Another brilliant book from one of my favourite authors.

After being made redundant Katherine moved into a small house in the country where she has decided to write a book. 

She has always followed her horoscope very closely and when it seems to suddenly go adrift and she is left not knowing which way to turn, she writes to Mark who is the guy who writes them expressing her distress.  Or should I say the guy she thought wrote them! The guy who really wrote them is actually called James.

They get into an email argument yet when it calms down, she realises that this man is becoming someone that she likes and can share things with via email communication.  When she realises that she actually knows this man, it takes on a whole new dimension. 

I certainly had a lot of empathy for Katherine as I do know what it's like to be made redundant from a company at which made thought you belonged and then all of a sudden you feel like you're not worthy of anything and it's one of those life-changing situations that is very difficult to handle.  I wish I'd thought to write a book when it happened to me!

Don't let the fact that Katherine bases much of her life around astrology and horoscopes put you off. They are important to the plot and are delightfully referred to throughout this highly entertaining and lovable story.   When you learn more about James, you discover that he's a wonderful man and has a fabulous relationship with the elderly gent who lives next door. 

This was definitely one of those books which makes you switch off from the outside world and escape into a world of make believe but one that you would love to be involved with. 

Linn has a wonderful way of creating the most wonderful characters that you want to be best friends with.  Her characters  and her scenes are believable and wonderful.  You can imagine yourself sat in the kitchen with Katherine while she is writing her book and can picture everything that is mentioned within your imagination.  

This was a delightful read, like every other book of Linn's that I have read.  This is a book which will make you laugh and it will make you cry.  And she always manages to create a perfect ending!

I met Linn earlier this year and she is a lovely, generous, warm and wonderful person and this shines through in her writing.  I know that she is writing more and I'm SO looking forward to reading more from this modest lady.  

Linn B Halton lives in the small Gloucestershire village of Arlingham on the banks of the river severn with her adorable husband and cat with attitude Mr Tiggs! Linn and Lawrence have renovated many houses over the years and she writes romantic fiction with a psychic or astrological theme and many of the paranormal events that feature in her books are real life experiences.

She has written about some of these experiences in Being A Sceptic is Oh So Easy.

Linn wrote Touched By The Light shortly after the death of her mother and is a big advocate of the waying "seeing is believing!"


You can learn more about Linn at her website and also read more about

Review - The School Gates by Nicola May

Another hilarious and entertaining book from Nicola May.
The book is based around people who meet and form friendships at The School Gates.  There's Dana who used to be an Au Pair and married the man of the house and now lives a life of luxury with husband Mark but really wants to do something for herself, then theres Alana, single mom and such a workaholic that she doesn't get chance to spare any time with her daughter.  Then there's Mo who has an abusive husband, and is trying to plan her escape and being helped by her close friend Joan who experiences a devastating blow to her life and finally there's Gordon whose sister and husband died and finds that he has suddenly acquired twin daughters. 

All of these people have their own trials and tribulations and some are aired at the school gates but some are hidden away. 

I was first introduced to Nicola May when I read Working It Out.  My review can be found by clicking here. A few months later I then read Star Fish and my review of that can be found by clicking here

She has a delightful way of adding the most hilarious of phrases into her books which stay with you forever.  There are quite a few 'rude bits' in her books, which I certainly didn't mind, in fact I found that they made the reading experience a throroughly entertaining one for me. 

She writes about the ups and downs of life and parenthood in a down to earth and humourous manner which never ceases to amuse me.  I'd love to spend an evening sharing a bottle of wine with Nicola, I think she'd be such a hoot!

All of her books are un-put-down-able and easy to read and the plots are all so cleverly written they are full of fun and frolics but there are serious sides to them too. 

I love the way that Nicola writes about close friendships, they're really important in life and her books always highlight some wonderful relationships between friends and her characters are always full of life and full of colour too!   I always find myself wanting to be friends with the characters in her book, or otherwise I find myself wanting to jump into the book and want to be one of the characters.

On a scale of one to ten on entertainingness and enjoyability of her books, I'd have to award this book at least a 12!   Another cracker from Nicola May, I just hope she's got plenty more swimming around in her imagination as I could read her work continuously!

Nicola May lives in Berkshire. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews.

