3.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Oceans Between Us by Gill Thompson. @wordkindling #OceansBetweenUs @HeadlinePG #RandomThingsTour

Today I have a review of The Oceans Between Us by Gill Thompson. Thank you to Anne Cater for having me on the blog tour. I received a copy of the book from the publisher but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I really wanted to love The Oceans Between Us by Gill Thompson. The story of orphans from England being sent to Australia during the second world war is something that I think many people don’t know about and probably even less know the awful way those children were treated once they stepped off the boat.

The story has different chapters told by a few characters. The main two are Molly and Jack, mother and son who get separated and don’t know whether the other is alive. When Jack is taken to Australia it seems likely that neither of them will find out what happened to the other which feels awfully sad.

Jack has a horrible time in Australia, it isn’t nice reading and it’s even worse knowing that it is based on real events. But Jack is one of the lucky ones and he is adopted by a childless couple who give him a whole new life.

I liked that Molly and Jack, although separated by many miles, had some events in common, they were still linked in some way despite being many miles apart.

I’m not going to give away the ending, it probably isn’t what you’re thinking it is though.

However, I felt that the book was far too long. Although it was never boring as such it did drag on and could easily have been condensed and shortened without losing any important parts of the story. I found myself checking just how much longer the book had, thinking that surely it must finish soon, but it didn’t. I find it such a shame when a good book becomes something that drags on and so ruins the story. It is well written and has many great characters, but it really didn’t need to be so long.

But if you are interested in the story of what happened to the orphans taken to Australia then this will be a great book for you to read and learn and understand. And it is something that we should all know about.

Blurb:

Inspired by heartrending real events, a mother fights to find her son and a child battles for survival in this riveting debut novel.

For readers of Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, The Letter by Kathryn Hughes, and Remember Me by Lesley Pearse.

‘A warm-hearted tale of love, loss and indefatigable human spirit’ Kathryn Hughes

A woman is found wandering injured in London after an air raid. She remembers nothing of who she is. Only that she has lost something very precious.

As the little boy waits in the orphanage, he hopes his mother will return. But then he finds himself on board a ship bound for Australia, the promise of a golden life ahead, and wonders: how will she find him in a land across the oceans?

In Perth, a lonely wife takes in the orphaned child. But then she discovers the secret of his past. Should she keep quiet? Or tell the truth and risk losing the boy who has become her life?

This magnificent, moving novel, set in London and Australia, is testament to the strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love.

About The Author:

Gill Thompson is an English lecturer who recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University. The first three chapters of THE OCEANS BETWEEN US were longlisted for the Mslexia novel award. She lives with her family in West Sussex and teaches English to college students.

Website: http://www.wordkindling.co.uk/

Twitter: @wordkindling

The Oceans Between Us by Gill Thompson is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, blog tours, book review, psychological thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview A Fool’s Circle by Suzanne Seddon. @suzseddon @WallacePublish #AFoolsCircle

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for A Fool’s Circle by Suzanne Seddon. I received a copy of A Fool’s Circle from the publisher, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I found A Fool’s Circle to be an easy read that quickly grabbed my attention and made me want to keep reading.

Kate is suffering thanks to her husband Alan who treats her awfully, there are a number of scenes where this abuse is described which some readers may find difficult.

Kate is in a difficult situation as she doesn’t know how to leave Alan and protect her eight year old daughter Sophie. Until she finds out that she has had a rather large inheritance and suddenly a whole new world opens up to her.

It was pretty clear from the start that Kate put her trust in people who didn’t deserve it and who definitely didn’t have her interest at heart. It was frustrating at times that Kate couldn’t see what was so very obvious.

Some of A Fool’s Circle didn’t really seem realistic, it was a little too far fetched at times and the police really were slow, but I really enjoyed reading it and I wanted to know what was going to happen. It is also good that the book might make people think about domestic violence and the impact of that on all the family.

A Fool’s Circle is an easy read that only took me a few days to read (that’s fast for me!) and I’m sure that fans of psychological thrillers will enjoy this book that keeps you guessing and wondering if everyone is who they say they are.

