#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:

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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.

#blogtour The Other Twin by LV Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks

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I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for The Other Twin by LV Hay today! I’ve known Lucy through social media for a while now and I’ve always liked her posts and her blog where she gives some great tips for would be writers, she also did a great guest post for me on The 1 Simple Habit Guaranteed to Lower your TBR Pile.

I was very excited to read The Other Twin, not only is it written by Lucy, but it is published by Orenda Books who have an amazing track record of giving us really great books, and the book had something to do with twins which, as a mother or twins, makes me want to read any book!

My Review:

 

The Other Twin cover

The Other Twin by LV Hay.

 

When Poppy gets a phone call from her Mum telling her that her sister, India, has jumped to her death from a bridge Poppy heads straight home to Brighton. It quickly becomes clear that it is many years since Poppy last went home and saw her family.

Poppy refuses to believe that India had committed suicide. Despite not having seen or speaking to her sister in five years Poppy was sure that it was not something that she would have done. With her parents grieving Poppy sets about finding out more about her sister and what had actually happened on that fateful night.

The author cleverly weaves the story, keeping the reader guessing and trying to work out what might have happened to India. Social media is cleverly woven into the story, playing a big part in Poppy’s research. I thought that this was cleverly done, and felt very current and relevant given how many young adults are using it in their daily lives.

The diversity of the characters in The Other Twin also helps to make the story current and interesting, with scenes taking place in LGBT bars in Brighton, and questions about India’s sexuality arising.

Reading The Other Twin you would not think that this is the first full length novel that the author has written. The writing is so confident and solid, with the storyline woven so cleverly to reveal what had really happened to India, and who was actually involved.

This book will appeal to many, and I am sure that it will make you think. LV Hay is an author to watch.

Blurb:

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her? Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well-heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth.

About the author:

Lucy Hay author photo

Lucy V Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucky is also head reader for the London Screenwriter’s Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

The Other Twin by LV Hay is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman @GailHoneyman @HarperCollinsUK

 

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

 

My Review:

At first, I wasn’t really sure what to make of Eleanor Oliphant, I mean the way in which she speaks and thinks is more than a little unusual, but by the end of the book I think that she had a little piece of my heart that will stay Oliphant shaped for quite some time to come.

Eleanor is an incredibly lonely person, she goes to work and drinks too much on the weekends to make the time go faster so that she can go back to work and have something to do. She thinks that her colleagues hate her and spend a lot of their time laughing at her. She has no friends, only her mother who she speaks to on the phone once a week. Which for Eleanor is still too often. Despite all of this, Eleanor thinks that she is happy, she doesn’t feel the need for people in her life, she’s self-sufficient and happy with that. I have to admit that I really empathised with Eleanor, as an introvert I think that Eleanor and I have more than a few things in common.

When Eleanor meets the man of her dreams she thinks that life is going to be getting a lot better. She starts to pay attention to her appearance and to what she’s wearing for the first time, and begins to see and experience things differently. She also finds herself spending time with Raymond, the IT guy from work, he gradually gets Eleanor to open up and they become friends, something new and alien to Eleanor.

When the love of her life turns out to be a lot less perfect that she’d thought, Eleanor plunges into a destructive depression. But with the support of her new friend, and a very supportive boss, Eleanor starts to put her life back together. I couldn’t help but cheer her on, and even feel proud of this fictional character whose funny way of speaking and thinking now felt endearing.

As the book goes on the story behind Eleanor and why she is how she is becomes clear, I think that the reader can’t help but feel sorry for her, but as the book progresses I felt a sense of respect for Eleanor, that she’d survived so much and yet here she was, coming out the other side.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a wonderful book that will hopefully make people think about the people that they know, how much they really know about them, and what struggles they might have that you know nothing about. Loneliness is becoming more and more of a problem in our society, and this book is a wonderful example of how dangerous and destructive it can be. With a debut novel this good, Gail Honeyman is definitely an author to watch!

Thank you to the publisher, Harper Collins UK, for a copy of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman via Netgalley.

Blurb:

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

About the Author:

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Gail Honeyman wrote her debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, while working a full time job, and it was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize as a work in progress. She has also been awarded the Scottish Book Trust’s Next Chapter Award 2014, and was longlisted for BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Gail lives in Glasgow.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book review: Ragdoll by Daniel Cole.

 

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Ragdoll by Daniel Cole.

