#BlogTour: The Hotel On Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully @Legend_Press

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I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for The Hotel On Shadow Lake today.  This is such a special book and one that is going to stay with me for a long time.

The Hotel On Shadow Lake is available to buy in paperback and ebook here.

Book Description:

When Maya was a girl, her grandmother was everything to her: teller of magical fairy tales, surrogate mother, best friend. Then her grandmother disappeared without a trace, leaving Maya with only questions to fill the void.
Twenty-seven years later, her grandmother’s body is found in a place she had no connection to.
Desperate for answers, Maya begins to unravel secrets that go back decades, from 1910s New York to 1930s Germany and beyond. But when she begins to find herself spinning her own lies in order to uncover what happened, she must decide whether her life, and a chance at love, are worth risking for the truth.

 

My Review:

Oh my goodness what an emotional, captivating story this was.  There is nothing I like better than a dual time historical mystery so I absolutely loved this book.

The author’s descriptions of Martha’s  life in Germany before the war were very vivid and really helped give me an understanding of what life must have been like living under Nazi rule.  The fear, tension and uncertainty the citizens felt was almost palpable.  It’s amazing now to think about how many people were willing to believe and follow Hitler’s ideas, blindly putting them before other loyalties like friends and families.  The descriptions of what life was like for women under the regime and the rules they had to follow was a real eye opener.  I had no idea that women were so repressed and controlled before, it sent a shiver down my spine thinking about it.

The book is told in two parts, one describes Martha’s life in pre-war Germany and the other, Maya’s journey to discover what had happened to her beloved Grandmother.  Martha’s story was definitely my favourite and I enjoyed reading about her bravery and her willingness to stand up for what she believed was right despite it being incredibly dangerous.  These bits were very thrilling and there were numerous times when I found myself on the edge of my seat, hear thumping as I read what she had got up to.  The love story was beautifully told and very poignant.  I enjoyed reading about it and wished with all my heart that it could have a happy ending even though I knew it probably wasn’t possible.  I did also enjoy Maya’s story and learning more about the fascinating Montgomery family.  There were quite a lot of them, which was hard to keep track of at times but I loved that it wasn’t immediately obvious what their connection to Martha was.  The reveal, when it came was unexpected and has me scrambling back through the pages to check a few things.

The story rattles along at a great pace with a lot of action and reveals happening which kept me intrigued and wanting to keep reading.  I found I  couldn’t wait to get back to my book to find out what was going to happen next.

This is Daniela’s debut novel which is hard to believe as it is so beautifully written and plotted.  I can’t wait to read more books from her in the future.  If you are a fan of Kate Morton or Victoria Hislop you will love this book!

Huge thanks to Legend Press and Imogen Harris for my copy of this book and for inviting me on the blog tour.

About The Author:

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DANIELA TULLY has worked in film and television for decades, including with famed film director Uli Edel. She has been involved in projects such as the critically acclaimed Fair Game, box-office hits Contagion and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as the Oscar-winning The Help. She splits her time between Dubai and New York. Hotel on Shadow Lake is her first novel.

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#BlogTour #Q&A: The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale @josietturner @Robert_Dinsdale @EburyPublishing

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I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour for this fabulous looking book.  I’m so looking forward to reading this one it sounds so magical and right up my street!

The Toy Maker is available to buy now in hardback and ebook here.

Huge thank you to Josie from Ebury publishers for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of this book which i’m really excited to read.

I have an exclusive Q&A with Robert Dinsdale to share with you but first let me tell you a little about the book.

Book Description:

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open! Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat…

It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.

For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

Q&A with Robert Dinsdale:

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name’s Robert Dinsdale. I’m from Northallerton in North Yorkshire, on the edge of the moors, but I currently live in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex with my four year old daughter.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?

I have a young family so time not writing is spent battling with dinner time and bath time and bedtime. And then just taking a deep breath…

3. Do you have a day job as well?

I do lots of copy-writing and editorial work – I’m self-employed and work from home most of the time, which fits brilliantly with family life.