Blurb:

Kate Sanders has suffered many years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her abusive husband Alan, and convinces herself that she is only holding the family together for the sake of her eight-year-old daughter. If it wasn’t for her best friend Jill Reynolds, she would have taken the suicide option a long time ago.

As she desperately seeks a way to escape, she is contacted by a solicitor. Kate’s old aunt has died and she has been left a small fortune.

For the first time, she sees the light at the end of the tunnel. She dreams of a fresh start, a new home, a new life. What Kate doesn’t know is that Jill and Alan have their own secrets, and are both desperate to get their hands on her money.

Kate soon finds herself falling for the charms of Jonathon Jacobs in what she believes to be fate finally intervening and offering her a second chance, unaware that each move he makes has been directed, orchestrated and well-rehearsed as he begs her to leave her husband Alan.

But is it all too late, as she finds herself in the frame for murder.A

About The Author:


Suzanne Seddon was born in 1968 in Islington, London. After leaving school she had many interesting jobs, from swimming teacher to air hostess, and was able to travel the globe. Now a single mum to her teenage daughter Poppy-willow, Suzanne spends her days writing and has written several articles for magazines and newspapers.

Growing up, Suzanne witnessed mental and physical abuse within her own family which strongly influenced her when she wrote her first play, A Fool’s Circle, when she attended the famous Anna Scher Theatre. Suzanne, however, was not content to leave it there and decided to go ahead and transform her play into a novel.

Not one to shy away from exciting challenges, she also wrote, acted, directed, cast and produced a trailer for the book around her hometown in Islington with the support of local businesses, who recognised the drive and importance of Suzanne and her work.

Suzanne is a passionate writer and she is determined to be heard so that the issue of domestic abuse is raised amongst the public’s consciousness, empowering others to speak out. She wants those who suffer at the hands of another to have their voices heard, loud and clear.

Twitter @suzseddon

A Fool’s Circle by Suzanne Seddon is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Only Daughter by Sarah Denzil. @sarahdenzil @bookouture #OnlyDaughter


I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour for Only Daughter by Sarah A Denzil. I really enjoyed Sarah’s book, Silent Child, which I reviewed on my blog. That review is the most viewed post on here, and for some reason it made it to the first page of Google results when you searched for the book. I wish that I knew how that happened so that I could do it again but I have absolutely no idea. Anyway, Silent Child was a great read so I was keen to read Only Daughter too.

My Review:

Having loved some of the authors previous books I was keen to read Only Daughter and started reading it without knowing what it was about, the blurb didn’t matter because I knew that I wanted to read a book written by Sarah A Denzil.

The book started with a bang and the twists and turns kept going from there. Kat’s beloved daughter is dead and the police are refusing to look into her death as they are convinced that it was a simple suicide. But Kat is adamant that her daughter wouldn’t have done that and so starts on a determined search for the truth.

What she discovered was not what she had ever expected, her daughter wasn’t the kind and happy girl that Kat thought and she is forced to question everything.

This was such a clever book, Kat is a flawed character who seemed to be so aware of that and I felt that added a clever element to the story as Kat discovers just as much about herself as she does about her daughter.

I’m not going to give too much away but if you like twisty books that keep you guessing and wondering and thinking then this is a book for you. Sarah Denzil really is an author to look out for and I’m looking forward to reading her next book!

Thank you to Bookouture for a copy of Only Child by Sarah A Denzil. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

The must-read psychological thriller for 2019 from the million-copy-bestselling author of Silent Child.

‘Your daughter is dead.’

When Kat Cavanaugh hears the words every mother dreads, her perfect world shatters. She takes in the beautiful long blonde hair, torn yellow dress and chipped blue nail-varnish. It can’t be real.

And then the police add the word ‘suicide’. But Kat refuses to believe them. 

Even when they show her the familiar looping handwriting and smudged ink on the note her little girl left behind. She knows her bubbly, vivacious daughter would never take her own life.

As she searches Grace’s perfume-scented room, filled with smiling photos, she uncovers secrets her little girl had been hiding. Secrets that could put her in terrible danger too.

But Kat’s determined to find out what really happened to Grace on the night she died, whatever it takes…

This addictive and heart-pounding psychological thriller will keep you gripped late into the night.

