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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Happiness: Your route-map to inner joy by Andy Cope @johnmurrays

About the book

Happiness, calm and enlightenment need not be elusive concepts which we hear of in theory but are never able to capture. This funny, practical book by Andy Cope, the Dr of Happiness, will show you how to transform your thinking, change gear and find a fresh new perspective that will leave you better focused on the things that matter, healthier and a great deal happier.

Little Books are accessible and engaging books with a focus on personal development and business topics, delivering quick, outcome-focused results, ideal for self-improvement junkies, commuters, or business readers.
My Review

Happiness. Your route map to inner joy, is a book that will make you think about your life,  what you think is important in your life, and what you really want in life. It really did make me think about the daily choices that I make. 

Although the subject matter within this self development book is not a new one, the way in which it is presented as a travel holiday is completely unique. The language used is also easy to read and understand. It both engages and captures the imagination. 

This book is incredibly practical and it makes you examine daily living. A  lot of  the suggestions are common sense,  but when put in print, and in context,  it made me realise how simple some of these changes were to make. The book is divided up into different sections. You can read the book as one long story, or you can dip in and out of chapters. It's a flexible book. 

The book reads as a travel journey towards happiness, and is funny yet informative. As I've said, there's nothing really new in this book, but the approach is very different and it makes you think, and that I feel is what this genre of book should do.

I also feel that this book is one in which you can grow with, come back to from time to time. It's not a book that will provide an instant fix to your life, I don't like books that tell you to 'read this book and your life will transform', because life isn't quite like that. This is very much a book that gives you ideas and thoughts to work with.

The author Dr Andy Cope also provides us with a useful reading list, and references to research that he mentions within the book. Each chapter also ends with a list of top tips that reinforces the main points of the chapter, and practical things that you can try.

I really liked this book for its simplicity, yet thought provoking themes about how you can make life more meaningful and live in the moment.  This book would make a lovely present.

With thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for providing me with a hardback copy for review purposes.

Happiness: Your route-map to inner joy was published by John Murray on 19 Oct. 2017 and can be found on Amazon here.

Monday, 29 January 2018

The Trouble Boys @efallonauthor @urbanebooks

About The Trouble Boys

The Trouble Boys is an historical crime novel about the Irish mob in New York City from the 1920s to the 1950s. The story opens in pre-WWII Europe when young Irish immigrant Colin O’Brien settles with his family in New York City. There Colin befriends a Cuban-American boy named Johnny Garcia. Life in America isn’t what Colin’s family expects and he experiences a shocking tragedy that alters his life.

As Johnny and Colin grow into men, their friendship changes. They begin working for different crime syndicates, with Colin joining the ranks of charismatic Tom McPhalen’s Irish mob and Johnny becoming a member of debonair Tito Bernal’s Cuban gang.

As Colin’s rise in the ranks of organized crime becomes increasingly more brutal and demeaning and his friendship with Johnny deteriorates, he begins to question his place in the seductive yet violent world he’s found himself in.

My review of The Trouble Boys

The Trouble Boys was an absolute delight to read. At first glance this is a story that focuses upon the criminal world of the early 1900s in America. But in fact this novel is so much more than a historical crime read. It's a novel about family, about trust, and the value of life, all of which is beautifully told. 

The novel begins with Colin O’Brien, a young Irish boy who emigrates to New York City with his family.  There he meets Johnny Garcia, a young Cuban-American. It is during this time that Colin suffers a tragic life event and this grief,  coupled with his new friendship, sets him on a new life path that is both dangerous and bound within the underworld.  

I liked reading how the two boys become men, and of how they eventually grew apart. Over the years Colin's position in the criminal world grows and he becomes a prominent member of the Irish group.  Johnny becomes a gang member in a rival gang. But Colin begins to question his future and if what he is doing is right.  

What I particularly liked about this book was that I was invited on a journey. I met Colin when he was eight, and then travelled with him on his journey until he was a young man.  I saw what he saw,  the excitement and bewilderment of entering a new country, of feeling alienated from everyone around you and not fitting in. The descriptions of New York City during the 1920s were so evocative that I could smell and taste the city.

Although this book is dark and gritty, in that we read about the seedier side of life. At the heart of this story is a tale of male friendship from childhood through to adulthood. Reading their story made me want o weep. To weep for lost childhood and lost innocence and that friendship evolves and changes due to life's events.

The Trouble Boys is a compelling read from beginning to end. It's an emotional read which surprised me a little, as I was expecting a gritty crime novel (which it is) but it has a deep emotional level that made me connect with Colin. It is an incredibly unique story and I can't wait to read more books by this author.

The Trouble Boys is published by Urbane Publications on 22 Feb. It can be found on Amazon here.

With thanks to the publisher for the advanced proof paperback copy that was provided for review purposes.

Friday, 26 January 2018

#TheGirlBefore #JPDelaney @QuercusBooks #BlogTour

About The Girl Before

Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price?

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there - and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before.

