#BlogTour! #Review – Familiar Strangers by Jackie Walsh (@JackieWalsh_ie) @HeraBooks @BOTBSPublicity

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Many thanks to BOTBSPublicity for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Hera for the ARC – I am delighted to be reviewing ‘Familiar Strangers’ on my blog today.

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‘I took you, Becca. You’re not my daughter.’

Since Becca Wall’s mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, every day Becca loses a little more of the loving, caring mother who would do anything for her only daughter. But when one day Nancy Wall confesses that Becca is not her child, Becca’s world falls apart.

Becca tells herself that the words are just a cruel symptom of Nancy’s illness; after all, she has her birth certificate, and pictures of herself as a newborn along with her Mom, Dad and older brother, Danny. Becca tries to forget, to get on with her life – until the day the police question her about the whereabouts of a missing woman, Katie Collins.

Katie has disappeared without a trace, telling her husband that she is leaving to find Rebecca Wall. But Becca doesn’t know Katie, so it’s a case of mistaken identity – isn’t it? But as Becca discovers why Katie was desperate to find her, the lies that Becca has always believed come crashing down.

Soon, it’s clear that someone knows the truth – and that they’ll stop at nothing to keep their secrets…

What does TWG think?

‘Familiar Strangers’ has such a lot of promise. As an intense read, Jackie Walsh has that bang on. I mean, with a line coming out of Becca’s mothers mouth being, ‘I took you, Becca. You’re not my daughter.’, it really could not be anything other than intense. I don’t know about you, but those eight words sent tingles up and down my spine.

As an emotive read, again, Jackie Walsh nails that element as well because the storyline also deals with the turmoil behind early onset Alzheimers and the effects it has both on the person, and the family. Those parts of the book aren’t easy to read, and I am sure that they aren’t very easy to live through either, however I am very glad that I was able to have my eyes opened to such a heartbreaking illness. I wish there was more help for the sufferers and their families. I cannot even begin to imagine how emotional seeing your loved one going through that must be.

However, like I said at the star, the book has a lot of promise. For me, I found the way everything was brought together wasn’t as tight as it could have been. There was a lot of scene setting and less actual action. I know that scenes need to be set in order for the storyline to work, I just felt that there was more descriptions about what Becca did daily, instead of the nitty gritty details such as Katie Collins. I also found the ending to be a little bit rushed which was a shame.

Aside from that, I enjoyed the complex family dynamics, the intense relationships, and the uncertainty between each of the characters. I thought that the psychological element of the book was utterly brilliant and left my mind in absolute turmoil. I think that Jackie Walsh has an incredible, incredible talent that I cannot wait to see grow as she releases more books.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #Breakers by Doug Johnstone (@doug_johnstone) @OrendaBooks @AnneCater

Another RandomThingsTour for you all this afternoon! It is a pleasure to be reviewing ‘Breakers’ by Doug Johnstone for the blog tour today, many thanks to Anne Cater for having me involved. Also, many thanks to Anne and Orenda for the ARC, here is my review:

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mum.
On a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead, but that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.
With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation … unless he drags her down too.

What does TWG think?

I have no idea where to begin with this review. I mean, ‘Breakers’ is like nothing I have ever read before, I’m not entirely sure I have the right words to convey my thoughts properly! I’ll given it a damn good go though!

Set in an area of Edinburgh which makes a lot of people wince should they hear the name, ‘Breakers’ tells the story of a young lad called, Tyler, who isn’t your typical 17 year old. Seriously. Someone of his age should be hanging out with his mates, not looking after his little sister and a mum who likes to collect empty alcohol bottles…after emptying them herself, obviously. Not only that, Tyler is stuck between obeying the law, and being on the wrong side of his half brother, Barry.

If I could guarantee that my review would be allowed on Amazon with many expletives, I would happily share my unedited opinion of Barry. However, because I know that the computer will say no, you’ll have to make do with this; Barry is a cactus. A cactus who deserves to be castrated and given a taste of his own medicine. I really dislike him….like properly dislike him. If he was on fire or had a jellyfish sting, well, I wouldn’t be urinating on him to help, that’s for sure!

