Book review: The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox

Today I’m excited to share my review for The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox. The gorgeous cover of a partially hidden door promises a book of secrets, scroll down to see if it achieved this.

Book review: The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox

Book cover for The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox.

A blue door covered with ivy and the image of a young girl walking away through a keyhole.
The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox

Title: The Shadow Child

Author: Rachel Hancox

Publisher: Century

Genre: Fiction

Release Date: 14th April 2022

Blurb

Eighteen-year-old Emma has loving parents and a promising future ahead of her. So why, one morning, does she leave home without a trace?

Her parents, Cath and Jim, are devastated. They have no idea why Emma left, where she is – or even whether she is still alive. A year later, Cath and Jim are still tormented by the unanswered questions Emma left behind and clinging desperately to the hope of finding her.

Meanwhile, tantalisingly close to home, Emma is also struggling with her new existence – and with the trauma that shattered her life. For all of them, reconciliation seems an impossible dream. Does the way forward lie in facing up to the secrets of the past – secrets that have been hidden for years?

Secrets that have the power to heal them, or to destroy their family forever …

The Shadow Child is a book of hope and reconciliation, of coming to terms with trauma and learning to love again. Most of all, it’s about how you can never quite escape from the shadows of your past – especially when one of those shadows is a child …

My Thoughts

The first chapter with young Emma hooked me into the story and though it isn’t a fast paced read, I couldn’t put it down because I connected to all but one of the characters. The beginning focused on the parents’ distress of having a missing child, their coping strategies, the mystery behind Emma’s disappearance and the relationship with their new tenants. Everyone had secrets and I kept turning the page to discover how they would all be revealed and whether reconciliation would be possible.

The arrival of Emma’s voice lured me in further. Her turmoil and reasons for disappearing surprised me and made this novel different to others I’ve read.  All the characters including those on the fringes had depth and believable backstories making it an emotional and engaging read. It is told with empathy and sensitivity which is crucial as it delved into the affects of grief, disability and the impact they have on families and individuals.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it’s an engaging and emotional read with well-developed characters thrown into an unimaginable situation. With some heart-breaking moments tissues maybe required but these are also balanced with moments of hope.

I look forward to reading more from the author in the future.

Author Biography

Photo of author Rachel Hancox
Rachel Hancox

RACHEL HANCOX read Medicine and Social and Political Science at Cambridge, qualified as a doctor three months after getting married, and has juggled her family, her career and a passion for writing ever since. She worked in Paediatrics and Public Health for twenty years, writing short stories alongside NHS policy reports, and drafting novels during successive bouts of maternity leave. Rachel has five children, three dogs and a cat. She lives in Oxford with her husband and youngest children.

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

signature of Katie

Book Review: Date of Betrayal by Julia Chapman

I discovered this detective series thanks to a discussion on Miranda Dickinson’s Fab Night in Chatty Thing on Facebook. The buzz around it made me try the first book, Date with and I was hooked. They make ideal binge reading material. When the arc for arrived I was eager to read thanks to the cliff-hanger of book six. Scroll down, to see if it reached my high expectations.

Book Review: Date of Betrayal by Julia Chapman

Book cover for Date with Betrayal by Julia Chapman
Date of Betrayal by Julia Chapman

Title: Date with betrayal

Author: Julia Chapman

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Genre: Crime and mystery

Release Date: 31st March 2022

Blurb

The seventh novel in international bestseller Julia Chapman’s Dales Detective series, perfect for fans of Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club and M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series.

In the seventh novel in Julia Chapman’s Dales Detective series, Date with Betrayal, betrayal is rife in the idyllic Yorkshire Dales as Samson O’Brien, owner of the Dales Detective Agency, is targeted by a hitman. Can Bruncliffe save him?

A brilliantly engaging and witty mystery, perfect for fans of Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club and M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series.

 Death is coming to Bruncliffe: its target is Samson O’Brien.

Oblivious to his impending date with fate, Samson is busy juggling a number of cases at the Dales Detective Agency. Too busy, in fact, to notice his partner behaving oddly.

