Monday, 27 July 2020

BLOG TOUR ~ Below The Big Blue Sky by Anna McPartlin

Hi Everyone,


Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Below The Big Blue Sky by Anna McPartlin where I have a review from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers who organised this tour in conjunction with Zaffre Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else has taken part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this review so without further ado, here it is:

Sometimes the end is only the beginning....

When forty-year-old Rabbit Hayes dies, she leaves behind a family broken by grief. Her mother Molly is distraught and in danger of losing her faith. Her father Jack spends hour upon hour in the family attic, poring over his old diaries, losing himself in the past.

Rabbit's brother Davey finds himself suddenly guardian to her twelve-year-old daughter Juliet. Juliet might be able to fill a hole in Davey's heart - but how can he help Juliet through her grief when he can barely cope with his own?

Meanwhile, Rabbit's sister Grace is struggling with the knowledge that she carries the same gene that made her sister ill, and Rabbit's best friend Marjorie is lost, struggling to remain a part of a family she has always wished was her own now that her link to them is gone.

But even though the Hayes family are all fighting their own battles, they are drawn together by their love for Rabbit, and their love for each other. In the years that follow her death they find new ways to celebrate and remember her, to find humour and hope in the face of tragedy, and to live life to its fullest, as Rabbit would have wanted.


Well, where do I start with this other than to say what a beautiful, emotional and thought provoking story, I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. I read The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes during the first few days of when I was told to start self isolate due to the pandemic we're still in the midst of 5 months on and I was delighted to receive the follow up which I moved straight onto after where I thought I'd been all cried out after finishing the first installment I was in for more tears but a lot of happy tears also along the way too. It is a continuation on from The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes so I would advise you to read this beforehand to get a feel for the story and the characters.

This story had it all from family, love with more sensitive and hard-hitting issues which were dealt with perfectly and it was well researched and written in a very sensitive and compassionate manner. I found I had tears streaming down my face at the end along with shedding a few along the way. I would highly recommend to read Anna if you haven't read any of her books already so grab this book, curl up on the couch with a few tissues and prepare to have a few lump in your throat moments too. I would definitely even say that this is definitely going to huge this year and is already one of my favourite books that I've read so far this year.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Below The Big Blue Sky is available from all good bookshops, libraries, audio and on Kindle where it is currently £6.02 at the time of publication of this review.


Thursday, 2 July 2020

REVIEW ~ The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O'Connor


With huge thanks to Clare Kelly from Zaffre Books, I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review....

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear?

This book is set in London in the height of a long and dark Winter where unfortunately we know all these kinds of people all too well. Those who exist just on the fringes of society. Who send prickles up the back of our neck. The charmers, the liars, the manipulators. Those who have the potential to go that one step too far. And then take another step.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living from these kinds of people as she is a radio broadcaster and each week she does her show where she looks into the past lives of convicted killers and questioning if there was more that could have been done to prevent their terrible crimes.

But one day she is approached by a woman desperate to find her missing friend, Cassie, fearing her abusive husband may have taken that final deadly step. But as Jessamine delves into the months prior to Cassie's disappearance she fails to realise there is a dark figure closer to home, one that threatens the safety of her own family . . .

Well, where so I start I absolutely LOVED this book and can see why it was the breakout thriller of 2019. After not picking up a book in over a week I picked this out of my TBR pile and I'm so glad that I did, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, it was brilliant, full of twists, turns and explosive storylines, it was such a gripping thriller with a remarkable depiction of the kind of monsters who live among us on a daily basis in our society. I always scrutinise people whom I meet or who I see in the street and question everything about them and I will do this even more now after reading The Dangerous kind.

Deborah, I think you got me out of my reading slump and I thank you for that. I really look forward to reading your other book My Husband's Son and hopefully you're working on your next book but no pressure.