4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

It’s a horrible cliché but I don’t really remember a time when I didn’t do any writing. I loved it when I was a child – so writing is very much an extension of a childhood passion for me. I finished my first novel when I was 12 (I skived a lot of PE lessons so that I could sit in the school library and write it), and – because I didn’t know any better – sent it off to publishers and agents straight away. I still have some of the letters they sent back – such an inspiration for a 12 year old boy.

5. How did you choose the genre you write in?

I’ve never made a conscious decision to fit inside any one genre. These are just books as they occurred to me, driven by the things I think about and feel most intensely. The Toymakers is magical because there was such imagination and magic in life, with the advent of my family, when I started writing it. So who knows what’s next…

6. Where do you get your ideas?

All over! But I can trace The Toymakers back to one afternoon in a suburban toyshop with my daughter, when even the most ordinary little plastic figurine seemed a thing of pure magic to her. That catapulted me back to my own childhood, and over the next weeks and months I made up the building blocks of what The Toymakers would become.

7. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Not block so much as frustration at not being able to translate what’s in my head perfectly to the page. It must be what young children feel like when they don’t have the language to articulate the things they want! Writing can be a lonely and frustrating business but it’s also incredibly rewarding, so everything balances out in the end…

8. Do you work with an outline, or just write?

Lots of brilliant writers swear by outlines but I’ve found it always stifles the process for me. I set off with a destination in mind and I invent things as I go. It often means the start of the novel needs to be revisited to make work, but I just find that writing without maps works best for me…

9. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I think children’s fiction is incredibly important to us all – so, for all of the very many authors I’ve discovered as an adult who have inspired me and bowled me over, for me, the most important novels are those I read and loved instinctively when I was a boy. They’re the novels that helped us all open our imaginations. For me it was writers like Colin Dann, Richard Adams, Brian Jacques – writers who created other worlds for me to step into.

10. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I’d been writing and sending my books to publishers and agents for ten years before I got my first agent and, later, my first contract. Looking back, I know that it wasn’t only because my books weren’t strong enough (they weren’t!) but because they were odd, weird little stories too. I needed to learn how to open up my stories before publishers got interested… In the end, the year after I left University, I came to London to do some work experience with a number of literary agencies. It was an eye-opener into what I’d always thought of as the magical, shadowy world of books, and the things it taught me were to help immensely on my own publication journey.

11. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Like everything, it’s a bit of both. The Emporium doesn’t exist – if only it did! – and the story in the book is pure imagination. But, no matter how hard you try, bits of yourself always weave their way into your characters. Cathy’s pregnancy in the book is inspired by watching my daughter’s mum go through the same thing

12. What was your hardest scene to write?

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there’s a moment in the novel where something terrible might have happened to Sirius, the patchwork dog. I won’t reveal his fate, but this (even above Kaspar’s experience of war) was the tough stuff…

13. How did you come up with the title?

It just occurred to me right at the outset: something simple and statuesque, that opened the door for the reader directly into the novel. Later in the process we turned around various alternatives, but always swept back to The Toymakers in the end. I couldn’t think of it any other way.

14. What project are you working on now?

I’m between projects. Lots of ideas circling, but I haven’t put pen to paper yet…

15. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

These days I try not to read too many reviews of my own work. You remember the harsh reviews and people who haven’t liked your books more than you do the positive, so the only thing to do to stay sane is to keep your head down and get on with the work, to treat triumph and disaster just the same…

16. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Just a big heartfelt thank you to anyone who’s picked up one of my novels to read, and especially to those who’ve reached out to me online to tell me they’ve enjoyed The Toymakers. Writing is a solitary business and you never quite know what people are making of your book once it’s out in the wild, so it’s fantastic to hear from so many of you – thank you very much indeed.

Thank you so much Robert for taking the time to answer my questions, I wish you lot of luck with The Toy Maker!

About The Author:

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Robert Dinsdale was born in 1981 in North Yorkshire and currently lives in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. He is the author of THE HARROWING, LITTLE EXILES, GINGERBREAD and THE TOYMAKERS.

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#BlogTour: Force Of Nature by Jane Harper @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK @kimberleynyam

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I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for the fantastic book Force of Nature by Jane Harper.  This was another 5 star read for me (I know i’m on a roll) and I absolutely loved it.