As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma's past and Jane's present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

My review of The Girl Before

The Girl Before was an absolute joy to read. It is dark, twisted and will have you hooked from the very beginning. This book is a physiological thriller and the story did make me feel uneasy from the mysterious and clinical setting of One Folgate Street. It is a captivating read.

The story is told from two points of view. We have the present day story in which Jane, who is the new tenant of One Folgate Street, tells her story,  and we then hear Emma's point of view that is told from the past. She is the woman who died in mysterious circumstances while living there.  Both stories are fascinating and as I read I wondered what connected these two women and how the house impacted upon their lives.

What does link them, and links the past to the present story, is Edward Monkton,  the man who designed One Folgate Street and who is also the landlord.  The concept behind this house truly fascinated me. This is a house which is minimalist to the extreme. There are no doors,  you cannot leave anything on the floor. In fact the tenancy agreement comes with over 200 rules, so why would anyone want to live there? This is answered in the book and the reasons are believable.

This leads me on to Edward, who I couldn't really get to grips with, but,  I think that this was the author's intention.  I neither liked, nor disliked him, but felt that I could not be friend's with him. Strangely enough this is how I felt about Emma. However the character that truly intrigued me was Jane, and I did like her. No matter if you like or dislike these three characters,  they are incredibly interesting and I needed to find out what happened to Emma. I also wondered if Jane would meet the same fate. That's the big driving force behind this book.  What will happen to Jane, and who can she really trust? Does the past lie?

This book is incredibly dark, yet it is also sensual and playful at times.  There is a huge undercurrent of desire, and the bones of the house seem to encourage this aspect. It is also a thriller of a read, that speeds up as we progress through it.

The Girl Before is a fascinating read and I was so pleased to read that it is soon to become a film. This book takes the domestic setting and turns it on its head  it really is a clever psychological thriller.

The Girl Before is published by Quercus. It is available to read as an ebook and is available in paperback on 25 Jan. It can be found on Amazon here.

With thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for the advanced paperback copy, and to Alainna Hadjigeorgiou for inviting me on the blog tour.
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Thursday, 25 January 2018

The Feed @nickhdclark @headlinepg #NeedTheFeed

About The Feed

THE FEED by Nick Clark Windo is a startling and timely debut which presents a world as unique and vividly imagined as STATION ELEVEN and THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS.
Tom and Kate's daughter turns six tomorrow, and they have to tell her about sleep.
If you sleep unwatched, you could be Taken. If you are Taken, then watching won't save you.
Nothing saves you.

Your knowledge. Your memories. Your dreams.

If all you are is on the Feed, what will you become when the Feed goes down?
For Tom and Kate, in the six years since the world collapsed, every day has been a fight for survival. And when their daughter, Bea, goes missing, they will question whether they can even trust each other anymore.

The threat is closer than they realise...

My review of The Feed

The Feed is a post apocalyptic, dystopian stunner of a book, that I could not put down. This book both disturbed and enthralled me, with its new world creation and characters that I truly cared about. This book made me think about the way in which we live, and it left me with many thoughts long after the final paragraph.

So, you can probably tell that I loved this book. The Feed focuses upon a young married couple, Tom and Kate, and we first meet them six years prior to the collapse of the world, when their world is quite literally turned upside down. This is due to the fact that the Feed no longer exists. People had lived in a world that allowed them to communicate via the Feed, in their minds. They had no need to talk, as everyone could read their thoughts, and feel their emotions. Everything was out there for everyone to see. When the Feed collapses, people no longer know how to communicate to each other, to read or write. Their world had comprised of QR codes and instsnt information and gratification. This book is somehow both sobering and frightening, as the life we now live is not too dismillar to the world created in this book.

I'll be honest in that it took me a little while to fully immerse myself in this book. I think this was because of the sheer amount of detail. That I needed to get my head around what the Feed was, as well as this completely new world. However, once I had, that was it, I was hooked.

In a world dominated by social media where every thought and emotion is shared, what would happen without it? Are we becoming a nation who talk less and text more? forever glued to our phone screens? This book most defineitly makes you think about the role that the Internet and socual media play in our daily lives. This is one aspect of the book.

The other is the relationship between Kate and Tom, and how this relationship is tested when their daughter, Bea, goes missing. Throughout the book we get to read both Kate's and Tom's point of view. Both in the present and in the past. I got a real understanding of how they fitted together and what made them tick. This was needed for the book to work. I needed to care about them as individuals, and as a couple, to want to read about what happened to them. Although this is a brilliant post apocolppytuc story, it is also a story about family and the fact that you would do absolutely anything to protect your child.

The Feed is a fabulous read. It entertains, it unsettles you, and it makes you think about the role that technology plays in all our lives. It's also a book that constantly keeps you guessing, and as for the ending, well, I thought it was absolutely brilliant

The Feed is pbbished on 25 Jan by Headline. It can be found on Amazon here.

With thanks to Bookbridgr and the publisher for the advanced hardback copy.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit #GrippedByFear #BlogTour

About Fear



Family is everything.

