Monday, 18 September 2017

Blog Tour: The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club by Chrissie Manby, Q & A and Review


The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club by Chrissie Manby
Published: 21st September 2017
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Pages: 384
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating 5/5

Today I am super excited to be welcoming one of my favourite authors to the blog Chrissie Manby. Thank you so much Chrissie for taking the time to answer some of my questions about her writing and in particular her latest novel The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club.  So please enjoy this first stop on the blog tour for The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club and make sure you follow along with the other stops all week. 

Q & A with Chrissie Manby



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to become a writer?

What inspired me to become a writer?  Failing at becoming anything else!  Growing up in Gloucester, what I wanted to be was a fashion designer.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get much support for that career plan so I went off to Oxford to study Experimental Psychology instead, with a view to becoming a clinical psychologist.  I dropped off that career pathway when I got a 2:2, which meant I couldn’t get onto a graduate training course.  In a moment of desperation, I moved to London and became a temp.  I got a temp job at an audio book company, which is where I met science fiction writer David Garnett.  He dared me to write a novel (I’d already written and published several short stories). I took the dare up.  He passed my manuscript to his editor. She liked it.  And the rest is history!
The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club is your seventeenth ( I think) book, is it difficult to keep coming up with new ideas for books after so many?
It’s actually my twenty-second book as Chris / Chrissie Manby and my thirty-sixth book overall (I think!).  I also write as Stephanie Ash, Stella Knightley and Olivia Darling.  Coming up with ideas isn’t a problem for me (obviously).  Seeing them through to the end sometimes is. I am always suspicious of people who can’t come up with at least ten book ideas in a day.  It suggests to me that they’re really not engaged with the world around them.  Ideas are everywhere and if you’re going to be a novelist, you better learn how to spot them.
Can you sum up The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club in one sentence?

Three strangers, hopeless both in and out of the kitchen, find friendship and happiness through a beginners’ cookery class.
What was your inspiration for writing The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club?

Well, not cooking.  I’m a totally terrible cook and have very little interest in becoming a better one.  I was inspired more by all those smug healthy eating blogs in which twenty-two year olds bang on about their ‘journeys’ and call a slice of apple with a blob of peanut butter on it a ‘recipe’. They make me howl.  At twenty-two, you could live off chips and Tizer and still look like a goddess.  They should all sod off and come back when they’ve hit the perimenopause, then tell us about the healing powers of kale.
Liz, John and Bella are very different characters, which was your favourite and why?

Liz is my favourite because she gets all the laughs.  I love writing mad-cap funny characters.
How did you want readers to feel after reading The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club?

Inspired to post a five star review on Amazon? J

What can we expect to see from you next?

More Newbay (my made-up Devon town), more laughter, more cooking (totally made up. Do not try any of my recipes at home).
Who are some of your favourite authors?

I will read anything by Lucy Dillon, Juliet Ashton, Michele Gorman, Fiona Walker, Rebecca Chance and Alexandra Potter.  Also Anne Tyler, Carl Hiaasen and Michelle Lovric. Oh, and Alex Marwood writes amazing thrillers.
Which three books have you enjoyed reading the most so far this year?

Juliet Ashton’s The Woman at Number 24 was smashing.  We read it at my book club.  Everybody adored it! I’ve also enjoyed rereading Michelle Lovric’s Carnevale, which is set in the Venice of Casanova and Byron. It’s a huge book but every page just sings.  And last week I devoured The Other Woman by Laura Wilson, which is the cleverest, funniest thriller I’ve read in years.
How do you intend to celebrate publication day?

By working. Unless someone buys me a bottle of champagne. Hint hint!
Describe your writing process?
What a terrible question. Worse than ‘how long is a piece of string’.  It’s impossible to describe my writing process except to say that I plot really carefully, I work out how long I’ve got until my deadline, then I set myself a word count and stick to it.
What advice would you give to anyone wishing to pursue a writing career?

Write. Too many would-be writers spend more time worrying about how to get an agent than actually finishing their first book.  Having a whole manuscript ready to go puts you at a huge head start when it comes to getting an agent anyway.
Quick fire questions:

Tea of Coffee? Tea.
Sweet or Savoury? Both.
Cosy fires or summer sun? Both.
High heel or flats? Flat. Though I wish I could wear heels.
Drive or be driven? Drive. Definitely. Hate being a passenger.

