#PublicationDay #Review – Undertow by Elizabeth Heathcote (@lizzieheathcote) @QuercusBooks

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A heart-pounding psychological thriller for fans of Disclaimer and Apple Tree Yard.

My husband’s lover. They said her death was a tragic accident. And I believed them . . . until now.

Carmen is happily married to Tom, a successful London lawyer and divorcee with three children. She is content to absorb the stresses of being a stepmother to teenagers and the stain of ‘second wife’. She knows she’ll always live in the shadow of another woman – not Tom’s first wife Jenny, who is resolutely polite and determinedly home-counties, but the lover that ended his first marriage: Zena. Zena who was shockingly beautiful. Zena who drowned swimming late one night.

But Carmen can overlook her husband’s dead mistress . . . until she starts to suspect that he might have been the person who killed her.

What does TWG think?

As soon as I spotted the cover of Undertow, my curiosity level went through the roof. Whose death was an accident? Why is there hair on the cover? What on EARTH does ‘undertow’ mean?
Those were just some of the questions that were going through my mind, even before I had opened the book. Questions which could only get answered by paying close attention to the storyline and the information it held. But, as soon as the story began, I ended up with even more questions than I started with and I couldn’t wait to see how the storyline was going to unfold.

Carmen was a tough character to warm to, yet she exuded a lot of warmth to those around her. It just wasn’t a vibe that lingered with her once she was on her own, and of course I wondered why. Did she feel as though she had to prove herself when it came to ex-wife, Jenny, and dead ex-girlfriend, Zena?

The further I got into the book, the more unsettled I became. I knew something wasn’t right, yet I had no idea what. There were signs, little pieces of information which were a long way off from being complete. Red herrings perhaps? For me, yes. However, due to the additional vibes from Carmen as the book went on, my own reactions ended up mirroring hers. Her shock became my shock, her fear became my fear; hell yeah I was on edge but it wasn’t the uncomfortable or disturbing sort. It was the unsettled, nervous, spine tingling on edge feeling.

Pardon my bluntness but I absolutely despised Tom and everything he stood for. He was such an arrogant and nasty piece of work, yet he most certainly made his presence known in the storyline. Even though I wished he swapped places with Zena, if ‘Undertow’ didn’t have a character with such skin crawling tendencies, I honestly don’t think it would have had the intense storyline that ‘Undertow’ ended up with. He was a vital character in terms of personality, but my golly he disgusted me in more ways than one.

‘Undertow’ reminded me of a pot of water on the stove to boil. At first the storyline simmered gently, the odd situation causing a few bubbles. Then, as the storyline unfolded and cans of worms were opened, the amount of bubbles multiplied and the intensity of the storyline boiled and reached its peak. With a vengeance. It was then, when the book hit boiling point, the turn of events caught me completely off guard, with a pounding heart. Did I expect those events? No, I didn’t because the author wrote each and every uncomfortable situation, extremely cleverly. The author seemed to have an idea what the readers first instincts may have been and to me, it felt as though she had worked the storyline to make sure the readers expected the unexpected. No first instincts, just teasers and the need to use your own brain power to decipher exactly what those teasers meant.

‘Undertow’ is a cleverly written, head-funk of a book that is full to the brim of uncertainty, intensity and enough turbulence to rival dinner with an ex. Full of shocking and hair-raising moments, you may end up finishing this book wondering if you can even trust yourself…

Looking forward to read Elizabeth Heathcote’s next book, after this!
Thank you Quercus!

Buy ‘Undertow’ from Amazon UK
Buy ‘Undertow’ from Amazon US 

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#Blogtour! Review of The #ChristmasGuest by Daisy Bell. @AlainnaGeorgiou @QuercusBooks

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Absolutely thrilled to post my review as part of the blog tour for an undeniably cute book, The Christmas Guest, by Daisy Bell!

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Blurb.

When Teddy runs away from home a week before Christmas, he’s far too excited to worry about what lies ahead. But all too soon Teddy realises just how cold and scary the world really is, and what was supposed to be the perfect adventure now seems like a terrible mistake.

Then Teddy is discovered on a snowy doorstep by the Woods family. With their kind hearts and cosy cottage, Claire, Ben and their daughter Emily are the family Teddy is desperate to have. But Emily is ill, her parents are stressed and, with Christmas around the corner, raising and training a well-meaning but unruly puppy is hardly a priority. Teddy knows he and little Emily have a once-in-a-lifetime bond, and that he can be the best friend she needs in this dark time. If only he can prove to Ben and Claire how much happier he could make them all, Teddy might just find the family of his dreams this Christmas.

A puppy for Christmas. A friend for life.

What does TWG think?

Whilst the cover of the book is cuteness overload, do not, under any circumstances, be fooled by the cute pup on the front. I was, I must admit. I fell under the little pups spell straight away, I mean, how could anyone not! Look at its cutie little face! The storyline itself, however, doesn’t follow in the same vein though (if that makes sense). It has a lot more guts and dynamic oozing from it, than the cover could ever reveal. To be fair actually, the cover doesn’t reveal any clues except a puppy. Very cleverly put together in my opinion.

Meet Teddy, a puppy which has been given a new home with human parents instead of his own doggy mummy and family. At first he finds it exciting as there are new places and smells to explore. The excitement doesn’t seem to last too long though and soon enough, Teddy takes matters into his own paws and goes on a new adventure, away from his new home. Oh the things that Teddy sees!  Teddy’s little legs can only do so much and before long, he needs to find a place to sleep and some comfort for his puppy tummy. Unfortunately, there are no puppy versions of Premier Inns and Teddy has to make do with a doorstep. Could the doorstep he chose, end up being the doorstep to puppy happiness?