About The Author:

Sarah A. Denzil is a British suspense writer from Derbyshire. In her alternative life–AKA Sarah Dalton–she writes speculative fiction for teenagers, including The Blemished, Mary Hades and White Hart.

Sarah lives in Yorkshire with her partner, enjoying the scenic countryside and rather unpredictable weather. 

Saving April, Sarah’s debut suspense thriller, is a psychological look into the minds of the people around us who we rarely even consider – our neighbours. What do we really know about them, and what goes on when the doors are closed?

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahadenzil/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarahdenzil

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marmiteandbooks/

Website: https://www.sarahdenzil.com/

Only Daughter by Sarah Denzil is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer. @KelRimmerWrites @headlinepg #RandomThingsTours


I love Kelly Rimmer so when I heard that she had a new book coming out I had to read it and was delighted to be asked to be on the blog tour. Thanks so much, Anne Cater for asking me.

My Review:

Wow!!

I’m a big Kelly Rimmer fan, I have loved every book of hers that I have read and have been really impressed with her storytelling and ability to suck the reader into the emotional part of the story.

The Things We Cannot Say is partly set in the now in America, and partly set in Poland during the Second World War. I wasn’t really sure how that would work but thankfully I loved it, I’m not a big reader of historical fiction but it worked so well and I loved both parts of the book and how they came together.

Alice is the main character in the present. Life isn’t easy for Alice and she carries a lot of responsibility, believing that she alone can care for her son who has autism spectrum disorder which means that he is basically non-verbal and prone to meltdowns when his favourite food isn’t available. Alice is frustrated with her husband Wade, who goes off to work and has little to do with his son. Alice has a close relationship with her Grandmother so when she is taken sick Alice finds her carefully balanced life falling apart.

At the same time, we hear about Alina and her life in Poland that changes drastically when the war starts. I loved Alina and her love for her fiance Tomasz. She lives in a small town near Auschwitz on her family farm, a lot of people know about how the Jewish people were treated during the war, but I think that less known is the story of other Polish citizens and what they went through. It was at times upsetting, but it was a story that I am pleased that I got to learn more about it.

One thing that really struck me when reading about Alina and her family was how pure and total a parents love is for their children. There were a few examples of this in the book and they had a big impact on me.

Gradually the reader found out how Alina and Alice were linked, and that an important part of the puzzle that we thought that we knew was actually a different shaped piece to the one that we thought. It was brilliantly done and brought it all together perfectly.

This book often felt so real and so I wasn’t surprised to see that the author had a Polish Grandmother and that she had been on a similar trip to the one that Alice made in the book. There are also some photos at the back of the authors trip which I loved seeing.

Kelly Rimmer really is an amazing author with true talent. If you haven’t read her books then you are missing out. And I am going to keep telling people about Rimmer and her books and hope that soon she will be a very well known author, getting the recognition that she deserves.

Blurb:

2019. Life changed beyond recognition for Alice when her son, Eddie, was born with autism spectrum disorder. She must do everything to support him, but at what cost to her family? When her cherished grandmother is hospitalised, a hidden box of mementoes reveals a tattered photo of a young man, a tiny leather shoe and a letter. Her grandmother begs Alice to return to Poland to see what became of those she held dearest.

WWII. Alina and Tomasz are childhood sweethearts. The night before he leaves for college, Tomasz proposes marriage. But when their village falls to the Nazis, Alina doesn’t know if Tomasz is alive or dead.

2019. In Poland, separated from her family, Alice begins to uncover the story her grandmother is so desperate to tell, and discovers a love that bloomed in the winter of 1942. As a painful family history comes to light, will the struggles of the past and present -nally reach a heartbreaking resolution? Inspired by the author’s family history, a searing page-turner of war, family secrets and a love to defy all odds, from the Top Ten Australian bestselling author of Before I Let You Go.

About The Author:

Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today best selling author of contemporary -fiction novels including Me Without You, The Secret Daughter, When I Lost You, A Mother’s Confession and her most recent release, Before I Let You Go. She lives in rural Australia with her husband and children.

