#BookTour Trolls by Ron Butlin @RonButlinMakar @BCKidsBooks @SKARPHEDON @BirlinnBooks @LoveBooksGroup

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Our Review:

Here Come the Trolls:

Dora aged seven: It is quite funny sometimes but it is a bit not kind which I didn’t really like as they weren’t very nice to the trolls. The pictures are a bit different to other kids books but I do like them, they aren’t that colourful though. The writing is also a bit different but I could read it ok although it was harder to read than normal books. 

I liked the book, there wasn’t a particularly strong storyline to it and there was no message in it as there often are with kids, it is just a book that is purely for fun. And it definitely is fun. The illustrations are great, they are quite simple and as Dora said not very colourful but the expressions on the trolls faces are often amusing and made my children giggle. I think that at seven the book is too young for my children, it would suit ages 2-6 quite well and I’m sure that the story would get lots of laughs from younger children who would enjoy the pictures and the lyrical story.

Day of the Trolls:

Jake aged seven:  It was really gross when the troll farted and when the troll had snot. It was really funny when the granny got thrown to the roof. The pictures were really funny because it looked like it was so weird and silly. I think that boys and girls aged three to five would really like this book.

Dora aged seven: It was quite gross but it was quite funny when the troll picked his nose. I do think that it was quite good and I did like the pictures a bit too. 

I enjoyed reading Day of the Trolls and felt that it was better than the first book as it had a better storyline and more happening in it. It is a funny book and the words and the pictures make it funnier, they go well together. I think that this book would be perfect for children aged 2-6 who I’m sure would find it hilarious to hear about these naughty and rude trolls!

Blurb:

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Through gaps in the roof we didn’t repair

through cracks in the walls we pretended weren’t there…

…the trolls have come creeping

while we were all sleeping.

Trolls on your chair, trolls in your bed –

is anything worse than a troll on your head?

What happens when your house is invaded by trolls – mischievous creatures who do nothing but cause havoc and mayhem? Find out in this zany and charming book which tells you how to get rid of them for good and make your house a troll-free zone!

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It’s the Day of the Trolls: Fart-Fart and all the trolls are back! Join them in the shopping mall where they go wild, causing havoc as they overrun the place. But when they follow sign saying All Trolls – This Way, things turn out very differently to what Flycatcher, Bumscratcher, SnotFace, Squeer and the rest of them expected …

About The Author:

Ron Butlin is an award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, short story writer and librettist whose works have been translated into many languages. He regularly gives creative writing workshops in schools, and was Edinburgh Makar from 2008 to 2014.

James Hutcheson is Creative Director at Birlinn. He has been designing books, book jackets and album covers for many years.

The books are out now and you can buy Here Come The Trolls here and Day of the Trolls here.

#BookReview The Child Finder by @ReneDenfield @orionbooks @ifonlyread #amreading

 

 

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The Child Finder by Rene Denfield.

 

My Review:

I was immediately attracted to the blurb of The Child Finder by Rene Denfield. The thought of someone whose job was to track missing children was interesting and something that I really wanted to read.

Naomi Cottle is an unusual character, I didn’t find her particularly likeable but she was certainly interesting and her backstory was intriguing. Although the story focuses on Madison, a young child who went missing three years ago in an isolated wood while looking for a Christmas Tree with her parents, we also find out about some of the children that Naomi has found previously which helps to add depth to the story and also a sense of urgency. And we hear from Madison herself, finding out where she has been for three years and how she has managed to survive.

The concept is great and I did enjoy reading it, but I didn’t think that it was particularly well written. This didn’t spoil the read for me though and it was a real journey in many ways as while tracking Madison, Naomi is forced to confront her past as it brings up some of her own childhood that she has blocked out and feels scared to remember, but also aware that it is something that she needs to do in order to stop running from her past.

I really don’t want to give too much away, but this is a great read that I really enjoyed. If you like psychological thrillers then this is a book for you.

Blurb:

Naomi Cottle finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. She possesses a rare, intuitive sense, born out of her own harrowing experience that allows her to succeed when others have failed.

