Book Review | See What I Have Done – Sarah Schmidt

In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.

See What I Have Done

About The Borden Family

This book is based on true events that took place in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892. Lizzie Borden was accused of murdering her father and stepmother in a brutal axe attack which took place in their own home. Lizzie was tried but then acquitted and over 100 years later there’s still speculation over who committed the murders. These days the very home the murders took place in has been turned in to a Bed & Breakfast / Museum. Tours are run daily to learn about the history of the house and there’s even ghost cams you can watch on the website! Check out the wikipedia page and the B&B website for more information on the family.

The Book

This one took me quite a while to get around to reading but I’m glad I got there eventually (Sorry – blame the very long TBR list!). It’s set mostly over a 3 day period – the day before, day of and day after the murders. It started off quite slow and a little confusing because of Lizzie’s narration. She seems confused as to what’s happening in reality and what’s going on in her head so it jumps around a little. It wasn’t until the last half of the book that I got in to it and really couldn’t put it down. Who did it?! Why would someone do it? How did someone get in and out of the house, or were they in it the whole time? So many questions! I really wish we knew the answer but I’m not sure we’re ever really going to find out! Reading this book has put Fall River and a trip to the Lizzie Borden house on my to do list when I move to the States though.

Thank you to Netgalley and Atlantic Monthly Press for letting me read and review this book. You can pick up a copy here and it’s well worth the read.

Love Roxy xx

 

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Book Review | No One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day (No One Ever Has Sex #3) by Tracy Bloom

Don’t you always plan the perfect Christmas?
Don’t you always think it will be the best one ever?
And doesn’t something – usually one of your loved ones – always come along and screw it up?

Katy’s been spending too much time in the office and not enough time with her family so she wants it all: snow (fake or real), the Michael Bublé Christmas album, whatever it takes.

There’s only one thing missing as far as her husband Ben is concerned: another baby to complete their family. Katy isn’t so sure…

Ben may be playing the role of Master Elf in the pre-school nativity but he is struggling to master his own family life. With romantically-challenged friends, an ex who refuses to go away and Katy’s mum’s 64-year-old toy boy thrown into the mix, Christmas looks like it could be going off the rails… Never mind family planning, can Katy and Ben even plan to make it to the end of Christmas Day?

No One Ever Has Sex on Christmas Day

Roxy Says…

I haven’t read the first two books in this series, and whilst I got the gist of everything that had previously happened I may have enjoyed it more if I knew the characters and previous storyline better. This book follows two families – Katy and Ben plus Matthew and Allison. Their paths cross once again in this story, much to the dismay of pretty much everyone involved.

It’s Ben and Katy’s first Christmas in their new house and Ben has gone all out – I’m talking giant inflatable characters on the roof and ton’s of decorations! Katy is trying to get in the Christmas spirit but with things going on at work she’s struggling. Things get worse when Katy’s mum and her new toyboy boyfriend invite themselves to stay over Christmas. Meanwhile Allison should be relaxing with just a couple of weeks to go until their baby is due but instead she’s getting stressed about her twin’s roles in their nativity.

I love the cover and the title of the book. I did enjoy it – it was funny and easy to read. I thought that it was perhaps a little too rushed at the end though and didn’t give me that Christmas feeling I’d have liked! If Tracy Bloom continues this series with another book I’ll be making sure to pick it up – I want to know what happens to Katy, Ben and all the other characters next!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture*

You can get a copy here

What Are Others Saying?

‘Loved this book. Tracy Bloom had me in stitches. Again.’ Milly Johnson

‘I utterly adored this book. It’s extremely funny and has your eyes bulging out in excitement waiting for the next page.’ The Book Geek Wears Pyjamas

‘This comic novel combines humour and wisdom with very entertaining results.’ Katie Fforde

‘There were so many events in this book which had me laughing or smiling and I could list a ton of laugh-out-loud moments… This has to be one of my favourite and most memorable books I’ve read this year.’ Book Drunk

‘I was bursting out with laughter, and on more than one occasion I was asked by others what was so hilarious! But it’s not only very funny, it is also very heart-felt and full of emotion too.’ Megan Reading in the Sunshine

‘Packed full of wit, funny situations and hilarious dialogue… A thoroughly entertaining read.’ Novelicious

‘This hilarious book will sweep you up in its sheer brilliance.’ Marie Claire

‘Does the rest of the story live up to the racy title? Yes!’ New! Magazine

‘A deft and witty comedy of manners.’ Sunday Mirror

Book Review | I Heart Forever (I Heart Series, Book 7) by Lindsey Kelk

Winter in Manhattan…and someone’s keeping a secret.

