#BlogTour! #Review – Whisper in the Night by D.K.Hood (@DKHood_author) @Bookouture

I LOVE THIS SERIES!!!!!

Yes, can you tell I am excited to be sharing my review today? Huge thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in D.K.Hood’s blog tour for ‘Whisper in the Night, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

She opens her eyes and struggles to make out the dark room around her. One thing she knows instantly – her wrists are bound and she’s tied to a chair, unable to move. As she screams for help, she hears footsteps outside. He’s coming…

Fifteen-year-old Lindy Rosen has been having nightmares for weeks, waking in a panic, screaming that there’s a man in her room watching her sleep. Her parents assumed it was her overactive imagination, but when one morning they find Lindy missing from her bedroom, they’re not so sure. Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate.

Within hours of the schoolgirl going missing, the kidnapper reaches out to Jenna with a video of Lindy bound and tied to a chair, crying to be set free. And a simple message – you’ve got 24 hours to find her or I kill her.

Jenna’s team work around the clock to try to find Lindy before the deadline, but time runs out, and Jenna receives a devastating message. The killer has made good on his promise. He’s playing a dangerous game. And no one knows what his next move will be.

But just two days later, one of Lindy’s school friends is taken in the middle of the night and the countdown begins again.

**Each Kane and Alton book can be read as part of the series or as a standalone**

What does TWG think?

Bookouture have rightly said above that the ‘Kane and Alton’ books can be read as a standalone or as a series. I do agree, however if you aren’t binge reading this series at every opportunity, what the hell is wrong with you!!! I say that with love and affection, obviously, because you are totally missing out on one stinking reads if you’re only dabbling in just one or two of the books.

So yes, Kane and Alton, and Black Rock Falls are back with yet another chillingly fabulous read. Honestly, D.K.Hood does not disappoint where this series is concerned, although remind me to never, EVER visit Black Rock Falls. The little place doesn’t have much luck when it comes to people being murdered, that’s for sure!!

Just when things were starting to quieten down for Jenna and her team, some idiot decided to steal a person or two because they were excited by it. Selfish much?! Surely if they were bored they could have found a nicer hobby to take up instead of murder? Just a thought…

With a murderer on the loose, Kane and Alton are struggling to stop them before they kill anyone else, especially when the problem of not being able to hunt them down is incredibly evident. I’ll give the numpty their due, they were very clever!!

I tried to workout who the culprit was and, despite being right there in front of me, I still managed to get it well and truly wrong. I discounted the character originally because i thought they were too obvious, instead choosing a character who seemed a bit more secretive than others. I can see that that worked very well for me!!!

I don’t know how many times I can say it, but this was such a fast paced, high energy read which was full of spine tingling, cover the mouth type scenarios. I loved everything about it, and the anticipation for the next book in the series is uber high already.

One thing is for certain, you won’t be whispering whilst reading ‘Whisper in the Night’, not a chance! If anything you’ll be forgetting how to breathe as you devour the shockingly addictive storytelling from the brilliant, D.K.Hood. Did I tell you I loved it?!

Buy now

About the author.

I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour and was the kid who told the ghost stories around the campfire. I am lucky to have family all over the world and have spent many vacations in places from Paris France to Montana USA and Australia. I use the wonderful memories from these visits to enhance my stories.

My interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. I enjoy writing crime, mystery and thrillers. With many stories, waiting for me to write I’ll look forward to sharing many spine-tingling stories with you.

D.K. Hood is an active member of International Thriller Writers.

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#BlogTour! #Review – The Dream House by Jess Ryder (@JessRyderAuthor) @Bookouture

Day two of the blog tour for Jess Ryder’s, ‘The Dream House’, is upon us, with the tour bus stopping here at TWG. Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

It’s everything she’s ever wanted…
When I first set eyes on Westhill House with its breath-taking views of the sea I knew Jack and I could make this our forever home.
It may be falling apart with an overgrown garden, but with some tender loving care, we can repair this beautiful building and perhaps our relationship too…
But the more time I spend renovating our new house, the more time Jack is spending at work.
At least Lori is here to keep me company.
She has her own troubles yet she always listens to mine.
She’s helping to restore the house, uncovering its secrets one by one.
Like the children’s drawings under the wallpaper in the back bedroom.
The hidden papers underneath the floorboards in the turret room.
And the fact that Westhill House is a place women used to go to feel safe…
Lori seems to know a lot about Westhill House.
The question is, why?