Blurb
In the quaint seaside town of Newbay, a beginner's cookery course is starting. And three very different students have signed up...
Liz's husband has left her for a twenty-something clean-eating blogger, and she's determined to show the world - and her daughter - she's just as capable in the kitchen. John, newly widowed after fifty years of marriage, can't live on sympathy lasagnes forever. To thirty-year-old workaholic Bella, the course is a welcome escape from her high-pressure job. Their only common ground: between them, they can barely boil an egg!
Enter talented chef Alex, who is determined to introduce his pupils to the comforts of cuisine. As Liz, John and Bella encounter various disasters in the kitchen, the unlikely trio soon form a fast friendship. Their culinary skills might be catastrophic - but could the cookery club have given them a recipe for happiness?

Review
The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club is the latest novel by Chrissie Manby and features four people brought together at a cookery course run by chef Alex. Liz has joined the course after daughter Saskia has started has started taking more interest in the food cooked by Brittany, her husband’s new girlfriend who is a health food blogger rather than the luxury ready meals Liz dishes up. Bella has joined up to reignite her passion for cooking which has been lost since her father died and John has joined as he’s getting sick of not being able to fend for himself after his beloved wife Sonia has died. Throughout the six week course the three become friends along with Alex and all begin to deal with problems they’ve been hiding from.

The characters in this book are a little stereotypical but I think the way Chrissie Manby has added comedy to this novel makes the characters work perfectly together. Liz is your typical working mum in her late forties who’s having trouble with her philandering husband Ian and difficult teenager Saskia. Saskia seems to have started idolising Ian’s new girlfriend Brittany, deciding to be a vegetarian and turning her nose up at everything processed that Liz tries to feed her. Poor Liz, despite trying her best for her family she never seems to get it right and more than one cooking experience ends in disaster. My favourite moment involving Liz was the processed meat incident which had me in hysterics and still makes me smile when I think of it, I would so love to have been a guest in the hotel watching the whole scene. I also loved the inclusion of the Waggy Weight Loss club for Liz’s poor dog Ted, the rivalry at the meetings reminded me so much of weight loss groups I’ve attended for myself, brilliant fun to read about.

Liz was by far my favourite character in the book, both Bella and John seem to have more serious less chaotic lives. Bella has joined the cookery club to regain the passion she once had for food and despite numerous interruptions from her work as a duty solicitor, her love for food isn’t the only thing that gets reignited. It’s not long before Bella has decided to make some big changes in her life.  Even John has a little secret which he’s been keeping which added a little mystery to the book.

I loved everything about this book, it has a little romance, a little mystery, and great insights into family dynamics but most of all its hilarious. It’s Chrissie Manby at her absolute best and is the funniest book I’ve read all year. Thank you so much to Hodder and Netgalley for sending me a copy to review and inviting me to be part of the blog tour for The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club. Thank you also to Chrissie Manby for taking time to answer my questions, I can’t wait to read your next book.




Friday, 15 September 2017

Blog Tour Review : The Lost Sisters by Lindsey Hutchinson


The Lost Girls by Lindsey Hutchinson
Published: 1st September 2017
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 442
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
Orpha Buchanan and Peg Meriweather had a very different start in life. Orpha surrounded by wealth and riches, Peg dumped on a doorstep as a baby with nothing to her name but a scruffy blanket and tatty clothes. But one thing they had in common from their very first day, was a mother who despised them and wished them gone.
Hortense Buchanan wasn't made to be a mother. Bullied herself when she was a child, she continues the tradition with her own children, loving money and finery more than her own flesh and blood. When her daughter Orpha runs away from home, Hortense celebrates, never once worrying for her safety.
Circumstances bring Orpha and Peg together, and before long they're as close as family, making their way in the hustle and bustle of a booming Birmingham and the smoke-filled Black Country. But before long, Hortense realises that her daughter stands in the way of the one thing she really cares about, and the bitter legacy of the Buchanans looks set to destroy them all...

Review
The Lost Girls by Lindsey Hutchinson is just the type of family saga that I love to read, it was one where after just a few pages I was completely immersed in the story of the Buchanan’s.

