#TheOrphanHouse @AnnBennett71 @Bookouture #blogtour #review #bloggers

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in Ann Bennett’s blog tour for ‘The Orphan House’. Here is my review:

As she looks at the baby wriggling in her father’s arms, a bolt of recognition goes through her and she takes a step back. And it’s in that moment that she begins to protect her father’s secrets.

1934, Weirfield-on-Thames. Connie Burroughs loves living in the orphanage that her father runs. Exploring its nooks and crannies with her sister, hearing the pounding of a hundred pairs of feet on the wooden stairs, having a father who is doing so much good. But everything changes the day she sees him carrying a newborn baby that he says he found near the broken front gate. A baby she recognises…

Present day. Arriving at her father’s beloved cottage beside the river, Sarah Jennings is hoping for peace and quiet, to escape her difficult divorce. But when she finds her father unwell and hunched over boxes of files on the orphanage where he was abandoned as a child, she decides to investigate it herself.

The only person left alive who lived at Cedar Hall is Connie Burroughs, but Connie sits quietly in her nursing home for a reason. The sewing box under Connie’s bed hides secrets that will change Sarah’s life forever, uncovering a connection between them that has darker consequences than she could ever imagine.

What does TWG think?

With the topic of adoption being at the heart of the book, ‘The Orphan House’ is a very poignant read which will ask to borrow the emotions of anyone who readers it.

I felt that the storyline was full of hope, whilst also keeping the realism of the heartache where adoption is concerned. What I will say though, is that the language used in reference to ‘real’ mothers left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth and i found it to be a little archaic which was a shame.

Aside from that, I enjoyed the history and I was impressed with the authors attention to detail and belief in her characters – a real ‘food for thought’ novel.

Buy now.

#WhenWeWereBrave @Bookouture #blogtour @SuzKelman

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘When We Were Brave’ by Suzanne Kelman. Here is my review:

The face of the woman in the photograph was tilted upwards, as if enjoying the sunshine just for a moment, even as the wreckage of the bombed-out street lay behind her…

1944, Cornwall: Blinded by love, Vivienne Hamilton eloped to Paris with a Nazi prisoner-of-war, never to be seen again. A disgrace to her family, her name would not be mentioned by any of her relatives for over 75 years.

Present day, London: When Sophie discovers a photograph of her great aunt Vivi from World War Two, it throws her into a world of confusion. Because, as she learns about this secret relative, she quickly realises that the photograph doesn’t fit with her family’s story. It shows Vivi leaving an address associated with a spy network in London – a place she had no reason to be – and it is dated right before she disappeared.

Meanwhile Sophie’s own life feels as blasted and bombed as the blitzed city in the photograph she’s looking at. Her beautiful daughter – as full of joy and wild energy as Vivi had apparently once been – is gone; and Sophie’s heart has been left broken into pieces.

Retreating to the family home in rural Cornwall to seek solace from her pain and the feelings of guilt that she could have done more to protect her daughter, Sophie finds herself becoming obsessed with Vivi’s life.

But nothing can prepare Sophie for what she is about to uncover – the story of a woman who risked everything for the person she loved the most; and a secret family history that could be the key to Sophie’s own future.

What does TWG think?

Reading ‘When We Were Brave’ got me thinking about the fact that I have never, ever been to a museum! How?! I really need to change that!

Sophie is a character that you cant help but warm to. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives to date, what with losing two of the most important people in her life. Knowing that her heart wont be easily fixed, Sophie puts all of her energy into trying to find a relative she never knew existed. Life isnt that simple though is it?

Dual timelines, historical fiction and a whole load of intensity, ‘When We Were Brave’ really ticked my boxes and kept me gripped until the very end. The storyline was full of emotion and heartache, yet it was also full of hope and determination. I really couldn’t have asked for more.

Buy now.

It’s good for your children to make friends…#LittleFriends in fact….but is it? @janeshemilt @MichaelJBooks

Many thanks to the Michael Joseph/Penguin team for inviting me to take part in Jane Shemilt’s blog tour for ‘Little Friends’, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

Their children are friends first. They hit it off immediately, as kids do.

So the parents are forced to get to know each other. But as they get closer, they start to take their eyes off their children.

And while they have been looking the other way, evil has crept in.

