5*, book review, debut author

#BookReview The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen. #AugustaHope @BoroughPress @fluerrr

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen.

I was delighted to be asked to read The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen by Fleur Clarke from Harper Collins Publishers. I really didn’t know what to expect but it sounded exciting and I was excited to read it.

My Review:

At first I wasn’t quite sure what to think of The Other Half of Augusta Hope because Augusta is really rather odd. The way that she thinks is seen as odd by everyone around her, her mother seems not to know what to do with her and her father is embarrassed by her.

Augusta feels really quite alone, but she has a twin sister, Julia, who is always there for her. Until she isn’t. As they grow the siblings naturally grow apart, mainly because of a boy that Julia falls for.

Gradually, Augusta Hope worked her way under my skin, there was a lot to love about her and I think that I wanted to be her friend. Another book that made me feel like this was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and I am sure that Augusta Hope will get compared to Eleanor Oliphant, as they both feature a quirky main character who is isolated and considered strange by many around them. I really hope that the books don’t get compared though, as that would be doing both a disservice.

Part of The Other Half of Augusta Hope is set in Burundi, a small country in Africa that Augusta decides is to be her favourite country in the world and so she devours facts and learns everything that she can about the country.

We also hear from Parfait, a young boy living in Burundi who at first seems quite random, how will he fit into the story? Of course it soon becomes clear.

Some of this book is set in a small town in England, some is set in Burundi and the rest in Tarifa in Spain. I loved the parts in Spain, Augusta loves it there and that really shows in the story, I’ve never been there but I could see it all so perfectly in my mind.

By the time the book finished I was totally in love with the story and the characters and I did not want it to end. It is very rare that a book makes me cry, but The Other Half of Augusta Hope came very close. It was beautifully written and it all felt so real.

That The Other Half of Augusta Hope is authors Joanna Glen’s first book is really quite amazing and I can’t wait to hear more from the author.

Blurb:

YOU’RE NOT LOST.YOU’RE JUST LOOKING.

Augusta Hope has never felt like she fits in.

And she’s right – she doesn’t. At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.
 
And now that she’s an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia.

When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta’s life, she’s propelled headfirst into the unknown. She’s determined to find where she belongs – but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away?

AUGUSTA MAY NOT FEEL LIKE SHE FITS IN, BUT READERS ARE FALLING IN LOVE WITH HER…

About The Author:

Joanna Glen graduated with First Class Honours in Spanish from the University of London, with a stint at the Faculty of Arts at Córdoba University in the hot south of Spain. She went on to teach Spanish and English to all ages, and latterly was a School Principal in London. She has edited a variety of non-fiction books, is a visiting lecturer, a communications coach and an adviser and trainer for schools. Joanna’s short fiction has appeared in the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology. She lives with her husband and children on the River Thames in Battersea, returning to Andalusia whenever it gets too grey, and is currently writing her second novel.

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen will be released on 13th June 2019 and is available to pre-order from Amazon UK.

5*, blog tours, book review, debut author

#BlogTour #BookReview Home by Amanda Berriman. @MandyBerriman @sophiechristoph @BlackSwanARU @PenguinRandomHouse #Home #debutnovel

I don’t often repost my reviews on here, but sometimes I make an exception if I think that the book is really worth shouting about. Home by Amanda Berriman is one of those books. I read it in 2018 and loved it, the book also made it onto my Top Reads 2018 list.

Home really is an amazing debut and it touched me in places that not many books get near. This blog tour is marking the release of this book in paperback, so finally those of you that don’t read e-books can read Home! Lucky you because you’re in for a treat, but don’t forget the tissues!

My Review:

When I read the blurb for Home I knew that I wanted to read it, I then started to hear from others who had read it and they all seemed to love it so I was even more determined to read it. And I’m so pleased that I did.

From literally the very first page I was hooked. The book is narrated by Jesika, a four year old who lives with her Mummy and little brother Toby after her Father moved to Poland, never to be heard from again. Jesika’s Mum is struggling with life, she doesn’t have enough money and they live in a flat that’s got many things wrong with it, including mold. As a result Toby and their Mum both have a bad cough that won’t go away. Life is about to get very difficult for Jesika.

A book narrated by such a young child could easily be awful but thankfully that is not the case here, not even close. It is written in a simple language but I really liked that. From the very start Jesika worked her way into my heart, she was such a wonderful little girl who felt so very real. Her innocence was wonderful and I loved seeing her world through her eyes, but this isn’t always an easy book to read.