Hortense Buchanan was not a woman cut out to be a mother, bullied by her own mother she has no love for her first born daughter. She takes the poor baby and leaves her on a doorstep in a neighbouring town, then claimed that gypsies took the little girl. When she is blessed with a second child Hortense is no different and makes poor Orpha’s life a misery. Until one day when Hortense so jealous of her own daughter throws her out and says she’ll kill her if she returns.

For many girls of fourteen this would have been a disaster and they probably would of ended up in the workhouse or worse but for Orpha it’s a relief to be away from her dreadful mother. Luck shines on the young girl and she finds herself taken in by some kind people who give her a roof over her head, money in her pocket and a taste for the delights of chocolate making.

Eventually Orpha decides that she must try to be reunited with her father who she misses very much, but this time fate decides to throw Peg Merriweather in her path. Peg is a little older than Orpha but the resemblance between them is unmistakable, both sharing sparkling emerald eyes. Having found her long lost sister, Orpha finds a home at last but it’s not long before thoughts turn to her father once more. Again Orpha sets off to reunite her family but this time she unravels more drama and secrets surrounding the Buchanan family.

I loved this book, I’ve read quite a few family saga books this year and this one is my favourite so far. I just loved the way that just when you think everything has all settled down for the characters another twist occurs and there’s more drama. I loved all the drama, even the bits which are a little far-fetched were thoroughly enjoyable. Despite being a long book I never felt the story dragged as so much was going on with the many characters.

This book has to have one of the worst mothers ever written about, Hortense Buchanan is a disgrace! Never have I known someone stoop so low just to get some money, she was a truly horrible character with little or no remorse for her actions. Saying that I thought she was very well written and a great character to have in the book. I like Orpha and Peg but Hortense was the one I enjoyed reading about the most.

The Lost Sisters is a book about revenge, families, murder, redemption, secrets and lies and even a little romance. It has a darker tone than many family saga books and there is a lot of violence so it may not appeal to all readers. For me it was a winner and not just because of the chocolate.

Thank you so much to Aria and Netgalley for the review copy and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour. I’m looking forward to reading more books from Lindsey in the future.

About the Author



Lindsey lives in Shropshire with her husband. She has a son and a daughter and three beautiful grandchildren. She is the daughter of million-copy bestselling author Meg Hutchinson.
Follow Lindsey
Twitter: @LHutchAuthor
Facebook: Lindsey Hutchinson








Saturday, 2 September 2017

Blog Tour Review: One Day in December by Shari Low


One Day in December by Shari Low
Published: 1st September 2017
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 296
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
One morning in December...

Caro set off on a quest to find out if her relationship with her father had been based on a lifetime of lies.

Lila decided today would be the day that she told her lover's wife of their secret affair.

Cammy was on the way to pick up the ring for the surprise proposal to the woman he loved.

And Bernadette vowed that this was the day she would walk away from her controlling husband of 30 years and never look back.

One day, four lives on a collision course with destiny...


Review

One Day in December is the latest book by Shari Low who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. In this book we follow the lives of four very different people as they set out to make today the day that changed their lives.

Caro is on her way to Glasgow to find out if she has a half-sister. After looking through Facebook she found a picture of her dad with another girl who looked like his daughter. Her father walked out on her and her mother a few years early and hasn’t been heard of since, with her mother dying it’s time for Caro to get some answers.

Lyla’s has enough of being a mistress and after seven years she doesn’t want to share no more. She wants the glory of being the trophy wife so sets out to tell her lovers wife about his cheating ways so she can keep him for herself.

Bernadette has decided today is the day she leaves husband Ken and their loveless and controlling marriage and starts a life of her own. With best-friend Sarah she sets out to put her carefully laid out plans into action.

Cam is nervous. After many hints from his girlfriend about marriage he’s finally decided that today is the day he will propose. Dragging friends Josie and Val along to help finalise all his plans can Cam make this a proposal to remember.

By midnight all of these four lives will have changed as they become tangled together. Will any of them get their happy ever after?

I loved this book so much, Shari Low is an excellent storyteller and this just unravelled at such a pace make very addictive reading. One thing that makes this book work so well is the day is split into two hour sections for each of our four main characters. This built up the suspense as we find out what their plans are and how they all become connected at the end. The drama builds right from early morning and for some their day goes according to plan. For others problems arise giving them obstacles to overcome, which lead to some comical moments as frustrations rise.

