#BlogTour! #Review – Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys (@MsTamarCohen) @PenguinRHUK

Dangerous Crossing Blog Tour Poster
Huge thanks to Anne Cater and Penguin Books for inviting me to be involved with the paperback blog tour for ‘Dangerous Crossing’ by Rachel Rhys! I’m thrilled to be sharing my review with you all today:

Dangerous Crossing Cover
*NOW A RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK 2017* ‘The pages turn themselves!’

Shortlisted for the HWA Gold Crown 2017

A stunning, atmospheric novel in the great tradition of Death on the Nile and Patricia Highsmith, which tells of a young girl’s terrifying journey trapped on a cruise liner to Australia at the brink of the Second World War.

England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, poisonous secrets begin to surface. Suddenly Lily finds herself trapped with nowhere to go …

Australia, six-weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and a beautiful young woman is escorted onto dry land in handcuffs.

What has she done?

What does TWG think?

As a HUGE fan of historical fiction novels, ‘Dangerous Crossing’ had been on my radar for a while –  I was SO glad that being involved in the blog tour would give me the well needed kick up the youknowwhat to finally get it read. It worked, obviously.

Set in 1939 around the time of the Second World War, ‘Dangerous Crossing’ is an intense novel about one woman’s journey to a fresh start. However, due to the Second World War making itself known anytime soon, ‘fresh start’ couldn’t be further from the truth if it tried.

The storyline captured my attention almost straight away as I felt like I was being summoned into an unknown realm. To be honest the main character, Lily, came across as if she didn’t have a clue either. I felt as though the storyline was keeping its cards close to its chest for multiple chapters which meant that the storyline just oozed complexity. The author was determined to set the scene which, as we all know, is not a bad thing, but due to the high levels of information given in such a short space of time, I did feel a little bit overwhelmed by it all. I really do enjoy savouring novels, especially when the storyline has an air of mystery to it like ‘Dangerous Crossing’ does, and I truly feel that this novel needs to have the readers full attention from the first page until the last. I wouldn’t advise beginning this book in-between feeding time at the zoo, purely because every single detail needs to be digested at the time just so you can fully appreciate the authors work and the atmospheric storyline.

What I loved most about this novel was how the entire storyline was built on secrets. Every character seemed to have a secret. Every scenario within the storyline seemed to be reliant on a secret. Even though I knew fine well that I should have been savouring ‘Dangerous Crossing’ so that I could stop feeling so overwhelmed, I ended up turning the pages at record speed, JUST so I could find out what the secrets were, why there was a woman taken away in handcuffs and so forth. As stupid as this sounds, I didn’t know who to trust, but I was determined as hell to get to the bottom of the goings on, regardless of how confused I became.

Overall, ‘Dangerous Crossing’ is such a fascinating and mysterious read which kept me guessing until the very end. Full of rollercoaster moments, more secrets than an episode of Jeremy Kyle, and the feeling of actually being in 1939; ‘Dangerous Crossing’ is guaranteed to keep your attention peaked in one way or another. Whilst I did find the sheer force of information a bit confusing at times, nothing can fault Rachel Rhys on writing such an intense and magnetic storyline.

Huge thanks to the author, Penguin Books & Anne Cater.

Buy now from Amazon UK

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#BlogTour! #Review #TheNewMrsClifton by @elizabethbuchan @PenguinUKBooks

mrsclifton
Wrapped in the roots of the sycamore was a skeleton; the remains of a woman, between twenty-five and thirty. She had carried a child . . .’

At the close of the Second World War, Intelligence Officer Gus Clifton returns to London. On his arm is Krista, the German wife he married secretly in Berlin. For his sisters, this broken woman is nothing more than the enemy. For Nella, Gus’s loyal fiancée, it is a terrible betrayal. These three friends wonder what hold Krista has over decent, honourable Gus. And, they ask themselves, how far will they have to go to permanently get her out of their home, their future, their England?

What does TWG think?

Seeing as ‘historical fiction’ is one of my all-time favourite genres, I was super excited to have the opportunity to read ‘The New Mrs Clifton’ by Elizabeth Buchan. Despite having not read any of Elizabeth Buchan’s previous novels, I still was rather eager to get stuck into a book which has been all over social media in recent weeks. What was all the fuss? Why was everyone talking about #TheNewMrsClifton?

I need to be brutally honest; at first I couldn’t work out what all the fuss was about. The storyline didn’t grab me straight away, nor did it ignite any fire in my belly. Usually when that happens with any other book, I make the decision to stop reading and pick up my next book. However with #TheNewMrsClifton, my gut instinct was telling me not to stop reading, to carry on and give the book chance. So I listened.

Set during the aftermath of World War II when emotions are rife, lives have changed and the people of London (and all over the world) are dealing with the catastrophic circumstances surrounding the war. Gus Clifton returned to London with a new wife on his arm, despite having a fiancée at home. As far as his family are concerned, Gus has committed the ultimate betrayal. As far as Gus and his new wife are concerned, Gus has only done what he had to do. But, did he really have to do it?

