#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Runaway Wife’ by Dee Macdonald #Women’sFiction #BookReview

Today I offer you a review of a hilarious, heart-warming novel about Connie, wife, mother, grandmother, extraordinaire, who at 66 has decided she’s had enough of them all and sets out on a journey of self-discovery!

The Runaway Wife: A laugh out loud feel good novel about second chances by [MacDonald, Dee]

From the Blurb

One evening in early August, while mashing the potatoes for dinner, Connie McColl decides she’s had enough…

Connie is tired of solving one family crisis after another – usually involving her unruly grandchildren – while her husband Roger spends all day at his beloved golf course. Surely it must be time for her to shake off her apron and start living again?

So Connie packs a bag, gets in her little green car and drives off…

As Connie journeys from England to Scotland on an unexpected adventure, she finally begins to rediscover herself. And she starts to wonder, will she ever be ready to return home? Or will this summer change her life forever?

****

My Review

There are so many reasons why I loved this book!

It’s hilarious, heart-warming (did I already say that? well that’s because it’s very-heartwarming, indeed!), optimistic, adventurous, interesting, realistic, romantic, sad, and ultimately uplifiting, because Connie reminds us that it’s never too late, for anything!

I’ve had a very eventful Christmas-New Year festivities. catering for my three children and four grandchildren has been fun, but exhausting, and although my husband, fortunately, is nothing like Roger, (and by the way, no-one’s husband should be anything like Roger), there were moments when I felt, just like Connie. I wanted to say, “Look, I’ve had enough of cooking, shopping, advising, counselling, being understanding, playing with the kids, babaysitting, and generally supporting everyone’s family! I want my own life back!”

Connie’s travels from Sussex to Inverness are such fun. I enjoyed all the different types of people she meets and the enriching and diverse awakenings she narrates.

She garners unforgettable experiences and meets some amazing people, who will help her understand her past and embrace her future with renewed optimism. In spite of the last, shocking encounter when she returns home, Connie can cope because she’s become stronger and more assertive than she’s ever been.

Especially for anyone who enjoys reading well-written, humorous, women’s fiction set in the UK. The Runaway Wife is a real gem! A different and exceptional novel.

I’ve discovered a new favourite author. Next on my list is her latest novel, The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane.

The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane: An absolutely hilarious feel good novel by [MacDonald, Dee]

****

Dee MacDonald

The Runaway Wife is Dee’s first (published) novel but in fact she wrote her very first book – at around seven years of age! This was a love story which she duly illustrated before sewing all the pages together up one side. Writing was what she ‘was good at’ in school and she won several essay competitions, but then life got in the way and she didn’t pick up a pen again until after retirement.

Dee left Scotland and headed for London at the beginning of the swinging sixties. After typing her way round the West End she became an air stewardess on long haul routes with BA (then BOAC) for eight years. After that she did market research at Heathrow for both the government statistics and for BA, she became a sales rep., and was the receptionist at the Thames Television Studios in Teddington when they had the franchise.

She then ran a small B&B for ten years in Cornwall, where she lives with her husband. Dee has one son and two grandsons who live locally.

Dee’s Amazon UK link

Dee’s Amazon.com link

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Hold Me In The Dark’ by Helena Newbury #Romance #BookReview

I’ve read, enjoyed and reviewed most of Helena Newbury’s books to date, so I’m pleased to be reviewing her latest novel, Hold Me In The Dark, published this week, and it’s already on the amazon bestseller list.

Hold Me in the Dark by [Newbury, Helena]

Helena Newbury has written another fabulous standalone, romantic suspense!

Sam Calahan is an FBI agent, who is pursuing a ruthless and disturbing serial killer. His victims have nothing in common and the crime scenes are covered with complex mathematical equations, written with the victims’ blood, no one in the FBI can solve.

Yolanda, a reclusive and eccentric mathematical genius, and hacker by trade, is the only person who can help unravel the case by solving the equations. As they work together, and close in on the murderer, both their lives will be in danger.

Ms Newbury has created another unlikely and compelling couple, who will gradually fall in love as they are faced with challenging external situations, as well as their own egos, complexes and personal differences.

