#BlogTour! #Review – #BrightIdeasBookstore by Matthew Sullivan @arrowpublishing

Bright Ideas Bookstore Blog Tour Banner
Welcome to a brand new week on TWG, and what better way to kick start a Monday than with the start of a brand new blog tour! I have the pleasure of kicking off the blog tour to  celebrate the paperback release of Matthew Sullivan’s ‘Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore’. Big thanks to Penguin Books for the blog tour invite, as well as a copy of the book. Here is my review:

Bright Ideas Bookstore Jacket
What do you do when the life you’ve carefully built for yourself comes apart?

Lydia Smith lives a quiet life, spent in the company of her colleagues and customers at the bookstore where she works. But when Joey Molina, a young and mysterious regular, hangs himself in the bookstore and leaves Lydia secret messages hidden in the pages of his books, her world starts to unravel.

Why did Joey do it?

What did he know?

And what does it have to do with Lydia?

What does TWG think?

I heard so much about ‘Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore’ when the e-book was released last year. It was a book that just kept popping up on all of my social media channels so when I got the e-mail about reviewing it for the blog tour, I jumped at the chance to see what all of the fuss was about. So many differing opinions, I couldn’t help but be intrigued!

‘Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore’ has been dubbed a ‘thriller’, but, even though the storyline involved some rather chilling elements, I couldn’t work out why it had been dubbed that. Mystery? Perhaps. Literary fiction? Most definitely. Thriller? I’m not too sure. Genre aside, the book has an intriguing storyline which will draw you in, allowing you to match your emotions to the characters you get to know.

Even though I read the book a little while ago, I am still having to allow my brain to digest the words my eyes came into contact with. Why? Honestly, I can’t seem to put my finger on the reason for that, all I know is that it is not a negative one.

Personally, the pace of ‘Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore’ wasn’t as fast paced as I thought it was going to be, but it did seem to work with the overall premise of the book instead.

Matthew Sullivan writes in a way that is both moving and memorable, allowing readers to create vivid imagery with his cleverly crafted descriptions throughout the storyline. Whilst the concept didn’t blow me away, the author’s style of writing did. Despite his words actually being two-dimensional due to being written on a page, his delivery turned those words into three-dimensional intensity. A very well written novel. I look forward to reading more from Matthew Sullivan in the future.

Buy now from Amazon

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#BlogBlitz! #Review – Under The Woods by KA Richardson (@kerryann77) @BloodHoundBook

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When a homeless woman, Cheryl Whiffen, hears voices in her head telling her to do bad things, she can’t help but obey.

But when Cheryl becomes the victim of a serial killer who is collecting angels, this time the voices can’t help her. She is deemed not worthy of being an angel and the killer has to find another way to dispose of her body.

TJ Tulley has connections in the police force – her brother Jacob is a digital forensic analyst and her soon to be sister-in-law is a CSI. She knows many of their colleagues so when someone breaks into her house at the riding stables she owns, it’s not a surprise when the police dispatch CSI Jackson Doherty.

Is there a link between a suspicious fire at the stables and the serial killer?

As TJ and Doherty get closer to the truth they don’t realise the danger they are in. He is a killer – he’s angry at their investigation and he’ll do just about anything to protect his angels…

What does TWG think?

I really do like finding new authors to read, especially when I’ve heard so many good things about them previously. Of course I want a piece of that action, who wouldn’t? I feel like I’m about to sound like an AA member, but, my name is TWG and I have never read a KA Richardson novel before – until now. Shameful I know! I’ll let you into a little secret though, this won’t be the last book I’ll read by this author either. Fan for life? Oh I think so!

I’ve heard of people collecting things, books, shoes, stamps, money – you know, that kind of thing. I have never (until now) heard of someone collecting people (unless you’re interested in polygamy). But, the main concept of ‘Under The Woods’ is a man collecting ladies of the night, calling them angels as he believes that those types of people won’t ever be missed which in his eyes is good. Why? Because once he has finished with them they will be dead to the world. Literally.

‘Under The Woods’ switches between the killer’s viewpoint and main character TJ Tulley, who is a victim in her own right. As the storyline goes on, the full extent of the killer’s collection is close to being outed, but what on Earth has TJ Tulley got to do with it?

