#Spotlight #Mine @ClareEmpson2 @OrionBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #bookblogger

I hope you’re all keeping well just now. Life is very, very different to the one we were all a part of this time last week! Many of us are finding it difficult to concentrate on our usual hobbies, reading including, so I want to thank Tracy Fenton for being incredibly accommodating in the recent climate, so therefore my stop today is a spotlight post with the promise of reviewing soon.

‘Who am I? Why am I here? Why did my mother give me away?’

On the surface, Luke and his girlfriend Hannah seem to have a perfect life. He’s an A&R man, she’s an arts correspondent and they are devoted to their new-born son Samuel.

But beneath the gloss Luke has always felt like an outsider. So when he finds his birth mother Alice, the instant connection with her is a little like falling in love.

When Hannah goes back to work, Luke asks Alice to look after their son. But Alice – fuelled with grief from when her baby was taken from her 27 years ago – starts to fall in love with Samuel. And Luke won’t settle for his mother pushing him aside once again…

Why readers love this emotionally gripping story by the author of HIM:

‘Read it, read it, read it. One of my books of the year, without a doubt.’ Goodreads reviewer

‘Beautiful, haunting, emotional, and totally addictive.’ Goodreads reviewer

‘A realistic, character driven, highly-emotional and addictive read.’ Goodreads reviewer

‘Be warned: this novel will take over your life while you are reading it.’ Goodreads reviewer

Click here to purchase Clare Empson’s previous novel ‘Him’

Click here to purchase ‘Mine’

Loved either of Clare’s books? Leave a review and tell the world!

If you’re holding out for a legal thriller, ‘TheHoldout’ might just be the one! @MrGrahamMoore @OrionBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour

Thank you to Tracy Fenton and Oriom for the blog tour invite for ‘The Holdout’ by Graham Moore, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

One juror changed the verdict. What if she was wrong?

‘Ten years ago we made a decision together…’

Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock, is the prime suspect. It’s an open and shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed.

Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, persuades the rest of the jurors to vote not guilty: a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever.

Ten years later, one of the jurors is found dead, and Maya is the prime suspect.

The real killer could be any of the other ten jurors. Is Maya being forced to pay the price for her decision all those years ago?

What does TWG think?

Never mind ‘holding out for a hero’, I’m holding out for ‘The Holdout’! I’ve always wondered what it must be like to be a member of the jury and, weirdly enough, my obsession with ‘Ally Mcbeal’ has never really piqued my curiosity as much as I would have liked it to. Basically, I’m too nosy for my own good. So, when I saw Graham Moore’s novel appear on social media, I knew straight away that I needed to get my mitts on a copy. Did it disappoint? Why no, no it did not!

I’m not going to lie though, the storyline was, at times, a little beyond farfetched, something which I’m not exactly used to. However, I had to keep an open mind so that my own walls weren’t stopping me from enjoying the storyline in its entirety.

The concept of everything not being as it seemed is usually so predictable, yet this book completely threw that assumption out of the park! Every new page gave me something I wasn’t expecting, whether it be a new piece of evidence, an unlikely friendship, a different route for the story to take. I was honestly surprised by what I was reading and the way that the author delivered every new thing in such a punchy, memorable way.

I really was hooked by this suspenseful, punchy and eye opening novel. I have a feeling that this is the start of very good things for Graham Moore and his novels!

Buy now.

#TheLittleVillageLibrary @HJRolfe @OrionBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour #womensfiction

Many thanks Tracy Fenton and Orion for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Here is my review:

It takes a village…

Cloverdale is known for its winding roads, undulating hills and colourful cottages, and now for its Library of Shared Things: a place where locals can borrow anything they might need, from badminton sets to waffle makers. A place where the community can come together.

Jennifer has devoted all her energy into launching the Library. When her sister Isla moves home, and single dad Adam agrees to run a mending workshop at the Library, new friendships start to blossom. But what is Isla hiding, and can Adam ever mind his broken past?

Then Adam’s daughter makes a startling discovery, and the people at the Library of Shared Things must pull together to help one family overcome its biggest challenge of all . . .

What does TWG think?

