Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Cover Reveal - The SW19 Club by Nicola May

Here at Bookish Bits I'm delighted to reveal Nicola May's latest novel, The SW19 Club which will be available on July 23rd (Accent Press)

What would you do if you were told you could never have children? 

Faced with this news, Gracie Davies is at an all-time low. But with the support of some new Wimbledon friends, an unorthodox therapist, her hippy-chick sister Naomi and Czech call-girl Maya, she sets up The SW19 Club and begins her rocky journey to inner peace and happiness. Add in a passionate fling with handsome landscaper Ed, a fairytale encounter with a Hollywood filmstar and the persistence of her adulterous ex, life is anything but predictable…

Pre-order here from to drop into your inbox on July 23rd


Find out more about Nicola's work here at
My review of The School Gates

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

5* review: We Are All Made of Stars - Rowan Coleman

Buy HERE from

and the magnificent US edition!

Buy HERE from

Do not miss me, because I will always be with you...I am the air, the moon, the stars. For we are all made of stars, my beloved. Wherever you look, I will be there. 
Stella Carey exists in a world of night. Married to a war veteran who has returned from Afghanistan brutally injured, she leaves the house each night as Vincent locks himself away, unable to sleep due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients, detailing their final wishes, thoughts and feelings - from how to use a washing machine, to advice on how to be a good parent - and posts them after their death. That is until Stella writes one letter that she feels compelled to deliver in time, to give her patient one final chance of redemption...

Rowan Coleman is a writer with not just a gift for storytelling, but a gift for connecting on every level with the reader, sending a myriad of emotions; laughter, love and so many tears. 

As I started to read I knew I was blessed with this being 'one of those books', the ones that will stay with you for a very long time if not ever, and you will rush to recommend to your friends; as I am doing to you all now. If you read one book this year - make it this one. It is a book that is not just words.

I loved Stella's character, quietly fulfilling so many patients last wishes while all the time facing the heartbreak that her husband's injury had brought to their marriage. I also loved the character of Hope, a young girl with Cystic Fibrosis, brought into the Marie Francis hospice after a nearly deadly chest infection to give her rest and relaxation to recover. You felt the struggle that not only being young brings, but the axe that hung over her head of a life limiting illness and the ramifications to her friends and family

I really hope that I'm not portraying this book to be morbid and maudlin, because as much as it is sad in places, it really isn't a book that will have you heading to the nearest bottle of gin. It's written in such a positive way that the end, death, the journey, whichever way you look at it it will make you think.

And lastly Hugh, lovely Hugh. Read it and find out why!

ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

5* The Magpies - Mark Edwards

When Jamie and Kirsty move into their first home together, they are full of optimism. The future, in which they plan to get married and start a family, is bright. The other residents of their building seem friendly too, including the Newtons, a married couple who welcome them to the building with open arms.
But then strange things start to happen. Dead rats are left on their doorstep. They hear disturbing noises, and much worse, in the night. After Jamie's best friend is injured in a horrific accident, Jamie and Kirsty find themselves targeted by a campaign of terror.

As they are driven to the edge of despair, Jamie vows to fight back—but he has no idea what he is really up against . . .

The Magpies is a gripping psychological thriller in which the monsters are not vampires or demons but the people who live next door. It is a nightmare that could happen to anyone.

The Magpies is an extremely gripping, fast paced read. I am a huge fan of Mark Edwards' solo work and also his collaborations with Louise Voss, they really are top of their game in the genre of psychological thrillers.

The prologue of The Magpies left me with chills just imagining why the person who lived in this apartment was going to such lengths to get away and it doesn't take too long once into the story to realise. 

Sinister things begin to happen in quite mild forms, passive aggressive letters, hoaxes, then progressing to much more terrifying occurrences (I thought dead rats on the doorstep were one thing...) and sadly you witness this close couple's relationship tested to breaking point - and we all have different ways of coping with breaking points.

The plot is faultless and the authors notes afterwards really were extremely insightful (DO NOT READ them before you read the book - massive spoilers!) 
We have recently had new neighbours and I may think carefully before inviting them round for coffee after reading this.

It really is an extremely good read - I charged through it in less than 24 hours and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

5* review: Appleby Farm: Love is in the Air (part four) by Cathy Bramley

Running her own business is every bit as thrilling as Freya hoped it would be, but hectic too – she barely has time for a cup of tea!

And her latest venture is looking promising too. Nestled in rolling hills, surrounded by glittering lakes, and with a gorgeous old house at its heart, Appleby Farm is the perfect spot for a rustic wedding. As Freya throws herself into organizing a beautiful celebration, she begins to see a prosperous future for Appleby Farm. But who is the lucky bride?

Finally, things are looking up for the little piece of Cumbria that Freya has fallen in love with all over again . . . So will she at last get her own happy ending?

Appleby Farm is an irresistibly charming novel told in four parts – following the adventures of Freya Moorcroft in love, friendship and a spot of farming. Love Is In The Air is part four. It features some friendly faces who appeared in Cathy's bestselling series, Ivy Lane, but it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone story.

Each part of Appleby Farm contains 10 chapters.

As happy as I was to be reading the conclusion of Appleby Farm I was equally as sad to know it had come to an end. I have adored watching bubbly Freya return to her childhood home and her lovely Aunty Sue and Uncle Arthur, and watching her character develop from the lost soul she seemed to be in the very beginning - or even further back for those who have read Ivy Lane where she first featured working in the cafe. 