The day her husband Alex picks up a backpack and goes travelling, Angela Clark promises to stay out of trouble and keep both Louboutins on the ground.

So when her best friend’s boyfriend confides in her, it can’t hurt to help him pick out a ring at Tiffany’s surely?

And when her fashion magazine announces major changes, being terminally late and arguing with your boss isn’t that bad, is it?

Then suddenly there’s another big secret Angela’s got to keep – and the man she loves is still thousands of miles away. As the wedding of the year looms, and Manhattan switches on its Christmas lights, Angela is going to need her friends by her side as her old life looks set to change forever.

I Heart Forever

Roxy Says…

I haven’t read any of the other books in the I Heart Series but this didn’t stop me being able to enjoy the storyline at all – Lindsey explains the background really well so it was easy to pick up what happened before. I enjoyed the plot and although there were a lot of different things going on at one time it was still easy to follow. There were also a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming which is always great. I’d happily read another to find out what happens to Angela, Alex and the others next!

What Are Others Saying?

‘Kudos to Kelk for keeping her characters so endlessly fun, fresh and fantastic – and for making us cackle with mirth. The girl can do no wrong. 5 stars.’ HEAT

‘Giggles, guffaws and belly laughs guaranteed.’ FABULOUS

Praise for Lindsey Kelk:
‘Witty, funny, warm and wise’ Marian Keyes

‘When it comes to hilarious romcoms, nobody does it better – I heart Lindsey Kelk!’ SUN

Lindsey is the queen of cracking one-liners…hilarious’ Alex Brown

‘Hilarious… had me hooked from beginning to end’ Joanna Rees

‘A brilliant wit that makes it genuinely and effortlessly comic’ PRESS ASSOCIATION

This book has an average of 4.5 ratings on Goodreads so far and some great reviews – you can pick up a copy here

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Many Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK*

Book Review | Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson

Escape to Devon for blustery walks along the beach, hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and proof that miracles really do happen, especially at Christmas.

A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas Day, Chloe’s heart is still in pieces as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…

It seems Gianni’s new seaside restaurant is in trouble and Chloe must go to Appledore to save the business – and him. Equally famous for his experimental culinary extravaganzas and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way!

As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflé. But will it be enough to save their marriage?

Chloe came to Appledore in search of her Christmas sparkle, but when the snow clears, will she finally find the way back to her husband’s heart?

A laugh-out-loud festive treat that will give you the tingle of freshly-hung tinsel. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.

Snowflakes Iced Cakes and Second Chances

Roxy Says…

This latest book by Sue Watson brings us back to the little Devon town of Appledore seen previously in Ella’s Ice Cream Summer and Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice Cream. Having read and enjoyed both of those I was excited to start this one too. I put it off for a little while due to it’s Christmassy content but I have so many festive books on my to-read list now that I’ve had to make a start (even though it’s only October). I blame these books for the Christmas shopping that I’ve started doing the past few weeks too…

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances is about Chloe and told from her point of view. A year has passed since her marriage to Gianni broke up and she’s doing her best to try and move on, but it’s not easy. She’s even tried dating again with a Star Trek obsessed deli owner – let’s just say it didn’t exactly help. When Chloe and Gianni are thrown together again at Christmas can they remember why they fell in love, or are their problems too hard to fix?

I thought this story was beautifully written and far more emotional than the other Appledore stories. You don’t need to have read the others to enjoy this one, but if you have you’ll love the return of characters like Sue and Delilah! Hilarious, romantic and festive all in one – save this for December and read it by the Christmas tree.

Get a copy here

What are others saying?