As I’ve already mentioned above, my first impressions of Elizabeth Buchan’s novel weren’t ideal and, because of that, I knew that I needed to read the rest of the novel with an open mind, and a lot of patience.

Did it pay off? Yes, it did.

The further into the book I read, the more invested in Gus Clifton’s life and the repercussions of his actions, especially as the three main women of the story (Krista, Julia and Tilly) emotions were severely realistic and often emotional. I was intrigued by the devastation that the Second World War had left and how people managed to pick up the pieces of their now broken life. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly wasn’t as easy as picking up and brush and sweeping up the dust and grime. No. People had lost family members and were grieving for those they knew had died in the war. People were also grieving for loved ones who were deemed MIA, uncertain as to whether their paths would cross again. Can you imagine living through that? Living through the cultural divides, the strict opinions of other country’s leaders.

For me, the realistic portrayal of London post-war was heart-breaking yet beautifully written. Even though the author was well aware that the topic would be extremely emotional and devastating to write about, she still wrote about it without fluffing it up and making it look a lot better than it was. The author wrote in characters who made it clear where bombs hit London as though it was the same as talking about the postman these days. It’s writing styles like that which, in my opinion, make historical fiction authors worth their weight in gold.

Even though I did end up thoroughly enjoying #TheNewMrsClifton, there were certain parts which didn’t really do it for me in terms of the storyline and certain viewpoints. However, Elizabeth Buchan has told the story of World War II in such a way, my whole body was covered in goosebumps. As far as I am concerned, the parts of the novel which didn’t work for me personally, aren’t worth thinking about if the author can make me come out in goosebumps and fill my eyes with tears, based on her historical story telling alone. Personally, the more historically aimed parts of the book were my absolute favourite and she wrote them in a way which will forever be imprinted in my mind.

Heart-breaking, eye-opening, and historically divulging, #TheNewMrsClifton really is worth taking the time to read, digest, enjoy and remember. Just like the victims of Second World War.

Thanks Elizabeth Buchan.

Buy now from Amazon UK

mrs clifton

#Review – Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell (@LisaJewelluk) @randomhouse

lisajewell
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl.
She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet.

But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year-old daughter.

Because his daughter is the image of Ellie.

Now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?

What does TWG think?

As a huge fan of Lisa Jewell’s previous novels, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her latest book, Then She Was Gone! I was eager to find out whether the authors new book ended up being as fantastic as her previous work. Only time would tell!

Ellie disappeared. Vanished into thin air. Where did she go? Nobody knows. Her mother, Laurel, forever in a state of devastation. Can Laurel’s marriage survive such heartache?

Ten years after Ellie’s disappearance, Laurel is still none the wiser as to where her daughter disappeared to. No longer married to Ellie’s dad, Laurel finds herself trying to repair the relationships with her two remaining children; whilst also having the past come back to haunt her thanks to a random man entering her life.

I’ve been mulling over this book for a long time now, trying to make sense of what I read and how I absorbed it. At first, my gut instinct of ‘Then She Was Gone’ was ‘what the hell?’. I struggled with it. However, after putting the book down for several hours, I picked it back up again with more of an open mind. I guess part of me was expecting Lisa Jewell’s novel to follow in the same vein as her previous work, so when this book ended up taking a different route, it came out of nowhere and took me aback.

Having a several hour break from the novel was the best move I made because I became more focused on the actual storyline, instead of everything else. Don’t get me wrong, I still found parts of the storyline a bit confusing and not as straightforward as I would have hoped but, regardless of that, I still found myself oddly addicted to the book, refusing to put it down to do adult things. I was engrossed in Laurel’s situation, as well as the ulterior motive of the man who suddenly came into her life ticking all the ‘right’ boxes. Throughout the storyline I knew I was missing a vital piece of information, I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was, which began to bug me haha. I kept shouting at the book ‘WHAT DOES FLOYD KNOW?’ ‘WHY IS HE THERE?’ ‘WHY NOW?!’. I just had to know!

Personally, I didn’t think that ‘Then She Was Gone’ was one of Lisa Jewell’s better novels, however, I love how the author is trying her hand at more of a darker type storyline. I was addicted to the storyline for sure. I was addicted to reading about the characters. I was addicted to finding that missing jigsaw piece to make the storyline complete. There was just something about Lisa Jewell’s novel that grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. Granted I didn’t manage to follow the entire storyline due to a lot of confusion, but that didn’t seem to stop my mind from wanting to complete the novel. I have to say, I found the tying of loose ends to be exactly that; loose, and I finished the novel with a lot of questions.

Overall, I was genuinely hooked on this book with its dark and deceitful tendencies, as well as its rather questionable characters and twisted components. Lisa Jewell is an excellent author who certainly knows her craft, and she definitely manages to showcase her talent in ‘Then She Was Gone’.

Roll on the next book!!

