#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.

#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:

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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 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

#review Don’t Close Your Eyes by @hollyseddon @AtlanticBooks

 

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Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon.

My Review:

I was attracted to Don’t Close Your Eyes because it features twins, and as a twin mum I do like reading books with twins in. But this book is a lot more than just a book about twins. It’s a twisty psychological thriller that has the reader questioning everything that they think is happening.

Robin used to be in a band, travelling the world, but now she spends her days locked in her home, scared to open the door and obsessed with the lives of the residents of the block of flats that she overlooks. She speaks to no one yet is convinced that someone is trying to get her. She thinks that she is doing ok, but it is clear that she isn’t, especially when she starts getting over involved in the lives of one family living behind her.

Her twin sister is Sarah, we know that they haven’t been in contact for years and we know that Sarah is doing no better than Robin. Kicked out of her home and desperate to see her little girl she doesn’t know where to turn for help, and without knowing that her twin needs Sarah as much as she needs her twin, Sarah tracks Robin down.

I really wasn’t sure where the story was going to take me, I really felt for Robin and how lonely she was, she had totally isolated herself and makes it very difficult to get herself out of it. What’s going on with Sarah is a bit more complicated and it wasn’t what I was expecting!

Despite the years of no contact Robin and Sarah still have a special bond which comes from being a twin, and together they are able to confront their fears and face the reality of their lives.

It’s hard to write this and not give spoilers, but I enjoyed Don’t Close Your Eyes, despite the majority of it being set inside one house it kept me reading and wanting to know more and see what would happen, it really is a tense and uncomfortable read at times.

Blurb:

A gripping novel of psychological suspense centered on two sisters whose lives have taken them apart, and the shocking family secrets that bind them together.

Twin sisters Robin and Sarah haven’t spoken in years.

Robin can’t leave her house. A complete shut-in, she spends her days spying on her neighbors, subtly meddling in their lives. But she can’t keep her demons out forever. Someone from her past has returned, and is desperate to get inside.

Sarah can’t go home. Her husband has kicked her out, forcibly denying her access to their toddler. Sarah will do anything to get her daughter back, but she’s unraveling under the mounting pressure of concealing the dark secrets of her past. And her lies are catching up to her.

The novel takes readers back in time to witness the complex family dynamics that formed Robin and Sarah into the emotionally damaged, estranged young women they’ve become. As the gripping and intricate layers of their shared past are slowly peeled away, the shocks and twists will keep readers breathless long after the final page.

About the author:

hollyseddon

Holly Seddon is a full time writer, living slap bang in the middle of Amsterdam with her husband James and a house full of children and pets.

Holly has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since her early 20s after growing up in the English countryside, obsessed with music and books.

Her first novel, TRY NOT TO BREATHE, was published worldwide in 2016 and became a bestseller in several countries. DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES is her second novel.

Don’t Close Your Eyes is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

#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.

#review The Second Captive by Maggie James @mjamesfiction @BloodhoundBooks #blogtour

BLOG TOUR (5)

My Review:

The blurb to The Second Captive really appealed to me. The concept of the captive starting to see their kidnapper and keeper not as the enemy but as someone that they care about (Stockholm Syndrome) is fascinating to me.

I found The Second Captive got me into the story really quickly, I wanted to keep reading, no, I had to keep reading, especially once Beth was kidnapped. I had to know how she was going to escape and how was Beth going to cope once she did.

I really liked how the story was told, the first half is told by Beth and her kidnapper Dominic. This meant that we got to understand what was behind his decision to kidnap Beth and keep her in his basement for so long. While I certainly didn’t like Dominic, I did appreciate reading his thoughts and processes. Once Beth manages to escape, and this is no spoiler, we know from the first chapter that she does, the story is told by Beth and her mother, Ursula, with a small amount from Dominic too. This worked really well. I liked that we didn’t hear from Beth’s family while she was missing, it meant that the whole focus of the book was on what was happening inside the cottage that Beth and Dominic lived and that we were never quite sure what efforts had been put in place to find Beth by her family.

Having had every aspect of her life controlled by Dominic it was never going to be easy for Beth once she broke free. Fearing disappointment from her mother Beth tried to keep her ordeal secret, but of course, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. This was the only part that I thought The Second Captive strayed into the ‘not quite believable’ side, and that was a shame but it didn’t spoil the book in any way.

Overall, I think that The Second Captive by Maggie James is an excellent psychological thriller that will appeal to many readers. I’ll definitely be reading more from Maggie James.

Blurb:

 

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The Second Captive by Maggie James.

 

Beth Sutton is eighteen years old when she is abducted. Held prisoner in a basement, she’s dependent on her captor for food, clothes and her very existence. As the months pass, her hatred towards her imprisoner changes to compassion.

 But Beth cannot forget that her abductor is also a killer. And she has evidence to prove it…

 Then Beth escapes

 Can Beth escape from the prison that she has found herself in?

 And is there a relationship between love and fear?

 

About the author:

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Maggie James is a British author who lives in Bristol. She writes psychological suspense novels.

 Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist. Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel. Accountancy does not, but then it never did. The urge to pack a bag and go off travelling is always lurking in the background! When not writing, going to the gym, practising yoga or travelling, Maggie can be found seeking new four-legged friends to pet; animals are a lifelong love!

Links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjamesfiction

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/828751.Maggie_James

Blog: http://www.maggiejamesfiction.com/blog

Website: http://www.maggiejamesfiction.com