The Mum Who Got Her Life Back by Fiona Gibson

The Mum Who Got Her Life Back

This is the story of Nadia who finds love again, in her fifties, after her children have flown the nest and gone off to university.

For a while, she enjoys her freedom and her new relationship with Jack. Then her son comes home, and announces that he is no longer going travelling with his girlfriend for the summer, or going back to university, and everything falls apart.

Alfie is a lazy, tiresome and self-obsessed teenager and Nadia panders to him too much (his twin sister doesn’t get nearly as much attention). By the time Jack finally gets him to open up about what went wrong, I really didn’t care that much.

There are some nice touches – I liked that it was set in Glasgow, and enjoyed the descriptions of the trip to Barcelona – but the rest of the story seems to fall flat, and does not live up to expectations.    

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves

The Long Call

Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez were always going to be hard acts to follow. When I saw that Ann Cleeves had written the first book in a new detective series, I was keen to give it a go.

The Long Call has a complicated plot with well-written characters and a strong sense of place, but I could not warm to Matthew Venn. I realise I’m in a minority, but he seemed bland and uninspiring; there was just something missing.

The pace was quite slow to begin with and only picked up towards the end, but perhaps this is to be expected in introducing a new series. I will read the next book to see how the character develops as I think Ann Cleeves is a very talented writer.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Written from the Heart by Trisha Ashley

Written from the Heart

I am normally a huge fan of Trisha Ashley’s books, but Written from the Heart did not quite work for me. I found it hard to care what happened to either of the main characters, particularly Sergei.

Turns out it is a re-issue of Happy Endings which was originally published in 2008. There is very little in the way of plot and a very abrupt and unsatisfying ending.

The best bits are the letters to and from the clients seeking manuscript reviews and advice on their writing; these are very amusing and the only reason I carried on reading.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Little Snake by AL Kennedy

The Little Snake

The Little Snake is very different to other books I have read by this author.

At first, it seems like a children’s fable, but develops into so much more.

This deeply thoughtful tale of the human condition has appeal for all ages; deceptively simple and beautifully written.

Thanks to Canongate and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker

Initially, I was attracted to this book because of the cat on the cover; after all, what story is not improved by the presence of a cat? 

Lucy is a lovely girl, but lacking in self-confidence. This heart-warming and humorous tale of the power of friendship, and learning to stand up for yourself, boasts a cast of wonderfully drawn, quirky characters that will stay with you long after you have finished reading.  I look forward to the next book by Jenni Keer.

Thanks to Avon and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.