Every parent’s biggest nightmare is about to come true…

What does TWG think?

Eve is a laid back parent. A parent who doesnt give her children as many boundaries as what her husband, Eric, would like. With a daughter who has dyslexia, Eve gets a little tutor group going for other children on a Sunday. What started off as an innocent tutor group ended up turning into something much more sinister.

‘Little Friends’ is told from the voices of Eve, Melissa, and Grace, the mothers of the children in the story. The great thing about the book being told from different perspectives meant that as readers, we get to hear the story from various angles instead of it being one sided from just one particular character.

I found this book an incredibly unsettling and uncomfortable read, yet I was unable to tear my eyes away from the disaster that was unfolding before my very eyes. I would love to delve further into what I read, however due to spoilers I would be very afraid to do so incase I accidentally tripped up.

Jane Shmelit has crammed a lot of content into her book, covering topics such as marital problems, grief, dyslexia, parenting troubles, mental health, abuse…the lot. Weirdly enough, I didnt feel overwhelmed by how much content there was as everything slotted in well to the premise of the book.

Even though I felt as though my body was encased in a block of ice due to the chilling nature of the storyline, I flew through the novel in no more than three hours. It was so dark, so compelling, so gut wrenching….I felt like I wasnt able to continue yet my brain seemed to have other ideas.

I feel bad for saying that I throughly enjoyed this book due to what the story contained, however I was SO impressed by Jane Shmelit’s way with words and the realistic picture she painted with her characters and the journeys they embarked on.

As unsettling as this may have been, I was absolutely hooked and I have a strong feeling that readers will struggle to keep this novel from their minds. A moving, sinister, memorable domestic thriller – not for the faint hearted!

Buy now.

If you’re holding out for a legal thriller, ‘TheHoldout’ might just be the one! @MrGrahamMoore @OrionBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour

Thank you to Tracy Fenton and Oriom for the blog tour invite for ‘The Holdout’ by Graham Moore, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

One juror changed the verdict. What if she was wrong?

‘Ten years ago we made a decision together…’

Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock, is the prime suspect. It’s an open and shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed.

Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, persuades the rest of the jurors to vote not guilty: a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever.

Ten years later, one of the jurors is found dead, and Maya is the prime suspect.

The real killer could be any of the other ten jurors. Is Maya being forced to pay the price for her decision all those years ago?

What does TWG think?

Never mind ‘holding out for a hero’, I’m holding out for ‘The Holdout’! I’ve always wondered what it must be like to be a member of the jury and, weirdly enough, my obsession with ‘Ally Mcbeal’ has never really piqued my curiosity as much as I would have liked it to. Basically, I’m too nosy for my own good. So, when I saw Graham Moore’s novel appear on social media, I knew straight away that I needed to get my mitts on a copy. Did it disappoint? Why no, no it did not!

I’m not going to lie though, the storyline was, at times, a little beyond farfetched, something which I’m not exactly used to. However, I had to keep an open mind so that my own walls weren’t stopping me from enjoying the storyline in its entirety.

The concept of everything not being as it seemed is usually so predictable, yet this book completely threw that assumption out of the park! Every new page gave me something I wasn’t expecting, whether it be a new piece of evidence, an unlikely friendship, a different route for the story to take. I was honestly surprised by what I was reading and the way that the author delivered every new thing in such a punchy, memorable way.

I really was hooked by this suspenseful, punchy and eye opening novel. I have a feeling that this is the start of very good things for Graham Moore and his novels!

Buy now.

#Extract from #CodeNameLise by Larry Loftis @LarryLoftis @MirrorBooks #spy #WWII

I was planning on reading this book but unfortunately I haven’t been able to get a copy yet so i will be sharing an extract from ‘Code Name: Lise’ instead. Many thanks to Mirror Books for having me on the tour!

The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing.

Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission.

It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill. As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them.

They are sent to Paris’s Fresnes prison, and on to concentration camps in Germany, where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Extract.

THE FOLLOWING DAY, ANXIOUS to see her beloved France and begin
her work, Odette boarded a Whitley bomber. The plane taxied
to the end of the runway and stopped to wait for the landing of an
incoming aircraft. Odette peered through the window and started.
The landing plane was coming straight at them.