Home gives a brilliant example of how grooming happens, the subtleties and ways in which an adult will convince a child to keep secrets for them. While it is not easy to read I thought that Amanda Berriman handled it sensitively and realistically, something that is impressive for any author, let along a debut author. But some will find this very difficult to read so be warned.

But despite this darkness, there is much light in the book. The love that Jesika has for her Mother is wonderful, but also for her little brother Toby. Jesika really is a special little girl who unknowingly brings out the best in people.

Home had me going to bed early so that I could read and check in on Jesika because I’d be worried about her and how she was doing, that is how real that she felt to me. When I finished the book at 2am I felt as though my heart had been shattered by little Jesika and what she went through, but filled with hope that her life was going to get better. The most upsetting thing? That I won’t get to check in on Jesika again and see how she is doing. Home really is a special book and for a debut author it is nothing short of brilliant.

Blurb:

Jesika is four and a half.

She lives in a flat with her mother and baby brother and she knows a lot.

She knows their flat is high up and the stairs are smelly. She knows she shouldn’t draw on the peeling wallpaper or touch the broken window. And she knows she loves her mummy and baby brother Toby.

She does not know that their landlord is threatening to evict them and that Toby’s cough is go-ing to get much worse. Or that Paige, her new best friend, has a secret that will explode their world.

Home is narrated by 4 year old Jesika, whose voice is incredibly recognisable and remarkably compelling. The author, Amanda Berriman, is a primary school teacher and has captured the voice of a young child perfectly.

Home is for those who love powerful, challenging novels that force us to question the world around us.

Perfect for fans of Kit de Waal’s My Name is Leon, John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Emma O’Donoghue’s Room.

About The Author:

Amanda was born in Germany and grew up in Edinburgh, reading books, playing music, writing stories and climbing hills. She works as a primary school teacher and lives on the edge of the Peak District with her husband, two children and two dogs. Follow Amanda on Twitter at @MandyBerriman

Home by Amanda Berriman is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter @JaimeCarter1 @AvonBooksUK

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter. I was attracted to this book when I read the blurb and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

My Review:

I started In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter a little unsure about what I was going to get. I hadn’t read anything by the author before and I had long forgotten the blurb that I had read a few months previous.

So I was totally unprepared for the ride that was to come. I was immediately sucked into the story, I suspect that few could resist finding themselves drawn into a story that involves nine young children being kidnapped from their nursery.

DCI Anna Tate is put in charge of the investigation and we quickly learn something about Anna’s past that makes her the best person for the job, but could also mean that the impact of it on her could tip her over the edge.

I loved pretty much everything about this book, I just wanted to keep reading it, desperate to find out whether the children would return home safely and who exactly was behind this awful crime.

I changed my mind quite regularly when trying to work out who was behind it, and I love a book that keeps me on my toes. It was very cleverly done and kept the pace fast, I quickly found myself racing towards the end, desperate to find out what was going to happen but also not wanting the book to end.

There are many, many books out there with a female detective these days, but this book proves that there is still room for more. I really liked Anna Tate and I’m delighted that this is book one in the series and so there will be more. I can’t wait to see what book two will bring!

Thank you to Avon Books for a copy of In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

How far would you go to save the ones you love? 

The first book in a gripping new crime series featuring DCI Anna Tate.

When nine children are snatched from a nursery school in South London, their distressed parents have no idea if they will ever see them again. The community in the surrounding area in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

But DCI Anna Tate knows that nothing is impossible, and she also knows that time is quickly running out. It’s unclear if the kidnappers are desperate for money or set on revenge, but the ransom is going up by £1million daily. And they know that one little boy in particular is fighting for his life.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DCI Anna Tate has ever worked on – not only because nine children are being held hostage, but because she’s pretty sure that someone close to them is lying…

About the Author:

J P Carter is the pseudonym of a bestselling author who has also written sixteen books under the names Jaime and James Raven. Before becoming a full time writer he spent a career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and television producer. He was for a number of years director of a major UK news division and until recently co-owned a TV production company.  For a while he was also a part-time professional magician. He’s married and divides his time now between homes in Hampshire and Spain.

In Safe Hands by J.P. Carter is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb #IamLori #TeamLori @OrendaBooks @CrimeThrillGirl

Deep Dirty Truth Blog Tour Poster .jpg

I’m a happy member of #TeamLori! It’s such a good series and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the third book in the series.

My Review:

This is the third book in the Lori Anderson series by Steph Broadribb and these books just keep getting better and better. If you haven’t read the previous books then I think that you could pick it up here and work out enough of what is going on for it to make sense, but it is definitely worth going back to book one, Deep Down Dead and book two,  Deep Blue Trouble.