I can’t express how satisfying and enjoyable I found every second of this wonderfully entertaining story.’ Rachel’s Random Reads, 5 stars

‘This is such a truly wonderful book. Thank you Sue Watson for creating such larger than life characters who never fail to give us hope whilst giving us an utterly enjoyable reading experience.’ By The Letter Book Reviews, 5 stars

‘If you’re looking for a ‘getaway’ read, you can never go wrong with Sue Watson! Another win!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

‘After having read and thoroughly enjoyed Ella’s Ice Cream Summer recently, I just knew that I had to read the second instalment. Overall it was a truly great inspirational read, really makes you think about certain things. Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

‘This was a fantastic read, one that kept a huge smile on my face and had me laughing right the way through it… Overall this was a super summer read one I think a lot of people can relate too and be inspired by the character Dani.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

Fun, summer feel-good book! Many funny, laugh out loud moments as well as some more sober ones. Great beach read!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 4 stars

‘This book came at the perfect time for me. It made me a little emotional, it made me smile, it made me laugh and if offered me the escape I needed. I’m looking forward to the second book in this series!’ Novel Deelights

I really enjoyed reading this book! This beautifully told story really explored families and their relationships in a feel-good way. A delicious book, a must read.

 

 

 

Book Review | The Silk Weaver’s Wife – Debbie Rix

‘On the way back down the grand staircase to the hall, her eye was caught by a portrait, hanging in a particularly dark corner of a landing. It was of a young woman, seated at an easel; she was painting a silk moth, its eggs nestling on a mulberry leaf.’

1704: Anastasia is desperate to escape her controlling and volatile father and plans to marry in secret. But instead of the life she has dreamed of, she finds herself trapped in Venice, the unwilling wife of a silk weaver.

Despite her circumstances, Anastasia is determined to change her fate…

2017: Millie wants more from her relationship and more from her life. So when her boss Max abruptly ends their affair, she takes the opportunity to write a feature in Italy.

Staying in a gorgeous villa, Millie unexpectedly falls in love with the owner, Lorenzo. Together they begin to unravel an incredible story, threaded through generations of silk weavers.

And Millie finds herself compelled to discover the identity of a mysterious woman in a portrait…

A gorgeously written, richly evocative story, The Silk Weaver’s Wife is perfect for readers who love Kate Morton and Gill Paul.

The Silk Weavers Wife

 

I will admit that historical stories aren’t my favourite and I don’t read them often – but this one caught my eye. When I read a historical book I want to be transported to a place or time I know little about but be able to imagine walking down the street, taking in the sights and smells as if I was there. Debbie Rix manages to do this almost instantly. The story is set over two timeframes – 1704 and 2017. In 1704 Anastasia wants to run off with her beloved Marco away from her abusive father to begin her life. In 2017 Millie travels to Italy to give her space from a confusing relationship only to meet someone that she didn’t expect.

This is a beautifully written historical romance. Not only is it enjoyable to read but it was obvious quite how much research Debbie put in to the history of silk manufacturing and the process. I love learning new things, particularly when it’s such an enjoyable way to learn. I haven’t read anything by Debbie Rix before but I’m going to make sure to pick up some of her other books to read as well!

You can get a copy of A Silk Weaver’s Wife here

Love Roxy xx

 

Book Review | The Good Sister by Jess Ryder

Two sisters. One secret… A lie that could destroy them both.

When her father dies, Josie is devastated to uncover he led a secret life: another house, another family and a half-sister called Valentina.

Both with red hair and icy blue eyes, Josie and Valentina could be mistaken for twins. But the similarities end there…

Josie – Sweet, reserved, jealous, thief.
Valentina – Care-free, confident, dangerous, liar.

Two sisters. One survivor.

A nail-bitingly tense and unputdownable read that will keep you turning pages into the night. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and Sister Sister.

The Good Sister

I started this one without reading the blurb first as I sometimes like to ‘go in blind’ as they say. For this one I’m really glad I did as it added a couple of extra twists that I would have known about before otherwise. I think I started this one Sunday morning and stayed up until half 11 to finish it (late for me haha!). I just couldn’t put it down!