There is plenty of suspense, with many twists in the plot, the most surprising one, regarding the motivations and identity of the killer, was shockingly unexpected.

Yolanda is an intelligent and independent woman who is coping with tortuous mental and physical issues, while Sam, an obsessive workaholic, is also suffering from his own remorse. Together they will solve the case and perhaps repair their tormented minds.

The author combines plot and characterization perfectly to create a fast paced novel with likeable and unique characters who encourage the reader to turn the pages to find out what will happen next.  

It was a treat to see the three-woman hacker and internet vigilante group, Sisters of Invidia, again, Lily and Bull and Gabriella and Alexei, who starred in previous novels (Texas Kissing and Kissing my Killer), were finally able to meet up in person.

I enjoyed the Manhattan setting, the sweet and then steamy romance, and the action packed and suspenseful final scenes.

Especially for lovers of romantic suspense with plenty of action, and of course, happy ever afters with larger than life main characters. A wintry treat at just over a dollar! (for a short time!)

****

Helena Newbury is the author of well-written romantic novels with plenty of suspense, some steamy scenes, engaging characters and captivating stories.

Here are my reviews of some of her other novels, including one of her most popular books, the medical thriller, Mount Mercy.

Mount Mercy by [Newbury, Helena]

Many of her novels, such as Kissing my Killer, one of my all-time favourites, are included in  Audible Escape.

Kissing My Killer audiobook cover art

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Escape’ by C. L. Taylor #BookReview #Thriller

I don’t read paperbacks very often any more, because I read mostly on my kindle or audiobooks. I love my kindle app because I can read anywhere, anytime, with no hassle, and I love my audiobooks because I can cook, iron, or go for a walk while I read/listen.

Today, I’m reviewing one of the few paperbacks I’ve recently read, The Escape, by C. L. Taylor.

There it is above, sitting in front of the Christmas flower my son bought me a few days ago!

The Escape: The gripping, twisty thriller from the #1 bestseller by [Taylor, C.L.]

Blurb

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

C.L. Taylor

CL Taylor lives in Bristol. She studied for a degree in Psychology at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle and has worked as a sales administrator, web developer, instructional designer and as the manager of a distance learning team at a London university. She now writes full time.

CL Taylor’s first psychological thriller BEFORE I WAKE (THE ACCIDENT in the UK) was one of the top ten bestselling debut novels of 2014 according to The Bookseller. Her second and third novels, THE LIE and THE MISSING, were Sunday Times Bestsellers and #1 Amazon Kindle chart bestsellers. THE ESCAPE was published in the UK in March 2017 and was also a Sunday Times Bestseller and won the Dead Good Books Hidden Depths award for Most Unreliable Narrator.

Since writing The Escape she has written The Missing, Fear and her latest novel Sleep, which have all been highly acclaimed.

My Review

It all starts when a stranger asks Jo for a lift. Jo is shocked to discover the woman knows all about her, her husband, Max, and her two year old daughter, whom she subtly threatens.

From then on her life becomes a nightmare, but nobody believes her, the police, social workers and her husband all think she’s either lying, exaggerating or unstable.

The story is told mainly from Jo’s first person point of view, so the reader feels Jo’s constant fear for her daughter’s safety, and sympathises with her as she has to deal with some complex mental issues, as well as protecting her daughter from the novel’s ‘villain’ who narrates some chapters. Other chapters are narrated by Max in the third person.

There are plenty of twists and turns, secrets, lies and betrayal, with lots of fast paced action leading to the final surprising twist.

A must read for anyone who, like me, enjoys fast paced and carefully plotted domestic thrillers, set in the UK.

*****

More reviews by Luccia here!

#PhotoOfMyLife Day5 #Christmas Flower and Books #TuesdayBookBlog

This is a picture of a small table in my living room. We don’t often use it as a dinner table, because we have lunch in the kitchen, which is quite large.

Right now I have a Christmas flower, or poinsettia, in the centre of the table. In Spain, where I live, it’s traditional to have at least one of these beautiful plants at home during the Christmas season, because it is said to bring good luck, but you can’t buy it yourself, it must be a present. My son bought this for me yesterday.