The main character, Lori, is so feisty and strong that I love reading about her and what she gets up to. Of course, her life has never been easy and she has faced more than her fair share of trouble but I suppose that being a Bounty Hunter isn’t the most peaceful career a gal could have.

Steph Broadribb is a brilliant writer, her books are so full of action that you will not want to stop reading. I found this book so hard to put down as I just had to keep reading and find out how Lori was going to get herself out of the trouble that she always seems to find herself in.

Once again, publisher Orenda Books brings us a brilliant read from an excellent author. This is definitely one of my favourite series to read. My only complaint is that the books don’t come out fast enough!

Thank you to Orenda Books and Steph Broadribb for a copy of Deep Dirty Truth. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Deep Dirty Truth AW.inddA price on her head. A secret worth dying for. Just 48 hours to expose the truth…

Single-mother bounty hunter Lori Anderson has finally got her family back together, but her new-found happiness is shattered when she’s snatched by the Miami Mob – and they want her dead. Rather than a bullet, they offer her a job: find the Mob’s ‘numbers man’ – Carlton North – who’s in protective custody after being forced to turn federal witness against them. If Lori succeeds, they’ll wipe the slate clean and the price on her head – and those of her family – will be removed. If she fails, they die.
With North due in court in forty-eight hours, Lori sets off across Florida, racing against the clock to find him and save her family. Only in this race the prize is more deadly – and the secret she shares with JT more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined. In this race only the winner gets out alive…
Brimming with tension, high-stakes jeopardy and high-voltage action, and a deep, emotional core, Deep Dirty Truth is an unmissable thriller by one of the freshest and most exciting voices in crime fiction.

About The Author:

Steph BroadribbSteph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at www.crimethrillergirl.com where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases.

Steph is an alumna of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens.

Deep Dirty Truth by Steph Broadribb is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, book review, Children's books, debut author, young adult

#BookReview Akea- The Power of Destiny by Elizabeth Jade. #debutnovel #wolf #book @AkeaWolfStories

akea

Here is another book that I should have reviewed months ago. I remember talking to the authors’ mother via email and excitedly agreeing to read it, I think that it was about a week or two later that I first ended up in the hospital so this one, although read and very much enjoyed, got neglected. Better late than never!

My Review:

Akea- The Power of Destiny is a short book that can easily be read in an hour or so, but what an enjoyable hour it will be. I loved the story of Akea, a working husky who unknowing to her, also has some wolf in her.

I really don’t want to give the story away but what you will get is a wonderful story of love and friendship and loyalty, but also about being ourselves.

I gave Akea to my nieces to read, they are nine and ten. The ten year old felt that she was too old for the book, but she’s at that stage where she’s desperate to be a teenager and so a lot of things are too young in her mind. I asked her what she didn’t like about the book and she could literally think of nothing. The nine year old loved the animals and the characters and thought that it was a short but great read.

I’m well over ten and yes, the story is quite simple, but it really is wonderful too and the lovely drawings that go with the story make it even better.  The aspiring story behind the author just makes it even more special.

Thank you to Elizabeth Jade and her Mother for a copy of Akea. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Akea is born into a family of sled dogs and a life that follows a predictable path, but from the day she first sees the lone wolf, Kazakh, Akea knows her future lies beyond the safety of her home. Kazakh is well aware of Akea’s destiny and the pack laws he will break to help her reach it. Regardless of the challenges ahead, he must make sure this young husky will be ready, even if it means his life.

About The Author:

elizabethjadeElizabeth Jade was born in 1998 in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England, but moved with her family to Wellington in Somerset when she was very young. She has one older brother.

Elizabeth’s early schooling did not go smoothly, and as a result, she was homeschooled from the age of seven. Her parents soon learned she had a unique slant on life and quickly abandoned attempts to follow the national curriculum in favour of child-led learning.

Elizabeth stumbled into writing at the age of fourteen when she began to suffer from anxiety and depression and quickly found her story ideas pouring out faster than she could get them onto paper. It wasn’t until the age of eighteen that she realised her struggles in school had been due to Aspergers Syndrome (an autistic spectrum disorder).

As an enthusiastic animal lover, Elizabeth volunteered first at the Conquest Riding Centre for the Disabled and then at St Giles Animal Rescue before moving on to the Cats Protection Homing and Information Centre on the outskirts of Wellington. Her gifted way with the cats quickly earned her the title of ‘Cat Whisperer’ from the staff.

