#TheVault #blogtour @pbackwriter @angelaontour @AnneCater

Many thanks to Anne Cater and the publisher for the tour invite and ARC, here is my review of ‘The Vault’ by Mark Dawson.

A desperate agent. A petty criminal. An audacious plot.

When Harry Mackintosh is called upon to exfiltrate a valuable asset from East to West Berlin, what could have been an intelligence coup becomes an international embarrassment. Mackintosh’s men and his lover are killed by the East German secret police in a brutal crossfire and he barely escapes with his life. He flees to the West and promises himself that he will have vengeance.

Mackintosh is the head of Berlin Station but he doesn’t have the staff to compete with the Stasi. He returns to London to plead for the resources to fight back. But instead of the seasoned operatives that he needs, Mackintosh is given a single man: Jimmy Walker, a petty criminal with a record for robbing banks.

Mackintosh takes Walker to Berlin and sets in train an audacious plan that will see them both on the other side of the Wall. Mackintosh and Walker face off against Karl-Heinz Sommer, the Stasi general known as die Spinne – the Spider – a man known for his brutality and ruthlessness.

The plan is already a longshot, and then Walker learns of the riches that Sommer stole from displaced Berliners in the days after the Wall was constructed. Will Walker follow orders or will he find the prospect of the Stasi gold in Sommer’s secret vault too tempting to ignore? Will Mackintosh have his revenge or will he become another fly caught in the Spider’s web?

What does TWG think?

Mark Dawson may be a new author for me, however I have a strong feeling that ‘The Vault’ wont be the last book of his that I read!

I LOVE reading about all things spy, something which Dawson executes brilliantly in this book.

Set with the ‘Cold War’ in mind, ‘The Vault’ tells a story that is tightly interlinked with history and thrilling suspense. Not only that, take a look at the characters names! I mean, the name ‘Spider’ is a belter!

Having not read any of the others authors books, I felt a little bit out of sync in regards to the backstory. I was glad that that didnt lower my enjoyment of the book, however it did make me a little bit more mindful about what each of the characters were doing so that I kept involved in the overall storyline.

Overall I was really impressed by what I read, and I thought the revenge element was such a thrilling addition. Mark Dawson is a very clever author who has intensity down to a fine art and I am very excited to read more. I was definitely NOT expecting this Pandora’s box type read – awesome!

Buy now.

If only cafes like #The24HourCafe existed everywhere! @LibbyPageWrites @OrionBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #review #blogger

Huge thanks to Orion for the beautiful ARC, and to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in Libby Page’s blog tour for ‘The 24 Hour Cafe’.

Welcome to the café that never sleeps.

Day and night, Stella’s Café opens its doors to the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It’s a place where everyone is always welcome, where life can wait at the door.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They love working at Stella’s – the different people they meet, the small kindnesses exchanged. But is it time to step outside and make their own way in life?

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café, where one day might just be enough to changeyour life . . .

What does TWG think?

Before I opened up the pages of ‘The 24 Hour Cafe’, I had found myself in a reading slump. In fact, I’d go as far to say that it was pretty much a life slump. For various reasons (some of which shouldn’t really go into a review), I just couldn’t find the urge to pick up a book and, when I did, I found myself staring at everything but the pages.

‘The 24 Hour Cafe’ was a book which I had heard so much about and was so eager to read, I would have been incredibly disappointed if I had been unable to review based on the issues I was, and still am, facing. So, I opened the pages…..

People say that books are magic. That they enable people to visit their subconscious’ in a subtle way. That they open doors to a world where mental health, race, lifestyle and what not, is completely irrelevant and you’re accepted for who you are. ‘The 24 Hour Cafe’ is magic because it removed me from my reading slump and gave me back the excitement I was so desperately craving. Not only that, this book allowed me to find solace in the characters journeys which meant that I was able to step away from my own life for a short space of time.

The cafe, in general, is more than an eatery that is open 24 hours. It’s more than a place of work for Pablo, Hannah, Mona, Sofia and co. It’s more than just bricks and mortar. To the characters that walked through those doors, the cafe is an escape. A respite. A place to hide away from the weather or issues which didnt involve food or drink. To them it’s a place to reminisce. To find themselves again. And, even for the members of staff, ‘The 24 Hour Cafe’ is a home away from home.