Force of Nature is available to buy in ebook and hardback here.

The hardback is currently only £5 an absolute bargain!

Book Description:

FIVE WENT OUT. FOUR CAME BACK…

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

My Review:

I so enjoyed this fabulous book.  I thought the premise was very intriguing and I found myself gripped from the beginning with the fascinating mystery of what happened to Alice and why.

The thing that most stands out about this book is the brilliant use of the dual storyline. One follows Federal Agent Fauk and his partner Carmen as they help investigate Alice’s disappearance, the other describes what happened on the woman’s team building hike.  This makes for truly fascinating reading as it helps the reader get a better understanding of all the characters involved, what makes them tick and about their past experiences that still impact them today.  This is especially true in the parts describing the women’s experiences as things start to go wrong and the cracks in their fragile relationships begin to show.  This was expertly done with the author gradually revealing things about each character that really keeps the reader on their toes and guessing who was responsible for Alice’s disappearance.  I must have changed my mind at least a dozen times as each new chapter threw up new information that twisted the story in another direction.  This was hugely enjoyable for me as I love the to be kept guessing and the anticipation of discovering the truth.

I didn’t particularly like any of the women characters as they all seemed fairly unlikable.  They were all quite selfish and no one seemed particularly bothered about anyone other than themselves.  They are all well very different to each other which becomes more apparent as the story and the hike) go on.  I did like Fauk though and developed a bit of a soft spot for him throughout the book, especially when bits of his past are revealed.  He seemed to really care about his partner and his work which was lovely to read about.  I loved how real he seemed and found myself willing him to succeed and discover what happened.

The setting of the book, The Giralang Ranges, help create a very tense, eerie and claustrophobic atmosphere  due to the vivid descriptions on the dense trees which grow close together.  The history of what had happened there a few years previously also helps to create an almost menacing atmosphere and the sensation that the trees could be hiding anything and anyone.  I certainly found myself holding my breath at times as the women ventured further into the trees, wondering what they would discover.

This book is brilliantly plotted and the gradual revelations makes the book very difficult to out down.  The story is very addictive and I started carrying my book around with me and hiding in the toilet from the kids just so I could read a couple more pages.  It’s been a while since a book has made me do this.

This is the authors’s second book, but the first one I have read.  It is the second in a series but I thought it could easily be read as a standalone as anything you need to know is explained to you.  I will definitely be going back and reading her first book, The Dry, soon.

Huge thanks to the lovely Kimberly from Little Brown for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour. Just read this book you won’t be disappointed!

About The Author:

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Jane Harper is the author of The Dry, winner of various awards including the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, the 2017 Indie Award Book of the Year, the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year Award and the CWA Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 2017. Rights have been sold in 27 territories worldwide, and film rights optioned to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne.

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#BlogTour: Only Child by Rhiannon Navin @rhiannonnavin @jessduffyy @panmacmillan @MantleBooks #ReadOnlyChild

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I’m very excited to be on the blog tour for the wonderful Only Child by Rhiannon Navin.  With the increase in terror threats and the possible change in gun laws in America this is a very important book which I think everyone should read.

Only Child is available to purchase in hardback and ebook here.

This was another 5 star read for me!

Book Description:

We went to school that Tuesday like normal.
Not all of us came home . . .

Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, six-year-old Zach can hear shots ringing through the corridors of his school. A gunman has entered the building and, in a matter of minutes, will have taken nineteen lives.

In the aftermath of the shooting, the close knit community and its families are devastated. Everyone deals with the tragedy differently. Zach’s father absents himself; his mother pursues a quest for justice — while Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and drawing.

Ultimately though, it is Zach who will show the adults in his life the way forward — as, sometimes, only a child can.

My Review:

Only Child is an incredible, hard hitting and emotional story that I know will stay with me for a long time.