What does TWG think?

Jess Ryder’s new novel is aptly called, ‘The Dream House’, and I say that because I felt like I was in a dream when I was reading it!

Stella has, in her eyes, found her dream house. The house where she envisions growing old in with a husband and children. However, Stella’s boyfriend isn’t as taken with the house as she is, and when a random person turns up on their doorstop late at night covered in blood, Jack seems to dislike the house even more.

Stella is a very trusting person – would you honestly let a stranger into your home late at night, seeing them beaten and bloodied and not call the police? I could see where Jack was coming from there. Just because Stella had been brought up by parents who took in people who needed help, it didn’t mean that Stella do the exact same. And anyway, fostering children and taking a bloodied woman into your home late at night are two completely different things.

I thought the storyline contained well incorporated suspense, and I felt that the intrigue behind the characters lifestyles were very well thought out. I will say that I wasn’t too taken with the story in it’s entirety though, as I felt that things were verging on unbelievable at times. I loved Stella’s warm personality, but i found that her naivety riled me up more often than not.

‘The Dream House’ is a very interesting and dark read, especially if you like books which extend the boundaries a lot. One thing is for certain though, Jess Ryder certainly knows how to make her readers think!!

Buy now.

About the author.

Jess Ryder is the author of three psychological thrillers – ‘Lie to Me’ (April 2017) and ‘The Good Sister’ (August 2017), and The Ex-Wife (June 2018) -all published by Bookouture. She also writes books for children, teens and young adults as Jan Page, with many titles published including ‘Selina Penaluna’. With many years’ experience as a scriptwriter, she loves watching television crime drama. Jess is a passionate reader and particularly enjoys thrillers. She blogs about writing, reviews books and interviews writers at www.jessryder.co.uk andwww.janpagewriter.com.

Jess lives with her partner in London, UK and has four grown-up children.

#BlogTour! #Review – 99 Days With You by Catherine Miller (@Katylittlelady) @Bookouture

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Second Bookouture blog tour post of the day is for ’99 Days With You’ by Catherine Miller – congratulations on your publication day! Many thanks, once again, to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and chance to read. Here is my review:

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Sometimes the end is the start of forever…

Emma and Nathan couldn’t be more different. But when they meet in a hospital waiting room, to the sound of a ticking clock and surrounded by faded magazines, they are both terrified, nervous and alone. And they have one fatal thing in common…

Emma lives a quiet life. She looks after her disabled mother. She lives vicariously through the well-thumbed pages and cracked spines of her beloved books.

Nathan spends his days fifteen thousand feet above the ground, soaring through the air, stomach somersaulting, as a sky diving instructor. After a lifetime of having a recurring dream that he would die at twenty-seven, he treats every day like it’s his last.

As fate throws Emma and Nathan together, everything is about to change.

Emma has never been kissed, or tasted champagne, or travelled abroad. Nathan has never fallen in love, worn odd socks, or grown a sunflower from a seed.

Emma and Nathan vow never to waste an hour, knowing that goodbye could come all too soon. But as they lose their hearts to one another against all the odds, have they found each other too late?

What does TWG think?

It’s the little things in life which count the most, aren’t they? Feeling the sand between your toes for the very first time. A bar of chocolate being bought for you just because. A little note left on your pillow. Spending 5 minutes outside just dancing in the rain. Little things to one person can end up being massive things for others, and the two people who cement that fact sublimely are Emma and Nathan.

Emma and Nathan meet by chance. An unfortunate, heart-breaking chance which involves an illness which many of us know the devastation of. Cancer. Love has no limit, yet for these two characters, everything now has a limit. I couldn’t get over Emma and Nathan’s approach to their emotional news. Both people handled it in completely different ways, highlighting the differences between how things can be perceived from one person to another. They may have one thing in common, yet the way it affects each of them couldn’t be more different.