The Dangerous Kind is available in all good bookstores (mainly online, due to the situation we're in with Covid-19), in libraries, audio and on Kindle where it is currently £2.07 at the time of publication of this review do go and get it you definitely won't regret it. I would say that his is one of the best thrillers I've read so far this year.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Blog Tour ~ Dead and Gone by Sherryl Clark

Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Dead and Gone by Sherryl Clark where I've a guest author post from Sherryl on A Quick Guide To Australian Slang For Readers. I was thrilled to be asked by Clare Quinvilan from No Exit Press to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else has taken part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:


A QUICK GUIDE TO AUSTRALIAN SLANG FOR READERS by Sherryl Clark


Often when you’re reading novels written by writers in other countries, the local slang can get quite confusing! Even between Australia and New Zealand, we have slang mix-ups. The Kiwis can’t understand why Australians call their footwear thongs. Aren’t thongs a kind of underwear? Kiwis call those jandals (in other places they’re called flip-flops). As for the cooler chests you take to the beach or barbecues, the Kiwis call them chilly bins and the Aussies call them Eskies. (And don’t get me started on bum bags and fanny packs and …)

So here’s a list of some Australian slang you might come across, along with (hopefully) sensible explanations.

Get in a blue – get into a fight (usually at a pub or a party).

Stone the crows! – an expression of astonishment.

Tinny – not a can of beer. It’s what you call a small aluminium dinghy you go out in for fishing. “I’ll put the tinny on the trailer and head out to the coast.”

Go right off – no, not veering around the corner. It’s someone losing their temper.

Pack a sad – sulking. “I told him what I thought and he packed a sad about it.”

Bikies – what Australians call biker gangs, as distinct from bikkies, which is slang for biscuits.

Anzac bikkies – the oat and golden syrup biscuits that are famous for their ability to “keep” (freshness) and were sent to soldiers in WWII.

Have a cold one/a coldie – meaning beer, which needs to be cold and with a decent froth on top.

Aussie salute – we have a certain species of small bush fly here that loves to hang around and land on your face and eyes, so the “salute” is the wave to keep them off.

Ankle biter – small child.

Knee trembler – sex standing up.

Crook – multi-use word for getting angry with someone, or feeling sick, or something dodgy. “I was feeling crook so I stayed home”, “He went crook at me”, “There was something crook about that” or “He’s a crook, steals anything not nailed down”.

Dag – someone who’s a nerd or a geek or funny or just a bit weird (literal meaning is the bits of skin that hang off a sheep’s rear end). “Joe makes me laugh, he’s a real dag.” Most famous rendition is Fred Dagg, famous Kiwi comedian who moved to Australia and then Australia claimed him (common problem, see also Sam Neill, Split Enz, etc).

Daks – trousers of various kinds. Hence underdaks (underpants) and trakkie daks (tracksuit pants).

Dunny – toilet.

Runners – trainers, joggers, sneakers etc.

Stubby – a bottle of beer, usually 375ml. Also in the pub, you’ll find the beer served in various glass measures depending on what state you live in – could be schooners and middys, or pots or pints or … (it’s probably the easy way to tell who’s from out of state).

Slab – a box of 24 stubbies or cans of beer.

Hoon – someone who roars around in their car doing wheelies and doughnuts.

Hard yakka – hard work.

Crikey – expression of surprise. “Crikey, mate, who cut your hair?”

Bail out – to cancel plans. “Bruce bailed out on our fishing trip.”

Cactus – dead or broken. “I tried to fix the car but it was cactus.”

Booze – alcohol. It’s applied in various ways. “He was so boozed he couldn’t walk home.” The police testing unit is called a booze bus. Someone who drinks a lot is a boozer, and some people call the pub a boozer. So you can have a sentence like, “That boozer, Charlie, went down the boozer tonight and got totally boozed and the booze bus caught him on the way home.”

Bugger – often used as an endearing term for older men, such as “That old bugger, Joe”. Also as an expletive. “Bugger, I lost my keys!” Or to describe a person who’s been misbehaving. “He’s a silly bugger.”

