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Laura Bambrey Books

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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Review: Reunited by Daniel Gothard

Would you go to a school reunion? I’m never sure. There would be people I’d be interested in catching up with, and the nosey blighter part of me would be interested to find out what has happened in the years since we escaped (or in my case, skipped off to 6th form college). But sure, there are plenty of teenaged crushes in my past I’d be intrigued to find out about- from a distance…

This is the premise of Daniel Gothard’s more-com-than-rom book, Reunited.

Told with a split timeline, we follow 16 year old Ben through his journal, as he deals with bullies, grief, how to be cool and being in love with his best friend. 20 years later, we follow Ben as he is ordered back to his school reunion to cover it in his professional capacity as a journalist.

Mature Ben is having just as many girl-problems as his younger self. Having been complete knob to his fiancĂ©, she has walked out on him, and is now giving him the epic silent treatment. (Reader, don’t hate me, but I was cheering her on and sticking a mental middle finger up at Ben for his behaviour).

I think one of the most interesting elements of Reunited is reading a plot like this written from a boy/man’s (or should that be man-boy?!) perspective, and by a male writer. It made for a unique take on the plot, and an interesting insight into how the opposite sex may have thought and felt in the many cringe-worthy situations Gothard lures his characters into.

Reunited is an interesting look into how much people change and what the practical realities of life can throw at you in the interim. There were times I wanted to slap the older Ben with a wet fish- considering 20 years had passed, he still behaved and reacted to situations very much like his younger self- just with a hint more world-weary sarcasm and a lot less sweetness.

Reunited is an enjoyable read that will get you thinking about your own school days and what has changed, which of your dreams have come true… and which of your worst character traits may have managed to survive across the years. As for checking out what happened to my crushes… I think I’ll stick to social media, thanks!

Grab your copy here:

Paperback:                          Kindle:
        

The Blurb:


1992, and Ben Tallis is coming to terms with the recent death of his father. His ability to cope isn't helped by the fact he's secretly in love with one of his best friends. At least keeping a daily journal helps him make sense of events, and he believes it's the perfect preparation for his plan to one day become a successful journalist. 

2012 and Ben has achieved his career ambition - he's a highly respected journalist and is engaged to a hardworking and ambitious lawyer. But this seemingly 'perfect' relationship is fraught with problems. Ben mentions in passing to his editor he has received an invitation to a 20 year school reunion but doesn't want to go. His editor however smells a great feature article and insists Ben returns home, faces his past - including his secret teenage yearning - and writes a feature on how much we change, and yet in so many ways stay the same. As Ben reluctantly re-engages with his past he soon comes to realise that we can never run from the truth...or who we truly are.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Book and a Biscuit: If I Forget You by T. C. Greene


#amreading: 

If I Forget You by T. C. Greene, published by Corvus, paperback release date 1st September 2016

Tea: 

Good old PG Tips Original- because sometimes, you just can't mess with the perfect cuppa. This has always been my 'family tea' - and is like a lovely comfort blanket.

Cake: 

Home made tea-loaf from our own recipe (pop back this afternoon for the recipe and method). Made with PG Tips Decaff tea, this one contains no fat - unless you smother it in butter- like I usually do!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Blogtour: Review: Don't Stop Me Now by Colleen Coleman

Good afternoon, fellow book-fiends. I know it’s grey, wet and cold outside, and not quite the spring afternoon you might be hoping for, but I’ve got the perfect book to change that around and bring some sunshine to your weekend (which, let’s face it, is nearly here- YAY!!)

I have just read Colleen Coleman’s fabulous debut, Don’t Stop Me Now- and it’s a love thing. Really and truly one of the freshest and funniest chick-lit voices I’ve read in years.

Poppy Bloom is riding high. She’s had the perfect academic career so far, has just made Dr – the ink on her groundbreaking psychology thesis and her PhD is still drying. She has everything planned out exactly as she wants it to be. And then it all comes crashing down around her.

