Hugest of thanks to Fiona for inviting me to take part in the blog tour to help celebrate the anniversary of Bloody Scotland! Many congratulations to all of the team behind the annual event, for everything you have achieved over the last 10 years. Today I am shining the spotlight on Jack Jordan and his latest release, Do No Harm, which was published in May by Simon & Schuster. My thanks to the publisher for sending me an early proof pre release.
MY CHILD HAS BEEN TAKEN. AND I’VE BEEN GIVEN A CHOICE . . . KILL A PATIENT ON THE OPERATING TABLE OR LOSE MY SON FOREVER.
The man lies on the table in front of me. As a surgeon, it’s my job to save him. As a mother, I know I must kill him. You might think that I’m a monster. But there really is only one choice. I must get away with murder. Or I will never see my son again.
I’VE SAVED MANY LIVES. WOULD YOU TRUST ME WITH YOURS?
Okay, question for you: when you go to the hospital for an operation, or help prepare a family member for an operation, would you ever think that the surgeon and their team might go out of their way to, oh I don’t know, kill you? I mean, it’s a worry having an op, that everything ends up OK. It’s human nature. However, I hope I never have to put my faith into a surgeon after reading this book!!!!
Anna’s son gets abducted. She’s told that there is only one thing she can do to ensure her son is returned to her, alive. Yet that involves committing a murder. Killing someone else to get your child back. Stripping a family of a loved one just so you can get your loved one back. Doesn’t bear thinking about really, does it?
Ss macabre as this sounds, I fluffing loved ‘Do No Harm’. I’m not sure whether that was because of the high end suspense, or the fact that I was sitting smug because I wasn’t the one having to make such a life changing decision. Thinking about it now, it’s probably both! Jack Jordan, if you haven’t seen his author photos, has such an innocent looking baby face. This novel just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover because geeeeeez, he may look innocent but boy does he have a wicked mind!
Clever….but wicked! And I mean wicked in an insanely brilliant manner. ‘Do No Harm’ ticked all of my boxes and left me staring into space trying to make sense of what I had just read. I’m honestly surprised that I wasn’t tied in knots due to the multi layer plot and never-ending lines of coarse grit. It was absolutely, absolutely brilliant and is definitely one of the best books I have ever read.
If you haven’t read it yet, I urge you to change that pronto!!
You can purchase ‘Do No Harm’ now from Amazon and other retailers.
Also, to find out more about Bloody Scotland, you can check out their website here.
Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in Lily Graham’s blog tour for ‘The Last Restaurant in Paris’, and for supplying me with an ARC. All thoughts written in this review are done so in an unbiased manner.
Paris 1944. To save her people, she served the enemy.
In enemy-occupied Paris, as the locals go to bed starving and defeated by the war, music and laughter spills through the door of a little restaurant, crowded with German soldiers. The owner Marianne moves on weary feet between its packed tables, carrying plates of steaming, wholesome food for the enemy officers. Her smile is bright and sparkling, her welcome cordial. Nobody would guess the hatred she hides in her heart.
That night, the restaurant closes its doors for the final time. In the morning, the windows are scratched with the words ‘traitor and murderer’. And Marianne has disappeared without a trace…
Years later, Marianne’s granddaughter Sabine stands under the faded green awning, a heavy brass key in her hand, staring at the restaurant left to her by the grandmother she never met. Sabine has so many questions about herself. Perhaps here she can find answers, but she knows she isn’t welcome. Marianne was hated by the locals and when Sabine discovers they blamed her for the terrible tragedy that haunts the pretty restaurant, she is ready to abandon her dark legacy.
But when she finds a passport in a hidden compartment in the water-stained walls, with a picture of a woman who looks like her grandmother but has a different name, she knows there must be more to Marianne’s story. As she digs into the past, she starts to wonder: was her grandmother a heroine, not a traitor? What happened to her after the tragic night when she fled from her restaurant? And will the answer change her own life forever?
If you aren’t aware by now, I ADORE historical fiction novels, especially those set during the war, and ‘The Last Restaurant in Paris’ ticked all the boxes for me.
Once again, Lily Graham’s emotive writing style took centre stage as she delivered a tale about survival, trust, hope and fear. Many families have hidden secrets in their past and Sabine’s family were no different, however the secrets hidden were life or death. Or, putting it bluntly, revenge.
