Book reviews, Family drama, Psychlogical thriller

Mine by Clare Empson – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

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…

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MY REVIEW 

This is a psychological thriller with an emotional edge.

Luke had been adopted when very young and he now has a family of his own. He has a young son, Samuel with his partner Hannah.

He is newly reunited with his birth mother, Alice who helps take care of Samuel so Hannah can go back to work.

Told in two distinct times lines, Alice’s from the past and Luke’s in the present and set in the world of art and music.

Without spoiling the plot, this is a beautifully written story with a slowly building tension, a family drama with a twist that’s gripping as you watch someone fall apart.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

Book reviews, Family drama, Thriller

Second Sister by Chan Ho-Kei – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Upon discovering her fifteen-year-old sister’s body sprawled in a pool of blood at the bottom of their apartment block, Nga-Yee vows to serve justice to the internet troll she blames for her sister’s suicide.

Hiring an anti-establishment, maverick tech-savvy detective, Nga-Yee discovers the dark side of social media, the smokescreen of online privacy and the inner workings of the hacker’s mind.

Determined to find out the truth about why her sister Siu-Man killed herself, Nga-Yee cannot rest until she finds out whose inflammatory social media post went viral and pushed her sister to her death. Along the way, Nga-Yee makes unsavoury discoveries about her sister’s life and the dark underbelly of the digital world.

Perfect for fans of hacker thrillers such as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Second Sister is part detective novel, part revenge thriller. It explores timely themes of sexual harassment, online trolling, victim blaming, fake news and data privacy scandals, vividly capturing the zeitgeist of Hong Kong and the world today.

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MY REVIEW 

Nga-Yee’s younger sister, Siu-Man jumped from an apartment window, she could no longer cope with life after attack by internet trolls.

She had been assaulted on a train and the accused man was caught, convicted and imprisoned. Then his nephew posts online that it was all a lie, Siu-Man had made false allegations after a row with him earlier that day.

She was constantly bullied online.

Nga-Yee wants revenge, she wants someone to suffer like her sister. So she makes contact with N, a hacker and a plan is formed. But how far do you go before you become the person you despised ?

“This was merely fighting evil with evil, turning them all into feral animals”

This is a stunning tale of sexual harassment and exploitation, of heartbreak and revenge.  It’s timely and very apt in these days of social media and how some people feel the need to constantly belittle and bully others in anonymity. But at what cost to those affected?..Tragedy is never far away.

Beautifully written with a clever plot, insights into the world of technology and hacking, but also a tale of loss and grief and how it affects us all. A fantastic and compelling read. 

Thank you to Bei Guo at Midas Public Relations for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and for a free copy of Second Sister. This is my honest and unbiased review. 

 

 

About the Author

 

Chan was born and raised in Hong Kong. He has worked as a software engineer, game designer, manga editor, and lecturer. Chan wrote made his debut as a writer in 2008 at the age of thirty-three, with the short story The Case of Jack and the Beanstalk which was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of Taiwan Award. Chan re-entered the following year and won the award for his short story The Locked Room of Bluebeard.

Chan reached the first milestone of his writing career in 2011 with his novel, The Man who Sold the World which won the biggest mystery award in the Chinese speaking world, the Soji Shimada Award. The book has been published in Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Thailand and Korea.

In 2014, Chan’s crime thriller The Borrowed was published in Taiwan. It has sold rights in thirteen countries, and the book will be adapted into a film by acclaimed Chinese art film director Wong Kar-Wai.

Second Sister has acquired a six-figure film deal with Linmon Pictures in China. The book will be published in the US in 2020 and rights have been sold to China, Korea and Japan.

 

About the Translator

 

Jeremy Tiang’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, Esquire and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He has written four plays and translated more than ten books from the Chinese. Tiang lives in New York. 

Book reviews, Family drama, Womens fiction

The Widow’s Mite by Allie Cresswell – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The Widow’s Mite

Minnie Price married late in life. Now she is widowed. And starving.

No one suspects this respectable church-goer can barely keep body and soul together. Why would they, while she resides in the magnificent home she shared with Peter?

Her friends and neighbours are oblivious to her plight and her adult step-children have their own reasons to make things worse rather than better. But she is thrown a lifeline when an associate of her late husband arrives with news of an investment about which her step-children know nothing.

Can she release the funds before she finds herself homeless and destitute?

Fans of ‘The Hoarder’s Widow’ will enjoy this sequel, but it reads equally well as a standalone.

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MY REVIEW 

This is #2 in the Widow’s series but can easily be read as a stand-alone.

This is the tale of the recently widowed Minnie Price and Maisie Wilde (from book 1) and how they cope with the trials and tribulations of widowhood. 

They become friends due to their shared circumstances, albeit very different financially, but they both have reprehensible relatives and adult children to deal with.

I found this to be a beautifully written tale of grief, life and friendship. It’s full of humour and relatable real life situations. A Gentle, lovely read.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Purchase Links 

 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0848P81GJ

 

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0848P81GJ
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Author Bio –

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters, two grandsons and two cockapoos but just one husband – Tim. They live in Cumbria, NW England. 

The Widow’s Mite is her tenth novel.

 

You can contact her via her website at www.allie-cresswell.com

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/alliescribbler/

http://www.allie-cresswell.com

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Book reviews, Contemporary fiction, Family drama

Paper Sparrows by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The summer of 2006, and nineteen-year-old Layla returns to Lebanon. When she arrives she finds that her troubled younger brother is missing. She heads to Beirut to search for him, but her quest is cut short when Beirut comes under fire. A new war has begun, and she is trapped in the middle of it.

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MY REVIEW

Layla is studying music in London and is returning home to Lebanon for a visit. She’s looking forward to seeing her family, Mum, dad and brother Ziad.

When she arrives Ziad is not home, she’s hurt and surprised but he’s now a 16 year old boy with a life outside the family home. But, her parents are concerned, he seems to be a bit wild, even stealing money from them.

Layla visits Ziad’s friend to try to find him, only to be told his so called friends hadn’t wanted him around as his disability was ‘cramping their style’ and Ziad had gone off alone.

