5*, blog tours, book review

#BookReview #BlogTour Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech. #CallMeStarGirl @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks


I’m so happy to be part of the blog tour for Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech and published by the fabulous Orenda Books. Thank you to Anne Cater for asking me to be part of the tour. I received a copy of Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I love Louise Beech, she is such a fabulous author who has a real special way of telling a story. Thankfully Call Me Star Girl is another great book. It is a bit of a change for the author, with this book being more of a psychological thriller than any of her previous books.

The story revolves around Stella, a woman who appears to have everything sorted; a good job, boyfriend, home and family around her. But all is most definitely not as it seems and it quickly becomes clear that Stella is keeping secrets from those around her. But are they keeping secrets from her too?

The majority of the book takes place over one night, and what a night it is. As the night progresses it all becomes clear, or does it?

I really liked the characters in the book, while not always likeable they were believable and felt real. Stella’s backstory was particularly good I thought and could have made a whole book on its own.

Once again Louise Beech has woven an interesting tale that I think would be difficult not to get caught up in. I read the book quickly and loved how it kept me guessing. Roll on the author’s next book!

Blurb:

Tonight is the night for secrets…
Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.
Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.
Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the
mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you
about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …
What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.
Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…
With echoes of the chilling Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…

About The Author:

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. 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. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4.5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Ringmaster by Vanda Symons. @OrendaBooks @vandasymon #NewZealandNoir #TheRingmaster #SamShepard


I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon. I reviewed the first book in the Sam Shepard series, Overkill, which I absolutely loved so I was excited to read book two. I received a copy of The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon to read, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I really, really enjoyed Overkill by Vanda Symon so I was very excited to read book two in the series. I have a big soft spot for books set in New Zealand and this series fits the bill perfectly.

Part of what I loved about Overkill was that it was set in a small NZ town and the book really showed the claustrophobia that goes with living in a small town where everyone knows everyone and all about them.

In The Ringmaster, Sam Shepard, has moved to Dunedin which is a proper town and so doesn’t have that same feel. I have to admit that I really missed the small town atmosphere from the first book. But being set in a larger town means that there is more scope for storylines and characters.

Sam’s flatmate from Overkill returns which I was pleased about, they have good chemistry and she makes me laugh.

I really like Sam Shepard as a character, she is a damn good police officer but somehow manages to annoy a lot of people in the process. I loved her connection with the elephant in the circus that features in the story, along with her horror at the fact that an elephant and lions were being kept by the circus.

New Zealand has one travelling circus with live animals, including lions and an elephant. Hard to believe really and I guess that it is good that the book brings that to light.

Once again Sam manages to save the day, her gut instinct is strong and she has faith enough in it to follow it. I did find the whole who done it slightly surprising, it didn’t seem to really fit somehow. I’m not sure it was really believable that the person who did it, did it. If that makes sense.

But the book was fun to read, I loved getting to know Sam more and her interactions with others, friends, work colleagues and someone who perhaps will be more.

Overall, The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon is a great read, I love the setting and the characters and the twisty turns. Roll on book three!

Blurb:


Death is stalking the South Island of New Zealand…
Marginalised by previous antics, Sam Shephard, is on the bottom rung of detective training in Dunedin, and her boss makes sure she knows
it. She gets involved in her first homicide investigation, when a university student is murdered in the Botanic Gardens, and Sam soon
discovers this is not an isolated incident. There is a chilling prospect of a predator loose in Dunedin, and a very strong possibility that the
deaths are linked to a visiting circus…Determined to find out who’s running the show, and to prove herself, Sam throws herself into an investigation that can have only one ending…
Rich with atmosphere, humour and a dark, shocking plot, The
Ringmaster marks the return of passionate, headstrong police officer,
Sam Shephard, in the next instalment of Vanda Symon’s bestselling
series.

About The Author:


Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard
series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and
two sons.

The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

3.5*, blog tours, book review

#BookReview #BlogTour The Family Lie by Jake Cross @bookouture


My second blog tour of the day is for The Family Lie by Jake Cross and published by the wonderful Bookouture. I received a copy of the book to read but was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

The Family Lie by Jake Cross starts with a bang. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and finding the house empty, your husband and daughter are nowhere to be seen but the back door is open and something just doesn’t feel right.

That is what happens to Anna, and before she knows it the house is full of police and questions are being asked that Anna isn’t comfortable answering. The police officer in charge, Miller, believes husband Nick is responsible and that he has taken their little girl.

But it soon becomes clear that he isn’t involved, but we know that the parents seem to be hiding something. Just what is going on and who has taken the little girl and why?

This book could have been excellent, the premise was great and clever and certainly very twisty. I also liked the author’s style of writing but sadly there were a few things that let the book down.

Mainly, the characters just weren’t anyone I cared about. With the book starting with the kidnap we didn’t get to know the family before it happened, the missing girl was a stranger whose name was barely used throughout the book. Her parents were unlikeable and I was never really sure whether I cared all that much whether she was found.