Sabine’s grandmother loved hard, yet she loved even harder and heaven forbid people got in her way. Granted what she did during the war wasn’t the most wholesome of things, to a certain degree I could see why she did what she did. Like I say, I don’t condone her actions, but there was a lot more to what happened that night than first thought.
Lily Graham has an incredible way with words, and I was captivated by this story from the very beginning until the very end. There was so much grit to sink my teeth into, and I loved how I was able to find out the truth at the same time as the characters. It was as though we were connected if that makes sense.
I can’t fault ‘The Last Restaurant in Paris’ at all. It had suspense, emotion, power, strength, but most of all it had a heart. A captivating, wholesome and poignant novel – highlighting the importance of finding out the truth of a situation before a judgement is made.
Thanks so much to Jenny Platt and Hodder Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Museum Of Ordinary People’ by Mike Gayle, and for supplying me with an ARC of the book. All views written in this review are done so in an unbiased manner.
Still reeling from the sudden death of her mother, Jess is about to do the hardest thing she’s ever done: empty her childhood home so that it can be sold.
But when in the process Jess stumbles across the mysterious Alex, together they become custodians of a strange archive of letters, photographs, curios and collections known as The Museum of Ordinary People.
As they begin to delve into the history of the objects in their care, Alex and Jess not only unravel heartbreaking stories that span generations and continents, but also unearth long buried secrets that lie much closer to home.
Inspired by a box of mementos found abandoned in a skip following a house clearance, The Museum of Ordinary People is a thought-provoking and poignant story of memory, grief, loss and the things we leave behind.
I’m just going to dive straight in and say that this is probably one of my most favourite books that I have read so far this year – I absolutely adored it.
From the get go readers are introduced to a character that is complexly brilliant. We meet Jess at the first stages of grief, where everything is so raw and the house is being cleared of personal belongings. But, instead of ensuring she holds back items for herself of her late mothers, she worries about the space to put them in her boyfriends apartment. Sorry, I know space can be an issue at the best of times (or in this case, the worst), however space should be the least of her worries and instead of her boyfriend, Guy, ensuring his apartment is pristine, he should try and accommodate his girlfriends needs as well. Or is that just me? Perhaps I was thinking all of that because I took an instant dislike to Guy and his self obsessed personality. Who knows.
As the storyline progressed, we got to see more of Jess’ personality shine, and a collection of new characters with their own troubles, were brought in. Take Alex for example – the polar opposite of Guy and despite the turmoil that he had went through, he still managed to stand on his own two feet and help others. I liked Alex, and I felt like there was more to him than what we saw and I enjoyed that uncertainty of his personality and his actions.
Despite the book being centred around a museum, an unspoken secret gave a good fight to become the centre of attention. I was flabbergasted to be totally honest. I didn’t know who I felt sorry for the most in the situation, yet I could also see it from the side of a mother, what with being one myself. I know this sounds like I’m speaking nonsense, however those who have read the book will understand where I am coming from. However, if you haven’t read the book yet, I highly suggest you nab one as soon as you can.
So yes, as I said at the very beginning, ‘The Museum Of Ordinary People’ is one of my favourite books of 2022 already. I loved the unique storytelling and plot, and I thought the characters were so well developed, each standing tall with their own personalities and individual stories. Mike Gayle has such an addictive way with words, lacing emotion through the simplest of sentences to create something that ends up being one of a kind, memorable, and very well written. I couldn’t have asked for more from a book – this one ticked every single box on a list in my head that I didn’t realise I had even created!
If you’re looking for a book that speaks to you on a multitude of levels, resonates with your subconscious and has you holding onto the book as though its a precious gem, then ‘The Museum Of Ordinary People’ is for you. Absolutely brilliant.
Many thanks to Legend Press for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Tin Nose Shop’ by Don J Snyder, and for supplying me with an ARC of the book to review in a non-biased and honest manner.
INSPIRED BY ONE OF THE LAST GREAT UNTOLD STORIES OF WW1
1916. Young artist Sam Burke is spared death by firing squad on the battlefields of France and brought to a remote castle by the Irish Sea. At the ‘Tin Nose Shop’ he is tasked with creating intricate masks to hide the mutilated faces of his fellow soldiers from the Front. While he tries to come to terms with the death of his best friend and the promise he failed to keep, Sam and the disfigured soldiers struggle to return to their former lives and their loved ones.
