#blogtour Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys. @MsTamarCohen @PenguinRHUK #RachelRhys #ADangerousCrossing

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I was very excited when I got an email asking me if I would like to be part of the blog tour for the paperback release of Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys. I’m a big fan of Tammy Cohen. author of psychological thrillers including When She Was Bad and the brilliant First One Missing. When I heard that she was releasing a historical fiction book under the name Rachel Rhys I was disappointed as this would mean that she would be taking time out from writing psychological thrillers and because I did not want to read historical fiction. When Dangerous Crossing was released on Kindle it got great reviews and I was slightly tempted but I’d never been interested in reading historical fiction. But then I read a book, Block 46which had parts set in the past and I found that I actually really enjoyed those bits and figured that I was probably missing out by discounting all historical fiction books and I knew that Dangerous Crossing was the book that I should read to change that.

My Review:

I’d heard a lot of positive things about Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys aka Tammy Cohen whose psychological thriller books I loved, so I was excited to read this book.

I found that I was quickly pulled into the story of Lily, a young English woman who was travelling to Australia for what promised to be an exciting adventure. With some trepidation, Lily boarded the Orontes, a large boat that would take Lily and many others on the long journey. Lily was travelling under the assisted travel scheme which was set up to encourage young women to move to Australia to work in the houses of those rich enough to afford staff.

Although travelling standard class Lily found herself thrown into a world where she lived among others who had much higher social standings than she did. She soon found herself drawn to Edward and his sister with whom she shared the dinner table. Things didn’t always go smoothly though, with the threat of war back at home people were divided and the Jewish travellers found themselves shunned by many, although no by Lily. Lily herself was popular on the boat and even Max and Eliza, an extravagant couple travelling in first class, were drawn to Lily and Edward and keen to spend time with them.

Dangerous Crossing is beautifully written, I felt so drawn into life on the boat and could picture the scenes and imagine myself right there with Lily. There were many different characters in the book who all added a richness to the story and showed how people from many different walks of life were thrown together on board and how they coped with this.

As Australia draws closer Lily realises that she had let herself get caught up with life on the boat and that once she was on land she would soon be working for the very people that she had been socialising with. I loved this bit, society was so different then and the expectation that people would socialise and marry within the same circle and class that they were born into, it really was fascinating to think about.

And Rhys hasn’t totally left her psychological thriller past behind, we know from the start that something happens on the boat, that a woman leaves it in handcuffs, but we’re never quite sure until right at the end exactly what had happened. A great twist to end a superb book.

Blurb:

 

Dangerous Crossing Cover

Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys.

 

England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, poisonous secrets begin to surface. Suddenly Lily finds herself trapped with nowhere to go …

Australia, six-weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and a beautiful young woman is escorted onto dry land in handcuffs.

What has she done?

About The Author:

Rachel Rhys+©+Johnny Ring

I was born in Ibadan, Nigeria where my anthropologist father happened to be doing fieldwork at the time. Sabbatical years in far-flung places were a feature of my childhood and I attended school in both Sierra Leone and California. Otherwise, I mostly grew up in the suburbs of London where my adolescence was spent either in the local library or waiting for the last tube home.

After taking an American Studies degree at Manchester University I taught English in Madrid. While working as a secretary back in London, I started writing features and hand-delivering them to the magazine publishing house around the corner. The day the first one got accepted, I packed in my job and declared myself a freelance journalist, which is basically what I remained for the next twenty years, writing features for national magazines and newspapers, such as Marie Claire, The Times and The Telegraph, and then moving on to non fiction books. My dream was always to write fiction but it wasn’t until I was forty-seven that I finally conquered the self doubt and my first novel, The Mistress’s Revenge was published.

These days I live in North London with my partner and three (nearly) grown children and one very badly behaved dog. Together with my family I spent four happy years living in Spain from 2004 to 2008 and I live in fear of people finding this out and asking me something in Spanish at which I remain shamefully inept.

My first novel, The Mistress’s Revenge, was followed by three more contemporary fiction titles under the name Tamar Cohen – The War of the WivesSomeone Else’s Wedding and The Broken.