The only character that felt fully formed was Miller, the police officer searching for the missing child. However, she was also incredibly annoying at times, constantly calling Anna ‘Dear’ which drove me slightly crazy, and calling Nick, the husband ‘My friend’.

However, saying that, I enjoyed reading The Family Lie by Jake Cross, I wanted to know what they were lying about and why and it was a clever twisty tale and you will never be quite sure about who to trust.

Blurb:

You whispered goodnight to your daughter. You didn’t know that would be your last goodbye.

You wake up in the middle of the night.

Your five-year-old daughter is gone.

Your husband is nowhere to be seen.

Your family think he took her.

The police believe he’s guilty.

But he wouldn’t do that, would he?

He’s a loving father. A loving husband. Isn’t he?

An addictive and completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist that will blow you away. Fans of The Girl on the Train,K.L. Slater and Shalini Boland won’t be able to put down this jaw-dropping novel.

About The Author:

Jake has been making stuff up from a real early age. His parents never believed his silly lies when he was young, so he still has no idea why he thought he could invent a decent story as an adult. But he kept trying, and here we are. THE CHOICE is his first novel, the first of three thrillers to be published by Bookouture, and he hopes you like it. If you don’t, he at least hopes you don’t ask for a refund.

Author Social Media Links

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JakeCrossAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17625443.Jake_Cross

Buy Link:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07N8VVHGFSocial

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2t41M85

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2D1yls8

Googleplay: http://ow.ly/sLbg30nxGTv

5*, blog tours, book review, WW2

#BlogTour #BookReview The Librarian Of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe @ToniIturbe @EburyPublishing @PenguinUKBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #LibrarianOfAuschwitz

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for asking me to be part of the tour. I received a copy of the book but I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

There seems to be a flurry of books about the second world war and more specifically, Auschwitz, being released. Perhaps partly down to the success of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, but whatever the cause is pretty irrelevant. The fact is that these books tell readers a very important story.

I had always considered myself well educated when it comes to the horrific actions of the German Army and their treatment of those that they considered to be less than themselves. But each book I have read teaches me something new.

The Librarian of Auschwitz starts off by telling us that the author had talked at length with Dita Kraus, who had been the librarian during her time in the concentration camp, a job that had been incredibly risky, but one she was determined to do.

It feels a bit funny saying that I enjoyed reading this book, after all how could anyone get any enjoyment out of the horror that is written about in this book. But I did enjoy reading it, I loved reading about how people were determined to stay true to themselves despite what was going on around them.

People like Dita, who was lucky enough to get a job in the tent where the children went each day. Staff there were meant to sing songs and play games, no teaching was allowed, but that is exactly what they did. With people keeping watch for the Nazi soldiers, the staff told the children stories about the world outside the camp they were kept in. They carved pencils from sticks and burnt the ends so children could write a few words, they found a way to mark the Jewish holiday’s and they found a way to have books, kept hidden under floorboards that could be borrowed for lessons.

Dita showed a strength and determination that was beyond her years, but her beloved books that she worked so hard to keep hidden helped her escape from the horrors around her as she found places to hide and read.

How anyone managed to survive the Nazi Concentration Camps is beyond me, the inner strength and will to survive they must have possessed is inspirational. This book gives us detail of the horrors they experienced and it is not easy reading. But it is important, we must never forget what happened and books like this, fiction and easily accessible to all yet heavily based on real life events and people are essential for bringing the stories to people who wouldn’t sit down to read a history book.

The Librarian of Auschwitz is a powerful book, it is an important book and it is powerful story of people’s fight to survive. Please read this book, it is a story you should know.

Blurb:

For readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Choice: this is the story of the smallest library in the world – and the most dangerous.

‘It wasn’t an extensive library. In fact, it consisted of eight books and some of them were in poor condition. But they were books. In this incredibly dark place, they were a reminder of less sombre times, when words rang out more loudly than machine guns…’

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.

But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…

About The Author:

Antonio Iturbe lives in Spain, where he is both a novelist and a journalist. In researching The Librarian of Auschwitz, he interviewed Dita Kraus, the real-life librarian of Auschwitz. Lilit Zekulin Thwaites is an award-winning literary translator. After thirty years as an academic at La Trobe University in Australia, she retired from teaching and now focuses primarily on her ongoing translation and research projects. Dita Kraus was born in Prague. In 1942, when Dita was thirteen years old , she and her parents were deported to Ghetto Theresienstadt and later to Auschwitz,. Neither of Dita’s parents survived. After the war Dita married the author Otto B. Kraus. They emigrated to Israel in 1949, where they both worked as teachers They had three children. Since Otto’s death in 2000 , Dita lives alone in Netanya. She has four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Despite the horrors of the concentration camps, Dita has kept her positive approach to life.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, debut author

#BlogTour #BookReview Amazing Grace by Kim Nash. @KimTheBookworm @HeraBooks @rararesources


Wow, I love it when a book blogger I know gets a book deal! Kim Nash of the fabulous blog Kim The Bookworm and works as Publicity and Social Media Manager at one of my favourite publishers, Bookouture. So I was very excited to read Kim’s debut novel, it isn’t a genre that I normally read but I was more than happy to make an exception.

