I have to confess that I really wanted to read Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton and not like it, which is not how I normally feel when starting a book. The reason is that the first book that I wrote (but as yet haven’t done much with) was about a school shooting in the UK and I was not impressed that there was another book about a school shooting by a successful author. I found that this book is totally different to mine, but also that it is an absolutely amazing book.
I received a copy of the book from the publishers via Netgalley, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
I read Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton in, well I’d like to say three hours but that would be impossible for me, but definitely, three days which is fast for me. From the very first page, this book sucked me in and took me on a rollercoaster of a ride which lasted until the very last page.
I was totally hooked and desperately wanted to get to the end but at the same time, I really didn’t want the book to be over. I loved the diverse characters, how the situation brought out the good in many and how the school itself and the weather became characters of their own.
Three Hours is a book that I thought about a lot since finishing it, it has stayed with me and I have actually considered reading it again which I never, ever do as there are just too many books that I want to read to spend time reading one twice, but I think that I will be reading it again soon.
This book really was amazing, It may just be February but I am confident that this book will be in my top 2020 books.
Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.
It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.
It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.
It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.
In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.
About The Author:
Rosamund Lupton’s new book, ‘Three Hours’ is published on 9th January 2020.
Her debut novel, ‘Sister’ was a BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, a Sunday Times and New York Times best seller and the fastest selling debut in WHSmiths’history. Her next two books ‘Afterwards’ and ‘The Quality of Silence’ were also Sunday Times best sellers. Her novels have been translated into over thirty languages.
Well, where do I start with this one? I am beyond excited to be part of this amazing tour for one of my absolute favourite authors and my favourite series, and it is even more exciting because until today I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone that the book even existed! I know many, many fans of Angela Marsons and her brilliant DI Kim Stone books, we’ve all waited for a new book in the series to be released, we’ve laughed and most of us have cried as we followed the journey of Stone and her team, we’ve read as the characters grew and learnt and gained confidence in themselves and, if you are anything like me, you’ve wondered what it was like at the very beginning.
Well, wonder no more. Angela Marsons has given us such a treat, she has gone back to the beginning when Stone and her team were first introduced to each other and, well, I’m sure you aren’t reading this now because you’re scrolling down to the buy link so you can get reading! And if you are still here, then here is my review of this blooming brilliant book, I received a copy of First Blood by Angela Marsons from Bookouture, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
If you are a fan of Angela Marsons then head over to the Bookouture Facebook page tonight, Thursday 14th November, at 7pm for a live video chat.
Holey Moley, Angela Marsons! This book just confirms what I have always thought, Marsons is an amazing author and I cannot understand why is she not a household name like James Patterson, Val McDermid, Patricia Cornwell and Karen Rose!
I have loved the DI Kim Stone series since I read Silent Scream back in 2015, the series has got better and better and I have loved every single book in the series. I love the character of Kim Stone, her vulnerability that is hidden behind her tough exterior and her heartbreaking childhood make her a complex and interesting character. Her team all contribute to the stories and I know that I am not alone in loving each of them and there is many people who hold grudges against Marsons for some of what she has put her characters through.
What I wasn’t expecting was for Marsons to go back to the beginning and tell us the story of when Kim Stone first met her faithful team, and how they began to pull together as a team despite them appearing to be so very different from each other. But what a blooming brilliant idea it was, I was so excited to read the book that I immediately stopped reading the book I was a third of the way through and started reading First Blood. I just couldn’t wait and I tore through the book and stayed up far later than I should have so that I could finish the book. But it was definitely one of those books where I wanted to get to the end to find out what would happen, but I also didn’t want the book to end because I was enjoying reading it so much.
I just loved reading about the teams first impressions of each other and how they found their strengths and weaknesses that meant that together they were a team that solved even the toughest crimes.
If you have read previous DI Kim Stone books then I doubt you are even reading this as you will have bought the book regardless of what the reviewers had to say, but if you haven’t read an Angela Marsons book before then buy this book, buy it and read it and enjoy the rollercoaster of the rest of the series, you will love every moment of it!
In the darkness of a cold December morning, Detective Kim Stone steps through the doors of Halesowen Police Station. She’s about to meet her team for the first time. The victim of her next case is about to meet his killer…
When the body of a young man is found beheaded and staked to the ground in a secluded area of the Clent Hills, Kim and her new squad rush to the crime scene.
Searching the victim’s home, Kim discovers a little girl’s bedroom and a hidden laptop. Why is his sister relieved to hear he’s dead – and where is the rest of his family?
As Kim begins to unearth the dark secrets at the heart of the case, D.C. Stacey Wood finds a disturbing resemblance to the recent murder of Lester Jackson. But that’s not all Stacey finds.
She’s convinced there is a link between the victims and a women’s shelter run by Marianne Forbes, Lester’s niece. A child of the care system herself, Kim knows all too well what it means to be vulnerable. Could Marianne be the key to cracking this case?
With the killer about to strike again, Kim is in deep water with a rookie squad. Inexperienced Stacey is showing signs of brilliance but struggling to hold her nerve and, while D.S. Bryant is reliable and calm, D.S. Dawson is a liability. With his home life in pieces, his volatile behaviour is already fracturing her fragile new team.