 Because Delilah Metcalfe knows what is coming. A hitman. Sent from London with one objective: to finally silence the troublesome O’Brien before his corruption case can make it to court. With Samson’s life in peril, and betrayal around every corner, Delilah has no choice but to call in favours from all of her Bruncliffe connections in order to counteract the menace threatening to engulf the Dales town.

The only trouble is the townsfolk have long memories and deep grievances when it comes to Samson O’Brien. Trust must be earned and they will take some convincing before they put themselves in danger in order to save him. And even then, it might not prove enough . . .

Full of charm, wit and characters that will capture your heart, the series begins with Date With Death. Have you read them all? ‘As village murder mysteries go, this clever, witty and realistic series is quite out of the ordinary and strongly recommended’ – Crime Review

My Thoughts

It’s been a while since I’ve followed a crime series and am always worried that they will lose their charm the longer they go on but not here. This is the best book yet.

Delilah was always a great and complex personality, but she comes into her own in this novel when she has to manipulate circumstance to protect Samson. When her plan is revealed and saw it in action, it provided chuckles alongside fearful moments which made this a perfect book to escape in.

Tolpuddle is my favourite literary canine and his antics continue to make me love him in this novel.

The Dale Detective series is a clever blend of crime and a hug in a book. Bruncliffe is full of quirky personalities you’d love to have as neighbours, and reading about them makes you feel like you’re coming home, but the crime element is well paced, twisty and as thrilling as more graphic and gory novels. Death with Betrayal steps the tension and thrill up a notch when the evil of London collides with the genius of Yorkshire folk. Seeped with humour, friendship and community secrets with the undercurrent of romance, it was a joy to read and I didn’t want it to end.

Throughout the series, I’ve connected to many of the side characters and this book showcases them all as threads laid in earlier books start to come together, for this reason I’d recommend you start with book one, Date with Death to get the full enjoyment. You won’t be disappointed. They tap into the love communities have for their own and the prejudices, the wealth of personalities and unique knowledge of their location.

The wait for the next instalment is going to be too long.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes, like the others in this series, it was an addictive book as I was sucked into the life of Bruncliffe and the plan to keep Samson alive. Full of Yorkshire humour and quirkiness, it was a gripping, tense and clever read.

If you are a fan of Richard Osman’s novels, you’ll love these and maybe you’ll even agree with me, that these are miles better, with more character depth in a wealth of endearing personalities, and fuller plot with a visual, atmospheric backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales.

Author Biography

Julia Chapman

Julia Chapman is the pseudonym of Julia Stagg, who has had five novels, the Fogas Chronicles set in the French Pyrenees, published by Hodder. She is also the author of the Dales Detective series which follows the adventures of Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe as they solve cases in the Yorkshire Dales. Born with a wanderlust that keeps her moving, Julia has followed her restless feet to Japan, Australia, the USA and France. She spent the majority of that time as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language but also dabbled in bookselling, pawnbroking, waitressing and was once ‘checkout chick of the month’ at a supermarket in South Australia. She also ran an auberge in the French Pyrenees for six years with her husband. Having spent many years wandering, she is now glad to call the Yorkshire Dales home. Its distinctive landscape and way of life provide the setting for her latest set of novels, the Dales Detective series.

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

signature of Katie

Book Review: After The Rain by Lucy Dillon

Book Review: After The Rain by Lucy Dillon

Book Cover: After The Rain by Lucy Dillon

Yellow cover with a woman sitting at the window looking at blue skies with a cat and a dog
After The Rain by Lucy Dillon

Title: After the Rain

Author: Lucy Dillon

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Genre: Fiction, Women’s fiction

Release Date: 17th March 2022

Blurb

After the storm it’s time for a fresh start . . .

 First, the clouds… Tara Hunter is a therapist on a mission to restore Longhampton’s community spirit after catastrophic flooding. But with her boyfriend AWOL, her family fragmented, and only a cat for company, Tara’s own life is crumbling.

Then the storm… On top of everything, Tara’s father – last seen as he walked out on her when she was ten years old – is suddenly back, with a surprising offer that could change everything.

 And after the rain… Dr David Dalloway is Longhampton Wellness Centre’s new star counsellor. He’s charming, caring and has a knack for reading people’s minds – which is the last thing Tara needs right now. Will having David and her dad around make for a bigger storm on the horizon? Or is this Tara’s chance for a fresh start?