I received a copy of Amazing Grace by Kim Nash from the publisher, Hera Books. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own. Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for asking me to be part of the blog tour.

My Review:

Well, where do I start? I don’t read a lot of rom-com or romance or comedy or anything else that can be called light and fluffy. So perhaps I’m not the target audience for Amazing Grace by Kim but I was very excited to read it.

Grace is a character that I could relate to in many ways. She’s a single mother with a boy called Archie, her ex husband is a manipulating, cheating b*&%!*d. Grace’s self esteem is pretty low, all she wants is the best for her son but she constantly doubts herself.

She has a best friend who tries to help her get back on her feet after her divorce, getting her to pay attention to what she’s wearing and dragging her to the hairdresser. This friend also joins her up to a dating app and organises a few dates her her which are all rather disastrous. I’m not sure that I’d ever forgive my friend for setting me up with the men she found though, talk about disastrous! And also rather hilarious.

But then enters Vinnie, gardener extraordinaire who happens to be rather handsome and single. Grace is full of doubt, perhaps Vinnie is too good to be true, or maybe she should go back to the useless ex? But gradually Grace is able to let her defences down and trust herself to do the right thing.

I really loved Grace as a character, she’d been through a lot but she was still fighting and trying to make the best life she can for herself and her son. She was such a believable and likeable character and I loved reading about her as she slowly grew in confidence and reaped the rewards of her hard work.

Grace is also grieving the death of her mother, and her mother is a big part of the story as she regularly talks to Grace. This was the one bit that I wasn’t really sure about, but it worked well in the book and helped to give Grace the strength to keep going and do the best she can do.

Amazing Grace is an excellent debut novel, Kim Nash has created some wonderful characters who are believable and warm, people that you can imagine being your friends. The book was easy to read, it made me laugh and I probably spent a lot of the time reading it smiling, I’m sure that it will bring a tear or two to many as well.

I enjoyed my break from thrillers and crime books and I am looking forward to reading more from the author.

Blurb:


She’s taking her life back, one step at a time…

Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted. 

Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary – and her perfect life fell apart.


Now she’s a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks… 

Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up on her doorstep, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves. 

So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness? 

A funny, feel good romance about finding your own path and changing your life for the better – readers of Cathy Bramley, Jill Mansell and Josie Silver will love this uplifting read.

About The Author:



Kim Nash lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture and is a book blogger at www.kimthebookworm.co.uk. 

Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA. 

When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs.

Amazing Grace is her debut novel with Hera Books and will be out on 10th April 2019

Connect with Kim on Social Media here:
Twitter: @KimTheBookworm
Facebook: KimTheBookWorm
Instagram: @Kim_the_bookworm

Purchase Links

Amazon

Kobo:

Apple

4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl. @OrendaBooks @ko_dahl #NordicNoir


Today is it my stop on the blog tour for The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl and published by Orenda Books. Thank you to Anne Cater for asking me to be part of the tour. I was given a copy of the book but was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

It seems that there is a wave of books about the second world war, they are everywhere and hard to avoid. I considered myself quite knowledgeable about the second world war and the treatment of Jewish people during the war in Europe. But every book I have read recently has taught me something new, and I have often been shocked at the huge chunks of knowledge that I am missing.

The Courier was one of the books that did just that. I did not know that Norway was so caught up in the war, I had no idea that Jewish people in Norway were persecuted and sent to concentration camps in Poland.

The story revolves around Ester and her experiences, starting with her fleeing Norway for Sweden when the gestapo come for her family, Ester worked as a courier, helping to smuggle illegal newspapers out of Oslo.

It seems that Ester is well connected, knowing many people, some of whom are helpful and others that bring trouble to Ester, both is 1942 and again in 1967 when people are brought back together when someone they all thought was dead turned up very much alive.

The book alternates between the two timelines and I have to admit that I found that confusing for a good part of the book. There are also many names to remember, which for my brain is made even harder by them not being familiar names, although eventually I got the hang of it. There is a small part set in 2015 too.

The story is interesting, I liked the simplicity of the writing, and how everything ties together. Ester is a great character, she’s strong and resilient and she is definitely not someone to be best with. I like a feisty female character and Ester fits the bill perfectly.

The conclusion of the book was not what I expected, it was well done and fitted well with the story.

The Courier is a great example of Nordic Noir, if you haven’t read the genre then you really should, and this book is a great place to start.

Blurb:

In Oslo in 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In great haste, she escapes to Sweden whilst the rest of her family is deported to Auschwitz.

In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, Ester ’s childhood best friend. A relationship develops between them, but ends abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire.

And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He
wants to reconnect with his daughter Turid. But where has he
been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles
across information that forces her to look closely at her past,
and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…

Written with Dahl’s trademark characterisation and clever plotting, The Courier sees one of Norway’s most critically acclaimed authors at his best, as he takes on one of the most horrifying periods of modern history. With its sophisticated storytelling and elegant prose, this stunning and compelling wartime thriller is reminiscent of the writing of John Le Carré and William Boyd.

About The Author:


One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

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.