Since she had always possessed such a way with animals, it was only natural for Elizabeth’s story ideas to revolve around that theme. After a brief attempt at self-publishing and a further attempt with an agent, Elizabeth found a publisher and her novel, ‘Akea – The Power of Destiny‘ is now available through Amazon and major book shops. It was written when Elizabeth was only fourteen and is to be the first in a long line of stories involving this captivating character.

Akea- The Power of Destiny by Elizabeth Jade is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

5*, book review, non-fiction

#BookReview Listening To The Animals: Becoming The Supervet. #ListeningToTheAnimals #Supervet @TrapezeBooks @ProfNoelFitz #vet #nonfictionbook #amreading #backablogger

 

becomingsupervet
Listening To The Animals: Becoming the Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick.

I don’t often read autobiographies but when I heard that Noel Fitzpatrick AKA The Supervet had written one I knew that it was one that I was going to read.

My Review:

I have watched Noel Fitzpatrick on television since his days on the BBC as The Bionic Vet. Of course, now he is better known as The Supervet, star of the Channel Four programme that has been shown on prime time tv for years.

From what I have seen about Noel, he really is someone very special, his dedication is clearly evident, as is his genuine love of animals, and the fact that he loves hugs.

I have often wondered about who he is, the man behind the vet. What drives him to work more hours in the day than is healthy? There has never been any mention of relationships or even friends outside the vet practice, but surely there must be some life outside of it? And why does he hug pretty much everyone that he meets?

Listening To The Animals answers all of those questions. Growing up on an Irish farm was clearly tough and taught Noel some valuable lessons about hard work, although I think that most people will agree that the hours that he puts in are not healthy. The bullying that he suffered was heartbreaking to read, how lonely and isolated he felt as a little boy with only a farm dog to talk to about his worries. I loved how he knew from so early on that he wanted to be a vet and my goodness I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard of anyone working harder than he did to reach his goal. Serious respect to the man, whatever you may think of him, he is someone that will not be beaten and if one way of reaching his goal doesn’t work then he will find another way. Some of his stories were hilarious and had me chuckling away as I read.

I enjoyed reading about some of his hobbies that he loved and learnt from, although all fell to the wayside as work took over his life. And we also heard about relationships, here he was very honest with us, I’m not sure that I really needed to know how old he was when he lost his virginity, but it was an interesting chapter.

I also had no idea what went into building his practice, both in sweat and tears, but also money and debt. I told someone that I had read the book and the only thing that they said was ‘He must be so rich.’ I may have thought the same, but now I know better. He is not in the job for the money, it really is all about the animals.

He talked a lot about his love of Kiera, a little dog that he shares with a vet nurse because he is aware that his lifestyle is not one that would be fair for a dog. The relationship between man and their dog is a complex one, one that I think is often dismissed by people who have never had a dog and even some who have, but what makes Noel such an amazing vet is that he totally understands this. In fact, I think that he has a better understanding of that love and connection and how important it is than most people. I have a dog and I’ve been lucky enough to have had two other dogs who sadly died from old age, all three were part of my family but I am sure that I could not articulate the depth of the feeling that I have or have had for my dogs as well as Noel has.

At the time of writing the book, it appeared that Noel was single, I’ve always had a bit of a ‘thing’ for him, so if you’re reading this Noel and fancy meeting up then do get in touch!

Thank you to Trapeze Books for a copy of Listening To The Animals: Becoming The Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

THE NO.1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER.

A powerful, heart-warming and inspiring memoir from the UK’s most famous and beloved vet, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick – star of the Channel 4 series The Supervet.

Growing up on the family farm in Ballyfin, Ireland, Noel’s childhood was spent tending to the cattle and sheep, the hay and silage, the tractors and land, his beloved sheepdog Pirate providing solace from the bullies that plagued him at school. It was this bond with Pirate, and a fateful night spent desperately trying to save a newborn lamb, that inspired Noel to enter the world of veterinary science – and set him on the path to becoming The Supervet.

Now, in this long-awaited memoir, Noel recounts this often-surprising journey that sees him leaving behind a farm animal practice in rural Ireland to set up Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, one of the most advanced small animal specialist centres in the world. We meet the animals that paved the way, from calving cows and corralling bullocks to talkative parrots and bionic cats and dogs.

Noel has listened to the many lessons that the animals in his care have taught him, and especially the times he has shared with his beloved Keira, the scruffy Border Terrier who has been by Noel’s side as he’s dealt with the unbelievable highs and crushing lows of his extraordinary career.

As heart-warming and life-affirming as the TV show with which he made his name, Listening to the Animals is a story of love, hope and compassion, and about rejoicing in the bond between humans and animals that makes us the very best we can be.