What I love most about Helen Rolfe is the fact that she can take any subject and turn it into a story that people sit up and listen to. I expected this book to be a light hearted read….until I remembered that, whilst Helen Rolfe does write light novels, she always incorporates deep and highly emotive topics into her storylines. Sometimes this makes the overall vibe of the book less pillow soft and more bean bag soft, however I appreciate stories like that as life isnt all candy floss and rainbows. Life is difficult and I respect the author for keeping her storyline authentic.

Community spirit plays a huge part in ‘The Little Village Library’, something which is always a joy to see in books. Adam’s situation was one that I became invested in pretty quickly, and I felt like his character kept a lot of his personality back. Maybe he was too afraid to show his true self after what he had gone through, I’m not sure. On the other hand, Isla took a little bit of time to get used to. She wasnt my most favourite character and her holier than thou attitude really grated on me after a while!

All in all, ‘The Little Village Library’ is a warm, relatable story which isnt too afraid to highlight some rather emotive topics.

Buy now.

#AllTheFlowersInParis #WW2 #Paris @SarahJio @OrionBooks @Tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour #review #historicalfiction

Many thanks to Orion and Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invite and ARC of ‘All The Flowers In Paris’ by Sarah Jio. I am delighted to host day two of the blog tour with a review:

One mother’s desperate hope for survival.

1943: In occupied Paris, Celine creates bespoke bouquets at her father’s flower shop on rue Cler, whilst trying to shield her young daughter from the brutal reality of war. But when an SS officer takes an interest in Celine and her family, all their lives are put in jeopardy…

One woman’s search for the truth…

2009: Caroline wakes in Paris with no memory of her previous life. Hunting for clues to her identity in her apartment on the rue Cler, she discovers a bundle of letters written by a young widow during the Second World War. As she peels back the layers of the past, Caroline finds new purpose – but Celine’s story is unfinished. Desperate to find out the truth, Caroline digs deeper, uncovering dark and dangerous secrets…

Can learning the truth about Celine help Caroline unlock the mystery of her past?

What does TWG think?

What with being set in WW2 AND having a beautiful cover, it was as though Sarah Jio’s novel was calling out to me through the ether.

If you aren’t already aware, historical fiction is one of my most favourite genres to read, and ‘All the Flowers in Paris’ was already ticking my boxes before I had even opened the cover!

Like many historical fiction novels, this particular novel had a dual timeline so, not only was it set in 2009, it was also set in 1943 Paris, during the Second World War. I really did appreciate being able to step back in time to do a little bit of detective work for Caroline, whilst also eagerly awaiting the truth behind the many secrets that had come to light.

I loved the historical element to the storyline, and I felt that that was the star of the entire novel. I did feel as though the fractured past, family secrets and longing for the truth, was a bit predictable in the sense that it’s been covered a lot in historical fiction, and i was a little bit concerned that it would make the overall vibe of the book a bit too ‘samey’.

Nonetheless, I still really enjoyed reading ‘All the Flowers in Paris’, especially the way in which Sarah Jio was able to get under my skin with the war references. A pleasure to read. It was an honour to have been indirectly part of Caroline and Celine’s journey.

Buy now.

Ben came in like a wreckage ball, he never meant to start a war… #TheWreckage @Rmorganbentley @TrapezeBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogger #review

Many thanks to Orion and Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Wreckage’, and for the ARC. I had been so eager to read this novel! Here is my review:

One fatal crash

Ben is driving on the motorway, on his usual commute to the school where he works. A day like any other, except for the crash.

Two colliding worlds

Adam has left his home for the last time. In his final despairing act, he jumps in front of Ben’s car, turning the teacher’s world upside down.

Three wrecked lives

Wracked with guilt, Ben seeks out Alice, Adam’s widow, and her 7-year-old son Max. But as he tries to escape the trauma of the wreckage, could Ben go too far in trying to ease his conscience?

What does TWG think?

God, I don’t envy Ben! How on Earth does someone live with themselves after that, an accident or not?! Ben was advised to try to get on with his life and let the family process the disastrous turn of events in their own way, but did he listen? Did he heck! I can see why he wanted to check on the family. I totally get that. What I dont quite understand is whether he was seeing them for their gain, or for his? A guilty conscience is a powerful thing. Hell, a conscience itself is a powerful thing! The family owned Ben nothing. Absolutely nothing. Did he owe them anything? In my opinion, yes. He owed them to stay away.

