This is the one time I’m happy to admit being #DeadWrong! @nholten40 @0nemorechapter_ @BOTBSPublicity #blogtour #review

Thanks so much to sarah from BOTBSPublicity for inviting me to take part in much loved blogger and author, Noelle Holten’s blog tour. Also thank you to the publisher for the ARC too. Here is my review:

The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

What does TWG think?

Before reading ‘Dead Wrong’ I was well aware of the authors jet black mind and, if I’m being perfectly honest, I was in awe of how quickly her mind manages to conjure up situations that are so clever, and so well thought out.

Having now read ‘Dead Wrong’, I am even more impressed by this authors talent than I was at the beginning! Bill Raven is everyone’s worst nightmare, and there were many moments where i felt like reading through my fingers because of the discomfort and uncertainty which surrounded that particular character. He was such a chilling character to read about yet, as weird as this sounds, I think he gave the storyline THE edge.

I dont know what it is about DC Maggie Jamieson, but I still cannot seem to work her out. I struggled to gel with her in the first book, and again I found her to be a quite a two dimensional character. Maybe that is just her personality, after all you cant like every single character in a book!

Noelle Holten has hit the nail on the head in terms of suspense, and I thoroughly enjoyed the psychological elements of the story especially. Its evident that Holten knows the genre in depth due to her professional history, and shes certainly making the most of that knowledge with this riveting and dynamic read. Roll on book three!

Buy now.

Would you get in contact with someone you used to love, even though theres a chance they might not want to talk? #TheManILovedBefore @bookouture @AnnaMansell #blogtour

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in Anna Mansell’s blog tour, and for providing me with an ARC. Here is my review:

‘Dear Ben, I can only write you this letter because I know you’ll never read it…’

When Jem writes to her ex Ben, it’s to explain everything. All the secrets she kept from him – from the little lies she’d sometimes tell about how new those shoes really were, or how many glasses of wine she’d had that evening… right up to The Big Thing that happened on the night that changed everything. But she never expects he will actually see what she’s written.

She is just writing because she thinks it will help to get the words out. Later, she resolves, she’ll burn the letter, and then the past will be in the past for good.

Because Jem is doing fine now. She’s busy: working, spending time with her best friend, and looking after her mother, who’s in remission from cancer. She’s even dating again and has just met a guy who she thinks she could actually fall for. At long last, Jem is really, definitely somewhere close to happy.

But her mum finds the letter and thinks she’s doing Jem a favour when she posts it to Ben. And Jem’s new, carefully rebuilt life begins to unravel in ways she could never have imagined. Then, when her mother gets ill again, she finds herself asking who has the key to her future. The man she’s falling in love with now? Or the man she loved before?

What does TWG think?

Theres a lot of various avenues to explore in ‘The Man I Loved Before’. Not only is Jem finding it difficult to get over the man who had her heart, her mum was in remission from cancer. And, if that wasn’t enough, Jem finds herself being pulled in directions that arent good for her emotional wellbeing that ends up threatening her friendship with her best friend.

I reckon a lot of readers would find it difficult not to be empathetic towards Jem. The situations she deals with is more than enough for several people to contend with, let alone just one. Of course the fact that Jem’s mum is in remission is clearly good news, however with something like that, you cant help but wait for it to return. Not only that, her mum didnt return to her usual self after the cancer.

I enjoyed the realism of the storyline as it focused on things that can happen to real life people, without pretending that life is hunkydory because, contrary to popular belief, it isnt always like that. I appreciated the angle of the book, even though it was emotional at times and very powerful.

When Jem found herself in a sticky situation later on in the book, it did bring memories back for me as I had been in a similar boat myself many years ago. It wasnt easy to read, but i respected the author for including a topic that is often seen as taboo. However (sorry), I felt that it overpowered the rest of the book and took my attention away from other scenes in the book that I felt were important.

‘The Man I Loved Before’ is a romantic, poignant, topical read which puts relationships to the test big time. I really enjoyed the heartfelt storyline but, most importantly, I loved how difficult topics were given their time to shine in attempt to help others understand. Something that Anna Mansell has Mansell exceptionally well.

Buy now.

