#BelowTheBigBlueSky by @AnnaMcpartlin #RememberRabbitHayes @ZaffreBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour #review

Many thanks to Tracy for inviting me to take part in Anna McPartlin’s blog tour for ‘Below The Big Blue Sky’, and of course thank you to the publisher for the review copy.

How do you pick up the pieces when the person that held them together is gone?
When forty-year-old Rabbit Hayes dies, she leaves behind a family broken by grief. Her mother Molly is distraught and in danger of losing her faith. Her father Jack spends hour upon hour in the family attic, poring over his old diaries, losing himself in the past.
Rabbit’s brother Davey finds himself suddenly guardian to her twelve-year-old daughter Juliet. Juliet might be able to fill a hole in Davey’s heart – but how can he help Juliet through her grief when he can barely cope with his own?
But even though the Hayes family are all fighting their own battles, they are drawn together by their love for Rabbit, and their love for each other. In the years that follow her death they find new ways to celebrate and remember her, to find humour and hope in the face of tragedy, and to live life to its fullest, as Rabbit would have wanted.

What does TWG think?

Before reading Anna McPartlin’s new book, I had already heard so much about Rabbit Hayes, however i hadn’t read the predecessor to this novel, ‘The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes’. The joys of being on a blog tour for a second book in a series meant that I needed to read the first book first, in order to be able to follow the next installment. I wholeheartedly recommend that you do the same!

I’m never usually lost for words, but i am now! Trying to write a review about a book as emotive as this one, without giving anything away, is proving more difficult than i thought.

The topic of cancer is at the heart of this novel in more ways than one. No doubt those reading this would have been affected by cancer in one form or another, and the devastating aftermath such a bastard of an illness leaves behind, even with survivors.

Anna McPartlin has excelled with her characterisation skills, her adept way of bringing a story to life with such grace, dignity and spellbinding beauty. I was gobsmacked by what my brain was digesting, and what my heart was allowed to devour.

The Hayes family are such a one of a kind, memorable bunch of characters that really make this story, and series, the fantastic read it is.

I was moved by the characters grief, the topic of cancer, and the rawness of such complex emotions. For me, McPartlin has delivered a story which will stand the test of time like never before, and being able to read a book like this, was an honour that I will never, ever forget.

Buy now.

Is anyone familiar with #TheFoundling? @Stacey_halls @ZaffreBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour #review #blogger

Many thanks to Tracy Fenton and Zaffre Books for inviting me to take part in Stacey Halls’ blog tour, and for the stunning ARC. Here is my review as part of the tour:

Two women, bound by a child, a nd a secret that will change everything . . .

London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst, that Clara has died in care, she is astonished when she is told she has already claimed her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why.

Less than a mile from Bess’s lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.

What does TWG think?

As ignorant as this may seem, I had absolutely no idea that ‘The Foundling’ got its inspiration from real life. I had no idea that places like that, for children facing abandonment, even existed! It certainly puts things into perspective really, doesnt it?

Being aware of the historical facts behind the novel, the storyline took on a totally different vibe and it came across a lot more darker than if the idea behind the story was fictionalised, does that make sense?

I cannot even begin to imagine what Bess went through when she gave her daughter up, nor can I even begin to imagine what anyone went through during those times where children were concerned. I know that Bess was doing right by her daughter because of the time she lived in and how illegitimate children were not something to be proud of, so to speak, but to give up your child not knowing whether they would live or die, not seeing their milestones etc, all because society frowned upon it, must have been absolutely devastating. I felt that emotion throughout the storyline, and I believed it.

I wouldn’t say that the storyline gave off too much of a mysterious vibe. In fact, I felt as though it could have pushed the boundaries with it a little bit more because, whilst the drama was evident, I still felt as though something was lacking where it was concerned, which was a shame.

That said, I was intrigued at the journey Bess was required to take later on in the story, and I loved how authentic the author made the storyline. Despite my views above, I still found the story to be compelling and quite intricately described. Stacey Halls is a unique storyteller and I am looking forward to reading more from her.

Compelling, dark, highly detailed, and intriguing, ‘The Foundling’ is a heroic and gutsy read which highlights some of the emotive times in history that should never, ever be forgotten.

Buy now.

#StasiWinter – I wondered why it felt so cold! @djy_writer @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #blogtour

Anyone else feeling a little bit chilly today, as though, erm, winter is rife?

Today I am hosting David Young and ‘Stasi Winter’ as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton and Zaffre Books for the tour invite and ARC.