I have been known to be a little bit of a wimp where books like this are concerned. I’ve never been one for creepy – trust me on that, I was scared of the movie ‘Edward Scissor Hands’ when I was a kid and I have never watched it since! However, I have been putting on my big girl pants a lot more now and I welcome creepy storylines. To be honest, I wouldn’t even describe ‘Under The Woods’ as just ‘creepy’! ‘Brilliantly creepy and severely chilling’ are the words I would definitely use to describe KA Richardson’s latest novel.

The author has executed (pardon the pun) the storyline in such a clever manner, keeping the pace skyrocketing until the very last second. The detail surrounding the forensic elements are fascinating to read, especially if you’re naturally nosy like I am! Even though I haven’t read the other books in the series, I delved straight into the complexity of the characters like a duck to water – I cannot wait to backtrack and start with book one!

Creepiness at its finest with enough chilly elements to rival a blue slush puppy (I am mad on those!). I couldn’t recommend this book even more if I tried, you have to read it, just make sure you keep a light on. Just in case…

Buy now

About the author.

My name is Kerry-Ann Richardson (generally known as Kerry) and I write as KA Richardson. I started writing the North East Police series in 2010 when I was working towards my MA Creative Writing – I used the first 15000 words of With Deadly Intent as my dissertation. I passed my MA in 2011 and kept on writing. This all came about from working as a Crime Scene Investigator – I’d always written but when I was a CSI I went to see a psychic, Anthony, and he wanted to know why I wasn’t writing. He reminded me that it was my passion and said he could see me signing in Waterstones in 5 years. That was 5.5 years before my first ever signing in Waterstones so he wasn’t far wrong! 

I did the normal things writers do when their book is ready to go out into the world – submitted to agents etc. I got a few nice personal responses back – still saying no but being constructive and polite about it. I approached Darren Laws from Caffeine Nights whilst at a crime festival and he asked to see my work. He agreed to publish With Deadly Intent from there, and once that was out I approached Bloodhound Books as wanted to know if there was any other interest in my novels. Bloodhound came back within 24 hours and offered me a 3 book deal!  And I’ve since signed an additional 3 book deal with them which covers the series up to and including book 7!

Links:

Website: www.kerryannrichardson.com

Twitter: @kerryann77 or @karichardson77

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ka.richardsonwriter

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/K.A.-Richardson/e/B01D58WOV6/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1491858252&sr=8-2-ent

 

#BlogTour! #WBP2018 #Extract – Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ @midaspr @wellcomebkprize

Shortlist Blog Tour Banner
It is an honour to be taking part in the blog tour for the WellComeBookPrize. For those  that aren’t aware of this, here is some more information about the book prize and the collection featured in the long list:

About the Wellcome Book Prize

Worth £30,000, the Wellcome Book Prize celebrates the best new books that engage with an aspect of medicine, health or illness, showcasing the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction.

Previous winners of the Prize include Maylis de Kerangal (author) and Jessica Moore (translator) for Mend the Living in 2017, Suzanne O’Sullivan for It’s All in Your Head in 2016, Marion Coutts for The Iceberg in 2015, Andrew Solomon for Far from the Tree in 2014, Thomas Wright for Circulation in 2012, Alice LaPlante for Turn of Mind in 2011, Rebecca Skloot for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2010 and Andrea Gillies for Keeper: Living with Nancy – a journey into Alzheimer’s in 2009.

 About Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection is the free museum and library for the incurably curious. Inspired by the medical objects and curiosities collected by Henry Wellcome, it connects science, medicine, life and art. Through its exhibitions, live programming, and digital and publishing activity, it makes thought-provoking content which aims to challenge how we think and feel about health.

Wellcome Collection is part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. Both politically and financially independent, it supports scientists and researchers, takes on big problems, fuels imaginations and sparks debate.

The book I am featuring for the blog tour is ‘Stay With Me’ by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀. Here is an extract, as well as more information about the book itself:

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 INTERNATIONAL DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything. But when her relatives insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear.

Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria, Stay With Me is a story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the power of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about the desperate attempts we make to save ourselves, and those we love, from heartbreak.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (30, Nigeria) stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. She also has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded an international bursary for creative writing. She has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Hedgebrook, Sinthian Cultural Institute, Ebedi Hills, Ox-Bow School of Arts and Siena Art Institute. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2017 ‘Stay With Me’, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Extract

My parents-in-law lived in Ayeso, an old section of town that still had a few mud houses. Their house was a brick building, with a front yard partially enclosed by a low cement fence. When I arrived at the house, Moomi was sitting on a low stool in the front yard shelling groundnuts into a rusty tray that sat on her lap. She looked up as I approached and looked down again. I swallowed and my steps slowed. There was something wrong.

Moomi always greeted me by shouting Yejide, my wife. The words were as warm as the embrace that usually followed them.

‘Good evening, Moomi.’ My knees trembled as they touched the concrete floor.

‘Are you pregnant now?’ She said without looking up from the tray of groundnuts.

I scratched my head.

‘Are you barren and deaf too? I say, are you pregnant? The answer is either, yes, I am pregnant or no, I still haven’t been pregnant for a single day in my life.’

‘I don’t know.’ I stood up and backed away until she was not within the reach of my clenched fist.

‘Why won’t you allow my son to have a child?’ She slapped the tray of groundnuts on the floor and stood up.

‘I don’t manufacture children. God does.’

She marched towards me and spoke when her toes were touching the tips of my shoes.

‘Have you ever seen God in a labour room giving birth to a child? Tell me, Yejide, have you ever seen God in the labour ward? Women manufacture children and if you can’t you are just a man. Nobody should call you a woman.’ She gripped my wrists and lowered her voice to a whisper. ‘This life is not diffi­cult, Yejide. If you cannot have children, allow my son to have some with Funmi. See, we are not asking you to stand up from

your place in his life, we are just saying you should shift so that someone else can sit down.’

‘I am not stopping him, Moomi,’ I said. ‘I have accepted her. She even spends the weekends in our house now.’

She held her thick waist and laughed. ‘I am a woman too. Do you think I was born last night? Tell me, why has Akin never touched Funmi? He has been married to her for over two months. Tell me why he has not removed her wrapper once. Tell me, Yejide.’

I stifled a smile. ‘It is not my business what Akin does with his wife.’

Moomi lifted my blouse and laid a wrinkled palm on my stomach.

‘Flat as the side of a wall,’ she said. ‘You have had my son between your legs for two more months and still your stomach is flat. Close your thighs to him, I beg you. We all know how he feels about you. If you don’t chase him away, he won’t touch Funmi. If you don’t, he will die childless. I beg you, don’t spoil my life. He is my first son, Yejide. I beg you in the name of God.’

 

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Family at No. 13 by S.D.Monaghan (@SeanMonaghan16) @Bookouture

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The most perfect lives can hide the darkest secrets…

Mary has everything. Beautiful and rich, she lives on an exclusive street in the heart of the city, in a house with gorgeous views and an immaculately maintained garden. Her life looks perfect.

But behind closed doors the truth is very different. Her husband Andrew barely speaks to her, spending his days down in the basement alone. Her teenage nephew is full of rage, lashing out with no warning. Her carefully constructed life is beginning to fall apart.

And then someone starts sending Mary anonymous notes, threatening her and her family…

Everyone has secrets. But is someone at number 13 hiding something that could put the whole family in danger?

What does TWG think?

Where do I begin…

I was actually quite frustrated with this storyline because it held so much promise, yet there were a couple of things that I just couldn’t get my head around. I absolutely loved the intensity of this novel, that’s for sure! There was a whole lot of ‘dun dun dun’ moments getting thrown about which was brilliant, but I struggled to believe the overall concept of the storyline and I’m not too sure whether that was because of the characters, or whether the storyline needed a little bit more fire.

I preferred the second half of the book as it held more oomph than the first part, in my opinion, and I became frustrated with the storyline because deep down I knew that the author had a lot more to give than what he put into this novel.