Shari Low has created some great characters in this book but my favourite had to be Lyla. She’s the sort of girl you just love to hate because she behaves like the rules don’t apply to her just because she is rich and beautiful. I loved her interactions with other characters and her endless need to take selfies for her Instagram account.  

I also loved the reappearance of Val and Josie from Shari’s previous book A Life Without You, it was lovely to see these two characters in a happier setting showing just how fun loving and sneaky they really can be.

I loved everything about this book it has great characters with each main character having their own great plotline which all come together to form an explosive and hilarious finale. Shari has brought drama to small everyday situations making this book a joy to read from start to finish. It’s been one of my favourite reads of the year so far and cemented Shari’s place in my list of must read authors. I’m lucky that Shari has quite a back catalogue to enjoy while I wait for her to write her next stunning success.

Thank you so much to Aria and Netgalley for sending me a copy to review and to the publishers for inviting me on the blog tour.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

A Life Without You by Shari Low

A Life Without You: An emotional page-turner to make you laugh and cry

A Life Without You by Shari Low
Published: 1st April 2017
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 378
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
30-year-old Dee Harper and her husband, Joe, are blissfully happy. Everyday she makes her loyal parents Val & Don incredibly proud.
Jen
has been her best friend and 'adopted sister' since their days of teenage crushes, bad 90's make-up and huge hair.

They are just like any other group of family and friends, living life, getting by with equal measures of love and laughter.

Until one day everything changes.
Dee
is gone, killed by a reckless driver, leaving the people she loved to deal with their grief in different ways.
A marriage is rocked as a parent becomes consumed with seeking justice. A husband struggles to accept the loss of his wife and their future. And a friend discovers that there were shocking secrets that went unshared.
But all of them have to learn that the only way forward is to let go of the past.

Review
A Life Without You is the first book I’ve read by Shari Low and despite its sad start it was a book I adored. Jen and Dee have known each other for ever and are more like sisters than best friends, especially after Jen moved in with Dee and her family in her teenage years. So imagine her devastation when Jen suddenly finds herself without Dee by her side. One minute Dee was alive and bouncing around the street, the next she’s gone a joy-rider hits her head on and kills her instantly. After Dee’s funeral is over, Jen’s boyfriend of fifteen years Pete decides it’s time to tell her their relationship is over and he’s moving out and for the first time in years Jen finds herself completely  alone.

Jen’s not the only one devastated by Dee’s death, husband Luke is lost without his perfect wife and turns to her for comfort. Dee’s parents are also struggling and begin to drift apart, Dee dad goes into his own little world trying to get through the day the best he can. Val, Dee’s mum is the one who seems the hardest hit by the loss of her daughter. On the outside she puts on a brave face but when alone she struggles to hold it together. It was so sad to read from Val’s perspective but Shari Low has done an excellent job in conveying the overwhelming heartbreak felt by Val. How do you really get over the loss of a child, well for Val it’s to start a one woman crusade to gain justice for her daughter? The stakeout scenes with her and best friend Josie were very funny and brought a lightness to these emotional parts.

I loved reading about Jen’s journey as she tries to follow Dee’s dream and keep their travel business alive. As Jen delves into Dee’s world of travel blogging she begins to realise that her best friend had secrets and wasn’t quite as perfect as everyone else believes.  

With the story being told from Jen, Luke and Val’s perspectives we learn a lot about Dee and how much she loved life and much of a whole she has left in the three people closest to her. I loved how the story developed and was glad there were moments which made me laugh as well as cry throughout this brilliantly told tale.

Shari Low is an excellent storyteller and has taken a very tragic storyline and handled it realistically and sensitively. She has created some great characters who I loved reading about and I’m glad they were able to realise they were all capable of a life without Dee.

Thank you to Netgalley and Aria for this review copy, I loved this book and can’t wait to read more by Shari Low.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Blog Tour Review: The Girls of Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35086720-the-girls-of-mulberry-lane?ac=1&from_search=true

The Girls of Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke
Published: 1st August 2017
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 340
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Blurb
Love, marriage, birth, death and betrayal make up life in Mulberry Lane, perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries and Cathy Sharp.
Maureen Jackson is a prisoner of her father's blackmail. Three years ago, she'd been hoping to marry Rory, the man of her dreams. However after her mother's death Maureen was left to care and work for the overbearing father who claimed he couldn't manage without her. Now Rory is back in London with a pregnant wife in tow and reminds Maureen of the life that should have been hers.
Janet Ashley is the daughter of Peggy and Laurence, landlords of the local pub The Dog and Pheasant on Mulberry Lane. With the war looming, Janet hopes to marry her sweetheart Mike, but her father refuses to grant them his blessing. Going against his wishes Janet finds herself pregnant and Peggy is determined to hold her family together at all costs.
The Girls of Mulberry Lane is the first in a series set in London's East End during WW2.

