Sunday, 9 December 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ Cuckoo by Sophie Draper

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Cuckoo by Sophie Draper where I've a review from her debut novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

There’s a stranger in your house…

When her stepmother dies unexpectedly, Caro returns to her childhood home in Derbyshire. She hadn’t seen Elizabeth in years, but the remote farmhouse offers refuge from a bad relationship, and a chance to start again. Caro also has a sister who now lives in New York and has done well for herself that she doesn't want anything to do with the house so has instructed to the solicitor looking after the affairs to let Caro take the house and do what she wants with it.

But when going through Elizabeth’s belongings unearths memories Caro would rather stay buried. In particular, the story her stepmother would tell her, about two little girls and the terrible thing they do.

As heavy snow traps Caro in the village, where her neighbours stare and whisper, Caro is forced to question why Elizabeth hated her so much, and what she was hiding. But does she really want to uncover the truth?

I really, really enjoyed this creepy and sinister debut novel, although it started off really well and had me gripped from the first page, I felt that it dropped a little in intensity but I kept my interest but then when it picks back up prepare to turn the pages and read this at break neck speed. Loved the atmosphere throughout the book and on a few occasions I felt an itch on arms which was the hairs standing up on them. The story was like an onion where you had to peel the skin off and then continue peeling back the layers as to why the neighbours stare at her and don't like her and as to why her step mother hated her so much. I loved the creepiness when things started happening in Caro's childhood house when she was there and started clearing it out. I don't want to say anymore incase I may give something away apart from go on and get a copy, you won't regret it.

Cuckoo is available in all good bookshops, on audio and on Kindle where it is currently £0.99 at the time of this review.

Monday, 3 December 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ Who I Am by Sarah Simpson

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Who I Am by Sarah Simpson where I've an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by the author Sarah Simson herself to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

‘Yes,  you  could,  it’s  Christmas  and  I’d  really  like  you  to  stay  on.  I’ll  be  leaving  tomorrow.’A  worried  expression  shot  across  her  face.  ‘Oh?  What  leaving  Uni?  For  good?’I  laughed,  feeling  flattered,  she  appeared  genuinely  upset.  ‘No,  course  not.  For  Christmas  I  mean.  I’ve  the  rest  of  next  year  to  get  through  yet.  How  about  you,  what  year  are  you  in,  you  didn’t  say?’‘Yeah,  the  same.  Well  it  should  be  anyway,  but  the  way  things  are  looking,  what  with  the  accommodation,’  she  shrugged,  ‘I  might  not  be  graduating  at  all.’I  curled  my  arm  around  her  and  squeezed.  ‘Try  not  to  worry.  Thing’s  always  turn  up,  there’s  always  something  to  be  worked  out.’  It  felt  like  a  silly  thing  to  say.  Why  do  we  say  these  things?  ‘Come  on  choose  your  cocktail.  I’m  buying,  I  insist.’  It’s  funny,  I  hardly  know  Camilla,  but  sitting  here  I  feel  a  real  affinity  to  her,  there’s  a  sadness  behind  her  eyes,  something  unsaid,  but  also  there’s  –life  and  excitement.My  head  spins,  my  legs  have  other  ideas,  when  I  stand  to  make  my  way  to  the  ladies,  stumbling  back,  I  collapse  on  to  Camilla’s  lap.  ‘Woah,  sorry,’  I  giggle,  ‘these  cocktails  are  potent.’  With  Camilla’s  help  I  lever  myself  back  up,  the  room  wobbling  around  me,  ‘I’d  better  come  with  you,’  she  laughs.Clara  gathers  herself  to  stand,  ‘I’ll  go,  I’m  used  to  her  atrocious  drink  tolerance,’  she  practically  spits  at  Camilla.‘It’s  fine,  Clara,  stay  put,  I’m  hardly  blotto,  just  stood  up  too  quickly.’  I  tell  her,  as  soon  as  the  words  leave  my  mouth,  I  realise  I’ve  offended  her  in  some  way.Camilla  smiles  at  her  warmly,  then  arm  in  arm  we  make  our  way  across  the  room.  Pushing  our  way  through  the  heavy  bathroom  door  into  a  woman,  giggling  at  her  affronted  face  as  we  pushed  past  her  in  the  doorway.‘It’s  Christmas.  Tis  the  season  to  be  merry.’Camilla  calls  after  her.  Her  tongue  finally  loosening  as  she  relaxes.  Practically  falling  through  the  second  door  into  the  spacious  bathroom,  gilt  mirrors  and  floral  displays  in  abundance,  a  strong  whiff  of  pot  pourri.  ‘Wow,’  I  hear  through  the  cubicle  door,  ‘these  loos  are  better  than  anything  I’ve  ever  lived  in.’  I  can’t  help  but  laugh  out  loud.  ‘Think  I  could  stay  here  next  year?  D’you  think  they’d  notice  if  I  moved  my  stuff  in?’  When  I  exit  the  cubicle,  she’s  padding  around  in  wonderment  before  turningher  attention  to  the  complimentary  toiletries.  ‘Look  at  this  stuff.  It’s  really  expensive,  wish  I’d  brought  a  bigger  handbag  now.’