In November 2014, my first crime novel, Dying For Christmas was published under the name Tammy Cohen, followed by First One Missing a year later, and When She Was Bad in April 2016. My latest, They All Fall Down is published in July 2017.

Writing as Rachel RhysDangerous Crossing, my first foray into historical mystery was published in March 2017.

I am a member of the Killer Women collective of London-based female UK crime writers.

 

Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

#BlogTour Our Altered Life by Charlene Beswick @ouralteredlife

 

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Our Altered Life by Charlene Beswick.

 

My Review:

When I saw that Charlene Beswick was looking for people to read and review her book, Our Altered Life, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. For the story of a mum who had twins with one of them having a life-changing disability could have been my story. I have twins and when I was pregnant I was told that there was a very high chance that one of my twins had a disability. Further testing showed that this wasn’t the case, but it had really made me think about how I would manage twins when one had a profound disability.

So, intrigued and also keen to support a fellow twin mum I agreed to read Our Altered Life. I was a little bit unsure, the author was writing this book about her life and her experience, she hadn’t written anything published before so I really wasn’t sure how the book would read. Would it have grammatical errors and spelling mistakes? Well, thankfully the answer to that was no. I don’t know what process the author went through prior to publishing Our Altered Life, but the book has clearly been proofread and edited.

Our Altered Life is very readable, the author’s writing is almost chatty so it often felt like I was sitting and chatting with her over a cup of tea. At times I felt that she went out of her way to insist and perhaps convince us that although she had been shocked when Harry was born, she did still love him and wouldn’t change him. It was clear from reading the book that she loved Harry and that she would do anything and everything to help him, so she really didn’t need to keep telling us that.

The other niggle that I had when reading the book was that her second husband seemed to come and go at random through the story, at one point we were told that he had moved in and his children from a previous relationship were often there too, but then we heard many stories and events that made no mention of him being there. I wasn’t sure what happened and why he was excluded like that, it was almost like the author had forgotten that he had even been there.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Our Altered Life, it wasn’t always an easy read but it was heartwarming and made me want to hug my children just that little bit tighter. Charlie Beswick is clearly a very strong and resilient woman, I can only wonder whether I would have coped half as well as she has.

Blurb:

GRS MACHIN13

After a healthy twin pregnancy, Charlene and Mark were shocked to be told that one of their boys had been born with half of his face undeveloped. In seconds, the happy family future they had been planning disintegrated into turmoil and uncertainty.

Laugh out loud funny in places, heart-wrenchingly sad in others, and refreshingly honest at all times, Our Altered Life is Charlene’s wonderful account of how she struggled to forgive herself and bond with a baby she didn’t expect. Follow her transition through grief and anger, challenges and triumphs, loss and acceptance, to love for the life she has now with two children she wouldn’t change for the world.

About the Author:

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Hi, I’m Charlie, mum to twins Oliver and Harry and I am blogging about life as a parent of a child with special needs at Our Altered Life. I chronicle the highs and lows of a life less ordinary and the challenges and adventures we all face. When I’m not writing or working you will find me drinking gin, eating my own body weight in cheese and laminating stuff (you can take the girl out of teaching but you cant take the teacher out of the girl!).

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ouralteredlife/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ouralteredlife

Our Altered Life by Charlene Beswick will be released on 29th September 2017 nd will be available to pre-order soon.

#review The Foster Child by @JennyBlackhurst @headlinepg

 

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The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst.

 

My Review:

I have enjoyed Jenny Blackhurst’s previous books so I was looking forward to reading The Foster Child.

When Imogen reluctantly returns to her childhood home with her husband she is apprehensive about her new start in a town that she hated and a home that never quite felt like a home. To make matters worse she is also starting a new job, one that she was forced to take after leaving her previous role after something happened with a child that she was treating.

When Imogen is assigned Ellie, a young girl who lost her family in a fire who is now being looked after in a foster home, we know that all is not as it seems when Imogen discovers that her teachers are scared of her and her foster mother thinks that when Ellie gets angry things go wrong and people get hurt.

