Blog Tour: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

What if you could live your great love story again?

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’ve been together for almost a decade, and Lydia thinks their love is indestructible.

But she’s wrong. Because on her 27th birthday, Freddie dies in a tragic accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob ’til her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to live her life well. So, enlisting the help of his best friend and her sister Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world and starts to live – perhaps even to love – again.

Then something unbelievable happens, and Lydia gets another chance at her old life with Freddie. But what if there’s someone in her new life who wants her to stay?

What I Thought:

After reading Josie Silver’s One Day in December a while back, I was really pleased to pick up a copy of her new book, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird.

On reading the blurb I immediately thought of the Gwyneth Paltrow movie, Sliding Doors, as that too deals with what ifs and lives lived in parallel, but while the book and movie had some similarities in feel, I felt that the multi-universe/multi-life concept was more fully explored in the book.

Nothing in this book is easy for Lydia Bird, as she loses her fiancé within a few pages while getting ready for her birthday dinner. While this is a dramatic and fast-paced entry into Lydia’s world, what unfolds afterwards is a carefully-paced examination of grief, and the lengths people would go to for one more minute, one more day, with their lost loved one.

Lydia is a beautifully written character, and you can empathise with her desperation to see Freddie again, so the fantastical part of the plot, where she is actually able to live parts of her life in an alternate world, where Freddie is alive, is not quite as odd as it may sound and fits nicely with the sections of Lydia’s real life.

The world that Freddie inhabits is almost, but not quite, identical to Lydia’s real world – and that’s not just in the fact that Freddie is alive there. Certain situations with her family and friends are different in each world and the perfect moments that Lydia remembers with Freddie are not quite so perfect now she’s had to get used to living without him.

Ultimately, the concept really works well in looking at how people move through grief, and how becoming consumed by it can have ripples in our nearest and furthest circles.

I would describe this book as more hopeful that anything else – hope that even after the very worst things in our life, we can move on and, although our future lives may be different, they are no less important and worthwhile.

Definitely recommended for all the hopeless (and hopeful?) romantics – I’m excited to see what comes next from Josie Silver.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is published by Viking.

To find out more about Josie Silver and her books, you can check out her website. Or why not connect with her on Twitter?

This post is part of a blog tour celebrating the publication of The Two Lives of Lydia Bird. Why not check out some of the brilliant blogs below for exclusive content, giveaways and more reviews?

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: All The Rage by Cara Hunter

A girl is taken from the streets of Oxford. But it’s unlike any abduction DI Fawley’s seen before . . .

Faith Appleford was attacked, a plastic bag tied over her head, taken to an isolated location . . . and then, by some miracle, she escaped.

What’s more, when DC Erica Somer interviews Faith, she quickly becomes convinced that Faith knows who her abductor is.

Yet Faith refuses to press charges.

Without more evidence, it’s looking like the police may have to drop the case.

But what happens if Faith’s attacker strikes again?

What I Thought:

Another fantastic novel in the Adam Fawley series from Cara Hunter! All The Rage kicks off directly after book number 3, No Way Out, with repercussions from that case still affecting Fawley’s team.

On a rainy day in Oxford, a girl is snatched from the street, seemingly with no-one seeing and, although she is found later in the day, another snatched girl may not be so lucky.

The wrinkle in this case is that Fawley can see similarities in another case, one that he thought was long-closed and that could affect his family. So far, so exciting!

I’ve read all of the Adam Fawley books and I can’t praise them highly enough. Fawley’s team is made up of an eclectic selection of people which could so easily have fallen into stereotype, but never do, and there have been some new people introduced over this book and the last, who have great potential to carry parts of the story in future books.

I tend to read quite a lot of crime novels, and have started many a crime series over the years – I’ve stuck with Fawley as, even though each book could be read on its own, there are lots of elements that reward series followers, and Cara Hunter is able to discreetly recap, without it spoiling the flow of the book.

What I most admire about this book is that the plot will genuinely keep you guessing – it is a very overused phrase, but it’s perfect in this case – even after the mystery is resolved, there is more to come!

All the Rage is published by Viking Books.

To find out more about Cara Hunter and her books, you can connect with her on Twitter.

This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the release of All the Rage by Cara Hunter. If you’d like to find out more, and check out exclusive content and giveaways, be sure to visit some of the blogs below:

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Book Review: The Wayward Girls by by Amanda Mason

Their dangerous game became all too real . . .

1976. Loo and her sister Bee live in a run-down cottage in the middle of nowhere, with their artistic parents and wild siblings. Their mother, Cathy, had hoped to escape to a simpler life; instead the family find themselves isolated and shunned by their neighbours. At the height of the stifling summer, unexplained noises and occurences in the house begin to disturb the family, until they intrude on every waking moment . . .

Loo, now Lucy, is called back to her childhood home. A group of strangers are looking to discover the truth about the house and the people who lived there.

But is Lucy ready to confront what really happened all those years ago?

What I Thought:

Funny goings on at a Yorkshire farm in the 1970s? Spooky knocking and possessed teenagers? Modern-day connections to Victorian ghosts? The Wayward Girls has all of this, and much, much more!