 

This book is a belter and what a way to start 2017 on If only I could read faster! I have a strong suspicion that this book will be in my top reads of the year.

My 5* review:

I’d heard a fair bit of rumbling about Ragdoll before I read it, all of it positive but I had avoided reading too much about it as I do like to avoid the hype and building my expectations too high.

I loved how Ragdoll started. The author, Daniel Cole, told us how the book had come about. He told us about years of knockbacks and rejections and how he wrote many, many, short stories. But one story stayed with him and he decided to turn it into a book. And that book is Ragdoll.

Reading Ragdoll reminded me of books that I used to read, real proper police procedural, crime books. A bit like Patricia Cornwell in the early days when her books were gripping and wonderful to read. I loved so much about this book! The crime that kicks it off is suitably gruesome and unpleasant and as the police try to untangle the crime and who is behind it suspicion turns to one of their own, pulling the team apart and making them question everything.

The way that the story unfolds with a time pressure with lives at stake makes it a gripping read, who will survive? Will the police catch the killer in time? Who can they trust?

The writing was good and solid, the characters were really well developed and interesting, everyone gave something to the story. And they are characters that I’d very much like to read about again, and soon. It would appear that this book is the first in a new detective series which makes me very happy, I cannot wait to find out what happens to detective William Faulks next! If this is the author’s debut book then we are surely in for an outstanding series.

I’m trying hard not to give too much away, but if you like crime books then read this. I am sure that you won’t be disappointed. Seriously, this is without a doubt one of the best crime books that I have read and I am now waiting (im)patiently for part two.

I received a copy of Ragdoll from the publishers via Netgalley but was under no obligation to review it.

Blurb:

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

Ragdoll is set to be released on February 23rd, 2017 by Trapeze and is available to pre-order now on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

Review & Giveaway: The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne.

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I’m very excited to review the debut novel, The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne on If Only I Could Read Faster today. But that isn’t all, there’s a fab giveaway of a paperback copy of the book and a limited edition notebook! Enter below 🙂

My 4* review:

You never know what to expect when you read a new author, especially when it is an author’s debut book. Many authors improve with the more books that they write, some brilliant authors have written pretty average debut novels but have clearly learnt and improved as they’ve gone along.

So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Abigail Osborne and her psychological thriller. I’d heard good things about it, and thankfully all those positive reviews were right.

Billie is a loner, she lives alone, and she avoids all contact with others. She has no friends, no mobile phone and frankly, no quality of life. She is clearly haunted by something from her past. Enter Adam. He seems determined to break through Billie’s walls, but does he have an ulterior motive?

The book is split into three parts, firstly when Billie and Adam meet, then their childhoods and finally the present. The story is skillfully told, Osborne gives the reader just enough at various stages while keeping enough back to ensure that the reader is gripped and guessing. If this is the debut novel of Abigail Osborn then she is definitely an author to watch.

Having said that I do feel that the writing was at times quite simplistic and there are some grammatical errors. But neither of these things change the fact that The Puppet Master is a very enjoyable, cleverly woven novel. The author should be proud.

**The reader should be aware that The Puppet Master contains issues of childhood sexual abuse and that this could be very triggering for some readers. Please be careful if you think that you may be affected by reading about this subject.**

I was given a copy of The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne but this has in no way affected my review.

Blurb:

Manipulated by fear and love…could you cut the strings and take back control?

Billie’s hiding from the world, believing it to be the only way to take control of her life as she lives in fear of the man who nearly destroyed her. But what she doesn’t realise is that she’s exactly where he wants her; isolated and afraid. A chance meeting with budding journalist Adam sparks a relationship that could free her from the terror that controls her. But will Adam be able to see the real Billie buried under her terror and pain?

Adam knows exactly who Billie is and is determined to expose her and get justice for the lives she ruined. But first, he needs to convince her to open up to him but as unwanted attraction and feelings blossom between them, Adam is forced to realise that all is not as it seems.

Most of their lives have been unknowingly governed by the desires and needs of someone who considers himself their master. He has influenced and shaped them for years, meticulously weaving a web of lies and control around them. Can Billie and Adam survive the betrayals in store and cut the strings that bind them?

One thing is for sure. The master wants his puppets back – and he’ll do anything to keep them.

The Puppet Master is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US in paperback and ebook.

Giveaway:

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Please click on the link below to enter. Good luck!!

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