Watching the relationship blossom between Emma and Nathan was simply breathtaking. It was intimate. Profound. And of course, incredibly emotional as I ‘watched’ their lives come together from diagnosis.

’99 Days With You’ has a very important message attached to it about living life to the full, to the best of our abilities, and making every little moment in our lives count. Including those all important little ones.

Catherine Miller, in my opinion, takes a subject which a lot of people are weary of, pulls it back to its bare bones and rebuilds it with her incredible storytelling, and eyeopening emotion a way that leaves me lost for words and breathless. I was spellbound by the sheer beauty of ’99 Days With You’ and the atmospheric portrayal of life itself.

Go and hug your loved ones. Hug yourself. Buy that pair of shoes. Buy this book – nobody wants to be the most rich bitch in the cemetery who regrets a single thing.

Buy now!

About the author.

When Catherine Miller became a mum to twins, she decided her hands weren’t full enough so wrote a novel with every spare moment she managed to find. By the time the twins were two, Catherine had a two-book deal with Carina UK. There is a possibility she has aged remarkably in that time. Her debut novel, Waiting For You, came out in March 2016.

Catherine was a NHS physiotherapist, but for health reasons (Uveitis and Sarcoidosis) she retired early from this career. As she loved her physiotherapy job, she decided if she couldn’t do that she would pursue her writing dream. It took a few years and a couple of babies, but in 2015 she won the Katie Fforde bursary, was a finalist in the London Book Fair Write Stuff Competition and highly commended in Woman magazine’s writing competition. Soon afterwards she signed with Carina. Soon after that, she collapsed in a heap and was eventually revived by chocolate.

Since then she’s had four novels published and hasn’t found a week that didn’t require revival by chocolate. She is one eighth of The Romaniacs – a group of writing friends who’ve supported each other since meeting through The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme.

#BlogTour! #Review – Dead Inside by Noelle Holten (@nholten40) @KillerReads @BOTBSPublicity

#DeadInside B L O G T O U R
Have you ever heard of CrimeBookJunkie? The name sure sounds familiar doesn’t it. I just can’t place where I have heard it before!

Jokes. Everyone has heard of CrimeBookJunkie, and if you haven’t heard the news already, where the hell have you been – she’s only gone and written a book! I have the pleasure of closing Noelle’s blog tour for her debut novel, ‘Dead Inside’. Thank you to Sarah for the blog tour invite, I am delighted to be involved. Also, many thanks to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

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The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

What does TWG think?

That’s the million dollar question, what DOES TWG think? I’d be lying if I said that ‘Dead Inside’ took me ages to read, because it didn’t. Far from it actually. I think I demolished the entire story in a couple of hours! One minute I was at 18%, and then the next I was updating my Goodreads to show that I had completed it! What a read! I have never, ever read anything like it before.

If you’ve been following this authors blog before she became an author, you’d know that she used to work in Probation. Her knowledge in that topic is extremely evident throughout the entire storyline, and I thought that that gave the story the edge that maybe some other books in this genre would be missing out on.

‘Dead Inside’ is entered around domestic abuse, a topic which is very hard-hitting to read on its own, let alone being the main premise of a crime novel. Noelle Holten hasn’t just dumped the topic in her book and went on her merry way, she pulled the topic to shreds and highlighted the impact that domestic abuse has on the victim, as well as the people around them. She has also laid it bare as to how manipulative abusers can be, and how they can get what they want at the click of their fingers. On a personal level, Holten nailed the emotional devastation and, whilst it took me back to a dark time in my past, I appreciated the realism. There’s nothing worse than reading about a topic in a book, only to find it isn’t realistic at all, and unfortunately or fortunately, whichever way you want to look at it, in this instance it is highly realistic and brilliantly done.