A stirring and emotional tale based on the real-life story of the Tin Nose Shop.
‘The Tin Nose Shop’ intrigued me at the very beginning. Despite having read multiple historical fiction set during the war, I hadn’t ever heard of masks being made for disfigured soldiers – it was nice to learn something new and to find out a bit more information about such a momentous time.
For me personally, the concept of the storyline was what grabbed my attention. I enjoyed the uniqueness of the idea. It was refreshing I must say.
That said, I do wish that that had a little more focus in the book. I felt like there was a lot of coverage surrounding Katie, Sam and Ned’s relationship, as well as Sam’s meeting with Lily, yet I wanted more about the main concept.
I thought the chapter headings were brilliantly thought out and cleverly done, and the authors attention to detail when it came to describing certain situations, feelings, and scenery, was spot on – everything seemed to come to life which I loved.
I also thought that the way the story was told, switching between narratives and locations was a little difficult to follow at times, and I couldn’t help but feel as though I had unintentionally missed out vital pieces of information as the characters seemed to transport themselves! I am glad that Sam got to tell his story though!
Overall, ‘The Tin Nose Shop’ was a unique read which highlighted something very important, allowing me to gain some new knowledge about a topic I really do enjoy. A very insightful, interesting concept with a poignant undertone.
I am absolutely delighted to be welcoming my little girl, Baby Garnet (who will be turning 9 next month!), back to TWG! It’s been a hot minute since Baby Garnet was last seen on TWG, several years in fact! That said, she is very excited to be back and reviewing a book from an author that has swiftly become one of her favourites. I hope you will all give TBG (The Baby Garnet) a very warm welcome!
A tender and gentle story that will captivate readers of 8+ from bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson. Ella’s mum’s in a deep coma having just had a new baby. That means Ella has to live with Jack, her hopeless stepfather and cope with her tiny newborn brother, as well as worrying about Mum. The only thing that’s going right is her school project. It’s all about whales and how they sing out to each other to attract a mate – sometimes for hours. Maybe a whale song could reach Mum, wherever she is, and bring her back to Ella and baby Samson. Surely it’s worth a try?
Hello everyone, my name is Eva. As TWG said, I am delighted to be back just like all of you guys are excited to have me back (I hope!). I was six when you last heard from me and now I’m nearly nine. I have some great news to be sharing with you; I’m going to be here every once a month. Hope to see all of you every month with a brand new review and more fun with me, TBG. Now that is all out of the way, lets get on with the review!
‘The Longest Whale Song’ is a very delicate book with very heavy parts that are hard to swallow. Even though I have not been reading Wilson’s books for a long time, this one was one of my favourites as it was a type of book that you wanted more of and, even though your head might hurt from reading quickly, you would still read the next chapter and you would NOT regret it.
Ella’s mum is in a coma after having her baby, Samson. Even though Ella might hate her stepdad because he gives her a hard time, she ends up having to forgive him, move on, and try to remember that her mum is very poorly, which means that Ella may end up having to live with Jack forever on her own with her new brother. At times, Jack sounds a little insecure, he is able to have a laugh and a joke but in him deep down, that sometimes never comes out. I personally, thought Jack was funny at times. Ella was more insecure as she seemed to want her biological dad then her stepfather, which made Ella and Jack’s relationship complicated and more tainted than ever before her mum married him.
Ella was very interested in her school project for whales as it helped to make her forget about the fact that her mum was fighting for that little piece of thread to keep her alive. Ella has two problems in school – one is she has to get picked up by Jack and not her biological dad, and two, she has classmates that tease her for having fun with the school project more than anyone else does, and that makes her miserable.
As Ella’s new brother, Samson, is just a baby, he definitely has a mind of his own and gets angry with his dad, Jack, whilst Ella has a strong bond with Samson and he never gets angry with her when she feeds him. I quite liked Samson, having a mind of his own is a good thing in babies as when they grow up, they are more confident in themselves to get their life together. Everything revolved around the hospital visits to see her mum and read her all of the things she wrote in her school project about whales and see if her mum wakes up, but nothing happened.
