Anatomy of a Scandal Sarah Vaughan

51cddyrbFsL._AC_US218_Pub:  Simon & Schuster UK

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it. 

 

This book is a fabulously written story that lifts the lid on what happens when a loved one is accused of a serious crime.

Although this is Sarah Vaughan’s third novel, Anatomy of a Scandal is a different genre for her, and if this is what she offers on her first outing I am so excited for what else she has in store.

Accused of rape, Sophie’s husband James is dragged through the court system and faces Prosecutor Kate who thinks its high time Justice is served.

James is a high flying MP, Sophie believes and hope he is innocent, but this tremendous novel gives us twists and turns that makes you think one thing and then the opposite with a turn of the page. It also makes us ask the question, ‘Do we really know the people we love’?

Even though the topic is one that we hear so much of in the media, Vaughan’s sensitivity in her writing shines.

This gritty, realistic and at times uncomfortable read, covers the drama and emotion with exceptional mastery.

5*/5

 

 

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The Chalk Man C J Tudor

41DP8nKLB7L._AC_US218_Pub: Penguin

Looking back, it all started on the day of the fair and the terrible accident. When twelve-year-old Eddie first met the Chalk Man.

It was the Chalk Man who gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages between his group of friends.

And it was fun, to start with, until the figures led them to the body of a young girl.

That was thirty years ago and Ed thought the past was behind him. Then he receives a letter containing just two things: a piece of chalk, and a drawing of a stick figure. As history begins to repeat itself, Ed realises the game was never over . . .

Everyone has secrets.

Everyone is guilty of something.

And children are not always so innocent.

 

This book for me started as 5*…

Eddie and his friends are just like every other normal twelve year olds, but one Summer changed their lives. Eddie, Hoppo, Fat Gav, Metal Mickey and NIcky are fabulous characters and typical kids of the era.

The boys adopted a secret code, they draw chalk men, each boy having their own color chalk, so the others know who sent the ‘message’.  But soon ‘the chalk men’ take up a life of their own, and lead the boys to a dead girl.

Later, the grown up Eddie, now a teacher and very nerdy, receives a letter… a picture of chalk man. This sets in motion the secrets and ghosts of the past, not only concerning Eddie but everyone he knew, parents, teachers, neighbours.

Set in the 1986 and 2016 the start of this book is absolutely fabulous. It is tense and gripping and for me I could see why it is billed as THE thriller of 2018.

The Chalk Man, a debut by C J Tudor is brilliantly plotted. Her descriptions of the 1980s brought back my childhood and this tale is written to creep and scare the reader.  The ending is one I never expected and I was left thinking ‘OMG’, but…….

What started as a 5* slid to a 3*, right before that terrific end. Without giving away spoilers, the reveal and the ‘fight in the woods’ was a terrible and unrealistic finale. I just didn’t ‘buy’ it.  So for me this book dipped at this point only to rise again with the final chapter.

I have to say this is a great read and most will probably think what I am talking about. The Chalk Man is an amazing thriller and don’t get me wrong I loved it, it was for me like one those movies that leave you thinking ‘oh was that it’ and I was a tad disappointed.

The cover is very impressive, every time I picked it up I found myself trying to dust the chalk off, it is very convincing and with that title just a dream of a design.

Recommended read.

4*/5

 

 

 

 

First Chapter First Paragraph

Zenka  By Alison Brodie.

unnamed Pub: Indie

Devious, ruthless, and loyal.

Zenka is a capricious Hungarian with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knives and shotguns.

Jack discovers he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charges. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she will make Nicholas into the sort of son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?

 

 

This is the first paragraph of the first chapter of Alison Brodie’s new novel Zenka..

 

‘My dearest Alina,

Olga Savchukis is lying bitch. She say I vill be taken care of. I vill get good job in London. Good job?! She sells me to Romanians. I kick man in balls. I bite. But I cannot get out. Even vindows locked. I know if I am injected I can never escape, NEVER.’

 

Want to read more?

Buy The Book….

 

Q & A with the author…

Author photo

 

Hi Alison thank you for being my honoured guest  on Postcard Reviews today..

 

Tell me about yourself.

I am Scottish and live near Biarritz in France. I am a dog lover and an animal rights activist. I destroy hunters’ hide-outs up in the mountains to prevent them shooting migrating birds. I can’t believe they are legally entitled to do it.