I  giggle  at  her  expression  through  the  elaborate  gold-leaf  mirror  as  I  wash  my  hands.  ‘You’re  hilarious  Camilla,  you’ve  not  been  here  before  tonight  then?’She  bolts  herself  upright.  ‘Of  course  I  have,  only  pulling  your  leg.’  She  throws  her  hands  up.  ‘I’m  not  kidding  you,  am  I?’  She  nods.  ‘This  is  the  first  time,  and  it’s  completely  amazing.  But,  I’ll  definitely  be  coming  back,that’s  for  sure.  As  often  as  I  can.’She  reminds  me  of  an  awestruck  child,  so  refreshing  and  charming,  makes  me  feel  as  though  I’m  missing  out  on  something  special,  too  much  in  my  life  taken  for  granted.  ‘Are  you  serious  then?’  I  ask,  reaching  for  the  folded  cotton  hand  towels.  Camilla  spins  on  her  heals,  all  eyelashes.  ‘About  not  having  anywhere  to  stay  next  year,  I  mean.  Surely,  you  won’t  really  need  to  defer,  will  you?’Twinkling  dark  eyes  cloud,  ‘deadly,’  she  says.  ‘I  can’t  pull  the  funds  together,  so  I  can’t  see  that  I’ll  have  a  choice.  I’m  trying  not  to  think  about  it  but  it’s  a  strong  possibility.’‘So  what  about  your  student  loan?’She  regards  the  vanity  size  moisturiser  in  her  hand,  ‘ah  well,  that’s  another  story.  Probably  not  for  tonight,  I  don’t  want  to  burden  you  with  my  crap,  I  mean  bad  stuff,  it’s  not  fair.’‘No,  go  on,  please.  I’d  like  to  understand.’‘Nothing  to  it  really.  I’ve  used  up  all  my  allowance,  so,  can’t  afford  to  support  myself.  Simple  as  that.’  She  sighs  heavily,  shoulders  noticeably  slumping.  ‘I’m  all,  as  they  say  –spent  up.  Skint.’‘How  come?  Sorry,  do  you  mind  me  asking?  You  don’t  have  to  tell  me,  if  you  think  I’m  being  nosey.’‘It’s  fine,  feels  like  I’ve  known  you  for  ages  anyway,’  I  smile  at  her,  I  totally  understand  what  she  means,  it  does.  ‘Thing  is,  I  had  to  pay  for  my  dad,  he’s  sick,  really  sick,  in  a  home  he  is.’As  she  hangs  her  head,  I  could  kick  myself  for  making  her  feel  so  dejected  on  a  night  like  this,  I  brush  her  hand,  ‘I’m  sorry,  Cam,  I’d  no  idea  things  are  so  bad,I  shouldn’t  have  pushed  you,  feel  awful  now.’‘It’s  fine  really.  It’s  his  own  fault  really,  Dad,  I  mean.  Korsakoff’s  syndrome  they  call  it?’  Her  voice  rises  as  if  she’s  uncertain.  ‘Dementia  to  me.  That’s  how  I  get  my  head  round  it.’