This book is literally a story full of other stories, and I absolutely loved it. Every character was given their moment to find themselves before going back and revisiting them a year later. Some of the stories were quite emotional; dealing with grief, homelessness, mental health troubles. Whereas others gave me hope as well. Each serious topic was dealt with very sensitively, highlighting the importance of admitting to yourself you need help, or lowering your guard to allow someone to point you in the right direction. I loved the way that the story showed that asking for help isnt weak, nor is striving for your own definition of perfection instead of doing what is expected.

With every new page I turned, the storyline became cosier and cosier, so much so that I was bereft when the book ended. If heartwarming is what you are after, you cannot get more touching than the words on the pages of ‘The 24 Hour Cafe’. I wish I had the types of friendships mentioned in this book, I really do. They were so beautiful to read about and reminded me that, even though the world can be such a dark and uncertain place to be, if you look hard enough you can find the things, or people, that light up your world when you truly need it.

As someone who truly needed to be lit up by this incredible, incredible novel, I want to thank Libby Page for the hope that was infused in her story. I genuinely cannot recommend this tender, magnetic, magical read enough.

Buy now.

#TellMeLies, tell me sweet little lies #blogtour @edjamesauthor @bookouture

Huge thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Ed James and ‘Tell Me Lies’, and for the ARC. I am delighted to be closing the tour this evening with a review:

Megan Holliday opens her eyes and finds herself slumped on her doorstep. The last thing she remembers is being in the car with her two kids. She sees a handwritten note on her lap – Don’t call the police. It’s then that she realises her car is missing, and her children are gone…

Leading the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team, FBI agent Max Carter will stop at nothing to find children taken from their families. After all, he was once one of those taken children, so he knows exactly what’s at stake. When he hears that a young senator’s two children have been abducted and their mother left for dead, he races to the Holliday family home in Washington State.

Facing a wall of police cruisers and blacked-out SUVs, Carter quickly uncovers the facts. Megan Holliday was ambushed by a man with a gun as she returned home from taking her kids out for ice cream. Bound and drugged, the attacker left her unconscious on the doorstep with the sinister note on her lap.

As Senator Christopher Holliday walks through the halls of the US Federal Building in Seattle, his phone beeps with an alert. Frustrated by the interruption, he takes a cursory glance and is horrified by the image on the screen – his two children, Brandon and Avery, unconscious. The message he gets simply reads Meet me or they die.

When Agent Carter tries to make contact with the busy senator, it seems the politician has gone missing, fleeing from the Federal Building and abandoning his distraught wife. If Carter knows one thing, it’s that Holliday has something to hide. And he just became Carter’s prime suspect.

What does TWG think?

Have you ever, after reading or watching something which makes you content, rubbed your hands together with a squeal? I’m hoping some of you say yes now as I sound odd, but omg that was me! I am SO excited to find out where the series goes from here! For a start to a new series, ‘Tell Me Lies’ ticked my boxes in terms of suspense, intrigue, and pace, whilst also leaving me to question each of the characters motives….including Detective Carter. Of course I hoped that the detective would be above board, but in these types of books you just cant be too sure now, can you?

A storyline containing missing children always makes my heart skip a beat. I try not to keep my mind close regarding the topic, and I try to ensure that my own emotions dont get too entangled into what the author is trying to convey with their storyline. Its easier said than done though, which I am sure you can appreciate! I think my own thoughts on the subject enabled me to become invested more quickly in the storyline, keeping everything crossed for an ending I of course would like!

I flew through ‘Tell Me Lies’ like a little dog on heat! I couldnt get over how well everything just flowed! It’s safe to say, and there are no lies from me here, that I bloody loved this book, especially the character development. The personalities of the detective and his colleagues left me wanting more and I still stand by what I said at the beginning – I cannot wait to see where the series goes from here! You are all in for a treat with this one!

Buy now.

Shhhh….#ItStartedWithASecret @jillmansell @headlinepg @annecater #blogtour

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Headline for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Jill Mansell’s new novel, ‘It Started With a Secret’, which is published 23rd January (and for the ARC of course). Here is my review:

The trouble with secrets is that you can’t guess what the consequences will be . . .

Lainey has lost everything. Luckily one little fib (OK, quite a big fib) helps nail her dream job. Soon she’s living in a stunning house by the sea, fending off obsessed fans for a retired – if far-from-retiring – actor and organising his charming but chaotic family. It’s definitely worth the challenge of keeping her secret.

At least Lainey isn’t looking for love. It’s time for a break from all that. And yet . . . Seth, the actor’s grandson, really is rather attractive. There’s growing chemistry and a definite connection between them. But how would he react if he knew she hadn’t been honest with him?