Because of Barry’s stupidity and Tyler’s fear of getting on the wrong side of ol’ Bazza, the brothers end up looking over their shoulders in fear of crime big man, Deke, getting a hold of them. What would you do in Tyler’s position? Hes got to look after his little sister, keep his mum in check, and run the house so that social services doesn’t come and split him and his sister up. He needs quick money, is burglary the way to do it? Honestly? We all know that it’s illegal and immoral, yet it’s also something that some people wouldn’t do unless they absolutely had to. I can’t judge a situation I have never been in, but I will admit that I did look at both sides of the coin.

I can get quite emotional about things if young children are involved, and this book was no different. At times I felt that I couldn’t continue due to my own fear about what would happen to his little sister, but on the other hand, I was unable to put the book down because I was absolutely hooked by the compelling storyline.

‘Breakers’ is an incredibly dark, eye opening novel which highlights the lengths which people can go if they are forced, or if they have no other option. I was scared for Tyler, I won’t lie, but I had everything crossed that he would do the right thing and finally protect himself in the long run.

This is such an addictive, heartwrenching, dark and poignant read which held me hostage from the get go. A very, very impressive read – I won’t be forgetting this storyline in a hurry!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary (@sarah_hilary) @AnneCater @headlinepg

I am absolutely delighted to be hosting Sarah Hilary and her outstanding new novel, ‘Never Be Broken’, here on TWG today! Many thanks to Anne for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost.

Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.
DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

What does TWG think?

Flipping ‘eck!!! What a book!!! I really didn’t want to put this novel down, even at 2.30am when I should have been attempting to sleep! If you’re after an addictive, fast paced, chilling novel to cool you down this summer, then ‘Never Be Broken’ will definitely do the trick.

Gang trouble is rife in London, and unfortunately for Marnie Rome and her team, they end up getting stuck in the middle of it, all because of Noah’s background and the way that he looks. With children dropping like flies, and murders being committed, Marnie Rome needs to get the culprits off the street before yet another child is killed. But is it that simple?

I won’t go into details regarding Noah’s looks, especially if this is a new series for you, however it was a shame that people were focusing too much on the way a police officer looked, instead of trusting him to do his job.

As I said before, gangs are thing, but until reading ‘Never Be Broken’, I had absolutely no idea about the lengths the gang members went to. It opened my eyes big time!

Sarah Hilary blew my mind with this compulsive, atmospheric read which, I have no idea how, just kept on getting better and better everytime I turned the page. I was hooked, completely hooked. Yeah, some of the content is pretty savage due to the theme of the book, but it gave the overall storyline a realistic feel to it.

‘Never Be Broken’ is, without a doubt, one of my top reads of 2019, simply because it is absolutely outstanding. I loved every single thing about the book and, whilst there were a lot of unsavoury characters, they all kept me on my toes with the brilliant psychological element of the book. Honestly, I cannot recommend this enough.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – Jay Jay and His Island Adventure by Sue Wickstead (@JayJayBus) @RaRaResources

Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite for Jay Jay and His Island Adventure, and thank you to the author for the ARC. Here is my review:

Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus is not an ordinary bus taking you on a journey. He is a Playbus. Find out what happens when he is invited to an island where the children have never seen a double-decker bus – and certainly not one full of toys!

Behind the story:

‘Jay-Jay and his Island Adventure’, was originally written for a Scottish book bus.

‘Play,Talk, Read’ was the project which visited remote areas if Scotland to encourage reading in the very young. It was a great success and the bus even visited the Shetland Islands travelling on a very small ferry.

The children had never seen a double-decker on their island before and certainly not one to play on.

However, the Scottish project was too busy with referendums and with the book ready and edited I changed the name of the bus from Benji, sending Jay-Jay instead.

The island on the cover of the book was based on a piece of mainland Spain which I have visited many times.

Cap D’Or is the promentory near to a little village of Moraira.

