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Competition time


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5⭐️Distress Signals: Catherine Ryan Howard

The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads ‘I’m sorry – S’ sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate – and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground…

Available to purchase here


I love Cork, who wouldn’t! I love it so much I even set one of my books there, but to read three books back on back all focused around this amazing part of Ireland is a little too much of a coincidence for my liking. I’ve a short review and then a long one.

The short review – I am NEVER going on a cruise after reading this book- end!!!

The long review

Firstly thanks must go to fellow book blogger Jo at mychestnutreadingtree for her great words. I try not to read reviews before reading the actual book but Distress Signals intrigued me. I’ve read any number of books set aboard ship but these have all been romances so…

So firstly this is a 5 ⭐️ thriller – that’s all you want to know, right?

But why? Because the end, while making complete sense is out of the blue and will make you think and think and think.

Distress Signals  isn’t one of those fly by night reads that have only achieved the dizzy heights of fame through clever marketing plays and aggressive advertising. This book has received all its stars the hard way – by Ms Howard writing a very clever book, something which takes time, energy and gallons of coffee!

I’m not going to spoil the plot but Adam being the central character is an interesting study. His development from self centred to frantic is like watching a car crash in that it’s sudden as its devastating. This interspersed with vignettes from Corinne and Romain and an interesting start make this ‘unputdownable.’ I do like to guess the ending – shush – in truth I’m one of those annoying people who can’t let it rest until I know what’s going on. My best guess was a transvestite as a key character – my only plot leak  to you – there’s no cross dressers to be found here.

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5⭐️ Girl Having a Ball: Rhoda Baxter

What if you had to learn to stand on your own feet?Although Stevie lost her parents when she was very young, she’s always been able to rely on her brother, Marsh. But now Marsh is married and Stevie feels like she is losing him too. Determined to prove her independence, Stevie sets about transforming her life, giving up her dead-end job and following her passion for events management.

Her first assignment takes her to a stunning manor house in Oxford where she is tasked with organising a charity ball on a shoestring. Between canapé worries, celebrity guests and trying to keep the hyper-critical Lady Beryl happy, Stevie’s teenage crush, Tom, resurfaces to confuse things even further.

But ‘poor needy little Stevie’ is now ‘Stevie the strong woman’ and she won’t let a man get in the way of her dreams – will she?

My review 

A lovely gentle read but with more depth than I was expecting. The characters are so true to life, as are the situations. Which one of us hasn’t felt peeved at being the last to know? Which one wanting to spread our wings despite being thought too young, too inexperienced? Which one – all of us!

This is Stevie, still thought a child by many; a child with the body of a woman as Tom discovers to his cost. This book holds charm within its folds. Is it because of the delightful house set in Oxford complete with gazebo fairy lights? Is it batty work averse Lady Beryl or perhaps it’s the chemistry between the two main characters – who can tell, but the cupboard under the stairs scene will be remembered for quite a while! 

Available 27th September from Here