Has a kangaroo loose in the top paddock – a bit mad or crazy or not quite with it. Also known as being “a sandwich short of a picnic”.

Budgie smugglers – small swimwear (often Speedos) worn by men that tends to accentuate a certain aspect of their physique. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

Deadset – true. “Deadset, she paid $200 for that haircut!”

Barbie – the barbecue. Australia’s most famous tourism ad had Paul Hogan tell everyone to “put another shrimp on the barbie” (except here they’re prawns at least 4cm long, not little pink things).

Up yourself – someone who has tickets on themselves, or is stuck up. The extreme is someone who is so far up themselves that they’ve completely disappeared.

Woop-woop – a very long way from anywhere, which might also be the outback (out the back of nowhere).

Knock off – another multi-use word. Often used with work, so finishing work (as in “I knocked off early”), or finishing a job (“I knocked off that last bit of painting in half an hour”). Also for something fake (“Her Gucci handbag was actually a knock-off”), reducing (“I’ll knock ten dollars off the price if you pay cash”), or perhaps murder (“They knocked Charlie off for talking to the cops”).

Slang in the teenage world tends to come and go, changing every few years, but many of these have been around in the Australian vernacular for decades, and sometimes old ones get resurrected. If you’re keen to know more, try https://nomadsworld.com/aussie-slang/ or simply Google “Australian slang”.



Sherryl Clark’s new book Dead and Gone is available now from Verve Books – vervebooks.co.uk/dead-and-gone




Monday, 8 June 2020

BLOG TOUR ~ Strangers by C.L. Taylor


Hi everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Strangers by C.L. Taylor where I've a review from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sanjana Cunniah from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else has taken part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:


They know you. But you don't know them.......
Ursula: lonely, grieving, has a bit of a habit taking things that aren't hers....

Gareth: security guard, lives with his mother, inagines a different life...

Alice: single Mum, works in a shopping centre, just started dating again...

Well, where do I start with this, only with I absolutely LOVED it. I thought C.L. Taylor's books were all brilliant especially her last three books, The Escape, The Fear and Sleep but I felt that Strangers was even better, I devoured it in a couple of days, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I LOVE the way Cally's writing is so different to other books I've read before, it's not a 'whydunit' story as we do get to know that from near the start but it's more of a 'whodunit' with layers upon layers of deception and lies that unfold before our eyes the deeper you get into it. Strangers is told from mainly three characters throughout the book, Alice, Gareth and Ursula, each with their own story. Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before. Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life. Gareth's been receiving strange postcards and Alice is being stalked. None of them are used to relying on others but when the three strangers' lives unexpectedly collide, there's only one thing for it, they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die. Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening. I have to say that I absolutely loved the characters and what an opening chapter to open a book, it was brilliant, but I don't want to really say too much more without spoiling it other than just go out and buy Strangers.

The million-copy bestseller returns with a gripping new novel that will keep you guessing until the end. It is just brilliant and I'd HIGHLY recommend it so make sure you grab a copy to bring along with you on holidays as it'll be the perfect beach read.

Strangers is available from all good bookshops, libraries, audio and on Kindle where it is currently £0.99 at the time of publication of this review.


Thursday, 30 April 2020

SPOTLIGHT ~ We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker


Hi Everyone,


Today is my stop for the final day of the Blog Tour for We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker where I was supposed to have a review but the way things went with the current situation with the Covid-19 I was unable to receive a copy of the book for review of his latest novel so instead I will shine a spotlight on it. I was thrilled to be asked by Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Reading in conjunction with  who organised this tour to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else has taken part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this spotlight been shone on We Begin At The End but I really look forward to reading it once I receive a copy when things settle down so without further ado, here it is:

Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer. 


Now, he's been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.


Duchess Radley, Star's thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin - and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town. 


Murder, revenge, retribution.