Now, I like a jam-packed novel as much as the next person, but for me, I felt that there was too much going on at times. Not only did the storyline cover abuse, it also covered murder, psychological issues, coercive control, blended families, drugs and alcohol abuse. I couldn’t keep up at times with the to-ing and fro-ing between each situation, as well as the snippets from different points of view, and so forth. I can appreciate that all of the topics were related to the storyline and what the author was trying to achieve, but I think I would have been less dizzy if there were a few less things to focus on, instead putting more detail into the other sections. But that’s just me.

Overall, I was very impressed by the strength of Noelle Holten’s debut novel – she clearly has the talent there to hook her readers and leave them wanting more, and I think that her background has helped to put her novel a cut above the rest. ‘Dead Inside’ is such an intense, fast paced, gripping read which left me really annoyed when it had finished – I wanted more! Looks like Noelle Holten is now an author to watch!!

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle‘s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the book love via her blog. 

Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Links:
 

#BlogTour! #Review – The Mother’s Mistake by Ruth Heald (@RJ_Heald) @Bookouture

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Day two of the blog tour for ‘The Mother’s Mistake’ by Ruth Heald, and the glittery, Bookouture tour bus stops with me, TWG! Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC – here is my review:
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Everyone makes mistakes. But does everyone deserve to be forgiven?

She runs past the tinkling of children’s laughter that fills the park. Heart hammering, feet stinging, she reaches the riverbank, her breath catching in her throat. And then she sees…

Three years later.

Claire has everything she’s always wanted. A new-born baby. A doting husband by her side. A picturesque home in the countryside.

But behind closed doors, Claire’s life is falling apart. Her husband is barely ever home, she’s struggling to bond with her baby girl, and she swears that she is being watched in the remote, lonely cottage.

And when a threatening note is posted through her letterbox, saying she doesn’t deserve her daughter, it’s clear that someone knows about the terrible mistake that Claire made – someone won’t let her forget it. Three years ago, she would have known who to turn to. But now she no longer recognises those closest to her, or the person she’s become. Who can she trust?
What does TWG think?

Forgiveness is a tough one, isn’t it? People usually say that, to move on from something, you have to learn to forgive the person involved. But what happens if that person involved is…yourself? How can you forgive yourself for something when guilt overrides any logical thinking? Like I say, it’s a tough one and unfortunately for Claire, that was exactly the situation she found herself in.

Moving to the countryside was supposed to be a fresh start for them all. A new home, a new baby, a new life – what’s not to like? Claire’s relationship with her mother in law is hanging by a thread, and it doesn’t help that Claire cannot get one minutes’ peace from her sticking her nose in as the mother in law lives next door!

‘The Mother’s Mistake’ is such a satisfying and gripping novel – I wasn’t expecting the storyline to be what it was at all! Ruth Heald nails the psychological element of the book, and at times I felt like my head was spinning out of control due to not knowing which way to turn. Who do I believe? What do I believe? I really didn’t know.

This story is told via different points of view which, in my opinion, increases the depth of the novel as I felt I got to see different sides to each of the characters. I would say that, at times, the pace was a little bit too slow and unforgiving, however when the storyline peaked it blew the slowness out of the water.

‘The Mother’s Mistake’ is a very, very impressive read which kept me on my toes until the very end. It’s clear that Ruth Heald is a talented writer who knows which buttons of her readers she needs to push in order to get a reaction. This book was definitely one of those buttons!

Buy now from Amazon
About the author.

Ruth Heald is a psychological thriller writer from a suburban Buckinghamshire town. She studied Economics at Oxford and then worked in an eclectic mix of sectors from nuclear decommissioning to management consulting.

Seeking a more creative environment, she found a role at the BBC and worked there for nine years before leaving to write full time. Ruth is fascinated by psychology and finding out what drives people to violence, destruction and revenge. She’s married with one daughter and her novels explore our greatest fears in otherwise ordinary, domestic lives.

Social Media Links:

Website

Twitter

#BlogTour! #Review – A Summer Reunion by Fanny Blake (@FannyBlake1) @AlainnaGeorgiou

Blog Tour A Summer Reunion
It gives me great pleasure to welcome Fanny Blake to TWG today as part of the ‘A Summer Reunion’ blog tour! Huge thanks to Alainna and Orion for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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One perfect villa, four old friends, and a holiday that will change everything…

Amy, Linda, Kate and Jane were best friends at school. Now, years later, they have grown apart. When Amy discovers her husband has been stealing from her successful interiors business, and with a milestone birthday looming, she decides it is the time to reach out to her old friends once again.