Alice’s reaction to the entire thing totally confused me, like she even admitted herself. She couldn’t quite understand why she wasnt being the grieving widow that people expected her to be. People deal with things in totally different ways. Plus, nobody else knew Adam like she did. I mean, the psychological elements to this book really did make me think, especially as, like most things, we wont ever find out the answer as to why Adam made the decision he made that morning.

I was so impressed at this debut novel. It read like the author had been writing for many years and that this was a book in a long list of publications. So yeah, I’m a bit shocked at it being a debut because of the strength behind the characterisation and compelling storyline. Also, the fact that this book had a character which got my back up was another thumbs up!

It’s safe to say that Robin Morgan-Bentley’s novel wasnt a wreckage in the slightest! If this is what the author can achieve with his debut, I cannot WAIT to see what he writes next!

Intriguing, compelling, enlightening, and very clever – will you want to be in #TheWreckage?

Buy now.

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

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

Welcome to the café that never sleeps.

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy now.

One mother? Two mothers? Try FIVE! @SarahJNaughton #TheMothers @Tr4cyf3nt0n @OrionBooks

Thank you Tracy for alerting me to the fact that this doesnt post yesterday, so sorry!

I am delighted to be on the blog tour for ‘The Mothers’ by Sarah J Naughton today, many thanks to the publisher and Tracy Fenton for the tour invite and ARC.

Five Women.

They meet at their NCT Group. The only thing they have in common is they’re all pregnant.

Five Secrets.

Three years later, they are all good friends. Aren’t they?

One Missing Husband.

Now the police have come knocking. Someone knows something.

And the trouble with secrets is that someone always tells.

What does TWG think?

If you’re after a unique, highly strung thriller, then look no further!!

Five women, all with five very different lives…apart from the fact that they are all linked by being mothers. Each woman has a personality that will make you sit up and take notice, even if they are quite reserved like Bella is. Now, despite the topic of motherhood being the centre of attention in this book, there is the small issue of a missing husband….and now the police are involved.

I wasnt taken with the story at all at first – I found it a bit ‘err what?!’, and it took me a little while to truly sink my teeth into what was happening, and what was potentially about to happen.

Nonetheless, it didn’t take me too long for my original opinion to completely blow itself out of the water! My ‘err what?’ became a ‘what’s gonna happen now?!?!?!’, and I had become so invested in the drama of the ladies lives, as well as finding out the truth behind the disappearance of Bella’s husband.

To say I was completely shocked by the truth itself would be a lie, however I was very shocked by its delivery, so the fact I had had an inkling as to what happened prior before the author told us, was neither here nor there and I loved the way the entire storyline came to its natural conclusion. In other words, my brain didn’t ruin it for me in the slightest!

I loved the uniqueness of the storyline and the portrayal of each individual character in the book. I thought the back story for each person was very well thought out and highlighted several topics many readers may be able to relate to in one way or another. Okay my opinion was iffy at first, however I am delighted to say that I ended the book in awe of the writing and the attention to detail from the author.

An addictive, eyebrow, insightful and thrilling read – bloody loved it.

Buy now

Is #TheSilentPatient really as silent as they say? @AlexMichaelides @MidasPr @OrionBooks

Huge thanks to Midas for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Silent Patient’ by Alex Michaelides, and for the ARC. I am delighted to be kicking off the tour with a review:

ALICIA

Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.

Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.

THEO

Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.

And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

What does TWG think?

How do you even review a book like this?! The title of this book really hits the nail on the head as it’s pretty much about a patient who is silent. The thing with that though, is that the patient hasn’t always been a patient, nor have they always been silent.

At the beginning of the story, the readers are introduced to Alicia indirectly, by psychotherapist, Theo, whilst also being introduced to him via the man himself.

Psychology is at the heart of this novel, and I thought that it was written brilliantly via different points of view. Alicia is in the spotlight due to the death of her husband, and Theo is in the spotlight due to being the new guy in his place of work, yet somehow their paths meet and fireworks fly.

Before I read ‘The Silent Patient’ I had heard so much about it on social media. I didn’t want to invest too much into what people were saying about it, yet I had everything crossed that I was going to like it. And did I?

Yes, i really did! I wouldn’t say that i was bowled over by it the whole way through, but i certainly enjoyed a good majority of it! The uniqueness of the storyline really grabbed my interest, and the fact that it was full of psychology was even better. Delving into the mindsets of people really intrigues me, so it’s safe to say that I was in my element!