For me, the star of the show was the not knowing the characters backgrounds in-depth until further into the storyline, as it kept me wanting more, especially where Mary was concerned. Mary was definitely an oddball, but she was an intriguing oddball who seemed to be the glue holding all of the characters together. I wanted to dislike her, but I just couldn’t bring myself to because of how vital her part was in the truth of ‘The Family at No.13’.

Overall, ‘The Family at No.13’ was an intriguing read which, despite having an iffy relationship with the first half of the novel, left me wanting more. It really was weirdly addictive.

Buy now!

About the author.

D. Monaghan grew up in Dublin before travelling extensively in Asia, Europe and America. After teaching English in Thailand for two years, he moved back to Ireland and gained an honours degree in psychology. While living in Canada for four years, he studied screenwriting in Toronto. S. D. Monaghan completed the Masters in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin with the editorial guidance of the Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford and Orange Prize nominee, Deirdre Madden. On the strength of his work there, he was chosen to represent both the university and the Oscar Wilde Writers’Centre to read excerpts at the Dublin Publishers Festival and on Dublin Culture Night. He lives in Dublin with his wife, where he is currently working on his new novel. He is represented by Zoe Ross at United Agents.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

 

#BlogTour! #Review – Nineteen Letters by Jodi Perry (@JLPerryAuthor) @LittleBrownUK @littlebookcafe

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One day late, apologies! Should really pay more attention to the date when writing in my diary. However, better late than never is my review of ‘Nineteen Letters’ by Jodi Perry. Big thanks to Millie Seaward for the blog tour invite, as well as my copy of the book. Here is my review:

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Braxton

Nineteen. There’s something about that number; it not only brought us together, bonding us forever, it also played a hand in tearing us apart.

The nineteenth of January 1996. I’ll never forget it. It was the day we met. I was seven and she was six. It was the day she moved in next door, and the day I developed my first crush on a girl.

Exactly nineteen years later, all my dreams came true when she became my wife. She was the love of my life. My soul mate. My everything. The reason I looked forward to waking up every morning.

Then tragedy struck. Nineteen days after we married, she was in an accident that would change our lives forever. When she woke from her coma, she had no memory of me, of us, of the love we shared.

I was crushed. She was my air, and without her I couldn’t breathe.

The sparkle that once glistened her eyes when she looked at me was gone. To her, now, I was a stranger. I had not only lost my wife, I had lost my best friend.

But I refused to let this tragedy be the end of us. That’s when I started to write her letters, stories of our life. Of when we met. About the happier times, and everything we had experienced together.

What we had was far too beautiful to be forgotten.

What does TWG think?

19/01/96 was the date when everything changed for Jemma and Braxton. It was the day when they first clapped eyes on each other, both completely unawares to what lay ahead in their future. 19 years later, they became man and wife, but 19 days after that, Braxton lost the woman he fell in love with. The woman he married. His best friend. His one and only. His one true love. Jemma herself didn’t die that day, no, but her personality of the Jemma that Braxton once knew did die that day. It doesn’t really bear thinking about, does it?

The concept of ‘Nineteen Letters’ reminded me of the popular film, ‘The Vow’, starring Channing Tatum. I was as broken watching that film as I was reading this book, perhaps even more so where this book was concerned. My heart broke for the couple who had their whole life in front of them, but what Braxton did for his wife was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.

‘Nineteen Letters’ is proof that love is unconditional and that marriage really is ‘until death do us part’. I’m not one for the whole marriage malarky, but Jemma and Braxton made me believe in it and everything it stood for.

Jodi Perry has written this book from both characters points of views, combining them both to create a showstopper of a read which makes you want to grab hold of your life and never let it go. I loved how raw and poignant the entire storyline was, and I especially loved how real the emotional was conveyed throughout.

‘Nineteen Letters’ is a book I won’t be forgetting in a hurry. ‘Nineteen Letters’ may have been the magic number for Jemma to fall in love again, but believe me when I say that you will fall in love with this book way before you get to number 19.

Buy now!

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Cross Your Heart by Kierney Scott (@Kierney_S) @Bookouture

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Last but not least on the busiest day in TWG history, is my review of Kierney Scott’s ‘Cross Your Heart’. Thank you to Bookouture for the blitz invite!

