The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

When this book arrived from the PR company that asked to read and review it (Thank you EDPR!), it came wrapped in textured rose petal gift paper. I knew straight off that this was something special, and was proven right very quickly.

Closer describes this book as “A powerful departure from the usual frothy chick-lit, this beautifully written novel will hook you from the start“. And I have to agree.

The beauty of this novel is that the characters, so well described that you feel that you know them, are so very different yet entwined in such a way in that you know that there are deeper connections and as you read the book you will enjoy unravelling them.

This is the story of Tamia Challey, married to Scott and mother to two lovely little girls. All seems well in her world until her husband is arrested for a truly terrible crime. From that moment on everything Tami knows, or thinks that she knows starts to look and feel differently and her friends and neighbours become part of a desperate story of betrayal,  abuse, desperation  lies, murder…. and love. Really, this isn’t a book that you can review adequately enough, only urge readers to pick up a copy and find out what happens, as you did.

I loved this book and found it difficult to put it down. The twists and turns had me grimacing one minute and ready to sob the next. A powerful read and one I’m very glad I haven’t missed!

You can find The Rose Petal Beach, published by Quercus on Amazon  and via all major retailers.

Language of Thieves by Elizabeth Jackson

Rather than jump straight in and do another book review I though this time I’d do things a bit differently.

I’m going to start by reviewing the author! Elizabeth Jackson, is a self diagnosed Twitter addict, a retired psychotherapist, half gypsy and has the most wicked sense of humour! I “met” Liz online (on Twitter obviously) a few months ago, having realised we lived only a few streets away from each other. When Liz told me she would be signing copies of her book, Language of Thieves, at the local bookshop I knew straight away I wanted to go. At this point I was more interested in meeting the good lady in person than the actual book (sorry Liz!). Lets face it it, if she was as much fun in real life as she was online, we’d have a hoot. And we did!

This is me with the lovely Elizabeth Jackson, shortly before I knocked a glassful of orange over her - but we'll not talk about that (clumsy sod I am!).

The event was a great success and having met Liz I couldn’t wait to see if her lively personality came through in her writing. I wasn’t disappointed.

What might seem at first glance as another story of love and intrigue (to be fair they are common themes), is in fact a fantastically well written book brimming with deep undercurrents that weave together to create the type of book you don’t want to put down yet can’t bear to finish.

Based in North Yorkshire where Liz has lived all her life we follow the story of Daisy Lamiter, the resident traveller girl and those she loves, fears and despises. Her story begins in 1949 in Appleby, Westmorland at the popular Appleby Fair where travellers would come from miles away to trade horses and other goods. When two cultures collide, those of the travellers and the Gorgios (non-travellers), Daisy is set upon a path from which there is no return… and that’s all I’m going to tell you.

Being half gypsy herself, Elizabeth has a unique perspective that comes out in this book. I am sad indeed to have finished and I am eagerly awaiting her second book.

Language of Thieves is a fantastic read, and you can read more about it and buy it from Amazon. Treat yourself this Christmas, you won’t regret it.

*I haven’t been asked to review this book but have written this brief account because reading it is something I thoroughly enjoyed and because I hope other people will read this write up and try the book themselves. Thanks to Elizabeth Jackson for letting me “borrow” the mug-shot of us both.