Seven Day Spotlight – w/e 17/12/17

Hi and welcome to this week’s Seven Day Spotlight. Not long until Christmas now!


This week on my blog:

On Monday I had a guest post from Rick Hay, author of The Anti-Ageing Food and Fitness Plan, about how to have a healthier Christmas. I also shared my thoughts about the book.

On Tuesday, Kerry Postle was my guest talking about her inspiration and research for The Artist’s Muse.

Wednesday brought two posts. I reviewed Foul Trade by BK Duncan and I shared a guest post about heartbreak in film and literature from Liam Hurley, author of You, Me and Us.

On Thursday I reviewed Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan.

And on Friday I reviewed Mr Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva.

Finally, on Saturday, David Matthews was my guest talking about Metamorphosis as part of the blog tour for They That Lovely Be.


Here are this week’s additions to my TBR pile:

A Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby

Family is where life begins.
And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?

Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and stepdad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.

But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.

So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise.
She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned for New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?

The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.

Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?

Coming Home to Island House by Erica James

It’s the summer of 1939, and after touring an unsettled Europe to promote her latest book, Romily Temple returns home to Island House and the love of her life, the charismatic Jack Devereux.

But when Jack falls ill, his estranged family are called home and given seven days to find a way to bury their resentments and come together.

With war now declared, each member of the family is reluctantly forced to accept their new stepmother and confront their own shortcomings. But can the habits of a lifetime be changed in one week? And can Romily, a woman who thrives on adventure, cope with the life that has been so unexpectedly thrust upon her?

Married to a Cave Man by Damien Owens

Redmond and Nancy. Vincent and Julie. Leo and Deirdre.

Three young couples doing their best to keep the magic alive amid the nappies, bills and dirty dishes in recession-hit Dublin.

When each of these husbands decides that he deserves a man cave — a space where he can get away from it all and be alone with his toys — simmering tensions come to the boil.

A heartfelt comic novel about the trials of modern marriage. It’s about compromise. It’s about respect. It’s about resisting the urge to murder your partner while they sleep.

A Lion is Not Just for Christmas by Henriette Gyland

Is there life after the circus has left town?
Circus performer Justine Belmont works with big cats, but when the circus is disbanded and the old lion is sold to a private menagerie at a stately home in Norfolk, she is asked to spend a few weeks settling him into his new environment. When she arrives at the estate, however, she receives a mixed welcome.
The groundsman Tom Yates resents her presence as he doesn’t feel he needs her help with the lion. He revises his opinion when he sees the bond between her and the big cat, and she and Tom grow closer, although Justine remains torn about her feelings for him. The lady of the house, Priscilla – who is married to the reclusive owner, Lord Brooks’s, grandson – is not so easily convinced. She perceives Justine as a threat for the male attention and her plans for the manor. And her two young daughters are a little too curious about the lion for their own good.
When unsettling events occur, Justine begins to wonder if there is more to Priscilla’s animosity than meets the eye. Can Justine keep herself and everyone else safe until it’s time for her to leave again and start a new life elsewhere?

Losing Leah by Sue Welfare

On a cold, dark February morning, Chris and Leah Hills stop for coffee at an isolated service station a stone’s throw from the Welsh Borders. While Leah heads inside, Chris locks the car and goes in to order their drinks. Minutes pass. Chris waits and waits, but Leah doesn’t come back. When Sergeant Mel Daley and her boss, Detective Inspector Harry Baker, arrive to begin a search for the missing woman, their investigation calls everything into question. Is she alive? Did she leave the service station with someone else? Did Leah ever even leave Norfolk? While her husband becomes more frantic, the pair
begin to unravel a tangle of dark secrets from the past.

The Man on the Middle Floor by Elizabeth S. Moore

Lionel Shriver meets Mark Haddon in this break-out debut

Despite living in the same three-flat house in the suburbs of London, the residents are strangers to one another. The bottom floor is home to Tam, a recent ex-cop who spends his days drowning his sorrows in whisky. On the middle floor is Nick, a young man with Asperger’s who likes to stick to his schedules and routines. The top floor belongs to Karen, a doctor and researcher who has spent her life trying to understand the rising rates of autism. They have lived their lives separately, until now, when an unsolved murder and the man on the middle floor connect them all together. Told from three points of view, The Man on the Middle Floor is about disconnection in all its forms; sexual, physical, parental and emotional. It questions whether society is meeting the needs of the fast growing autistic section of society, or exacerbating it.

Thought-provoking and thrilling, The Man on the Middle Floor will leave readers talking.

Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey

Four missing days. Could you cope with not knowing?

Jen’s 15-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days. When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police draw a blank. The once-happy, loving family return to London, where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on.

As Lana stays stubbornly silent, Jen desperately tries to reach out to a daughter who has become a stranger.

Reality Rehab by Lisa Mary London

Faded TV star Gloria Grayson has hit rock bottom. Sacked from her starring role in a top soap, divorced from hell-raising actor ‘Mad’ Tommy Mack, and obese from binge eating, her days as Britain’s sexiest blonde are well and truly over.

Gloria has gained 70 lbs when a paparazzi snaps unflattering photos, and a cruel tabloid article relaunches her career. Instantly, she and her fat, feisty dog Baby-Girl are booked for TV’s Reality Rehab. Gloria is locked up with an American psychotherapist, a rabble of D-list celebrities and umpteen cameras, then put on a starvation diet. But worse is to come, with the shock arrival of her alcoholic ex-husband.

Tears and tantrums ensue, as the divorced couple’s joint therapy sessions take over the show and ratings soar. The other celebrities are infuriated to be sidelined and Reality Rehab fast becomes The Tommy and Glo Show. But Gloria and Tommy are hiding explosive secrets from each other and 10 million viewers – Reality is stranger than fiction!

Reality Rehab is the debut novel of Lisa Mary London, a journalist and former reality TV producer. A cast of hilarious characters, cliffhangers galore and an authentic voice that could only come from a TV insider, Reality Rehab is this year’s must-read!

Beyond the Sea by Melissa Bailey

One summer’s day, Freya’s husband and son vanish at sea.

A year on, and struggling to cope, Freya returns to the lighthouse-keeper’s cottage on a remote Hebridean island, where she and her family spent so many happy times.

Haunted by visions of her old life, Freya’s dreams are dark and disturbed. And when a stranger, Daniel, is washed ashore during a storm, they turn even more menacing.

As dream and reality start to merge, Daniel seems to be following Freya’s every move. What does he want from her and is he everything he seems to be?

Is her mind playing tricks? Or is the danger that she senses very real?

The Green Tracksuit by Peter Gordon Elliot

A strange, funny, magical, wonder-full evocation of a 1970s Highland childhood. With a truly terrifying darkness at its heart. nine year old Peter, growing up in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, had a magical family life and the freedom of nineteen-seventies. But a sinister encounter late one night on a country road, turns his world upside down, exposing him to grave danger, which will haunt him forever. . .

Hydra (Six Stories) by Matt Wesolowski

Before Scarfell Claw, there was Hydra… One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 26-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the ‘Macleod Massacre’. Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation. King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out. As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious Black-eyed Children, whose presence extends far beyond the delusions of a murderess… Dark, chilling and gripping, Hydra is both a classic murder mystery and an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, that shines light in places you may never, ever want to see again.

Have you read any of these or do you like the sound of any? I’d love to hear from you.

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