So, she decides to invite the other three to her beautiful villa in Mallorca for a reunion weekend. As the four friends gather, secrets are unearthed, old scores settled and new friendships forged. Will this holiday bring them together or tear them apart? And will each of them grasp their second chance for happiness…?

What does TWG think?

Oh I thoroughly enjoyed this!! If you’re sitting there thinking that ‘A Summer Reunion’ is going to be all sunshine and relaxation, you have another thing coming. I, like you no doubt, thought the same when I first saw the cover of Fanny Blake’s new novel. So, the more of the book I read, the more surprised I was to find that ‘A Summer Reunion’ has a lot more to it than I originally thought.

As the title suggests, the book is about a reunion which happens in the summer. However, what the cover doesn’t state is just how stressful that particular reunion is. Firstly, the four women involved; Amy, Jane, Linda and Kate, haven’t seen each other for many years. The last time they were in close proximity of each other ended up severing ties for them. Aside from Jane and Kate though, they’re the only two who have had any involvement in the years that have passed since their school days.

What on Earth could have caused such a ruckus? I know that not everyone stays friends with who they went to school with, but seeing as their friendship group is the reason that Amy’s life didn’t quite go to plan, it must have been something major for them to part ways.

I’m not going to go into detail as to what the ruckus ended up being, and even though the author hints at issues throughout the book, the truth doesn’t get revealed properly until nearer the end. What an absolute bombshell. I mean, considering the extremity of said situation, I was very impressed by the way in which Fanny Blake handled the finer details surrounding it. It is an incredibly difficult thing to talk about and, as weird as this sounds, I just loved the way the author approached it as she did the characters, and anyone else who had been in a similar situation, very proud.

I flew through the pages of ‘A Summer Reunion’, and I lapped up the storyline like the four women lapped up the sunshine in Mallorca. It made a nice change to read about characters who were at a later stage in their life, instead of reading about characters who were merely starting theirs and didn’t know much. The wisdom of the four women enlightened me and got completely under my skin – I loved it!

‘A Summer Reunion’ is an uplifting tale of true friendships, emotional hardships, and uncertain futures. Fanny Blake has written such a heartwarming, atmospheric storyline which allows the reader to be captivated by the trials and tribulations of each individual character. It’s deep, it’s moving, it’s detailed, and it’s empathetic. It has everything I could have wanted from a book, and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to lose myself in Amy, and her friends lives.

‘A Summer Reunion’ is published on the 13th June. Pre-order now.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Morning After the Wedding Before by Laura Ziepe (@LauraZiepe) @HQDigitalUK

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I am closing the blog tour for Laura Ziepe and ‘The Morning After the Wedding Before’ today, which will be published by HQDigital on the 10th June. I really enjoyed Laura’s previous book, ”Tis the Season to be Single’! Many thanks to HQDigitalUK for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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Did she really say ‘I do’?!

Holly is happily single with two gorgeous kids but when she finds out her ex is moving on she jumps at the chance of attending her friend Emma’s wedding in Vegas – it’s the perfect distraction…

Kim used to be the life and soul of the party, but now there’s nothing she loves more than a quiet night at home with the family. But in Vegas her past quickly catches up with her – in a way that could make or break her marriage!

Emma is getting married! She knows it should be the happiest time of her life, but she can’t help feeling she’s marrying the wrong man. So when she wakes up on her wedding day with a ring already on her finger, she panics – who did she marry last night?

What does TWG think?

Wow, I wasn’t expecting that! Have you ever heard of the term ‘coercive control’? Not many people have. The definition of ‘coercive control’ from the Women’s Aid website states that:

‘Domestic abuse isn’t always physical. Coercive control is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

This controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour.’

