#BlogTour: Solitaire by Jane Thynne @janethynne @simonschusterUK

51BEnEV-8CL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

I’m so pleased to be able to bring you my blog tour review for Solitaire by Jane Thynne.  I have heard a lot of great things about her books and was thrilled to be invited onto the blog tour for her most recent book.  Thank you to the lovely Abby Fairbrother for recommending me!

Solitaire is available now in paperback and ebook here.

Book Blurb:

TO SAVE HER OWN LIFE, WILL SHE SACRIFICE ANOTHER?

June 1940: the first summer of the war. Berlin is being bombed and nightly blackouts suffocate the city. Then France falls and a shadow descends.

A shadow has fallen over Clara Vine’s own life, too. She is an Anglo-German woman in a country that hates England. Then she is summoned to meet the Propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who has decided that Clara should adopt a new role – as his spy.

Much as she dislikes the idea, Clara realises this might be the chance to find an escape route to England. But Goebbels has other ideas and soon Clara is drawn into a web that threatens to destroy her. As everything she holds dear is taken as ransom, she must fight to protect her family – and to survive…

Solitaire delivers brilliantly engrossing wartime fiction for fans of  Sadie Jones, Rosie Thomas and Irene Nemirovsky.

My Review:

As a huge fan of historical fiction I can’t believe I haven’t read anything by Jane Thynne before.  I have heard some great things about her books but for some reason have never actually got around to reading anything by her.  I’m on a bit of a role with books at the moment as this was another 5 star read for me.

I have read a lot of world war two fiction but not much about what life was like inside of Germany for ordinary people during the war and not much from the German point of view.  I therefore found this book really fascinating.  It was very interesting to realise how much Hitler influenced people’s everyday life in areas, that perhaps naively, I hadn’t realised that they influence before which was a bit of an eye opener.  This is especially true about their treatment of influential people who happened to be married to Jews and the steps that were taken to try and break up this relationship.  It was also very interesting to learn more about some of the high ranking Nazi members, their personal lives and their jobs during the war.  I had obviously heard a bit about them before reading this book but not in a lot of depth so i enjoyed learning more about what was happening behind the scenes for them and more about the policies they were in charge of during the war.

The author has clearly done her research into this time with all the people and events in the book being real things that actually happened.  I love being able to look up people and events from a book and being able to learn more about them.  I was able to do this a lot with this book and lost many an evening to learning more about the characters and events mentioned.  I had heard about the appalling treatment of the Polish people by the Nazi’s during the war but from what I have read previously I thought this was only in the concentration camps so it was interesting to learn that the mistreatment of them was present in everyday life.  It’s little details like this which sets apart this authors work and kept me thoroughly intrigued and increased my enjoyment.

As I might have mentioned before I love strong female characters and I was therefore a huge fan of Clara Vine, a strong confident women who wasn’t afraid of putting herself in difficult situations.  This was especially impressive in a time when women were very much thought of as inferior to men and when the Nazi’s seemed to prefer women who stayed at home, kept house and had loads of children.  I liked that she had a lot of empathy and didn’t just think of herself and how a situation would benefit her, but tried to get the best results for all involved.  I didn’t always understand her actions and did find myself getting a little frustrated with her when she made decisions that I didn’t agree with but the author was always able to explain Clara’s actions and made me understand why she had made them.  I also liked Katerina who I felt both sorry for and had huge admiration for.  It was very poignant to learn how such children came to be living in orphanages when they had living relatives and shocking to learn how some children were taken from their parent’s purely because of how they looked.  Her need to find family and to try and find her sister was really lovely to read about and I was very impressed with how far she was willing to go to find this.

This is the 5th book in the Clara Vine series but the first book that I have read.  It definitely won’t be my last and I will look forward to reading more from Jane Thynne in the future.  Despite being part of a series I found that this book read easily as a stand alone book, as anything that had happened in previous books that I needed to know was explained.  This would be a fantastic book group book as I think there would be a lot for people to discuss and that it would appeal to a lot of people.

Huge thanks to Sian Devine, Simon & Schuster publisher and Jane Thynne for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto this blog tour.  If you like gripping and fascinating historical fiction that is brilliantly researched you will love this book.

About The Author:

download

Jane Thynne was born in Venezuela and educated in London. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English and joined the BBC as a journalist. She has also worked at The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent, as well as for numerous British magazines. She appears as a broadcaster on Radio 4. Jane is married to the writer Philip Kerr. They have three children and live in London.

Find out more at http://www.janethynne.com connect with her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @janethynne

Follow The Blog Tour:

If you liked the sound of Solitaire from this review do follow the blog tour and find out what these other fabulous bloggers thought.

thumbnail_Blog Tour Schedule

Advertisements

#BlogTour: Know Me Now by CJ Carver @C_J_Carver @Emily_BookPR @BonnierZaffre

Know Me Now

Today I’m delighted to bring you my review for Know Me Now by CJ Carver.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have given it 5*’s, though I would give it more if I could as i thought it was fabulous!