Nicola's website is

You can like Nicola's Facebook Page by clicking here

You can follow Nicola on Twitter by clicking here

You can buy The School Gates on Amazon by clicking here.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Review - The Restaurant @ the Mill by Linn B Halton

A beautifully warm and cosy book which was completely adorable. 

ix very different relationships come together with the common link being that they either dine or work at The Restaurant at the Mill.  This is owned by Hilary and Ben who became business partners after Ben approached Hilary when he saw a business opportunity for them to run a fabulous establishment combining his amazing skills as a chef with her front of house professionalism and experience.

We learn about these wonderful individuals and how their relationships develop and intertwine.  The people involved are Hilary and Ben, Charlotte, Grace and Lawrence, Isabel and David, Thomas and  Sadie who works at the restaurant.

Linn threw in quite a few very unexpected surprises and links along the way which kept the plot fresh and kept your interest peaked. The characters are wonderfully created and I could picture both the exterior location and the interior look of the Mill and was quite tempted at one point to actually ring the restaurant and book myself a table as I could picture this beautiful setting, cosy atmosphere and wonderful people and I just wanted to dine in this place and be part of the cast.

I started reading this lovely book on Sunday morning and literally had to drag myself out of bed that morning as I had lots of important things to do even though I really wanted to cancel them all, tuck myself up on the sofa and continue to read. I was counting down the hours until Sunday evening so I could pick up where I left off and continue with the individual lives that weaved around this wonderful community of people who had become my friends.

I'm writing this review a couple of days after I finished reading the book  (because I immediately picked up another book of Linn's - The Quintessential Gemini!) and I'm still thinking about the characters and how their lives will go on from here and what will become of them all. I could have continued to read about them forever and just looking at the picture on the front of the book I can still imagine myself there even now.  I could easily have read about each of the characters in their own separate books - when you're ready Linn!

Linn is an author who makes it easy for a reader to create pictures of people and places in their minds, making you feel part of the story somehow or as if you are just sitting on the sidelines watching in.  I feel that this is such a clever skill because as a reader, there is nothing better than feeling the emotions of the characters and knowing what all the places you are reading look like and she does this particularly well.

Linn B Halton lives in the small Gloucestershire village of Arlingham on the banks of the river severn with her adorable husband and cat with attitude Mr Tiggs! Linn and Lawrence have renovated many houses over the years and she writes romantic fiction with a psychic or astrological theme and many of the paranormal events that feature in her books are real life experiences.

She has written about some of these experiences in Being A Sceptic is Oh So Easy

Linn wrote Touched By The Light shortly after the death of her mother and is a big advocate of the waying "seeing is believing!" 
You can learn more about Linn at her website and also read more about


Friday, 14 September 2012

Review - The First Time I Saw Your Face by Hazel Osmond

A truly delightful read.
Jennifer thought she had everything in her life that she had ever wanted until a terrible accident where she was flung through a windscreen left her facially scarred for the rest of her life.  It really knocked her confidence and her ability to live life to the full as she felt that people would always look at her face. She moves back home to live with her parents and while her old boyfriend Alex wants her to spend the rest of his life with him, she's not too keen feeling that she would be settling for him but then she meets Mack!
Matt is a next journalist who is practically blackmailed into moving to the north-east to pretend to be an author called Mack (ah ha!) so that he can get the lowdown from Jennifer as she has a very famous Hollywood actress cousin Cressida who she is extremely close to. By befriending her, he makes Jennifer believe that she can do anything she wants to and eventually gets her to act on stage which she hasn't done since the accident. But he can't stop himself from falling in love with her. And she loves him too - until she finds out the truth.
I read Hazel's first book Who's Afraid of Mr Wolfe last year and my review of that brilliant book can be found here.
This was a completely different type of book to the last which seemed more chick lit whereas this book seems to be have more depth to it and was more serious.  

Hazel is a fabulous author, and I loved the characters she created in this novel.  Even though Mack has done wrong, you still like him as a character and at times I found myself willing him to tell Jennifer the truth.  I longed for a happy ending, but up until the last few pages, didn't know quite which way it was going to go. 

It tackled the topics of love and trust and whether someone could be trusted again when you know what they've done has hurt and humiliated you.  It tackled a family friendship between two very close cousins and how that relationship can change due to circumstances beyond their control and family members who would go to great lengths to protect the privacy of the family that they love so dearly.  It also highlighted the tightness and community spirit of the people who lived in this extremely small village in the North East and how they stuck by their morals and supported the person who had been wronged.

This was a wonderful book to read, I found it thoroughly uplifting the way that Jennifer had lost her sparkle due to the accident and how Matt tried helped her to build her confidence and self-esteem when the world seemed to be against her.  He also tried his hardest to win back the hand of the lady he loved more than anything in the whole world and was prepared to do whatever it took - how romantic!   