#HerBrokenWings @DKHood_Author @Bookouture #blogtour

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog today for D.K.Hood and ‘Her Broken Wings’, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

The sound that wakes her from sleep is unmistakable—someone is in their house. She listens as heavy footsteps start up the stairs, and as the bedroom door is flung open, she doesn’t even have time to scream…

Following a frantic emergency call in the middle of the night, Detective Jenna Alton arrives at a secluded family home to find the body of Lucas Robinson lying in a pool of his own blood in his bed. His wife Carol, shivering in shock, has just watched an intruder shoot her husband in cold blood.

As Jenna investigates the murder, she soon discovers that Lucas was having an affair. And when his mistress is also found strangled to death in the center of the small town, Jenna is convinced that the murderer is living amongst them.

When the killer escalates with a mass murder at a remote ranch on the outskirts of Black Rock Falls, Jenna knows for sure that she’s dealing with a murderer more twisted than any other she’s faced before.

As the town begins to fill with revelers for the annual Halloween festival, Jenna has to work fast to stop any more lives being taken. But as the killer always seems to be one step ahead of the investigation, has she finally met a murderer who can outsmart her?

What does TWG think?

Well that escalated quickly!!!! I have been a huge fan of D.K.Hood’s ‘Kane and Alton’ since the very beginning, however I dont think my heart has raced as much as it did with ‘Her Broken Wings’. Bloody heck! If those wings weren’t broken, I reckon they would have taken off by now!

Black Rock Falls has had more than enough murders to last a lifetime, but they kept on coming in this book! I have no idea what the population of the town is – surely they havent got more random people to kill off! Honestly, the murders in this book were like a box of chocolates, they just kept happening until one minute they stopped and you are left wondering what’s going to happen next.

Kane and Alton have their work cut out, however this time round they have assistance from the FBI to help lighten their load. Or will it be a case of ‘too many cooks spoiling the broth’? I adore the rapport that Kane and Alton have, especially the way that they always have each others backs in whatever situation they find themselves in. On the other hand though, I cant help but think to myself ‘will they just get together already!!!’.

So, the reason why my heart was racing a lot more with this book was because of the storyline was dark. Jet black dark. It was sinister. Unforgiving. Dangerous. Eventful. Race car suspenseful.

Basically, I loved it. D.K.Hood is absolutely brilliant at creating the tension that made my heart want to beat out of my chest. I was completely blindsided by the turn of events and the way that the storyline unfolded. I have no idea where the author gets her ideas from, yet I know that she delivers every single book in this series in an expert manner.

‘Her Broken Wings’ kept me hooked and left me gasping in shock – an all round, suspenseful and bloody brilliant addition to a series that just keeps on getting better and better!

Buy now.

#MoonlightOverMayfair @TheAntonDuBeke @ZaffreBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour #review

Many thanks to Tracy Fenton and Zaffre for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review of.’Moonlight Over Mayfair’ by Strictly Come Dancing legend, Anton Du Beke.

London, 1937.

With a new king in place, tensions are rising in London and across Europe. Shaken by the Great Depression and with talk of another war coming, the Buckingham Hotel is trying to regain some stability.

Upstairs, Vivienne Edgerton is desperate to do something worthwhile with her time and her stepfather’s money, rather than spending it on frivolity and debauchery – but will this land her in even more trouble?

And downstairs, chambermaid Nancy Nettleton is finally starting to feel more settled at the Buckingham, and hopes her brother will soon call London home, too. But she misses the man she loves, demonstration dancer Raymond de Guise, who is noticeably absent from the Grand Ballroom dance floor.

The staff and guests of the Buckingham soon discover that in a hotel full of secrets, there’s always someone listening . . .

What does TWG think?

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this book as I had never read one of Anton Du Beke’s novels before. I only know him from the Saturday night dancing show, Strictly Come Dancing, so I was quite surprised by him trying his hand at writing books. Dont ask me why, because I dont know!

Had I have read Du Beke’s previous novel, I think this installment would have made more sense as it is a continuation from the first novel. Ignoring that fact for a moment, I did enjoy the premise of the book and I was pleasantly surprised by such detailed descriptions throughout.