Poppy has to pick herself up and start again from square one. She soon realises how empty her ten years of expensive academia have been. But at their heart is something very special- something she could still share with the world- but does she have it in her to chase it – or will she settle for second-best, and a shadow of the dream she once held so dear?

You know what is so wonderfully refreshing about this book? It’s a completely new story. Coleman has struck out and created her own path with her debut- and in doing so, I think she will win a massive fan-base.  Poppy is a unique character you will side with instantly as she finds her way through the challenges that life likes to throw at us all.

If you love Sophie Kinsella (especially her stand-alone novels) – you’ll love Don’t Stop Me Now. If you’re looking for a funny, inspiring, uplifting book to read this weekend- then you’ve found it.

Grab your copy here:

Kindle:                                 Paperback:
            

The Blurb:

A hilarious feel good read about making lemonade when life gives you lemons, and finding the silver lining in every cloud.

Poppy Bloom planned to finish her PhD and walk straight into a job at her university. But here she is, unemployed, unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, and living back at her mum’s in her vampire-themed childhood bedroom.

Not exactly what she was hoping for.

But when Poppy sets her mind to something, nothing can stand in her way. She scores herself an internship at the hottest radio station in town, joins a netball team, and renews her friendship with her oldest friend Leanne. Spending time with Leanne’s gorgeous twin Tom is just a bonus…

But life has a way of tripping you up when you least expect it, and Poppy soon has to decide where her priorities lie… With new friends, a new career and a new romance, can Poppy keep everyone happy, or is everything about to tumble down around her?

A laugh-out-loud story about friendship, second chances, and new love, perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk, Marian Keyes and Jane Costello.



About Colleen Coleman:

Colleen Coleman is an Irish-Canadian novelist. She is the winner of the much-coveted Novelicious
Undiscovered People’s Choice Award launched to find the next ‘chick-lit star’. She spent over ten years working as a teacher of English and Philosophy before finally taking a deep breath, scrunching her eyes shut, putting her pen to paper and vowing not to lift it again until she wrote the words The End. As a result, her first novel was born. Colleen lives between London, Ireland and Cyprus with her very patient husband and very, very chatty twin daughters. Don’t Stop Me Now is her first book and will be released in March. 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Weekly Series: Doomed Date Diaries: Part 15


Part 15

Doomed Date Diaries by Bethany Quinn

46. Harvey


Whatever happened to the age old art of conversation?

Okay- letters were obviously doomed the minute the first email was sent- in those heady days before a colon followed by a closed bracket became as annoying as getting a case of the rear end drizzles on holiday- but who'd have thought that talking would be the next victim of the phone-zombie era?

Harvey was hilarious by text. So funny it hurt. The things he could do with 160 characters made a girl's head spin. In the land of the two-thumb-typists Harvey was the undisputed king. In real life however, he turned out to be a bit of a disappointment.

'He comes here a lot,' the barman said.
'Who?' I said, as I handed over what seemed like enough money to buy the entire vineyard where my ghastly wine was grown.
'The bloke you're with,' the barman said. 'You've got to be the fourth date he's had this week.'
'Really?' I said. Harvey didn't seem the sort. He was certainly a lot shorter than I expected. Less suave and chiseled. Balder too.
'Women seem to love him, but he never goes home with any of them.'
'Why's that?'
The barman shrugged. 'I think he has an unfortunate manner,' he said, handing me back a much smaller pile of change than I had really hoped for. 'You'll see.'

True enough, Harvey didn't say much. Instead, his gaze got stuck somewhere around my left breast. What few words he did say were addressed directly to my cleavage- but with a definite left hand bias. He was transfixed- though what he could see through a shirt, a sweater and a sports bra was beyond me. (Yes- I've stopped jogging for now- but occasionally wearing the sports bra makes me feel kind of toned and athletic. Matt says that I'm just 'soft and undisciplined.' I love it when he says things like that.)

When I got home I had a good look to see what was so wrong with my right breast. I took my top off and did a twirl in front of the bathroom mirror and everything. I bounced up and down too. I couldn't see that there was any difference.