Thanks Netgalley.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Review – #DareToDream by Izzy Judd (@Mrs_izzyjudd) @Transworldbooks #letstalkfertility

izzy judd

Izzy Judd shares the story of her and her husband Harry’s fertility journey in this honest and heartfelt memoir.

‘All I ever wanted was to be a mum – I couldn’t wait and it felt as though my time was so close. But the months started to tick by, with each one ending in disappointment and frustration. And then the inevitable panic started to set in …’

Having been told by doctors that, due to Izzy’s polycystic ovarian syndrome, they would have difficulty conceiving – and after two years of trying – Izzy and Harry turned to IVF.

Izzy’s aim, drawing on her own experience, is to break through some of the taboos surrounding miscarriage, IVF and fertility issues. This brutally honest and deeply personal account will acknowledge the struggles that so many couples go through but will ultimately focus on the positive, life-changing and remarkable results that IVF can yield. One in seven couples in the UK have difficulty conceiving and although many babies are now born through IVF, there is still a sense of awkwardness around the subject.

Izzy hopes that this book will be a companion to those going through similar challenges to those she has experienced. As she herself says, ‘No couple should have to go through it alone and in silence.’

What does TWG think?

When it comes to books written about a real life person and their ACTUAL life, how on Earth do we begin to review the book? In other book reviews we may discuss the pace of the book, or how it was written…things like that. But let’s be honest, it would take someone with the character of a female dog to start reviewing this book in terms of ‘storyline’, ‘plot’, and how ‘believable’ the entire book was. So, whilst I am still calling this post a review, I sure as hell won’t be pulling apart anything except the thoughts from my mind. After all, who are we to judge someone else lifestyle and the harrowing situations which they had to face?

As most people are aware, Izzy Judd is in the public eye (just like her husband Mcfly drummer – Harry Judd). Because of that, certain parts of their lifestyle will make the media before they have had time to finish their morning cuppa, or, in Izzy’s case, write a book about it. We all know that the media can stretch things. We all know that the media can put two and two together to make five. However, the media is was brought Izzy’s journey to light in passing and luckily, all of us would have the chance of reading her story in her very own words thanks to this book.

Why did I choose to read ‘Dare to Dream’? Well, as a huge fan of Mcfly and Escala (Izzy’s old group), I wanted to know more about their real lives away from the spotlight. Plus, seeing as ‘Dare to Dream’ is about such a personal and sensitive topic, I knew that whilst Izzy’s journey was a different one, I knew that I would be able to relate with the overall topic of fertility itself. Back in 2011 I was diagnosed with a chronic illness which ended up making me think that I would never be able to have children or, if I did fall pregnant, I knew that the risks of miscarriage and such, were all extremely high. I may not have had IVF, but I have fertility struggles. For me, ‘Dare to Dream’ became the voice of unborn babies and ready wombs everywhere.

Naively, I always thought that IVF worked every time, literally being a case of doctors putting the fertilised egg back in the womb and away you go. Oh my goodness I couldn’t have been more wrong! Based on Izzy’s own personal experience, getting her body emotionally and physically ready for IVF seemed to be an extremely challenging experience, and that was before the IVF even started! Not only were the Judd’s dealing with a lot of negative emotions due to conceiving not happening naturally as it were, they found themselves (Izzy more so) having to completely change their mindset when it came to pregnancy. Having dealt with multiple blows, I am in awe at how Izzy turned her emotional wellbeing upside down, gave herself a little shake and climbed through the mud, despite not knowing what could be waiting for her on the other side. Whilst some people may say that if you truly want something you’ll walk to the end of the Earth to get it, I truly believe that it takes a certain amount of strength to keep going along a path when all you want to do is hide. Through the fear. Through the emotional turbulence. Through the hormonal and physical changes outwit your control. THAT takes, in my eyes, severe courage, strength, and power to be able to get you and your body through that. I am completely in awe at what I read –  I admire Izzy Judd so much after reading this.

Obviously, if you haven’t been through something yourself, or been indirectly involved with someone who has, understanding that situation can be quite difficult, if not impossible. How can you know how someone feels after having needles stuck into their stomachs? How can you understand someone’s pain that their body isn’t working how they thought it should? How can you begin to understand someone’s journey one hundred percent, if you’re not THEM? You…..can’t. Izzy made it perfectly clear on more than one occasion that, whilst multiple people go down the IVF route, her journey and everyone else’s journey are completely separate and personal to each person. That said, Izzy also included some rather lovely hints and tips should anyone feel that they wish to try something which they hadn’t thought of before, whilst embarking on their IVF journey.

What made me quite emotional (aside from Izzy and Harry’s journey), was how Izzy thought of other people whilst going through her own situations. It’s clear from the onset that Izzy wanted to write this book to bring awareness to fertility issues via her own story, however, I found my eyes leaking when I read how Izzy also wrote this book with other people in mind, whilst wanting to ensure that nobody ever felt alone whilst going through their fertility struggles.