What did I like about the book you ask, well, I did really like the family dynamic with Ella having to suck it up and get along with Jack, even when she didn’t really want to, yet she had to or the family would start to fade if her mum did die and the family would start tainting slowly. As of Jack, he tends to get aggressive which I find funny when he makes a step too far and ends up get bitten on the backside if you will. He acts like he is allergic to confrontation even though he makes drama himself, and it ends up ten times worse than what it should have been in the first place. Samson was very confused as to why everybody was scared, pacing the stairs like their mum is trying to kill them and set them a punishment to death row (as much as a baby can!). Samson saw no different and probably thought that his mum was Ella, but Ella was Samson’s sister of course.
Many thanks to Jenny and the Hodder team for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Isabelle Broom and ‘The Summer Trip’, as well as providing me with an ARC. All views written are done so in an unbiased manner.
What if your life worked out perfectly . . . for someone else?
It’s been 18 years since Ava spent the summer on the Greek island of Corfu, but she has never forgotten what happened during those months – or who she left behind.
Now single, estranged from her family, and preparing to wave her daughter off to university, Ava’s life seems a million miles away from the one she dreamed about as a teenager – a life now being lived by her sister instead.
When Ava decides to return to Corfu for the summer, she knows she must finally face the place and the people that broke her heart. But with old resentments festering, long-buried secrets lurking, and familiar feelings resurfacing, it looks set to be a holiday that will change all their lives forever. . .
3.5 hours it took me to read this book. Three point five hours to read a 416 page novel. For exceedingly fast readers (aka the book version of Mr Kipling), that is nothing, however in general, that is considered to be uber fast. In all honesty, I just couldn’t put the book down, I didn’t want to stop reading, and I was so invested in the newly fangled Corfu version of Eastenders, I just HAD to let my eyes roam the pages.
Oh, and yes, I bloomin’ loved ‘The Summer Trip’ – sorry, I maybe should have started the review off with that instead!
Ava and Corfu go hand in hand like cheese and a tomato, salt and pepper, cheese and onion…..you catch my drift. In other words, they’re made for each other. Unfortunately for Ava though, her sister has the life she wanted, and she has the life that, er, she chose to have. Now I’m not being mean here but surely if you wanted that free spirited life in Corfu, then you would have done everything in your power to get it. Right? Wrong – even I know that (despite my previous facetious comment). It wasn’t that easy and life isn’t as straight forward as we sometimes wish it was. Ava had to stay in Blighty because of her daughter. She thought she was doing right by her, putting her on a good path for her daughters own future. That being said, as good as Ava’s intentions were, they seemed to come back and bite her on the behind. Parenting eh.
‘The Summer Trip’ was a light-hearted read at times, yet it also covered multiple deep topics along the way, mainly disruptive family dynamics, black sheep of the family, forgotten love, death, and even theft. Looking at the cover of the book you probably wouldn’t think that what lie underneath would cause controversy for its characters now, would you? I certainly didn’t expect it at all, but I received it well….very well in fact.
I really enjoyed the varied storyline, multiple personalities, as well as the beautiful descriptions of the scenery. Because of the latter, I was able to envision Corfu in my minds eye, hear the waves, smell the sea. I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that if the author wasn’t so good at describing each and everything around her characters.
‘The Summer Trip’ reminded me of getting a picture developed. It started off with an idea, a glimmer of what could potentially come. Then, in time, the story began to develop, focusing on the minor details, the major details, as well as the little nuggets of things in the background which may have been forgotten. By the end of the story, the ‘picture’ made sense, loose ends were tied up, and you were left with a memory that would last a lifetime, exactly like ‘The Summer Trip’. I would read it again in a heartbeat!
Make this your own summer trip of the year, you won’t regret it.
Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Lieutenant’s Girl’, and for supplying me with an ARC of the book. All thoughts written in this review are done so in an unbiased manner.
Pearl Harbor, 1941. War planes hurtle across the horizon, skimming the clouds. Gunpowder fills the air as the earth shatters. Everett’s hands cup my cheeks. “If I lose you, Elizabeth, please know that the time I’ve spent with you has been worth every second I’ve been alive.”
On the fateful day that sirens rend the air and warplanes fly over the harbor, Elizabeth and Everett had sneaked away to whisper sweet nothings to each other. As bombs rain down, they cling to each other, the ground shaking and smoke suffocating them. Miraculously, they survive—but their world is ripped apart. The beautiful island, where the turquoise ocean once lapped the golden sand, is destroyed.