Lainey’s not the only one with a secret, though. Seth has one of his own. And everything’s about to start unravelling . .

What does TWG think?

Jill Mansell has done it AGAIN!!! Flawlessly written, intriguing beyond belief, with the most intricately crafted characters I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know.

Lainey is the type of character who does the wrong things so you dont have to. If you’ve ever wondered what happens if you tell a gigantic porky when trying to get a new job, thanks to Lainey you get to know the outcome! Obviously fibbing isnt advantageous and more trouble than it’s worth, yet it makes an excellent starting point to Jill Mansell’s new novel!

Just like other Jill Mansell novels, a gentleman makes himself known and leaves a lasting impression on Lainey. However due to her bad, bad move, he ends up slipping through her fingers a tad and she ends up kicking herself. So, moral of the story is – if you want a hot guy, dont ruin it for yourself by fibbing!!!

I adored getting myself involved in the drama of this book and the aftermath of the characters decisions! I found the entire thing so addictive and so moreish, i could have kept on reading! How dare the book have to end!!

Entertaining, relatable, cosy and romantic, Jill Mansell delivers once again as she uses her incredible talent to her advantage and ours, with this outstanding novel. Looooooved it!!

Buy now.

#AWinterWeddingAtTheLittleDuckPondCafe @rosie_green1988 @RaRaResources #blogtour #review

Delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Rosie Green and the latest installment in her ‘Little Duck Pond Cafe’ series. Huge thanks to RaRaResources for the tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

With Zak and Ellie’s wedding day approaching, there’s high excitement in the pretty village of Sunnybrook, especially among the Little Duck Pond Café crew. Ellie is over the moon with her romantic surprise wedding gift from Zak, and Madison is promising to organise a hen party to remember. Everyone has high hopes for a magical Christmas Eve wedding celebration at gorgeous Brambleberry Manor. (Even Maisie-Moo has a sparkling new outfit.)

But sometimes, even the best-laid plans can go wrong. And with the journey to the altar turning out to be rockier than expected, it’s going to take nothing short of a Christmas miracle to ensure a happy ending . . .

What does TWG think?

Finally!! Zak and Ellie are days away from saying ‘I do’ and, if like me you’ve been following their story from the beginning, you’ll no doubt have everything crossed that nothing goes wrong! Zak and Ellie haven’t exactly had the best of luck, so they sure do deserve a wedding day to go without a hitch.

The narrative of this novella switches between the characters, focusing on Jaz’s and Fen’s stories as well as Ellie’s. So, if you’re not a weddingy type person, then dont fret because there is more to this book than wedding favours and what not.

Having read the previous novellas I know the way the characters speak and hold themselves, and I have to say that I found Ellie’s narrative to be not as consistent as it has been and, to be truthful, if it wasnt for the chapter saying her name as well as the obvious details about Ellie herself, then I would have struggled to differentiate between characters. She didn’t come across like the Ellie I had gotten to know in previous books.

That said, I still enjoyed this magical read, and it was refreshing to see Madison being knocked down a peg or two – I’ve still not warmed to her!! Once again, cosiness is at the heart of this story and Rosie Green delivers that with such fabulousness like ever before! I really dont think I’ll ever tire of this series!!

Buy now.

It only takes one day to be #TheDayThatChangedEveryrhing @katylittlelady @bookouture

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in Catherine Miller’s blog tour today, and for the ARC. It gives me great pleasure to host a review of ‘The Day That Changed Everything’ on my blog this evening.

When you lose the love of your life, how do you find yourself again?

For Tabitha, the day that changed everything started like any other.

She woke up, slid her feet into fluffy slippers, wrapped herself in a dressing gown and tiptoed out of her bedroom, leaving her husband Andy sleeping. Downstairs, she boiled the kettle and enjoyed a cup of tea as the sun rose.

Upstairs, Andy’s alarm sounded, and Tabitha took him a freshly brewed coffee, like every other morning. Except today, the incessant beeping rang out and her husband hadn’t stirred. She called his name, she nudged his shoulder. But Andy wouldn’t wake up.

Three years later Tabitha is trying her hardest to get by in the shadow of her grief. She may have lost the love of her life but she won’t give up on the family they dreamed of. Fostering troublesome teenage girls and a newborn baby is a chance to piece together her broken heart.

But being a mother isn’t easy, and neither is healing the heartache she carries around. After losing everything, could saving these three children help Tabitha save herself too?

What does TWG think?