Know Me Now will be available in ebook on the 14th December and in paperback on the 11th January 2018, but is available to pre-order here.

Book Blurb:

A SUICIDE. A MURDER. A CONSPIRACY. 
DIGGING UP THE PAST CAN BE DEADLY . . .

A thirteen-year-old boy commits suicide.

A sixty-five-year old man dies of a heart attack.

Dan Forrester, ex-MI5 officer, is connected to them both.

And when he discovers that his godson and his father have been murdered, he teams up with his old friend, DC Lucy Davies, to find answers.

But as the pair investigate, they unravel a dark and violent mystery stretching decades into the past and uncover a terrible secret.

A secret someone will do anything to keep buried . . . 

My Review:

It’s so lovely to start a book and realise within a few pages that you are going to love it!  It makes you relax into the book and means that you are able to enjoy it more.  This is what happened when I started reading Know Me Now.  I knew almost instantly that I was going to like it and felt certain that I had found a new favourite author.

The story unfolds slowly but with enough action/revelations to keep the reader interested and intrigued enough to keep on reading.  I soon found the book very hard to put down, reading long into the night when I should have been sleeping.  You know you are reading a good book when you are thinking about it constantly and trying to work out when you will next get a chance to read a bit.  I found myself trying to hide upstairs from the kids or even attempting to read whilst cooking, not a good idea i don’t recommend it, just so I could read a few more pages.

I loved the three main characters, but particularly loved the two women Grace and Lucy.  I’m a big fan of strong female characters, especially those that are in normally male dominated jobs like Grace and Lucy are.  I admired the way they held their own against quite strong opposition at times and how they were able to get results from tricky situations.  The author does a brilliant job at not resorting to typical stereotypical methods normally used by female characters in such books.  Instead the women get results by using their intelligence and by showing that they know what they are talking about which made for a very refreshing change.

CJ Carver perfectly describes what life in a small community is like, with everyone knowing everyone else and thinking they know their business.  I could definitely imagine how this might hamper a murder investigation with local residents thinking they knew what what was going on when in fact they didn’t.  I could almost feel Lucy and Grace’s frustrations coming off the page and felt frustrated on their behalf when their investigation was hampered because of this.  The small community environment did however help inject some humour or light relief into the book when you realised just how much everyone knew each other and in what way.  Some of these revelations actually had me laughing out loud as they were so funnily described and unexpected.

This is the first book by CJ Carver that I have read and it definitely won’t be my last as I have already bought the first two books in this series to read.  It is probably best to read the series in order as there were a few events mentioned in the book that I was unaware of but this wasn’t enough of an issue to stop me enjoying it.

Huge thanks to Emily Palmier-Bignold and Bonnier Zaffre for my copy of this book and for letting me be part of this blog tour.

About The Author:

Carver, Caroline 1 credit Steve Ayres

CJ Carver is a half-English, half-kiwi, author living just outside Bath. She lived in Australia for ten years before taking up long-distance rally driving – she has driven London to Saigon, London to Cape Town, and completed 14,500 miles on the Inca Trail.

Since then she has written nine critically acclaimed novels that have been published in the UK, USA and translated into several languages.  CJ’s first novel Blood Junction won the CWA Debut Dagger and was short listed for the USA Barry Award for Best Crime Fiction Novel of the Year.  Spare Me the Truth, the first in the Forrester and Davies series, was shortlisted for the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Best Crime Novel Award.

CJ is a co-founder and one of the first judges for the Women’s World Car of The Year Award.

Find CJ Carver on her website, on her Facebook page and on Twitter – @C_J_Carver

Follow The Blog Tour:

If you like the sound of Know Me Now from my review, do follow the blog tour and see what these other fabulous bloggers are saying.

KnowMeNowTourCard

#BlogTour: Brighter Days Ahead by Mary Wood @Authormary @panmacmillan

thumbnail_Brighter Days Ahead

I’m excited to be on the blog tour for Brighter Days Ahead by Mary Wood and to be able to share my review.  I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good historical saga.

Brighter Days Ahead is available in paperback and ebook here.

Book Blurb:

War pulled them apart, but can it bring them back together?

Molly lives with her repugnant father, who has betrayed her many times. From a young age, living on the
streets of London’s East End, she has seen the harsh realities of life . . . When she’s kidnapped by a gang and forced into their underworld, her future seems bleak.

Flo spent her early years in an orphanage, and is about to turn her hand to teacher training. When a kindly teacher at her school approaches her about a job at Bletchley Park, it could be everything she never knew she wanted.

Will the girls’ friendship be enough to weather the hard times ahead?

My Review:

Wow Mary Wood’s definitely knows how to write a thrilling, action packed and emotional saga.