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Blinking her eyes open, she looks around the room, taking in the bed and the wardrobe full of clothes she’s never seen before. This isn’t her bedroom. Those aren’t her clothes. She begins to cry as she wonders if she’ll ever see her own home again.

Three young girls are missing. All of them cold cases. All of them forgotten. But when Detective Jess Bishop identifies a disturbing link between them, she’s determined to find out what happened, and fights to re-open their cases.

At the scene of each abduction the kidnapper left a clue – a small bag of candy – in place of the missing child.

And then a fourth child is taken. Eight-year-old Ava is snatched from her hospital bed and when a bag of candy is found in her room, Jessica knows it’s the same kidnapper.

As the pressure to solve the case pushes Jess and her team to breaking point, Jess takes a personal risk she fears she’ll live to regret. But she has no choice.

Out of hospital, Ava can only get sicker: Jess is running out of time. Can she find Ava before it’s too late?

What does TWG think?

Welcome back, Jess Bishop!! Feels like ages ago since we were last in Jess Bishop’s company. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first book in the series as you’ll manage to read this book as a standalone. However, it won’t do you any harm to read the first book before reading ‘Cross Your Heart’, just to get yourself up to speed with the characters first.

I’ll get straight to the point – ‘Cross Your Heart’ scared me senseless! The creepiness element to this storyline was incredible and very well written, alerting all of my emotions in one swift movement (as well as the hairs on my arms, obviously)! Missing child cases always put the fear of christ up me and, whilst I usually steer away from them as I find them difficult to read, I couldn’t help but delve into Kierney Scott’s latest instalment, just to see whether Jess Bishop can kick booty once again.

I loved how addictive and compelling ‘Cross Your Heart’ was, as well as the pace fitting well to each situation the characters were faced with along the way. Personally, I preferred the first book in the series as I found it to be a lot more intense than this one, however, I think the fact that ‘Cross Your Heart’ had a lot more scary moments in it, meant that I was able to enjoy reading this book in a different manner to the first.

It was great to catch up with Jess Bishop and team again, especially as we got to see even more of her personality this time round. I really did enjoy reading this book and would highly recommend this book, and the series, to everyone and anyone. Roll on the next book in the series.

Buy now

 

#BlogTour! #Review – Tapestry of War by Jane MacKenzie (@JaneFMackenzie) @allisonandbusby

Tour Stops
Stepping back in time for blog tour number 6 of the day and it’s for ‘Tapestry of War’ by Jane MacKenzie. Big thanks to Allison and Busby for the tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

tapestry of war
In Alexandria, Fran finds her life turned
upside down as Rommel’s forces advance
on the idyllic shores of Egypt. In place of
the luxury and stability that she is used to,
she finds herself having to deal with loss,
heartache and political uncertainty.
Meanwhile, on the Firth of Clyde, Catriona
works day in, day out nursing injured
servicemen. As the war rages on, the two
women’s lives become entwined – bringing
love and friendship to both.

What does TWG think?

Oh I do enjoy historical fiction! ‘Tapestry of War’ was my first book by this author, so I was very intrigued as to how the storyline would be executed from the historical point of view. I couldn’t wait to find out.

Set in both Egypt and Scotland, ‘Tapestry of War’ highlights the heart-wrenching tragedies that WWII brought to the table. Whilst both countries were brought together by one thing; the war, the way in which the differing countries dealt with the war in terms of food, family ties, casualties and so forth, was incredibly different.

I have read a lot of books with the theme of WWII, but I have never read a book written from this angle before as the author describes the devastating conflict in Egypt during that time. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the historic nature, the eye-opening scenes, as well as the emotional situations between families and casualties, I found the overall vibe of the novel to be extremely heavy and a bit difficult to digest.

If you are already aware of the history this book contains, I am sure that you would find it a lot easier to follow than I did. Don’t get me wrong, I felt that I learnt a lot whilst reading the ‘Tapestry of War’, but my brain did become a little overloaded before too long.

That said, I loved how Jane MacKenzie wrote the novel as I could tell that it was written from her heart. It was as though the storyline had a piece of the authors own history written into it which, for me, makes this book even more beautiful than I originally thought.