The villagers in Moraira invited me to read this book in their library and local schools.

The people in this little village were surprised to find that Jay-Jay was a real bus.

(Jay-Jay may not have got to Spain in reality but in my imagination he did and now all of the books are in the local library in both Teulada and Moraira.)

What does TWG think?

The idea of a play bus which takes books to children, is definitely a magnificent idea – Jay Jay is no exception.

My daughter was giggling at the fact that Jay Jay had hurt his ‘bottom’, despite trying to work out where a bus’ bottom was! She was so enthralled by the different activities on the bus, including digging for treasure in the sandpit. It really made the whole island adventure theme come alive.

From an adult point of view, I am delighted that the story was enjoyed by my little girl as she is a huge bus fan. However I would have liked the story to contain more details around what the children got up to, what books they read etc, as I felt that we read more about Jay Jay travelling to and from the island, than the actual play bus activities themselves.

All in all, Jay Jay and His Island Adventure is a colourful and fun read which gives children the gift of books.

Buy now.

About the author.

I am a teacher and an author and have currently written six children’s picture books with a bus theme.
For over 20 years, alongside my teaching career, I worked with a Children’s Charity, The Bewbush Playbus Association, which led me to write a photographic history book about it.

I soon found that many children had never been on a bus before, let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more. I decided to write a fictional tale about the bus, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name.

‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus,’ came out in print in 2014. It is the story behind the original bus and is his journey from a scrap-yard to being changed into a playbus for children to play in. From Fact to fiction the bus journey continued.

This story has now been followed by five more picture books.

I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share the story. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.

The story has been read in many schools in the south-East of England, where I teach as a cover teacher, it is always well received and certainly different.

Website

#BlogTour! #Review – Just My Type by Hannah Doyle (@ByHannahDoyle) @headlinepg @AnneCater

Day two of the ‘Just My Type’ blog tour is here, with me, TWG! Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

Meet Jasmine.
– The quirky/cool photographer to a superstar blogger
– She’s going on a date with a SUPER hot guy on the London Eye tonight
– Best friend Mila is her wifey for life
– This millennial is #LivingHerBestLife

But fast-forward a few hours, and the reality isn’t quite so picture perfect. Jasmine hates her stuck-up blogger boss. She can barely afford rent in her stupid London flat. Her best friend seems to have all her sh*t together. Oh, and that date she was so excited about? She got dumped. On the London Eye. In the middle of a thunderstorm. With a bunch of tourists watching…

Best friend Mila decides that Jasmine needs a new ‘type on paper’, because Jasmine’s current criteria is so off that her dating history is one long line-up of fools. So Mila challenges Jasmine to look once, if not twice, at the guys who wouldn’t normally fit her ‘type’. With nothing to lose, Jasmine accepts. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll surprise herself.

What does TWG think?

I am a massive fangirl of Hannah Doyle and her on point, witty humour. So much so, that if she decided to hold auditions for her new BFF, I would be the annoying person RIGHT at the front, shaking my pom poms to get her attention. See – even ‘fangirl’ is too tame for this one!

‘Just My Type’ is full of one liners which will make you nod your head like a nodding dog. You’ll be agreeing to the types on paper, wanting to kick Jasmine’s boss into next week, and no doubt turning green with envy at places Jasmine has galavanted off to. Trust me, people keep asking me if I’m Hulk….

Now, the premise of this storyline is something I’ve read before, I’ve got to be honest. However, the way in which it all came together, including the empowering angle, made ‘Just My Type’ stand out from the rest. I was a bit worried that I was going to find the storyline a bit predictable, but thankfully that wasn’t the case at all. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to slap the boss round the face on several occasions, and I wished that Jasmine would tell her where to go – she was vile!! That was where the empowerment and looking at life with hope, really came into it’s own, and it became very clear as to why Jasmine didn’t go and flush her boss’s head down the toilet..

Hannah Doyle puts the power into GIRLPOWER tens times over, creating characters which are just like you and me, whilst also filling her readers with hope and the belief to succeed, even when they feel as though the world and its wife is on top of them.