The book follows the lives of both Molly and Flo separately at first until they meet about half way through.  I was immediately drawn into Molly and Flo’s story and felt like I was there watching all the action unfold. When a story is split like this I usually find myself favouring one of the narratives over the other but this wasn’t the case for this book as I found I enjoyed both of their stories equally.  I did have a bit of a soft spot for Flo though, as I loved her attitude towards life.  Her ability to always try and see the good side of things was really heart warming to read about, especially as she suffered a few disappointments throughout the book.

This isn’t necessarily a happy book at times with the author covering some quite difficult subjects that was fascinating though quite poignant to read about.   This definitely kept me reading as I was very keen to discover how the character fared and how the incidents were resolved.  It was interesting to discover what types of underhand activities may have been going on in war time London that went undiscovered due to resources being occupied elsewhere.

Mary Wood is brilliant at setting the scene for the book and making the reader feel like they are in London during world war two.  There were times, particularly during a very detailed account about an air raid toward the beginning of the book, when I felt I could have actually been there watching all the action unfold.  Some of the prejudices society had at that time, in particular towards homosexuality was shocking to read about and really brought into focus how far we have come since.  I really felt for poor Simon experiencing all the hatred towards himself and some of his colleagues actions were just appalling.  Its awful to think that people may have experienced similar things.  I loved how Flo stood up for him against everyone, despite overwhelming opposition and this was another reason that really drew me toward her.  Flo and Simon work at Bletchley Park and this intrigued me as it is a place that I have heard lots about.  I did enjoy learning a bit more about what it was like to work there and a little bit about what type of work was carried out there.

This is an easy book to read as the writing just flows brilliantly.  It is quite fast paced with a lot of action happening throughout which helps to build the tension and keeps the reader wanting to read more.  For this reason it would be a good holiday read as I think anyone would find it hard to put down.

This is the first book by Mary Wood that I have read and I will look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Thank you to Mary Wood and Kate Green from Pan Macmillan for inviting me onto the blog tour and for giving me a copy of this book.

About The Author:

51RreVdSiKL._UX250_

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’.

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers on her Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels
And on her web page: http://www.authormarywood.com
She is also on Twitter: @Authormary

Mary welcomes all contact with her readers and feedback on her work.

Follow The Blog Tour:
If you liked the sound of this book from this review do follow the blog tour and see what these other fabulous bloggers thought.
thumbnail_blog_tour

 

#BlogTour: The Runaway Children by Sandy Taylor @bookouture @SandyTaylorAuth

The-Runaway-Children-Kindle

I’m on the blog tour for The Runaway Children by Sandy Taylor today.  The Runaway children is now available to buy in paperback and ebook here.

Book Blurb:

A heart-wrenching, unforgettable journey of two evacuee sisters during World War Two as they try to find their way home…

London, 1942: Thirteen-year-old Nell and five-year-old Olive are being sent away to the countryside to escape the devastation of the East End during the Blitz. Leaving behind their beloved mother and brothers, they don’t know if they will ever see them again.

As the sisters adjust to their new life in a close-knit Welsh village, they gradually find hope in the friendships they make. And Nell kindles a special bond with fellow evacuee Jimmy, who makes her smile even at the hardest of times.

But when little Olive’s safety is threatened, Nell makes a decision that will change their lives forever. They must run from danger and find their way home.

Together, through tears and laughter, the two sisters hold each other’s hands as they make an incredibly brave journey across bombed-out Britain. Will they be reunited with the family they have missed for so many years? Or is there more heartache to come?

An unputdownable story of unconditional love, friendship and the fight for survival during a time of unimaginable change. This book is guaranteed to find a place in your heart. If you enjoyed Orphan Train and The Girl With No Name you’ll love this book.

My Review:

The thing that most stands out about this book is the child narrator that helps add an element of innocence to a difficult situation and gives the reader a different slant on the events of world war two.  The book is narrated by Nell, the oldest of four siblings with an attitude older than her years.  She is very much used to looking after her brothers and sister and often takes on the mother role when her mother is incapacitated.  She particularly looks after her younger sister Olive and their relationship and the closeness they enjoy is lovely to read about and leads to some very heartwarming scenes.  It also helps to add humor to the story which often had me laughing out loud, particularly at Olive’s very truthful observations and Nell’s replies.  The two sister’s, Nell and Olive where my favourite characters in the book and I really enjoyed reading about them and the huge journey they go on throughout the book.

It’s hard to believe how shambolic and dis-organised the evacuation system was.  The fact that children didn’t know where they were going and to whom chills my heart as a mother and must have been very difficult for the mothers who chose to evacuate their children.  The children were given to anyone who would take them without them being vetted or checked up on in any way which lead to some horrific situations with children being taken advantage of in many ways.  Some of the passages relating to the experiences of the evacuees where quite heart breaking and lead to some quite poignant scenes.