‘Tapestry of War’ is an eye-opening, though-provoking and poignant novel which will take you back in time without moving a muscle.

Buy now.

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Dying to See You by Kerena Swan (@KerenaSwan) @BloodHoundBook

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It’s now time for blog tour/blitz number five of the day! I have the pleasure of hosting Kerena Swan’s debut novel, ‘Dying To See You’ on TWG today. Thank you to BloodHoundBooks for the blitz invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

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He’s Watching, He’s Waiting, She’s next.

When Sophie is told to organize care for elderly Ivy, she is unaware that by meeting Max, Ivy’s grandson, her life will be turned upside down.

As Sophie’s involvement with Max and Ivy increases she becomes more distracted by her own problems.

Because Sophie is certain she is being watched.

For a while Ivy relishes Sophie’s attention, but soon grows concerned of the budding relationship between Sophie and Max.

Torn between Sophie and his grandmother, Max cuts ties with the care agency, leaving Sophie hurt and confused.

Meanwhile there is a murderer killing women in the area.

Is there a link between Sophie’s stalker and the killings?

Soon Sophie will learn that appearances can be deceiving.

What does TWG think?

Let me just get this bit out of the way first – I couldn’t get on with the first couple of chapters of this book at all as I felt that there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, with not many hints of the all important ‘oomph’. However, it did contain a lot of promise and that is what made me continue with the book.

Sophie is a single mu, trying to make ends meet and keep her little family safe. Until one day, she feels the hair on the back of neck stand to attention as though someone is watching her. Why would they watch her from afar? Are her or her children in danger?

As time went on, ‘Dying To See You’ became very fast paced and the level of intensity went through the roof. Seeing as readers of this book get to see different sides to the story unlike the actual characters involved in it, I was aware of things before Sophie was and I had to stop myself from shouting out ‘use your noggin woman!!!’. The fact that Sophie had been hurt in her past allowed her to lower her defences . I mean, who wouldn’t feel happy getting attention from a stranger? Well…after being freaked out at first that is!

Personally, I thought that the single mother element stole the show in the storyline, highlighting the fact that shock horror, single mums’ don’t just sit on their backsides all day and expect all and sundry to look after their children. Sophie has such a strong personality yet her naivety let her down in my eyes.

As for the crime element to ‘Dying To See You’, even though it took a while to get going, holy schmolly it was worth it! I was blindsided by several characters myself, so me becoming shocked whilst reading this book became second nature. I just couldn’t stop my jaw from dropping, even if I wanted to.

I loved the second half of the novel as it showcased Kerena Swan’s clever writing skills, and her talent of bringing an addictive storyline to life using themes others may find simple.

‘Dying To See You’ really did surprise me and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it once it got going. A brilliant, rollercoaster ride of a novel which proves that appearances can be deceiving, and instincts are there to be trusted. I’m so looking forward to reading the authors next book!

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Kerena lives on the Bedfordshire/Buckingham border with her husband, son and two cats. She also has two daughters and two granddaughters.

12 years ago, following a life-time career in social work and management, Kerena set up a company providing support for children with disabilities.  Highly successful, the company is rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, which Kerenaconsiders her greatest achievement thus far. However, following serious illnesses last year she decided to attempt to fulfil her long-held ambition of writing a novel and getting it published. She has yet to tick off other achievements from her bucket list such as playing Moonlight Sonata on the piano all the way through and being stopped for speeding in a red Ferrari at the age of 80 but can tick off building a brick wall.

After many years of writing professionally in the course of her work, Kerena has discovered the exhilaration of writing fiction and can be found at all hours in front of her computer.  Her husband (worried about his dinners being cooked) has threatened divorce if she writes another book so she’s told him she will write a trilogy.

 ‘Dying to See You’ is Kerena’s first novel and she has already started work on her second book ‘I Let You In’.  Drawing on her extensive knowledge and experience in the problematic world of social work, Kerena adds a unique angle to the domestic noir genre.