In fact, all the objects on the table hold sentimental value. The little crochet table mats were made by my grandmother over sixty years ago! The glass animals perched on the mats were a present from my Spanish friend, Toñi.There’s a bowl of sand I gathered from my favourite beach and some sea shells I picked up with my grandchildren during the summer holidays. The pottery paper weights were made by Gertraud, a dear friend from Germany, and the pink sand in the glass candle holder was brought from Antigua, by Anna, another dear friend from England, whose sister lives on the island. I brought the table runner from my father’s home, after he passed away, eleven years ago.

The things I own are only as valuable as the sentimental value they have for me, which can be immediate, when they’re presents, or they can become meaningful over the years for other reasons.

There are three Christmas themed paperbacks on the table, I’d like to tell you about.

I haven’t yet read the top two, although I’m planning to do so this month. The first one is The Christmas Card by Dilly Court It’s described as The perfect heartwarming romance for Christmas, rich in historical detail.

The second book is Christmas at Claridges by Karen Swan which is described as a glamorous contemporary romance.

The third book is Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, the second novel in the Eyre Hall Trilogy, which started with All Hallows at Eyre Hall which was recently completed with Midsummer at Eyre Hall.

Twelfth Night takes place during mostly in December and January 1866. One of the major plot points in the novel takes place during the festivities of 5th January, Twelfth Night.

Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall is my favourite novel in the trilogy, because I had such fun writing it!

It’s a historical romance including a murder mystery, a kidnapping, a visit to Victorian London, a long sea voyage to Jamaica with pirates included, passion, love, hate, betrayal and lots of dark family secrets, some of which are uncovered, while others are resolved in book three.

Are you reading any Christmas themed novels this year?

****

The rules for this Twitter Challenge: no people, no explanations and challenge one new person every day. I was challenged by @GeorgiaRoseBook check out her blog.

Today I challenge @_ElizabethHein check out her book blog.

As I already told you, I’m terrible at following rules, so not only have I told you all about the picture, I’ve also recommended some books to check out!

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Are you reading any Christmas themed novels?

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Dutch House’ by Ann Patchett @ParnassusBooks1 #BookReview #Audiobook by @TomHanks

The Dutch House: A Novel by [Patchett, Ann]

I am ashamed to say that this is the first novel I’ve read by Anne Patchett, and I’m so glad I read it. I was so impressed that I read her most famous novel Commonwealth, straight after, and I enjoyed it even more, but more about that another week.

The Dutch House (from the blurb).

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. The story is told by Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

****

Ann Patchett

ANN PATCHETT is the author of seven novels and has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including England’s Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the American Bookseller’s Association’s Most Engaging Author Award, and the Women’s National Book Association’s Award. Her books have been both New York Times Notable Books and New York Times bestsellers. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages.

In November, 2011, she opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, with her business partner Karen Hayes.  She has since become a spokesperson for independent booksellers, championing books and bookstores. In 2012 she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

****

My Review

The Dutch House is such an emotional novel that I had to wipe away some tears as I listened to the last lines.

It’s hard to describe the beauty of the story and the smoothness of the prose, in a novel where nothing exceptional happens and yet so many extraordinary things take place over three generations.

Danny, the narrator, is an honest and endearing character. We first meet him as a child trying to understand the world and the contradictory adults in his family. As he grows up, he becomes a generous and reliable narrator who tells every character’s story with insight and empathy.

Danny chronicles a tragedy about dysfunctional families, including deficient parenting and the destructive power of jealousy leading to cruelty bordering on abuse, and yet it’s also an uplifting tale of love, forgiveness, and goodness.

Nothing is repaired, because the past can’t be changed, and yet everything works out, because life’s like that; it’s a cycle, so, in a way, we are always going back and revisiting the past, occasionally, as in this case, with some improvement.

A warning, the beginning is slow, but it’s well worth persevering, and if you can, listen to Tom Hanks magnificent reading. Unforgettable.

A must read for anyone who enjoys family sagas set in 20th century USA, and for those who believe in the healing power of forgiveness.

*****

More reviews by Luccia here!

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘My Life as a Rat’ by @JoyceCarolOates #BookReview

My Life as a Rat: A Novel by [Oates, Joyce Carol]

I’m a bit behind with my reviews. I’ll be catching up gradually. Today, I’m starting with the last book I’ve read, which is My Life as a Rat by Joyce Carol Oates.