She has had romantic trials and tribulations during the series and finally realised that she was falling in love with (the gorgeous and IMHO far better than Charlie!) Harry, her childhood friend and neighbouring farmer. She just is not sure if he feels the same. But the fate of the farm still is unsure as Freya's rotten brother Julian is sniffing around and trying to sell the farm to the highest bidder and Aunty Sue has her heart set on retiring to a little bungalow. 

The whole Appleby Farm series has been beautifully touching and vibrant, all told with Cathy's wonderful, warm sense of humour. I loved the family ethos at Appleby Farm, how fences are mended (physically and metaphorically) and how Tilly Parker (Ivy Lane) celebrated her beautiful wedding at Freya's beautiful vintage tearooms which was described so perfectly I felt I was a guest looking on, with obligatory tears in my eyes.

Thank you, Cathy, for another perfect series, I'm highly anticipating Wickham Hall (coming in June '15)!

Appleby Farm: A Blessing in Disguise
Appleby Farm: A Family Affair
Appleby Farm: Where The Heart Is

Monday, 11 May 2015

Without a Trace by Lesley Pearse

Coronation Day, 1953.

In the Somerset village of Sawbridge, young shopkeeper Molly Heywood slips away from the celebrations to her friend's cottage and makes a shocking discovery: Cassie is dead and her six-year-old daughter Petal has vanished without a trace.

In her grief, Molly seeks help from her childhood friend George, now the village policeman, but no one can find Petal. The only clue is a letter from London, where Cassie once lived. Despite George's reluctance and her growing feelings for him, Molly resolves to go to London in the hope of discovering the missing child.

Arriving in the big city, Molly quickly learns it's a dangerous place for a country girl on her own. But there's hope too - in the Blitz-ruined East End, she unexpectedly finds friendship with strangers from Cassie's past and, with handsome, mysterious workman Charley, the possibility of something more.However, the closer Molly gets to the truth, the more perilous her journey becomes. She has given up everything - her home, happiness and a chance at love - all to find Petal. But is she also risking her life?

While Molly Heywood's friend Cassie does not arrive at the Coronation party that the village has organised, with her young daughter, Petal, Molly knows something must be wrong so she goes to her house to look for her. She finds her friend dead and no sign of Petal. 

Frustrated with what she sees as a lack of effort to find Petal by the local police, mainly due to the circumstances - she knew that no-one really liked Cassie, an outsider frowned upon for being a single mother especially to a mixed race child and seen as promiscuous, but Cassie knew that she was a good person, and more importantly a good mother to Petal, she knew she had to push for more action to be taken.

She had little to go on but a letter found in Cassie's belongings, she was sick of her father's violent behaviour, and armed with the letter - addressed from a sender in London, she made her way there with hopes of beginning a new life, and more importantly finding what happened to little Petal.

Lesley Pearse books always have a good solid storyline, a strong heroine and an epic romance, and this latest offering will not disappoint.

I loved watching Molly's character develop as she is freed from the oppressive shadow of her father, and triumph over bitter disappointments and grow in confidence.

The supporting characters are also well developed and add rich layers to the story, I loved Sister Constance a lot. There is a brilliant twist towards the end that I really did not see coming and the way that part of the story was written was really gripping.

This is a book that will span the ages and will be as popular with more mature readers and a book I can happily recommend to my mother as well as my friends.

Many thanks to Sophie at ED PR for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The Alone Alternative - Linda MacDonald - 5* review

Former classmates Edward and Marianne, now fifty-five, have experienced a turbulent few years having lost contact with each other and suffered painful disruption to their home lives. Reunited again, this time through Twitter, they set about a search for personal fulfillment, but once again there are obstacles in the way – not least in the form of twice-widowed Jessica, Edward’s neighbour, who threatens to destroy their pursuit of happiness and whose behaviour has alarming consequences. 

The extraordinary weather conditions prompt Edward and a former colleague to resurrect an idea for a documentary series that sets to challenge consumerist lifestyles. The Isles of Scilly become a model for sustainability and a filming trip to the islands provides an idyllic backdrop to the unfolding romantic tensions. 

Set in 2012, the year of the London Olympics, the action alternates between Broadclyst and Beckenham and examines the difficult issues faced in committing to a new relationship in midlife. Could being alone be a preferable alternative? 

Continuing themes of psychology, relationships and environmental sustainability, The Alone Alternative is the sequel to A Meeting of a Different Kind and the third and final part of the 'Lydia' series. Written from both male and female perspectives, it also stands alone as a fascinating read for both men and women who enjoy thought-provoking fiction, keeping readers guessing until the very end.

Having read Meeting Lydia and A Meeting of a Different Kind I was eagerly anticipating The Alone Alternative, desperate to see how Marianne and Edward's story ended. I was thrilled when the author asked me to review it and was not disappointed.

Edward and Marianne have not been in contact for five years after the turn of events in A Meeting of a Different kind, and now are without the partners who kept them apart in the past for different reasons. 

Edward longs to contact Marianne once again but life, fears and insecurities get in the way for both of them with their busy careers, grown up children and for Edward, neighbour and friend of his estranged wife, Felicity, all clamouring for attention. They do however become friends once again, but with so many obstacles in their way will they be able to spend their lives together?

I love this series of books, to me they are 'grown up books', intelligently written with a keen psychological element, about a middle aged couple and the tribulations that that time of life can bring. I love the sub plot about sustainability and the vivid descriptions of the beautiful Isles of Scilly.

I really enjoyed the gentle romance and the way you feel drawn so close to the characters and really care what happens. It ended perfectly for me!

I would definitely recommend these books which can be read together or as stand alone books, it would not take long to catch up with the plot, and for a limited time all Linda's books are on sale for £1.99 (as of 03/05/15)