The author does a brilliant job at setting the scene and making me feel that i really was in world war two watching all the action unfold.  I loved the descriptions of the community in the (in)famous tennament blocks and the way that they all looked out for each other, solving their own problems without getting the authorities involved.  It was really nice to read about neighbours caring about one another in this way, something that has unfortunately been lost today.   Her descriptions of village life in world war two was also brilliantly described leading to some lovely heartwarming scenes, especially when the children realise how different life is in the village to what they are used to at home.

This is the first book by this author that I have read and I will definitely be reading more from her in the future as I loved her style of writing and the characters that she has managed to bring to life in The Runaway Children.  In parts this book reminded me of Goodnight Mr Tom, especially the description of the children’s experiences in the village.

Thank you to Kim Nash from Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy of this book and for inviting me on the blog tour.

About The Author:

Author Pic 2

Sandy Taylor grew up on a council estate near Brighton. There were no books in the house, so Sandy’s love of the written word was nurtured in the little local library. Leaving school at fifteen, Sandy worked in a series of factories before landing a job at Butlins in Minehead. This career change led her to becoming a singer, a stand up comic and eventually a playwright and novelist.
Follow The Blog Tour:
If you liked the sound of this book from my review do follow the blog tour and see wht these other fabulous bloggers thought.
The Runaway Children - Blog Tour

 

The Man In The Needlecord Jacket by Linda MacDonald @LindaMac1 @annecater #Needlecordjacket

thumbnail_Needlecord - Cover Image

I’m delighted to finally be able to share with your my review for The Man In The Needlecord Jacket!  A huge thank you to the lovely Anne Cater and Linda MacDonald for their patience with me when I firstly couldn’t post due to moving and then due to no internet.

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket in available now in paperback and ebook here.

Book Blurb:

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket follows the story of two women who are each struggling to let go of a long-term destructive partnership. Felicity is reluctant to detach from her estranged archaeologist husband and, after being banished from the family home, she sets out to test the stability of his relationship with his new love, Marianne.

When Felicity meets Coll, a charismatic artist, she has high hopes of being distracted from her failed marriage. What she doesn’t know is that he has a partner, Sarah, with whom he has planned a future. Sarah is deeply in love with Coll, but his controlling behaviour and associations with other women have always made her life difficult. When he becomes obsessed with Felicity, Sarah’s world collapses and a series of events is set in motion that will challenge the integrity of all the characters involved.

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is a thought-provoking book, written from the perspectives of Sarah and Felicity. The reader is in the privileged position of knowing what’s going on for both of the women, while each of them is being kept in the dark about a very important issue.

Inspired by the work of Margaret Atwood and Fay Weldon, Linda explores the issue of mental abuse in partnerships and the grey area of an infidelity that is emotional, not physical. The book will appeal to readers interested in the psychology of relationships, as well as fans of Linda’s ‘Lydia’ series.

My Review:

The Man In The Needlecord Jacket is an emotional and compelling book that I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I did.

The story follows two women who are both unwittingly attracted to the same man Coll.  From the beginning the reader is privy to both sides of the story as they take it in turns to describe their experiences with Coll.  This intimate, fly-on-the-wall glance into the relationship really make for fascinating reading.  I soon felt completely immersed into their lives and I felt like i knew both of them intimately.  It is unusual for a story to feature relationships involving older characters so I found it very interesting to see what affect this had on their relationship and how it meant it was approached differently.

My favourite character was Sarah.  I found i could really relate to her and her experiences as she reminded me a bit of myself in the past.  She brought out a lot of emotions in me and I found myself alternating between wanting to scream at her to wise up and wishing I could give her a cuddle.  The character development for her throughout the book was amazing thought and I was very pleased to see the person she had become at the end.  The character development for Felicity was also brilliantly done.  I started off not really liking her but ended up admiring her and the way she dealt with things so bravely.

This book covers the difficult subject of mental abuse, which I wouldn’t have realised was happening if it hadn’t been mentioned in the blurb.  I think this is the difficulty with it, that it is very hard to prove as it is so subtle.  In this the author has done a great job in helping to raise awareness for it.

The ending was brilliant!  It made me want to stand up and cheer as it was so good.  This will definitely be book I’m going to remember and be recommending to people for a while!

Thank you to Anne Cater and Linda MacDonald for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour.

About The Author:

thumbnail_Linda - Author Photo

Linda MacDonald is the author of four novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind, The Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. All Linda’s books are contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on relationship issues.

After studying psychology at Goldsmiths’, Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. The first two novels took ten years in writing and publishing, using snatched moments in the evenings, weekends and holidays. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing.

Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham in Kent.

Follow The Blog Tour:

If you liked the sound of this book from my review, do go back and check out these fabulous bloggers reviews too!

thumbnail_Needlecord Blog Tour Poster

#BlogBlitz: The Secret Child by Kerry Fisher @KerryFSwayne @bookouture

The-Secret-Child-Kindle

Book Blurb:

You can run from your past, but it will always catch up with you…
 
Susie was forced to do something she will always regret: giving her baby son up for adoption. Everything that led to this child, this choice, had to be buried and forgotten.