So what if yours was being terrorised by a neighbour – a man who doesn’t listen to reason, whose actions become more erratic and sinister with each passing day? And those you thought would help – the police, your lawyer – can’t help you.

You become afraid to leave your family at home alone. But there’s nothing more you can do to protect them.

Is there?

'FEAR shifts our moral codes. It makes us sympathetic to violent revenge, accessories to murder. Do we want the victim to survive? No, we don't' - HERMAN KOCH, bestselling author of THE DINNER

I read and reviewed this fabulous novel back in July 2017 and you can read my review here.

All this week you can read the first two chapters as part of the #GrippedByFear Blog Tour.

Below you can read an exclusive extract from Fear


WHY IS MY FATHER IN PRISON? I don’t have to make a big secret of it. He has been found guilty of manslaughter. If he was sentenced to just eight years, that is because he confessed, and because his motives seemed less atrocious, somehow, than those of a murderer. We accepted the court’s judgement. It is hard for us, but we can’t say that justice has been ill served. My father agrees. Of course he had hoped for a mild sentence, but it was clear to him from the outset that he would go to jail as a result of his actions. There can be no talk of a spur-of-the-moment act—it was planned and carried out in sound mind.

My father’s age played no part in the trial—he did not act out of befuddlement or in a state of senility—but it was, I think, taken into account at his sentencing. The court wanted to offer him the prospect of spending his last days with his family, a free man. His sentence may be reduced after a year or two, and we cling to the words ‘day release’. My father would spend his days with us and in the evening I would drive him back to Tegel. ‘To Tegel’ is another phrase we’re fond of using. Others say it and mean the airport. We mean the prison.

I must confess that I am not innocent of this manslaughter. I could have prevented what happened, but I didn’t want to. When my father came to see us in late September last year, I knew what he was intending to do. It was a sunny day, and our windows were open, letting in all the noise of the street. The roads in our part of Berlin are cobbled, and the rumbling of the traffic is sometimes a torture to me when I work at home. My wife thinks I’m oversensitive. I once told her that Schopenhauer regarded sensitivity to noise as a sign of intelligence: the more sensitive a person was, the more intelligent he was likely to be. ‘Are you trying to tell me—’ she began. ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I’m not.’ Before long it had developed into one of those exchanges that can make married life so unpleasant. I later apologised. It wasn’t a nice thing to say, but perhaps it was true.

I was expecting my father. He had let me know he was coming the day before, and soon after he’d left home my mother rang to tell me he’d be with me in two hours at the latest. This was a recent habit. My mother didn’t think my father should be driving anymore, and if he didn’t turn up at the expected time I was to initiate search-and-rescue operations immediately. Rebecca and I agreed with my mother and didn’t like letting the children in the car with him, but my father knew nothing of this. It would have hurt and upset him—he still saw himself as a first-rate driver.
While I was waiting for my father, I wondered whether a man who no longer drove well could be a good marksman. Not that it was likely to be a tricky shot. He’d manage. I also caught myself picturing the drive going wrong in some way so that he wouldn’t have to prove himself as a marksman at all. It would only take a minor accident to prevent his arrival and foil the murder plot. I always thought of the anticipated act as murder back then—it was only afterwards that our lawyer pointed out to me that it might technically be considered manslaughter, and that manslaughter was less severely punished.

But I wasn’t really hoping for an accident. I wanted this murder. I’d been thinking about it for long enough, and now it had to happen. My wife had taken the children to stay with
her mother—the circumstances couldn’t have been better. My father’s drive, his last for the time being, would ideally be a smooth one. I’d followed the radio bulletins, and there were no traffic jams.

A few cars rumbled past and eventually I saw my father park his Ford outside our house. It’s a lovely late nineteenth-century house: wooden beams, red walls, a turret, bay windows, dormers. We live on the upper ground floor in a spacious flat with rather imposing high ceilings, stucco mouldings and private access to the garden. Above our flat is a second storey, and there are flats in the attic and basement too—four households in all.

When I opened the door and saw my father standing there, I wondered where he had put his gun. He usually wore it in a holster under his left arm, but it might also have been in his overnight bag. In the past he had often carried a little leather pouch with him, such as pipe smokers like to use for a small assortment of pipes and tampers and tobacco, but in his there was a Walther PPK—or a Glock or a Colt. We had given him the pouch one Christmas, my mother, my sister, my little brother and I, though I’ve forgotten the precise year. He had used it for a while, presumably to make us feel our present was appreciated, but he soon went back to using his holster. From his point of view, it made more sense to carry the gun under his arm where he could get at it more quickly. The pouch needed unzipping, wasting precious seconds that could have cost him his life. I assume that was his logic.

 For your chanve to win a German hamper and a signed copy of the book then tweet about a time yiu have been gripped by fear using the hashtag #GrippedByFear Awinner will be picked by the publisher on Monday 29th January.


Fear is published January 25th 2018 by Orion Publishing Group. You can pre order the book on Amazon here.

For your chance to win a signed copy of Fear and a hamper of German sweets and chocolate, then simply tweet a moment that you were gripped by fear using the hashtag #GrippedByFear. A winner will be randomly picked on Monday 29th January.