My Thoughts

Behind this cheery book cover is an honest, often heart-breaking story of a woman reaching breaking point while endlessly and selflessly helping others. It looks at the trauma large events have on communities and individuals long after the tv cameras have dispersed with their news coverage of people in their wellies, looking shell shocked at their destroyed homes.

I loved the uniqueness of the wellbeing centre with its collection of characters working and popping in which gave a good foundation for the story. Tara’s job as a counsellor has meant her own grief has been put on hold but life has a way of forcing her to take stock. The novel dug deeper into her emotions than I expected and this led to me have a true connection with Tara; I felt her grief, heartache and fatigue as she battled the aftermath of the storm on a personal level. Her journey took me through a gamut of emotions, with the tough times balanced with a slow burn romance with Dr David Dalloway and the humour of his unique way of helping his patients.

Would I recommend?

Yes, After the Rain is a beautifully told bittersweet story with an empathy and depth that will stay with me for a long time. Tissues are required throughout.

Author Biography

Photo of Lucy Dillon
Lucy Dillon

Sunday Times bestselling author Lucy Dillon grew up in Cumbria and read English at Cambridge, then read a lot of magazines as a press assistant in London, then read other people’s manuscripts as a junior fiction editor. She now lives in a village outside Hereford with a Border terrier, an otterhound and her husband.

Lucy won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Contemporary Romantic Novel prize in 2015 for A HUNDRED PIECES OF ME, and the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for LOST DOGS AND LONELY HEARTS.

Social Media:

Twitter @lucy_dillon

Instagram @lucydillonbooks

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

signature of Katie

Book Review: The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop

I’m excited to share my review for The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop. The tagline ‘It’s never too late to start writing a different story’ called to my inner writer and I jumped at the invitation for this blog tour -thanks Random Things Tours. Scroll down to see if it met my expectations.

Book Review: The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop

Book cover for The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop
The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop

Title: The Lost Chapter

Author: Caroline Bishop

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: Women’s fiction

Release Date: 3rd February 2022

Blurb

1957,France.

 Florence and Lilli meet at finishing school in Lyon. Despite some differences, they forge a firm friendship that promises to last a lifetime. But a terrible betrayal prematurely tears them apart. Years later in England, Florence has become the woman her friend knew she could be – creative, bold, and independent. The exact opposite of Alice, a young woman troubled by a recent trauma, whom Florence is determined to help bring out of her shell. Just as Lilli once did for her. When Florence discovers that the novel she’s reading is written by Lilli and is based on their time at school, the two stories begin to unfold together. Past events illuminate the future, and it becomes clear that long-held secrets can’t stay buried forever

My Thoughts

As I said previously, the blurb and tagline caught my eye but it wasn’t long before Flo captured my heart and I had to keep reading to discover her past. This is a clever book that intersperses Flo,  Carla and Alice’s narratives with that of Lilli, in the form of the chapters of an autobiographical novel, The Way We Were. This in turn tells the tale of two friends of opposite personalities which gives the foundation of the overall story.

Flo is a feisty, down to earth octogenarian with a talent for art and prints. The scenes describing the process of printing were mediative and made me itch to have a go. The chemistry between her and younger Alice was a joy to read as she attempted to soothe her fears and when secrets from all characters were revealed it brought tears. Flo is a character everyone needs in their lives. The strained relationship between Carla and her daughter was authentic and emotive.

The 1957 timeline was also a delight to read for other reasons. The attention to detail brought the  time period and location to life with a pace of its own and worked perfectly against the other chapters. Unlike some dual timeline novels, I wasn’t drawn more to one; I was invested in both threads.

The Lost Chapter is a beautifully written emotional novel that left a warm glow when it ended with unexpected turns.

Would I recommend?

A huge yes, this could be a contender for one of my top books of the year. With beautiful prose, strong emotional connections, characters to hold dear and a mystery that makes you turn the page it is a must read.

It’s perfect for fans of last year’s Dear Grace by Clare Swatman.