Her secret echoes down through the years, tainting everything it touches. Her husband wonders why his wife is so distant. Her daughters can’t understand their changeable mother. 

Susie knows her past is pushing her family apart, and the guilt is eating her up, but she can’t escape the longing for her lost son. No-one but Susie knows the whole story, and when her daughters discover a piece of the puzzle, she must face the question she has struggled with for most of her life:

Would the truth bring them back together, or break them?
 
From the bestselling author of The Silent WifeThe Secret Child is a heartbreaking and unputdownable novel about family secrets and lies. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes and Diane Chamberlain.

My Review:

The Secret Child is a very emotional and heartbreaking story that will stay with me for a long time.  It is told in two parts, 1 from the point of view of Susie and the second from her younger daughter Grace.  This is very interesting way of telling the story as it helps you to see the characters from different angles which make is easier to understand them and how they act.

It is hard to believe that such attitudes towards unmarried mothers and children born out of wedlock existed only 50 years ago and that mothers were faced with such awful decisions in the face of societies prejudices.  In this Kerry Fisher writes about a difficult subject very sensitively creating some very poignant moments which had me rushing to hug my kids even when they were asleep.  I often found myself on the verge of tears reading about her feelings on having to adopt her son and hoping for a happy ending where she would be able to keep him.  The author has obviously done her research as the feelings that Susie feels after losing her baby are very similar to mine after I lost my baby, albeit in different circumstances.  I must admit that I found some of these passages quite hard to read and often had to put the book down for a little while when it got a little too emotional for me.

The book cleverly intersperses the present and the past which helps the reader to glean more knowledge about what happened and to understand more about why the characters acted the way they did.  This helped add to the emotional impact of the book especially as the reader becomes more aware of the whole story and how events transpired.

This is the first book by Kerry Fisher that I have read and I will definitely go back and check out some of her other books in future.

Huge thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour.

About The Author:

Kerry Fisher Author image

Born in Peterborough, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian at Bath University, followed by several years working as an English teacher in Corsica and Spain before topping the dizzying heights of holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually succumbed to ‘getting a proper job’ and returned to England to study Periodical Journalism at City University. After two years working in the features department at Essentials magazine in London, love carried her off to the wilds of the West Pennine moors near Bolton. She now lives in Surrey with her husband (of whisking off to Bolton fame), two teenagers and a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy. Kerry can often be seen trailing across the Surrey Hills whistling and waving pieces of chicken while the dog practises her ‘talk to the tail’. In her third book, After The Lie, Kerry shamelessly exploits every embarrassing dog misdemeanour to create her fictional hound, Mabel.

Kerry has spent half her life talking about writing a novel, then several years at Candis magazine reviewing other people’s but it wasn’t until she took some online courses with the UCLA (University of California) that the dream started to morph into reality, culminating in the publishing of The Class Ceiling. The Avon imprint of HarperCollins picked it up and retitled it The School Gate Survival Guide, published summer 2014. Her second book, The Island Escape, came out in May 2015. It won first prize at the York Festival of Writing for the opening line: ‘I was wearing the wrong bra for sitting in a police cell’. Her latest book, After The Lie, the story of how small lies become more toxic as they pass down the generations, is out on 29 April 2016.

Best advice ever received: ‘This is fiction, we can skip the boring bits.’ Lynn Hightower, UCLA Writers’ Program. 

Read more of her thoughts on life at http://www.kerryfisherauthor.com or follow her on twitter at @kerryfswayne

Follow The Blog Tour:

If you liked the sound of this book from this review do follow the blog tour and see what these other fabulous bloggers thought!

The Secret Child - Blog Tour

#BlogBlitz: The Liverpool Girls by Pam Howes @PamHowes1 @bookouture

The-Liverpool-Girls-Kindle

I’m thrilled to be on the blog blitz for the fantastic The Liverpool Girls.  This was a 5 star read for me and I really recommend it to everyone who likes historical fiction or a good saga.  The Liverpool Girls is available now in paperback and ebook here.

Book Blurb:

Will tragedy tear them apart – once and for all?

It’s 1966 and in Liverpool two sisters are about to have their lives turned upside down…

Sisters Carol and Jackie haven’t had the easiest of childhoods, but as they grow up and begin their own lives both hope for happier times ahead. Stylish Carol works in Lewis’s department store, while Jackie dreams of drama school, and a career on the stage.

But the sisters are heartbroken when they discover they have been dating the same man, and an unexpected pregnancy causes a rift between them. Parents Dora and Joe must overcome their past hurts and help their daughters, despite the meddling of Joe’s second wife Ivy.