‘Korsakoff’s?  Isn’t  it associated  with  too  much  alcohol?’  God,  I  wish  I  hadn’t  guzzled  all  those  cocktails,  in  particular  that  I  hadn’t  practically  forced  them  on  Camilla  too.‘Yeah,  he’s  a  pisshead  basically,’  she  cups  her  mouth  with  a  delicate  hand.  ‘Excuse  my  language,’  she  says,  ‘but,  he  always  has  been  –a  drunk.  You’ve  heard  of  it  then,  can’t  say  I  ever  had  before.  Could  hardly  even  pronounce  it,  never  mind  understand  it.  The  doctor  tried  to  say,  it  isn’t  always  caused  by  the  booze,  but  we  both  understood,  in  Dad’s  case,  it  was.  I’m  gob-smacked  you’ve  even  heard  of  it.’‘Only  because  we  had  a  talk  on  the  long  term  effects  of  alcohol  last  year.  Think  they  were  trying  to  dry  some  of  the  students  out.  Warn  them  off  with  a  list  of  potential  deadly  outcomes.  Wasting  their  time,  obviously.  I  don’t  really  understand  the  full  ins  and  outs  of  it,  other  than  it’s  a  really  cruel  illness,  as  dementia  always  is.  I’m  so  sorry,  that’s  really  tough  on  you  too.’‘Hmm.  Like  I  said,  it’s  his  own  fault.  But  anyhow  that’s  where  my  money  went.  All  of  it.  But  what  was  I  to  do?’‘What  about  your  mum?’  Words  I  wished  I  could  rein  back  in  on  noticing  her  physically  congeal.‘Dead.’  She  says.I  gasp  out  loud  before  I  can  stop  myself,  then  grab  her  hand  and  squeeze,  words  failing  me.‘Same  way,  before  you  ask.’  She  gives  a  reciprocal  squeeze  then  releases  my  hand,  to  place  the  moisturiser  back  in  the  basket  next  to  her.  ‘Not  the  Korsakoffs  stuff,  but  still  a...drunk,  amongst  other  stuff.  Again,  all  her  own  doing.’Despite  now  feeling  completely  sober,  I  feel  my  legs  quiver.  ‘Look,  I  appreciate  you  hardly  know  me,  so  please  tell  me  if  I’m  offending  you.  But  the  three  of  us,’  I  nod  towards  the  bathroom  door,  ‘me,  Clara  and  Jo,  we  share  a  house  in  Stockbridge,  Daddy  rents  it  for  us,  then  we  share  the  rent.  My  bedroom  is  huge,  plenty  big  enough  for  two  and  I’ve  a  spare  bed  already  in  there,  you  could  always  share  with  me,  until  you  sort  yourself  out  at  least.’‘But...’‘No,  you  don’t  need  to  say  anything,  not  just  yet.  Have  a  think  about  it.  I’m  off  back  home  tomorrow,  won’t  be  back  until  January,  so  you’ve  some  time  to  mull  it  over.  Please  don’t  feel  obliged  or  anything  though,  it’s  only  a  thought.’  I  pick  up  our  bags  and  hand  her  hers  as  we  walk  towards  the  exit  door.  ‘You  have  my  mobile number  so  let  me  know,  any  time.’  The  raucous  laughter  hits  us  as  we  push  at  the  door,  joyfulness  and  drunken  exchanges  circling  the  domed  ceiling.  I  pull  her  back  before  we  reach  our  table.  ‘Please  tell  me  –I  haven’t  offended  you,  been  a  little  too  forward.  I  didn’t  mean  to  be.  I  only  want  to  help  if  I  can.’Newly  perfectly  painted  lips  turn  upwards.  ‘No,  of  course  you  haven’t,’  she  reassures  me,  ‘but  obviously,  I’ll  need  to  think  it  over.  It’s  very  sweet  of  you  but  I  like  to  pay  my  way  usually  and  it’s  all  a  bit  embarrassing.  I’ve  always  been  a  believer,  nothing  is  free  in  life,  everything  comes  with  a  price  list.  Something  Dad  did  teach  me.’‘Accept  good  friendships,  Cam,  they  shouldn’t  come  at  a  cost.  I  know  we’ve  only  just  met  but  like  you  said,  feels  more  like  we’ve  known  each  other  for  ages.  If  I  can  help  you,  you’ll  let  me  know,  won’t  you?’‘Thanks  Andi,  I’ll  think  about  it,  promise.’  She  rubs  my  arm.  Maybe,  I’ve  lifted  some  of  the  weight  sitting  incongruently  on  a  petite  frame.  Life  can  be  so  unfair  sometimes,  so  cruel  and  as  Grandma  always  told  me,  there  but  for  the  grace  of  God  go  I.

Friday, 30 November 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ Good Samaritans by Will Carver

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Good Samaritans by Will Carver where I've a review from his latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Anne Cater from Random Book Tours to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

With huge thanks to Karen Sullivan, Orenda Books, Will Carver and Anne Cater I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.........

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach.

