Dot Scribbles


BOOK REVIEW: The Beachside Guest House by Vanessa Greene

When Rosa and Bee get together in the run up to Bee's wedding, they reminisce about the holiday they took together as teenagers to the beautiful Greek island of Paros. They remember the sandy coves, the guest house in the converted windmill where they stayed with their friend Iona, and the gorgeous local men. As memories of that long-forgotten holiday resurface, they are forced to confront the turns their lives have taken and the guilt they both feel about letting Iona slip away from them.
When they learn that the windmill guesthouse is going bust, they form a plan: why not go back to the island and take it over themselves. And so begins a life-changing journey because it turns out that opening a guest house and reliving their teenage dreams isn't that easy. 

Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 371

Somehow I missed Vanessa Greene's last book, The Seafront Tearooms but I loved her first book The Vintage Teacup Club. The Beachside Guesthouse is full of the same warmth and friendship, with a beautiful Greek island location thrown in.
Vanessa Greene gives us three fantastic female leads, Rosa, Bee and Iona, The three girls visited the small of island of Paros when they were teenagers and they fell in love with the place. Years later they hear that the converted windmill they stayed in is up for sale so Bee and Rosa decide to return there to set up a guesthouse and build a new future. They let Iona know of their plans via letter but they don't expect a response seen as she bizarrely cut them out of her life several years ago,
All three women have different lives and struggles since being on Paros last time. How different will the island be now they are seeing it through adult eyes and how welcoming will the locals be of their new business venture?
I enjoyed Vanessa Greene's writing style, it is very warm and welcoming but also extremely witty in places. There is so much to interest the reader within the story; a new business venture; exploring the island; old relationships; new relationships, winning round the locals but most of all the book is about friendship and the important impact it can have.
The Greek island setting for this book was perfect and Vanessa Greene's descriptions were beautiful.  I could imagine the crystal clear waters, the sun setting and the sounds and smells coming from the local markets and tavernas.
The Beachside Guesthouse is a really lovely read that I would highly recommend. This summer has been a bit of a disappointment weather-wise so why not allow Vanessa Greene to transport you to a beautiful island in the glittering Mediterranean sun?

Many thanks to the lovely people at Sphere for sending me a copy of this book to review. 


BOOK REVIEW AND GIVE-AWAY: The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

One of Sarah's daughter's died. But does she know which one?
A year after one of their identical daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcroft move to a tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.
But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie claims they have mistaken her identity- that she in fact, is Lydia- their world comes crashing down once again.
As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past- what really happened on that fateful day one of their daughters died?

Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 373

Ooh this was good! The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne is brilliantly creepy and intriguing.
Sarah and Angus lost Lydia, one of their twin daughters a year ago in a tragic accident. They have moved to a tiny Scottish island with their remaining daughter Kirstie to rebuild their lives. Sarah is taken aback though when Kirstie says that she is actually Lydia and it was Kirstie who died. Sarah cannot process this information; the twins are identical, did they make a mistake? Is Lydia still alive? As Kirstie's behaviour becomes more and more disturbing and erratic, Sarah must face up to the past and what really happened on the day of her daughter's death.
I thought that S.K. Tremayne built up such a creepy, spine-tingling atmosphere in this book. Sarah becomes almost frightened of her own child which is terrifying in itself. There is so much isolation in the book; Kirstie is isolated from her dead sister; Sarah and Angus are isolated from each other due to their grief ans the whole family is physically isolated from the world on their tiny little island.
This atmospheric thriller is perfect for this time of year, the plot and the characters are well crafted and S.K. Tremayne's writing gave me goosebumps on several occasions, highly recommended.

Many thanks to the lovely people at Harper Collins for sending me a review copy, I also have a paperback copy of this book to give away! Simply leave a comment below and I will pick a winner out of the hat after one week! Only open to UK residents. 


BOOK REVIEW: The Crucifix Killer by Chris Carter

Cross your heart and hope to die. Quickly.
In a derelict house in LA , a young woman is found savagely murdered. Naked, strung from two wooden posts, the skin has been ripped from her face- while she was still alive. On the nape of her neck is carved a strange double-cross: the signature of a psychopath known as the Crucifix Killer.
But that's  not possible. Because two years ago, the Crucifix Killer was caught and executed. Could this be the work of a copycat? Or is Homicide Detective Robert Hunter forced to face the unthinkable? Is the real Crucifix Killer still out there, taunting Hunter with his inability to catch him?
Robert Hunter and his rookie partner are about to enter a nightmare beyond imagining...