As the sisters’ troubles spiral and difficult decisions must be made, can the family pull together – or will Jackie and Carol’s sisterly bond be destroyed forever?

The Liverpool Girls is a heart-breaking and compelling story of family, loss and love. Perfect for fans of Annie Groves, Anne Baker and Kitty Neale.

My Review:

I was immediately drawn into The Liverpool Girls and found myself quickly immersed in their story.

The author does a great job of setting the scene for this novel and I loved the descriptions of Liverpool in the 1960’s with the MOD’s, scooters and of course the fabulous music.  The writing just flows and makes the book very easy to read.  There is a lot of action in the book, withe events happening very fast which also helps keep the reader interested and makes the book hard to put down.  I looked that the author did this that way and didn’t dwell on certain situations when I felt it would have been easy to do this.  She didn’t take the easy option either which made the book seem more real and kept it very interesting.

It would have also been easy to write this book as a happy, sweet book but its not like that and I enjoyed reading about how the characters dealt with the situations that were thrown at them and how they were changed as a result of it.

I had a love/hate relationship with the two sisters.  There were times when I really related and felt for the two of them and the predicaments they found themselves in.  However there were other times when they really annoyed me with their over the top actions and selfishness.  Jackie was perfectly described in her reactions as a typical, love struck teenager and I recognised some of her behaviours from my own, misguided relationships at the same age.  My favourite character was Dora the sister’s mother.  I thought she was a very strong, loving character who really looked after her daughters and some of the passages regarding their mother-daughter relationship were very heart warming to read about.  I think all girls could do with a Dora type character in their lives!

The ending was very emotional and I thought it was a brilliant, brave way to end it.  I definitely had a tear in my eye as I read the last few pages and I was sorry to leave The Liverpool Girls and their world.

This is the first book by this author that I have read and the first book in this trilogy that I have read so I will definitely be going back to read the other books in the series.

Huge thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour.

About The Author:

Red dress profile pix 003

 

 

 

Pam Howes was born in Cheshire. She is a retired Interior Designer who began writing seriously in the mid nineties. The idea for her first novel, set in the sixties, was inspired by her time as a teenager, working in a local record store and hanging around with musicians who frequented the business. That first novel evolved into a series set in the fictional town of Pickford, based on her home town of Stockport. Three Steps to Heaven; ‘Til I Kissed You; Always On My Mind; Not Fade Away, and That’ll Be The Day, follow the lives and loves through the decades of fictional Rock’n’Roll band The Raiders. Pam is a big fan of sixties music and it’s this love that compelled her to write the series. A stand-alone true-life romance, Fast Movin’ Train, set in the nineties, was published in early 2012. A new series of Fairground Romances, set in the sixties, begins with Cathy’s Clown, to be followed by Ruby Tuesday early 2016. Pam is mum to three adult daughters, grandma to seven assorted grandchildren, and roadie to one musician partner. She still lives in Cheshire and is currently involved in raising awareness of her home-town’s musical heritage with campaigns to have Blue Plaques erected on the walls of local clubs, The Manor Lounge and The Sinking Ship, where the likes of The Walker Brother’s, The Who and Jimi Hendrix played; now closed, but still firmly in the hearts of Stockport’s recycled teenagers.  

Pam recently signed a contract with the award winning publisher Bookouture and the first novel in her new trilogy, The Lost Daughter of Liverpool, will be on sale in February 2017

All books are available in Kindle format, paperback, and Fast Movin’ Train is also available as an audio book. 

Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pam-Howes-Author/260328010709267 

And Twitter @PamHowes1

Follow The Blog Tour:

If you liked the sound of this book from my review, do follow the blog tour and find out what these other fabulous bloggers thought!

The Liverpool Girls - Blog Tour

Hold Back The Stars by Katie Khan @katie_khan @TransworldBooks @hannahlbright29

51F452mNI8L._SY346_

 

To celebrate the paperback publication of Hold Back The Stars by the lovely Katie Khan, I thought I would re-post the review I wrote before I took the plunge and started my blog.

I loved this book and I have been recommending it to everyone.  It’s currently only 99p on eBook too!

Book Blurb:

Ninety minutes.

A few years from now, not too far in the future, two people meet.

It is a classic story of boy meets girl.

Except that it’s not.

When we find them, they have an hour and a half left.

Unless they can save themselves, they won’t survive.

The clock is ticking.

Bittersweet and life-affirming, Hold Back the Stars is the love story of the year.

My Review:

Wow what a beautiful book! Beautiful, haunting and really unusual.

Stranded in space with only 90 minutes of air left and no help in sight, Cerys & Max have a chance to reflect on their relationship and the events that have led them here. In a world where love is forbidden, Cerys & Max broke the rules when they fell in love. Facing fierce opposition from friends and family the pair decide they can’t live without each other and decide to fight for their right to love. But can they really help change the rules and convince the council of the importance of love?