Over a sweltering summer, the couple had fallen madly in love. Elizabeth was in awe of Everett’s sacrifices for the Air Force, and Everett adored strong-willed Elizabeth, a Jewish girl who defied her father’s wishes for a sheltered life by training to be a nurse.
But tragedy changes everything. Although they are hopelessly devoted to one another, they vow to serve their country. Elizabeth joins the Army Nurse Corps in Europe and Everett flies across the world chasing down the enemy. With a tearful goodbye, they promise to write.
When Everett’s letters stop arriving, heartbroken Elizabeth fears the worst. Will she ever see the love of her life again? And what chance does she have of surviving Europe, where Hitler’s tyrannical rule places her in grave danger?
It’s going to be really difficult to do this book justice at all (even though I am someone who talks quite a bit). I’ll give it my best shot though.
‘The Lieutenant’s Girl’ wasn’t just a story about a war – it was a tale of two hearts combining, two people trying to find their calling in life yet finding each other in the process, a story which made time stand still.
Set during the Second World War in 1941, the storyline switches between life back then, and life in the ‘present’ day of 2018, with Elizabeth (Lizzie) being the dominant character of the present day. A lot has changed in Elizabeth’s life over the years, not just because of what she saw as an army nurse, but because of personal gains and losses. We find out early on that Elizabeth lost her mum a few years prior, and her dad is so set on doing what was right by her, that he ended up stopping her being a ‘typical’ twenty year old. He was scared that he would lose his daughter due to the war, yet by not listening to her and guarding her life choices, he was beginning to lose Lizzie anyway by pushing her away. Part of me could see why he was so protective of his daughter – he had already lost someone he loved dearly and he wasn’t going to take the chance with the last female loved one in his life. I understood that completely. That said, I could also see why Lizzie was so irritated by it because she felt suffocated and felt as though she wasn’t good enough to be like her two brothers who were in the army as well as their father.
As we all know, life during the war was male dominated and women weren’t really put into the ‘firing line’, so to speak, purely because of their gender. It was noted that a woman’s role was to serve her husband, care for her family, and/or nurse. The latter two being exactly what Lizzie did and was trying to do. She was aware of the dangers that could potentially lie ahead, but one thing she wasn’t fully aware of were the dangers of being in the throws of a war AND being a jew. One word – Hitler.
Historical fiction fascinates me greatly, especially when it comes to war time, Auschwitz etc, so this book was right up my street and I took to the book like a bee takes to pollen! I was also fascinated by Lizzie and Everett’s story, wow. From the get go those two had a special something. I didn’t think it was going to last because of the uncertainty of the war, being Missing In Action, and so forth, and I could feel the emotion behind Lizzie’s words every time she spoke about not receiving a letter she so badly longed for. Their relationship was such a powerful one to read, and I loved how the author made me feel as though I was being taken on the journey alongside them, witnessing first hand their raw emotions, feeling frightened for them both, thinking that every single day news was going to break that one of them had died. I can’t even begin to imagine the heartbreak that people suffered during the war and just how much of a selfless act it was to put themselves on the line for their countries. If you’re reading this and are someone who has lived through wars, been in the army or what not, I just want to say thank you to you and yours for your service.
Apologies, I’m rambling slightly! I was blown away by every word, every letter, every snippet of information that was given to me throughout ‘The Lieutenant’s Girl’. Everything had its place, everything spoke to me in such a way that broke my heart yet gave me strength at the same time. This book showed me even more so that life is such a gift and your memories are your treasures.
You know what else is also a treasure? Shari J.Ryan and this book. ‘The Lieutenant’s Girl’ will forever have a piece of my heart and I thank Shari J.Ryan for giving me the gift of Lizzie and Everett.
Shari J. Ryan is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Women’s Fiction, WWII Fiction, and 20th Century Historical Fiction with a focus on the Holocaust and Pearl Harbor.
Shortly after graduation from Johnson & Wales with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Shari began her career as a graphic artist and freelance writer. She then found her passion for writing books in 2012 after her second son was born. Shari has been slaying words ever since.
With two Rone Awards and over 125k books sold, Shari has hit the USA Today Bestseller List, the Amazon’s Top 100, Barnes & Noble’s Top Ten, and iBooks at number one. Some of Shari’s bestselling books include Last Words, The Other Blue Sky, Unspoken Words and A Heart of Time.