There was a violent collision of metal as the plane clipped the
Whitley’s starboard wing. The pilot immediately cut both engines
and the shouting began. Someone opened the door and Odette
tumbled out. Fortunately, the plane didn’t ignite and no one was
injured.

On September 27 a Lysander became available and Odette
again headed to the airfield. As the plane was warming up, however,
Baker Street received a cable stating that the Gestapo had
arrested her contacts; three had been summarily executed, the rest
soon to be.

Odette returned home, and Buckmaster told her to sit tight
while he coordinated other contacts and searched for another plane.
A week later he called and Odette caught a train to Plymouth,
where she was to depart by seaplane for Gibraltar. As she sat in the
Mountbatten Airport, she watched the Catalina bobbing in the water
as high winds jerked its moorings. Sheets of rain followed, and
it appeared that this mission, too, would be jinxed. After several
hours, an officer from the Royal Air Force came in and confirmed
what Odette expected: the weather would not allow departure.

She returned to London.
The War Office scheduled another flight five days later and instructed
Odette to report to Redruth in Cornwall. From there she
was escorted to a hotel and told to get any sleep she could. An attendant
would wake her at 0100, they said, for a 2 a.m. departure
from Newquay Cornwall Airport. Odette drifted off, and promptly
at one someone knocked on her door with a cup of hot tea.
It was raining.

At the airport she was told there was a slight delay: the Whitley’s
starboard engine had a fuel stoppage, someone said, and mechanics
were addressing it while the luggage was stowed. They’d be under
way shortly.

Finally, the craft was cleared and Odette climbed aboard. There
were no seats, she saw, and the fuselage was crammed to the hilt
with cargo. Finding a small spot on the metal floor, she arranged
herself against a wooden crate and tried to stretch her legs. It
wouldn’t be the most comfortable ride, but at least she was finally
leaving.

The engines revved up and they taxied to the runway. Odette sat
back. It had been a long process: the guilt at Somerset, worry about
leaving her children, the training, the injuries, the false starts. Now
at last she could fulfill the duty her grandfather had encouraged so
many years before.

The Whitley lifted off, dipping for a moment and then resuming
its trajectory. Another dip. Odette swung her eyes to the cockpit.
The pilot was trying to gain altitude, but the bomber was responding
by rising and sinking. Up and down, up and down it went, a
sluggish battle with gravity.
The airframe began to shudder.
Cargo creaked as it slid, then a thunderous burst as the starboard
engine went.
Odette braced herself.
They were going to crash.

#Promo – #RosesOfMarrakech #RachelClare @RaRaResources @BookGuild

Roses of Marrakech is a breath-taking romantic fiction, set between 1944 and 2016. The story follows 36-year-old primary school teacher, Ivy Fielding, who suffers from a lack of self-esteem due to a facial birthmark. Her great-aunt Rose, who has always been her main source of emotional support, has just died, leaving her a bequest as well as her Lavenham cottage to Ivy and her mother. Ivy discovers tragedies in her family’s past while reading her late great-aunt’s diary, and this inspires her to fulfil a childhood dream and she jets off to Marrakech for the summer holidays.

Set against the backdrop of wartime Suffolk and the present-day spice-scented souks of Morocco, Ivy follows a trail of discovery that will change her life and those around her, forever.

But when uncomfortable secrets of the past begin to surface, can she find the courage to confront them, or is it easier to walk away?

Book Guild website.

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Amazon US

Buy from Waterstones

Buy from Foyles

Buy from W H Smith

Author Bio –

Rachel gained a BA (Hons) in French/English at Liverpool Hope University and an MA in Modern Languages Research at Lancaster University before training to be a journalist. She now lives in Lancaster and teaches French in a primary school. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was a child and coming runner up in a Sunday Express story competition gave her the confidence to write her first novel, Roses of Marrakech.

“Whenever I go on holiday, I always take my notebook with me. Visiting Morocco and Lavenham a few years ago, I made notes of my impressions of the places I visited and began writing the book when I returned”, comments Rachel. “In the book, Ivy’s struggles with coming to terms with her birthmark are based on my own experiences with cerebral palsy, whilst the characters, Violet and Eleanor are based on my great-aunts who both died of TB in the late 1920s”.”