Young Madison Culver has been missing for three years. She vanished on a family trip to the mountainous forests of Oregon, where they’d gone to cut down a tree for Christmas. Soon after she disappeared, blizzards swept the region and the authorities presumed she died from exposure.

But Naomi knows that Madison isn’t dead. Can she find the child – and also find out why this particular case is stirring the shadows of her own memories? Could her future be bound to this girl in a way she doesn’t understand?

About The Author:

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Rene Denfield is the bestselling author of THE ENCHANTED and THE CHILD FINDER. Her lyrical fiction has won numerous awards including the prestigious French Prix, an ALA Medal for Excellence and an IMPAC listing. In addition to writing, Rene works as a licensed investigator. She has worked hundreds of cases, including missing persons, and was the Chief Investigator at the public defender’s office. The child of a difficult history herself, Rene has dedicated her life to helping others. She has been a foster-adoptive parent for 20 years, and is the happy mother to three children she adopted from foster care.

The Child Finder by Rene Denfield is out in the UK on 11th January 2018 and is available to pre-order from Amazon UK. Or you can order the hardback from Amazon US now.

#BookReview The Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan @SVaughanAuthor @simonschusterUK

 

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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan.

 

My Review:

There is a lot of hype from fellow book bloggers about Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan, this can be a good thing as hype doesn’t happen over an average book but it can also be a bad thing, having heard all the hype it is easy to have high expectations and be disappointed by a book.

Having seen nothing but 5* reviews for this book I had high hopes, but did it live up to my expectations? Well, the answer is yes, and no. One pretty amazing thing about this book is timing, given how long it takes to write a book, edit it and get it ready for publication the timing of the release is pretty perfect as the story is so so current.

With the recent flurry of stories coming from Westminister about sexual assaults and people taking advantage of junior staff this book is timely and certainly gives food for thought.

The story of James, the apparently loving family man, is accused of a serious crime by his former mistress. The fact that they previously had a consensual sexual relationship does muddy the water slightly as he can easily claim revenge for breaking up with her.

The book is well written and the characters have a great backstory and their actions are in the main believable. It is a great book and well worth reading but for me, it lacked the wow factor that other readers have felt when reading it. Who knows why, but it’s still a great read that I’d definitely recommend.

Blurb:

An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

About the Author:

1026489 Sarah Vaughan read English at Oxford and went on to be a journalist. After training with the Press Association, she worked for The Guardian for 11 years as a news reporter, health correspondent and political correspondent before leaving to freelance. She started writing fiction the week she turned forty. Anatomy of a Scandal is her third novel and will be published in January 2018 by S&S in the UK, US and Canada, plus other commonwealth countries. It will also be translated into 16 languages. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and two young children and is currently writing her fourth novel.

 

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan is out on 11th January 2018 and can be pre-ordered now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

#blogtour CWA Anthology of Short Stories Mystery Tour @the_cwa @OrendaBooks

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I loved the idea of this book, the Crime Writers Association is a UK based membership club for crime writers and every year they produce an anthology of short stories written by their members. This year the anthology is published by the ever reliable Orenda books which to me makes it even more exciting.

My Review:

If you’re a crime fan then this is the book for you! An anthology of short stories written by some of the best crime writers around is pretty much heaven for most crime readers. If you’re like me and enjoy reading books set in exotic locations then this book is pretty much perfect.

What I love about anthologies is that I get to read lots of stories by different authors and I am always introduced to new authors that I haven’t read before. This can only be a good thing but if you do find an author whose writing you don’t particularly like then it’s only a short story and so doesn’t take long to finish.

If I am totally honest this book made me realise that I don’t really enjoy reading short stories as much as full length novels. I like to be able to get right into the story and while you can do that with a short story it just doesn’t work as well as the story is over so quickly. Another thing that I realised is that I like looking forward to reading my book, thinking about the story and wondering what might happen next, but that can’t happen with a short story as you read it in one go and then it’s over and you move on to the next book.