Zenka sounds very dark. Tell me what was the inspiration for it?

Initially she was a minor character but she kept coming into my head wanting a bigger part. The novel was originally called Flesh and Blood but, again, she wanted her name on the cover. I also wanted the cover to be sepia tinted with Zenka walking away down a London alley on a foggy night. But no! She wanted orange and black! She wanted her face to be seen. She is strong-willed and bossy and has the typical Slav personality: melancholic one moment, deliriously happy the next.

Which character developed the quickest?

They all came at the same time, fully rounded.

Did the plot turn out as you thought or did it change during the writing process?

It changed during the writing process. And, again, just after I had uploaded the book to Kindle! That’s the great thing about publishing a digital book, you can improve it all the time, even after publication.

It seems to be the ‘norm’ now to have strong feisty females instead of gentle feminine ladies, was Zenka difficult to create?

No, not really. Although the more I worked on the novel, the more I got to know her. But even so, I feel I still don’t know her fully.

Do you ‘people’ watch for ideas for your characters?

I love to people-watch. I think a lot of what I see goes into my subconscious. Jack, the crime boss, is based on my father-in-law, also called Jack. He was a Cockney and as a boy knew someone who knew the Kray Twins. He would tell me all about the seedy underbelly of north London life. Fascinating! Hearing all those stories and knowing the area well really helped me shape ZENKA.

What do you do to relax?

I love swimming, especially in the sea. I love to read and walk my dog, Bayley. Bayley is a rescue dogs. All my dogs have been rescue dogs. My motto is: never buy from a breeder when there are loveable lonely mutts desperate for a home.

Tell me a secret about yourself that no one would know.

I had a friend, Giles, who was training to be a barrister but who was also a brilliant singer and guitar-player. I talked him into us busking outside the Swiss Centre, London. He didn’t want to do it but I nagged. Anyway, we did it every week. I wore fishnet tights and banged a tambourine but every time I sang, Giles would tell me to stop. (I am tone-deaf). One evening we were arrested and the next day had to appear in Bow Street Court. It was only then I discovered he would not be able to practice law – not with a criminal record. I have felt guilty ever since.

What’s next for Alison?

I have a book of short stories I would like to publish, each story is set in the future. Also a paranormal romance. I write in different genres: crime/suspense, romantic comedy, dramatic romance, paranormal, and futuristic. I like to think of my books as a box of chocolates; sometimes you get a sweet milk chocolate with a gooey centre, sometimes you get bitter chocolate with a tangy flavour.

I can never choose what I write. The characters come into my head (I don’t know where from!) with their story and I go with the flow. I just have to herd them in the right direction, which was bloody difficult with Zenka!

Thank you Alison, I have enjoyed talking to you,    Good luck with Zenka I know it will be a great success. x 

Good Gut, Great Health Vicki Edgson and Adam Palmer

51peshb1P7L._AC_US218_.jpgPub: Jacqui Small LLP

By focusing on digestive health as a route to true health, the Grayshott Plan helps to boost your energy and rebalance weight safely through a nutrient rich diet that will give you everything you need to face the demands of modern life.
The Plan dispels the misguided notion of ‘detoxifying’ through spartan, punitive regimes and instead focuses on regaining good health by eating the right foods to aid the body’s natural detoxification.
The Plan can confidently recommend quality grass-fed red meats, fish, eggs, fermented foods, butter, avocado, and organic vegetables. This is not a plan of privation but a sensible and satisfying approach to food that brings you back to feeling great.
The first section will introduce you to the ‘Plan’ and provide information and meal plans for a short-term course to rest and repair your digestive tract. The ‘Post-Plan’ information will show you more foods to introduce to your diet and keep your gut healthy.
The recipe section contains 100 delicious meals split into breakfasts, soups, main meals, vegetable sides, salads and special occasions and includes delicious, satisfying and nourishing meals, such as: Baked eggs with tomatoes, peppers and chorizo; Porchetta with plum and fig chutney; Grilled sole fillets marinated in ginger and tangerine; Crayfish cakes with coconut and mango, and many more.

 

I suffer from a digestive disorder..

so this book was of great interest to me.

It is written and designed to book digestive health and give you an understanding of your gut and general health.

Filled with recipes that are beautifully photographed, from smoothies to slow roasted lamb, each designed to clean the system and benefit your body.