Angry, she is determined to find him, along with Joe, a new friend and Dog, a local stray. But then the bombings start and Layla is scared, worried about Ziad and needs to find him…..but at what cost. 

This is an incredible read, it is a family drama set in Beirut amidst the conflict in 2006 in Lebanon. There’s a budding romance,but it’s also about the effect of war on the innocent civilians caught in the middle of an ongoing conflict that seems never ending. A beautifully written tale of family, love, compassion and anger. Heartbreaking and heartwarming and I loved every minute.

Thank you to Holland House books for a free copy of Paper Sparrows. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2TxEsNd

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Nathalie Abi-Ezzi has lived in Lebanon, Austria and the UK.

It was while working on her Ph.D in English Literature at King’s College London that she realized that she wanted to write her own novels rather than just analyse other people’s. So, while working variously as an editor, teacher and tutor, she wrote and published several prize-winning short stories and her first novel, A Girl Made of Dust (4th Estate, 2008), which was short-listed for the Desmond Elliot Prize and the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award, and was the winner of the LiBeraturpreis in 2011. 

Book reviews, Family drama, Thriller

The Alibi Girl by C J Skuse – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Joanne Haynes has a secret: that is not her real name.

And there’s more. Her flat’s not hers. Her cats aren’t hers. Even her hair isn’t really hers.

Nor is she any of the other women she pretends to be. Not the bestselling romance novelist who gets her morning snack from the doughnut van on the seafront. Nor the pregnant woman in the dental surgery. Nor the chemo patient in the supermarket for whom the cashier feels ever so sorry. They’re all just alibis.

In fact, the only thing that’s real about Joanne is that nobody can know who she really is.

But someone has got too close. It looks like her alibis have begun to run out….

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MY REVIEW 

Joanne Haynes is hiding….but from who?

When a woman’s body is found in the hotel Joanne (Genevieve) works at, she knows it was murder…..she’s seen someone strangled before…..

Have the Three Little Pigs found her?

Poor Ellis, taken away from the only family she had, she now lives alone in a world of lies and make believe….but is someone watching?

A cliché I know, but I really couldn’t put this down….I just had to know, what was real and what wasn’t…. I found it to be so well written and I was drawn into Ellis’ world with its dark humour and troubled characters. I really liked Ellis with all her quirks and felt really sad for her and baby Emily…she’s a bit of a female Walter Mitty..

While not exactly a thriller, it does have violence and murder and a twisty plot. But I felt at its heart it’s a tale of fear, loneliness, love and family and I loved every minute. 

Thank you to Jessica Lee at HQ for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour date for a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2S09XzF

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

C.J. SKUSE is the author of the Young Adult novels PRETTY BAD THINGS, ROCKOHOLIC and DEAD ROMANTIC (Chicken House), MONSTER and THE DEVIANTS (Mira Ink). She was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels lectures in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. C.J. is currently working on adult novel SWEETPEA for HQ/HarperCollins (out April 2017).

C.J. loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and murder sites. She hates carnivals, hard-boiled eggs and coughing. The movies Titanic, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Ruby Sparks were all probably based on her ideas; she just didn’t get to write them down in time. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Ryan Gosling present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

(Courtesy of Goodreads) 

Book reviews, Family drama, Psychlogical thriller

Little White Lies by Philippa East – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

She only looked away for a second…

Anne White only looked away for a second, but that’s all it took to lose sight of her young daughter.

But seven years later, Abigail is found.

And as Anne struggles to connect with her teenage daughter, she begins to question how much Abigail remembers about the day she disappeared…

Addictive, edge-of-your-seat dark women’s fiction perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, BCC drama Thirteen, and Emma Donoghue’s Room.
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MY REVIEW 

Anne, husband Robert and the children were in London visiting Robert’s sick mother, but after a row Anne and the children were making their way alone on the underground. Anne took her eyes off Abigail for a moment and she disappeared. CCTV showed 8 year old Abi, leaving the station but then nothing….she was gone.

8 years later, Abigail walks into a police station with another missing child. 

The family are so happy she has come back home, but they don’t know how to behave with her anymore…8 year old Abi has grown up. They try so hard to let her know she is loved, that she’s been missed and that everything will be ok now…..But is it? Abi feels they are all pretending…..and with a trial of her abductor pending, nerves are frayed. Can she ever feel safe again?

This is a tale of family and how they deal with trauma, how little lies have consequences and of guilt. How a family try to do the best for each other but at what cost. A tale of love, guilt and obsession and so compelling with a slow build to the tension packed ending …but there is hope. Brilliant, so unputdownable I read this in one sitting. 

Thank you to Jessica Lee at HQ for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/392kJeE

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Philippa East grew up in Scotland before moving to Oxford and then London to train as a Clinical Psychologist. 

A few years ago, Philippa left the NHS to set up her own part-time practice and dedicate more hours to writing. The result was her debut novel LITTLE WHITE LIES which will be published with HQ/HarperCollins in February 2020. 

Philippa now lives in the beautiful Lincolnshire countryside with her husband and cat. She loves reading (of course!) and long country walks, and she also performs in a local folk duo called The Miracle Cure. Alongside her writing, Philippa continues to work as a psychologist and therapist. (Courtesy of Goodreads) 

Book reviews, Family drama, Womens fiction

The Hopes And Triumphs Of The Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Mae has watched as her three older sisters have gone through the process of finding their place in the world and faced the challenges of parenthood head on. Now ready to spread her wings beyond her close-knit family, Mae is ready to take the world by storm.

But a series of events will shake the strong self-belief Mae has always had in herself and will leave her questioning where it is she really fits in.

The Amir sisters will need to draw on all the love they have for each other, if they are going to navigate the challenges life has to throw at them and help Mae along the path to self-discovery.

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MY REVIEW 

This is not the usual genre I read, but every now and then I do like something other than a thriller. I have to say this is such a charming tale of family and love.

Mae is 19 and in her first year at uni, she’s lonely and feeling a bit lost. She has a really bad day and heads for a bar….now this girl doesn’t touch alcohol normally, but ends up just a bit worse for wear and a guy tries to take advantage of her. She is rescued and taken home by Ji Su…..