‘Just My Type’ is a poignant read about thinking with your own heart instead of following the masses. It’s about learning how to trust your own instinct and to believe that you can achieve anything, just as long as you try.

Yet another laugh out loud, warm and highly relatable read from an author to watch!

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #RedemptionBay by RaeAnne Thayne (@raeannethayne) @Millsandboon

I am so excited to be hosting the second book in the Hope’s Crossing series, Redemption Bay, by RaeAnne Thayne. Having absolutely LOVED the first book, I couldn’t wait to delve into this one. Huge thanks to Mills and Boon for the blog tour invite and ARC, here is my review:

McKenzie and Ben need a second chance….

McKenzie Shaw would do anything for her beloved hometown of Haven Point. It may be small and struggling, but it’s never let her down…unlike gorgeous, infuriating Ben Kilpatrick.

He left Haven Point behind years ago, for good reason. Yet seeing the town through McKenzie’s eyes could change his mind.

If he can resolve the animosity crackling between them, Ben may have found the place where he can build ties and find healing…a place where love arrives when it’s least expected.

What does TWG think?

Ahhh, everyone’s favourite person has returned to Haven Point, and what a welcome he got! Sarcasm. Naturally. Ben Kilpatrick didn’t do himself many favours when he last step foot in the little town, something the residents of Haven Point haven’t forgotten in a hurry. However, with the chance of their town getting a much needed boost in terms of tourism and money, many of the townspeople need to bite their tongue around Ben.

As mayor, McKenzie Shaw is very loyal to her town and the people in it. Even if some of the people in it refuse to let her do her job, thinking that they can do it way better than she.

Relationships in this book are very tense, yet they are incredibly addictive to read. ‘Redemption Bay’ is drama filled, tense at times, and is full of tender moments which can warm your heart.

I adored the strong community spirit and heartwarming friendships, and I found myself lost in the intensity of the village dynamics – I really couldn’t put this book down.

RaeAnne Thayne is such a enthusiastic, magnetic and euphoric author who makes her characters come alive with such ease and passion.

I said this after reading Snow Angel Cove last time, and I’ll say it again now – Thayne has quickly become one of my most favourite authors due to her heartwarming and beautifully written tales, which clearly have come from her heart.

I cannot recommend Redemption Bay enough and I urge everyone to put RaeAnne Thayne on your TBR pronto. I throughly enjoyed this and I cannot wait to read more.

Buy now.

#BlogBlitz! #GuestPost from author of #HesAtYourDoor, Alex Sinclair (@ASinclairAuthor) @BloodHoundBook

Here is a guest post from Alex Sinclair, author of ‘He’s At Your Door’, for the first day of the blog tour. Many thanks to BloodHoundBooks for the invite.

Karen Rainey lives a sheltered life on the edge of the city. For the last five years, she has rarely left the home unless it was unavoidable. She has her food and anything else she needs delivered to the front door. She works from home to avoid venturing outside.

But Karen isn’t agoraphobic. She’s terrified of her ex-boyfriend, Zach, who is serving a life sentence in prison for a string of bank robberies after Karen testified against him. With the constant threat that Zach might send someone to find and kill her, Karen keeps a low profile.

To aid her in paying the rent each month, Karen takes in the occasional housemate, opting for students from the local university. Her current housemate, Beth, is a young student who has no idea about Karen’s past.

But when a mysterious package is left of her doorstep, it sends Karen’s world into turmoil.

Has Zack found her?

Isolated and frightened, Karen befriends Beth but refuses to tell her everything about her past.

Trapped inside their home, Karen and Beth soon begin to lose their minds.

But is the threat really outside or is it closer to home?

Guest post.

The Five a.m. start

I’m not a morning person. When it’s dark outside before the sun rises, like most people, I’d rather be sound asleep. But when you are an author who still works a full-time job, you have little choice.

When my daughter was born a little over three years ago, she had a lot of trouble early on sleeping. We were lucky if she lasted two hours at a time despite having enough food in her belly to see her through to the next feed. Because of this, my wife and I took turns attempting to help her go back to sleep. To say it exhausted us was an understatement.