Shari, a lifelong Boston girl, is happily married to her personal hero and US Marine and have two wonderful little boys. For more details about her books, visit: www.sharijryan.com
Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Lost Ones’ by Marnie Riches, and for supplying me with an ARC. All thoughts written in this review are done so in an unbiased manner.
The girl is sitting upright, her dark brown hair arranged over her shoulders and her blue, blue eyes staring into the distance. She looks almost peaceful. But her gaze is vacant, and her skin is cold…
When Detective Jackie Cooke is called to the murder scene, she is shocked by what she sees. Missing teenager Chloe Smedley has finally been found – her body left in a cold back yard, carefully posed with her bright blue eyes still open. Jackie lays a protective hand on the baby in her belly, and vows to find the brutal monster who stole Chloe’s future.
When Jackie breaks the news to Chloe’s heartbroken mother, she understands the woman’s cries only too well. Her own brother went missing as a child, the case never solved. Determined to get justice for Chloe and her family, Jackie sets to work, finding footage of the girl waving at someone the day she disappeared. Did Chloe know her killer?
But then a second body is found on the side of a busy motorway, lit up by passing cars. The only link with Chloe is the disturbing way the victim has been posed, and Jackie is convinced she is searching for a dangerous predator. Someone has been hunting missing and vulnerable people for decades, and only Jackie seems to see that they were never lost. They were taken.
Jackie’s boss refuses to believe a serial killer is on the loose and threatens to take her off the case. But then Jackie returns home to find a brightly coloured bracelet on her kitchen counter and her blood turns cold. It’s the same one her brother was wearing when he vanished. Could his disappearance be connected to the murders? Jackie will stop at nothing to catch her killer… unless he finds her first…
YES, YES, YES, YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!
Okay, review done!!
Absolutely flipping brilliant. Sorry, being straight to the point on this one, no beating around the bush or anything! You simply MUST read ‘The Lost Ones’, you must!
Detective Jackie Cooke is one hard-nosed individual who, if she were to tell you to jump, you would simply reply with ‘how high?’. She demanded respect and she gave it back. Look I’m not saying she was perfect, but she was the police procedural version of Mary Poppins – PRACTICALLY perfect in every way. She had her flaws, she admitted those too. Granted that doesn’t make them any easier to swallow, but what the heck.
I want to know just how Cooke managed to keep up with her fast paced, risky job while she was heavily pregnant! Are we sure that there is a baby in her belly and not a huge amount of fire?!
‘The Lost Ones’ is a chilling and momentarily graphic read, both of which added to the storyline and gave it that dark factor, that hook. I loved the fast paced nature of the novel and the way that the story flowed, with each individual situation paving way for the next or setting the scene for any potential misgivings. It worked. It all bloomin’ well worked. I also thought the randomly placed humour was such a brilliant idea, with Cooke and her colleagues not afraid to have a laugh once in a while. They were such a mixed bunch, yet if you asked me to choose her a different partner or different colleagues to work closely with, I honestly don’t think that I could.
‘The Lost Ones’ is atmospheric, chilling, fast paced, gripping, and downright incredible novel. I cannot WAIT to get my hands on the next book in the series. Simply one of the easiest 5 stars I have given to a book, ever.
Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in north Manchester. Exchanging the spires of nearby Strangeways prison for those of Cambridge University, she gained a Masters in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist and professional fundraiser.
Her best-selling, award-winning George McKenzie crime thrillers were inspired by her own time spent in The Netherlands. Dubbed the Martina Cole of the North, she has also authored a series about Manchester’s notorious gangland as well as two books in a mini-series featuring quirky northern PI Bev Saunders.
Detective Jackson Cooke is Marnie’s latest heroine to root for, as she hunts down one of the most brutal killers the north west has ever seen at devastating personal cost.
When she isn’t writing gritty, twisty crime thrillers, Marnie also regularly appears on BBC Radio Manchester, commenting on social media trends and discussing the world of crime fiction. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Salford University’s Doctoral School and a tutor for the Faber Novel Writing Course.
She will discover the best of herself in the worst of times . . .