Review

The Girls of Mulberry Lane is the first novel I’ve read by Rosie Clarke and it tells the tale of three women who live on the lane Maureen, Peggy and her daughter Janet and their changing lives as war breaks out.

Maureen lives with her father and runs the local grocery store. Maureen gave up her dreams of marrying Rory the love of her life when her mother died and her father begged her to stay with him. Years later Maureen is regretting the decision as she’s beginning to feel trapped and when she meets Rory again and finds out he’s married someone else her heart breaks a little more. Maureen tries to open her heart to other men but despite his unavailability its Rory she still yearns for.

Peggy runs the local pub the Pig & Whistle with her husband Laurence. She’s an optimistic and hard-working women who just wants the best for her family, keeping them happy and safe when the war breaks out. Peggy seems the typical lovable landlady and is a favourite among the residents of Mulberry Lane as she is always seeming to be helping someone.

Peggy’s daughter Janet is eighteen and desperately in love with Mike, she’s looking forward to being married to Mike and living round the corner from her mum and being settled and happy. When Mike’s brother returns from the Navy and convinces Mike it’s something he should do to Janet’s future plans look set to be destroyed.

As war breaks out things change on Mulberry Lane and all three of these women have life changing journeys to work through. Janet is the one who has to face the biggest changes in her life as her love for Mike means she must make some difficult decisions which lead her through some traumatic times. I loved that despite the difficulties she faces Janet remains optimistic for her happy ever after and shows she may be young but she has an incredible amount of inner strength.

Maureen also faces big changes in her life as she tries to move on from loving Rory. I loved how much more confident she grew with wise words from her gran and friend Anne. Maureen’s gran was one of my favourite additional characters and regardless of her age she seems to go on and on. I loved how she wasn’t won over by her son’s devious ways and looking out for Maureen was her number one priority.

Peggy’s changes are not as dramatic as the other two girls as she realises her happy marriage is not as it seems but perhaps Peggy has further to go on her journey in the next Mulberry Lane book (fingers crossed).

I loved the way Rosie Clarke has totally captured the spirit of East End life in this book, warts and all. Even though the majority of the plot is just ordinary life as the residents adapt to the new wartime ways I found it fascinating. Among the more loveable characters such as Peggy, Maureen and Janet there are also some devious and truly awful people brought to life just as well, Rory’s wife Velma being at the top, she was such a heartless character with no shame.

As the book drew to a close each characters story is tied up loosely enough to end the book well but there is also things left which can be developed into another book which I loved. I enjoyed everything about this book and it was full of drama, romance and secrets and I found it a perfect example of its genre.

Thank you so much to Aria for the copy to review and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.





Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

Wilde Like Me

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland
Published: 1st July 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
Pages: 400
Available in Hardcover and on Kindle
Rating: 4/5

Blurb
You'll never forget the day you meet Robin Wilde!

Robin Wilde is an awesome single mum. She's great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and little Lyla Blue to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine.

But behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things sometimes feel . . . grey. And lonely.

After 4 years (and 2 months and 24 days!) of single-mum-dom, it's time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life!

A little courage, creativity and help from the wonderful women around her go a long way. And Robin is about to embark on quite an adventure . . .