If you have ever wondered what life is like from dog level, here is your chance! As I’m sure you’ve noticed, most books seem to be written from the eyes of a human. However, ‘The Christmas Guest’ sees the readers following the storyline in the eyes of the puppy, Teddy. Every experience that Teddy has, readers may find themselves emotionally involved with everything that he comes up against; including snow. I’ll be honest, I did find myself going ‘awwww!!!!’ quite a few times as I was reading the book. It is a bit hard to not find Teddy’s antics rather cute yet quite sad. For a small puppy, he does have a bit of a tough start in life.

After Teddy wakes up on the doorstep, it isn’t long before he realises that his role in that particular household is more than to just being a puppy. Emily is poorly and there only seems to be one bundle of love that could help her this Christmas. As soon as I realised that the storyline was going to go on a bit of a rollercoaster ride, nothing could prepare me for how bump the ride was going to be.

‘The Christmas Guest’ is a book completely different to those that I have read before. The emotional edge the storyline contained was extremely evident and often took me aback. I completely underestimated the power behind a four-legged friend and the love that they wish to give. I was flabbergasted, emotional and felt as though I was walking on air by the time that I had finished the book. unbelievably written, ‘The Christmas Guest’ is such a unique and poignant book to read this Christmas, ideal for anyone, and everyone. An absolute pleasure to read, thank you Quercus books for giving me the opportunity.

The Christmas Guest by Daisy Bell, published by Quercus books, is available to buy now from Amazon.

#Review! The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Joanna Bolouri (@scribbles78) @QuercusBooks

I’m allowed to squeal right? SQUEALLLLLL!!!!
I am so excited to be today’s tour stop for Joanna Bolouri and her latest release; The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (Quercus Books). Thank you so much to the publicity team at Quercus for allowing me to be on the tour! Incredible author!

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Blurb.

Thirty-eight year old Emily has a satisfying job, fab friends and, most importantly, a wonderful flat, exactly 411 miles away from the judgemental, crazy, interfering family she reluctantly sees twice a year. In fact, the only minor stress in her life is her twenty-something neighbour Evan and his penchant for flirting, loud music and even louder sex . . . but he’s nothing she can’t handle.

Emily also has a boyfriend called Robert and it’s going really well. So well, in fact, that this year Emily is hoping to take him home for Christmas to meet her family. Finally she won’t be subject to five days of nosy questions from her parents and pity looks from her younger married siblings.

But when Robert breaks up with her a week before Christmas, Emily is gutted. How on earth is she going to face her family now? Enlisting the help of party boy Evan (in exchange for one month’s rent and the use of her convertible) Emily is determined to take Robert home for Christmas come hell or high water, even if it isn’t the real Robert . . .

What does TWG think?

Having read Joanna’s previous books (yes, all of them), my expectations were pretty high. I absolutely loved her style of writing in the other books and I was hopeful that it would continue. No pressure for the author eh!

Did it live up to my expectations? This novel went above and beyond! It’s safe to say that this festive treat is my most favourite book of Joanna’s.

We follow the life of Emily; a thirty-something woman who is loving life away from her interfering family, as well as being courted by Mr Robert. Sounds bliss really doesn’t it? Well, it would be if her neighbour didn’t decide to turn his sex volume up several decibels. The walls are thin, not exactly the most comforting lullaby to fall asleep to! Despite being unable to find her neighbours mute button, Emily makes a lot of noise celebrating the fact that she is FINALLY going to be taking her boyfriend, Robert, to her parents house this Christmas! Unfortunately, best laid plans and all that, Emily needs to come up with plan B. Or Plan ‘E’ as it should be….

#MostWonderful has quite simple jumped into my Top 10 books of 2016!
The moment I opened the book and engaged with the storyline; I was hooked completely. Joanna’s trademark humour set up camp the whole way through and was definitely there to stay as I have NOT laughed that much in ages. Emily was such a fun and feisty character to read about and follow the footsteps of; especially as her one liners were unbelievable! The innuendos and witty comments seemed to fall out of her mouth with such ease; if it wasn’t weird I would say that I am jealous of Emily! COUGH, I am jealous. She’s fabulous.
Emily’s friends seemed to have similar personalities to her which was a definite plus point as I couldn’t imagine Joanna writing a boring character to live with her hah!

I am afraid that I cannot comment on Robert as my opinion is not suitable before the watershed. Ahemmmmm!!!!

You know when you pick up a book, totally lose yourself in it and end up feeling on top of the world whilst reading it? #MostWonderful gave me that feeling. The entire book allowed me to escape, lose my inhibitions and just go with the flow of the storyline, enjoying it in the process. As I said above, I adore Joanna’s style of writing as it is so down to Earth and enjoyable. It’s as though she is right in front of you having a chat, and that’s what I loved about #MostWonderful in particular; the fact it is such an easy read. Everything is there for you within the storyline, you just need to let go and enjoy it. Considering I turned into a drippy nosed, squeaky woman whilst reading it, I loved it. Yes, that is what my laughing does. Sorry, no, my extreme laughing. I make all sorts of sounds…

There was nothing I disliked about #MostWonderful, at all.
A truly magnificent and damn right hilarious read that will make you think twice about love this Christmas. A book that had tears streaming down my face with laughter, Joanna’s humour turns this storyline into an innuendo work of art.
‘The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ will definitely be #MostWonderful as long as you have Joanna Bolouri under your Christmas tree this year!

Thank you Quercus books!

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year by Joanna Bolouri, published by Quercus Books, is available to buy in both e-book and paperback format from Amazon UK.

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