About the author

Dirk Kurbjuweit is deputy editor-in-chief at Der Spiegel, where he has worked since 1999, and divides his time between Berlin and Hamburg. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the Egon Erwin Kisch Prize for journalism, and is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels, many of which, including Fear, have been adapted for film, television and radio in Germany. Fear is the first of his works to be translated into English.
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With thanks to Orion and Alex Layt for inviting me to be part of this fantastic Blog Tour



Monday, 22 January 2018

The Collector @FionaAnnCummins @panmacmillan

About The Collector

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town.His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting . . .

Clara, the girl he left behind, dreams of being found.
Her mother is falling apart but she will not give up hope.

The Collector has found an apprentice to take over his family’s legacy.

But he can’t forget the one who got away and the detective who destroyed his dreams.

DS Etta Fitzroy must hunt him down before his obsession destroys them all.

My review of The Collector

The Collector is the sequel to Rattle, Fiona Cummin's first novel which I absolutely loved.  I therefore approached The Collector with a feeling of nervousness and excitement,  as I wanted to love this book just as much.  Well, I did. What a terrifying, eerie and dark read this is. I had to read it with the lights on!

The Collector picks up where Rattle ended, so if you haven't already read Rattle, then I suggest you do so, plus, reading this review may unintentionally give away spoilers about Rattle.

At the end of Rattle the little boy Jakey managed to escape from the Bone Collector. However,  the little girl, Clara, was not so lucky, and is still missing. Her family are being torn apart in not knowing where their daughter is. That's all I'm going to write about the plot, as I really don't want to give anything away.

This book is dark, twisted and made me feel uneasy. The character of the Bone Collector is so shockingly real that he made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. He is disturbing and utterly believable.  Fiona Cummins is such a gifted storyteller of all things macabre,  and some scenes did turn my stomach, not only because of the physical descriptions, but the reason behind them.

The Collector is a fascinating read.  One which is fast, punchy and doesn't let up. We have the central character of the Bone Collector,  but equally fascinating is Etta Fitzroy, the detective who is on his trail and seeking justice and revenge. Here we have a woman who is human, caring, and equally as flawed, but I love her for the fact that she is stubbornly determined and single minded about bringing the Bone Collector to justice. You wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her.

This book brings to the surface a whole range of emotions. Repulsion towards the Bone Collector, empathy and sorrow for Clara's parents, admiration for Etta and the overall sense that not everything is right in the world.

The Collector is an enjoyable dark and macabre type of read, but with human emotion at its core. It is unsettling. It's not for the faint hearted, but it is one fantastic breathtaking read. If you loved Rattle you will love this, and I found it much darker.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a digital copy for review purposes.

The Collector is available to reads s an eBook now and will publish in hardback on 22 Feb by Macmillan. It can be found on Amazon here.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

#TheConfession @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks #BlogTour

About The Confession

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn't know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry's many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who - of Harry, Julie and JP - is really the guilty one? And is Carney's surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?


My review of The Confession

The Confession opens with one of the most gripping sentences I have ever read. This sentence both shocked and excited me,  and I just knew that I would love this book (and I did), The Confession is one treat of a book and I honestly could not pit it down.

From the very moment I read the book's blurb: "FIND OUT WHO DID IT ON THE VERY FIRST PAGE. ON THE LAST PAGE, FIND OUT WHY." I knew that I would be gripped.  It's such a clever and twisted read.

The story begins when a man walks into the home of Harry and Julie McNamara and viciously attacks Harry. Julie sits frozen in fear.  One hour later J P Carney hands himself into the police and confesses his crime. But instead of this being the end, it is only the beginning. We know who he is, but why did he do it?

As we progress through the book we learn about all three central characters,  past and present. Are Harry and Julie the innocent parties?  Who is guilty?  I found my loyalties constantly shifting as I learned more about what had happened and the reasons behind it.

Harry is a successful banker, but his life revolves around greed,  betrayal and ultimately corruption.  There is a murky undercurrent to his pristine lifestyle.  Julie is his devoted wife and we learn a great deal about her.  We hear her voice and I found myself drawn to her and her story, in her need to know more about the man who so visciously attacked her husband and his reasoning behind that action.  More importantly though, her search into who and why cones full circle back on herself.  Why did she do nothing as her husband was beaten to a pulp?  What does that say about her? This is why the book is so exciting.

Then we have JP, the attacker. I needed to know why he wanted to kill Harry. What was his motive? Jo Spain writes his back story so beautifully, that by the end we fully comprehend why he acted in the way he did. I found myself empathising with this man, which surprised me.

All three of these characters are linked together, and it is the police, a formidable Detective Alice Moody, who is relentless in her pursuit of the truth and who keeps on digging to find out why JP attacked Harry, even when they have his confession.

The Confession is an utterly gripping read. I read it while frantically turning the pages,  needing to know what had happened to JP, about Harry and Julie 's marriage, and if Harry was really an innocent victim. This really is a deliciously clever and breathtaking read. It's a stunning psychological thriller with an ending that will truly shock.