'You can't save someone that doesn't want to be saved . . .'


'Contender for thriller of the year' SUNDAY EXPRESS

For fans of Jane Harper's The Dry comes a powerful novel about the lengths we will go to keep our family safe. This is a story about good and evil and how life is lived somewhere in between.




Friday, 24 April 2020

BLOG TOUR ~ The Cutting Place by Jane Casey

Hi Everyone,


Today is my stop for the final day of the Blog Tour for The Cutting Place by Jane Casey where I have a review from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Ciara Swift from Harper Collins Ireland who organised this tour to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else has taken part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this review so without further ado, here it is:


TO BE A MEMBER OF THE CHIRON CLUB YOU MUST BE:

1. Filthy rich
2. Extremely powerful
3. Totally ruthless
4. Guilty

You've got to be in the club to know the truth.

Everyone's heard the rumors abour elite gentlemen's clubs, where the champagne flows freely, the parties are the height of decadence and the secrets arex darker than you could possibly imagine.

DS Maeve Kerrigan is back on the case but finds herself in an unfamiliar world of wealth, luxury and completely ruthless behavious as she investigates the murder of Paige Hargreaves, a young journalist. She was working on a story about the Chiron Club, a private society for the richest and most privileged men in London but then she disappeared.

It becomes clear to Maeve that the members of this club have many secrets. But even Maeve is hiding her own secrets, even from her partner DI Josh Derwent. Will she uncover the truth about Paige's death? Or will time run out for Maeve??

Well, I didn't like it.........I LOVED it. I was gripped from the first page and couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see how this all panned out for DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent, it was brilliant. Full of action, secrets, lies and been led down the wrong paths on a few occasions. The story is told in two timelines, present day and 2 years ago which are intertwined and expertly tied up as you reach the end. Jane deals with a few themes throughout this storyline including domestic abuse which was researched and handled quite sensitively. I'd even go as far as saying that this is one of the best police procedurals novels that I've read in a long time.

This is Jane's 10th novel in the Maeve Kerrigan series and ashamedly this is the first one that I've read, you can jump in and read this without reading the others but in a way I wish I'd have read the others to get the stories and backgrounds of the characters, however before the world came to a lockdown I'd reserved the whole series in my local library so I'll have something to look forward to when life starts getting back to normal again.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The Cutting Place is available in all good bookstores and I know many of them are able to deliver/post out books when ordered and it's also available on Kindle where it is currently £2.99 at the time of publication of this review.




BLOG TOUR ~ Two Kinds of Blood by Jane Ryan


Hi Everyone,


Today is my stop for the Blog Tour for Two Kinds of Blood by Jane Ryan where I have an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Paula from Poolbeg Books who organised this to boost the spotlight on Jane's new release seeing as the difficult situation we're facing with the Coronavirus to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else has taken part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this review so without further ado, here it is:


Chapter 6

The tartan blanket was stiff with black dirt, but filth never bothered Seán Flannery. It was one more type of disguise. He was sitting in the doorway of a ‘to let’ restaurant in Monkstown’s crescent, a once-busy grocer’s shop decades back. The cold October wind blew grit and the bitter tang of road tar into his face. The low winter sun had turned the roadworkers into a dayglo chain gang. Seán had watched their confused progression for two days, noting the local worthies were not pleased, holding their sharp noses a fraction higher as they walked by, too busy muttering about ‘slipshod builders’ and ‘corrupt councillors’ to drop a coin in Seán’s tatty paper cup. It suited him. The village was sleepy and quiet from the diverted traffic. A fear had gnawed at him since the abandoned Fuentes shipment and something like injustice at the stones on the DOCB for stealing his drugs and some Garda buffoon on television talking about teamwork and striking a blow at the heart of organised crime. It rankled. And they’d trashed the Farm. Gardaí had respect for nothing, tearing down a man’s legacy. He rammed an ancient deerstalker hat further down his head, the fleece matted with grease from someone else’s hair. He’d filched it from a charity shop as he walked through Blackrock. The invisible hobo. Insulated from the cold in an ancient parka, he watched the men working from his vantage point, lost in the beat of the steel rollers moving over the black-glitter glue of bitumen. The roadworkers folded in more gravel and rolled again, as though working toffee, the rhythm of their travails a meditation. It took Seán away, his eyes half-shut and a layer of white flocculent sleep all but descending on him. He put his hand into his boxers. Right under the jock cup was a concealed pocket. He touched the teeth of his house key, their jagged edges soothing him. Lorraine came to him. Not the shredded woman in the warehouse, too destroyed to recoil from the punches, but Lorraine as she lay frozen, the ice fogging and reshaping her into a serene Madonna. It was a peaceful scene until Seán remembered the baby girl he’d orphaned. She punctured his self-awareness, leaving it as pocked as the road surface. He should have killed the child – instead he left her to a motherless fate. Proof, if it was needed, that he was formed from original sin. It made sense of his cruelty and inability to feel remorse . . . but he had felt remorse about Lorraine’s child. He struck his head, wanting to smack down the unassailable questions mid-air. He shifted his thoughts away from that, to another girl walking around the backroom of his mind, so ripe at the age of nine. The soft downy skin on her arms and her dreams pulsing below the transparent skin of her eyelids. His desire was malevolent, dark as tar seeping into his pores, suffocating him. He blamed original sin. The nuns in the Home said not even Jesus could wash away his sin. Despite that, Jesus would try to love him. Without end. A millstone of forgiveness around his neck to wander through life with. Seán hadn’t believed the nuns’ fantastic stories of women turned to salt and oracle boys whose dreams came true – but original sin was different. St Augustine, who Seán knew about from his time in the boys’ home named after him, declared that original sin was passed down through the generations when people had sexual intercourse and conceived a child. If the offspring was of an unwed mother, even baptism couldn’t wash away the sin. Seán was doused in it. A Nissan van screeched to a halt. Seán’s head whipped up while his legs thrashed out of the tangled rug. Four men from the road gang ran towards him. Another man tarring the road looked at the melee, the quick movements of the men drawing his eye. Seán’s fingers scratched the pavement, struggling for purchase. The roadworker looked away from his terror. Those other men were unstoppable. Big, ugly conscripts with anabolic bodies. Fear bit into Seán and numbed his feet, turning them towards one another in his unlaced boots – he jerked his knees upwards to release his feet from them. A hand reached him. Grabbed the parka. Seán shrugged it off and ran. Past an empty pub in his bare feet, heading for the boiling tar of the new road surface. Four hands hiked him up before he reached it. His legs chopped the air, his left arm brought back to an unnatural angle and close to snapping. ‘Youuuu!’ Seán called out to the roadworker who had caught his eye, but the man shrugged and continued breastfeeding his shovel. This was not his fight.

‘We have you now, Seán,’ said one of the attackers. ‘There’s a good man and don’t make a scene. Or I’ll break your arm.’

‘Do youse scum know who you’re dealing with?’

‘We do, Seán – but maybe you not – Big Man,’ said another, the air of pack leader about him, despite his pinched features.

He had a cheerful, chilling tone of voice and a Slavic accent. He mangled his English into horror show bites and was soaked in Eau de Psycho. Here for the impersonal violence. Seán swallowed his pain and terror. His chances of surviving would collapse with a broken arm. Two of the men hog-tied him with plastic cable-ties and slung him into the back of the white van with a single yellow stripe, head first. The deerstalker took most of the impact, but there was a crunch and a warm line along his eyebrow. The abduction had taken less than two minutes. It happened so fast a bystander wouldn’t have realised what they were looking at. The van looked commonplace yet official. Fear and panic played on Seán so the van doors appeared to close in slow motion, peeling him back to the boy with his face pushed into ammonia-smelling black trousers.