Mae and Ji Su become close friends, but one night a shared kiss changes things. They stop speaking and then Mae fails her first year and heads home.

Here, family chaos with babies and sisters, she feels invisible. 

She gets a summer job and meets a lovely, kind man, Abdul-Raheem….a possible relationship her family would just not understand or accept.

Will Mae make the right decision for herself? 

A beautifully written tale of family, sexuality, faith, acceptance and growing up.. A funny, warm hug of a read. I loved every minute. 

Thank you to Jess at HQ for the opportunity to read this lovely book for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here:       https://amzn.to/36j8qZv

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Nadiya Hussain is a British baker, columnist, author and television presenter. The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters was her debut novel.

Hussain was born to a British Bangladeshi family in Luton, where she grew up. She developed her interest in cooking while at school and largely self-educated herself in cooking by reading recipe books and watching instructional videos on YouTube. She married and moved to Leeds, where she began studying for an Open University degree. In 2015 she appeared on the BBC’s The Great British Bake Off and won the contest. She was subsequently invited to produce a cake for the 90th birthday celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II and to present her own BBC documentary, The Chronicles of Nadiya.

Hussain is a columnist for The Times Magazine and Essentials magazine, has signed publishing deals with Penguin Random House, Hodder Children’s Books, and Harlequin. She is also a regular reporter for The One Show and a guest panellist on Loose Women. Hussain was named by Debrett’s as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK in 2016. Hussain was on BBC News’ 100 Women list in 2016(courtesy of Goodreads) 

Book reviews, Family drama, Thriller

A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

After an unexpected death, three generations of women take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a brilliant, page-turning and darkly funny new series. 

The Skelfs are a well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another women, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything… It’s a compelling and tense thriller and a darkly funny, warm portrait of a family in turmoil.

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MY REVIEW 

Set in Edinburgh, this starts with a funeral pyre in the garden, just as Jim wanted it, melting feet aside!

It is the story of three women, Dorothy, Jim’s widow, Jenny, their daughter and Hannah, their granddaughter. All grieving, but carrying on with their family business, the Skelf funeral directors and private investigators.

When Hannah and her girlfriend, Indy’s flatmate goes missing she is determined to find out what has happened. Did she really know her friend? And what she finds will be devastating……

Meanwhile, Dorothy finds out her husband has kept secrets from her, namely a missing employee and regular monthly payments to an unknown account. So she and her friend, a police officer, try to find out more. Oh and an old man who thinks his carer is stealing from him..

And Jenny, is investigating a potential cheating husband for a client. 

Can they find the answers they want and need? 

I love this book, it’s full of secrets and a dark humour that makes you laugh and cringe at the same time…there’s love, family, empathy and a spot of gravedigging too. The Skelf’s are just so well developed characters, strong and very likeable, the 70 year old drummer, Dorothy,  shows age is no barrier and man, can she wield a shovel! 

A tense thriller, but also tells of a family dealing with grief…..heart pounding and heartwarming too. This is a read in one sitting novel and I’m already waiting for the next in this new series. Brilliant.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/377uWpj

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. 

Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. 

Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player- manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Family drama, Police procedural

Blood Family by Graeme Hampton – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

All families have secrets… some are deadly.

When D.I. Matthew Denning is called in to investigate a house fire in a North London street, he never anticipated the horrors that awaited him. As Denning and D.S. Molly Fisher search the wreckage, the bodies of the Galloway family – Brian and Ellie, son Simon, daughter Amber and 9-year-old grandson Caleb – are discovered in the smouldering house.

All evidence points to a tragic accident… until Matthew and Molly discover that the family was dead before the fire, murdered in their home by a faceless psychopath. What started as a routine investigation swiftly turns into a murder investigation, with Denning and Fisher hunting a killer who has wiped out three generations with a shotgun.

But as the case deepens, Denning and Fisher discover that the Galloways were no ordinary family. Like all families, they harbour secrets – but unlike others, their secrets were so deadly, someone is willing to spill blood to keep them hidden…

An utterly gripping detective novel set in London, Blood Family will thrill fans of Angela Marsons, Mark Billingham and Robert Bryndza.

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MY REVIEW

This is #2 in the DI Denning/DS Fisher series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

After a house fire, five bodies are found, all from the same family. But when it’s discovered they had all been shot before the fire, a murder investigation begins.

Were the Galloway family as honest and law abiding as they seemed to be or was there something else going on?

This is a police procedural but also a family drama, with all its secrets, lies and tension. There are also plenty of background details of Denning and Fisher’s lives and family outside of the police force, which really helps build such likeable, well rounded characters.

I found this to be fast paced and utterly gripping, with plenty to keep you guessing from start to finish. Thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2QxYdDM

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Graeme Hampton was born in Paisley, and grew up in Stirling. After leaving school, he trained as a stage manager and worked in London for a number of years. He returned to Scotland in his late twenties to study for a BA in English Literature at Stirling University. His first novel, Know No Evil, was published in 2019 by Hera Books. His next book, Blood Family, will be published in January 2020.

He lives in Hastings, East Sussex.

Twitter: @GHam001

Instagram: graeme_hampton

Website: http://www.graemehampton.com

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Family drama

The Final Trail by A.A. Abbott – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Family feuds just got bloodier… A gripping thriller, and a great story of death, revenge and vodka. 

To save glamorous Kat White’s life, Ben Halloran killed his gangster father. Now his brother wants to even the score.

The gripping Trail series of British crime thrillers reaches its dramatic conclusion in this compelling page turner.

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MY REVIEW

#5 in the series, but I found it easy to read as a stand-alone, although you do miss out a little on the back story, but it’s easy to catch up,

Set in Birmingham.

Kat is the creator of Starshine Vodka and is in a business partnership with Marty, a shrewd businessman.

Erik is Kat’s brother and is researching a cancer cure, he is also in a business partnership with Marty.

Ben, who had shot and killed his gangster father, who had been planning on killing Kat, is in love with Amy, Eric’s girlfriend. Ben’s brother, Jon, wants revenge for his father’s death, but he’s in prison….!