I am ashamed to admit that although I have read some of her poems and posted about one of them here, I had never read any novels by this author. Then a few weeks ago, I read an interview with the author about her new novel, in the Guardian, and my interest was peaked, but when I read the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, I was almost put off. I say almost, because I’m an avid reader, reviewer and writer, and I know how subjective most reviews are.

Some of the negative terms which appeared were, too long, repetitive, slow, disappointed, disorganised, violence, abuse, disturbing. That made me realise it would not be an easy book to read, but I decided I was up for the challenge.

I started reading the book on my Scribd subscription last Friday, and I couldn’t stop until I finished it on Sunday night. It’s hard to introduce other readers to such a brilliant book in a few hundred words, but I’m going to do my best.

Joyce Carol Oates

My Life as a Rat is a heart-rending novel which deals with topics such as, abuse, domestic violence, ignorance, racism and gender inequality.

It presents these topics honestly and brutally, so much so that some people may feel uncomfortable, or even disgusted. Well this isn’t a light romance, this is a raw and harrowing view of a segment of the population. Extrapolating Violet’s town, family and life to every woman in the world would be absurd, even though Violet is not the only girl who has lived or lives so close to so many ignorant and/or evil people.

In spite of everything Violet experiences, I find the novel hopeful because the reader is led to believe there is an implicit answer to the senseless violence, lack of love, gender inequality, racism and ignorance, and that’s Violet’s attitude to adversity: learn the lesson, get up and move on! That is to say she persevers, she tries to do the right thing, she actively searches for a better education, she wishes to accept her responsibility in events, forgive herself and others and repair whatever she can, and especially, she never loses the ability to keep reaching for her dreams.

Violet is a wonderful character who never gives up, she’s bigger than the events she overcomes, because she’s able to move on, keep loving and forgiving, and I think she stands a good chance of finding happiness, perhaps, one day…

A must read for anyone who wants to understand what’s wrong with our society and how we can find ways to heal and be reconciled.

*****

#TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview ‘Tripping on a Halo’ by Alessandra Torre @ReadAlessandra ‏#Romance

I enjoy reading humorous romance with quirky heroines, in between suspenseful, heart-stopping thrillers and dramatic novels.

The last few books I’ve reviewed have been intense, but today I offer you, Tripping on a Halo, a different, fun, laugh out loud romance, you’ll love, by Alessandra Torre.

Tripping on a Halo by [Torre, Alessandra]

BLURB

It’s really hard to save a guy’s life when he keeps running from you…
You might be asking yourself why I’m waving an inflatable penis in the air and screaming at the top of my lungs. If I took time to explain, Declan Moss would get hit by a bus.

Let me back up. I didn’t ask for this. I was perfectly happy–and perfectly sane–before I was tasked with keeping Declan Moss alive. It was a thankless job until the moment that my panties dropped and his delicious smirk found his way in between my thighs.

Hello, toe-curling ecstasy. Goodbye, professional boundaries. And suddenly, there’s a new danger to avoid: the falling of my heart.

****

My Review

Tripping on a Halo is a unique romantic comedy, unlike any other you’ve read or are likely to read.

I loved all the characters in this novel. The main characters, Declan and Autumn were wonderful, and their friends and family, the secondary characters, were great too. Ansley, Roger, and Nate, brought the story to life.

The events are partly told from Declan’s point of view, but mostly from Autumn’s distorted perspective.

Autumn is a unique, quirky character, who’s impossible not to love. She’s stalking Declan because she’s convinced she’s destined to save his life. The reasoning which has led her to firmly believe this, is complex and disturbing, and it’s why you’ll fall in love with this endearing character.

The plot is unusual and the story is mostly hilarious, except for the last part which delves into the explanations and causes of her delusions. It has a satisfactory, although completely unexpected ending.

I’d recommend this feel-good romance especially to readers who enjoy a laugh out loud, heartwarming love story, with a meaningful subtext, and of course, a guaranteed happy ending!

US Buy link

UK Buy link

Read more of my #TuesdayBookBlog reviews.