Title: The Wayward Girls

Author: Amanda Mason

Pages: 480 Pages

Publisher: Zaffre

The Blurb

THEN

1976. Loo and her sister Bee live in a run-down cottage in the middle of nowhere, with their artistic parents and wild siblings. Their mother, Cathy, had hoped to escape to a simpler life; instead the family find themselves isolated and shunned by their neighbours. At the height of the stifling summer, unexplained noises and occurences in the house begin to disturb the family, until they intrude on every waking moment . . .

NOW

Loo, now Lucy, is called back to her childhood home. A group of strangers are looking to discover the truth about the house and the people who lived there. But is Lucy ready to confront what really happened all those years ago?

The Girls meets The Little Stranger in this dark and captivating debut about sisterhood, family secrets, and a dangerous game that becomes all too real.

The Review

The Wayward Girls is a surprising novel about what it means to grow up.

Loo and Bee spend the summer of 1976 bored at home with their mother and siblings. They have moved to a new house and are being homeschooled and the locals of the village think they are weird. Things do not improve when Loo and Bee claim that the house is haunted by a poltergeist.

When a local paranormal society get wind of the strange activity, then an investigation begins into trying to deal with the horrors that have befallen the family.

Alongside the backdrop of a haunted house, Loo is desperately trying to fight for position with her older siblings Bee and Dan. She tends to be influenced by their whims and often falls into line when the dominant Bee snaps her fingers.

She is also the one who is most connected to the spirit haunting the house.

Fast forward to the future and the events of that summer are still haunting Loo. Things are about to get worse when the case gets reopened.

I enjoyed reading The Wayward Girls. At times it was genuinely creepy and as a reader you were left feeling uneasy and often doubted the events that were happening. I do feel that it was a little too long and could have had a bit of it shaved off and it wouldn’t have had any major impact on the outcome of the novel. It is a good read for the upcoming autumnal months.

The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason is available now.

For more information regarding Amanda Mason (@amandajanemason) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Zaffre (@ZaffreBooks) please visit www.bonnierbooks.co.uk.

Title: The Familiars

Author: Stacey Halls

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Zaffre

The Blurb

IN 1612 IN LANCASTER, ENGLAND, THE HUNT FOR WITCHES IS RAMPANT…

BUT IN A TIME OF SUSPICION AND ACCUSATION, TO BE A WOMAN IS THE GREATEST RISK OF AL

1612 Pendle Hill

Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth is with child again. As the mistress of Gawthorpe Hall, she is anxious to provide her husband with an heir. But none of her previous pregnancies have come to term. Then she discovers a hidden letter from her physician that warns her husband that she will not survive another pregnancy.

Distraught over the frightening revelation, Fleetwood wanders the woods of Pendle Hill, where she meets a young local woman named Alice Gray. A midwife, Alice promises Fleetwood she can help her deliver a healthy baby. But soon Alice is drawn into the frenzied accusations of witchcraft sweeping the countryside. Even the woodland creatures, the “familiars,” are suspected of practicing the dark arts. Can Fleetwood trust that Alice is really who she says she is?

As the two women’s lives become intertwined, Fleetwood must risk everything to prove Alice’s innocence in order to save her own unborn child. The hunt for witches reaches fever pitch. Time is running out. The trials are about to begin. Both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.

Set against the Pendle Witch Trials of 1612, this rich and compelling novel draws its characters from historical figures as it explores the lives and rights of seventeenth-century women, ultimately raising the question: Is witch-hunting really just women-hunting?

The Review

The Familiars is a story about women. It is set in 1612, a time when women (and occasionally but rarely, men) were accused of witchcraft – something that is often associated with Salem in America equally happened in various parts of Britain. The Pendle Witch Trials provide the backdrop to this story but it is so much more than that.

The Familiars explores the role of women, the role of medicine and the role of friendship – all of which play a part in this evocative story of young Fleetwood Shuttleworth who has to come to terms with her impending motherhood, death, and the insidious role of the patriarchy.

I bloody loved it. I will admit that it is very rare that my reading takes me back further than Victorian times but I am so glad that I picked up this book. It was so evocative and all consuming. I found myself yelling at the book, feeling claustrophobic at times and had a visceral feeling of injustice. It truly is a fabulous story.

The Familiars by Stacey Halls is available now.

For more information regarding Stacey Halls (@stacey_halls) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Zaffre (@ZaffreBooks) please visit www.bonnierbooks.co.uk.

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken HeartThe Blurb

A hilarious new romantic comedy for fans of Lindsey Kelk and Jane Costello from Anna Bell, the bestselling author of Don’t Tell the Groom.

Abi’s barely left her bed since Joseph, the love of her life, dumped her, saying they were incompatible. When Joseph leaves a box of her possessions on her doorstep, she finds a bucket list of ten things she never knew he wanted to do. What better way to win him back than by completing the list, and proving they’re a perfect match?

But there’s just one problem – or rather, ten. Abi’s not exactly the outdoorsy type, and she’s absolutely terrified of heights – not ideal for a list that includes climbing a mountain, cycling around the Isle of Wight and, last but not least, abseiling down the tallest building in town . . .

Completing the list is going to need all Abi’s courage – and a lot of help from her friends. But as she heals her broken heart one task at a time, the newly confident Abi might just have a surprise in store . . .

The Review

Recently, my boyfriend and I went to stay at The Shard. We stayed there because he was turning thirty and it was on his bucket list. We got to talking about bucket lists and I realised that I don’t have one. Sure, there were some things that I would like to do but I have never considered them bucket list material more life goals.

I took our conversation as a sign to read The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell and maybe figure out if I had any bucket list material to work with.

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart is about thirty year old designer Abi who has recently been dumped by her boyfriend of one year. Abi, understandably feels shocked and confused. Joseph, her ex, was who she saw herself spending the rest of her life with, was the one. When he unceremoniously does the obligatory returning of the other person’s property, Abi finds Joseph’s life bucket list and sets on an adventure as she tries to complete Joseph’s list in a misguided effort to win him back.

But life doesn’t always follow the best laid plans…

I really liked The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart because the drama started straight away. There wasn’t a long drawn out inciting incident. I knew the premise straight away. I also loved Bell’s characters, more so because they seemed ordinary and real. Abi didn’t seem to be this ostentatious girl who almost sought out drama. The way she acted, her logic about how she would get her boyfriend back was relatable. We have all been there. Abi was likable in her ordinariness. Bell also makes a really fanciable male lead – phwoar to Ben!

Overall though, what I liked about The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart is that it has got me thinking about my own bucket list. Yes, this book has made me think.

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell is a lovely read, it is heart-warming and funny. It is a realistic view of modern day romance and it was a joy to read.

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell is available now.

Follow Anna Bell (@AnnaBell_writes) on Twitter.

4 Stars