#Win – a cuddly Drake toy, Hattie’s pet duck from #HattieGoesToHollywood @CarolineJames12 @RaRaResources

Another RaRaResources tour, this time lending a hand and what better way to do that than by winning a duck! A cuddly one, not a real one! Intrigued? Carry on reading!

A Cumbrian Village…

Three suicides…

A red-hot summer…

Join super-sleuth Hattie as tempers and temperatures rise in the Cumbrian village of Hollywood. With mischief and shenanigans aplenty, will Hattie discover the truth?

When recently bereaved Hattie Mulberry inherits her aunt’s dilapidated cottage in the village of Hollywood in Cumbria, she envisages a quiet life. But retired hotelier Hattie is bored and when her neighbour asks her to investigate a suspicious suicide, Hattie’s career takes a new direction and H&H Investigations is born.

During the hottest summer for years, Hattie discovers there have been three recent suicides in Hollywood and she determines to find out why. Temperatures rise as she throws herself into village life and, with mischief and shenanigans aplenty, Hattie has her work cut out. But will she establish the truth?

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Amazon US

Author Bio –

Best-selling author of women’s fiction, Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that often features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, which includes talks and lectures on cruise ships world-wide, Caroline is also a consultant and food writer. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, the Society of Women’s Writer’s & Journalists and the Society of Authors and writes articles and short stories, contributing to many publications. In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Books by Caroline James:

Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me
Coffee Tea the Chef & Me
Coffee Tea the Caribbean & Me
Jungle Rock
The Best Boomerville Hotel
Hattie Goes to Hollywood

Giveaway to Win a cuddly Drake toy! (Open INT)

Be in with a chance to win Drake, Hattie’s faithful pet duck! Tall Drake & Handsome

– A gorgeous soft toy who will be your friend for life.

*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.

Enter now!

Is it a #FatefulCoincidence or does this series just get better and better? @QueenOfFireLas @RaRaResources

Thank you to Rachel for listening to my begging for my stop on this tour, and for the ARC. I am so excited to be reviewing the third book in the ‘Lisa Millar’ series by Lasairiona E. McMaster, ‘Fateful Coincidence’.

Five thousand miles from her ex, Lisa is living with her decision to call it quits and leave both AJ and Alabama behind. She believes she’s finally ready to put her broken heart back together and move forward with her life as a single woman.

But when she meets a seemingly too-good-to-be-true doctor, she feels both unsure of herself and guilty for moving on so quickly from her engagement to AJ.

Lisa finds herself at a cross roads, does she give up all hope of ever reconciling with AJ and take a chance on love again with someone new? Or is her heart destined to be forever entwined with the married man she met on the internet?

What does TWG think?

Before I go any further I need to say this; if you haven’t read the previous two books in the series yet and you’re thinking about reading this one, I urge you to read the books in order as each new book is a continuation. Even though you probably could get away with reading them as a standalone, I truly believe that you will get more from the story and the characters if you start their journey with them in book one. I dont say this lightly, but of course it’s only my opinion.

Right…..book three. Probably the one that made my eyes randomly leak off their own accord, a lot quicker than book two. Lisa did not have it easy in book two at all. She had gone through something so devastating and so emotional, I am actually surprised to see her attempting to rebuild her life. Not that I’m saying she shouldn’t do that, because damn right she should! What she went through was enough to traumatise the strongest people, let alone someone like Lisa.

‘Fateful Coincidence’ sees Lisa battling with her conflicting emotions, and Jeremy being the hilarious, loyal, pain in the panini we have all come to know and love.

One thing I do want to ask the author though….

The doctor….WHY?!?!?! I was so excited to see Lisa be true to herself and then suddenly the curveball came and put a final line in the sand where that was concerned (trying my hardest not to do spoilers!!!). Honestly, my eyes sprung a leak big time. I was absolutely devastated by the turn of events and it seem to catch me a lot more than I was expecting….not that I was expecting THAT to happen at all, but you know what i mean.

I actually felt quite sorry for Aiofe because she was being a loyal friend to Lisa, yet Lisa seemed to only contact Aiofe when she needed someone to talk to. I felt a bit bummed by Lisa’s actions and i couldnt help but think that she was being a little bit selfish at times. Dont get me wrong, when we are in a dark place we cannot see further than our own noses, however I could totally see where Jack was coming from later on in the book, that’s for sure.