As for the storyline, I was captivated by Vivenne and Nancy’s stories, learning about their differing outlooks on life where money was concerned.

It’s clear by this book that Anton Du Beke isnt a one trick pony, and I am intrigued to read more. A pleasing read overall.

Buy now.

I would LOVE to visit here! #TheItalianVilla @DanielaSacerdo3 @Bookouture #blogtour #review

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Italian Villa’, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

Italy, 1938 – Elisa clings to Leo in the shadow of the Montevino mountains, the call to war ringing in her ears. They hatch a plan to wed in secret before Leo flees to the woods to join the resistance, and vow to find each other again when the war is over. But history has other plans…

Texas, present day – Callie Di Giacomo, a small-town waitress, is still reeling from the discovery that she’s adopted when she arrives in Montevino in search of answers about her real family – the keys to the stunning hillside villa she has just inherited clutched tightly in her hand. In her birthmother’s wardrobe grief-stricken Callie finds a diary belonging to a woman named Elisa Stella, one of Italy’s first ever female doctors, wrapped in pale blue ribbon.

Page by page, Callie is swept away by Elisa’s story, increasingly certain that their lives – and their fates – are somehow connected, and that the truth about her family is hidden somewhere within the crinkled yellow pages. But just when all the pieces look like they are falling into place, a devastating betrayal in the diary unlocks a heart-breaking secret about who Callie’s mother really is. Can Callie, like Elisa, find the light in her darkest moment and use it to spark a new future?

What does TWG think?

There was something just so humbling about the storyline behind ‘The Italian Villa, and the fact that it had some references to real life events really emphasised the importance of family bonds. It was heartbreaking to learn about what Italians went through during the war because of religion. I cant even begin to imagine what families went through during that time, and that’s merely my thoughts after reading about it!

I loved how the storyline was a dual timeline read, switching between the ‘present’ with Callie’s journey as she tries to find out where she came from, and the past via the diary written by Elisa. For a recently turned 21 year old, Callie had such an old head on young shoulders and her actions throughout the story didnt quite seem to match with the way her character was being portrayed. I’m not saying that that is a bad thing, however it left me feeling as though the overall storyline wasnt as seamless as it probably should have been.

‘The Italian Villa’ is such a picturesque, humbling novel which gives Italy the time in the spotlight to shine..and not just because of the beautiful sounding location. Callie’s story was both thought provoking and emotive, and overall I really enjoyed getting to know her and following her on her journey of self discovery.

Buy now.

#FiveWakesandaWedding @ComedyKaren @0nemorechapter_ @RaRaResources #review

Huge apologies to OneMoreChapter, Karen Ross and of course Rachel for my delay in posting this review. It was a complete error on my part, however I have just this moment finished reading ‘Five Wakes and a Wedding’, so I hope my review makes up for the delay.

(Thank you to the publisher for the review copy)

Undertaker Nina Sherwood is full of good advice. For example, never wear lip gloss when you’re scattering ashes.

Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.
Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop. When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith. Because, after all, it’s her funeral…

What does TWG think?

As soon as I saw the title of this book, my interest was piqued straight away. You’ve no doubt heard of the film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, so how about ‘Five Wakes and a Wedding’?

If you aren’t someone with a dark sense of humour that isnt afraid to giggle at the things that are a bit more farfetched, then I wholeheartedly suggest that you turn back now as you are more likely to be offended than anything else! For those who can laugh at things that arent deemed ‘appropriate’, or who doesn’t take themselves, or life too seriously, then you have come to the right place because this book is so wrong that its SO RIGHT!

For starters, death is what the storyline is centred around. Obviously grief is a very personal thing, as are funerals and, if you’re anything like Nina, you would agree that a person’s wishes regarding their final send off should be granted, regardless of how inappropriate their wishes may be. Personally I dont see the harm in having a not so typical funeral, why should I? As long as nobody else gets hurt in the process, i dont see the issue….to a point of course!

I thought ‘Five Wakes and a Wedding’ was such a brilliant, brilliant read. Death is usually seen as a macabre event, and no wonder, however the portrayal of it throughout the story was ingenious, humorous, heartwarming, memorable, and a true breath of fresh air.

