Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Other Us – Fiona Harper

Contemporary Fiction
4*s

I think like everyone the world over I occasionally have those ‘what if?’ moments and that’s exactly what Fiona Harper has tapped into in The Other Us. Maggie is a forty-something woman whose only daughter is preparing to fly the nest so when Maggie and her best friend Becca have been invited to university reunion, her first thought is will Jude be there? Jude invited Maggie to run away with him the night she accepted Dan’s proposal and at the back of her mind, with Dan being secretive, she wonders if she should have done so.

When Maggie is hurtled back through time to 1992 when she was twenty-one, she wakes up in her student digs which she shared with Becca. Back to the time before she decided which man to plump for. Maggie now has the chance to make different choices, and of course the question is will they make her happier?

This fun read doesn’t just focus on Maggie and her love life though, I’m happy to report that it also focusses on bigger life choices such as the careers that Maggie and Dan choose along with a meaningful look at the nature of friendship. How does it work if you don’t like your friend’s partner? And of course it’s harder to like them if you know how they are going to act in the future. Yes, Maggie is conscious that she is in the past, unlike many ‘time-travelling’ novels, so her actions are taken with that knowledge in mind, and the big question is what does Maggie in her forties really want her life to look like? What is important? Only when she is able to answer those questions can she really make the choice she needs to.

My first thought when Maggie wakes up in 1992 was the more benign truth is that youth is wasted on the young. Imagine waking up and shaving a good twenty years off your age – those wrinkles and grey hairs banished to reveal a younger and perkier you – I think I’d embrace that too!! Maggie does, choosing a wardrobe she would have shunned as the old Maggie and revelling in her youthful appearance.

This is a well-constructed novel; it needs to be with three different time lines to follow all involving the same set of characters, the potential for getting confused is high. I’m happy to say I didn’t once wonder where we were I the story though as the author has given us enough pointers – including Jude using Meg as his name for Maggie to keep the storylines straight.

This is perfect beach reading, it’s light and fluffy but with enough oomph to keep you turning those pages to find out what choices Maggie makes and what adjustments she makes to turn her life around in all three story-lines. All of this is helped by the fact that Maggie is someone you’d like to have as a friend and so I was rooting for her even when she seemed incapable of seeing what was really important to her and so meandered way off track. There are plenty of funny scenes to keep you chuckling and this uplifting book may just well convince you that perhaps hurtling back through time isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to MidasPR who sent me a copy of this book on behalf of the publishers HQ. This unbiased review is my thanks to them and the author Fiona Harper for brightening up my day with a humorous look at life.

First Published UK: 4 May 2017
Publisher: HQ
No of Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Fiona’s first book was published in 2006 and she now has twenty-four published books under her belt. She started her career writing heartfelt but humorous romances for Mills & Boon, but now writes romantic comedies and feel-good women’s fiction for Harper Collins, as part of their HQ imprint.
She is a previous winner of the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Scheme Award, has had five books shortlisted for an RNA Award and won the ‘Best Short Romance’ at the Festival of Romance three years’ running.
Fiona lives in London with her husband and two teenage daughters,

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (April 26)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

At the moment I am reading a much lighter read than normal; The Other Us by Fiona Harper which will be published by HQ on 4 May 2017.

Blurb

If you could turn back time, would you choose a different life?
Forty-something Maggie is facing some hard truths. Her only child has flown the nest for university and, without her daughter in the house, she’s realising her life, and her marriage to Dan, is more than a little stale.
When she spots an announcement on Facebook about a uni reunion, she can’t help wondering what happened to Jude Hanson. The same night Dan proposed, Jude asked Maggie to run away with him, and she starts to wonder how different her life might have been if she’d broken Dan’s heart and taken Jude up on his offer.
Wondering turns into fantasising, and then one morning fantasising turns into reality. Maggie wakes up and discovers she’s back in 1992 and twenty-one again. Is she brave enough to choose the future she really wants, and if she is, will the grass be any greener on the other side of the fence?
Two men. Two very different possible futures. But is there only once chance at happiness? Amazon

This is sandwiched between two crime fiction novels, the former being one with a genealogical slant, Dying Games by Steve Robinson, the sixth in the Jefferson Tayte series.

Blurb

Washington, DC: Twin brothers are found drowned in a Perspex box, one gagged and strapped to a chair. It’s the latest in a series of cruel and elaborate murders with two things in common: the killer has left a family history chart at each crime scene, and the victims all have a connection to genealogical sleuth Jefferson Tayte.

Hoping his insight and expertise will help solve the case, the FBI summon Tayte back to the capital. But as he struggles to crack the clues, the killer strikes again—and again. Tayte is known as the best in the business, but this time he’s up against a genealogical mastermind who always seems to be one step ahead.

With the clock ticking and the body count rising, Tayte finds himself racked with guilt, his reputation and career in tatters. The killer is running rings around him; is it only a matter of time before he comes for the ultimate target? NetGalley

Next on my list is You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood which I’m keen to read as it promises something a little bit different!

Blurb

An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.

He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth. There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands.