In 1978 East Germany, nothing is at it seems. The state’s power is absolute, history is re-written, and the ‘truth’ is whatever the Stasi say it is.

So when a woman’s murder is officially labelled ‘accidental death’, Major Karin Müller of the People’s Police is faced with a dilemma. To solve the crime, she must disregard the official version of events. But defying the Stasi means putting her own life – and the lives of her young family – in danger.

As the worst winter in living memory holds Germany in its freeze, Müller must untangle a web of state secrets and make a choice: between truth and lies, justice and injustice, and, ultimately, life and death.

What does TWG think?

If you’re new to David Young’s novels, ‘Stasi Winter’ is book 5 in the Karin Muller series, with each book reading well on their own. Just be mindful that you may not have the full backstory of character relationships if you do read the books out of order.

‘Stasi Winter’ is written well. There is no doubt about that at all. It’s very clear that the author has researched his locations and finer details to ensure authenticity throughout, and I really did appreciate it. For me, however, I found the shell of the story to be a bit confusing and quite slow at times. I do realise that books of this genre require a slow build up to create more tension, and whilst the tension was definitely there, I would have liked the pace to speed up a bit more, rather than the characters to-ing and fro-ing as often as they did.

Despite the slow pace, I still found myself enjoying historical crime elements to the book, and I ended up being quite addicted to the ‘will they wont they?’ parts. It just goes to show that, under pressure, logistics go out of the window and peoples choices can often appear quite selfish.

What I love about this series is the fact that I can dip in and out of the books and still feel as though I’m part of the overall vibe when I come back to the stories at a later date.

Overall, an intriguing, well thought out novel that made Scottish weather seem like Summer!

Buy now!

#ThePact begins today! Dun dun dunnnnnn!!!! @AmyHeydenrych @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #blogger #Review

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It’s an honour to be kicking off the blog tour for ‘The Pact’ by Amy Heydenrych today – huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invite, and to Zaffre for the ARC. Here is my review:

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When Freya arrives at her dream job with the city’s hottest start-up, she can’t wait to begin a new and exciting life, including dating her new colleague Jay.

However, Nicole, Jay’s ex and fellow employee, seems intent on making her life a misery. After a big deadline, where Nicole continually picks on her, Freya snaps and tells Jay about the bullying and together they concoct a revenge prank.

The next morning, Nicole is found dead in her apartment . . .

Is this just a prank gone wrong? Or does Freya know someone who is capable of murder – and could she be next?

What does TWG think?

‘The Pact’ just oozed promise! If you like your books to have a strong ‘whodunnit?’ feel to them, then this will be right up your street. Personally, I felt that the secretive premise and the uncertainty of the characters, really grabbed my attention. We all know that bullying isn’t acceptable, but then again is revenge acceptable either?

I loved how the author crafted her characters, ensuring that her readers believed in Freya’s emotions and the troubles she faced with Nicole. Given the nature of the storyline, I was very impressed by the character direction as their personalities could have gotten quite lost in amongst everything else, and they didn’t. Which is good!

Whilst I enjoyed the overall building blocks of ‘The Pact’, I did feel as though the storyline wasn’t consistent. I do realise that suspense novels like this, do need the slow pace to build the tension and what not, however the storyline seemed to peak and then nosedive back to a pace that made me feel as though I was reading a different book. Amy Heydenrych is an extremely talented writer, and I loved her delivery during the moments where the book blindsided me and left me on the edge of my seat. I just really wish that it was like that the entire way through.

All in all, ‘The Pact’ is an intriguing read which delivers suspense, intensity and character personalisation with great force.

The Pact will be published on the 28th November by Zaffre Books – pre-order now from Amazon

If only ALL addresses sound as intriguing as #17ChurchRow! @JamesCarolBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n @ZaffreBooks

James Carol
Many thanks to Tracy Fenton and Zaffre Books for the blog tour invite and ARC, I am delighted to be hosting day two of the blog tour for James Carol and ’17 Church Row’. Here is my review:

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Three years ago, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes suffered a devastating loss when their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed in a road accident. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, leaving Nikki to care for their remaining child, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that day.

Seeking a fresh start, the family moves into a revolutionary new house designed by renowned architect, Catriona Fisher. The house features a state-of-the-art security system, along with every amenity you could dream of.

For the Rhodes’ this is a chance to finally pick up the pieces and get on with their lives in a place where they feel totally safe.

But what if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?

What does TWG think?

As a huge fan of James Carol’s ‘Jefferson Winter’ series, I could NOT wait to get my hands on his latest book! This author is a machine when it comes to instigating suspense and leaving readers hanging, and I had high hopes that this book would follow suit.