Can Kim bring Dawson in line and pull her crew together in time to catch the killer before another life is taken? This time, one of her own could be in terrible danger…
Discover where it all began for Kim and her team. An absolutely heart-stopping mystery thriller that will keep you glued to the pages, reading late into the night. Perfect for Kim Stone fans and new readers to the million-copy bestselling series.
A detective hiding dark secrets, Kim Stone will stop at nothing to protect the innocent.
About The Author:
Angela Marsons is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of the DI Kim Stone series and her books have sold more than 3 million in 3 years.
She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their cheeky Golden Retriever and a swearing parrot.
She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.
After years of writing relationship based stories (The Forgotten Woman and Dear Mother) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.
She is signed to Bookouture.com for a total of 16 books in the Kim Stone series and her books have been translated into more than 27 languages.
Many of her books, including Blood Lines, Dead Souls, Broken Bones, Fatal Promise and Dead Memories reached the #1 spot on Amazon on pre-orders alone.
First Blood by Angela Marsons is out now on e-book, it will be released in hardback on 21st November 2019. Go to https://geni.us/B07ZDG34ZCblogger to get your copy now!
If you like true crime then you will love this book, Manhunt by Colin Sutton is probably the best true crime book I have read. It sucked me right in and shocked me and upset me and made me feel almost every emotion out there. A very impressive book.
I had wanted to read Manhunt by Colin Sutton for a good while before I finally got round to reading it. Like many I watched the television programme with the same name, staring Martin Clunes as Sutton. It was an excellent dramatisation but as someone who is fairly familiar with the crimes of Levi Bellfield I knew that a fair amount of dramatic licence had been used so it was time to read the book and hear the story from the man who led the police team who finally bought Bellfield to justice.
I’ve seen Sutton on various television programmes and I’ve always felt that he speaks well and knows he stuff. I was worried that the book would be full of how wonderful he is and how he almost single handedly caught Bellfield. But thankfully Sutton comes across as a team player, who appreciated his team and how hard they worked to catch the killer.
It is a shame that the blurb focuses on Milly Dowler, because this book is about so much more than her, and the other cases deserve to be as well known and talked about as Dowler.
The story is fascinating, the way in which Sutton and his team gradually pieced it all together, worked out that the killings and attempted murders were the work on the same person, the many hours of CCTV they trawled through and then eventually, the way they arrested Bellfield and then gathered further evidence as people finally felt safe to be able to talk about the things they had seen him do.
That bit was shocking and fascinating. So many people know just how awful a person Levi Bellfield is but were too scared to come forward while he was a free man. It was also really interesting to read how resources were thrown at Sutton and his team when they realised what a dangerous man Bellfield was, they were determined that Bellfield would not be able hurt anyone else while they compiled the evidence against him.
I really enjoyed reading this book, sure it is horrible to think that this really happened and Bellfield was able to hurt so many people over the years and how he managed to manipulate almost everyone to get what he wanted, but it was so interesting and a story that kept me hooked and desperate to keep reading.
Sutton surprised me as an author who was able to describe what had happened clearly and with impressive recall. I was surprised to read the criticism that he gave other police forces, especially the one responsible for investigating the disappearance of Milly Dowler.
If you are interested in true crime then this is a great book to read, if you have watched Manhunt and want to know more, then read this book. If you want to learn more about how the police go about solving major crimes, then this book is for you. So many people will get something out of this book, I got loads and it is a story that will stay with me for a long time to come. Thank goodness Bellfield is in prison and will never be released to hurt and manipulate people again.
NOW A MAJOR TV DRAMA STARRING MARTIN CLUNES
What does it take to catch one of Britain’s most feared killers?
Levi Bellfield is one of the most notorious British serial killers of the last fifty years – his name alone evokes horror and revulsion, after his string of brutal murders in the early 2000s.
At 3:07pm on 21st March, 2002, Milly Dowler left her school in Surrey for the last time. Less than an hour later, she was to be abducted and murdered in the cruellest fashion, sparking a missing person investigation that would span months before her body was found.
In the two years that followed, two more young women – Marsha McDonnell and then Amélie Delagrange – were murdered in unspeakably brutal attacks.
Yet with three murdered women on their hands, and few leads open to them, investigating officers were running out of ideas and options, until SIO Colin Sutton was drafted into the investigation for the murder of Delagrange. Seeing a connection between the three women, and thriving under the pressure of a serial killer hunt, Sutton was finally able to bring their murderer to justice after the case had begun to seem hopeless.
Manhunt tells the story of how he led the charge to find a mystery killer, against the clock and against the odds – day by day and lead by lead. At once a gripping police procedural, and an insight into the life of an evil man, this is the story behind what it takes to track down a shockingly violent murderer before he strikes again.
About The Author:
Colin Sutton was a Senior Investigating Officer in the Metropolitan Police from January 2003 to January 2011, leading more than thirty successful murder investigations, notably the Levi Bellfield case and the successful re-investigation of the seventeen-year reign of terror of the ‘Nightstalker’ Delroy Grant.
Manhunt: How I Brought Serial Killer Levi Bellfield To Justice by Colin Sutton is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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