The Confession is published by Quercus on 25 Jan. 2018) and can be found on Amazon here.

With thanls to the publisher for the Advanced Reader Copy and for Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour.

About the author

Jo Spain's first novel, top ten bestseller With our Blessing, was one of seven finalists in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller Competition 2015. It was named as an Irish Times crime fiction book of the year by Declan Burke. Beneath the Surface (2016) and Sleeping Beauties (2017), the second and third in the DI Tom Reynolds series followed, to further critical acclaim. Her standalone thriller, The Confession, will be released January 2018.

Jo is currently writing for TV.

A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children. Jo previously worked as a policy advisor in the Irish parliament and as vice-chair of the business body InterTrade Ireland.

Jo’s debut novel is set against a background of the infamous Irish Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby homes. The author’s own father was born in one such home in Dublin and the novel’s backdrop was constructed based on the in-depth research she undertook while attempting to trace her family roots.

Her favourite writers include Pierre LeMaitre, Fred Vargas, Louise Penny, Jo Nesbo, Ann Cleeves, B.A. Paris, Elizabeth Haynes and Agatha Christie.

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Unbroken @madblack65 @jblakebooks #BlogTour

About Unbroken

For many years after that night, my memories of what happened after he held the blade to my throat and threatened my life were fragmented... difficult to piece together. It was too extreme, too violent for me to understand.

Violently gang-raped when she was thirteen years old, and raped three more times before the age of eighteen, Madeleine has experienced more trauma in her life than most ever will.
Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way.

Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all: leading a fulfilling and happy life. But the road to piecing her life back together was long and painful. For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key. True forgiveness takes genuine effort. It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm. It is the ultimate act of courage.

In Unbroken, Madeleine tells her deeply moving and empowering story, as she discovers that life is about how a person chooses to recover from adversity. We are not defined by what knocks us down - we are defined by how we get back up.

My review of Unbroken

Unbroken is Madeleine Black's real life account of being gang raped. This book is incredibly raw, honest and I have huge admiration for this author for being able to document so clearly her thoughts and feelings about this horrendous sexual assault when she was just thirteen-years-old.

This book pulls no punches and I'll be honest in saying that it was an incredibly difficult read. This was not due to how it is written, as the book flows beautifully and, I could clearly hear Madeleine's voice in my head. No, this book was difficult because of the subject matter. It tells the facts, the truth of what happened to this young girl, to the author, and the only way I could read it was by distancing myself, and telling myself that it was a story.

This book is gritty and it is only as we progress through the book that we learn about the true horror that Madeleine was subjected to by her attackers. At the beginning we get a few details of that specific night, told from the snippets that Madeleine can remember, but as we progress through the book, Madeleine sheds light on what happened and so the depiction of the rape is told, in no nonsense language. There is a warning placed before this part of the book, telling of how graphic it is, but that the editor thought it should be included. And I agree with this decision  that we hear her thoughts, feelings and what she went through should not be censored, as I feel that it is her right to voice what happened. It is our decision, as a reader, to decide whether or not to read this part of the book, and I'll be honest in saying that I did read theses pages, but that afterwards I needed to take a break for a few days. It was very distressing to read as I was fully aware that what I was reading had actually happened, that it wasn't fiction. But I feel that it was important to read this account so as to fully understand Madeleine's story.

It may sound strange when I say that this is a story of hope, but it really is. Madeleine writes with such honesty, beauty and bravery, as she looks back on what happened to her as a teenager. She is a survivor who surprisingly talks of forgiveness, and this brought me to tears.

Unbroken is such an empowering read. The Madeleine that  we read about today is a strong woman, a woman who has managed to rebuild her life and who now empowers other victims of sexual assault to speak out.  She has given these women a voice.

Unbroken was published by John Blake Publishing on 4 April 2017. It can be found on Amazon here.

With thanks to Anne Cater, Madeline Black  and the publisher for the paperback copy for review purposes.

About the author

The sharing of her story on The Forgiveness Project's website in September 2014, opened many doors for Madeleine in ways she never imagined and the invitations started to pour in.

She has taken part in both TV and radio interviews and has been invited to share her story at conferences, events and schools.

She recognises that she was a victim of a crime that left her silent for many years, but has now found her voice and intends to use it. Not just for her, but for so many who can’t find theirs yet.

She is married and lives in Glasgow with her husband, three daughters, her cat, Suki, and dog, Alfie.

For more info please see her website or follow her on Twitter @madblack65
Catch up with the blog tour...

Monday, 15 January 2018

Still Me @JoJoMoyes @MichaelJBooks

About Still Me

Lou Clark is back in the BRAND NEW Jojo Moyes novel Still Me, follow-up to the Number One international bestsellers Me Before You and After You.
Lou Clark knows too many things . . .

She knows how many miles lie between her new home in New York and her new boyfriend Sam in London.