About The Author:

noelfitzpatrickSPECIALIST SMALL ANIMAL ORTHOPAEDIC-NEURO SURGEON


In 2005 he opened Fitzpatrick Referrals, the UK’s pre-eminent and largest dedicated small animal orthopaedic and neuro-surgical facility in Surrey, employing over 250 veterinary professionals and comprising superlative surgical, diagnostic and rehabilitation facilities.

Noel is the clinical chair and chief surgeon at Fitzpatrick Referrals. He is particularly experienced in minimally invasive arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery, spinal disc disease, limb deformities, joint replacement, regenerative medicine and limb salvage for severe trauma or cancer. He is widely appreciated for his innovative solutions to complex problems, whilst promoting and ensuring efficacy and ethicacy at all times. He has developed more than 30 new techniques including several world-firsts.

In 2009 he became the first veterinary surgeon in the world to successfully apply a cutting edge amputation prosthesis (called a PerFiTS) to a cat called Oscar who had lost both front paws in an accident. In 2015 Noel and Oscar each received a Guinness World Record for the achievement.

Noel opened a second state-of-the-art hospital in Surrey dedicated to Oncology and Soft Tissue in 2015, redefining the standard of cancer treatment and care for companion animals.

A further centre is being developed at the Eashing referral practice called Fitzpatrick Institute for the Restoration of Skeletal Tissue (FIRST). The purpose of the new facility is to provide a range of validated evidence based options for the treatment of complex conditions of the neuromusculoskeletal system. This includes marrying new advances in biomaterials with the revolution of regenerative medicine.

 

Listening to the Animals: Becoming the Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, book review

#BookReview The Crying Season by DK Hood. @bookouture @DKHood_Author #TheCryingSeason

thecryingseason
The Crying Season by D.K. Hood.

Wow!!! Book 4 of the Detective Alton and Kane series might just be the best one yet!

My Review:

Woah!!!! I have read and loved the previous three books by DK Hood in the Detectives Alton and Kane series and I’ve really, really enjoyed every one of them. So book four had to be read as quickly as I could and boy, I’m pleased that I didn’t wait.

I love reading about Sherrif Alton and her Deputy Kane, they’re great characters with good chemistry and for a small town in Montana, they sure have a lot of crime to deal with. DK Hood doesn’t hold back when describing the crimes, murders and crime scenes, that suits me fine but boy she does come up with some pretty awful stuff. I’m for one very pleased that these books are fiction!

I read The Crying Season in a few days, I just couldn’t put it down and had to keep reading. When I got to the end I remember taking a deep breath and I think that I’d been holding my breath for the last few chapters. What a climax it was!!! And boy I was not impressed when I thought that it had finished but thankfully the epilogue tied things up and made me feel better.

But since finishing I have thought about this book a lot, to say that I loved it would be an understatement and I just keep thinking ‘Wow’. I’ve loved all the books in the series but I think that this one has to be the best. If you haven’t read the others then do, you won’t regret it and you’ve got some brilliant books to read! I, for one, will be eagerly and impatiently waiting for book five. This series really does get better and better.

Thank you to Bookouture for a copy of The Crying Season by DK Hood. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

The light fades as she runs for her life, the forest now becoming quieter around her. The only noise she hears is the sound of footsteps following her…

It’s hiking season in Black Rock Falls and the small town in Montana is flooded with visitors. But when a hiker finds a human skull on a deserted trail in the woods that surround the town, Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate.

With no missing persons reported, Jenna has no leads. Then her team makes a shocking discovery – the body of another hiker, a young man, tied to a tree and riddled with bullets. Could the two murders be linked?

As more bodies are found, Jenna and her deputy David Kane know that they must venture deep into the forest to find and face the killer. But nothing can prepare them for what awaits them there…

If you love Robert Dugoni, Karin Slaughter and Rachel Abbott you’ll love this nail-biting thriller from D.K. Hood.

About The Author:

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I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour and was the kid who told the ghost stories around the campfire. I am lucky to have family all over the world and have spent many vacations in places from Paris France to Montana USA and Australia. I use the wonderful memories from these visits to enhance my stories.
My interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. I enjoy writing crime, mystery and thrillers. With many stories, waiting for me to write I’ll look forward to sharing many spine-tingling stories with you.

D.K. Hood is an active member of International Thriller Writers.

Author Social Media Links:

Website: www.dkhood.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DKHood_Author

You can read my reviews for the other books in the series: Don’t Tell a SoulBring Me Flowers and Follow Me Home.

The Crying Season by DK Hood is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.