The story is a family drama, with plenty of action. There’s family betrayals, lies, love, politics and corporate dealings all set against the background of Vodka production. A fast paced, twisty, gripping and thoroughly entertaining read.

Thank you to Kelly at Love Books Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Family drama

Unprotected by Sophie Jonas-Hill – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

She’s fighting to save everyone else, but will she have anything left to save herself?

Witty, sharp and sarcastic tattoo artist Lydia’s life is imploding. Her long-term relationship has broken down after several miscarriages and she’s hiding from her hurt in loss and rage. After a big night out she wakes beside a much younger man who brings complications she could really do without. 

As her grief about her lost babies and failed relationships spirals out of control, she obsesses about rescuing a wayward teenage girl she watches from her window and gets more involved than she should with her charming but unstable young lover.

Unprotected is a raw and punchy story of love, family and accepting yourself for who you really are.

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MY REVIEW 

Well, when the publishers say this is raw and punchy they are not kidding. Lydia and Max have been trying for a baby, but after 5 miscarriages their relationship is troubled. When Max moves out, Lydia is a mess and she’s angry, hurt and when friend Cassie invites her out, she goes all out, drink, drugs and wakes up with a much younger man in her bed.

But, Martin is as troubled as she is.

Lydia also sees a young girl in trouble and tries to help.

When her sister gets pregnant, all sorts of family secrets come out.

Lydia, a tattooed tattooist tries to help everyone, but it’s her that needs the help really. 

This is an incredibly emotional tale, the heartbreak and trauma of miscarriage, the secrets in families and some gritty truths around neglected, abused and abandoned children. Not always an easy read, but there is also hope and love. A remarkable, thoughtful and utterly engrossing read. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Sophie has had what might be politely described as a varied career, which has seen her be a black-smith, silver-smith, jewellery designer, pattern-cutter and wedding dress designer, home help, teacher, extreme knitter, burlesque performer, artist and various combinations of the above. Her one abiding passion alongside drawing has always been writing, from her early work in year four producing hand bound novellas mostly written in crayon, to the inevitable fantasy epic which pushed 500 pages and, thank goodness, has never seen the light of day. She began focusing on her writing after the birth of her first child, and has been working on it ever since, losing hands down to the publishing industry’s gatekeepers and Gorgons, until she met fellow traveller Amanda Saint, who as the name suggests, was something of a shining light on the path. 

She is currently studying an MA in illustration and discovering how much she hates academic writing, and what a wise move it was to give someone else the task of designing the cover for her first book with Retreat West, Unprotected. She lives in Kent with her long suffering husband, two children and a very handsome cat. 

Book reviews, Family drama, Non fiction

Free Lunch by Rex Ogle – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Rex Ogle’s story of starting middle school on the free lunch programme is timely, heart-breaking and true.

Free Lunch is the story of Rex Ogle’s first term at High School. Rex and his baby brother often went hungry, wore second-hand clothes and were short of school supplies and Rex was on his school’s free lunch programme. Grounded in the immediacy of physical hunger and the humiliation of having to announce it every day in the school lunch line, Rex’s is a compelling story of a more profound hunger—that of a child for his parents’ love and care. Compulsively readable, beautifully crafted and authentically told with the voice and point of view of an eleven year-old child, Free Lunch is a remarkable debut by a gifted storyteller.
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MY REVIEW 

This is the true story of Rex Ogle’s life as a young boy living in a low income family.

Rex spends a lot of his time caring for his younger brother, Ford, and trying to protect him from the violence in this broken, desperate family.

Starting 6th grade, his mother tells him he’s on the free lunch programme and his first thought is of shame. He tries his best to hide this from his friends at every lunch time.

At home he is often hungry, his mother’s boyfriend beats her, she in turn beats Rex, leaving him with bruises and black eyes. My heart broke for this boy who just wanted a little love.

This memoir is brutal and brutally honest, told from a kids’ view of the world and the shame he felt at the situation he was existing in. 

It’s well written, packed with emotion and really should be on every school reading list. It gives an insight to a world some kids have no choice but to live in.

Heartbreaking and utterly compelling. A MUST read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2prRG2X

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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REX OGLE is a former children’s book editor. “This is my middle school experience” he says, “but I think it’s an important story to tell, with nearly one in five children in America living in poverty

 

More about the book

 

In FREE LUNCH (Norton Young Readers; on-sale 9/10/19), debut author Rex Ogle vividly conveys the immediacy of physical hunger and the humiliation of revealing it every day in the school lunch line, along with a more profound hunger: that of a child for love and care from his parent. This story rings so true in its portrayal of poverty and the familial strains that can result from living in the economic margins, because it is. This is Rex’s story.

 

But this is not Rex’s story alone; 43.1 million people are living in a state of poverty, 14.5 million of them are under the age of 18. But when he was embarking on his sixth-grade year in Texas, Rex had no idea that there were also other children, let alone millions of others, in such need.

 

“The worst part of living like this is thinking as I did—that I was alone, that I was shameful, and that I had less worth because of the situation into which I was born,” explained Rex. “But that couldn’t be further from the truth. No child should feel alone. Or ashamed. Or worthless. They need to know that their circumstances are not their fault.”

 

This moving memoir covers Rex’s journey through his first semester of middle-school as he navigates the inherent physical and emotional growth pains that come with this phase of life, along with the societal pressures he feels showing up at school in worn clothes that don’t fit properly and with the occasional black eye he receives from speaking his mind at home —all in addition to requesting free lunch. Rex is now an adult who traversed middle school and found his way out of poverty, but the struggles of his youth have shaped who is as a man today, and how he views the world around him.

 

“One day, when I was riding on the subway in New York City, I saw a little girl tug on her mom’s sleeve and heard her say, ‘I’m hungry.’ Her mom hugged her, but didn’t say anything,” explained Rex when asked why he decided to write Free Lunch. “I didn’t know their situation, but it struck me that my story needed to be shared. I wanted other kids to know that it’s okay to be hungry. That they are not alone. And there is hope.”

Rex is a former book editor who now lives in Los Angeles with his partner. He enjoys hiking with friends and his dog, devouring books, and cooking.