Imogen defends Ellie and soon oversteps her boundaries, seeing Ellie outside of work hours and taking her shopping for new clothes. While everyone is suspicious of Ellie, Imogen becomes more determined to help her and to show everyone that they are wrong. But are they?

I thought that The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst is brilliantly written and woven, the characters are all believable and the reader is never quite sure what is really going on with Ellie.

What I liked most was that everyone’s behaviour and actions had a reason which helped to make it all so much more real and believable, the author had thought about everything and I couldn’t help but be impressed.

Overall, The Foster Child is a great read that takes the reader on a real journey where you won’t be sure what is really happening, then you’ll think that you worked it out before you realise just how cleverly written The Foster Child is.

Blurb:

The brilliant new novel from Jenny Blackhurst , the #1 eBook bestselling author of HOW I LOST YOU , which Clare Mackintosh called ‘utterly gripping’ and BEFORE I LET YOU IN If you love Louise Jensen’s THE GIFT or SK Tremayne’s THE ICE TWINS you will love this.

When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.

Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger…

About The Author:

Jenny-Blackhurst-Author-Photo

Jenny Blackhurst lives in Shropshire with her husband, two sons and their dog, Woody. Until recently she worked at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, resigning in August 2017 to follow her dream of becoming a full time writer. These days she watches Netflix in her pjs until mid day and eats chocolate (whilst working on her fourth novel of course).

The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst is out on 21st September 2017 and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US to pre-order.

#review The Fox In The Box by @AmandaGeeAuthor illustrated by Lee Holland.

 

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The Fox in the Box by Amanda Gee.

 

My Review:

When author Amanda Gee was asking for people to read and review her children’s book, The Fox In The Box I thought that it was probably a bit young for my almost seven year old children, but the cover was so adorable that I couldn’t resist.

And I’m so pleased that I didn’t. We all loved the book, the cute illustrations by Lee Holland work so perfectly with the story, it was fun to read and made my children think about animals and their homes. This really is a wonderful book, it is short but perfect and the rhyming words work really well. The font is clear and easy to read, although my children regularly ask me to read it to them they are both able to read it themselves too.

After reading this book I will definitely be looking out for more from Amanda Gee and I will definitely be buying The Fox in the Box as presents.

Blurb:

When Lydia finds a lost baby fox outside her back door, they set off together to look for his family. But on the way, they discover a terrible disaster is about to overtake their village. Can they stop it…..and will the cub find what he’s looking for?

About the Author:

I have lived in Suffolk all my life and have had a passion for the environment and wildlife for a very long time. In my books for children as well as teaching them about friendship and kindness, I am trying to help educate them about the fantastic world we live in and the amazing animals we share it with.

The Fox In The Box by Amanda Gee and illustrated by Lee Holland is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

#blogtour Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #MariaInTheMoon

 

Maria in the Moon - Blog Tour Poster

My Review:

When I was asked to take part in the blog tour for Maria In The Moon, I literally couldn’t reply fast enough to say YES! Having absolutely loved Louise Beech’s The Mountain in My Shoe (read my review here) I couldn’t wait to read her next book.

Maria in the Moon tells us about Catherine, a lonely thirty something whose home was recently flooded, she works nights in a care home and spends her spare time volunteering at the flood crisis phoneline. Happy to focus on the needs and problems of others she works hard not to think of her own, but it becomes clear that Catherine’s past is quickly catching up on her and that she is going to have to face it.

Maria In The Moon is a book that is slow and steady, yet the storyline is engaging and I couldn’t help but love Catherine and root for her to find her way through her troubles and out the other side. I absolutely loved the relationship that Catherine had with her step mother, it was brilliantly done and added some humour to the story. Catherine’s story was not always easy to read, but it was somehow quite beautiful.

I shouldn’t be surprised really, Louise Beech has an amazing way of writing, her characters are wonderfully written and she is one author that could write a shopping list and I’d still want to read it.