There were a few beach scenes in the book that made me feel as if I was standing beside the characters with the sand beneath my feet, listening to the waves lap onto the shore and feeling just how cold the water was!

I certainly hope that Hazel has a whole pile of other books up her sleeve as even though I felt that her two books have been very different, I would most definitely read more of her writing. 
Hazel Osmond lives in Northumberland and is married with two teenage daughters. She has been an advertising copywriter for 20 years. She has also written a number of short stories which have appeared in ‘The Sunday Express Magazine’, ‘The Weekly News’, ‘The Writers’ Forum’, ‘Writing News’ and ‘Woman and Home’.
You can read more about Hazel and her work at


Review - Warrant For Love by Sheryl Browne

Well, she's done it again. Sheryl Browne has created another fabulous book full of lots of laughs. Warrant For Love is the third of Sheryl’s summer reads, and every one of them have been fab. The first was Recipes for Disaster and the second Somebody to Love and my reviews of them can be found by clicking on the name of the book.
Paul is in the police force and has split  up from his wife and living apart from his beloved son James.  His wife is now living with his superior at work which is causing him a few problems as he's really winding Paul up!
Leanne is seeing Richard who turns out to be a complete snake and a cheat and when she finds female footprints on his windscreen, and she storms out of the car, he lets her roam the streets in a known red light area and when the cops come, he drives off leaving them to take her to the station.  Paul is one of her arresting officers and when she is eventually released Paul tries to apologize to her but fails miserably.  Because Richard owed her money that she’s never likely to see again she thinks about taking in a lodger. She's looking for a lodger and Paul's looking for a home which seems a perfectly easy situation to remedy apart from the fact that they quite fancy each other.
Leanne has two best friends; one her sister Nikki who is having problems with her husband Steve and their three children and Jade her other best friend who is scared for anyone to get close to her but has started a relationship with her boss and doesn't want him to know that she really likes him.
Sheryl  Browne has such a wonderful way of creating humour in her books, that make them so easy to read and completely unputdownable.  There is always something going on, making it fast paced and interesting and a hero to rescue the leading lady who is continuously getting herself into trouble.
Every one of its 265 pages are a pleasure and a delight to read and the quick wit and humour make them really enjoyable, bright and breezy. Sheryl's writing is wonderful even though she has a thing about writing about police officers (I think it must be the uniform!)
This is a really good fun read, about three girlfriends and their relationships with not only each other but their families too. Will any of them ever experience true love? Of course you have to find out by reading the book yourself. As you know there's no way I will ever spoil an ending but what I will tell you is that it was fantastic ending and a brilliant finale to the book.  
Out of the three books of Sheryl's that I have read, I think this has to be my favourite. 
Sheryl Browne is a mum, a business partner, a school critique partner, and a disabled dog fosterer as well as a lovely lady and fabulous author with a terrific sense of humour which comes through in her writing. She grew up in Birmingham and studied art and design and now lives in Droitwich in the Midlands.

Find out more about Sheryl and her writing at
Her blog can be read
You can follow Sheryl on Twitter
You can like Sheryl on Facebook
You can buy this book via Amazon by clicking here

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Review - Jen's Story: Torn Between Two Times

Last year I read a book by Carol Arnall called The Other Place and I absolutely loved it (my review can be found here) so when Carol told me she'd written another book I asked her if she would let me review it and she agreed - yay!

Jen has a miserable life! After her Dad died, her mother married again and her step family treated her terribly. She never goes out and has no friends. When her stepfather takes one step just too far she does something she wishes she'd done many years before and leaves.

She starts a whole new life in a flat in the North West where she knows no-one but more importantly no-one knows her. She becomes agoraphobic but sees her two spirit friends all the time and becomes interested in the spirit world and starts to work as an online psychic doing readings for people. She becomes very good friends with a local man who has a daughter that has imaginary friends. 

One day she takes a taxi ride when her car breaks down and she has a huge surprise when she finds herself being dropped off by the taxi at the house she shares with her husband Geoff and her daughter Claire in a life that she knows nothing about in the 1960's. 

Jen's Story is about her living in two very different lives and eventually she has to choose between the two.  Can she leave her family behind, or can she leave the present to go back?

Everything that I loved about The Other Place I saw again in Jen's Story and completely adored it. Carol Arnall has a lovely style of writing which makes the story easy to read and unputdownable. The plot delightfully swapped from present to past and vice versa, making it thoroughly interesting and you learn such a lot about Jen who is a wonderful and lovely character and her innermost thoughts and feelings.   The way she writes her scenes makes it easy to envisage the places she describes and you can almost imagine yourself right by Jen's side sharing her experiences.

