Laura Bambrey Books

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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Review: My Map of You by Isabelle Broom

Hi guys, first of all, a huge apology for going AWOL for the last few weeks. I’m going to blame it firmly on BT- seems our line was partially disconnected at the post- resulting in no phone service and the slowest broadband connection known to man kind.

But the lovely engineers have been and done their thing- and I’m back online- and thank goodness for that- brilliant timing as I’m just in time to wish the lovely Isabelle Broom a very happy book birthday for her unmissable debut – My Map of You.

My Map of You tells the story of Holly Write. Having lost her mother, Holly has carefully constructed an existence for herself. She becomes the perfect girlfriend to Rupert, maintains her London life with a steady job, and successfully keeps her real self under wraps and everyone, including Rupert, at arms length.

When Holly receives the news that an unknown aunt has left her a property on the island of Zakynthos, her long-hidden family history threatens to break through the cracks that begin to form in her life and the persona she’s worn as a mask for so many years.

I loved everything about My Map of You. The setting of Zakynthos makes for mouth-watering reading, and set against the drab alternative of London- it’s enough to make even the most stay-at-home reader develop a terrible case of wander-lust. Isabelle Broom writes with such sensual detail, I feel like I’ve been on the best holiday of my life- complete with the smell of suncream, golden sand between my toes and the most beautiful of sunsets. I’ve been feeling homesick for Zakynthos ever since finishing My Map of You… (and in case you were wondering- I am the stay at home reader and haven’t left Britain in about a decade!)

The mystery of Holly’s family history, combined with the story of the real Holly being lost under a protective layer for so long, is mesmerising- and kept hooked right the way through the novel.

The characters are fantastic- I loved Rupert- not as Holly’s boyfriend, but as someone I’ve met so many times over the years. The gorgeous Aidan was as scruffily perfect as I could have ever hoped for, and Holly… well you’ll have to read the book and decide for yourself. But I loved Holly.

My Map of You is a beautiful love story. A love story between a girl and a boy. A love story between a girl and an island. And most movingly, a love story between a girl and her true self.

Absolutely stunning- make sure you read it - OUT TODAY!

The Blurb:

Holly Wright has had a difficult few years. After her mother's death, she's become expert at keeping people at a distance - including her boyfriend, Rupert.

But when Holly receives an unexpected letter explaining that an aunt she never met has left her a house on the Greek island of Zakynthos, the walls she has built begin to crumble. Arriving on the island, Holly meets the handsome Aidan and slowly begins to uncover the truth about the secret which tore her family apart.

But is the island where Holly really belongs? Or will her real life catch up with her first?

Paperback:              Ebook:

See you soon,

Laura x

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Review: The Cosy Teashop In The Castle by Caroline Roberts

I had a very strange reason for picking up this book… 

Being food obsessed, as soon as I spotted a photo of the ‘Choffee Cake’ – as featured in the novel- on the Harper Impulse blog, I knew that I was hooked and would have to grab a copy of The Cosy Teashop In The Castle... if only for the recipe… very clever marketing guys! Clearly the way to my heart is through my stomach… even when it comes to books.

So. The book. Ellie is stuck in a rut, working in insurance- a job she doesn’t give two hoots about- and nursing all the anger and humiliation that catching your fiancee in bed with your friend causes. Fighting against the wave of over-protective advice and dire warnings from her family, Ellie embarks on a new challenge – to win the lease for Claverham Castle’s tea-rooms, and make a go of a business in an industry she’s never worked in- despite what she may have said in her interview.

Armed only with her dear, departed Nanna’s recipe book, Ellie takes on the task with gusto- but the real challenges come from very unexpected places.

The Cosy Teashop In The Castle is an undemanding read, and proved to be the perfect antidote to the grisly thriller I had just finished. It’s a sweet, meandering romance that’s perfect for dipping into before bedtime. The quintessentially English-country-setting gave it an air of GBBO- and I couldn’t help but picture Nanna as Mary Berry!

I think the biggest surprise was the detailed, steamy sex scenes- which were a huge contrast to the gentle tone of the rest of the book. But- they were well written, and despite being a shock to the system, gave the whole thing a bit of an edge.

So, if you fancy an easy read, with a handful of lovable characters, a lot of cake, and a tiny sprinkling of naughtiness- The Cosy Teashop In The Castle is for you.

The Blurb:

When Ellie Hall lands her dream job running the little teashop in the beautiful but crumbling Claverham Castle, it’s the perfect escape from her humdrum job in the city. Life is definitely on the rise as Ellie replaces spreadsheets for scones, and continues her Nanna’s brilliant baking legacy.
When Lord Henry, the stick-in-the-mud owner, threatens to burst her baking bubble with his old-fashioned ways, Ellie wonders if she might have bitten off more than she can chew. But cupcake by cupcake she wins the locals over, including teashop stalwart, Doris, and Ellie’s showstopping bakes look set to go down in castle history!

Now all that’s missing in Ellie’s life is a slice of romance – can Joe, the brooding estate manager, be the one to put the cherry on the top of Ellie’s dream?

Grab your slice of romance...

Friday, 1 April 2016

Review: The Safe Word by Karen Long

I was lucky enough to meet Karen at the Author / Blogger Shenanigans in London a couple of weeks ago, and after a long chat about books and writing, I couldn’t wait to read one of her novels- so was thrilled when Karen sent me through a copy of her fist book, The Safe Word, for review.

The Safe Word, the first book in the Eleanor Raven series, tells the story of a killer who is motivated by a strange, artistic need- torturing and displaying his victims as a public art installation. The killer is tapped into Toronto’s underground scene- a scene that D I Raven has a unique link to- one which both makes her the best person for the case- and the one in the most danger from it.

Initially, having read the first chapter, I wondered if I was going to be able to stomach this book. Don’t get me wrong, the writing is fantastic- so good, in fact, that I wasn’t sure I wanted to be this present at such uncomfortable scenes. But I pushed on and I’m so glad that I did.

D I Raven is a seriously complex character, and it’s refreshing to have found an author that isn’t afraid of mixing dark and light in a female lead- making her unapologetic, unrelenting, but ultimately a character you find yourself rooting for. Laurence Whitefoot, as Eleanor’s new, fumbling, bumbling partner, is her perfect foil – and the rest of the team are brilliant and believable in their mismatched lovableness (is that the word? I just really cared about this bunch by the end of the book and would quite happily read novels about any of them!)

Karen Long keeps the tension mounting, and as the story builds in intensity and gruesomeness, it becomes impossible to put down- and has one of the best ‘third-reels’ I’ve ever read. I can’t say that I enjoyed this book – it’s too grim for the word ‘enjoy’ - it was gripping, gruesome and affecting enough to stop me getting to sleep. But I can say that I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Maybe after a quick bit of romance to give my nerves a break!

The Blurb:

There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision. 
Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement. 

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival. 

Grab your copy and start losing sleep now!...