Blurb:

mariainthemoon

Long ago my beloved Nanny Eve chose my name. Then one day she stopped calling me it. I try now to remember why, but I just can’t.’

Thirty-one-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria. With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges … and changes everything. Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…

About The Author:

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Louise Beech has always been haunted by the sea. She regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. She was also part of the Mums’ Army on Lizzie and Carl’s BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show for three years.

Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech is out on Kindle UK now and will be released in paperback on 30th September 2017. You can buy or pre-order now from Amazon UK and  Amazon US .

#review A Stranger In The House @sharilapena @penguinrandom

 

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A Stranger In The House by  Shari Lapena

 

My Review:

Having thoroughly enjoyed Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door (you can read my review here) I was very excited to read A Stranger In The House and promptly requested to read it via Netgalley.

The book quickly sucked me into the story, I wanted to know just what Karen had been running from when she crashed her car. Was her amnesia real or was she pretending? Had her marriage really been so perfect? And what was with the curtain twitcher who lived opposite?

When a book immediately throws you into the action it can mean that reader doesn’t get to know who the characters are before their lives were thrown into turmoil, but Lapena’s writing doesn’t fall into that trap. I felt that I had a good understanding of Tom and Karen’s relationship which made the book all the more enjoyable.

As the twisted story revealed itself more was revealed about Karen and her past, I started to think that I’d worked it out but of course I hadn’t at all. Lots of twists and turns in this book that’s for sure!

I think that A Stranger In The House is even better than The Couple Next Door, so I am now really looking forward to her next book!

Blurb:

In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops—from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door

He looks at her, concerned. “How do you feel?” She wants to say, Terrified. Instead, she says, with a faint smile, “Glad to be home.”

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

About The Author:

sharilapena

Shari Lapena worked as a lawyer and as an English teacher before turning to writing fiction. She has written two award-winning literary novels, and her suspense debut, The Couple Next Door, was a New York Times and an international bestseller. A Stranger in the House is her second thriller.

A Stranger In The House is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

#review The Art Of Hiding by @MrsAmandaProwse @AmazonPub

 

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The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse.

 

My Review:

Amanda Prowse is one of the few authors that I don’t bother reading the blurb for, I know that I want to read her book and will enjoy it so I tend to go into them blind. And I quite like that, it means that there’s no judgement or preconception about the book that I am about to read.

I’m not sure whether that was a good idea for The Art of Hiding though. I found myself frustrated at times by how predictable it was, but reading the blurb I now see that I would have known it before I read the book if I’d read the blurb. Because once Nina’s husband died it was pretty obvious that her wonderful lifestyle with her huge house, nice car and private school for her kids wasn’t going to last, and sure enough it didn’t.

Having grown up in poverty Nina can’t help but feel like a failure when she ends up back in the council estate that she grew up in, suddenly aware of how much she relied on her husband, he handled all the finances and she hadn’t had a job since her eldest son, now a teenager was born.

As usual for an Amanda Prowse novel, The Art of Hiding is an easy read that takes the reader on a journey into somebody else’s world. All of the characters are well written I felt able to identify with them all. Although she annoyed me a bit I was definitely rooting for Nina as she manages to pull herself together. I particularly enjoyed her relationship with her elder son and how it evolved through the story,

Not her best book but The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse is still a really good read.

Blurb:

What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.

About The Author:

Amanda Prowse likens her own life story to those she writes about in her books. After self-publishing her debut novel, Poppy Day, in 2011, she has gone on to author sixteen novels and six novellas. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and she regularly tops bestseller charts all over the world. Remaining true to her ethos, Amanda writes stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined. The most prolific female contemporary fiction writer in the UK, with a legion of loyal readers, she goes from strength to strength. Being crowned ‘queen of domestic drama’ by the Daily Mail was one of her finest moments. Amanda is a regular contributor on TV and radio but her first love is and will always be writing. You can find her online at www.amandaprowse.com, on Twitter @MrsAmandaProwse, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amandaprowsenogreaterlove.

The Art of Hiding is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US