Today I am helping to end the blog tour for My Secret Sister by Lauren Westwood. I enjoyed this one. There is also an international giveaway going on for e-copies of the novel!
Two DNA tests, one big lie…
“As I speed off in the ambulance holding my daughter’s hand, I wonder how I could have been so stupid. I should have made the bargain, paid the price – anything to avoid being right here, right now.
A voice whispers in my head that I can’t silence. This is all your fault. You killed her. It’s her voice, the one I hear in my nightmares. The woman who stole my memories, the woman who stole my life. And, this time, I know she’s right.”
How far would you go to save your child?
Claire is living every mother’s worst nightmare. Her daughter, Jess, has been diagnosed with a rare illness and desperately needs a bone marrow transplant. With no match on the registry, Claire turns to a charismatic geneticist for help and embarks on a Genetic Journey to seek a familial match for her daughter.
On the other side of the country, Marianne suffers her eighth miscarriage. Her perfect life is rotting underneath, but she is determined to do whatever it takes to have a baby.
When DNA test results reveal that Claire and Marianne are half-sisters, Claire must face the dark lies of the past and make impossible choices about the future. Is her secret sister the answer to her prayers, or will she cost her everything?
My Secret Sister is a tense and emotional family drama with a moral dilemma at its heart. Fans of Liane Moriarty, Jodi Picoult, and John Marrs’ The One will be gripped.
My Secret Sister
Author: Lauren Westwood
Published: August 31, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: October 24- November 11, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
My Secret Sister shows how at home DNA testing can be like opening Pandora’s Box: Are you sure you actually want to take the test as you never know what family secrets you may bee revealing. This is the kind of book that book clubs are made for: Covering many topics ranging from IVF, parental issues, medical issues, deceit, and at home DNA testing, this one will have many discussions!
The author started writing this novel before Covid-19 and chose to keep it out of the story. I am glad she chose this as it would have muddied the waters of an already complicated situation. As Covid-19 will most likely always be with us, it doesn’t have to be present in novels that deal with medical situations.
We have three narrators throughout the novel with Claire, Marianne, and Becky and see each of their sides with a variety of emotions. I was pulled in the most with Becky’s chapters. I am not a parent, but have a sister with a physical disability, so I identified with Becky. I can see mothers identifying with Claire and women who have experienced fertility issues identifying with Marianne. Needless to say I think every reader will identify with one of our narrators.
I was intrigued and also unsure with what was going to happen and we get some twists and turns as well. Are we going to have a happy ending or not? My Secret Sister really starts moving around the last third of the novel, but the final twists just did not work for me, as they really came out of left field.
Otherwise, I did enjoy this novel and look forward to what else Westwood has written!
My Secret Sister is recommended.
Buy My Secret Sister: http://mybook.to/MySecretSister
About the Author:
My books explore the darkness and the light of the human spirit, and take you on an emotional journey. My Sister’s Secret is a tense and emotional drama about a mother’s race against time to save her daughter’s life. My Mother’s Silence is a gripping and romantic drama about homecoming and family secrets set in the wild Scottish highlands. It was shortlisted for the Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award 2020. The Daughter She Lost is a dark journey of self-discovery and overcoming the secrets of the past. My holiday romance Moonlight on the Thames is a love story to classical music and the healing power of love. It was a bestseller in urban fiction and top 100 Kindle book. My first three novels: Finding Home, Finding Secrets and Finding Dreams all feature mysterious old houses and intelligent, feisty contemporary heroines who set out to unravel the mysteries of the past. I also write award winning children’s books as Laurel Remington. I am originally from California, and now live in Surrey, UK with my partner and three daughters.
Win one of 5 e-copies of My Secret Sister
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Happy & You Know It
Author: Laura Hankin
Narrator: Laura Hankin
Published: May 19, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 24-31, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
A dark, witty page-turner set around a group of wealthy mothers and the young musician who takes a job singing to their babies and finds herself pulled into their glamorous lives and dangerous secrets….
After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on New York’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.
There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.
Filled with humor and shocking twists, Happy and You Know It is a brilliant take on motherhood—exposing it as yet another way for society to pass judgment on women—while also exploring the baffling magnetism of curated social-media lives that are designed to make us feel unworthy. But, ultimately, this dazzling novel celebrates the unlikely bonds that form, and the power that can be unlocked, when a group of very different women is thrown together when each is at her most vulnerable.