Meet Seth Beauman, he can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to a member from The Samaritans Helpline. But when a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. Unfortunately this dysfunctional love story turns into something much darker altogether, when Seth brings Hadley home, someone is watching.......

Well, where do I start, I found this review quite difficult to just put the words onto paper without giving much away. However, I enjoyed this book, it started off really well, then felt it slowed quite a lot and then just over halfway it picked right back up again with a bang. I will just warn that there is a lot of explicit scenes which are quite descriptive and I'm not prudish at all but some readers might find it an uncomfortable read at times but don't let that put you off.  It was a bonkers of a read too, I wasn't expecting the way the story developed at all but overall a really enjoyable read. Parts of this book kind of reminded me of the movie American Psycho starring Christian Bale. Seth Beauman was a very interesting character as was his wife, Maeve. Will Carver definitely has a warped mind with this book. This is my first time to read a book by Will and it definitely won't be my last.

Definitely Recommended.

Good Samaritans is available in all good bookstores, libraries, on audio and Kindle where it is currently £1.99 at the time of publication of this review.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday where I've a review of her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Anne Cater from Random Book Tours to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

With huge thanks to Karen Sullivan, S.J.I. Holliday and Anne Cater I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review..........

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient spiritual commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

Well, where do I start with this..........I didn't like it, I abolutely LOVED it. Jack is an ex-police officer and Ali a nurse but what led to Jack having to give up his role in the police force, well you need to read on to see why. The Lingering is told from 3 different characters within the book, Ali, Angela and Smeaton who is part of Rosalind House. It was such a creepy read, full of thrills and spills, parts were spine-tingling and terrifying and I don't think that you'll want to enter your bath for a long time after finishing this book, well I know I won't anyway. I could feel my heart beating while reading certain parts of it too, especially those footprints and the ending of it too but I don't want to say anymore other than go and buy this book immediately and prepare to be scared and freaked out. The Lingering has to be another one of my favourite books that I've read this year.

Then Lingering is available in all good bookshops, libraries, on audio and on Kindle where it is currently £4.31 at the time of publication of this review. Go and get it you won't regret it.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ What Happened To Us by Faith Hogan

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for What Happened To Us by Faith Hogan where I've a guest piece about animals and to list her favourite 3 animals. I was thrilled to be asked by Faith Hogan herself to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

Dog Days Indeed...

If you’ve spotted ‘What Happened to Us? floating about the internet, you can’t have not noticed the gorgeous dog in the foreground of the cover. I’m delighted to introduce this gorgeous character called Teddy to you today!
As you’re reading this, it will be almost a year since I talked Mr H into getting a family dog. Prior to this, we’ve had cats. We’ve had white cats, grey cats, red cats, fat cats and thin cats. Their personalities have run the gamut from clever cats to grumpy cats and everything in between. Basically, any cat that managed to walk into the garden has been offered refuge. Our very own cat was called Norris, an overweight, huge personality of a cat who managed to worm his way into the affections of everyone, even the decidedly non pet lover Mr H. 
Unfortunately, at the end of last year, our darling Norris, met his bumpy end on the nearby busy road, so it was time to welcome a new personality into our home. There was no replacing Norris, so another cat was out of the question.

pic courtesy of Keith Heneghan.

Enter Penny! A Labrador puppy who fills up our home and hearts as if she has always been part of us. I’ve always been a dog person, but it’s interesting to watch Mr H come to terms with the fact that he’s not getting much of a choice around loving Penny.  She has managed, with her gorgeous brown eyes and happy personality to win over even the most reluctant fan.

If you’ve read The Girl I Used To Know, you’ll probably remember a cat who managed to play some small part in making life better for more than just one character. In What Happened To Us? a small scrap of a dog manages to make his way into the lives of the main characters and just like life, I think he works his own special type of magic on the story!
It’s made me think about animals in fiction – the fact that cats and dogs are so prevalent and I thought it might be fun to list my favourite three....

Number 1 has to be Elsa:

We grew up with born free and recently watched it again on Netflix. My daughter,  who is just nine loved every second of it and you know, I thoroughly enjoyed it too, with this gorgeous big cat at the centre of the story. (if Mr H is reading this, don’t panic dear, I have no intention of looking for a Lion!)

Number 2 – this spot must go to Timmy:

The dog we all grew up with, even if you weren’t allowed to have a dog when you were growing up, you couldn’t help but understand the love of one solitary little girl for her dog. In Enid Blyton’s hands, Timmy ended up not just saving George and her cousins from danger, he actually connected them to start. It was when George realised how much he liked her cousins and they him, that she actually conceded, they might just be friends as well as cousins.

