5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor @deboc77 @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheDangerousKind #1in100People

I was on the blog tour for Deborah O’Connor’s first book, My Husband’s Son quite early on in my blogging life and it was one of the best tours that I’ve done and it turned out that the author was absolutely lovely and very grateful for the blogger support. So when she had book number two out I really wanted to read it and jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour. I received a copy of The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor from the publisher, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

Wow. Having read the author’s first book, My Husband’s Son, and thoroughly enjoying it I was very keen to read her second book. While I enjoyed book one it didn’t blow me away but it was good and I was excited to see what the author was going to do next.

I was right to be excited! The Dangerous Kind is a very impressive book and I was amazed by the jump from book one to book two, this book would not have been an easy book to write but it is solid in its writing, confident in its storytelling and brilliantly clever.

I loved the idea of the radio programme that the main character, Jessamine, works on where they look at a different crime each week. But when she agrees to look into a missing mother things start to go wrong for Jessamine.

There are a few threads to this story that slowly come together and some are really not easy to read. There is a fair amount about characters who are being sexually exploited as young teenagers, this is hard to think about and could be triggering to some.

It all comes together in the end and is very cleverly done but you can be fairly sure that the road will be bumpy and difficult and at times, heartbreaking.

The book does not make the BBC look good, highlighting their history of covering up for sexual predators who worked for them. It is hard reading and adds a sense of realism to the story.

Although hard to read at times I enjoyed reading The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor and I will definitely be reading her third book!

Blurb:

One in 100 of us is a ‘potentially dangerous person’ – someone likely to commit a violent crime. We all know them: these charmers, liars and manipulators. The ones who send prickles up the back of our neck. These people hide in plain sight, they can be teachers, doctors, holding positions of trust, of power.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living tracking the 1 in 100. Each week she broadcasts a radio show that examines brutal offences, asking if more could have been done to identify and prevent their perpetrators.

But when she agrees to investigate a missing person case involving a young mother, she is drawn into a web of danger that will ultimately lead to the upper echelons of power, and threaten the safety of her own family.

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear?

About The Author:

Deborah O’Connor is a writer and TV producer. Born and bred in the North-East of England, in 2010 she completed the Faber Academy novel writing course. She lives in London with her husband and her daughter. She has not worked at the BBC.

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, blog tours, book review, WW2

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

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

My Review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blurb:

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

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

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

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

About The Author:

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

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

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*, 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.

5*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #TheLionTamerWhoLost

The Lion Tamer Blog Tour Poster Final

I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour for The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. I love Louise’s writing and you can read my reviews for two of her other books, Maria In The Moon and The Mountain in my Shoe both of which are beautifully written.

My Review:

I love Louise Beech, she is a fantastic writer who has a real way with words, managing to throw the reader right into the story and making the characters feel like real people that we know.

I’d heard a lot about The Lion Tamer Who Lost before I read it, and I was very excited to read it. I didn’t know what it was about, that doesn’t matter when you know that the author is Louise Beech, because I firmly believe that whatever she writes will be worth reading.

Readers of my book blog will know that I love to read thrillers and so a book like this is a big change of pace for me, which is something that I can struggle with, thrillers tend to throw the reader right into the middle of the story, the pace is fast, the chapters short. But a book like The Lion Tamer Who Lost shows me how important patience is.

Because once I was into the story I could not stop thinking about it. I really loved the character Ben, and this grew as the story went on. His relationship with Andrew was wonderful, I loved how they related to each other and how happy they made each other. It was beautiful and even thinking about it now as I write this makes me smile.

But we know that something went wrong, because Ben is out in Africa on a lion reserve and is not in contact with Andrew. So what could have gone so wrong on such a strong relationship? When the reader finds out it comes as a shock and I’m sure that my heart broke a little bit for Ben and Andrew, just as it must have done for them.

I really don’t want to give anything more away but if you love books that are beautifully written, that feel so real and that work their way into your heart in such a way that you know that it will never quite be the same again then stop reading this and buy The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. You really won’t regret it.

I received a copy of The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech from Orenda Books. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

thumbnail_Lion Tamer front cover finalBe careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

About The Author:

thumbnail_Louise BeechLouise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Her third book, Maria in the Moon, was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, book review, debut author

#BookReview Only Child by Rhiannon Navin. @rhiannonnavin @MantleBooks #bookblogger #greatread #5star

onlychild
Only Child by Rhiannon Navin.

My Review:

Sometimes a book comes along that climbs right inside of you and lodges itself right into your heart. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does you know that the book is really something very special.

That is what happened to me when reading Only Child by Rhiannon Navin. It isn’t an easy book to read, I think that even the most hardened reader will struggle to stop the storyline from affecting them.

This book grabbed me from the start when Zach was hiding in the cupboard at school listening to the pop pop pop of a gun going off. Little does he know that his life is about to change forever. I loved Zach as a character, aged only six that could have been very different, but he is believable and just wonderful in so many ways.

As his family falls apart Zach struggles to understand what has happened and how he can get his family working together again, as they once did. I really liked Zach’s Dad, while his mother fell apart he struggled to keep things as normal as possible for Zach and although he hadn’t been the best Dad before he works hard to make things better. I think that he was underused as a character and I loved reading the scenes between Zach and his Dad.

Readers of my blog will know that I love reading crime and thriller books, but once I finished Only Child I really struggled to read anything with a gun in it. Very unlike me but that is the impact that this book had on me. It didn’t last (thankfully), but this book did have a strong and long lasting impact on me. It really was a wonderful read but not an easy one. For a debut novel it is nothing short of outstanding, I can’t wait to read more from the author and I am pretty sure that Only Child will be on my top reads of 2018 though.

Thank you to the publisher Mantle, for a copy of Only Child by Rhiannon Navin. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

Readers of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty will also like this tenderhearted debut about healing and family, narrated by an unforgettable six-year-old boy who reminds us that sometimes the littlest bodies hold the biggest hearts and the quietest voices speak the loudest.

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. While Zach’s mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter’s parents, holding them responsible for their son’s actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

About The Author:

Rhiannon+Navin,+AuthorRhiannon Navin grew up in Bremen, Germany, in a family of book-crazy women. Her career in advertising brought her to New York City, where she worked for several large agencies before becoming a full-time mother and writer. She now lives outside of New York City with her husband, three children, two cats, and one dog. Only Child is her first novel.

 

You can follow the author on TwitterFacebookGoodreads and on her website.

 

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.