I’ve said it before in this post, but I’ll say it again; Izzy Judd is such a remarkable woman with an extremely big heart. I loved how in ‘Dare to Dream’, we got to read Harry’s side of the story as well, especially as it’s clear that the women can only house the baby, their partners are involved in the emotional side from a soon-to-be father point of view, as well as a loving partner. Even though I am a single mum, it was refreshing to see the journey from both angles.

‘Dare to Dream’ hit home in many ways from the emotional struggles, to the fertility struggles, to the feelings of self-doubt and failure. ‘Dare to Dream’ made me feel as though there is hope. I was lucky enough to become a mum the one time, however my fertility issues still continue and my body (and future babies) are forever at risk. Reading Izzy Judd’s honest and emotional story made me feel as though there was now a little angel sitting on my shoulder, ready to be the voice of hope, love, positivity and friendship. Honestly? I wish I had a friend in my life like Izzy Judd, I’m not going to lie.

A beautifully written, heartbreakingly poignant story about love, life, loss, but most importantly – faith.

‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain’ – my all time favourite quote.

‘Dare to Dream’ is available now from Amazon.

#BlogTour! #Review – I Know a Secret by @TessGerritsen @TransworldBooks @annecater

I Know a Secret - BT Banner One
I am delighted to be closing Tess Gerritsen’s blog tour with my review of her new book, ‘I Know a Secret’. Big thanks to Alison Barrow from Transworld Books for the ARC, and thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of the blog tour!

tessg
I have a secret.
And someone wants to make sure I never tell . . .

In a house decorated with horror movie posters, a young woman’s body is found. She lies on her bed, two bloodied objects clutched in her palm. Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are called to the murder scene, but even faced with this gruesome sight they are unable to identify the immediate cause of death.

Their investigation leads them to a high-profile murder case that was seemingly solved years before. But when another body is found in horrific circumstances, the link between the two victims is clear. Was the wrong person sent to prison? Is the real killer out there right now, picking off new targets?

One woman knows the killer is coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Rizzoli and Isles catch him.

But she has a secret that she has to keep . . .

What does TWG think?

Before I go any further, I need to admit something. I had never, ever read a Tess Gerritsen novel before I read this one. I know what you’re thinking, it’s shameful. I keep asking myself why I haven’t picked up one of her books before now, yet I still haven’t managed to come up with a decent answer. I have absolutely no idea why I haven’t.

Would I pick up another Tess Gerritsen novel in the future?

UHHHH HELL YAH!

What more can I say? As soon as I spotted the cover of ‘I Know a Secret’ on Twitter I just knew that I had to read it. I was intrigued. Severely intrigued. Did I start the book with any expectations? For once, no I didn’t because as Tess Gerritsen was a new author for me, I had no idea what her writing style would be like, or how she would manage to capture her reader’s attention. Before I began this book I had one hope – to enjoy it.

We have all had to keep a secret at some point in our lives, whether it was one of our own, or whether it was someone else’s secret. However, what we don’t stop to consider are the consequences keeping said secrets can uncover. Those secrets may rip people’s lives apart, create divorces, lose lives, lose trust, and may even save your own life. In ‘I Know a Secret’, author Tess Gerritsen uses secretive notions as the underlying content for her storyline (as well as crime obviously), where secrets are put into the spotlight and eyes are opened (or closed) when those secrets are on the path to be discovered.

A young woman is dead. The only message she can relay to Detective Jane Rizzoli, and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles, is via the two bloodied and shocking objects in her hands. Cause of death? Currently unknown, however with past investigations coming back under the spotlight, the cause of death will be found…eventually. Well, once the cause of death of the second victim has begun to be investigated. Secret? What secret?

Beads of sweat on forehead? Check.
Heart rate above normal? Check.
Dangling off the edge of the sofa without caring? Check.
Nausea? Check.
A sense of urgency in finishing the book? Double check.
Jumping out of your skin every time your hear a noise, even if it’s the dog snoring? Triple check.

FYI – I think I have fallen in love with forensic storylines. That sounds quite odd on the outside of my mind, but I’m sure you know what I mean! Anyway, what a heart-in-mouth book this was!! I have never read anything like it! The storyline was incredibly rocky with nothing 100% guaranteed. I stopped trying to guess the outcome and the routes the characters took – it was far simpler to sit back and enjoy (whilst being rather on edge) Tess Gerritsen’s novel.

I’m no expert on forensics or anything medical related, but the way the author wrote particular scenes involving such intricate levels of detail, completely blew me away. It was like I was hanging off of every word she wrote. So much so, I reckon the author could write anything and I would believe it. She has THAT kind of writing style. I’m not saying what she wrote wasn’t factually sound by the way, I’m just saying I would believe every single thing she wrote because she wrote it in such a cut throat kind of way – absolutely brilliant FYI.

To say I am impressed with Tess Gerritsen’s story telling would be a severe understatement. The author managed to pull me in and keep my attention for the entire duration of the novel, whilst peaking my excitement with every turn of the page.

Seeing is believing where ‘I Know a Secret’ is concerned, but I’ll tell you something – to miss out on such an intense, mind-blowing, highly eventful and brilliant written novel, would be an absolute travesty. Period.