For further information about Kelly’s books, and to subscribe to her mailing list, visit http://www.kellyrimmer.com/

Twitter : @KelRimmerWrites

Author Page on Facebook

Instagram : @kelrimmerwrites

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, book review, debut author

#BookReview The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen. #AugustaHope @BoroughPress @fluerrr

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen.

I was delighted to be asked to read The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen by Fleur Clarke from Harper Collins Publishers. I really didn’t know what to expect but it sounded exciting and I was excited to read it.

My Review:

At first I wasn’t quite sure what to think of The Other Half of Augusta Hope because Augusta is really rather odd. The way that she thinks is seen as odd by everyone around her, her mother seems not to know what to do with her and her father is embarrassed by her.

Augusta feels really quite alone, but she has a twin sister, Julia, who is always there for her. Until she isn’t. As they grow the siblings naturally grow apart, mainly because of a boy that Julia falls for.

Gradually, Augusta Hope worked her way under my skin, there was a lot to love about her and I think that I wanted to be her friend. Another book that made me feel like this was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and I am sure that Augusta Hope will get compared to Eleanor Oliphant, as they both feature a quirky main character who is isolated and considered strange by many around them. I really hope that the books don’t get compared though, as that would be doing both a disservice.

Part of The Other Half of Augusta Hope is set in Burundi, a small country in Africa that Augusta decides is to be her favourite country in the world and so she devours facts and learns everything that she can about the country.

We also hear from Parfait, a young boy living in Burundi who at first seems quite random, how will he fit into the story? Of course it soon becomes clear.

Some of this book is set in a small town in England, some is set in Burundi and the rest in Tarifa in Spain. I loved the parts in Spain, Augusta loves it there and that really shows in the story, I’ve never been there but I could see it all so perfectly in my mind.

By the time the book finished I was totally in love with the story and the characters and I did not want it to end. It is very rare that a book makes me cry, but The Other Half of Augusta Hope came very close. It was beautifully written and it all felt so real.

That The Other Half of Augusta Hope is authors Joanna Glen’s first book is really quite amazing and I can’t wait to hear more from the author.

Blurb:

YOU’RE NOT LOST.YOU’RE JUST LOOKING.

Augusta Hope has never felt like she fits in.

And she’s right – she doesn’t. At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.
 
And now that she’s an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia.

When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta’s life, she’s propelled headfirst into the unknown. She’s determined to find where she belongs – but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away?

AUGUSTA MAY NOT FEEL LIKE SHE FITS IN, BUT READERS ARE FALLING IN LOVE WITH HER…

About The Author:

Joanna Glen graduated with First Class Honours in Spanish from the University of London, with a stint at the Faculty of Arts at Córdoba University in the hot south of Spain. She went on to teach Spanish and English to all ages, and latterly was a School Principal in London. She has edited a variety of non-fiction books, is a visiting lecturer, a communications coach and an adviser and trainer for schools. Joanna’s short fiction has appeared in the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology. She lives with her husband and children on the River Thames in Battersea, returning to Andalusia whenever it gets too grey, and is currently writing her second novel.

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen will be released on 13th June 2019 and is available to pre-order from Amazon UK.

5*, blog tours, book review, debut author

#BlogTour #BookReview Home by Amanda Berriman. @MandyBerriman @sophiechristoph @BlackSwanARU @PenguinRandomHouse #Home #debutnovel

I don’t often repost my reviews on here, but sometimes I make an exception if I think that the book is really worth shouting about. Home by Amanda Berriman is one of those books. I read it in 2018 and loved it, the book also made it onto my Top Reads 2018 list.

Home really is an amazing debut and it touched me in places that not many books get near. This blog tour is marking the release of this book in paperback, so finally those of you that don’t read e-books can read Home! Lucky you because you’re in for a treat, but don’t forget the tissues!

My Review:

When I read the blurb for Home I knew that I wanted to read it, I then started to hear from others who had read it and they all seemed to love it so I was even more determined to read it. And I’m so pleased that I did.

From literally the very first page I was hooked. The book is narrated by Jesika, a four year old who lives with her Mummy and little brother Toby after her Father moved to Poland, never to be heard from again. Jesika’s Mum is struggling with life, she doesn’t have enough money and they live in a flat that’s got many things wrong with it, including mold. As a result Toby and their Mum both have a bad cough that won’t go away. Life is about to get very difficult for Jesika.