Author Biography

Photo of Caroline Bishop
Caroline Bishop

Caroline Bishop began her journalism career at a small arts magazine in London, after a brief spell in educational publishing. She soon moved to work for a leading London theatre website, for which she reviewed shows and interviewed major acting and directing stars. Caroline turned freelance in 2012 and a year later moved to Switzerland, where her writing veered towards travel and she has contributed to publications including the Guardian, the Independent, the Telegraph and BBC Travel, writing mainly about Switzerland, and co-wrote the 2019 edition of the DK Eyewitness Guide to Switzerland. For two years Caroline was editor of TheLocal.ch, an English-language Swiss news site, and it was during this time that she became fascinated with aspects of Swiss history and culture, particularly the evolution of women’s rights

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

signature of Katie

Book Review: The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

Welcome to my review for The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy. The tagline intrigued me and I was keen to find out more so jumped at the chance when invited on this blog tour.

Book Review: The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

Book Cover The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy
The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy

Title: The Gosling Girl

Author: Jacqueline Roy

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: Crime Fiction

Release Date: 20th Jan 2022

Blurb

Monster. Murderer. Child. Victim.

Michelle Cameron’s name is associated with the most abhorrent of crimes. A child who lured a younger child away from her parents and to her death, she is known as the black girl who murdered a little white girl; evil incarnate according to the media. As the book opens, she has done her time, and has been released as a young woman with a new identity to start her life again. When another shocking death occurs, Michelle is the first in the frame. Brought into the police station to answer questions around a suspicious death, it is only a matter of time until the press find out who she is now and where she lives and set about destroying her all over again. Natalie Tyler is the officer brought in to investigate the murder. A black detective constable, she has been ostracised from her family and often feels she is in the wrong job. But when she meets Michelle, she feels a complicated need to protect her, whatever she might have done. The Gosling Girl is a moving, powerful account of systemic, institutional and internalised racism, and of how the marginalised fight back. It delves into the psychological after-effects of a crime committed in childhood, exploring intersections between race and class as Michelle’s story is coopted and controlled by those around her. Jacqueline writes with a cool restraint and The Gosling Girl is a raw and powerful novel that will stay with the reader long after they have turned the last page.

My Thoughts

The premise of this novel drew me in but the character, Michelle kept me captivated. Naïve, institutionalised, and surprisingly likeable she is understandably conflicted with the knowledge that she’d killed a child, and battles with guilt but as the story progressed it was clear nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

At times, my heart tugged when she is filled with hope of a new start with a new name despite a conviction looming over her while other times, I dreaded turning the page because I wondered where it would lead. Getting to grips with living outside prison and dealing with people with their own agendas is not a smooth path.

Child murder by children is a difficult topic to tackle but it is done sensitively, and is helped by keeping the reader at a distance from the action and having Michelle as an unreliable narrator. There isn’t a graphic description of her crime which allowed for it not to overshadow the emotional aspects of the book. It gives a snapshot into the consequences of actions and highlights the trauma on all sides of the crime including the perpetrator. It investigates the effects of race and in some respects, money and class, on a case and how easy it is for facts to be manipulated to fit different narratives.

Tyler, a police detective has her own battles with prejudices on the force which is topical and relevant in recent events in the Met.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this novel is gripping, thought provoking, and is one that refuses to let you go once you’ve read the last page. It evokes many emotions including initial guilt for connecting and liking a convicted murderer. I’m sure when I watch events unfold on the news the voices of Michelle and Tyler will sneak their way into my thoughts and influence my own judgements; they will remind me no one ever knows the full story and there are many things at play in how events came about and how things are seen. It is ideal for book clubs and initiating discussions.

Author Biography

Author Jacqueline Roy
Jacqueline Roy

Jacqueline was born and raised in London. Her father was Jamaican and her mother was English and she comes from a family of writers. She hated the pressure to conform at school and left early, so she did her degrees as a mature student and moved to Manchester to take up a full-time teaching post at Manchester Metropolitan University. She lectured in English for many years, specialising in postcolonial literatures. She also taught creative writing at MMU’s Writing School. She is particularly interested in exploring racial identities and the ways in which those who are marginalised find strategies for fighting back. She is now a full-time writer and has produced fiction for adults and children.