Firstly I don’t think I’ve ever read such a thrilling and haunting opening chapter! The description of Zach and his class hiding from the gunman was so vivid I felt like I was right there in the cupboard experiencing it along side of them.  Their fear is almost palpable and I felt my heart beat racing as I kept reading hoping they wouldn’t be discovered.  The pop sounds used to describe shots from a gun I almost felt physically as the descriptions of them were so brilliant.  Truly an amazing opening.

The story is narrated by six year old Zach who survives the shooting that kills his brother.  The reader follows him as he struggles to cope in the aftermath and especially with all the different feelings he has.  It was so sad to see him dealing with so much on his own as his parents are too self absorbed to help him with it.  I simultaneously wanted to give Zach a hug and his parents a shake!

The book is fairly fast paced as there is always something happening to keep the reader hooked.  It’s very easy to fall in love with Zach which makes you emotionally involved in the story.  I wanted to keep reading to check he was ok.

The ending was just perfect and I had tears running down my face as I read the last few pages.

This is the authors’s debut novel which is hard to believe at times as the writing is just exquisite! I really look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Huge thanks to Jess Duffy and Pan Macmillan publishers for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

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German by birth, Rhiannon Navin now lives in New York. She is married, with three children and two cats. This is her first novel.

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#BlogTour #Giveaway Blue Night by Simone Buchholz @ohneKlippo with @FwdTranslations @Orendabooks @annecater

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I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour today for Blue Night and to be hosting a giveaway.

I’ll reveal how to win a bit later but first let me tell you a little about the book.

Book Description:

After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital – almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles – Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived… Fresh, fiendishly fast-paced and full of devious twists and all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the best noir, Blue Night marks the stunning start of a brilliant new crime series, from one of Germany’s bestselling authors.

International Giveaway:

I have one paperback copy of Blue Night to giveaway courtesy of Orenda Books and Anne Cater.  This is open internationally.

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is RT the pinned tweet on my profile page or share my review on Facebook AND comment telling me what you like about Germany.

The winner will be announced Thursday 15th February.  Good Luck everyone!

About the Author

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Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as the second Place of the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

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#BlogTour: The Owl Always Hunts At Night by Samuel Bjork @ThomasssHill @TransworldBooks #MustRead #5Stars

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I’m very excited to be on the blog tour for this fabulous book and to be able to share my review with you today.

The Owl Always Hunts At Night is available to buy now here.

Book Description:

From the author of the bestselling Richard and Judy bookclub pick I’m Travelling Alone

No one is safe in the dark…

When a young woman is found dead, the police are quick to respond. But what they find at the murder site is unexpected. The body is posed, the scene meticulously set. And there is almost no forensic evidence to be found.
Detective Mia Krüger is a woman on the edge – she has been signed off work pending psychological assessment. But her boss has less regard for the rules than he should. Desperate to get Mia back in the office, Holger Munch offers her an unofficial deal.
But the usually brilliant Mia is struggling and the team are unable to close the case. Until a young hacker uncovers something that forces the team to confront the scope of the murderer’s plans and face the possibility that he may already be on the hunt for a second victim.

 

My Review:

As an avid reader it’s always exciting when you find a new author that you love.  I think it’s because this book is a little different than other similar books that had me enthralled from start to finish.

Firstly the crime scene and indeed the crime is something I hadn’t read anything like before.  The crime scene itself is quite surreal and very unsettling.  One of my fellow bloggers, the lovely Francesca, described it as dream like and I think that is a great description of it as there are so many blizzard elements to it that it’s like something you could conjure up in your dreams (or nightmares)! Some of the descriptions of this are quite graphic and there were moments that turned my stomach so if you’re easily offended you might not enjoy this book.

The author takes a lot of time in helping the reader learn more about the characters so they can understand what makes them tick and why they act as they do.  This made me care a lot more about them and what happened to them.  I found myself wanting them to succeed and have a happy ending both in their professional and private lives.  They all seemed slightly lost and broken which is hinted at being because of their job.  This, along with insight into their personal lives, makes them seem very real as I realised this could be something that effects policemen or detectives in real life.  I’ve never read a crime thriller where you are able to learn so much about the characters and it was very affective and helped to keep my interest.