With the above in mind, and the fact that this novel is predominantly lighthearted and fun, the topic of coercive control is rife via one of the main characters, Emma. Now I won’t go into detail due to spoilers, however I felt exceptionally sorry for her because, as readers, we get to see all sides of the coin as it were. We get to witness things that characters haven’t found out yet. So when this character goes through her day to day life as an Instagram influencer, it’s pretty hard not to shout and scream at the book to tell her to run. Reality hadn’t hit Emma at that point. She wasn’t aware that what her fiancé was doing, could in fact be deemed as abuse. Actually, the reality is that not many people in that situation realise that controlling, abusive behaviour is actually abuse. People automatically assume that domestic abuse needs to be physical. It doesn’t. I am talking from experience unfortunately.

Anyway, despite the in-depth topic of the storyline, ‘The Morning After the Wedding Before’ has a lot of scenarios which readers will be able to relate too, especially if they’re a parent who is struggling with their relationship with their partner, or if they’re a single mum who has done nothing except care for her children for however many years.

I was impressed by how the author managed to incorporate a lot of relatable subjects in amongst the fun and laughter of the book. At times I did feel as though the womanising of several of the characters got a bit much and didn’t really add anymore depth to the overall vibe of the book. I appreciated why those particular characters were involved in the story, don’t get me wrong, it just made me feel a little exasperated at times.

I really do recommend Laura Ziepe’s writing as she manages to make me laugh at the most random of times! I enjoyed the overall premise of the book, and like I said before, I felt that the author wrote about certain topics brilliantly and sensitively.

‘The Morning After the Wedding Before’ is the ideal poolside read both for a holiday read, and for a read by the blow up pool in the garden!

Pre-order now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – Passport to Happiness by Carrie Stone (@CarrieStoneUK) @HarperImpulse @RaRaResources

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I am dodging this dreary weather today by jetting off with ‘Passport to Happiness’ by Carrie Stone. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Harper Impulse for the ARC. Here is my review:

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Will the trip of her dreams…

Everly Carter is bored. With her job, with her single status and with the never ending line of rubbish men on Tinder. Tired of going through the motions of seeming happy, Everly wants to be happy! So, in a spontaneous moment of bravery (perhaps spurred on by a few cocktails) Everly books a holiday. Time away, alone, to find out what she really wants from life. Become the journey of her lifetime?

Everly’s search for happiness takes her to picturesque Swiss villages and the sunsets of glamorous Bermuda. But with every new stamp in her passport, Everly still feels as though something is missing…

Could it be that true happiness is hard to find, until she finds herself?

What does TWG think?

If you’re looking for a novel which points you in the direction of looking at the bigger picture; ‘Passport to Happiness’ is definitely the one to choose. Everly feels a bit….stuck. Her life feels like one monotonous roundabout, and she no longer feels happy with what her life throws at her. With Tinder spitting out dates which find Everly running for the hills instead of their bedroom, the only ties she has is with her job, and her sister.

I could see why Everly wanted a bit more action in her life, and I could understand her reasons for wanting her life to change. I thought her spontaneity was very endearing and clearly worked for her in regards to learning to find herself, however, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit irritated by the character herself.

Firstly, after her spontaneous visits to Switzerland and Bermuda, Everly was extremely worried about her finances. She had checked how much money she had to her name and knew she had to curb her spending and earn a bit more. What does she do? She goes and books an impulsive flight to Bali on her way back to London from Bermuda. Am I missing something? Hell, if I had money in my pocket to burn, I would be impulsive as well, however she clearly admitted she needed to be careful, and I know for a fact that flights to Bali do not cost mere pocket money!

Secondly, for someone who wanted to give back to the communities she visited, she was quite a selfish person. I know she needed to find herself, and I know that she needed to heal from the heartbreak which came her way back in London, and whilst she was on her travels, but I honestly didn’t realise that it would be Everly’s way or the highway. At least, that was the impression I gave.

By the way, all the above is my opinion on the character and not my opinion of the authors story telling….just wanted to clarify that before anyone thought I was being rude. I’m not!

Aside from my irks with Everly, I enjoyed the concept of the storyline and the true friendships she formed on her travels. I thought that Carrie Stone delivered the importance of being at one with yourself, in a very poignant manner. It certainly made me think of my own outlook to certain situations, I must admit.