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 423

This book was so, so good! It only took me just over a day to read and now I just want to read all of Chris Carter's other books. I have seen the fabulous Victoria Loves Books talking about this author so I decided to give him a go and I'm so glad I did.
The Crucifix Killer is one of the best thrillers I have read. Chris Carter does not mess about, he takes you right into the thick of it on the very first page. I would say that this book would not be good for any squeamish readers as the author goes into quite graphic detail about the awful acts that the victim's experience.
Detective Robert Hunter was my favourite part of the book. I think we only scratch the surface in the first book but I already want to know more. He has some of the classic detective cliché's; insomnia, drink problems, bad shoes but he is very likeable and interesting. His battle with the Crucifix Killer is intense, he wants nothing more than to stop this monster but at what cost to himself?
The other character's in this book were well crafted and I enjoyed the way Carter depicted the L.A. underworld where the law certainly isn't upheld as they have their own rules and forms of punishment.
I really enjoy thrillers but I have always struggled to to find writers that I particularly enjoy within this genre. Tess Gerritsen is my go-to author for this type of book but I think if I enjoy Chris Carter's other books as much as this one then Gerritsen may be knocked off the top spot.


BOOK REVIEW: Pleasure Island by Anna Lou Weatherley

Secrets. Scandal. Betrayal. In Paradise, pleasure comes at a dangerously high price...
The host: Martin McKenzie, global billionaire and media mogul. Charismatic, powerful and always gets what he wants.
The location: A breathtakingly beautiful undiscovered island, nestled in the Aegean Sea. Private, secluded and not quite as it seems.
The details: Seven  days of pure hedonism, five-star luxury tailored to every desire, also includes... secrets, lies and infidelity.
As the guests begin to enjoy everything the luxury island has to offer, cracks begin to surface between the three couples. But that is not all. Someone is watching them. When they discover the truth- it will be explosive in more ways than they can ever imagine. 

Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 340

Pleasure Island by Anna Lou Weatherley is such a fun read. It really reminded me of books I have read by Victoria Fox; it is a perfect holiday read as it will keep you entertained from start to finish.
Martin McKenzie is a billionaire and media mogul. Hugely successful but also hugely disliked; he rarely does something unless it will benefit himself. So it comes as a surprise when he invites three couples to Pleasure Island for an all expenses paid trip of utter luxury and hedonism. All three couples are obviously wary but how will they react when they discover that they are being watched and what will the consequences of that be?
Pleasure Island has a very good pace, I was so shocked by the events of the first few chapters that I just had to keep on reading. I think the shock at the start of the book makes it stand out from others in this genre. I was not expecting it at all and it added another element to the book.
Pleasure Island is heavily concerned with secrets, scandals and betrayal so many of the characters are not very nice. Often though, I find that villains are usually the more interesting characters and Pleasure Island definitely has it's fair share.
Anna Lou Weatherley has written a brilliantly engaging and entertaining book which looks at the lengths people will go to in order to achieve fame and success. Pleasure Island will shock and surprise you and I recommend you read it, another great book from Bookouture.


BOOK REVIEW: The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby

On a sunny morning in November 1963, President and Mrs Kennedy are greeted by ecstatic crowds in Dallas.
Across the country at an exclusive Manhattan atelier, is Kate, the Irish seamstress responsible for much of Mrs Kennedy's wardrobe. She has never met the first lady, but she savours her connection. After all, she knows every tuck and pleat the beautiful clothes need to create the illusion of physical perfection.
Then comes the dreadful day when pictures of Kate's handiwork, splattered with the President's blood, are beamed across the world... 

Publisher: Virago
Pages: 310

The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby is a beautifully written, enthralling book. It mixes historical fact with fiction, producing a fascinating story that I was completely taken by.
Kate is the seamstress at Chez Ninon and they make beautiful clothes for the First Lady at their atelier in New York. The First Lady has been criticised for wearing French clothes so Chez Ninon make reproductions of French pieces; the famous pink suit was by Chanel and Kate spends so many hours reproducing it so that it fits the First Lady perfectly. She becomes obsessed by it and has no idea just how iconic that suit will become one fateful day.
Kelby explores the role of women; the First Lady is almost mirrored by Kate. Jackie Kennedy appears to have it all; the fame, the fortune, the beautiful clothes but how much of that is because of the man she married? Kate is extremely talented and driven; she is passionate about fashion yet she knows she needs to take a husband but that may mean giving up on her dreams.
The Pink Suit offers a detailed and fascinating insight into the world of designers and couture clothing. Obviously times have changed but in this niche fashion world, traditions and standards are revered so I imagine many practices are the same. The author's research was obvious throughout and she really brought the Manhattan atelier to life.
I highly recommend this book, the mixture of fact and fiction is brilliantly done, you will be not be disappointed.

Many thanks to Emily for sending me a copy of this book to review. 