The facts and discoveries are revealed slowly throughout the book with the tension slowly build until an amazing and hard hitting ending which blew me away.  I have a new born with reflux so nights are hard at the moment, but when reading this book I no longer cared about not getting any sleep as it meant I got more time to read this book. I really hope that such a crime doesn’t happen in the real world, although I have an unsettling feeling that it might.

This is the first book I have read by this author and although it is the second book in the series it reads easily as a stand alone as anything you need to know is explained.  I will be going back and reading his first book, I’m Traveling Alone soon.

Huge thanks to Thomas Hill and Transworld publishers for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour.  If you like unusual, engrossing and thrilling books you will love this book.

About The Author:

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Samuel Bjørk is the pen name of Norwegian novelist, playwright and singer/songwriter Frode Sander Øien. Øien wrote his first stageplay at the age of twenty-one and has since written two highly acclaimed novels, released six albums, written five plays, and translated Shakespeare, all in his native Norway. Øien currently lives and works in Oslo.

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In Love And War by Liz Trenow @Liztrenow @alicemaydewing @panmacmillan

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I’m so pleased to be able to share my review for this truly fantastic book! It’s utterly stunning and if you are a fan of historical fiction you need to read! I gave it 5 stars but would have given it more if I could!

In Love And War is available to buy in ebook and paperback here.

Book Description:

Three women, once enemies. Their secrets will unite them.

 

July, 1919. The First World War is over. The war-torn area of Flanders near Ypres is no longer home to trenches or troops, but groups of tourists. Controversial battlefield tourism now drives busloads of people to witness first-hand where loved ones fell.

At the Hotel de la Paix in the small village of Poperinghe, three women have come to the battlefields to find a trace of men they have loved and lost. Ruby is just twenty-one, a shy Englishwoman looking for the grave of her husband. Alice is only a little older but brimming with confidence; she has travelled all the way from America, convinced her brother is in fact still alive and in France. Then there’s Martha, and her son Otto, who are not all they seem to be . . .

The three women in Liz Trenow’s In Love and War may have very different backgrounds, but they are united in their search for reconciliation: to resolve themselves to what the war took from them, but also to what life might still promise for the future . . .

My Review:

I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, especially those that teaches me something new. I wasn’t aware that there used to be tours of the ww1 battlefields that grieving relatives could undertake to try and find their loved ones graves.  This must have been a very emotional and daunting task as the area had still not recovered with evidence of what had happened still visible.  The author paints a vivid picture of the differences between the normal, beautiful French countryside and the war torn one.  It is quite poignant to realise how different and altered it is and what must have happened to make it so.

It was fascinating to learn a little more about the other side and how German citizens had fare both during and after the war.  It was quite startling to be reminded that they had, of course, lost family members the same way that the allied forces had and were grieving too. My favourite character was Martha who I felt so sorry for in light of the awful treatment she receives from people when she’s just trying to find her son.  It must have been very hard to visit such places in the face of so much hatred.

I also thought it sad to learn that some soldiers stayed or returned to France rather than face an altered reality with little prospects and without friends or family.  Those returning did so as they wanted to revisit places where they were last happy and because they missed the friendships they had.  It’s incredible to learn that they were willing to stay in a place where so many had died and such horrors had been witnessed.  It paints a bleak picture of what was waiting for them at home!

The story is told from the point of view of three main characters Ruby, Alice and Martha all of whom are in France to find out what happened to their loved ones.  The pace of the book isn’t overly fast but the reader is never bored as there is always something happening or being discovered.  I liked that all the discoverys were done in real time and that there weren’t any weird coincidences, it made the story feel very real.  The author’s descriptions of war torn France were very vivid and really allowed me to see the village and battle fields in my mind’s eye. Sometimes I felt that I was right there alongside the characters watching everything unfold.

This is the third book by Liz Trenow I have read and I definitely look forward to reading more from her in the future as she is one of my favourite authors.  I though this was absolutely brilliant historical fiction that I will be recommending to everyone.  Even if you don’t normally read this genre, try it as it’s a fabulous story.

Huge thanks to Alice May Dewing from Pan Macmillan for my of this book.