At times I did feel as though the overall storyline was a bit patchy, as though the story had jumped ahead and I had missed bits. I hadn’t, but one minute Everly was in Bali, in her new accommodation, and then the next she was getting ready for an interview which just came out of nowhere. Good on her though for grabbing life by the you know what’s!

As for the descriptions about Bali and Bermuda – wow, wow, wow! I felt as though I was standing at the top of the trek, looking out at the view. Beautiful writing. I was definitely under the spell of the story then!

‘Passport to Happiness’ is a fun, lighthearted read with characters you will be remembering for a while. Personally, my favourite has got to be Panda – how could it not? Absolute legend.

Buy now!

About the author.

Carrie was born and raised in London, but her love for travel and adventure has seen her spend the last fourteen years living and working internationally.She is currently based in Spain alongside her husband, young daughter and adopted Indonesian dog, Bali.Carrie is a traditionally published author with Harper Impulse, as well as an independently published author. When not writing, she works as a Psychic Medium & Spiritual Coach (www.carriebattley.com). To find out more about her Twitter @CarrieStoneUK

#Review – #UnnaturalCauses by Dr. Richard Shepherd (@MichaelJBooks) @PenguinUKBooks #Pathologist #Medicine

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(Thank you to Michael Joseph for the ARC)

Meet the forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd. A detective in his own right, he must solve the mystery of sudden and unexplained deaths.

He has performed over 23,000 autopsies, including some of the most high-profile cases of recent times; the Hungerford Massacre, the Princess Diana inquiry, and 9/11.

He has faced serial killers, natural disaster, ‘perfect murders’ and freak accidents.

His evidence has put killers behind bars, freed the innocent, and turned open-and-shut cases on their heads.

Yet all this has come at a huge personal cost.

Unnatural Causes tells the story of not only the cases and bodies that have haunted him the most, but also how to live a life steeped in death.

What does TWG think?

If you had said to me a few years back that I would be reading a book about pathology, I would have quite literally laughed in your face. As soon as someone spoke about death, I would walk out of the room because of the fear I had associated with it. Fast forward many, many years, and not only am I now reading books which are fictionally gorey, I am also reading non-fiction books about death, autopsies, and forensics. Funny how things can change, isn’t it?

There was just something highly intriguing by the title of this book and and the tagline on the cover; I just knew I had to read it.

Not only is ‘Unnatural Causes’ about some of the bodies which Dr. Shepherd has been faced with, it is also an honest account from the doctor himself, about how those autopsies affected both him and the people around him. The life that Dr. Shepherd chose was one which intrigued him from the moment he clapped eyes on a certain medical book as a young boy. His hunger for medicine and dead bodies put fire in his belly – it wasn’t just a case of accumulating dead bodies in the mortuary where he worked, it was also the mystery behind those deaths which spurred him on. However, his personal life suffered greatly because of his profession. I have no idea how he managed to switch from forensic pathologist, to husband and father, at the touch of a button, but I can only assume how difficult that must have been for both him and his family.

The detail in this book is second to none. Whilst there is a lot of medical language used, Dr. Shepherd gives explanations for the medical terms, and the terms used whenever he had to give evidence in court. I had never read a book about pathology, and to be honest, I was worried that I wasn’t ‘clever’ enough for a book of this calibre, however due to the simplistic explanations and incredible detail, I was able to understand and enjoy everything about this book.

It feels a bit weird saying that I enjoyed reading a book about death! It’s not that I enjoyed the fact that many people died, or the devastation each of the victims families had to faced, it was the science behind the post mortem’s and trying to reach a conclusion as to how that particular person died. Were drugs involved? Was it a murder? If so, was the victim killed in the place that they were found, or were they merely dumped there? The fact that Dr. Shepherd went as far as reenacting (as best as able) a murder in his own living room, trying to establish whether the culprit was left or right handed, really did open my eyes to what a pathologist actually did. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t just that which opened my eyes, I mean, the whole discussion regarding how a body is cut open during a post mortem, certainly stopped me in my tracks.