It’s not a particularly long book at 230 pages but I didn’t feel like we missed out on anything. The chapters were broken up nicely so it flowed really well. The chapters go back and forth between Josie and Valentina but they aren’t actually labelled. It’s easy to tell at the beginning but it gets more difficult towards the end which I actually really liked – it added another level and made me second guess the characters as well as my own judgement.

I don’t want to give too much away on this one as it’s such a fabulous book – you need to read it knowing as little as possible! Well written, gripping and gets your heart racing – absolutely loved it! One of my favourite books of the year so far! Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy.

You can get a copy here – just 99p at the moment!

Love Roxy xx

Book Review | If You Could See Me Now – Keris Stainton

Izzy Harris should have it all – but her boyfriend has been ignoring her for months, she’s been overlooked for a promotion, and the owner of her local coffee shop pervs on her every time she has a craving for a salted caramel muffin.

Then her life is unexpectedly turned upside down.

Izzy dumps her oblivious boyfriend, and leaps on the chance to win a big pitch at work. Needing to work closely with gorgeous colleague Alex is an added perk…

But then her best friend has her heart-broken, the pitch is way more complicated than expected, and Alex is keeping secrets. Does Izzy have what it takes to help her friend, save her career and get the guy?

If You Could See Me Now

I’ve got a ton of books to read and finally some spare time to actually read them! So this one really appealed to me as it seemed like an easy to read, girly book. Perfect for curling up on the sofa with as it’s inevitably raining outside… Again… In August. Don’t you just love English weather? I love the cover – it’s so pretty and screams cuteness before you’ve even started reading.

So I started reading… and something odd happened in the book. I went back and checked the blurb and nope, it doesn’t mention anything about it there. So I continue reading to double-check it actually happened and yes, I read correctly… She turned invisible! I know right?! Now I’ll admit that at this point I did roll my eyes a bit but only because I was expecting a fairly typical sort of book and invisibility brings it in to the ‘it could never happen box’. Unless Izzy owned an invisibility cloak of course, then it’s 100% real life.

It’s advertised as a ‘laugh out loud comedy’ and I did laugh. Several times. Loud enough to wake the dog, which just made me laugh more. It was totally hilarious and a complete gigglefest (I adore this word – thank you Kirsty Greenwood for bringing it in to my life). Apart from the whole invisibility bit it was completely relatable. It’s just a story about a girl in a sucky relationship with a mad best friend trying to figure out who she is. Heart warming with a great life message – I’d recommend giving this story a try if you have a dull evening that needs brightening up.

This was released on the 4th August and you can get a copy here

Love Roxy xx

 

 

Book Review | The One by John Marrs

How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…

A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The One

What if you could take a test and be given the name and contact details of your perfect DNA match? No more bad first dates, no more trying to meet someone on tinder looking for more than just a hook up… just your happily ever after. Would you do it? What about if you were already married – would you take it anyway? Just to see?

This book follows 5 different sets of people, all faced with this choice and the consequences of their actions. Normally I’d find so many different characters a little confusing, but it’s written so well that it flows seamlessly. I struggled to put this book down and found myself telling everyone about it – even before I was finished. I genuinely wanted to know what they thought of the idea – would they do the test? Some really great debates came out of this one! I loved the twists (which I didn’t see coming at all!)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone to read – it’s such an interesting topic to think about. I gave it 5* and judging by the reviews on Goodreads others really enjoyed it as well. Thank you to Netgalley, Penguin Random House UK and John Marrs for letting me read and review this!

Love Roxy xx

 

Blog Tour | The Once In A Blue Moon Guesthouse – Cressida McLaughlin

Welcome to the second stop on the Once In A Blue Moon Guesthouse Blog Tour 😀 Yes, I know, I’m on a blog tour! I’m so excited – This must be how famous people feel seeing their name in lights right? Also, today is my BIRTHDAY! So it’s an extra special blog tour stop – please help yourselves to a slice of my virtual birthday cake 🍰

Blog Tour Banner

The prefect summer romance from the number one bestselling author of The Canal Boat Cafe. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Holly Martin.

Robin Brennan has come home to Campion Bay. Now her parents have retired, she’s set to become the new landlady of The Campion Bay Guesthouse. Bookings have been as thin as the hand towels, and it doesn’t take long for Robin to realise that the place needs a serious makeover.