Emotion and strong family bonds are at the heart of this novel. From the very beginning, heartstrings were threatened to be tugged, with the author setting the scene for poignancy and relatibility.

Tabby thought hearts were only meant to fall in love once, afterall, she had already found the man that she wanted to have at her side for the rest of her life…

Tabby has the personality that I believe a lot of readers will really like. Shes so down to earth, kind hearted and comes across so genuine – I really felt for her when life threw her curveballs and her spirit diminished. I know that’s life, yet she really didn’t deserve to be dealt the hand that she was.

Throughout the story Catherine Miller teases readers with a fractured friendship, not revealing the truth behind that until much later on in the book. Whilst I can appreciate how heartbreaking broken friendships can be, I felt that the real reason to the two friends not speaking, was a bit of an anti climax because I was expecting something incredibly devastating, when in actual fact it wasnt as bad as what the author had made it out to be.

Grief, fostering, life changes and relationships are discussed a lot of times throughout, some more than others, and I was so impressed by the delivery of those topics and the sensitivity of the author as she put those subjects in the spotlight.

‘The Day That Changed Everything’ is such a touching, enlightening, powerful novel which will make readers sit up and take notice. It may even be a novel that helps to mend fractured friendships. I really enjoyed the emotion of the book and I truly felt that the author believed the story that she was telling. Personally, when you can feel that from an authors words, you cant really ask for much more can you? Beautiful.

Buy now.

If you had to choose songs for your own #MixTape, which ones would you choose? #MixTapeBook @TransworldBooks @SandersonJane @AnneCater #blogtour

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Transworld for the blog tour invite and ARC of ‘Mixtape’ by Jane Sanderson.

You never forget the one that got away. But what if ‘what could have been’ is yet to come?

Daniel was the first boy to make Alison a mix tape.

But that was years ago and Ali hasn’t thought about him in a very long time. Even if she had, she might not have called him ‘the one that got away’; after all, she’d been the one to run.

Then Dan’s name pops up on her phone, with a link to a song from their shared past.

For two blissful minutes, Alison is no longer an adult in Adelaide with temperamental daughters; she is sixteen in Sheffield, dancing in her skin-tight jeans. She cannot help but respond in kind.

And so begins a new mix tape.

Ali and Dan exchange songs – some new, some old – across oceans and time zones, across a lifetime of different experiences, until one of them breaks the rules and sends a message that will change everything…

Because what if ‘what could have been’ is yet to come?

What does TWG think?

‘Mixtape’ is a romance novel with a difference.

How many of you used to sit and record the music charts every sunday? How many of you made a collection of songs to give to someone? Quite a few I would imagine! As I’m sure you may have already realised, Jane Sanderson’s novel is about exactly that; a special collection of songs. A mixtape if you will.

The concept of this story is unique and highly sentimental, full of a power playlist that will have all music buffs dancing in their chairs. I enjoyed the musical element of the book. I enjoyed the unique and heartfelt storyline. I enjoyed the mixture of colourful personalities and how each song told a personal story for the characters involved.

With that said, I found the storyline to be quite a hard to engage type read, with a pace that stayed very slow until the end. In my opinion, i felt as though there was not an all important hook for me to keep hold of which meant my attention was constantly wavering.

Despite being full of emotive and insightful songs, there were a lot of topics put in the spotlight which could, for those who have been through similar, be quite difficult to read. I was very impressed by the way in which the author dealt with those tough subjects, highlighting them in a realistic and sensitive manner.

All in all, whilst ‘Mixtape’ wasnt completely my cup of tea, I was really moved by the poignancy of the characters journeys, and the delivery of exceptionally placed songs to cement the emotions of the entire storyline.

Pre-order now (published 23rd January)

Theres nothing sweeter than a touch of #Payback @RCBridgestock @DomePress

Many thanks to Emily at Dome Press for the blog tour invite and ARC, here is my review of ‘Payback’ by R.C.Bridgestock.

Charley Mann left Yorkshire for the Met and a fast-track career – but now she’s back, she’s in charge and the area’s first young, female DI. Her hometown, the Yorkshire countryside, and her old friends all seem unchanged, but appearances can be deceptive.

When a brutal murder is discovered, Charley is forced to question everything, and the interest of her ex – reporter Danny Ray – doesn’t make it easier.

What does TWG think?

What an interesting start to a new series! I had heard many good things about R.C.Bridgestock before I read this book, and I was looking forward to seeing what this powerful duo had up their sleeve. Thankfully I wasnt disappointed! They clearly are very talented writers.