Free Lunch is unsparing and harshly realistic. It is also frequently funny, and threaded with hope and moments of grace. Free Lunch is a welcome addition to the growing cannon of youth memoirs, and Rex’s powerful, lyrical storytelling shines a light on those living in the shadows.

 

FACTS ABOUT CHILDHOOD HUNGER:

  • 12 million children in the United States live in food “insecure homes”
  • 1 in 6 children in the United States lives with hunger
  • Children who come from food insecure homes often experiences learning disabilities and other cognitive impairments
  • Children who suffer from hunger often face emotional and social road blocks

 

PRAISE FOR FREE LUNCH:

★ “With candor and vivid detail, Ogle captures the experience of chronic poverty in the United States. …Ogle doesn’t shy away from the circumstances (he and his toddler stepbrother are sometimes left alone for days at a time), but there is no shortage of humor, human kindness, and kid hijinks. Though the story is an intense middle grade read, Ogle’s emotional honesty pays off in the form of complex characterization and a bold, compassionate thesis: “Maybe being poor broke her…. and she can’t get well as long as this is her life.” The book ends on a hopeful if precarious note that underscores the importance of dismantling the shame surrounding poverty. In a country where 43% of children live in low-income families, Ogle’s memoir is all too relatable.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

★ “[Ogle’s] painful home life proffers little sanctuary thanks to his mom, who swings from occasional caregiver to violent tyrant at the slightest provocation, and his white stepdad, an abusive racist whose aggression outrivals that of Rex’s mom. Balancing the persistent flashes of brutality, Ogle magnificently includes sprouts of hope, whether it’s the beginnings of a friendship with a “weird” schoolmate, joyful moments with his younger brother, or lessons of perseverance from Abuela. These slivers of relative levity counteract the toxic relationship between young Rex, a boy prone to heated outbursts and suppressed feelings, and his mother, a fully three-dimensional character who’s viciously thrashing against the burden of poverty. It’s a fine balance carried by the author’s outstanding, gracious writing and a clear eye for the penetrating truth. A mighty portrait of poverty amid cruelty and optimism.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred

 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Family drama, Thriller

Bad Seed by Jessica Eames – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A tragic death. A dark family secret. A past you can’t escape. How well do you really know those closest to you? 

Sarah’s world has descended into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to find out the truth of what happened, and make sure the guilty are brought to justice. She is haunted by her dad’s death, consumed by her grief and the memories of a cruel day that changed her life forever… she doesn’t even know who she is anymore. But the future holds some hope for Sarah, as she tries to move forward.

Nicola’s future is not looking so hopeful. Since her husband died, the secret she’s been keeping from her family – especially her daughter, Sarah – is eating away at her. The past is catching up with her, and the consequences will be devastating. 

Inspired by the news that more people are having DNA tests to discover their heritage, BAD SEED subverts the tropes of the domestic thriller by exploring the closest relationship of all: that between parent and child. Clare Mackintosh’s I LET YOU GO meets FRIEND REQUEST, this is a story about family, and of obsession, revenge and identity.

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MY REVIEW 

Nicola, a widow, has a secret….but someone else knows.

Her husband Charlie died and left her with money issues, so she moves into brother-in-law, Ben’s annex. 

Feeling unwell, her boyfriend insists she visit a GP, but due to her being a woman in her 50’s, she is told it’s probably the menopause…..but is it?

She’s convinced something else is happening as she receives a menacing note and her possessions are being moved. Is it all in her mind?

I can’t say too much for fear of spoiling the story, but this is one of the twistiest domestic noir thrillers I’ve read in a long time.

Told from the perspectives of Nicola,  her daughter Sarah and Fion her sister-in-law, this brooding thriller tells of family secrets, lies and ultimately revenge. Brilliant.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

Book reviews, Comedy, Family drama

XYZ by William Knight – Book Review. @_William_Knight #XYZ #LoveBooksTours

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

From a former Guardian and BBC writer, and author of The Donated, comes a hilarious story of mid-life crisis, family, technology, and coping with the modern workplace.

Jack Cooper is a depressed, analogue throwback; a cynical, alcoholic Gen-Xer whose glory days are behind him. He’s unemployed, his marriage has broken down, he’s addicted to internet hook-ups, and is deeply ashamed of his son Geronimo, who lives life dressed as a bear.

When Jack’s daughter engineers a job for him at totally-lit tech firm Sweet, he’s confronted by a Millennial and Zoomer culture he can’t relate to. He loathes every detail – every IM, gif and emoji – apart from Freya, twenty years his junior and addicted to broadcasting her life on social media.

Can Jack evolve to fit in at Sweet, or will he remain a dinosaur stuck in the 1980s? And will he halt his slide into loneliness and repair his family relationships?  
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MY REVIEW 

Jack is a software engineer, he’s 55, old school.  He has a new job at Sweet, a tech company full of bright young things….all emojis and a language he barely understands.

His marriage has fallen apart, he lives in a small flat….his daughter Em is his only real contact. She’s pregnant and this really makes Jack think about life. 

He also has a son, he’s a furry, and lives his life as a bear called Geronimo….Jack has had trouble accepting his sons choice but after meeting Vasi, he has a change of heart and wants to mend his relationship. 

The company has a turnaround and needs old dinosaur Jack’s input…the emoji’s have to go!

This is full of humour but also about acceptance, love and family. A fun, entertaining read.

Thank you to Love Books Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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William Knight has written for the Guardian, the Financial Times and the BBC, among many other publishers. He is a journalist and technologist currently living and working in Wellington, New Zealand.

A graduate engineer, he’s chased a varying career starting in acting, progressing to music, enjoyed a brief flirtation with handbag design, and was eventually wired into technology in 1989.

By 2003 his non-fiction was being regularly published in Computing newspaper in the UK, and he has since written about the many successes and failings of high-technology

The Donated (formerly, Generation), his first novel, was conceived from a New Scientist article in 2001 and was ten years in development. Subsequent novels, XYZ, Foretold, The Fractured, will be available, he says, “Sometime in the future. Hopefully not as long as ten years.”  