Later I wanted to send Harvey a text asking him why he was so left-bosom-centric- but I didn't. I didn't want to know. Some things are best unsaid.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Blogtour: Extract: The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

I'm excited to have an extract from Patricia Gibney's The Missing Ones as a part of her blogtour today... enjoy!
PROLOGUE
31st January 1976

The hole they dug was not deep, less than three feet. A milky white flour bag encased the little body, firmly tied with the strings of a soiled, once white apron. They rolled the bag along the ground, even though it was light enough to lift. Reverence for the deceased was absent as one of them kicked it into the middle of the hole, squeezing it further into the earth with the sole of his boot. No prayers were said, no final blessing, just the shovelling of damp clay quickly covering the whiteness with darkness, like night descending without twilight. Beneath the apple tree, which would sprout white buds in spring and deliver a flourishing crop in summer, there now rested two mounds of earth, one compacted and solid, the other fresh and loose.

Three small faces watched from the third-floor window, eyes black with terror. They knelt on one of their beds, cushioned with rough-feathered pillows.

As the people below picked up their tools and turned away, the three continued to look at the apple tree, now highlighted by the crescent of the moon. They had witnessed something their young brains could not comprehend. They shivered, but not from the cold.

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head.
‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

Grab your copy here:

Kindle:                             Paperback:
       

The Blurb:

The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror. 

The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’

When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how? 

The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal. 

As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger? 

Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice. 

Fans of Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter and Robert Dugoni will be gripped by this page-turning serial killer thriller, guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Book and a Biscuit: The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe


#amreading: 

The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe, published by Zaffre, Kindle and hardback available now, paperback release date 6th April 2017

Tea: 

Strawberry & Vanilla Fool by the London Fruit & Herb Company - a rich, tangy berry tea with the added softness of vanilla.

Biscuits:

Cadbury Chocolate Fingers... well, it's got to be better than chewing on my own fingernails at the scary bits!


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Weekly Series: Doomed Date Diaries: Part 14


Part 14

Doomed Date Diaries by Bethany Quinn

36. Brian


Brian liked to talk about his past a lot- and how crazy the 'wild old days' were- without giving any real details or precise dates.

He had the look of a man whose weekends were a long and tiring negotiation with ex spouses about access to awkward, spoilt children who despised him. His profile said 'single'- which I read for 'divorced' - and probably more than once. He was a battered husk of a man whose hope, enthusiasm and exuberance had all been sucked out of him through the third finger on his left hand. Or maybe I was reading too much into it?

His photograph had clearly been taken a decade earlier. There was no way he was in his 'late twenties'- unless he'd found a miracle moisturiser or recently had his face re-hemmed with something extremely sharp. The handsome, garrulous young man was gone and all that remained was the sorry-looking shadow sitting across the table.

Brian glanced at his watch. It was Friday night. No doubt he had another weekend of arguing, taxiing and returning to look forward to. I felt sorry for him. His post-domestic bliss apocalypse was far from over. But thankfully Brian wasn't my problem. He was Amanda's.

Amanda's husband had just left her for a gas fitter called Keith. She was still a little shaken- but at least she'd had her boiler fixed. She wasn't a client as such. I was just helping her take the first tentative steps back into the world of dating. I hadn't mentioned to her that it was a doomed enterprise. She could find that out for herself.

Having been married for almost nineteen years her circle of friends was rather small- and sadly depleted by those who were switching allegiances and getting Keith to sort out their central heating systems.

We'd spent an evening together, trawling the online dating sites. It soon became clear that Amanda liked disheveled, moody and needy looking. She only had white wine in her walk-in fridge that was the practically the size of my living room. I drank water. White wine is for cleaning wounds.

'So you've got a large house?' Brian asked. 'Does it have a garden?'
'Yes,' Amanda said, leaning her head to one side coquettishly. 'Why?'
'It's just, I've got the kids this weekend and I've got nowhere to take them.'

I hate being right all the time.