#BlogTour! #Review and #Extract – #TheFear by C.L.Taylor (@CallyTaylor) @AvonBooksUK

The Fear - Blog Tour Banner - Part 3
Over half way through the busiest day on TWG and I’m feeling a bit of #TheFear! Please say that I’m not the only one? Ohhhh wait, I’m not, Ronnie Turner is feeling #TheFear today too! Yes, we’re both hosting C.L.Taylor and her new novel on our blogs today. How exciting! Thank you to AvonBooks for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review, as well as a sneak peak from the book itself:

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Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…

 Lou Wandsworth is used to being headline news as, aged fourteen, she ran away to France with her 31-year-old teacher, Mike Hughes.

Now 32, Lou’s life is in tatters – and she resolves to return home to confront Mike for the damage he has caused. But she soon finds that Mike is unchanged, and is focussing his attention on 13-year-old Chloe Meadows.

Determined to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself, Lou decides to take matters into her own hands. But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as she tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that Lou could once again become his prey…

What does TWG think?

I have to say that the title of this book is incredibly apt for the storyline itself – it really is all about #TheFear. Not only that, the theme is incredibly relevant to today’s society and, whilst being such a difficult storyline to digest, it’s something that happens more often than people would like to admit. Thankfully for us, C.L.Taylor has written a story which puts us in the shoes of someone who ran away with a person in a position of power. A person who was 17 years their senior. A person who should have known better, yet refused to even think. Some might say that Lou was old enough to know better at fourteen, but honestly, was she really? Keep that question in your mind whilst you read C.L.Taylor’s latest novel – you might find your opinion changes once you reach the end of the book.

Right, obviously I don’t intend on giving anything away, even accidentally, so I will be as vague in this review as I can. After all, the author has worked incredibly hard on her book, it would be such a shame to ruin it with a thoughtless spoiler.

Starting off in the ‘present day’, we meet a 32 year old Lou who is about to return to the place where it all began. The storyline switches between now and then, allowing readers an insight to what actually happened when Lou was fourteen. If that wasn’t enough, the storyline even changes viewpoints as we meet other characters who may or may not play a part in Lou’s history. There is so much to #TheFear and hand on heart, it isn’t confusing at all, you just need to pay attention because not everything is as it seems.

For such a dark storyline, #TheFear just kept on giving with every turn of the page, I honestly couldn’t put the book down. Yes, some parts were difficult to digest, yet it made the book even more addictive. C.L.Taylor doesn’t ‘pussy foot’ around the theme of the story at all, instead she grabs it by ahems and lays it bare for all its worth, and why not! It isn’t written insensitively – it’s real, raw and no doubt relatable.

#TheFear should come with its own oxygen mask, or at least come with a noisy buzzer reminding you to actually erm…whats the word, BREATHE! I’ll be honest here, this book gave me the heeby jeebies, but ohmygod was it worth it!

C.L.Taylor is a phenomenal writer and she proves that once again with her latest dark, enticing, and severely hard-hitting new novel – I even devoured it in one sitting, I was that addicted!

A cleverly written, gritty, intense and utterly brilliant novel which will leave you on the edge of your seat. Or, if you’re anything like me, it’ll have you hanging off the edge of your seat and falling on the floor because you’re too busy reading the book to pay attention to how far your backside is off the sofa!

Buy now from Amazon

About the author:

C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and son. She started writing fiction in 2005 and her short stories have won several awards and have been published by a variety of literary and women’s magazines.

In 2014, The Bookseller named C.L. Taylor as one of the year’s Bestselling Adult Fiction Debut Authors for The Accident. The Lie and The Missing were Sunday Times top 10 bestsellers in paperback, and both books hit the #1 spot on the Kindle bestseller list. She has sold 1 million books to date.

Extract.

If the high street was scary then the park was worse. Tucked away from the road, the only light was the dull glow of the theatre but, as Chloe ventured further in, darkness wrapped her like a shroud.

She gripped her dead phone to her chest as she passed the abandoned swings and slides and then sprinted across a stretch of lawn. As she reached a dark clump of trees and bushes she dropped to her knees and began to crawl, brushing sharp branches, nettles and brambles away from her face. For a worrying couple of seconds she feared she was in the wrong place, it wasn’t the secret hideout she’d shared with her best friend Martha when they were eight, but the foliage gradually parted to reveal a small hollow, four foot high by four foot wide with a tree trunk in the centre. Finally hidden from the world, she started to cry.