She knows her employer is a good man and she knows his wife is keeping a secret from him.
What Lou doesn't know is she's about to meet someone who's going to turn her whole life upside down.

Because Josh will remind her so much of a man she used to know that it'll hurt.
Lou won't know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything.

My review of Still Me

I waa so excited to get my hands on ths limited edition proof copy that I won on NetGalley. I had already read and reviewed the first chapter so couldn't wait to dive on in. Once again I found myself immersed in the wonderful world of Louisa Clarke.

We read the thoughts abd feelings of Louise Clark as she embarks upon her new career in New York. She has left Sam, her paramedic boyfriend behind, but he is one hundred percent behind her decision to live in New York for a year. It is simply something she has to do. As we read through the book we wonder if their relationship can survive due to the drsfance between them.

This book was such a joy to read, not only because of Lou, who now feels like an old friend,  but because the book made me laugh and cry all at once.  The wonderful menagerie of characters also make this book so very special and Louise's personal journey of self discovery that much mote believable.

My heart is still very much with Will, even though this is book three, and I felt a shifting change throughout the book, in that Will waa slowly fading away as Louisa embraced and moved on with this new life.

Still Me is very much a book about Louisa discovering who she really is,  a spark that started with Will. The Louisa we read in this book is still the Louisa that we all know and love, but she does change,  I saw her grow before my very eyes and I loved being a part of this new life with her.

Long dtsrance love forms a huge part of this novel as both Louisa and Sam try to find their way through their relatively new relationship.  Matters become even more complicated when Josh enters Louisa's life. A man who remnds her of her past, a time when spent with Will. Here we see the two sides of Louisa Clarke and doing so nearly broke my heart.  Here we have the young woman who is funny, clever and has her feet firmly planted in reality and who loves Sam, but we also meet the Louisa whose heart, in a way, still belongs to Will. He still has a profound effect upon her life and the decisions that she makes,  and it is this that I found so incredibly beautiful.

Still Me is an absolute joy to read. It's a gorgeous book about love, lost love and findung out who you really are. A perfect read.

Still Me is published by Michael Joseph on 25 Jan. It can be found on Amazon here.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Lost Solace @Karldrinkwater #bookreview

About Lost Solace

Sometimes spaceships disappear with everyone on board – the Lost Ships. But sometimes they come back, strangely altered, derelict, and rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal is on a mission. She’s been seeking something her whole life. Something she is willing to die for. And she thinks it might be on a Lost Ship.

Opal has stolen Clarissa, an experimental AI-controlled spaceship, from the military. Together they have tracked down a Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

The Lost Ship is falling into the gravity well of a neutron star, and will soon be truly lost … forever. Legends say the ships harbour death, but there’s no time for indecision.

Opal gears up to board it. She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But perhaps with the aid of Clarissa’s intelligence – and an armoured spacesuit – Opal may stand a chance.

Can she face her demons and survive?

My review of Lost Solace

I shall start by saying that I read very little science fiction, but when I stumbled across this book's description, I just knew that it was going to be a different type of book and that it would appeal to me. I was right. I loved this book.

Lost Solace centres around Opal, a young woman who is travelling alone in space with only Clarissa, an AI-controlled spaceship, that she sole from the military. Opal's mission is to find a Lost Ship that is located far away from colonised space. The trouble is that she only has a short amount of time to find and enter this ship before it is lost for ever.

This book has it all. Yes, it is obviously a science fiction read, but it's also the story about a strong young woman who will fight for what she believes in. Opal is a strong character,  both in nature and on the page.  She has to be captivating and uterly believable for this book to work,  as without her there are no bones to the story. She is flawed but I forgave her because of her sheer strength and what she believes in.

It is also very obvious that this author writes horror and loves the genre, and this seeps through this book in the most delicious way. This is one eeie read, especially when we get to the Lost Ship part of the book.  Some scenes completely freaked me out and chilled me to the bone. Heightened because of my sheer belief and connection with Opal.

I also have to mention Clarissa, who although a robot, gave a fresh and unique twist to what it means to have a nourishing female friendship.  As I progressed through the novel I began to forget that Clarissa waa a robot and, to me, she became a person in her own right.

Usually when I read science fiction (which is not that often) I can become overwhelmed and confused with all of the technical language, with all of the space speak,  as I just don't get it. Although this book obviously contains technical descriptions as it is set in space,  I did not feel bombarded or bogged down by the descriptions,  but rather they helped to enrich the reading experience.

Lost Solace really is a wonderful read. It's fast, scary, dark at times, and features a young woman whom I grew to admire and root for in her quest.  I really do hope that there is a sequel to this book.

With thanks to the author for providing a paperback copy for review purposes.

Lost Solace was published by Organic Apocalypse on 15 Oct. 2017 and can be found on Amazon here.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Standstill @jamarleybooks @Bloodhoundbook

About Standstill
Even the deadliest criminals leave a trail…

When a psychotic policeman drags the young, ambitious thief, Danny Felix out of bed, he could not imagine he was about to be plunged into the robbery of a lifetime. 