When you have your first child, nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming change your life will undertake to accommodate a tiny human’s every need. It’s amazing how such a small thing impacts not only your lifestyle but the way you see the world. Each person handles the transition differently. But for me, it was the moment I resolved to take my writing seriously and put in the hard yards.

I was up one morning around four with my daughter on my chest, trying my hardest to coax her back to sleep. I was reclined in the feeding chair with my laptop within reach. While my bundled-up daughter drifted off on me, I decided to do some writing to keep myself awake while she settled into a deep slumber. The light rattling of the keyboard seemed to help settle her. This became a nightly ritual until I realized something: I was getting more work completed than ever before.

Prior to this new and bizarre habit, I would write when I felt like it, typically at night. I’d be lucky to put down four hundred words over several hours, often distracted by the TV or my wife. It would take me six months to complete a first draft of anything. But when I wrote in the early hours of the morning, the words flowed. The absolute calm and quiet of the dark before the sun came up allowed me to move into a focused zone. Once my daughter slept through the night, I decided to get up every morning at five to spend two hours writing before work or before the day started with my family.

That was three years ago. In that time, I’ve written seven novels and three novellas while working full time and helping to raise our child. Life is busy. I had three novels published in 2018. I have another two being published in 2019 so far. It’s thanks to this seven-day-a-week writing habit. Unless something else needs to be prioritized or I’m sick, I don’t sleep in. The early starts have helped me achieve far more than I ever imagined possible and are charging me toward my goal of becoming a full-time author.

I’ll admit, it’s not an easy thing to do every day. I’ve had my difficulties. Some mornings, I can produce three thousand words in less than two hours. On others, I’m lucky if I break through to the one-thousand-word mark. But the most important factor is consistency. You must write every day if you want to improve your craft and be capable of producing anything worthy of publication. It’s no different from putting in the hours at a job. If you fail to show up consistently, you can’t expect to get ahead.

I wish I had understood the importance of treating writing like a career and not a hobby when I first started a novel back in 2011. I have my daughter to thank for showing me what was possible. I’m sure she just wanted a warm chest to snuggle into, but one day I’ll tell her how much she motivated her dad to take his writing to the next level.

Alex Sinclair

#BlogTour! #Review – A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft (@SueMoorcroft) @AvonBooksUK

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It may look at bit more wet outside as opposed to sunny, but I am hoping that my review of Sue Moorcroft’s, ‘A Summer to Remember’, brings the sunshine back into your lives today. Many thanks to Sabah and the team at Avon, for the blog tour invite and ARC.

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COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!


What does TWG think?

Would it be weird if I sat here and hugged this book, like physically squeezed into a gigantic hug? That’s normal…..right?

I loved this book. No, wait. I didn’t love it, I ABSOLUTELY OMG LOVED it. What a fantastic, laugh out loud, heart-warming, and addictive read this is!! Yes, there were a few characters who made me want to shout obscenities at the book. Cough-HugoandAlice-cough. I mean, the made me SO angry! Who did they think they were, walking into a place Alice hadn’t stepped for in for goodness knows how long, treating the place and people with disrespect? Hugo was a self absorbed cactus, and Alice, well, my opinion of her was so low, if I wrote it here then the sky would be turning blue!

Clancy Moss is a character you just want to wrap up in cotton wall. Despite all the schnitzel that comes her way, she holds her head up and gets on with things without doing what most people would do, and retaliate in a way which would make her out to be the bad person. Unfortunately for Clancy, the villagers in Nelson’s Bar assume that, because she and Alice are blood relatives, that they are exactly alike and refuse to accept Clancy for who she is and not who her blood line links to. I did feel for her. The poor woman was tarred before she had even opened her mouth. I’m genuinely surprised that she didn’t repack her belongings into her car and drive back to London!

Although, with London in mind, she shouldn’t have been made to leave it anyway, but of course that is information you will find out for yourself when you read the book. I have a feeling you’ll be rather annoyed for her, just like I was!