Firstly this isn’t just a love story so don’t be put off by the fact that love is a central theme to this book. It’s setting and underlying themes make this book part science fiction, dystopian and thriller.

The setting of Europia, Europe in the future, was fascinating to read about. I liked that it wasn’t all doom and gloom like a lot of dystopian novels I have read. There was some resemblance to the life we know now which helped to add a little sinister edge to the story as it made it much more real. Also adding to the sinister feel was that love is forbidden. Initially I thought this was just in relation to couples but I think it extended to families too which lead to some quite poignant and heart breaking parts in the book. Being a mother myself I can’t fathom a world were parents wouldn’t hug children and families didn’t live together. This world contrasts beautifully with the love story that develops between Max & Cerys which is very realistic and never seems forced. Their story isn’t perfect they do hit a few bumps along the way which is of course true innormal relationships. The main characters, Max & Cerys, are really well developed and realistic characters with lots of flaws. I didn’t really like them at the beginning but I found I really warmed to them as the story developed.

The use of the time remaining as the chapter headings helps add to the tension which gradually increases as the time counts down. The fear and hopelessness Cerys and Max feel is almost tangible. I felt myself holding my breath and reading faster and faster as the book progressed as I needed to know what happens next. A few twists towards the end keeps you on your toes and you aren’t really sure until the end which ways things are going to go.

The ending is so beautiful and poignant a really good way to end this book. I liked that the author didn’t choose an easy and obvious ending and instead went for a hard hitting one. I found I was tearing up at the end and I never cry at books.

I would recommend this book to everyone as I think the mismatch of genres means there is something for everyone here. If you don’t believe me pick it up and give it a try I’m sure you’ll be hooked.

Thank you to Sophie Christopher and Transworld publishers for giving me an ARC of this book. (less)

About The Author:

B1QzPxe375S._SY200_

Katie Khan is a writer from London whose first novel, HOLD BACK THE STARS, is being translated into twenty-one languages and published around the world across 2017. In the UK, the novel was published in January by Transworld (Penguin Random House), and in May by Gallery (Simon & Schuster) in the USA and Canada.

A graduate of the acclaimed Faber Academy writing course, and a fan of love stories with epic settings both on the page and on screen, Katie spent 10 years working in editorial and digital technology, including 4 years as Head of Digital at Paramount Pictures, before joining Warner Bros. in April 2017 to work on a major film production. Named in the 40 Under 40 working in European Cinema at CineEurope 2016, and The Drum’s Top 50 most influential people in social media marketing in the UK, Katie was also selected as a Rising Star by The Media Eye. people in social media marketing in the UK, Katie was also selected as a Rising Star by The Media Eye.

 

#Blogtour: WhiteOut by Ragnar Jonasson @ragnarjo @OrendaBooks @annecater

thumbnail_Whiteout_New_Cover

I’m very excited to be on the blog tour for WhiteOut today.  This is a series I have heard a lot about and I can’t wait until I have moved so I can finally read it! WhiteOut is available now in ebook and paperback here.

Thank you to the lovely Anne Cater and Orenda Books for allowing me to do a giveaway when I realised that due to moving and no internet I wouldn’t be able to post my review on my advertised day.  I will be posting the review at a later date so do keep an eye out for it!

Before I get to the exciting giveaway, here is a little bit about the book!

Book Blurb:

Two days before Christmas, a young woman is found dead beneath the cliffs of the deserted village of Kalfshamarvik. Did she jump, or did something more sinister take place beneath the lighthouse and the abandoned old house on the remote rocky outcrop? With winter closing in and the snow falling relentlessly, Ari Thor Arason discovers that the victim’s mother and young sister also lost their lives in this same spot, twenty-five years earlier…

UK Only Giveaway!:

I’m lucky enough to have a paperback copy of WhiteOut to giveaway to one lucky person.

All you have to do to win is tell me what your favourite thing about Iceland is by commenting on this blog post or on the pinned tweet on twitter.  I will leave this competition open for a week until the 28th and then pick a winner.  Good Luck!!

About The Author:

thumbnail_Ragnar_Photo_Two

Ragnar Jonasson is author of the international bestselling Dark Iceland series. His debut Snowblind went to number one in the kindle charts shortly after publication, and Nightblind, Blackout and Rupture soon followed suit, hitting the number one spot in five countries, and the series being sold in 20 countries and for TV. Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he continues to work as a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Ragnar is a member of the UK Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and set up its first overseas chapter in Reykjavik. He is also the co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir. From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik with his wife and young daughters.

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogtour: Blood Rites by David Stuart Davies @DStuartDavies @urbanepub @urbanebooks

thumbnail_Cover

Today I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for Blood Rites and to be bringing you an exclusive guest post from the author himself! Blood Rites is available now in paperback and ebook here.

Thank you to Abby Fairbrother & Urbane Publications for being so understanding and flexible when due to the stress of moving and no internet I was unable to post my review of Blood Rites.  I will be posting my review as soon as possible one internet is installed in my new house.