I will hold my hands up and say that I am slightly on the fence where this story is concerned, purely because I hoping for a bit more oomph and flow. I’m not saying that the authors didn’t deliver on the above, because they did in certain aspects of the book such as the murder discovery, and the psychological edge to Charley’s psyche. What I am saying is that I would have preferred the storyline to be a bit more consistent, however I have very high hopes for the rest of the series.

Charley is an intriguing character who has many skeletons in her closet, and I was impressed by how the authors conveyed her personality, especially the way in which they created her as such a multi layered person who readers would struggle to keep from their minds.

Overall, I found ‘Payback’ to be an intriguing, cleverly crafted novel that holds such promise for a brand new series. I have everything crossed that the oomph keeps on growing as the stories multiply. Definitely a pleasing read!

Buy now.

She thinks that shes #ThePerfectMother… @caroline_writes @amazonpub @BOTBSPUBLICITY #review

Many thanks to Sarah for the tour invite and ARC. Here is my review of ‘The Perfect Mother’ by Caroline Mitchell.

She thought they wanted her baby. But they won’t stop there.

Roz is young, penniless and pregnant. All she wants is to be the perfect mother to her child, but the more she thinks about her own chaotic upbringing, the more certain she is that the best life for her baby is as far away as possible from her hometown in Ireland.

Determined to do the right thing, Roz joins an elite adoption service and can’t believe her luck. Within days she is jetting to New York to meet a celebrity power couple desperate for a child of their own. Sheridan and Daniel are wealthy and glamorous—everything Roz isn’t. Her baby will never go hungry, and will have every opportunity for the perfect life. But soon after Roz moves into their plush basement suite, she starts to suspect that something darker lurks beneath the glossy surface of their home.

When Roz discovers she isn’t the first person to move in with the couple, and that the previous woman has never been seen since, alarm bells start ringing. As the clock ticks down to her due date, Roz realises her unborn baby may be the only thing keeping her alive, and that despite her best intentions, she has walked them both into the perfect nightmare…

What does TWG think?

As mothers, well as parents even, we just want the best for our children, even if that means making a decision that ends up breaking your own heart in the process.

Roz has found herself in a bit of a sticky situation after she finds out that shes pregnant. With anxiety gnawing away at her, Roz feels like she would do more harm to her child by bringing it up herself, than if she gave the opportunity to someone else. A stranger. A family who would do anything for a baby to call their own….

Clearly it wasnt all plain sailing or there wouldn’t even be a book! Let’s just say that my nerves were shot to schnitzel by the end of the book. This is some seriously dark stuff! Remind me to never get on the authors bad side!!

I thought the suspense was outstanding and cleverly done as, what I thought would be a psychologically laced novel, ended up being so much more than that and kept on surprising me.

At times the storyline was quite hard to read due to the topic, but I found that to be more aesthetically pleasing in terms of realism and what not.

Yet another high end, thrilling read from an author who certainly knows how to put pen to paper.

Buy now.

#TheFirstTimeISawYou – do you ever wonder what people think about the first time they saw you? @Headlinepg @ItsEmmaCooper @AnneCater #Review

Huge thanks to Anne and Headline Books for the blog tour invite and ARC of Emma Cooper’s new novel, ‘The First Time I Saw You’. Here is my review:

Lost:

Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin. Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes.If found, please return to Sophie Williams.

Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey. Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight.

When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be. But fate has other ideas.

Now they have lost each other and can’t see a way back.
But they’ve already changed each other’s lives in more ways than they ever expected…

What does TWG think?

Having been blown away by Emma Cooper’s previous novel, ‘The Songs of Us’, I had very high hopes for this book and omg it did NOT disappoint!

The way that Emma Cooper describes her settings, characters, and even the little details of the story, is outstanding! This author doesnt just write a story, she tells the story and owns it in every single way possible.

I loved the unique, romantic journey that the characters embarked on. It was so refreshing to see a book carved out in this way yet still be full of the same, strong romance elements that regular readers of this genre will appreciate.

Be prepared for many laugh out loud moments and many heartbreaking situations. That said, be prepared to be taken on a journey of hope and poignancy.

Sophie and Samuel are two, incredible characters who have made this story the fantastic read it is. As stupid as this sounds, they were made for this book and I think that Emma Cooper has done her characters very proud indeed.

I ADORED getting to know Samuel and Sophie, and I adored being able to lose myself in their story.

Such a beautifully written, cosy, poignant read which will lift you up higher than the balloons from the movie, ‘UP’.

Buy now.