Can you imagine you are in a band right on the verge of superstardom and then you are kicked out? This is what happened to Claire. And now she is struggling to make a living and comes across this mommy group that needs a musician for the babies’ enrichment. Do these mommy groups actually exist and do they exist as they do in this novel? Maybe in the rich, upper-class neighborhoods like this novel takes place in. And not just a mommy group, but a paid musician to sing songs to the babies while the mommies gossip and drink?
I came across this one on my Libby app and decided to give it a shot. At about 50% in I was debating on DNF’ng (Did Not Finish) as I am not a mom and was identifying more with Claire the struggling single musician versus the mommy group. I kept going and then at about 65% in the novel went in a direction I was not expecting, which did keep me listening. My ‘favorite’ mom was Amara.
The direction the novel goes in gives a different feel from the beginning of the novel and the moms are far from perfect themselves. Life is not as happy as they make it seem at first to Claire. Now, I feel I can’t say more about the direction it goes in without giving spoilers, but if you pay attention to things going on, you might see what will come.
The author also narrated the novel, and I felt she did a good job with her narration. This might not be for everyone, but I can see some readers enjoying it more than others. I awarded it 3.5 stars, so it was just over a ‘good’ read for me.[Top]
Today I am sharing my review as a part of the blog tour for The Book of Us by Andrea Michael. If you enjoy women’s fiction at all, then this is one you must read! It is also available now!
The Book of Us is a story of the complexity of forgiveness and the friendships that change our lives forever. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jojo Moyes and Diane Chamberlain.
We’ve got some important things to talk about. It’s time.
Cass and Loll used to be inseparable. They met at university and they made sense, like two halves of a whole. They had planned their lives around each other, writing down their dreams in The Big Book of Our Life – the things they wanted to achieve, the places they’d go after they finished university. But then one night changed everything.
Seven years later, Loll receives a letter from her old friend. The coming year will be the year they both turn 30, but Loll might be making it to 30 alone. Cass has cancer. Loll had believed she would have her whole life to come to terms with Cass’ betrayal, but time is running out. Cass’ final wish is to complete The Big Book of Our Life, but has enough time passed to heal old wounds?
The Book of Us
Author: Andrea Michael
Published: March 6, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 30-June 8, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
The Book of Us is a story of friendship, love, betrayal, the healing power of forgiveness and much more. Cass and Loll met in college and became inseparable until something happened one night to throw the two apart. Years later Loll finally hears from Cass and the news is not good: Cass is dying from cancer. This news brings the two former friends back together for a final adventure. When they were younger they created a ‘book of life’ which consists of things that they MUST do together. Despite their issues and one big unexpected surprise we find out about early on which becomes a part of the journey, the two very differently flawed ladies come together to travel in several different countries working to finish their planned adventures in their shared ‘bucket list’. Yes, they clash some due to the past and their personalities. Will they be able to move on and enjoy the time that Cass has left?
I enjoyed this novel. The Book of Us is all about Cass and Loll, whose personalities are extremely different, but somehow became the best of friends in college. Despite the fallout and years apart the two ladies come together for this last adventure. I also joined in on the journey with Cass and Loll and hoped they could mend broken fences before it was too late. I have always wanted to go to Australia and was envious that they went there (despite the extremely long flight!)
You know where the ending of the novel is going to go, but it is not about the ending, it’s about the journey.
Come join Cass and Loll on their adventure together and see what happens!
About the Author:
Andrea Michael writes books to explore complicated relationships. Having trained in using writing for therapy, she really believes in the magic of stories to change your life. Failing that, sparkling wine and obnoxious sing-a-longs also do the trick.
Andrea works in content marketing, and runs Writing for Wellbeing workshops. She lives in Hertfordshire with her fiancé and their crazy cat, and can be found reading in a comfy corner or digging something at the allotment.
You may also know her from her romantic comedies written as AL Michael.
Andrea is represented by Hayley Steed at Madeleine Milburn. The Book of Us is her thirteenth book. She’s hoping it’s lucky.