Review
I was sent a sampler of Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland from the publishers and after reading it I was desperate to read the rest of Robin’s story, luckily for me I was then sent the full copy to review but this is one of those books I think every woman should read.
Robin has been a single mum to Lyla for just over four years and on the outside she appears to have everything sorted. She’s an amazing mum to Lyla, great at her job as a make-up artist and loved by those closest to her, best friend Lacey and Auntie Kath. But on the inside Robin is struggling with life and on many days she feels grey and alone. She struggles to connect with fellow school mums, goes from one dating disaster to the next and fights to find anything in her cluttered up house.  One day Robin decides enough is enough and it’s time to get her life back on track. As Robin starts to grab life with both hands things start to happen and maybe….just maybe Robin can have the life she longs for.
I loved Robin from page one of this book she’s full of sass and attitude and such overwhelming love for daughter Lyla that you just can’t help but cheer for her. I could totally identify with her moments of uncertainty about her life, we’ve all been through rough times and what I loved about Robin was she never gave up.
I wasn’t totally convinced by her whole concept of needing a man to feel complete, especially some of the men which meets for dates, but towards the end of the novel she loses this notion and realises she’s great on her own.
I found this book extremely light-hearted and full of fun even though there are some more serious themes making appearances.  One of my favourite scenes involved Robin’s daughter Lyla playing on her phone and having a go on Tinder, so funny to read how mortified Robin is. Another of my favourite scenes involved the Easter Bonnet completion at school. I just loved the reactions of most of the characters in this scene, just brilliant.
I have not encountered Louise Pentland in the world of YouTube so have no pre-conceptions of her as an author. I really enjoyed reading Wilde Like Me for the light-hearted and inspiring book its meant to be. For me it would make the ideal relaxation read, perfect for a beach holiday. I’d love to read more of Robin’s story whether it mirrors Louise’s own life or not.
Thank you to Emily at Bonnier Zaffre for sending me a copy to review.


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Blog Tour Review: The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34818163-the-room-by-the-lake?ac=1&from_search=true

The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin
Published: 10th August 2017
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 310
Available in Hardcover and on Kindle
Rating: 4/5

Blurb
When Caitlin left London for New York, she thought she'd left her problems behind: her alcoholic father, her dead mother, the unrelenting pressure to succeed. But now, down to her last dollar in a strange city, she is desperately lonely.
Then she finds Jake. Handsome, smart, slightly damaged Jake. And he wants her to meet his family.
He takes her to a lake house in the middle of the woods – in the middle of nowhere. The community there live off-grid. They believe in regular exercise and group therapy. And they're friendly. Really friendly.
Turns out they're not Jake's real family – but isn't family exactly what she's running from?
But as the days drift by, Caitlin starts to feel uneasy. Now that she's no longer running, does she risk getting lost forever?

Review
Emma Dibdin’s debut novel The Room by the Lake is a cleverly written and chilling insight into cult life experienced through our main character Caitlin’s eyes.

Caitlin has arrived in New York after fleeing London and her troubles. Her mother has recently died and she can’t bear to fight with her father over his alcoholism anymore. So she leaves her house, throws her phone in the river and gets on a plane to New York. But now she’s here she desperately lonely, bored and starting to run out of money. Then one night she meets Jake, handsome rugged and slightly damaged she’s instantly drawn to him. After spending a week together Jake asks her to come and visit his family’s lake house a few hours away. Reluctantly Caitlin agrees but she’s not sure more family is what she needs. When she arrives she realises they are not his actual family but a group of people living off-grid and following a regime of exercise, mind therapy and special diets. They seem friendly enough so Caitlin agrees to stay for a while but it’s not long before she starts to get an uneasy feeling about exactly what is going on in this lakeside community.

Right from the start this book made me feel a little unnerved and I felt worried for Caitlin, who seems very lost. She tries to strike up random conversations with strangers in order to become part of their world but this doesn’t work and leaves her more desperate. When she meets Jake she feels like she’s struck gold he seems perfect as he gives her the affection she’s been longing for. I found it very scary just how easily Caitlin was convinced to stay at the lakeside community. She doesn’t seem to question any part of the authority which leader figure Don has instilled in her almost instantly, but then this is what Caitlin has been craving from her father, someone to set boundaries and give punishments.

The majority of the other characters in this book remain a little vague but this works well in the setting they are in, all their personalities seem to mould together and form a united view of the world. The only character other than Jake and Caitlin that I liked was Tyra. There are moments when we see the fun loving cheeky girl she used to be, I wish there had been more of these moments.

There is an eeriness to this book which slowly builds throughout the book making it a very gripping story as you want to read more to find out what this bad thing you’re dreading is. Emma Dibdin has created the perfect atmosphere for this genre and created a very intense read which you won’t be able to put down. As a debut novel I think The Room by the Lake is brilliant and I’m looking forward to what Emma Dibdin has to offer next.

Thank you to Head of Zeus for sending me this copy to review and for inviting me on this blog tour.