I came at the book very much from my sceptical point of view – I don’t believe in ghosts, the paranormal, the afterlife etc and felt that the blurb was describing a hoax paranormal event. Whether or not this is what you believe, or what actually occurs, Amanda Mason does a brilliant job of writing a tense, spooky ghost story that is hugely gripping.

For a story about a paranormal event, there is a great deal of domestic drama in this book. The family at Iron Sike Farm have complex relationships, among themselves and with the paranormal researchers that are trying to examine the mysterious knocking. Put this up against the long, hot summer, and you get an incredible tension throughout the book which is compelling and compulsive reading.

The Yorkshire setting deliberately brings to mind the gothic novels of the Victorian era, with the desolate nature of the moors beautifully described. As a debut novel, it’s excellent and if it’s an indicator of things to come from Amanda Mason, that’s great news…

The Wayward Girls is published by Bonnier Zaffre.

To find out more about Amanda Mason and her work, you can connect with her on Twitter.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Book Review: The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly

If you slept with a stranger for money, who’d really end up paying? We all think we know who we are. What we’re capable of.

Roz is a single mother, a physiotherapist, a sister, a friend. She’s also desperate.

Her business has gone under, she’s crippled by debt and she’s just had to explain to her son why someone’s taken all their furniture away.

But now a stranger has made her an offer. For one night with her, he’ll pay enough to bring her back from the edge.

Roz has a choice to make.

What I Thought:

I’ll be totally upfront and let you know that I love Paula Daly’s books – so far, she’s not written a bad one and, as I’ve just grabbed her latest one to read, I thought it high time I added my thoughts on The Mistake I Made (TMIM).

What sells Paula’s books in general, but this book in particular, is the relatability of the main characters. Lisa in Just What Kind of Mother Are You? is a harried mum trying to do her best, and Roz in TMIM is in a tricky financial situation thanks to her divorce. I’m not saying that in her position many would take the opportunity that presents itself to her, but I think most parents can at least relate to trying to run a home, keep a job and look after a child on a shoestring.

Running alongside the ‘Indecent Proposal’ plot in the book, there is lots to love here – domestic drama, yes, but also a solid crime thriller element that I loved, as it strikes a good balance and keeps the pages turning.

All of Paula Daly’s books are set around the Lake District, but she even manages to fill this idyllic holiday spot with menace – the holiday brochure depiction of it is washed out by rain and grey skies which underline the tense character arcs underneath – excellently done!

As I said, The Mistake I Made is another excellent entry in Paula Daly’s catalogue, so it was a pleasure to see it on screen in ITV’s Deep Water (which you can rent now on Amazon Prime). Sinead Keenan was excellent as Roz, and the whole series was a great combo of several of Paula’s books.

The Mistake I Made is published by Bantam Press.

To find out more about Paula Daly and her books, you can connect with her on Twitter.

Please note: I received a review copy of this book from Netgalley (eons ago it seems!) but all opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Book Review: Dreaming of Verona by T. A. Williams

Verona is the City of Love. But will Suzie find romance there or, like Romeo and Juliet, will it all end in tears?

When Suzie is hired to accompany spoiled, abrasive Lady Alexandra Tedburn on an all-expenses paid holiday to Italy, she fears the trip will be a disaster.

But she soon discovers there’s more to Alex than shopping and tantrums, and she’s determined to help her realise her potential – against Alex’s authoritarian father’s wishes.

As they settle in Verona, Suzie can’t stop thinking about local artist Michael, who is still mourning the tragic death of his wife. With Suzie’s future uncertain, and Michael’s past
holding him back, it seems there’s no hope for romance in the city of
star-crossed lovers… or is there?

What I Thought:

Yet another heartwarming, romantic novel from T. A. Williams! I’ve grown incredibly fond of T. A. (Trevor) Williams’ ‘Dreaming of…’ series of books, as they’re all a real pick-me-up for gloomy days.

Dreaming of Verona introduces Suzie, whose uncertain job situation leads to adventure among the rich and titled in Italy. What I like most about her is that she doesn’t have to rely on her physical attributes to get along in that circle – she’s a PhD and resourceful, and not intimidated to suddenly have a prosperous social life! I can’t abide girls in romantic fiction that are waiting to be saved – although this wouldn’t be romantic fiction without romance, you get the impression that Suzie would do just as well on her own…

With his descriptive writing, Trevor’s love of Italy shines through, and there is plenty of background information about the setting, and the connection to Shakespeare, and Romeo and Juliet, but this never overwhelms the central, romantic plot of the story. It appeals to me as a history lover and works well overall.

Through the drama and, sometimes, disappointment that Suzie has to deal with, the story always delivers on what it is – a romance novel – and it’s so easy to lose yourself in this lovely world for a while. Escapism? Wish fulfilment? YES PLEASE! Looking forward to the next instalment…

Dreaming of Verona is published by Canelo, and released on 3rd February.

To find out more about T. A. Williams, and his books, you can check out his website. Alternatively, why not connect with him on Twitter?

This post is part of a blog blitz to celebrate the publication of Dreaming of Verona – why not check out Twitter for lots more reviews and exclusive content?

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