About the Author

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Liz Trenow’s latest novel, In Love and War was published on 25th January 2018 by Pan Books. Her previous novels are The Last Telegram, The Forgotten Seamstress, The Poppy Factory and The Silk Weaver. She has been published all over the world and in eight foreign languages. The Last Telegram was shortlisted for a UK national award and The Forgotten Seamstress was a New York Times best-seller.

In Love and War marks the anniversary of the end of World War One with a story about the thousand of bereaved families who within months of the Armistice made the difficult journey to the devastated battlefields of the Flanders and The Somme in search of their loved ones who were ‘missing, presumed dead’. The book is told from the perspectives of three women who undertook this pilgrimage, each of them from different countries and backgrounds All three bear their own burdens of sorrow and guilt, and their searches seem almost impossibly daunting. While initially regarding each other with suspicion what they eventually discover, together, is greater than any of them could have imagined.

Liz is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in East Anglia, UK, with her artist husband, and they have two grown up daughters.

Please go to http://www.liztrenow.com, follow her on Facebook or join her on Twitter @liztrenow

#BlogTour: Home by Amanda Berriman @MandyBerriman @doubledaybooks @TransworldBooks @annecater @sophiechristoph

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I’m very excited to be on the blog tour for the amazing Home by Amanda Berriman today.  This is such a special and important book that I think everyone needs to read.

Home is published tomorrow on the 8th February 2018 and is available to buy here.

Book Description:

Jesika is four and a half.

She lives in a flat with her mother and baby brother and she knows a lot. She knows their flat is high up and the stairs are smelly. She knows she shouldn’t draw on the peeling wallpaper or touch the broken window. And she knows she loves her mummy and baby brother Toby.

She does not know that their landlord is threatening to evict them and that Toby’s cough is going to get much worse. Or that Paige, her new best friend, has a secret that will explode their world.

My Review:

This is such an incredible book.  So emotional and thought provoking, it will definitely be one that stays with me and one that I continue to think about.

Firstly I loved Jesika and I enjoyed reading about the games she played and how she thought.  The author works as a primary school teacher so a lot of these descriptions are very accurate and ones that I recognised from my own kids.  This made the book feel al the more real to me and a lot more emotional.  I felt very sorry for her at times as she reminded me of my eldest with her curiosity and I felt bad as like Tina I don’t always have time to appreciate of accommodate this.  Her innocence adds a very poignant edge to the story as she doesn’t understand the seriousness of what is happening and what she is observing.

I also felt a lot of sympathy for Tina and the situation she finds herself in.  She is obviously struggling but is trying to make the most of a bad situation.  She obviously loves her kids but is sometimes too stressed or busy to appreciate them properly, something I know all mother’s do at times.  The neighbours who are willing to help Tina and her family was so lovely to read about and I had a tear in my eye as i read about how they all rally around Tina and help her when she is in need.  I wish there were more people like this around.

The story is a heartbreaking one and covers some quite difficult subjects making it quite a hard, emotional read at times.  This is particularly true as it is told from a child’s point of view and highlights how innocent children are.  It also shows how abuse could not be discovered as children don’t realise what is happening and the gravity of it.  It took me a little while to get used to the writing as Jesika’s speech is a little disjointed and she is speaking as you would expect a child to talk which is difficult to follow at times- so quite realistic!

This is a very thought provoking book as it really causes you to challenge how you may think or act.  I will definetly be trying not to judge others and be more patient with my kids.  There were parts of this book that just made me want to put it down and hug my kids, even when they were sleeping as it really got under my skin.

Its hard to believe this is Amanda’s debut novel as she writes with such confidence on a difficult subject and I definetly look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Huge thanks to Sophie Christopher and Transworld for my copy of this book and to Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour.

About The Author:

Amanda Berriman

Mandy was born in Germany and grew up in Edinburgh, reading books, playing music, writing stories and climbing hills. She works as a primary school teacher and lives on the edge of the Peak District with her husband, two children and dogs.

Follow The Blog Tour:

if you liked the sound of this book from my review do follow the blog tour and see what these other fab bloggers are saying!