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/2ZWuO7O

 

Twitter Handles 

@_William_Knight

 

Hashtags 

#LoveBooksTours 

Book reviews, Family drama, Thriller

The Last Wife by Nicola Marsh – Book Review. @NicolaMarsh @Bookouture #TheLastWife

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Trusting his family was her first mistake.

All Ria ever wanted was a family. Growing up alone in foster care, she imagined just how it would be. So when she fell in love with Grayson and had their daughter Shelley, she was determined to make his family love her too. She knew she’d never fit in with her glamorous sisters-in-law, or at the exclusive picture-perfect Chicago parties her mother-in-law threw, but with Grayson’s arm around her waist she tried her best to be a Parker.

 Everything changed when Grayson disappeared.

Until one morning, Grayson leaves the house for work and never comes home. Left to raise Shelley alone, Ria is forced to turn to her husband’s family, to let her intimidating mother-in-law into her life, allow her to babysit Shelley, and accept her financial support. She tries to ignore the feeling that her sisters-in-law never thought she was good enough. They say they have no idea what happened to Grayson, and she tries very hard to believe them.

But Ria is about to learn that every Parker wife has secrets.

And protecting her daughter might come at a terrible price…

Utterly compelling, The Last Wife is an emotionally-charged novel about what one woman will do to survive. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Kerry Fisher and The Other Woman.

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MY REVIEW 

Ria is a journalist and just as she’s finishing work, she receives an email. From the sender’s name, it brings back horrible memories of a similar email 5 years ago that ended her marriage.

This email has compromising pictures and information about her in-laws….the fabulously wealthy and powerful Parker family. Who would want this information out in the open? And Why?

What follows is a soap opera of money, secrets, lies, murder and corporate dodgy dealings.

This is so entertaining, well written and twisty with likeable and equally unlikeable characters. So, it’s time to suspend reality and enjoy the sheer escapism of The Last Wife….brilliant. 

Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

 

 

Author Bio:

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USA TODAY bestselling & multi-award winning author Nicola Marsh writes feel-good fiction with a twist!

She has published 68 books with Harlequin, Amazon and indie, and sold over 8 million copies worldwide.

She currently writes women’s fiction/rural romance for Harper Collins Australia Mira imprint, emotional domestic suspense for Bookouture and contemporary romance for Harlequin Dare.

Her first mainstream contemporary romance, BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD released to rave reviews, including a nomination for RWA’s RBY, Romantic Book of the Year. 

Her first indie-pubbed contemporary romance CRAZY LOVE is an Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller, and was nominated for an ARRA award.

Her women’s fiction novel SAVING SARA with Lake Union hit the #1 kindle romance spot on Amazon UK.

Her young adult fantasy SCION OF THE SUN won a National Readers’ Choice Award for Best YA novel.

She’s also a Waldenbooks, Bookscan and Barnes & Noble bestseller, a RBY and National Readers’ Choice Award winner, is a multiple finalist for awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, Booksellers’ Best, Golden Quill, Laurel Wreath, More than Magic and has won several CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Awards. 

A physiotherapist for 13 years, she now adores writing full time, raising her two dashing young heroes, sharing fine food with family and friends, barracking loudly for her beloved North Melbourne Kangaroos footy team, and her favourite, curling up with a good book!

 

 

Social Media links:

Website: https://www.nicolamarsh.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NicolaMarsh

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicolaMarshAuthor/ 

Book reviews, Family drama, Psychlogical thriller

Good Little Liars by Sarah Clutton – Book Review @sarahmclutton @bookouture #GoodLittleLiars

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Your school friends know who you were before the flattering haircut, the great career, the loving family. They know secrets you’ve kept…

It’s been twenty-five years since Emma graduated from the prestigious Denham House Girls’ School. She thinks she’s finally shaken the shadow of the awkward, neurotic girl she was at school. But as a class reunion approaches, Emma finds herself right back there, moving into the headmaster’s old staff cottage with her daughter while her marriage implodes. It’s here though that Emma finds a photograph that had been hidden away: an explicit image of her school-friend Tessa, staring boldly at the camera, dated the day before her death.

Between catching up with old friends Marlee and Clementine, home for the reunion, and the demands of single parenthood, Emma has enough to distract her. But she can’t shake the image of the photograph. And the thought that this is proof of something she has long suspected: Jon Brownley, the current headmaster, was involved with Tessa. Emma had seen them arguing in the school grounds back then, and always regretted not speaking up after the death was ruled an accident. Now she’s certain she let Tessa down.

Marlee and Clementine have their own complex feelings about returning to their hometown. And when Emma starts to question what really happened to Tessa, all women must deal with the consequences of decisions they made all those years ago. Because the more Emma digs into the past, the more she discovers that everyone remembers it differently, and that the innocent schoolgirls she thought she knew, might be hiding some very big secrets.

A page-turning novel about family drama, lies, and the secrets we keep to protect those we love. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, The Silent Wife and Kerry Lonsdale.

 

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MY REVIEW

Set in Tasmania, Emma works for the admin department of Denham House School. She’s helping with the schools 25 year reunion when she sends an email intended for her friend Marlee, but she’s hit reply all by mistake. She’s sent an old school photo and some personal remarks about her husband and gives the impression she knows more about how her school friend Tessa had died.

Mortified, she leaves work early, only to arrive home and find her husband naked with their cleaner, Pia.

Meanwhile, Marlee has a new job in an architect’s office, and has a bit of a crush on her new boss, Ben, whose daughter has just been found in possession of drugs and could lose her job at the school.

Clementine, a successful artist is reluctantly returning to Hobart, just for the reunion.

There is the mystery surrounding Tessa’s death, but I felt this is primarily about the lives, relationships and drama’s of the three friends. It’s told with chapters from each of the main character’s perspectives and moves through past and present events to build the story. Not the fastest paced, but it helps build the characters and reveals the secrets that have been kept for years. A very engaging mystery drama.

Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my in honest, unbiased review. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Sarah Clutton is an Australian author and former lawyer whose debut novel, Good Little Liars, mixes suspense and domestic drama with nuanced characters. Having majored in psychology in her original degree, Sarah is fascinated by people. How does the past shape us? Can we can learn empathy? What determines the outcomes when moral and legal boundaries collide?