Book Blurb:

Blood Rites is the latest gripping DI Paul Snow thriller from renowned crime writer David Stuart Davies. 1980s Yorkshire. DI Paul Snow has a personal demon. He is a homosexual but is desperate to keep it secret, knowing it would finish his career in the intolerant police force. As this personal drama unfolds, he is involved in investigating a series of violent murders in the town. All the victims appear to be chosen at random and appear to have no connection with each other. After the fourth murder, he is removed from the case for not finding the killer but continues investigating the matter privately. Gradually, Paul manages to determine a link between the murder victims, but this places his own life in great danger. Can Paul unmask the killer as he wrestles with his own demons?

Exclusive Extract:

Snow in Huddersfield: David Stuart Davies on his novel Blood Rites

A lady friend of mine, a glorious 98 year old, said to me recently, ‘Why does such a nice chap like you write about such nasty goings on in the world – murders and the like?’ Well, the answer is simple, I am a writer – a crime writer – and while I consider myself to be a fairly placid, cheery fellow, I do allow my imagination to create crimes, criminals, dark motives and grim scenarios.

Certainly, there is no getting away from it, there are some very dark scenes in Blood Rites, the latest DI Paul Snow novel. There is a serial killer on the loose in the Yorkshire town of Huddersfield and Snow is given the unenviable task of catching him as the body count increases. A disparate group of inhabitants are murdered and there seems to be no link between the victims – but there is. The killer has a definite, if twisted motive, for his crimes. Working out a motive that isn’t immediately obvious to the reader is one of the most difficult tasks the crime writer has to master. If members of one family, or one club or one board of directors are being bumped off, for example, the culprit would eventually become obvious: he or she is the only one left alive. It has to be more subtle than this.

However, the motive for the murders must not dominate the narrative. There must be exciting scenes, tension and vivid dramatic moments. And above all, engaging characters. Personally, I find my detective to be a fascinating character. I think this is important, for if the writer is not intrigued by his main protagonist, how can he expect the readers to be. While I created Paul Snow, he seems to have developed very much without my help. I thought that a gay copper operating in the 1980s police force with its strong homophobic culture, would add an extra dimension to the drama. While he has to cope with the demanding task of trapping the killer, he is also dealing with his own sexuality – having to keep it under wraps and to contain his

natural desires. So much pressure for one man. While Snow is a decent, professional and dedicated officer he is not a wholly good man: he has flaws and weaknesses, which I hope not only adds to the realism of the character but also racks up the tension. Snow seems to have struck a chord with readers. Interestingly, an advance copy of the book was sent to a gay officer in the West Yorkshire Police (happily in 2017 there in no need to hide in the closet) and this was his response to reading it:

The book was thoroughly engrossing. The way it was written was on par with the most famous authors and allowed me to imagine every scene just as if I were reading a Stephen Leather thriller. My thoughts whilst reading it were ‘why is this book not for sale across the country in WH Smith? It should be in the book charts!’ It was most definitely a page turner.

The ending of the novel is meant to shock. One reviewer stated that as he reached the final pages he let out an expletive, which shocked the other passengers on the train! While I do not encourage swearing, that response pleased me no end. I hope after reading this post you will be intrigued enough to enter Paul Snow’s world and be entertained, enthralled and a little bit disturbed.

About The Author:

thumbnail_DSD

David Stuart Davies is an author, playwright and editor. His fiction includes six novels featuring his wartime detective Johnny Hawke, Victorian puzzle solver artist Luther Darke, and seven Sherlock Holmes novels – the latest being Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper Legacy (2016). His non-fiction work includes Starring Sherlock Holmes, detailing the film career of the Baker Street sleuth. David is regarded as an authority on Sherlock Holmes and is the author of two Holmes plays, Sherlock Holmes: The Last Act and Sherlock Holmes: The Death and Life, which are available on audio CD. He has written the Afterwords for all the Collector’s Library Holmes volumes, as well as those for many of their other titles. David has also penned three dark, gritty crime novels set in Yorkshire in the 1980s: Brothers in Blood, Innocent Blood and Blood Rites. He is a committee member of the Crime Writers’ Association and edits their monthly publication Red Herrings. His collection of ghost and horror stories appeared in 2015, championed by Mark Gatiss who said they were ‘pleasingly nasty.’ David is General Editor of Wordsworth’s Mystery & Supernatural series and a past Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. He has appeared at many literary festivals and the Edinburgh Fringe performing his one man presentation The Game’s Afoot – an evening with Sherlock Holmes & Arthur Conan Doyle. He was recently made a member of The Detection Club.

Follow The Blog Tour:

If this brilliant extract made you want to read Blood Rites do follow the blog tour and find out what these other fantastic bloggers are saying.

thumbnail_BANNER blogtourBLOODRITES