I loved the random bunch of characters who, from afar, really shouldn’t have worked together, yet they fitted perfectly like puzzle pieces. Even the dog slotted straight into the fold as though he had been there all along! I thought Kelli Shapiro was bloody brilliant and definitely one of my favourites from the book.

Despite all of the giggles, Karen Ross leaves food for thought in her words along the lines of organ donation, life after death, same gender marriage, betrayal, infidelity, as well as many other topics. How the author managed to include a jam packed storyline without losing momentum is beyond me!

As I’ve already said, I throughly enjoyed every single that I read, and for a little while I was able to step away from ‘the norm’ and be a part of something so bonkers, so eye opening, and so cleverly done, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was still on this planet!

This genuinely light hearted giggle fest shouldn’t have worked, yet it definitely worked for me and left me with a massive beamer on my face. As far as I’m concerned, this book is a winner.

Buy now.

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now.

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.

#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.

Sorry @AndyJonesAuthor, but #AdamCampbell has stolen your spotlight!! @hodderbooks

Many thanks to Jenny Platt for the blog tour invite and ARC of ‘The Last Act of Adam Campbell’. Here is my review of Andy Jones’ novel for today’s stop on the tour:

A year can go quickly. Particularly when it’s your last.

Adam had a good life: a job he enjoyed, a nice house, a loving partner and a bright six-year-old daughter. Then he cheated on his partner. Then she kicked him out of their home. And then he was given approximately twelve months to live.

Despite the devastating news, Adam is determined to turn his life around before it finally runs out. Help comes in the form of an ex-junky, a cantankerous train driver, a nun experiencing a crisis of faith, and a teenager intent on losing her virginity – all living on borrowed time, all desperate to feel alive before their time is up.

What does TWG think?

What would you do if you found out that your time on Earth was limited? That you were in fact dying? Would you get your affairs in order so your loved ones wouldn’t have to deal with it after your passing? Or would you do what this crazy bunch of people did and brought Shakespeare into the 20th century?

When I say that they’re crazy, it comes from a place of warmth as I really dont know whether I would be able to do what they did. In all honesty, I dont want to think about it at all so, if you finding stories about death and cancer very difficult to read, I highly suggest taking a step back from this. Reading about death is never going to be easy, regardless of the form it is presented in. However, when a story approaches death in an honest, poignant, and humourous manner, the fear surrounding that particular topic diminishes ever so slightly.

I’m not going to delve into each of the characters lives as I feel that would take it away from what the author was trying to do. What I will say is that the group of characters mentioned in this book, all have such colourful and memorable personalities that you won’t tire of quickly. I would even go as far to say that they even make you feel as though you’re one of the family. That is not so good when it comes to the inevitable though….if you catch my drift!

For me, the first and last chunks of the story were the best ones. At around the 20-40% mark I felt as though the storyline was a bit stuck in the mud and seemed to contain a bit more padding to it than absolutely necessary. I didn’t tune out of the story, yet I found my attention faltering a little throughout that twenty percent.

That said, I throughly enjoyed the other 80 percent of the book. I actually feel quite bad saying it like that because I dont want anyone thinking that I found the heartache in the story entertaining. I didn’t enjoy the death aspects – who would? Yet I appreciated the journeys of each character and their strengths until the very end. The whole concept of self picked families, support, legacies, and preparing loved ones for the day that you would be no more, was beautifully done and brought several tears to my eyes.

One character said that they missed ‘their daddy’, and it was that one sentence which broke my heart because my own father passed away three years ago and, whilst I never had the type of relationship with him that resulted in me calling him daddy, it hurt that I would never utter those words again. Well, due to estrangement it’s been a while anyway, but it was still a tough pill to swallow.

Its evident that Andy Jones has lost a loved one or two because you simply cannot fake the emotion that this book had. You dont know loss until you have felt it for yourself and it doesnt matter how many times you google it, it wouldn’t come as freely as someone who had experienced it in their lifetime. As heartbreaking as it is, I was impressed by the honesty and I truly feel that Andy Jones has done his characters, his story, and his readers exceptionally proud.

Buy now.