I can’t even begin to imagine what Nikki and Ethan went through when they lost their young daughter – the thought of it sends shivers down my spine and, even though the subject is one guaranteed to trigger some sort of emotion, I thought it was a very intriguing way to grab the readers attention. Especially seeing as their other daughter, Bella, is no longer vocal.

Straight away my mind flooded with questions. Why is Bella no longer able to speak? What is stopping her talking? Is it the shock? The fact that she has lost her sibling? Or is something else troubling Bella? With so much heartbreak already in her young life, Bella’s parents move house to create a fresh start with fresh memories. But, once again, the family got more than what they bargained for.

We have all heard of Alexa and her distantly related cousins, but how safe are those gadgets? A lot of us have them in our homes, shouting for Alexa, or Google, to turn on music for us when we cannot be bothered to push buttons ourselves. Plus, those with children know how easy it is for young ones to communicate with a magic box that talks to you. Jame Carol was very clever to hone in on a subject that is incredibly topical in today’s society, and is something that will definitely get people talking about. Well, after re-checking their gadgets settings of course!

I thought that the intrigue level to the storyline had James Carol’s signature style written all over it (pardon the pun)! I must say that I did find the storyline to be very predictable and didn’t leave much room for surprises, which meant that, despite being intrigued about the next move in Nikki and Ethan’s lives, I felt as though I could already see the aftermath of their chosen choices before it was written in black and white.

I enjoyed the vibe of the concept, and I enjoyed the way in which the author really got into the readers sub conscience. It’s not my most favourite book that the author has written, yet I still appreciated the multi-layered storyline and clever hook. All in all, I cannot really complain at all!

Buy now.

Kate Bradley wants ‘To Keep You Safe’, how nice is that! #review @kate_bradley @Tr4cyF3nt0n @ZaffreBooks #blogtour

Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invite, and thank you to the publisher for the ARC.

You don’t know who they are. You don’t know why they’re hunting her. But you know she’s in danger.

What do you do?

When teacher Jenni Wales sees 15-year-old Destiny’s black eye, she’s immediately worried. Destiny isn’t your average student: she’s smart, genius IQ smart, and she’s in care. But concern turns to fear when Jenni witnesses an attempt to abduct Jenni from school.

Who are these men and what can Destiny know to make them hunt her?

With those around her not taking the threat seriously, Jenni does the only thing she can think of to keep Destiny safe: she takes her.

What does TWG think?

What on Earth did I just read?!? ‘To Keep You Safe’ is the perfect example of how people see things in their own way, regardless of what the truth is. The main characters, Jenni and Destiny, find themselves tangled in something very dark, and very sinister. But who is being truthful?

As a teacher, Jenni has her students best interests at heart, and is required, by law, to protect the children in her care and raise any concerns. Obviously that would be a lot easier if honesty was the name of the game.

This storyline is such a unique and psychologically twisted read that often put my head in a spin. Who did I believe? Who did I WANT to believe? As the storyline progressed, my empathy towards the characters kept cchanging – one minute I felt sorry for Jenni, and then the next I felt sorry for Destiny. What I thought was so clever about the book was the way the author made her readers think. She wrote the storyline in such a way that most readers, ie me, would end up not seeing what was directly in front of them. Then again, was that all part of the game too?

The thoughts of ‘what on earth did I just read’, visited my mind multiple times. I couldn’t get my head around the purpose of various characters actions, nor could I work out the intent of the storyline itself. Either way, I flew through this book because i was so addicted to its compelling vibe and uncertain futures for the characters. This may have been my first Kate Bradley book, but I don’t think that it would be my last, either!

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #The Nursery by Asia Mackay (@abmackster) @ZaffreBooks @MidasPR

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Huge thanks to MidasPR for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Nursery’ by Asia Mackay, as well as the ARC. I am so excited to be sharing my review today – enjoy!

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Lex Tyler is trying to have it all, but being a working mother is so much more difficult when you’re a secret agent for an underground branch of the security services.

Platform Eight have been tasked with tracking down and eliminating the traitor in MI6 who has been selling information to the highest bidder through a headhunting website for the criminal underworld that connects intelligence operatives with all manner of bad people with a simple right swipe.

Deals get made. Secrets get sold. Missions fail. Agents die.

It’s down to Lex and her team to identify and eliminate the traitor before they assassinate China’s Minister of Commerce and ruin relations between the UK and China forever. But when your husband doesn’t know exactly what your job entails and the future of the intelligence services rests on your shoulders, can one working mother save the day?