Number 3 – Orangey - the winner of two Patsy’s (the animal kingdoms Oscars!) 

Orangey symbolizes everything that’s wrong in Holly Golightly’s life – but don’t we all just want to cry when she finally sees the light and rescues him in the lashing rain?
And that’s it, the list could go on forever, but the thing is, cats, dogs, lions, it doesn’t really matter, there’s no getting away from the fact that in fiction, as much as in real life, the world is a better place if you have room in your heart for an animal to care about.

Friday, 26 October 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ Hush, Hush by Mel Sheratt

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Hush, Hush by Mel Sherratt where I've an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

Having taken her detective sergeant’s exam last year, when a post had come up in her birthplace of Stoke-on-Trent, she decided to put in for it. She needed a change, somewhere she could start afresh, even though she wasn’t quite sure it was a good decision to come back to the town from which she and her mum had fled all those years ago. But circumstances were different now. The man who had caused them so much pain was no longer around.
After she’d been offered the job, Grace had got an invite to join the team for a night out before her start date on Monday. There was only one officer who hadn’t been able to make it, someone called Alex Challinor, who had a previous engagement he couldn’t get out of, although no one had enlightened her as to what it was.
Around her, her new colleagues were sharing some in-joke. Then suddenly Nick Carter, their DI, stopped laughing and turned to her.
‘Sorry, we’re ignoring you. You say you lived in Stoke when you were younger, Grace?’ he asked.
All eyes fell on her. ‘Yes, until I was twelve,’ she replied. ‘Then my parents divorced and I moved to Salford with my mum.’
‘So, you don’t have many memories?’ DC Perry Wright asked.
‘I have a few,’ Grace nodded. She could remember far more than she would ever share with them. The nights she’d heard her mum screaming as her father laid into her. The times there was no money for food because he’d spent it all in the pub. The days when he would go missing and be brought home by the police after being locked up in a cell. The weeks he spent with other women before fighting his way back into their house again. The double life he led that she knew nothing of until she was old enough to understand . . . ‘But I expect so much has changed since then, anyway,’ she added.
‘Not much to write home about,’ Sam giggled. ‘But we still love it. And you’ll soon know the place, and its people. Even the undesirables.’
Nick raised his glass in the air. ‘Welcome to the Major Crimes Team.’
Everyone joined Nick in a toast. Only Perry, sitting opposite her, didn’t lift his eyes to hers as well. He hadn’t joined in the conversation much either, she’d noticed.

Monday, 15 October 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ The Promise by Katerina Diamond

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Promise by Katerina Diamond where I've a review of the brilliant The Promise. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

You make it.  You break it.

When troubled teen Connor moves to Exeter from the US to escape his past, he finds himself embroiled in a world of popular kids and easy girls. Everyone wants to be his friend, but they don’t know about what he did…and they don’t know about his father.

As Connor’s life in England begins to unravel, DS Adrian Miles and his partner Imogen Grey are working up against the clock to catch a serial killer who dates his victims before he kills them. Determined to uncover the truth, Imogen is forced to act as bait – but will she take it too far and risk her own life?

WOW!!! Well, I thought The Teacher, The Secret and The Angel were  brilliant, The Promise was even better, I was pulled in from the first page & couldn't put it down once I got going, I absolutely LOVED it. As we discovered throughout the books in the series, DS Grey has her own hidden past and her own demons and her own buried secrets to deal with which we do touch on a little in The Teacher but is dealt with a whole lot more in The Secret and The Angel. Set in the present day and in the past, we get more of a feel for DS Grey & her past & why she struggles to let anyone get close to her. We also get to know DS Miles a bit better too and the way he's been dealing with a lot since the aftermath of what happened in The Angel. I will admit that I found parts of the story hard to read and in places & it made my skin crawl but it definitely didn't disappoint. It was a spine-chilling , pulse pounding, heart thumping rollercoaster ride. I know that his book will stick in my memory longer than most because of the subject matter that was involved. Katerina just keeps getting better with every books she writes. And, after that ending I am really looking forward to Katerina's next book already where I'm hoping it won't be too long until the next DS Grey Novel is upon us, so no pressure Katerina but I'm dying to know what's in store next for the characters 😱😱

The Promise along with all previous 3 books in the series are available in all good bookshops, libraries, on audio and also available on Kindle where The Promise is currently £2.99 at the time of publication of this review.