Texas, 1934. Elsa Martinelli had finally found the life she’d yearned for. A family, a home and a livelihood on a farm on the Great Plains. But when drought threatens all she and her community hold dear, Elsa’s world is shattered to the winds.
Fearful of the future, when Elsa wakes to find her husband has fled, she is forced to make the most agonizing decision of her life. Fight for the land she loves or take her beloved children, Loreda and Ant, west to California in search of a better life. Will it be the land of milk and honey? Or will their experience challenge every ounce of strength they possess?
From the overriding love of a mother for her child, the value of female friendship and the ability to love again – against all odds, Elsa’s incredible journey is a story of survival, hope and what we do for the ones we love.
I have been delaying writing my review of ‘The Four Winds’ because I knew that, deep down in my heart of hearts, I would never find just the right words to sum up my thoughts of the storyline. I had to give it a go though.
‘The Four Winds’ was the first book I have read by Kristin Hannah, and it certainly hasn’t been the last. Since finishing, my collection of Hannah’s books has increased drastically and I have read ‘The Nightingale’ and ‘Night Road’ (more on those another time).
It didn’t take me long to work out that the plot of ‘The Four Winds’ was very heavy and, in places, somewhat depressing. Goodness me, it was set in the time of the ‘Great Depression’ in America, so obviously it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and roses, laughter and joviality. Whilst most people would associate the words ‘heavy’ and ‘depressing’ with negative connotations, and rightly so, I found that the storyline needed that darkness to showcase the strength of the main character, Elsa, as well as the strength of the real life people who lived through such a tumultuous time. It wasn’t the fact that I was revelling in other peoples misfortune by enjoying a storyline that had heartbreak and devastation at the centre of it, not at all, however it opened my eyes to a time in history that should be spoken about.
Elsa was a majorly flawed character who wanted to do so right by everyone else, that she ended up doing the complete opposite. She was quite a naïve woman and that often got her into trouble. At times I felt like she was forgetting that she had two children, with their lives depending on her strength and courage to point them in the right direction, safely. Something which again, ended up being the complete opposite and Loreda and Ant were put in harms way. It’s crazy to think just how different life was back in the 1930’s, let alone in 1930 America, and I loved how those differences were portrayed in the storyline.
With the best intentions in mind, I absolutely loved ‘The Four Winds’, and I was blown away (pardon the pun) by the powerfully flawed characters, the eyeopening historical moments, and the power behind Kristin Hannah’s words. Every sentence was delivered with determination and hard hitting grit. By the time the book had ended, my brain was awash with emotion, empathy, and belief that no matter what you’re faced with in life, you must attack it head on with courage, whether you feel strong or not.
*Many thanks to Hodder for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for supplying me with an ARC of ‘Sun Damage’. All thoughts written in this post are done so unbiasedly.
The heat is intense. The secrets are stifling. She just needs to escape . . . Nine guests arrive at a remote villa in the south of France. They know each other well. Or think they do. But at least one of them has plenty to hide – and nowhere to run. Under the relentless sun, loyalties will be tested, secrets revealed, and tensions pushed to the point of no return.
‘Sun Damage’ is a very secretive novel that is based on lies, con artists, and characters not knowing the real person behind the facade. Despite being in close company in a villa, a group of people (some who are even related), don’t really know who they’re staying with. Of course they know the basics such as name, age and other things family members should know, however they don’t seem to know anything other than surface level. Heck, Rebecca (the mother) at times didn’t seem to even know her own family! She seemed to be an outsider, and the actual outsider, Lulu, acted like more of a family member than the real ones.
Before the storyline focused on the villa in France, it began by shedding light on Ali and Sean; two con artists who not only liked to con random strangers, they also liked to con each other. Just because they could….I think. It was interesting getting ‘inside knowledge’, yet I was very surprised that they got away with what they did. I might think differently if I was in their position, who knows.
‘Sun Damage’, for me, was an up and down read. There were moments where I was very invested in the shenanigans, and there were moments where I wasn’t quite feeling it because the oomph and intensity wasn’t hitting the mark as much as I had hoped.
I certainly did like the overall vibe of the story, and I liked how eclectic the characters were in terms of personalities – they were such a mixed bunch! Their misdirected loyalties were also weirdly enduring, with characters coming together that perhaps shouldn’t have, if you understand my meaning.
Overall I thought that ‘Sun Damage’ had promise and an interesting premise.