Thank you TransworldBooks.

Buy now from Amazon UK

@LesleyPearse #25in25 #Tour! #Factoid from Lesley’s 17th book ‘Gypsy’ @ed_pr

Would like to start by saying a huge congratulations to, Lesley Pearse, on all of her literary success. 25 novels is an amazing achievement and I feel honoured to be bringing you a factoid from her 17th novel, Gypsy, as well as the details for her 25th novel, The Woman in the Wood.

17 Gypsy
Factoid
‘Gypsy’ – first published in 2008.

Gypsy : To write knowledgeably about the Klondike Gold Rush I had to go to Dawson City, a difficult journey involving planes, ferries, railways and a coach. If I’d missed one I would’ve been in trouble as they were few and far between.

Buy ‘Gypsy’ now from Amazon UK

witw
From global No.1 bestselling author,

Lesley Pearse, comes her 25th unforgettable story

The Woman in the Wood

Published by Michael Joseph on 29th June, price £18.99 in hardback

Praise for Lesley Pearse’s novels:
“Glorious, heart-warming” Woman & Home
“Quintessential Lesley Pearse that will delight her army of readers” Daily Mail “Full of love, passion and heartbreak” Best
“Another superb tale” The Sun
“Epic romantic drama…4 stars” Heat
“Evocative, compelling, told from the heart” Sunday Express

Lesley Pearse is a global No.1 bestseller with fans across the world and sales of over 10 million copies of her books to date. A true storyteller and master of the gripping storyline, Lesley introduces us to characters that are impossible not to care about or forget. There is no formula to her books or easily defined genre and, whether historical drama like the No.1 bestseller, Belle or the emotionally powerful Trust Me based on the true-life scandal of British child migrants sent to Australia in the post-war period, she engages the reader completely. The Woman in the Wood is Lesley’s 25th novel.

The Woman in the Wood:

Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan have always had each other. Until that fateful day in the wood…

1960: Maisy and Duncan Mitcham are woken one night to find their mother is being committed to an insane asylum. Soon after, their father packs them off to ‘Nightingales’, their grandmother’s country house in the New Forest. Cold and distant, she leaves them to their own devices to explore; a freedom they have never experienced before and which they love. That is, until the day Duncan doesn’t come home from the woods.

When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive and with Grandmother Mitcham showing little concern, it falls to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the woods. A woman called Grace Deville.

About Lesley Pearse:

Lesley Pearse was told as a child that she had too much imagination for her own good. When she grew up she worked her way through many jobs – from corsetry sales in Cooks of St. Pauls (featured in Dead to Me), to bunny girl to nanny; from gift shop owner to dressmaker – finally finding her true vocation when she became a published author age 49. Since then Lesley has become an internationally bestselling author, with over 10 million copies of her books sold worldwide.

A true storyteller and a master of gripping storylines, there is no set formula for a Lesley Pearse novel although strong heroines and difficult circumstances are pervasive. Whether historical adventures such as Gypsy or Never Look Back or the passionately emotive Trust Me, Lesley is inspired by stories of courage and adversity and often gives voice to women lost in history. She is passionate about her research and her stories have taken her far and wide; from Alaska to the Crimea. Lesley now lives just outside Torquay in Devon where she loves to spend time walking on the beach with her grandchildren and dogs.

A fantastic speaker and committed and passionate fundraiser for the NSPCC, Lesley is a much sought after guest at literary lunches, library events and festivals up and down the country. Lesley was also selected as the first Ambassador for National Libraries Day in 2014.

Novels by Lesley Pearse:

  1. Georgia
  2. Tara
  3. Charity
  4. Ellie
  5. Camellia
  6. Rosie
  7. Charlie
  8. Never Look Back
  9. Trust Me
  10. Father Unknown
  11. Till we Meet Again
  12. Remember Me
  13. Secrets
  14. A Lesser Evil
  15. Hope
  16. Faith
  17. Gypsy
  18. Stolen – A No.1 Bestseller
  19. Belle – A No.1 Bestseller
  20. The Promise – A No.2 Bestseller
  21. Forgive Me – No.1 Bestseller
  22. Survivor – No.1 Bestseller
  23. Without a Trace – No.1 Bestseller – over 200,000 copies sold to date.
  24. Dead to Me – published in paperback, 4th May 2017.
  25. THE WOMAN IN THE WOOD – LESLEY’S 25th BESTSELLER

    To buy Lesley’s new novel or any of her others, click here to go to her Amazon author page, where you can find all of her titles!

#TWGGetsTalking – How to tell the difference between being nasty & being constructive #reviews

Twg gets talking
You should all know by now that I like to talk, ESPECIALLY when I am passionate about something and believe that it needs to be spoken about.

Once again, opinions have been thrust into the limelight and definitions have been questioned. Before I explain further, I’m just going to paste the Oxford dictionary definitions of two words; nasty, and constructive.