I absolutely flew through ‘A Summer to Remember’ in a matter of 2.5 hours. No joke. I just could NOT put it down! I loved the idyllic setting. I adored the flawed and addictive characters, each with their own little quirks which helped to make the book what it was. I also thought that the deep routed message of the storyline was so very poignant and beautifully written. Life really is like a box of chocolates – you’ll always pick one that you like, one that you dislike, and one that you can’t stop eating. A bit like relationships. Not that you’ll go and eat them…obviously. Well……..ahem. Anyway, love is a tricky business, and just because you feel as though you’re in love with the person of your dreams, someone new may come along and show you that, in actual fact, you’re not in love with them after all. The lines are easily blurred, that’s for sure!

I think that ‘A Summer to Remember’ should come with a miniature sized Nelson. I want one! He was such an adorable addition to the book, and it just goes to show that dogs do not need two eyes to be the most protective and loveable little creatures.

Sue Moorcroft made me feel as though I was on cloud 9 with this book. Obviously apart from the times I was angry on Clancy’s behalf, I’m sure that goes without saying! The storyline was full to the brim with drama, relationship drama, romance, poignant escapades, heart-warming chats, and hilarious one liners. I adored every single thing about ‘A Summer to Remember’, and I’ll tell you something for nothing; this may be about ‘A Summer to Remember’, but it most DEFINITELY is a book to remember!

Sue Moorcroft’s best book yet, without a bloomin’ doubt!!

Buy now!

#BloggerBlast! #Review – #TheNightBefore by Wendy Walker (@Wendy_Walker) @AlainnaGeorgiou @OrionBooks

Another Orion blogger blast coming to you this evening, this time it’s for ‘The Night Before’ by Wendy Walker. Once again I want to say a massive thank you to Alainna and Team Orion for asking me to be involved in these blasts. It has been such an honour and I hope you enjoy reading my review!

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Rosie Ferro and Laura Heart are sisters, but as different as it is possible to be. One is lucky in love and has a conventional family: a husband, and a small son. The other has a troubled past she is still struggling to break free from.

When Laura disappears after going on a date with a stranger she met online, Rosie, her protector since they were young, springs into action to look for her. But as she slowly uncovers more about the situation, Rosie begins to fear that her sister might have been more of a danger than the man she went out with.

Told in duel timelines – the night of and the night before, Wendy Walker’s new novel is a riveting examination of family loyalty, obsession, and how just how far we will go for love.

What does TWG think?

Well, well, well! What an interesting read!! I wasn’t too taken with the storyline at first as I just couldn’t sink my teeth into the book deep enough to fall under its spell. The thing about ‘The Night Before’, in my opinion, is that it’s a very slow burning novel which increases its levels of suspense ever so slightly with each turn of the page. Do not, under any circumstance, let the fact that the book starts off exceptionally slow whilst also setting the scene in a dot the i’s, cross the t’s sort of way, put you off. I am so glad that I kept an open mind with Wendy Walker’s new book as my goodness, the wait is definitely worth it!

I kept looking at Rosie’s surname wondering why I was always hungry every time it caught my eye – I stupidly thought it said Ferrero…..after the chocolate! What a numpty! Anyway, back to the book….

Laura is an intriguing character. She is often treated with kid gloves by her sister, Rosie, as its like Laura cannot be trusted to live life on her own terms. Obviously I had no idea whether that actually was the case or not, as it took a little while for Laura’s past to become apparent, but even then, there were quite a few gaps in the story. Don’t fret though, those gaps are filled by the end of the book. Now, whether they will be filled in the way that you think they should be, remains to be seen. Did I see it coming? No. I genuinely didn’t. It wasn’t until I had reached 80% of the book that the puzzle pieces started to fit together, but even then I wasn’t sure what to believe knowing just how brilliant Wendy Walker was at leading her readers into a false sense of security.