Author Sleepover for Macmillan Cancer and Breast Cancer Now Charities

Author readings announced for inaugural event industry sleepover
Top authors, Haley Hill and Amanda Prowse, will be reading from their own works as part of a rich and varied programme for the first ever, event industry sleepover to take place on 17 September at Olympia London. This all night event exclusively for women and in aid of Macmillian Cancer Trust and Breast Cancer Now charities, offers something for everyone, with book readings added to cocktail mixing classes, yoga, film screenings and much more.
Haley Hill will be reading from her debut novel It’s Got to be Perfect , which draws on first hand stories she encountered after a dramatic career change in her mid-twenties. Haley went from working in the pharmaceutical industry to becoming the founder of the Elect Club dating agency, the UK’s leading matchmaking agency. Anecdotes resulting from that time resulted in this cracking novel, which reached both No. 1 in the Amazon Humour and the Hot New Releases charts.
Amanda Prowse is a bestselling novelist and short story writer. Her latest works include A Mother’s Story and Perfect Daughter. Her many successes include being Writer in Residence on ITV’s This Morning, achieving wide fame with her debut novel Poppy Day and reaching 130K followers on Twitter.
Anna Golden, Commercial Director at Olympia London, said: “Everyone enjoys a book before bed, so we’re delighted to welcome these two brilliant authors to our first ever, industry sleepover at Olympia London. As an event honouring the achievements of women in events, it will be great to learn how these two ladies have achieved success in the competitive world of fiction writing - as well as hear some great stories!”
Tickets cost £30 with proceeds to Macmillian Cancer Trust and Breast Cancer Now.
Olympia London, REED, EasyFairs, Media 10, Mash Media and others are sponsoring entry for their employees. See 'Useful Links' section on the event page for the template to ask your big bosses to do the same! Or see more at:
Timings and venue:
From 6pm, Olympia National
What to bring:
Bring your ticket confirmation, pyjamas, sleeping bag, pillow and matt. Creative food and drink options will be available but a beautiful picnic area will also be provided for those who want to bring their own.
Sleeping arrangements
Sleeping overnight is optional, come for as long or as little as you like!
About Olympia London

Olympia London is more than an exhibition venue, conference centre and live-event space. It’s an inspiration. Against a backdrop of grand Victorian architecture, the seven connected spaces inspire engagement and enjoyment.

The recent £45 million refurbishment provides world class facilities for visitors and new-found flexibility for events of every size, bringing modern facilities and British heritage together.


BLOG TOUR: The Girl Who Broke the Rules by Marnie Riches

When the mutilated bodies of two sex-workers are found in Amsterdam, Chief Inspector, van den Bergen must find a brutal murderer before the red-light district erupts into panic.
Georgina McKenzie is conducting research into pornography among the UK's most violent sex offenders but once van den Bergen calls on her criminology expertise, she is only too happy to come running.
The rising death toll forces George and van den Bergen to navigate the labyrinth worlds of Soho strip-club sleaze and trans-national human trafficking. And with the case growing ever more complicated, George must walk the halls of Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, seeking advice from the brilliant serial murderer, Dr Silas Holm.

Publisher: Maze
Pages: 391

Marnie Riches is officially my Queen of 'Euro Crime'. I thought that her first book, The Girl Who Wouldn't Die was fantastic but The Girl Who Broke the Rules is even better.
We are back with Georgina McKenzie again, she is in Cambridge studying for her PhD, she is researching pornography amongst violent sex offenders. Georgina is still in touch with van den Bergen and it is he who calls her back to Amsterdam as he needs her help. The bodies of two sex-workers have been found, their remains are testament to a brutal death and van den Bergen knows he is looking for a dangerous, twisted murderer.
Once again Marnie Riches drops you right into the thick of the action from the very first page. Her story-telling is gritty, exciting and enthralling. The murders are gruesome and the author does not shy away from the details.
The dynamic between Georgina and van den Bergen is explored more in this book, Riches builds the tension beautifully and I was just screaming at them to give into each other and their true feelings.
As with Riches' first book, the pace is fast and there are so many twists and turns; you have to keep your wits about you. There are quite a few characters in this book and at first I couldn't see how they were connected but Marnie Riches subtly brings them together and ties up all of the loose ends.
I felt that we got to know individual members of van den Bergen's team which was very interesting to see how they worked together and who the detective felt he could trust within his team.
The Girl Who Broke the Rules kept me up very late, I got to the end of each chapter and just wanted more. Marnie Riches has created a fantastic series of books and it will be interesting to see what is in store for these characters next.

Many thanks for being involved in this blog tour, please check out the blog poster on my side-bar to find out where you can go next!  


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