Nasty: very bad, or unpleasant.
(definition of unpleasant is: Causing discomfort, unhappiness, or revulsion; disagreeable.)

Constructive: Having or intended to have a useful or beneficial purpose.

constructive

Two completely different word with extremely clear definitions, yet people are still getting confused by the two words.

Why?

As a reviewer, I have always been made aware that authors (or anyone who gets critiqued) tend to appreciate CONSTRUCTIVE reviews as opposed to NASTY reviews. With both types of reviews your opinion is given – that is NOT the issue. After all, every person on this Earth is entitled to their opinion. We are allowed to dislike something. We are allowed to express our dislike of something. We are allowed to jump for joy about something. What the issue is, however, is the WAY those points are put across.

Believe me, I open my trap before my brain connects sometimes, ending up with goodness knows what flying out of my mouth. But when it comes to reviews, I am extremely careful about how I voice my opinion.

For example; ‘Omg I hated that book, it was absolutely shit, the author bored me to tears.’

What’s wrong with that sentence?

Okay, so, the example above is someones opinion. They’re entitled to that. Answer me this; was it constructive, or nasty?

If you said that the example was a constructive comment: seriously? How does saying that a book was ‘shit’, come across as beneficial to the author?
It doesn’t.

It’s rude and it’s nasty. Imagine if you cooked a meal for a group of people and someone came up to you afterwards and said that they thought your cooking was absolutely vile, would you benefit from that?

To turn the above example into a constructive opinion, here’s an example:
‘Personally, this book wasn’t really my cup of tea as I couldn’t quite gel with the storyline. I felt that it came across as quite over the top and unrealistic, which in turn made me switch off.’

The different between the two examples is substantial. The example above still highlights your dislike, yet it also explains WHY you felt that way. It’s also not personally attacking the person who wrote the book, whilst still keeping your opinion entitlement intact.

Whilst authors are painfully aware that their books could end up with negative reviews and their book babies critiqued, it doesn’t mean that just because they have put something in the public eye, that they should expect nasty comments or personal attacks.

YES, they have written something which will get critiqued.
YES, everyones opinion does differ.
YES, readers are entitled to dislike their book.

Just DON’T be nasty about it!

In book clubs, you’re going to have the perfect opportunity to talk about various books whether it’s an online or offline. But, do you think that it’s respectful to openly blast and author and their book, in an online book club which they could be a member of?
Yes or no?

No it’s not!!! Go ahead and state your opinion about a book, but if you’re going to sit there and say that a book is so bad and how you wanted to ‘light a match under it’; that’s not stating your opinion, it’s called being nasty.

As we hear all the time, not everyone will like the same book. Well duh! I fully admit that I have read a book and disliked it. But instead of reviewing it nastily, I gave it a constructive review as there will always be something in a book that you’ll like. I explained what I didn’t like about the book, I also explained WHY I didn’t like those parts, how it made me feel, and so on. I also explained what I DID like about the book. I still managed to express my opinion on the book, without insulting a human being with feelings in the process.

So, if you’re ever in an online book group where the admin have asked you to talk about books in a constructive manner; respectfully do it. They aren’t taking away your freedom of speech. They aren’t banishing you from stating your opinion. They are just asking you to express your opinion respectfully and constructively. Authors have feelings too.

It really isn’t that difficult to do..

#BlogTour! #Review #TheThingsWeThoughtWeKnew by @mahsudasnaith @TransworldBooks @Thomassshill

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Day nine of #TheThingsWeThoughtWeKnew blog tour, courtesy of Thomas Hill @ Transworld Books, is with me; TWG! It is such an honour to be able to share my review of such an eye-opening novel. Big thanks to Thomas Hill for asking me to be part of Mahsuda Snaith’s blog tour.

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Ravine and Marianne were best friends. They practised handstands together, raced slugs and went into the woods to play.

But now everything has changed.

Ten years later, Ravine lies in a bed plagued by chronic pain syndrome. And her best friend Marianne is gone.

How did their last adventure go so wrong? Who is to blame? And where is Marianne?

Heartbreaking, bittersweet and utterly unforgettable, The Things We Thought We Knew is a powerful novel about the things we remember and the things we wish we could forget.

What does TWG think?

This review may be brief as there isn’t a lot that I can say without giving anything away, but I will do my best.

The Things We Thought We Knew is centred around Ravine and her chronic pain syndrome, as well as a memory she just cannot forget. There seem to be a limited amount of books which cover chronic, invisible illnesses within their storyline. So, when I realised that Mahsuda Snaith had included just that, I actually became a little emotional.

Why?

Because it’s a subject which is severely misunderstood, yet a lot of people like to assume and judge. I have seven chronic illnesses and one of my branch off symptoms includes this, chronic pain syndrome. To see your daily battle (well, one of) written in black and white was incredibly surreal. ‘At last!’ I thought to myself, maybe people would stop the judgemental comments. Not only was it surreal, it was quite difficult to actually read. I mean, I was sitting there reading this book, reading about a topic I know all too well, thinking to myself ‘that.is.like.me’. That was quite hard. Whilst I applaud the author for approaching such a controversial subject and putting it out there, I found the latter part of Ravine’s syndrome to be a bit ‘that’s why we are judged’. I do apologise for being vague, but I really don’t want to give anything away. Let’s just say that a certain part of Ravine’s story ended up being a tad unbelievable in my eyes, unfortunately.

