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.

5*, blog tours, book review, psychological thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview A Fool’s Circle by Suzanne Seddon. @suzseddon @WallacePublish #AFoolsCircle

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for A Fool’s Circle by Suzanne Seddon. I received a copy of A Fool’s Circle from the publisher, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I found A Fool’s Circle to be an easy read that quickly grabbed my attention and made me want to keep reading.

Kate is suffering thanks to her husband Alan who treats her awfully, there are a number of scenes where this abuse is described which some readers may find difficult.

Kate is in a difficult situation as she doesn’t know how to leave Alan and protect her eight year old daughter Sophie. Until she finds out that she has had a rather large inheritance and suddenly a whole new world opens up to her.

It was pretty clear from the start that Kate put her trust in people who didn’t deserve it and who definitely didn’t have her interest at heart. It was frustrating at times that Kate couldn’t see what was so very obvious.

Some of A Fool’s Circle didn’t really seem realistic, it was a little too far fetched at times and the police really were slow, but I really enjoyed reading it and I wanted to know what was going to happen. It is also good that the book might make people think about domestic violence and the impact of that on all the family.

A Fool’s Circle is an easy read that only took me a few days to read (that’s fast for me!) and I’m sure that fans of psychological thrillers will enjoy this book that keeps you guessing and wondering if everyone is who they say they are.

Blurb:

Kate Sanders has suffered many years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her abusive husband Alan, and convinces herself that she is only holding the family together for the sake of her eight-year-old daughter. If it wasn’t for her best friend Jill Reynolds, she would have taken the suicide option a long time ago.

As she desperately seeks a way to escape, she is contacted by a solicitor. Kate’s old aunt has died and she has been left a small fortune.

For the first time, she sees the light at the end of the tunnel. She dreams of a fresh start, a new home, a new life. What Kate doesn’t know is that Jill and Alan have their own secrets, and are both desperate to get their hands on her money.

Kate soon finds herself falling for the charms of Jonathon Jacobs in what she believes to be fate finally intervening and offering her a second chance, unaware that each move he makes has been directed, orchestrated and well-rehearsed as he begs her to leave her husband Alan.

But is it all too late, as she finds herself in the frame for murder.A

About The Author:


Suzanne Seddon was born in 1968 in Islington, London. After leaving school she had many interesting jobs, from swimming teacher to air hostess, and was able to travel the globe. Now a single mum to her teenage daughter Poppy-willow, Suzanne spends her days writing and has written several articles for magazines and newspapers.

Growing up, Suzanne witnessed mental and physical abuse within her own family which strongly influenced her when she wrote her first play, A Fool’s Circle, when she attended the famous Anna Scher Theatre. Suzanne, however, was not content to leave it there and decided to go ahead and transform her play into a novel.

Not one to shy away from exciting challenges, she also wrote, acted, directed, cast and produced a trailer for the book around her hometown in Islington with the support of local businesses, who recognised the drive and importance of Suzanne and her work.

Suzanne is a passionate writer and she is determined to be heard so that the issue of domestic abuse is raised amongst the public’s consciousness, empowering others to speak out. She wants those who suffer at the hands of another to have their voices heard, loud and clear.

Twitter @suzseddon

A Fool’s Circle by Suzanne Seddon is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

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.

4*, blog blast, blog tours, book review, mental health

#BlogTour #BookReview Broken By Betsy Reavley. @BetsyReavley @Bloodhoundbook #broken

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Broken by Betsy Reavley. I’ve read a few of Betsy’s books and I was very excited to read another!

My Review:

It isn’t often that a book comes with warnings as strong as the ones that accompany this book. I’m not one to shy away from violence and so I wasn’t bothered by the warning, more intrigued. I do have my limits though and I did check that this book did not involve the abuse of children, which it does not.

I’ve read a few of Betsy Reavley’s books and I have to say that none of them is fluffy reading and all are pretty gruesome, yet none of them came with a warning so just how bad was this going to be?? The publisher, Bloodhound Books, also published The Watcher by Netta Newbound which I think is one of the most gruesome books that I have read, yet that also didn’t come with a warning.

So I went into this book expecting it to be full of gore from start to finish, so I was surprised to find myself reading a totally different book from the one that I had expected.

Annabel is trying to put her life back together, mental health problems have plagued Anna and she desperately wants to move on. Living back home with her mother and brother Annabel feels smothered by her mother who is understandably worried that Annabel will relapse and get unwell again.

She decides to take a trip to the seaside, she lies to her mother and sets off for a weekend away. She hadn’t realised that the small town that she was heading to was not the safe place that she thought that it would be because a serial killer is lurking.

This is where the book takes a strange turn, Annabel meets Jude who lives in a commune that Anna finds herself drawn into and life gets better and better for Anna. Or does it?

Just when the reader has dropped their guard the book suddenly plunges the reader into what can only be described as hell and we discover just how sick the author’s mind is!

I don’t actually think that the book is that bad to warrant all the warnings and I have definitely read worse. But Betsy Reavley does have a way with words and I have no doubt that some people will struggle with it.

But I enjoyed the book, the author does have a unique writing style but I quickly got used to that and found myself absorbed into the story and trying to work out what was going to happen.

I don’t want to give any more away to the reader, but this book has stayed with me after I finished it. Even now writing this review I am finding myself thinking about Annabel and her story which is definitely the sign of a good book.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for a copy of Broken by Betsy Reavley. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Annabel, a troubled young woman trying to put her life back together, decides to take a trip to the Suffolk coast to clear her head and get away from her mother. But when she arrives in the little seaside town, she discovers a series of grisly murders have taken place and police are searching for a twisted killer. 

After a fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger, Jude, the course of her life changes and soon she finds peace in a world away from the misery she has known.

But when Jude comes under suspicion from the police, and her idyllic world is threatened, Annabel’s happy existence starts to become a nightmare.

Can Annabel escape her painful past or is her fate sealed? And why is she haunted by horrific visions when she seems on the verge of finding happiness? 

This astonishing novel will take you on a shattering journey through Annabel’s fight for survival and will ask if the greatest threat we pose is to ourselves.

Suitable for over 18’s only. It contains graphic scenes some readers may find disturbing. 

(previously published under the title Beneath the Watery Moon)

About The Author:


Author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife, Murder at the Book Club, Murder in the Dark, Frailty, Carrion, Broken and the poetry collection The Worm in the Bottle. Betsy was born in Hammersmith, London.

As a child she moved around frequently with her family, spending time in London, Provence, Tuscany, Gloucestershire and Cambridgeshire.

She showed a flair for literature and writing from a young age and had a particular interest in poetry, of which she was a prolific consumer and producer.

In her early twenties she moved to Oxford where she would eventually meet her husband. During her time in Oxford her interests turned from poetry to novels and she began to develop her own unique style of psychological thriller.

Betsy says “I believe people are at their most fascinating when they are faced by the dark side of life. This is what I like to write about.”

Betsy Reavley currently lives in Cambridge with her husband, 2 children, dog and quail.

Betsy’s Social Media Links:

Twitter https://twitter.com/BetsyReavley @BetsyReavley

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Betsy-Reavley/e/B00I970NY4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1544003078&sr=8-1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7730760.Betsy_Reavley?from_search=true

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.