Perhaps throwing herself into the task will help to heal her sadness at the tragic end to her dreams in London. As she gives the guesthouse a new lease of life, Robin encounters old friends and new, including old flame Tim, who’d clearly like to reboot their romance. But what about Will, the new arrival at No. 4, who’s rocked up with the cutest dog ever?

Caught up in a flurry of full-English breakfasts and cream teas, Robin’s never sure what, or who, the next check-in will bring…

Blue Moon Guesthouse

One of the things I’ve always fancied doing is running a B&B or a hotel. I’ve also always wanted to run a café – maybe when I move to the USA I’ll open a little British tearoom somewhere! I’ve mentioned before how much I love books based on running a business so I knew before I even opened this one that I’d like it – and I was right. I love being right haha.

The book is split up in to 4 parts – Open For Business, Fully Booked, Do Not Disturb and Wish You Were Here. Originally released as individual stories, this book brings them all together! After a tragedy involving Robin’s best friend and business partner in London, Robin decides to move back in with her parents in Campion Bay where she grew up. Having previously run a business planning special events she’s not too sure what to do with her life now she’s back – until her parents give her some news that will change everything.

I loved hearing about Robin’s journey to create the Once In A Blue Moon Guesthouse – she designed each room with a specific theme and I loved the thought that went in to each one. Cressida’s descriptive writing makes it so easy to imagine that we’re in Campion Bay with her – perhaps as guests checking in to stay! I absolutely adored this read and once I’ve moved and have somewhere to put a bookshelf I’ll be buying a hard copy so I can read it all again 😍

This book is released on the 29th June and you can get a copy here – Amazon

Love Roxy xx

About Cressida McLaughlin:

Cressy was born in South East London surrounded by books and with a cat named after Lawrence of Arabia. She studied English at the University of East Anglia and now lives in Norwich with her husband David. Cressy’s favourite things include terrifying ghost stories, lava lamps and romantic heroes, though not necessarily at the same time. She doesn’t (yet) have a dog of her own, but feeds her love vicariously through friends’ pets, and was once chased around a field by a soaking wet, very mischievous Border Collie called Wags. When she isn’t writing, Cressy spends her spare time reading, returning to London or exploring the beautiful Norfolk coastline.

Spotlight Book Tour| Secrets of Southern Girls – Hayley Harrigan

In Secrets of Southern Girls, the powerful, affecting debut from Haley Harrigan, a young woman uncovers devastating secrets about the friend she thinks she killed…

Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What’s worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back.

Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can’t forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret.

When August, Reba’s first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie’s past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried…and reveal that Julie isn’t the only one who feels responsible for Reba’s death.

In fact, she may not be responsible at all.

Haley Harrigan graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in creative writing and public relations. She lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband. Secrets of Southern Girls is her debut.  Visit her website at www.haleyharrigan.com or on Twitter @HCHarrigan.

secrets of southern

Rating: 5 out of 5!

I forgot to read the blurb again before I started this one so I’d completely forgotten what it was about, but actually I think it was nice to go in with an open mind. It was a little slow starting but I kept reading and I’m glad I did – Dinner was 2 hours late because I didn’t want to put it down.

That night is referred to a lot as it’s the night the whole book is centred round – finding out what happened to Reba. I’m not going to go into the story to avoid the chance of any spoilers though – there’s enough information above to give a general idea! It’s interesting how replaying an event so many times can change how we remember it and we can start to question what actually happened.  I liked that I was never too sure if what I was reading had happened, or if it was just how the character had portrayed the event.

The story is written from a few different point’s of view – we also get snippets of Reba’s diary entries from the past which did throw me a little with the formatting on my e-reader. Although I wouldn’t say that all the characters are likeable – as they’ve all done things which maybe they shouldn’t have – I did connect with each of them and enjoyed hearing what they had to say.

A fantastic and beautifully written debut novel from a talented author. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next book by Haley Harrigan! Many thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the chance to read and review this book.

Sourcebooks are also running a giveaway! If you’d like the chance to win a Summer Reads Prize pack please enter using the rafflecopter link below 🙂 Good luck!

[a Rafflecopter giveaway ]

Love Roxy xx