I was disappointed and devastated when this book came to an end as I could have honestly carried on reading it forever. The ending could not have been more perfect in my eyes and I'm so glad she chose the same life that I would have too.  

It was not a large book, just over 200 pages so it's a reasonably quick read but to be honest if it was double the size I still would have been engrossed and involved with it. It was a book that I was thinking about even when I was away from it, desperate to pick it back up and read more about these interesting and fascinating characters and storyline. 

Carol lives near Cannock Chase in Staffordshire (yay - a local girl to me!) When she is not writing, she loves taking photographs of the deer on Cannock Chase and also loves embroidery.

Following a serious road accident in the late 1980s, Carol decided that as she could not return to work, she would write a book. Always having an interest in the Supernatural she has written a number of ghostly booklets, later combining them into Mysterious Happenings. Carol has also written other books, Memories of Rugeley, Dreams Explained, Birmingham Girls and Choosing Your Psychic Pathway..

She decided to turn her hand to writing fiction in 2007, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of writing Dancing with Spirits and Spirits of the Lights the sequel. Both are full of mystical happenings. The Other Place was Carol's third novel.

You can buy Jen's Story: Torn Between Two Times here via Amazon UK 
You can learn more about Carol at
You can follow Carol on Twitter here
You can like Carol on Facebook here

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Review - Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips

WOW! What a brilliant book! And what an awesome writer!

He never thought that her body would be discovered but the weather conditions scuppered his plans. She was found lying in the foetal position with her hands clasped together as if in prayer, with her hair neatly plaited and tied neatly in old fashioned red ribbons.

Kate Pearson is a criminal psychologist and is called upon by Detective O'Connor to help to find the killer before he takes another victim. Kate thinks that he'll take his time but just 24 hours later they find another girl missing then find her dead and buried under very similar circumstances. The clock is ticking before anyone else is found.

An important link that could help them is Ellie, who was placed into the care of a psychiatric hospital after she set fire to a caravan with her and her daughter inside many years ago. Nobody had ever believed that she did not kill her daughter until a new doctor comes on the scene and tries to help her.

This book chilled me to the bone! The killer really freaked me out and I found myself putting the book down way before I wanted to one night when i was home alone because he was seriously giving me the creeps! I was a big brave girl though and carried on the next night and then found that even thought it was giving me the chills, I couldn't put it down!

The killer was brilliantly created, scaringly nice to most people he met, meticulous in his mannerisms and odd little ways and really creepy.  The feelings that Kate had, torn between knowing that she so desperately wanted to find the killer so it didn't happen to anyone else, yet also knowing that if she spent time doing that it would be to the detriment of her family. The emotions that flooded through me when they interviewed the families of the murdered girls had me wondering how on earth I would feel and what I would do in that same situation which really doesn't bear thinking of.

My heart pounded a number of times while I read this book, my spine definitely tingled, and I felt myself holding my breath on a number of occasions.  It twisted and turned and the plot weaved a really tight web and even right up to the last few pages I really had no idea how the ending would pan out. The way that Ellie was connected to these horrific instances was really unexpected and you felt such pity for her in her grief.

I would think its easier to create fear for a TV programme or film as sometimes just the tense music alone could have you scared half to death but to do that with words alone is an awesome skill which this writer most definitely has and uses perfectly ,making the reader shudder with trepidation!

Brilliantly written, this novel has got me wanting to read more crime fiction and I shall definitely be looking to read the next book from Louise Phillips, who I am sure before long will be a household name in this genre.

Louise Phillips returned to writing after a 20 year gap spent raising her family, managing a successful family business, and working in banking. Quickly selected by Dermot Bolger as an emerging talent, Louise went on to win the 2009 Jonathan Swift Award and in 2011 she was a winner in the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice Platform, as well as being short-listed for Bridport UK Prize, the Molly Keane Memorial Award, and the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition. In 2012 Louise was awarded an Arts bursary for literature from South County Dublin Arts.

Other publishing credits include many literary journals and anthologies, including New Island’s County Lines. Louise's psychological crime novel, Red Ribbons, is published by Hachette Books Ireland, and her second novel, The Doll's House, will be published in 2013.

Learn more about Louise at her website
You can follow Louise on Twitter
You can like Louise on Facebook
You can purchase this book by clicking here.