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#CoverReveal: The Curious Heart Of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland @under_blue_sky @Emily_BookPR @BonnierZaffre

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Eek so thrilled to be involved in the cover Reveal for the amazing Stephanie Butland’s second book, The Curious Heart Of Ailsa Rae.  I absolutely loved Lost for words so can’t wait to read this!

The Curious Heart Of Ailsa Rae is available to pre-order Here.

Before I reveal the fantastic, beautiful cover here is a little about the book.

Book Description:

Loveday Cardew won everyone’s heart in Lost for Words, now it’s time for Ailsa Rae to live, love and be loved . . . The perfect read for fans of The Keeper of Lost Things and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.

She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point and she wants to find her father.
Have her friends left her behind?
And she’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. She barely knows where to start on her own.

Then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart. 

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

Cover Reveal:

So without further ado here it is!

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Isn’t that totally gorgeous! I love the colours and that open door just speaks of so many opportunities.  Is it about her opening her heart, her life or about the opportunities open to her?  I can’t wait to find out!

About The Author:

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Stephanie Butland lives in Northumberland, close to the place where she grew up. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and loves being close to the sea. She’s thriving after cancer.
Twitter: @under_blue_sky
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stephanie-Butland-Author-282828548412029/
http://www.stephaniebutland.com
#Loveday

#BlogTour:Rocky Rocks And The Colourful Socks by Seniha Slowinski, illustrated by Nick Roberts @rararesources @authoright @authorightUKPR @gilbster1000

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I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for this fabulous children’s book, the first children’s book to be reviewed by Over The Rainbow Book Blog!

Rocky Rock’s And The Colourful Socks is available to buy in ebook and paperback Here.

Book Description:

Can you help Rocky Rocks find his socks? If you can see, you must tell me, what colour sock you can see? I’ll give you a clue, it rhymes with bed, could it be the colour… Rocky Rocks and the Colour Socks is a fun and interactive way of learning through rhyme by Seniha Slowinski. Illustrations by Nick Roberts.

My Review:

Rocky Rocks is a very fun, cute and educational children’s book which can help children learn their colours.  The reader is taken through the house, visiting the different rooms to try to find a sock of a particular colour.

The story is told in a gentle, easy rhyme with makes it very easy for children to follow.  My eldest is four and he really enjoyed guessing what colour sock we were finding from the rhymes.  The gorgeous illustrations that accompany them provide lots of fun whilst trying to find the missing sock from clues given in the rhyme.  This also gives lots of opportunities to help the children develop their vocabulary and important describing words like under or on.  We had great fun trying to find other objects in the rooms as each room is filled with lots of fun things to find.

My children absolutely loved this book and it has become a firm favourite in our house.  My eldest spends ages looking at it himself enjoying the pictures, as he can’t read much yet.  He especially liked the picture of the real Rocky and makes up lots of stories about him.

I really hope there are going to be more stories of Rocky’s adventures as I think they will be a favourite with pre-school children everywhere.

Huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour.

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About The Author:

Hi my name is Seniha Slowinski

And I am really excited about my project please read on to find out why!

My Rocky books are aimed at children, starting from pre-school age upwards and are inspired by my dog (the ‘real’ Rocky) with all the cute and funny things that he does and the children that I taught at Arnott pre-school in Thamesmead.
Teaching children dance at pre school age is very different to teaching older children or adults as they have a shorter attention span and get distracted easily! For this reason I would break up the session with various tasks including story time!
Whilst reading I was not captivating the attention of the little ones and the story was not engaging enough to keep the children interested!
Which is when I came up with the idea to get the children involved!

The books are about discovering and learning by following the character Rocky on his journey, which involves learning about significant things in life such as colours, learning to count and identifying things that their parents, carers or guardians may do on an everyday basis, such as shopping, going to the park, to the gym etc.

Some of the books involve interactive aspects and questioning that enables the children to participate and respond whilst others may have a learning message and factual information.

The books are written using rhymes which are repetitive and make it fun for the child/children to gain a more enjoyable experience.

Some of the stories are based on true events that Rocky has experienced such as visiting the sights of London, boxing, going to the park and training.

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