A book narrated by such a young child could easily be awful but thankfully that is not the case here, not even close. It is written in a simple language but I really liked that. From the very start Jesika worked her way into my heart, she was such a wonderful little girl who felt so very real. Her innocence was wonderful and I loved seeing her world through her eyes, but this isn’t always an easy book to read.

Home gives a brilliant example of how grooming happens, the subtleties and ways in which an adult will convince a child to keep secrets for them. While it is not easy to read I thought that Amanda Berriman handled it sensitively and realistically, something that is impressive for any author, let along a debut author. But some will find this very difficult to read so be warned.

But despite this darkness, there is much light in the book. The love that Jesika has for her Mother is wonderful, but also for her little brother Toby. Jesika really is a special little girl who unknowingly brings out the best in people.

Home had me going to bed early so that I could read and check in on Jesika because I’d be worried about her and how she was doing, that is how real that she felt to me. When I finished the book at 2am I felt as though my heart had been shattered by little Jesika and what she went through, but filled with hope that her life was going to get better. The most upsetting thing? That I won’t get to check in on Jesika again and see how she is doing. Home really is a special book and for a debut author it is nothing short of brilliant.

Blurb:

Jesika is four and a half.

She lives in a flat with her mother and baby brother and she knows a lot.

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

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

Home is narrated by 4 year old Jesika, whose voice is incredibly recognisable and remarkably compelling. The author, Amanda Berriman, is a primary school teacher and has captured the voice of a young child perfectly.

Home is for those who love powerful, challenging novels that force us to question the world around us.

Perfect for fans of Kit de Waal’s My Name is Leon, John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Emma O’Donoghue’s Room.

About The Author:

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

Home by Amanda Berriman is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Inborn by Thomas Enger @EngerThomas @OrendaBooks #Inborn #NordicNoir #RandomThingsTours

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Inborn by Thomas Enger and published by Orenda Books. It is a while since I read some Nordic Noir and it made me realise that I miss the genre and need to read more of it!

Thank you to Orenda Books and Anne Cater from #RandomThingsTours for a copy of Inborn by Thomas Enger. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

This is the first Thomas Enger book that I have read but it certainly won’t be the last.

I found this book to be a bit of a slow burner after the initial shocking chapter, but it kept going and giving and twisting and questioning. I loved so much about it including the way that the author weaves two timelines into the story was brilliant, they fit together perfectly and I loved how it worked.

The story was clever, there were many twists and so many times I thought that I’d worked it out, but of course I hadn’t. So many of the characters seemed to be hiding something and it was hard for the reader to know who to trust.

I talked to a friend about Inborn and tried to explain how translated books are different, she struggled to understand what I meant and in the end I decided that authors from Norway, Iceland etc tend to use their words more wisely with less filler, everything that they say is important and part of the story. Some of these translated books are easier to read than others, but this one I found very easy to read so if you are new to Nordic Noir then I think that Inborn is a great place to start.

I’m not going to give any spoilers about the book and the story, but it is such a clever book and I loved reading it and finding out how it all came together. You’re in for a real treat!

Blurb:

When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even.

As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock… for murder?

Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously… and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community. As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect?

It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust.

But can we trust him?

A taut, moving and chilling thriller, Inborn examines the very nature of evil, and asks the questions: How well do we really know our families? How well do we know ourselves?

About The Author:

Thomas Enger is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2010, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of five books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news. Rights to the series have been sold to 28 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Killer Instinct, another Young Adult suspense novel, was published in Norway in 2017. Rights have been sold to Germany and Iceland. Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

About the Translator:

KARI DICKSON read Scandinavian Studies at UCL and then went on to work in various theatres. While working in the theatre, she was asked to do literal translations of two Ibsen plays, which fuelled her interest and led to an MA in Translation at the University of Surrey.  Having worked initially as a commercial translator, she now concentrates on literary translation, a good deal of which is crime fiction. Her translation of Roslund & Hellström’s Three Seconds won the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) International Dagger in 2011. She is also an occasional tutor in Norwegian language and literature, and translation  at the University of Edinburgh.

Inborn by Thomas Enger is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.