This is one mission that Lex cannot afford to fail.

What does TWG think?

Right, I didn’t realise this until afterwards, BUT, ‘The Nursery’ is the second ‘Lex Tyler’ novel, with ‘Killing It’ being the first. Do you need to read the previous book in order to enjoy the second? Well, seeing as I had absolutely no idea that this was a series, I can hand on heart say that, no, you do not need to read the books in order. That said, if you’re anything like me once you’ve read books out of order’ you will no doubt go and hunt the other books in the series….

Anyway, back to ‘The Nursery’. If you’re a fan of undercover, spy type thrilling read, then you would just LOVE this one. I didn’t know what to expect at first, I mean, would the characters be an updated version of the program ‘Rugrats’ what with the title being ‘The Nursery’? I had hoped not, simply because I wouldn’t be able to stand Angelica all over again….

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Lex Tyler’s escapades and learning about where she keeps her weapons! As well as being a cut throat and dark novel, ‘The Nursery’ was laced with such on point, slapstick humour that you wouldn’t usually find in a novel full of assassins. I think the fact that Lex has a young daughter blindsided me at times, because one minute Lex is hunting the bad guys down by chucking glitter in their face, and then the next she is picking up her little girl from nursery as though she was on route to do that all along. I thought it was absolutely brilliant and such an unexpected storyline which paved the way for much hilarity, many ‘what the…..’ moments, as well as brilliant tips for a bag of teddy bear crisps. And no, I don’t mean eating them…

Asia Mackay has such a unique and memorable talent which has made, for me, ‘The Nursery’ a serial to keep in my eye line. I hope there will be many more Lex Tyler novels to come, as I am certain that her story is nowhere near finished.

Honestly, I really do recommend reading this book if you’re fancying something a little bit different. I absolutely loved every iota of ‘The Nursery’, and Asia Mackay is a talent worth celebrating for sure.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – #Control by Hugh Montgomery (@hugh_montgomery) @ZaffreBooks

Control Blogtour Poster (2)
Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘Control’ by Hugh Montgomery, and thank you to Zaffre Books for the ARC via Netgalley. I am delighted to be reviewing this book for my stop on the tour today. Enjoy!

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Renowned surgeon Michael Trenchard locks his office door and prepares for a relaxing evening. But what follows is a living nightmare when later he is discovered in a locked-in coma, the victim of an auto-erotic asphyxiation.

It is left to Doctor Kash Devan, Trenchard’s young protégé, to uncover the truth. And what he discovers is chilling . . .

In his ruthless pursuit of wealth and success, Trenchard has left a trail of wrecked lives, and angry people, behind him. Which of Trenchard’s victims hated him so much that they wanted to ruin not only his reputation, but his life as well?

Not all doctors are heroes . . .

What does TWG think?

Goodness me – I have never, EVER read a book like this before! A book which was so gripping, yet mindblowingly farfetched at times, I just simply couldn’t tear my eyes away.

I didn’t dislike the book, in fact, I really did enjoy it. However, certain eventualities within the storyline were a bit too unbelievable at times, and my enjoyment dipped ever so slightly because of that. I am fully aware that ‘Control’ is the work of fiction and the author is well within their right to overuse their imagination wherever they see fit and, seeing as I have my own overactive imagination at times, I don’t mind when situations go off on their own little tangent. To a point. There’s always that fine line, isn’t there?

Kash Devan is fresh meat, so to speak, and he finds himself under the wing of an exceptionally well known surgeon, Michael Trenchard. As far as Kash is concerned, as soon as he steps foot onto the various wards, the life and health of his patients take precedence over everything else. Did I mention he was under the wing of a well known surgeon? I never stated whether Trenchard was well known due to his positive actions, or whether he was well known because more people seemed to dislike him than genuinely like him…..

Let’s just say that Kash Devan’s mind was elsewhere due to the Chinese whispers around the hospital. Were they true, or were they purely fiction?

What I enjoyed most about ‘Control’ was how the author incorporates the reader into the storyline which enables them to form their own opinion of certain characters, as well as trying to work out who should be in the firing line, if anyone at all. It was as though Hugh Montgomery refused to steer his readers down his thought path in an obvious manner, even though deep down I knew that that was going to happen, simply because he knew what was going to happen and us readers could only attempt to guess.

The medical side of the book were incredibly eye-opening and very, very dark. Some of the descriptions are a teeny bit graphic, however the book isn’t full of scenes which would make you chuck up your previous meal. At times I thought that there was a lot of medical jargon which flew over my head, but I just went with the flow as ‘Control’ is centred around medicine due to it being predominantly set in a hospital. That said, if you’re wanting to feel as though you could go on and become a doctor right after finishing read this, kudos to the medical jargon!