Corruption and coercion follow the corrupt Detective Inspector Harkness everywhere he goes and now he has Danny just where he wants him. 

But Harkness isn’t the only officer with Danny in his sights. Christine Chance is getting closer to him while doing her best to be a mother to her seriously ill daughter. 

Can Danny escape Harkness with his life intact? Can he avoid detection by Chance?
And does he have what it takes to use the streets of modern day London to pull off the theft of the 21st Century? 

Danny thinks he can...but there will be bloodshed. 

My review of Standstill 

Standstill is a crime novel with a difference and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The lines between good and evil are cleverly blurred in this gripping tale of crime and corruption. It's a fast paced read with lots of action but ultimately has characters that we care about.

Set in the heart of London, the novel revolves around three central characters, all of whom intrigued me. We have the corrupt and psychotic policeman,  Detective Inspector Harkness, who on paper we should loathe,  but there is a certain charm about him, an energy that rises from the page, that entices you in and urges you to understand his pont of view. I didn't like him, but I did pity him. He's a complex character.

The young and opportunist thief,  Danny Felix, is easier to understand. I 'got him' and understood where he was coming from and why he had chosen his current and destructive path. I couldn't help but like him. He finds himself in an impossible position,  doing things that are out of his control,  and his personal story gripped me.

The final character in this colourful trio is that of Christine Chance who is a member of the Flying Squad. She is the character that I understood the most,  the one I clicked with,  and when this happens I know that I am in for ah enjoyable read.  Here is a woman who has one hell of a professional responsibility,  a responsible job in which she needs to protect the public.  She is tough, oponionated and single minded,  but she is also the mother to a child with a serious medical condition and she has to balance these two parts of her life, personal and professional, and this is what makes for such an enjoyable read.

Danny, although in league with Harkness, needs to watch his back,  from those in opposition on the street, his rivals, and from those in power.  But who can he trust?

Standstill is a modern day thriller that is unique. The book is witty, yet violent at times. It twists and turns in completely different directions and it intrigued me as a reader.  The description of London when it does indeed cone to a standstill is simply quite stunning.

Standstill is an impressive debut. There are characters that we care about,  a pace that is unrelenting with a clever and twisted plot.  I can't wait to read the next installment.

With thanks to Bloodhound Books and Sarah Hardy for inviting me on the tour and the electronic book copy.


John A. Marley’s writing career started with a poem about two brothers who both liked sausages…their names were Butch and Dutch and his Primary School teacher Mr. Murray liked it so much it made the main noticeboard at the entrance to Holy Child Primary School in West Belfast.  A little older but none the wiser, he ended up as a film journalist in his native Northern Ireland, contributing to local newspapers, BBC Radio Ulster and latterly writing as the main film critic for the glossy magazine, Northern Woman.

John’s love of good stories came from the Irish predilection for telling a good yarn and the fact that there was nothing quite like sneaking away his Dad’s battered paperbacks to read even though he knew they were meant for adults and not kids. And so pulp fiction such as The Edge Westerns by George G. Gilman, the adventure novels of Alistair MacLean and the thrillers of Jack Higgins all served to whet his appetite for a good story told at pace.

These days, his reading tastes still focus on thrills, spills and good plot and he can’t walk by a James Lee Burke or an Elmore Leonard without pausing to read a few pages…even if it is in a busy bookshop. 

John A. Marley is also a TV producer with a proven track record in creating and producing distinctive, original entertainment and factual programming and formats for both a UK and international audience. His eclectic portfolio of high-profile shows include Britain’s Ultimate Pilots: Inside the RAFBritain’s Flying PastStaraokeBest of FriendsSkatoonyNoel’s House PartyThrough the KeyholeSMTV:Live/CD:UKHow Euro Are You? and live coverage of “The Oscars” with Barry Norman.

You can follow the author on twitter at @jamarleybooks and on their website at

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Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Kiss Me Kill Me @JamesCarolBooks @bonnierzaffre

About Kiss Me Kill Me

She thought she could trust him. She was wrong . . .
When Zoe meets Dan, he's everything she is looking for in a man - intelligent, charming, supportive.
It's only after they're married that she realises that he's controlling, aggressive, paranoid.
And there's no way out.

Or is there?

Zoe knows she has to escape, but Dan's found her once before, and she knows he can find her again.
But Dan has plans of his own. Plans that don't necessarily include Zoe.

Be careful who you trust . . .

My review of Kiss Me Kill Me

Wow! Just wow! I loved everything about this book.  Kiss Me Kill Me is a dark psychological read that completely unnerved me from the very beginning, that undercurrent of foreboding,  that something bad was going to happen.  This is suspense writing at its very best. This book takes what you think you know, what you understand, and then completely turns it on its head.

The book focuses upon a married couple,  Zoe and Daniel. They seem to have the perfect marriage,  on the outside looking in, but things are far from perfect. Dan is a controlling,  manipulative and aggressive man. A cruel man, who differs greatly from the gentleman that Zoe first met. Zoe finds herself stuck in a loveless marriage. She escaped once before, but he found her. Can she do so again? Can she stay hidden this time?