But of course there are many positives to reading short stories and I loved the fast pace of the stories, every word mattered and so there wasn’t any wastage and things got where they were going pretty fast. Some of the stories had me holding my breath and disappointed when it finished, the majority of the stories were great, some were even better and some weren’t quite as good.

I think that this book would make a brilliant present as anyone will find something that they like and hopefully love. A non-crime reader will definitely find out whether they might like to read crime or not and if they do they’ll have some ideas of authors to try and crime fans will definitely find new authors to read.

Once again Orenda Books have produced a brilliant read with some amazing crime authors involved. I look forward to next years anthology!

Blurb:

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Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour. Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood. Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

Contributions from:
Ann Cleeves, C.L. Taylor, Susi Holliday, Martin Edwards, Anna Mazzola, Carol Anne Davis, Cath Staincliffe, Chris Simms, Christine Poulson, Ed James, Gordon Brown, J.M. Hewitt, Judith Cutler, Julia Crouch, Kate Ellis, Kate Rhodes, Martine Bailey, Michael Stanley, Maxim Jakubowski, Paul Charles, Paul Gitsham, Peter Lovesey, Ragnar Jónasson, Sarah Rayne, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Vaseem Khan, William Ryan and William Burton McCormick

 

The CWA Anthology of Short Stories Mystery Tour is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

#blogtour The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland @ShaliniBoland @bookouture

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My review:

Ok, so first off I need to tell you that I really, really enjoyed reading The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland. It wasn’t that it was the best written book or the most amazing storyline but there was something about it that grabbed me and kept me hooked.

I think what made it so good was wondering whether Tessa was actually a reliable witness, was there really a child in her kitchen or was she delusional? And if there was a child then had she really taken it from where he belonged? It is perfectly set up to make the reader unsure of what the truth might actually be as Tessa’s story does sound rather implausible, why would a strange boy be in her kitchen and saying that she was his Mummy? Very clever. Something fishy had to be going on, and sure enough, it was.

The book takes us on a journey with Tessa as she sets out to prove her innocence. Her ex fights her at every turn, seemingly convinced that Tessa is unstable and needs help. But Tessa’s boss believes her and sees something in her that other’s done and he helps her find the truth. I actually really enjoyed reading about Tessa’s relationship with her boss and it was great that she had someone supporting her along the way.

I’ve not given anything away that isn’t in the blurb and so I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but I really did enjoy this book and thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys books that keep you wondering and guessing and not sure of who to believe. Once again the publishers Bookouture have produced a psychological thriller that is a cracking read.

Blurb:

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‘Are you my mummy?’ 

Tessa Markham comes home to find a little boy in her kitchen. He thinks she’s his mother. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the child is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the boy. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Girl on the Train and The Sister.

About the Author:

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Shalini Boland lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer/songwriter, but now she spends her days writing psychological thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).

Shalini’s debut psychological thriller THE GIRL FROM THE SEA reached No 1 in the US Audible charts and No 7 in the UK Kindle charts. Her second thriller THE BEST FRIEND reached no 2 in the US Audible charts and No 10 in the Amazon UK Kindle charts. It also achieved number 1 in all its categories and was a Kindle All Star title for several months in a row. Shalini’s recent release THE MILLIONAIRE’S WIFE reached No 9 in the Kindle UK charts.

Be the first to hear about her new releases here: http://eepurl.com/b4vb45

Shalini is also the author of two bestselling Young Adult series as well as an atmospheric WWII novel with a time-travel twist.

http://www.facebook.com/ShaliniBolandAuthor
http://www.shaliniboland.co.uk
https://twitter.com/ShaliniBoland

The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

#blogtour #bookreview Beneath The Skin by Caroline England. @CazEngland @AvonBooksUK

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Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Beneath The Skin by Caroline England, a debut author who has given herself a lot to live up to with her next book!

My Review:

Reading a debut novel is always like going into the unknown, unsure whether the author’s writing style will be one that you enjoy for a start. But Beneath The Skin appealed to me, the blurb, the cover and the publisher, so in I went.