‘Control’ is a compulsive, complex and psychologically twisted novel which kept on surprising me and left me in a false sense of security. I thought that the characters were brilliantly written, each adding their own dynamics to the overall vibe of the book.

I really do recommend picking up ‘Control’ if you’re a fan of dark, medical reads – just not straight after eating food….

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – Stasi 77 by David Young (@djy_writer) @ZaffreBooks

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Final blog tour post of the day, and it’s another book published Zaffre Books, ‘Stasi 77’ by David Young. Many thanks to Zaffree for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here his my review:

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A secret State. A dark conspiracy. A terrible crime.

Karin Müller of the German Democratic Republic’s People’s Police is called to a factory in the east of the country. A man has been murdered – bound and trapped as a fire burned nearby, slowly suffocating him. But who is he? Why was he targeted? Could his murderer simply be someone with a grudge against the factory’s nationalisation, as Müller’s Stasi colleagues insist? Why too is her deputy Werner Tilsner behaving so strangely?

As more victims surface, it becomes clear that there is a cold-blooded killer out there taking their revenge. Soon Müller begins to realise that in order to solve these terrible crimes, she will need to delve into the region’s dark past. But are the Stasi really working with her on this case? Or against her?

For those who really run this Republic have secrets they would rather remain uncovered. And they will stop at nothing to keep them that way . . .

What does TWG think?

Don’t make the mistake that I did! ‘Stasi 77’ is best read once you have read the other books in the series, and I’m speaking from experience as I didn’t quite realise until it was too late that it was part of a series. I did learn the hard way and unfortunately it did alter my experience regarding the entire thing.

David Young was a new author for me, one I was looking forward to getting stuck into! Even though an error was made and I wasn’t able to enjoy the book 100 percent, I could not fault the author on his ability to create a suspenseful storyline. I was very impressed by the intensity of the characters actions and their own individual journeys, even though there was a lot more to their personalities that I hadn’t found out yet.

The historical element to ‘Stasi 77’ made for a shocking read, but one which I lapped up like a cat with a saucer of milk. The uniqueness of the history versus crime was a true experience, and I did enjoy the chilling escapades and rollercoaster ride of a read.

I am looking forward to starting from the very beginning with David Young’s novels, as I thought that his writing style is extremely engaging and highly gripping.

Buy now from Amazon.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Daughters of Ironbridge by Mollie Walton (@RebeccaMascull) @ZaffreBooks

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Blog tour two of the day is where TWG gets to step back in time with ‘The Daughters of Ironbridge’ by Mollie Walton. Bit ironic for Easter Sunday is it not! Thank you to Zaffre Books for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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Anny Woodvine’s family has worked at the ironworks for as long as she can remember. The brightest child in her road and the first in her family to learn to read, Anny has big dreams. So, when she is asked to run messages for the King family, she grabs the opportunity with both hands.

Margaret King is surrounded by privilege and wealth. But behind closed doors, nothing is what it seems. When Anny arrives, Margaret finds her first ally and friend. Together they plan to change their lives.

But as disaster looms over the ironworks, Margaret and Anny find themselves surrounded by secrets and betrayal. Can they hold true to each other and overcome their fate? Or are they destined to repeat the mistakes of the past?

What does TWG think?

Got to love a saga! ‘The Daughters of Ironbridge’ is such a special read. In no time at all, the author allowed me to lose myself in the lives of such three-dimensional, well thought out characters such as Anny and Margaret. Set in the mid 1800’s, Mollie Walton takes her readers on a journey back in time where society and class were completely different to they are now. Not only that, readers are given an insight into the ironworks, and just how much hard work it took for those who worked there.

Mollie Walton makes her characters come alive in such a seamless and flawless manner, at times making me feel as though I was sitting on the characters shoulders like a little parrot, following their every move.

I was moved by the community spirit and the strength of the friendship between Margaret and Anny, two very different people whose lives may have been bound by the strength of their friendship, yet their class couldn’t have been more chalk and cheese if it tried.

There is a lot of storyline to sink your teeth into, just like most saga’s, so if you’re into reading books which give you more than your moneys worth, and then some, ‘The Daughters of Ironbridge’ will no doubt tick several boxes.

I was so pleased to see that this is the first book in a trilogy – roll on more is what I say!

An in-depth, powerful and beautifully crafted novel from an author who puts ‘history’ in the word ‘historical’. Brilliant.

Buy now!