I can see why a lot of people have been raving about this book because it is, without a doubt, a very cleverly crafted novel. I am so impressed by the complexity of each main characters journeys, and the way the author delivered their flaws alongside the positives really made the characters very relatable. Even though Alicia was the one under the spotlight, I found it quite difficult not to feel some level of empathy towards her and the circumstances she found herself in.

I never would have thought a character being silent would be so intense, yet here we are! A brilliantly thought out, unique, intense, and gripping novel. More please!

Buy now.

#WhatSheSawLastNight….what DID she see last night?! @OrionBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n @MasonCrossBooks

Still plagued by frequent migraines due to my chronic illnesses, so please do bear with me!

Many thanks to Orion and Tracy for the blog tour invite and ARC, I am delighted to be on the blog tour today for Mason Cross.

A secret that could kill her.

A truth no one believes…

Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night.

In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.

Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin … but there’s no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.

The police don’t believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl.

But deep down, she knows that isn’t the truth.

What does TWG think?

I don’t really know what to make of this!!! All I know for certain is that I don’t really want to go on the Caledonian Sleeper anytime soon….!

Jenny had everything crossed that her journey on the sleeper was going to be an uneventful. However, it ended up proving to be the complete opposite and now theres a mystery to solve when a woman ends up dead.

How, what, when, why?!

This book made me think ‘erm, what?!’ more than once! The whole dead woman, mysterious child thing just came out of nowhere and blindsided me a little! I mean, the CCTV showed that the woman boarded the sleeper alone, so where on Earth was the child Jenny allegedly saw?

The suspense level in this book is second to none. Mason Cross is brilliant at keeping his readers on their toes – I was really impressed by the whole vibe of the story!

Jenny, for me, was such a questionable character. Her personality was far from likeable, and she annoyed me more times than she didn’t. However in a weird way, her ice cold vibe worked with the overall consensus of the storyline so, it just goes to show that main characters dont have to be 100% likeable for the storyline to work.

Despite adoring the suspense and the darkness of the storyline, I still found myself a little on the fence because there were times where I felt that the storyline overstretched the believable factor. Now I know that in fiction you can write whatever you choose, and extend the truth as far as you feel you’re able to, yet for me, I still need to believe some aspects of the book. Either that, or I need to be put into a false sense of security and feel like I believe.

Overall, on the fence I sit, however I do think that Mason Cross is brilliant at his craft, and I would be genuinely surprised if ‘dark master’ wasnt his middle name! A real dark, chilling and mysterious read.

Buy now.

Did anyone else hear #TheSoundOfHerVoice, or was I just hearing things? @OrionBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n @Nathan_B_Author

Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invite, and Orion for the ARC. Here is my review of ‘The Sound of Her Voice’ by Nathan Blackwell.

Some murder cases you can’t forget. No matter how hard you try.

The body of a woman has been found on a pristine New Zealand beach – over a decade after she was murdered.

Detective Matt Buchanan of the Auckland Police is certain it carries all the hallmarks of an unsolved crime he investigated 12 years ago: when Samantha Coates walked out one day and never came home.

Re-opening the case, Buchanan begins to piece the terrible crimes together, setting into motion a chain of events that will force him to the darkest corners of society – and back into his deepest obsession . . .

What does TWG think?

Theres nothing like a gutsy police procedural to keep you on your toes when it gets dark at tea time!

A cold case is the heart of this storyline…quite ironic when you think about it as the book is set in New Zealand!

After a body is washed up on a local beach, similarities to a previous case put Detective Matt Buchanan in the top spot to re open a cold case, and investigate why the body appeared on the beach, and whether it was in fact related to said case.

With not much to go on at first, the storyline was a slow burner. Naturally! The more Buchanan delved into the investigations, the more the suspense ramped up and the more I became hooked.

It isnt often that I get to read books set in New Zealand, so ‘The Sound of Her Voice’ made a nice change.

I really enjoyed this one! I’m finding my review tough to write as I dont want to give anything away! The story is quite complex and nearly every situation has a way of linking back to the others, so too much information from me could drop a spoiler!

I was really impressed by what I read, and the elements of surprise and tension were absolutely bang on. I’m intrigued to see what else this author can do!

Buy now.