‘The Night Before’ is a dual timeline read of the night before, and the night after, whilst also switching between both Laura’s and Rosie’s lives. It works. It really does. Yes, the thing about different timelines is that they can end up making readers confused, but I found that this book did the complete opposite. Instead of being confused by the to-ing and fro-ing, I felt invigorated by the snippets of new information that were being dropped by the author each time. It was very cleverly done and, unfortunately for me, enabled my mind to switch camps like nobodies business. Whose camp do you think you’ll be in? Rosie’s? Laura’s? Neither?

I was absolutely hooked by Wendy Walker’s atmospheric storytelling! At times nothing seemed to make sense, and then all of a sudden, everything made complete sense. ‘The Night Before’ is a novel which changes its stance, so to speak. You might feel that you know where the book is heading at the beginning, yet before you can say ‘omg!’, the author changes the direction of the storyline and leaves you wondering what on earth to believe next.

Slow burning it may be, but boring and predictable it definitely is NOT! A psychologically twisted, complex and sinister novel – I can guarantee that, the morning after you will be thinking about ‘The Night Before’.

Buy now!

#BloggerBlast! #DegreesOfGuilt by HS Chandler (@HSCInkpen) @AlainnaGeorgiou @OrionBooks

It has been a huge honour to be involved in the blogger blast for Degrees of Guilt by HS Chandler, thank you so much to Alainna and Orion for asking me to take part, as well as allowing me to receive one of the very rare proofs of the book. Without further ado, here is my review:

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When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.

What does TWG think?

Er HELLO MIND FUNK!!! Gee whizz and all that jazz – the last two lines of the blurb are absolutely bang on. I read through ‘Degrees of Guilt’ feeling all smug with myself that I knew who did what, who would end up in trouble and so forth, but I could not have been more wrong if I tried.

Apologies for the incredibly vague review, but it is needed as I would hate to give anything about this book away to any of you!

Maria is on trial for the attempted murder of her husband. A man who has a large following. A man who is incredibly respected due to the work he does. So, why did Maria want him dead? Unfortunately, whilst there is two sides to every story, the fact that only one of those sides can be vocalised personally adds insult to injury. Pardon the pun.

Whilst Maria’s fate looks as though it has been sealed, Lottie (a person who is on the jury) is about to see her own future flash before her eyes. Why? Well, that would be telling but again, there are two sides to every story.

I throughly enjoyed every aspect of this book. It made such a nice change to have a storyline predominantly set in a courtroom instead of just dabbling in that setting for several chapters. At the start of this review I stated that this book was a mind funk, and I completely stand by that as it completely blew my mind from all different angles. Not only does the story focus on the accused, Maria, it also focuses on the actions of the jury both inside of the courtroom, and outside of it. People take things at face value in life. If they can see something, then they believe it. If they cannot see something with their own two eyes yet someone is adamant a situation or a feeling is happening, nobody believes it. Well, some might, but disbelief is what comes first. Physical abuse is just that; physical. You can see it. You can touch the outcome. Emotional abuse, again, is just that; emotional. You can’t physically see the scars. You can’t physically see someone’s life being torn about from the inside. However, why is it that, even though abuse is abuse in every sense of the word, people only believe it when it’s staring them in the face?

‘Degrees of Guilt’ has ‘abuse’ at its core and I’ll be totally honest, the theme of the book definitely gave me food for thought and made me look at things differently. Hell, and that’s even coming from someone who has been on the receiving end of both physical AND emotional abuse. No two situations are the same.

HS Chandler delivers suspense and intensity throughout this book like rockets. Every inch of the book was laced with psychological brilliance and jaw dropping situations – honestly, I’ve said it once and I’ll happily say it again – it blew my mind.

‘Degrees of Guilt’ is a brilliant, brilliant, novel which puts simple ideologies to the test and will have readers questioning every inch of their judgement. You may find that you read this book on the side of one of the characters, yet end the book being on the oppositions side.

I honestly cannot recommend this author, and this book, enough. A psychologically brilliant, highly atmospheric, and addictive read which left my jaw unhinged until the very last page.

Buy now from Amazon (E-book)