Sarah’s work earned her the Dymocks/Fiona McIntosh Commercial Fiction Scholarship in 2018, a coveted national award run by one of Australia’s most successful commercial fiction authors and sponsored by Australia’s largest book chain. An alumna of the Australian Writers’ Centre novel writing course, and with a mostly-finished Master of Arts (Writing) that she has no interest in finishing because she prefers making stuff up, Sarah lives with her family in the very pretty tourist town of Bowral, near Sydney. She has lived all over Australia, and if she didn’t live in Bowral, she would live in Hobart, the most beautiful city she knows.

 

Author Social Media Links

 

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/sarahcluttonauthor/

 

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/sarahmclutton

 

Book reviews, Family drama, Womens fiction

Three Little Truths by Eithne Shortall – Book Review. @eithneshortall @CorvusBooks @annecater #ThreeLittleTruths

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

A brilliant novel about our neighbours and the secrets we keep from one another, from the bestselling and award-winning author of Grace After Henry.

One happy street. Three pretty houses. So many lies… 

Martha used to be a force of nature: calm, collected, and in charge. But since moving her husband and two daughters to Dublin under sudden and mysterious circumstances, she can’t seem to find her footing.

Robin was the “it” girl in school, destined for success. Now she’s back at her parents’ with her four-year-old son, vowing that her ne’er-do-well ex is out of the picture for good.

Edie has everything she could want, apart from a baby, and the acceptance of her new neighbours. She longs to be one of the girls, and to figure out why her perfect husband seems to be avoiding their perfect future.

Three women looking for a fresh start on idyllic Pine Road. Their friendship will change their lives, and reveal secrets they never imagined. Liane Moriarty meets Lisa Jewell in this story of the love affairs, rivalries and scandals that hide behind every door…

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 MY REVIEW 

This is the story of Pine Road in Dublin and its residents.

Robin has returned to her parents’ home with her son after a relationship breakdown.

Edie, married and desperately wants a baby, but her husband doesn’t seem so keen. Why?

Bernie, the ‘matriarch ‘, the top woman who rules the Road.

These are the three main characters and the story revolves mainly around them with hilarious asides from other residents WhatsApp messages. There’s a rat hole, stole newspapers and wheels. We hear gossip and secrets, affairs, petty minded people and neighbourhood disputes but also a close community, love, laughs and family.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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EITHNE SHORTALL studied jouralism at Dublin City University and has lived in London, France and America. Now based in Dublin, she is chief arts writer for the Sunday Times Ireland. She enjoys sea swimming, cycling and eating scones.

Grace After Henry is her second novel. Shorthall’s bestselling debut novel, Love in Row 27, has been optioned for a TV series by NBC Universal Studios International, the production company behind Downton Abbey. 

 

PRAISE

 

Liane Moriarty meets Maeve Binchy meets Marian Keyes. I laughed, I cried, I shuddered, I was agog.’ Jo Spain, author of The Confession

‘Eithne Shortall writes a community of neighbours so vividly that I feel like I’m one of them, adjusting my telescope and keeping a glass to the wall for fear that I’d miss anything. Funny, endearing, mysterious and outrageous, this book is wildly entertaining and hugely enjoyable.’ Liz Nugent, author of Unravelling Oliver

three little truths 

Eithne Shortall

 

 

 

Praise for Grace After Henry

 

‘Beautiful and moving’ Good Housekeeping

 

‘Poignant, funny and deeply satisfying’ RED

 

‘A tender, warm-hearted read’ Prima

 

‘A moving exploration of what it means to lose your love… and if it’s wise to try to recreate what you once had.’ Daily Mail

 

‘Grace After Henry is sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes very funny as Eithne Shortall mixes humour and tragedy with a deftness reminiscent of Marian Keyes.’

Irish Times

 

‘A bittersweet story that tackles grief, love and moving on after a partner, and keeps readers guessing until the final page.’ Irish Independent, Book of the Year, 2018

 

‘Grace After Henry made me WEEP… it was so moving – but also witty and well written. I loved it.’ Louise O’Neill

 

‘I really enjoyed it – satisfying and warm, and written with humour and heart.’

Sheila O’Flanagan

 

‘Grace After Henry is an engrossing, surprising, and empowering story about the complexities of love, grief, and family. The characters were so beautifully developed that by the time I finished reading, I felt like I’d known them forever.’

Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost

 

‘This book is an emotional rollercoaster of the very best kind. Sad, funny, touching and ultimately uplifting, Grace After Henry is simply wonderful.’ Chrissie Manby

 

  • Winner: The Big Book Awards: The Best Page Turners, 2018 
  • Shortlisted: Popular Fiction Book of the Year: The Irish Book Awards, 2018
  • An Irish Independent Book of the Year, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book reviews, Family drama, Thriller

The Boxer Boys by Nick Rippington – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Some Family feuds just won’t go away… For 40 years the Dolans and the Marshalls have lived side by side on the same rundown housing estate in east London.

While teens Gary Marshall and Arnie Dolan forge a close friendship, fighting constant battles to survive both on the streets and closer to home, the relationship between their parents is complicated and, at times, toxic. Gradually family secrets emerge which have their roots in the early 80s… and Gary and Arnie realise their entire upbringing was built on lies.  
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MY REVIEW 

 

This is a box set of three novels by Nick Rippington. 

First: 

 

CROSSING THE WHITEWASH

Gary Marshall and Arnie Dolan have been friends since they were 13 years old, and had named themselves the Boxer Boys.

Gary had dreams of being a professional footballer, but after a night out, a series of events put an end to his dream.

This tells of their lives to the present day, their friendship, the laughs and their criminal and sometimes violent activities.

As they grow up, lives change, but then the past catches up with Gareth.

A thriller full of humour, sport and action.

 

SPARK OUT (prequel)

This is set in the 1980’s , the politics, music and the Falklands War.

Mo Dolan, is a really nasty piece of work and really wants to be a big time gangster type. Violent and brutal. Will his son end up the same?

Lots of descriptive writing the political atmosphere of the time and about the horrors of the Falklands War. A thriller with a political edge.

