Historical fiction · romance · suspense · thriller

The Doll Factory – Elizabeth Macneal ★★★★

Blurb; The Doll Factory, the debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal, is an intoxicating story of art, obsession and possession.

London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning.

When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.

But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .

My Review; I want to start by saying just how beautiful is that cover? A real eye catcher. I was sent this book off a friend to cheer me up and it did the trick perfectly. The Doll Factory for me felt like a historical fiction story with romance but also with a bit of thriller thrown in especially towards the end. Unusual but it really worked!

I cannot believe this is a debut novel. I would never have known it’s so beautifully written. It’s a page turner of a read. It’s a book that appreciates the arts and artists of the world.

Main character Iris has a choice to make does she stay as she is now working, alongside her sister and living with her family. OR… Does she go for it modelling, living alone and earning more money? She says yes to her new life and thats where it all begins. The love story. The loss of her family. The stalking that is about to begin from Silas.

Silas is one evil character. Delusional. A stalker. A predator. He won’t stop until he’s got Iris by himself. This is where the thriller part comes in… Edge of your seat, tense reading.

Overall a brilliant read for me. An escape. I loved the setting, era and the characters. The open ended ending. Just brilliant all of it. The picture of the old style shops in my mind. The appreciation of art. All of it. A well deserved four stars from me. Highly recommend.

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Bestsellers · chick-lit · crime · mystery · romance · Short Stories

A Fresh Start; Ten gripping stories from ten bestselling authors. ★★★★

Blurb; From wronged wives to nosy neighbours, from distant dads to new-found family, from secrets to lies, fresh starts to false endings – and everything in between…

A collection of brilliant short stories from the best writers around.

This collections contains original stories from Fanny Blake, Louise Candlish, Mike Gayle, Mari Hannah, Sophie Kinsella, Jojo Moyes, Adele Parks, Ian Rankin, Mahsuda Snaith and Keith Stuart.

My Review; So this is another quickread but with ten short stories inside all with the theme of a fresh start a range of genres include… Chick-lit, romance, crime, thriller. A brilliant mix and all around 10 pages long. Now I’m not going to review them all but I will pop the ten short stories below, you may know some of the authors already. Highly recommend. A well deserved four stars. The ten stories included are;

Lock up & Leave by Louise Candlish.

The Estate by Mahsuda Snaith.

The Accidental Date by Keith Stuart.

Let No One In by Mari Hannah.

The Makeover by Jojo Moyes.

Sisters by Fanny Blake.

A Quiet Road by Adele Parks.

You & Me by Mike Gayle.

Decluttering by Sophie Kinsella.

Easy Street by Ian Rankin.

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chick-lit · romance · Short Stories

The Little Dreams of Lara Cliffe – Milly Johnson ★★★★

Blurb; It only takes one small step to change your life!

Lara Cliffe and her three friends are off on a mini break for her hen party. It’s three weeks before her wedding to ’Steady Freddie’, one of the kindest men on the planet. But something is worrying Lara. Her friends say it’s wedding jitters, but she isn’t so sure. Fifteen years ago the love of her life, Danny Belfont, walked out on her three weeks before their wedding and she has never been able to fully get him out of her heart.

Then, on the overnight ferry, Lara finds out that Danny is playing in the onboard band and he spots her in the crowd. Will she meet him the next night to talk?

As the wonderful city of Amsterdam works its magic on Lara, she tries to sort out her thoughts. And if fate has brought Lara and Danny back together … is it really for love or for something quite different?

My Review; Another quick read to help with my concentration lately. I’ve always been a fan of Millys writing and this was perfect. Short. Easy to read. Perfect chick-lit.

The story is about a group of women all enjoying Laras hen party with a break away. The perfect group of friends. However, Lara has an uneasy feeling about it all. Aboard the ship she sees someone familiar an ex, Danny. Their eyes meet and she doesn’t know what to feel or think. They soon get chatting again. Will Lara and Danny rekindle that relationship? Or will she walk away back to her new life and future marriage?

The perfect ending. Uplifting. Happy. Full of joy. This book certainly put a smile on my face. Highly recommend. A well deserved four stars from me. These quick reads are perfect for me right now and hopefully will help me back to the bigger books soon.

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