It is very clever how to realise just how our bodies work from the inside out, when at times we take that for granted because all we can see is the outside of our bodies. We don’t really think about what goes on inside unless we are getting checked for certain things. We know our hearts beat, but would you know how much your heart is meant to weigh? Would you know what type of body would rise to the surface first, should a body be found dead there? Would you be aware of internal body temperature? I know those answers now, but only because I have read this book.

Honestly, my brain was like a sponge soaking up all of the science throughout this book! It was extremely interesting, whilst also intense, how the book went on to discuss how the post mortem’s were carried out for the 9/11 attacks, as well as other unfortunate disasters. Plus, it’s not every day that you read about Princess Diana’s death from the pathology side instead of reading the conspiracies in the Daily Mail. I was blown away by the steps that had to be taken, the organisation, how courts were involved. Everything.

‘Unnatural Causes’ is an absolutely fascinating, honest and brutal account of life versus death and visa versa – I have learnt so, so much thanks to Dr. Shepherd. I highly recommend!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – #PoppysRecipeForLife by Heidi Swain (@Heidi_Swain) @TeamBATC

Poppy's Recipe For Life Blog Tour Graphic
Eeeek! It’s finally my turn to shake my Swainette pom poms for Heidi Swain’s new novel, ‘Poppy’s Recipe For Life’. Hugest of thanks to Harriet and the lovely team at TeamBATC for the ARC goodies and blog tour invite. It is such an honour to be involved in this tour, so thank you. Here is my review:

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Things haven’t always been straightforward in Poppy’s life but her dreams are finally within her reach.
 
She’s moving into a cottage in beautiful Nightingale Square, close to the local community garden, where she can indulge her passion for making preserves and pickles. She may not have the best relationship with her family but she is surrounded by loving friends, and feels sure that even her grumpy new neighbour, Jacob, has more to him than his steely exterior belies.
 
But the unexpected arrival of Poppy’s troubled younger brother soon threatens her new-found happiness and as the garden team works together to win community space of the year, Poppy must decide where her priorities lie and what she is prepared to fight for …

What does TWG think?

Oh she’s a good egg this one, isn’t she? Heidi Swain has delivered yet again. Never mind Poppy creating recipe cards, I think this author needs to create her own recipe cards so we all know how she does it!

I have been a huge fan of Heidi Swain’s novels from the very beginning, and I can honestly say that with each new book she releases, the standard just gets higher and higher. She truly does not disappoint at all.

We are back in Nightingale Square, but this time with a new resident called Poppy. She was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to move into her dream home due to her mothers selfishness. However, Poppy had her own little guardian angel who helped make her dream come true and she swiftly became the new name on the garden’s rota.

Unfortunately for Poppy, her happiness was short lived. Families eh, who’d have them? I won’t delve into the why’s and wherefores, but let’s just say that the phrase ‘you can’t pick your family…’ is very apt in this book, that’s for sure.

‘Poppy’s Recipe For Life’ had me changing emotions like the weather. One minute I was feeling all tender and warm due to the community spirit, and then the next I was angry because of stupid choices which had a domino effect on the rest of the community. I just wanted to knock some of the characters heads together and tell them to stop being so stupid, and no, I don’t mean Poppy and Mr Grizzle…..!!!!

This is such an uplifting, cosy novel which took me under its wing from the get go. In no time at all I was able to lose myself in Poppy’s life, watch the community in Nightingale Square go from strength to strength, and be a part of several characters journeys to self discovery. I never knew that a garden could have so many magical powers, yet this particular garden went above and beyond with the magic, and so did the people involved. I have never read a story which enveloped me in such love and joy, all because of a garden, as ‘Poppy’s Recipe For Life’ did.

Heidi Swain really knows how to make her characters come alive in a way that will have her readers hanging onto her every word, wishing that the story wouldn’t come to an end. Another story which has been written from the authors heart, straight into the hearts of the readers in the way that only Heidi Swain can. A tender, uplifting, and huggable novel with humour that will make you add ‘snorting like a pig’ to your list of party tricks on Tinder.

Buy now!