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald (@DMacDonaldAuth) @Bookouture

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Blog blitz three of the day and it’s for Dee MacDonald and ‘The Runaway Wife’. It was really difficult not to fall in love with this one! Big thanks, as always, to Bookouture for the blog blitz invite, as well as the ARC. Here is my review:

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One evening in early August, while mashing the potatoes for dinner, Connie McColl decides she’s had enough…

Connie is tired of solving one family crisis after another – usually involving her unruly grandchildren – while her husband Roger spends all day at his beloved golf course. Surely it must be time for her to shake off her apron and start living again?

So Connie packs a bag, gets in her little green car and drives off…

As Connie journeys from England to Scotland on an unexpected adventure, she finally begins to rediscover herself. And she starts to wonder, will she ever be ready to return home? Or will this summer change her life forever?

The Runaway Wife is an inspiring and joyously uplifting novel about being true to yourself. If you loved The Kicking the Bucket List and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry this book is for you.

What does TWG think?

What a wonderful little read this was! Connie is sick and tired of feeling like a housekeeper, a babysitter, and a slave to her family. She’s had enough and after careful deliberation whilst bashing the potatoes for dinner into next week, Connie decides to do something for herself and live. No more being her husbands personal driver. No more having no plans to fit in with her daughter-in-law’s ever-expanding social life so that she can babysit for her. No more! Instead, Connie packs a few essentials and sets off in Kermit to a destination she hasn’t decided yet. You go girl!

Connie is the type of character you will pretty much fall in love with straight away. She reminds me of the sort of grandmother who, should she ever go to a posh dinner, would sit there and talk about sexual positions in great detail. Such a brilliant character.

I loved how the book mentioned Galashiels (which is where I live), and I loved how much detail the author went into when she was describing Edinburgh. It was so lovely to read a book and be all ‘I’VE BEEN THERE. I KNOW THAT’ like you’re the local city groupie or something!

Connie’s adventure had me laughing out loud, sitting with tears in my eyes, as well as becoming emotionally touched by who she met along the way. Sometimes in life we lose sight of who we are whilst other people take us for granted, with us having no confidence to tell them to shove off. I’m sure we have all been there. The fact that Connie was determined to not live the rest of her life in a shell, living life for everyone else, really did make me think. I mean, living life for YOU is in no way selfish, so why are people made to feel that way?

I disliked Roger from the get go and my opinion didn’t change in a positive way, the more of him I got to know. In fact, I actually disliked him more by the time I got to the end of the book. What a self-absorbed man!! If he looked like Channing Tatum then yeah, I could see why he would think his bowel movements don’t stink, but he isn’t. Selfish dweeb!

For me personally, Connie was the star of the show and I was so glad she decided to go on her adventure the way that she did. At the age of 66, Connie knew fine well that she needs to live with no regrets in the time of life that she has left. Just look at Jeannie, bless her heart. It really brought home just how short life is and how we need to grab it by the Kermit before it’s too late. I know that sometimes it’s easier said than done, but like Connie proves, there is no wrong time to do something for you, as long as it isn’t too late.

‘The Runaway Wife’ really warmed my soul and that ending, well, I think I snorted into my cup of tea more than once! Despite being a laugh out loud, carefree type of read, Dee MacDonald included some deep and meaningful topics along the way, making my mind think all that bit more.

I really do hope that Connie returns sooner rather than later as I cannot wait to follow her on yet another life-changing adventure. This book is truly something special, just like Connie, Jeannie and Kath. A wonderful, wonderful book that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Buy links:
Amazon // iBooks // Kobo // GooglePlay

About the author.

Aged 18, Dee arrived in London from Scotland and typed her way round the West End for a couple of years before joining BOAC (forerunner of British Airways) in Passenger Services for 2 years and then as a stewardess for 8 years.

She has worked in Market Research, Sales and at the Thames TV Studios when they had the franchise.

Dee has since relocated to Cornwall, where she spent 10 years running B&Bs, and only began writing when she was over 70!

Married twice, she has one son and two grandsons.