However, when the storyline took another direction involving Ravine’s best friend, as well as other complex characters, the book felt a bit like Pandora’s box! I wanted to know more yet I was unsure on what I might discover, yet I couldn’t resist delving deeper into the storyline. A Pandora’s box ft. a treasure chest style story. That is the only way that I can describe it without going ‘well what about the part when…’!

Mahsuda Snaith really has written such an eye-opening and emotional read. The Things We Thought We Knew is a book which requires attention, devotion, and an open mind. A book which you may relate to. A book which may leave you with a hand print over your mouth. A book that, despite some challenging circumstances, it would be incredibly difficult to put down and leave unfinished.

I want to thank the author for including the chronic pain syndrome in her storyline, and for being the voice of many.

Thanks Thomas Hill & Transworld Books.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Review! Then. Now. Always by Isabelle Broom (@Isabelle_Broom) @MichaelJBooks

Isabelle Broom

Twenty-eight year old Hannah is ready for an adventure. She and her colleagues are in Spain for a month to film a documentary, and it’s a dream come true. Not least because Hannah will get to spend long summer days with Theo, her boss (and gorgeous crush). It couldn’t be a more perfect setting to fall in love…

If only Tom (Hannah’s best friend and cameramen) and Claudette (the presenter) would stop getting in the way…

Then things become even more complicated when Nancy, Hannah’s half-sister arrives. What on earth is she doing here?

For just once in her life, can’t Hannah have one perfect summer, free of any drama?

What does TWG think?

I need to start this review with a little apology! I was lucky enough to receive Isabelle Broom’s new book ahead of publication date, (I did read it then too) so I am ever so sorry that I am just getting round to reviewing the book on my blog now!

Having devoured and absolutely ADORED Isabelle Broom’s previous novel, ‘A Year and a Day’, my excitement for her latest book reached its maximum level ten times over. Yes, I was THAT excited. There is just something so majestic about picking up an Isabelle Broom novel, allowing yourself to surrender to the beautiful words which have the depth, and power to be able to take you on a journey where the only guarantee is its beauty.

In the little Spanish village of Mojocar, Hannah and her colleagues are busy filming a documentary. Well, unless Hannah’s definition of ‘filming’ equals ‘oggling’ the boss, then yes, she is oh so busy filming! It was made clear from the onset that Hannah had a special connection to Mojocar; to be able to re-visit village years later, brought a lot of memories to the surface. Luckily for Hannah, she was able to use her work trip to her advantage and delve deeper into Mojocar’s heritage, finding out exactly why her connection with the village ran as deep as it did.

It took me a little while to be able to really gel with this storyline, as I struggled to find that vital piece of information to sink my teeth into. The ‘connection’ if you will. At times there seemed to be a lot of information gathering, scenery descriptions, character discussions, and a lot of me wondering where all of the above was heading. To be honest, the description of Mojocar was what kept my attention for the first part of the book. I am ashamed to admit that I never even knew that village existed; I thoroughly enjoyed being able to find out more about such a beautiful sounding village.

When Hannah’s half-sister, Nancy, appeared on the scene, that was when the storyline changed direction. I remember rubbing my hands together thinking, ‘drama, drama, drama’!! Up until then, the only side of the story I had heard was Hannah’s. Let’s just say that her opinions of her half-sister were not exactly glowing! Seriously, I thought that I was going to be introduced to a demon (slightly over dramatic, but y’know, my point is there!). As more of the storyline began to unfold, I got to know more about Nancy; I didn’t think that she was as bad as Hannah had made out. However, certain situations began to unravel and Hannah & Nancy’s relationship became more black and white, as opposed to rainbow.

Overall, ‘Then. Now. Always.’ is such a carefree, beautiful, and unique tale which highlights the importance of being true to yourself. I loved ‘watching’ Hannah’s personality evolve throughout the course of the book; it was incredible to see her start off as a duckling and grow into a beautiful swan. Yes, there were times where I couldn’t relate to the book as much as I would have liked to, but it didn’t ruin the storyline for me. Isabelle Broom’s stories and her outstanding descriptions of different countries, has turned her into my unofficial tour guide. I have never been abroad before, yet after reading this novel (as well as her others), I felt as though I had travelled to Spain and seen the sights for myself. Honestly. Every rock face, every lingering smell of the Spanish food and the surroundings, just every little detail of the country and the characters were described absolutely beautifully. I am still in awe at how one author can make her words jump off the page and turn into an image in my mind.

Another beautiful, and mesmerising read from the incredibly talented, Isabelle Broom.