Beneath The Skin focuses on the relationships of four couples who are all linked together. At first, I wasn’t so sure as I struggled with keeping up with all the different characters that were introduced to us, especially as some of them had a present and past to keep up with. But what that did was make me focus on what I was reading, and that was only a good thing. This is not a book to skim read as everything is linked together and nothing is told to us for no reason, and as the story progresses you will be pleased that you took notice.

I have to admit that I didn’t like many of the characters in Beneath The Skin, but that isn’t a bad thing. Some were mildly unlikeable and others were downright detestable. The worst was probably Sophie, a self-obsessed alcoholic who is keeping secrets from her husband Sami, who also happens to be keeping secrets from her. Her supposedly best friend is Antonia, who Sophie uses and abuses, but they have known each other since childhood and their relationship is complicated, they are both keeping secrets for the other. Antonia is married to David, we know something isn’t right with Antonia thanks to her weekly self-harm session while David is at the pub with his friends. But David is hiding something too, he is worried about something being found out by others, but what is it that he has done?

David’s best friend is Charlie, a likeable fellow who is married to the truly awful Helen. Their son, Rupert, is almost a stranger to them both, he attends the same boarding school that Charlie and David went to in their youth. Little do they know that events are going to change all of their lives forever, but will it be for the better?

Which leaves Mike and Olivia, seemly the most functional of the bunch, or so it seems…

I really loved reading about all of them and the tales of deceit, cheating and coming together. Caroline England weaves a wonderful tale that, once you get into it, is enthralling. The fact that she is a debut author makes it all the more impressive, and I am very excited to see what England does next.

This is a deep and twisted book that I’m sure I will be thinking of for a long time to come. One thing that I will say though, is that it made me very grateful to be single!!

Blurb:

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No-one remembers your past. But you do.

 

Three women. Three secrets.

Antonia is beautiful and happily married. Her life is perfect. So why does she hurt herself when nobody’s watching?

Sophie is witty, smart and married to the best-looking man in town. She likes a drink, but who doesn’t?

Olivia is pretending to be a happy wife and mother. But her secret could tear her family apart.

Their lies start small, they always do. But if they don’t watch out, the consequences will be deadly.

About the Author:

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Born Yorkshire lass, Caroline studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border. Caroline became a partner in a Solicitors practise and instigated her jottings when she deserted the law to bring up her three lovely daughters. In addition to the publication of her short story collection, Watching Horsepats Feed the Roses by ACHUKAbooks, Caroline has had short stories and poems published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. Her debut novel, Beneath the Skin, will be published by Avon HarperCollins on 5 October 2017.

 

Beneath The Skin by Caroline England is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

#blogtour The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen @OrendaBooks #themanwhodied

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My Review:

I have to admit that I’m not sure why I wanted to read The Man Who Died. I mean firstly, my most hated food in the whole world are mushrooms. Yet here I was agreeing to read a book about a man who spends a lot of his time thinking about, talking about and eating mushrooms. What drew me to this book was that it is published by Orenda Books, a brilliant publisher with a real knack for finding great books, many of which are written by authors from countries such as Sweden, Iceland or, as in this case, Finland.

The Man Who Died has an intriguing start when Jaakko, our main character, is told by his doctor that he is dying. Someone has been poisoning him over a period of time and the doctor doesn’t know how long he will live for, but it won’t be for long. So Jaakko sets about finding out who is trying to kill him, he wants to solve his own murder.

Despite being in the process of dying, Jaakko showed great determination as well as an awful lot of luck, perhaps a little bit too much luck, but hey, he is dying so he deserves it!  The Man Who Died was really a great read, fantastically translated by David Hackston, it reads incredibly well. It really is something different and something special.

Thank you to the publisher Orenda Books for a copy of The Man Who Died, I was under no obligation to review and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

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A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a
pageturning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.

About the Author:

Antti Tuomainen

Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011 Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labelled The Healerthe story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a postapocalyptic Helsinki ‘unputdownable’. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. The Mine, published in 2016, was an international bestseller. All of his books have been optioned for TV/film. With his piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and The Man Who Died sees him at his literary best.

The Man Who Died is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.