Once again this book didnt leave my hands until I had read it in its entirety, and i bloomin loved it. The unique love story has made a mark on my heart in more ways than one and it’s been an absolute honour to get to know these characters on their journeys.

Jeremy, as ever, is still my most favourite pick of the bunch and I would love it if he had his own time in the spotlight. I think that everyone needs a best friend like him, and I am extremely jealous that I dont!

This series will always have my heart – simply brilliant.

Buy now.

#TheMemoryWood gives me the creeps!!!! @samlloydwrites @AnneCater @TransworldBooks

Once again, thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and to Transworld Books for the ARC. Delighted to welcome debut author, Sam Lloyd, to TWG today with a review of his debut novel, ‘The Memory Wood’.

Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.

Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.

When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.

Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.

As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .

What does TWG think?

Errrrr, can someone please pass me the bog roll? I seem to have defecated in my Lee Cooper’s! Scared poopless springs to mind!!!! I like a good thrill as much as the next person, but sheesh! This ain’t no ‘Casper the friendly ghost’ type scare!

In my defence, I was pretty poorly whilst reading this, so maybe a little bit more vulnerable than normal. I mean, if anyone had shouted my name I think I would have jumped out of my skin, so to read a book which had a supernatural type vibe to it, alongside a dark and demonesque thriller vibe, it’s safe to say that I wanted Casper nearby!

I was incredibly impressed by the connectivity of the the storyline. The author had created such realistic paths between each character and their individual journeys in the story, whilst also maintaining the flow of the overall book. As a reader, I cant even begin to imagine just how difficult of a task that can be for authors, however Sam Lloyd really delivered.

I know I sounded like a bit of a wimp at the start of this review, but can I just say that the thrill and fear factor was so cleverly woven into the storyline, it soon became a case of ‘I dont want to look but I need to look’ in terms of turning the pages. It worked bloody well.

‘The Memory Wood’ is incredibly unique, incredibly chilling, and also incredibly clever. I am in shock that this is the work of a debut author and I absolutely cannot wait to see what other gems Sam Lloyd has up his sleeve if this is anything to go by!

Buy now

This is one #GuestList I don’t mind NOT being on!! #TheGuestList @LucyFoleyTweets @AnneCater @Harperfiction

Huge thanks to Anne and Jen Harlow for inviting me to take part in Lucy Foley’s blog tour, and for the ARC. It gives me great pleasure to review ‘The Guest List’ on my blog today!

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.

Old friends.Past grudges. Happy families.Hidden jealousies. Thirteen guests.One body. The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive

What does TWG think?

Its ‘the wedding of the year’ and it seems as though the world and his wife are invited. I do like a good wedding but, funnily enough, I really didnt get the usual ‘fomo’ (fear of missing out) feeling with this wedding. I mean, one person wont be making it off the island alive! Most weddings I’ve been to have always had some sort of drama happen….never a death though! Let’s hope it’s a tradition that doesnt catch on anytime soon!!

If i had to sum this book up in three words I would say that its addictive, addictive, oh, and addictive! Didnt say three DIFFERENT words though, did you! I would even goes as far as comparing the storyline to pringles ‘once you pop you just cant stop’ because, once I read the first page, I was hooked and sat reading the book cover to cover in one sitting. The perks of being chronically ill and unable to move!

There are a lot of larger than life characters in this book, some of which were brilliant at getting my back up quicker than seeing Piers Morgan’s face. I’m not complaining though as those marmite characters helped shape the story into the compelling read it ended up being.

I thought it was very clever how the storyline went from the present to the past and back again without missing a beat. There was no longwinded way of doing it, and the author got straight to the point of that segment which kept me on my toes. I loved how short and snappy the chapters were, again, another thing which kept me on my toes as I couldnt work out what was coming next quick enough. The element of surprise and suspense was brilliantly done and certainly kept me guessing.

I throughly enjoyed ‘The Guest List’, with my only criticism being the fact that it had to finish. From the very beginning I was hooked by the underlying notion of not knowing and wanting to know, without actually knowing what it was that I needed to know the ins and outs of. If that makes sense!

Lucy Foley is, in my eyes, up there with the greatest of the greats and I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on whatever she produces next!

Buy now