Thank you Michael Joseph Books/Penguin.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review of #TheRestlessDead by Simon Beckett (@BeckettSimon) @TransworldBooks

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‘Composed of over sixty per cent water itself, a human body isn’t naturally buoyant. It will float only for as long as there is air in its lungs, before gradually sinking to the bottom as the air seeps out. If the water is very cold or deep, it will remain there, undergoing a slow, dark dissolution that can take years. But if the water is warm enough for bacteria to feed and multiply, then it will continue to decompose. Gases will build up in the intestines, increasing the body’s buoyancy until it floats again.
And the dead will literally rise . . . ‘

Once one of the country’s most respected forensics experts, Dr David Hunter is facing an uncertain professional – and personal – future. So when he gets a call from Essex police, he’s eager for the chance to assist them.

A badly decomposed body has been found in a desolate area of tidal mudflats and saltmarsh called the Backwaters. Under pressure to close the case, the police want Hunter to help with the recovery and identification.

It’s thought the remains are those of Leo Villiers, the son of a prominent businessman who vanished weeks ago. To complicate matters, it was rumoured that Villiers was having an affair with a local woman. And she too is missing.

But Hunter has his doubts about the identity. He knows the condition of the unrecognizable body could hide a multitude of sins. Then more remains are discovered – and these remote wetlands begin to give up their secrets . . .

With its eerie, claustrophobic sense of place, viscerally authentic detail and explosive heart-in-mouth moments, The Restless Dead offers a masterclass in crime fiction and marks the stunning return of one of the genre’s best.

What does TWG think?

 Several years ago if someone had told me that I would be on the blog tour for a chilling novel in the future, such as this one, I would have laughed in their face and gone back to reading my Nicholas Sparks** novel. However, I am on the blog tour for a chilling novel…today as it is my stop on Simon Beckett’s blog tour for ‘The Restless Dead’! I hope you enjoy reading my review!
(**Note: I still LOVE Nicholas Sparks’ novels but I don’t keep myself chained to the one genre anymore 😉 ).

I am renaming April as ‘TWG’s Out of Comfort Zone Month’ as I seem to be reviewing books I’d never look twice at years ago! I am probably going to sound weird here but seeing as I’m amongst friends I need to say this; the title of Simon Beckett’s book was what made me jump at the chance of reviewing it. How crazy is that? The title may be ‘The Restless Dead’ but I was ‘The Restless TWG’ whilst I was reading it!

Simon Beckett is a brand new author for me, and whilst his new book is part of a series, I was actually okay reading it as a standalone novel. I didn’t get too confused as, funnily enough, my attention was elsewhere!

Dr.David Hunter has been asked to assist with a case in Essex, a chance he literally jumps at seeing as his professional life seems to be hanging by a thread. Although, if he doesn’t respond how a local businessman wishes him to, Dr.Hunter’s personal life could be hanging by a thread too.

Not only is there decomposed body to try to wrap your head around (not literally!), there is also the surroundings of which the body was found. To put it bluntly it scared the hob off my hobnob biscuit. Beckett has created this eerie and chilling backdrop for the dead bodies and putting both of those together in such vivid detail, was enough to make me not read this novel at night! And that wasn’t my lot either! Reading #TheRestlessDead was like being on a constant rollercoaster, there were so many twists to every situation that I had no idea whether I was coming or going (not a bad thing). Alongside that there seemed to be a multitude of red herring moments put in for good measure. Well, I assume they were! Either that or my detective skills are much worse than I originally thought!

Not only does Hunter have a decomposed body to contend with, he also has to get to the bottom of another missing person investigation and try to piece together each individual puzzle. Ahhh it sounds rather simple when you put it like that, doesn’t it? Er no, Hunter quite clearly had his work cut out for him!

Even though my body was covered in goosebumps and I kept jumping off of my sofa in fright, like a trampoline, at the slightest noise my house made whilst reading the book, as weird as this sounds I felt like I actually learnt something too. Before now I hadn’t really paid too much attention to the steps in which a body decomposes, neither did I have any clue about the stages involving the lungs and bacteria, yet the way Beckett had written those developments into the storyline made me come away with some rather valuable knowledge. Don’t get me wrong it’s not the sort of subject I’ll be bringing up at Christmas dinner this year, but it will certainly help me understand more details for Beckett’s upcoming novels.

Yes, you saw that right. Whilst crime scene investigations and dead bodies aren’t my usual go to novels, I found Beckett’s vivid imagery of both setting and investigations to be a work of art. If a storyline can make me become a nervous wreck then I most definitely will not sniff at that at all.

Simon Beckett most certainly knows his stuff and Dr.David Hunter is such an intriguing fellow; I have a feeling I won’t be ‘seeing’ the last of Simon Beckett on my bookshelf.

A suspenseful, spine tingling, roller coaster ride of a novel which will keep you on your toes the whole way through.

Thanks Transworld Books/Bantam Press.

Buy #TheRestlessDead now from Amazon UK

Feeling a bit restless? There are a few upcoming tour stops to have a nose at, so make sure you follow the rest of the tour. Details are below:

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