We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters: Did he do it? NetGalley

Do you fancy any of these? Perhaps you’ve already read them?

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (April 16)

Weekly Wrap Up

First up I want to wish you all a very Happy Easter full of eggs, and books of course!


We’ve just said goodbye to a family with a delightful couple of young boys who have kindly left me their shell collection in the bathroom after we spent a wonderful few hours on the beach – there really is nothing quite like seeing our island through a child’s eyes!

This Week on the Blog

My week started with my review for The Restless Dead by Simon Beckett, a very well told crime thriller set on the marshes in Essex.

On Tuesday I hosted a post by Simon Beckett as part of The Restless Dead Blog Tour where he describes how he developed book one, The Chemistry of Death into a series.

My This Week in Books featured books by Sarah R Shaber, Emma Kavanagh and Emma Flint – you’ll have to wait to hear what I made of this selection!

On Thursday I posted my review of A Time For Silence by Thorne Moore which I actually read a while ago and it is definitely one of those books that linger in your mind.

Next up was my review of The Conversations We Never Had by Jeffrey H Konis which he was kind enough to leave a comment on explaining why the imagined conversations were conducted in the formal manner presented.

Yesterday was another post on the Put A Book On The Map feature, this time superbly executed by Booker Talk and Thorne Moore as they put A Time For Silence firmly on the map for Wales.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading Tammy Cohen’s When She Was Bad a brilliant psychological thriller set in an office which was scarily accurate. Even more scary was the Team Building exercise that the staff were forced to take part in – the very words send shudders down my spine!!

You can read my full review here or click on the cover

Blurb

YOU SEE THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH EVERY DAY.

BUT WHAT CAN’T YOU SEE?

Amira, Sarah, Paula, Ewan and Charlie have worked together for years – they know how each one likes their coffee, whose love life is a mess, whose children keep them up at night. But their comfortable routine life is suddenly shattered when an aggressive new boss walks in ….

Now, there’s something chilling in the air.

Who secretly hates everyone?

Who is tortured by their past?

Who is capable of murder? Amazon

Stacking The Shelves

I have had some great luck in securing new books over the last couple of weeks so here’s a selection of my favourites

Firstly from NetGalley I have a copy of The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich a non-fiction true crime read with a difference, which will be published on 18 May 2017 by Pan Macmillan.

Blurb

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working on the retrial defence of death-row convicted murderer and child molester, Ricky Langley, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti death penalty. But the moment Ricky’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes, the moment she hears him speak of his crimes, she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die.

Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case, realizing that despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar. Crime, even the darkest and most unspeakable acts, can happen to any one of us, and as Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining minute details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, to reckon with how her own past colours her view of his crime.

As enthralling as true-crime classics such as In Cold Blood and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and broadcast phenomena such as Making a Murderer and Serial, The Fact of a Body is a groundbreaking, heart-stopping investigation into how the law is personal, composed of individual stories and proof that arriving at the truth is more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine. NetGalley

I was lucky enough to be approved for a copy of Lisa Jewell’s Then She Was Gone, I’m a huge fan of this author and this, her latest book, will be published on 27 July 2017

Blurb

MISSING GIRL
A BURIED SECRET

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.
NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.
Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.
What happened to Ellie?
Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide? NetGalley

Added to which another favourite author, Mark Billingham, is waiting publication of Love Like Blood in June 2017.

Blurb

DI Nicola Tanner needs Tom Thorne’s help. Her partner, Susan, has been brutally murdered and Tanner is convinced that it was a case of mistaken identity—that she was the real target. The murderer’s motive might have something to do with Tanner’s recent work on a string of cold-case honor killings she believes to be related. Tanner is now on compassionate leave but insists on pursuing the case off the books and knows Thorne is just the man to jump into the fire with her. He agrees but quickly finds that working in such controversial territory is dangerous in more ways than one. And when a young couple goes missing, they have a chance to investigate a case that is anything but cold. NetGalley

I also have a copy of The Other Us by Fiona Harper which will be published on 4 May 2017 which is billed as one for those who loved The Versions of Us, which I did!

Blurb

If you could turn back time, would you choose a different life?
Forty-something Maggie is facing some hard truths. Her only child has flown the nest for university and, without her daughter in the house, she’s realising her life, and her marriage to Dan, is more than a little stale.
When she spots an announcement on Facebook about a uni reunion, she can’t help wondering what happened to Jude Hanson. The same night Dan proposed, Jude asked Maggie to run away with him, and she starts to wonder how different her life might have been if she’d broken Dan’s heart and taken Jude up on his offer.
Wondering turns into fantasising, and then one morning fantasising turns into reality. Maggie wakes up and discovers she’s back in 1992 and twenty-one again. Is she brave enough to choose the future she really wants, and if she is, will the grass be any greener on the other side of the fence?
Two men. Two very different possible futures. But is there only once chance at happiness? Amazon

What have you found to read this week? Do share, as you can see I’m always on the lookout for a good book!

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 5 books and gained 4 so the grand total is hurtling downwards to 190
Physical Books – 113
Kindle Books – 59
NetGalley Books – 18