The 10 principle of the plan of course are easy to follow in theory, but such is our individual eating habits these might be a little difficult at the beginning. That said the information given on how the digestive system works is interesting to read, and if like me you do have troubles it is also quite easy to see where you go wrong and how quickly it can be put right.

For both meat eaters and vegetarians, this is a full and comprehensive guide to better health.  With the help of this book I am going to start slow and easy and take it a step at a time and see how my system improves .

 

5*/5

 

 

Buy the book 

https://www.quartoknows.com/books/9781910254929/Good-Gut-Great-Health.html?direct=1

(The following link has the picture of the hardback copy, The paperback is one shown in the review)

Last Christmas in Paris Hazel Gaynor Heather Webb

51uj1xk1O8L._SY346_Pub: William Morrow Paperbacks

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

This is a beautiful collaboration with one of my favourite authors and one I hadn’t heard of…

With WW1 in progress,  “Last Christmas In Paris” is told using letters and telegrams which connect each of the characters and their experiences.

Unique and totally heartwarming, this stunning tale captures the thoughts and feelings of Evie and her friend Thomas. It is quite easy to understand the young people and the conflicts between these pages and at times I was very teary.

I got heavily involved with the tale and Evie, feeling like a failure while her friends were more involved with the War effort, was someone I thought about for days after.

Such an emotional story is bound to pull at you heart strings, but with added humour and some romance this book has it all. I felt as if I was stood right there with them, such is the intensity and genuine reality of the writing. It does truly grip the reader.

I love writing letters, and Last Christmas in Paris demonstrates that this dying practice is important, important for keeping hope alive and spirits high.

A very moving and highly recommended read.

5*/5

No Way Back Kelly Florentia

51QY18RarlL._AC_US218_Pub:  Urbane Publications

When two eligible and attractive men are vying for your heart, it should be the perfect dilemma…

Audrey Fox has been dumped by her unreliable fiancé Nick Byrne just days before the wedding. Heartbroken and confused, the last thing she expects when she jumps on a plane to convalesce in Cyprus is romance. But a chance meeting with handsome entrepreneur and father-of-one Daniel Taylor weaves her into a dating game she’s not sure she’s ready for. Audrey’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she discovers on her return to London that Nick has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident that’s left him in intensive care. Distraught yet determined to look to the future, Audrey must make a decision – follow her heart or listen to well-meaning advice from family and friends? Because sometimes, no matter what, it’s the people that we love who can hurt us the most…

Audrey Fox has got me hooked.

She is so relateable as a character I defy any girl not to be able to just love her

Suddenly dumped days before her wedding,  we soon see her torn between two lovers and to be honest I didn’t know which she choose, or in fact which one I would choose for her.

Kelly Florentia is an accomplished storyteller and this lovely romcom of a tale had me enchanted.

I love the characters and how the author gives them depth and I just adored Audrey.

There are a lot of facets to No Way Back, there is drama, there is despair and there is fun, Oh..and it’s twisty. Kelly’s inimitable writing style ensures this read is divine. I would love to see it as a film, I can imagine Keira Knightly as Audrey, add a bottle of wine and some friends and it would be a perfect girlie evening.

I can’t wait for the sequel and see what happens next for Audrey. for me this book was a winner.

4*/5

 

 

 

Broken Bones Angela Marsons

51G29ghJMvL._AC_US218_Pub: Bookouture

The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.

As soon as I read the name KIM, I just about realised how much I had missed the feisty but caring Detective and her team..

Broken Bones is a little different than the previous six novels from Marsons, as this one has a small baby at the core.

The hardships of the girls decent into prostitution is true to life and very hard to read.

Marsons is brilliant at the cold hard reality of life and with Kim Stone, she nurtures her topics and tells it as it is sensitively and right.

From this start it is shocking, and as I raced through the pages the characters came to life and with this tale I became quite emotional. ( something that hasn’t quiet happened with a Kim Stone before.)

I love the fictional team, and with this novel I sense a change of direction, as the team work on their separate cases, they are joined by some new ‘faces’.  I cannot wait to see what Angela has up her creative sleeve. I can guarantee it will fresh but equally as horrifying.

Marsons for me is the QUEEN of this genre. She knows how to add the human touch to each story and I just adore her.

Bloody FABULOUS.

5*/5