The book is told in third person from both Zoe's and Daniel 's  point of view, during different parts of the book,  in 'Now' and 'Then' chapters, a format that I really enjoy.  This really helped me to understand the characters,  especially the Zoe before she met Dan. It's also a wonderful way to see both sides of a story, often with shocking results.

This book tackles the subject of an abusive relationship, but from a completely new angle.  It is empathetic,  sensitive, and knowledgeable about the subject matter, but at the same time manages to create a stunning psychological thriller about this controlling and abusive relationship that is both current and fresh.

This is a difficult book to review in terms of plot. It's twisted and there are many shocks along the way, outcomes that I never saw coming.  The characters enthralled me,  who they had been and what had happened to them. This is a book that is relentless in its pace,  but at the same time it is very much a character driven read. Zoe and Daniel both hooked me in and I needed to know more about each of them.

There are so many questions in this novel. Who can Zoe trust? Will she ever be truly free of her abusive and controlling husband? Will she be happy?  These are the questions that propelled me through the book. I wanted her to be happy.

Kiss Me Kill Me is a chilling and unsettling psychological thriller about a controlling  relationship.  Nothing in this book is at it first seems.  Settle down and enjoy,  you really are in for a treat.

Kiss Me Kill Me is published by Bonnier Zaffre in eBook on 22 Feb and paperback on
May 31. It can be found on Amazon here.

With thanks to the publisher and Emily from Bonnier Zaffire for the Advanced Reader Copy.

Monday, 8 January 2018

#HowToFallInLove by Emmy Abrahamson @BoroughPress

About How to Fall in Love with a Man Who Lives in a Bush

A fresh, hilarious and compulsively readable love story with the most wonderful kernel of truth to it. An uplifting and clever read for fans of Graeme Simsion and Marian Keyes.

Julia is looking for Mr Right, but Ben is more Mr Right-Now-He-Could-Do-With-a-Bath..

You may think you know what kind of novel this is, but you’d be wrong.

Yes, Julia is a single-girl cliché, living alone with her cat in Vienna and working in a language school. And yes, a series of disastrous dates has left her despairing of ever finding The One – until Ben sits next to her on a bench. He’s tall, dark, handsome…

…and also incredibly hairy, barefoot, a bit ripe-smelling and of no fixed abode.

You guessed it – they fall in love, as couples in novels do. But can Julia overlook the differences between them, abandon logic and choose with her heart?

Funny, filthy (literally) and fizzing with life – and based on a true story! – this is the perfect antidote to all those books promising you that Prince Charming lives in a castle.

My review of How to Fall in Love with a Man Who Lives in a Bush

How to Fall in Love with a Man Who Lives in a Bush is a delightful,  heartfelt and beautiful read.  This is a love story like no other I have ever read, and it's also based on the author's true life story of how she met her husband, which makes it even more romantic.  However, don't be fooled into thinking that this is a slushy and hearts and flowers type of read because it isn't.  This is a deep and meaningful, gritty and utterly believable story about how two people fall in love.

Set against the backdrop of a picturesque Vienna (I have never been, but thanks to this novel I now feel that I have), we meet the protagonist, Julia. A foreign language teacher who finds herself disillusioned with her job (the scenes where she is teaching are hilarious), and living a lonely social life after the breakdown of her relationship.  She has a few friends but spends most of her time filling in surveys, donating blood and even going for sight texts just so that she can interact with people. Although this is funny on the surface, when we scratch a little deeper it is profoundly sad. Julia is missing meaning in her life,... and then Ben comes along.

Now Ben completely shakes up Julia's life, and that's all I will say about what happens between them. What does unfold is a quirky,  poignant and sensitive story about love, trust and relationships.  Ben is homeless, he has very few possessions,  does not have the luxury of a shower but in comparison to Julia, seems entirely happy with life and indeed himself. He is a breath of fresh air and I loved reading their unfurling relationship.

The writing is incredibly sharp and to the point. I felt like I was in Julia's head and I completely understood her. At times she infuriated me, and I found myself shouting at her, but I liked her and I wanted her to be happy.  The real star for me though was Ben. A bear of a man with a huge heart. We could all do with a Ben in our life.

How to Fall in Love with a Man Who Lives in a Bush is a delightful read. It'll make you think about your present love, how you met, that initial spark. It will make you think about love you lost and what might have been. At its core this is simply a story about unconditional love and it's so very beautiful.

How to Fall in Love with a Man Who Lives in a Bush is published by the Borough Press on 25 January. It can be found on Amazon here.

With many thanks to the publisher and Emille Chambeyron who sent me a paperback proof copy.

About the Author

EMMY ABRAHAMSON published her first book in 2011, the young adult novel Min pappa ar snall och min mamma ar utlanning (My Dad's Kind and My Mum's a Foreigner). She has written three other YA books and was nominated for Sweden's August Prize in 2012 for Only vag is upp (The Only Way Is Up). How to Fall in Love with a Man Who Lives in a Bush is her adult debut.