 

DYING SECONDS(sequel)

Again the story revolves around the violent Dolan crime family. 

Gareth, who used to be Gary is working for a welsh newspaper as a sports journalist after moving on from his earlier way of life. But then his father is murdered, his old friend Arnie Dolan has been arrested. Is he responsible or was some one else responsible? And why?

Again, set with a backdrop of politics (Brexit) and sports with the murder mystery too in a totally engrossing read.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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NICK RIPPINGTON is one of the victims of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal you never hear about. 

As the newspaper’s Welsh Sports Editor, he was made redundant with two days notice when Rupert Murdoch closed down Europe’s biggest-selling tabloid in 2011. 

On holiday at the time, Nick was never allowed back into the building, investigators sealed off the area with crime scene tape and seized his computer, which contained all the secrets to his Fantasy Football selections.

Handed the contents of his desk in a black bin bag in a murky car park, deep throat style, Nick was at a crossroads – married just two years earlier and with a wife and 9-month-old baby to support. Options were limited but self-publishing was booming. Having hit on an idea for a UK gangland thriller taking place against the backdrop of the Rugby World Cup, in 2015 he produced Crossing The Whitewash.

The book was praised by many, received an honourable mention in the genre category of the Writers’ Digest self-published eBook awards and more than 25 five-star reviews on both sides of the pond. 

Almost two years after Crossing The Whitewash came the second in the Boxer Boys series, a prequel called Spark Out, which was released in paperback on July 1 and for Kindle on July 10, 2017. The book received an award for best cover of 2017 with the Chill With A Book website, along with a readers award, before receiving the IndieBRAG medallion from a prestigious site covering Independent writers and publishers throughout the world.

The third book in the Boxer Boys series Dying Seconds, a sequel to Crossing the Whitewash, was released in December 2018.

Married to Liz, Nick is now a full-time back bench designer on the Daily Star sports desk and has two daughters – Jemma, 36, and Olivia, 8. A Bristolian at heart, he lives near Ilford, Essex. In the past he has worked for the Sunday Mirror, Wales on Sunday and Media Wales in Cardiff as an executive editor.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buckrippers

Twitter: @nickripp

Goodreads Author Page:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14194075.Nick_Rippington

 

Blog: On the website – Say Hello to My Little Friends

 

Website: http://www.theripperfile.com

 

Amazon Author Page in the UK: 

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nick-Rippington/e/B0135YST78

 

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Book reviews, Family drama, Womens fiction

One Year Later by Sanjida Kay – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Some secrets won’t stay buried…

Since Amy’s daughter, Ruby-May, died in a terrible accident, her family have been beset by grief. One year later, the family decide to go on holiday to mend their wounds. An idyllic island in Italy seems the perfect place for them to heal and repair their relationships with one another. 

But no sooner have they arrived than they discover nothing on this remote island is quite as it seems. And with the anniversary of the little girl’s death looming, it becomes clear that at least one person in the family is hiding a shocking secret. As things start to go rapidly wrong, Amy begins to question whether everyone will make it home…
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MY REVIEW 

One Year later is a tale of family, tragedy and secrets…..Amy and Matt’s young daughter, Ruby-May had died in a tragic accident….but who was meant to be watching her ?

On the anniversary of her death, Amy wants to get away…..not to Somerset, but a holiday without constant reminders of her daughter…It’s decided on Italy, for the whole family, except one member…….he would not be welcome.

So, they arrive and find they are in an idyllic area, in a lovely cottage near a pool and the sea…..but then Nick, Amy’s brother arrives with their father in tow…..the tension is palpable at this point…..he is blamed for Ruby-May’s death, as he was meant to be watching her…..wasn’t he? He doesn’t remember being asked to look after her….is he in the early stages of dementia? Bethany, Amy’s sister believes this to be the case…who is telling the truth?

I loved Sanjida Kay’s descriptive writing, from Somerset to Italy, you could feel the heat of summer and smell the thyme, which all build the atmosphere beautifully. The characters are all so well developed you will share their emotions and more than a tear or two at times. Utterly gripping, this us A tale of family, loyalty, love and heartbreak…an emotion packed psychological thriller and family drama with the odd twist too. Brilliant.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

 

https://amzn.to/2YwWc0j

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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SANJIDA KAY is a writer and broadcaster. She lives in Somerset with her daughter and husband. She has written three previous psychological thrillers, Bone by Bone, The Stolen Child and My Mother’s Secret to critical acclaim.

 

 

 

Praise for My Mother’s Secret

 

‘So compelling you have no choice but to race through it… Twisty, tense and chilling. Brilliant!’ Sam Carrington

 

‘Chilling and compelling, filled with exquisitely drawn characters and gut-wrenching twists that force you to ask the most terrifying question of all: how would I cope if this happened to me?’ Cavan Scott

 

‘With her vibrant prose and razor-sharp observation, Sanjida’s story hooked me right from the start, pulling me in with an increasing sense of unease until the final spine-chilling climax.’ Caroline England

 

‘A gripping page-turner – the twists kept coming!’ Catherine Ryan Howard

 

‘A gripping yarn with a vicious sting in the tale that shows the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’ L V Hay

 

‘Sanjida Kay captivates the senses, then delivers the killer blow.’ Lucy Dawson

 

 

 

Praise for The Stolen Child

 

‘Gripping and totally unpredictable’ Daily Mail

‘An excellent piece of work [that] triumphs both as an edge-of-the-seat whodunnit and a psychologically perceptive study of the impact of grief, loss and alienation.’ Irish Independent

‘Utterly absorbing’ CrimeReview.co.uk

‘A taut thriller that boxes you in with more lies and red herrings than you can shake a stick at.’ The Book Trail

‘The Stolen Child captivated me, terrified me and left me deeply moved.’ Holly Seddon

‘Beautiful terse writing and the build to the shattering climax is palpable.’ Peter James

‘Grips to the very last page… I couldn’t put it down.’ Amanda Jennings

‘Gut-wrenching… The Stolen Child succeeds as both a fast-paced thriller and a haunting tale of a fragile family.’ Peter Swanson