Twitter: @Jacquel27815478

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

signature of Katie

Book Review: The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

It has been a while since I have read a crime thriller, so the invite to this tour for The Quiet People by Paul Cleave  came at just the right moment and, with a blurb offering a writer-based mystery, I had high expectations for this book. Scroll down to see if these were met.

Book Review: The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

The Quiet People by Paul Cleave

Title: The Quiet People

Author: Paul Cleave

Publisher: Orenda books

Genre: Crime, Thriller

Release Date: 25th Oct 2021

Purchase: Amazon UK

Blurb

Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no
one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.
So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time… Are they trying
to show how they can commit the perfect crime?


Multi-award winning bestseller Paul Cleave returns with an electrifying and chilling thriller about family, public outrage and what a person might be capable of under pressure, that will keep
you guessing until the final page…

My Thoughts

When a group of writers get together, there is usually a conversation about what would happen if the police ever looked at their Google searches. Sometimes writer’s questions ask can lead to dark places and could be incriminating if seen under the wrong light. This is what happens here and it raises the question where does the author persona and stories they write end and reality start. A flippant comment said at a reading event is taken to heart by the police and media, forming the basis of a police investigation when Cameron and Lisa’s son, 7-year-old Zach is missing.

You’re thrown into the action from the start with a heart stopping moment which hooked me in and I was not released until the final page. This is a thrilling novel full of jeopardy, suspicion and action that led me to question everything and the motive of every character. It is told mainly in Cameron’s point of view but with many unexpected twists and turns, and glimpses into the investigation from DI Rebecca Kent’s perspective, there was always an edge of how reliable his narration really is. The suspicion and tension didn’t let up until the big reveal.

I loved it despite it being unrealistic and gung-ho in places. The New Zealand location made it a refreshing read. Maybe I’ve been watching too many UK based detective series recently where a family liaison officer is put in place at the family home as soon as a crime of this nature occurs, but I kept questioning where one was. It was a tiny niggle that soon passed when I became immersed into the plot. It is a good read for a long wintery evening.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if you want a thrilling read with a fast turning, twisting plot to keep you up at night urging you to read just one more chapter.

Author Biography

Paul Cleave
Paul Cleave

Paul is an award-winning author who divides his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where most of his novels are set, and Europe. He has won the New Zealand Ngaio Marsh Award three times, the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year award in France, and has been shortlisted for the Edgar and the Barry in the US and the Ned Kelly in Australia. His books have been translated into over twenty languages. He’s thrown his frisbee in over forty countries, plays tennis
badly, golf even worse, and has two cats – which is often two too many.


Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulCleave, and his website: paulcleave.com.

Thank you Random Thing Tours and Orenda Books for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

signature of Katie

Book Review: Freckles by Cecelia Ahern

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Cecelia Ahern novel and have several one my TBR pile, but I was excited to be invited to this tour for Freckles not only because the cover is stunning and the blurb sounded different but relatable. Scroll down to see if they lived up to my expectations.

Book Review: Freckles by Cecelia Ahern

Book cover of Freckles by Cecelia Ahern
Freckles by Cecelia Ahern

Title: Freckles

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: Harper Collins

Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction

Release Date: 2nd September 2021

Blurb

‘Freckles is a beautiful, hopeful book when the world needs hope most. Cecelia has written a novel about our search for our authentic selves in a crazy world. Like all her novels, it’s inspiring, life-affirming and full of insight’ CATHY KELLY


You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with…


When a stranger utters these words to Allegra Bird, nicknamed Freckles, it turns her highly ordered life upside down. In her current life as a parking warden, she has left her eccentric father and unconventional childhood behind for a bold new life in the city. But a single encounter leads her to ask the question she’s been avoiding for so long: who are
the people who made her the way she is? And who are the five people who can shape and determine her future? Just as she once joined the freckles on her skin to mirror the constellations in the night sky, she must once again look for connections.

Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and growing into your own skin.


Five people. Five stars. Freckle to freckle. Star to star.

My Thoughts

Freckles is unlike the other Cecelia Ahern’s novels I’ve read for its lack of the signature quirky otherworldly elements, but it grabbed me from the beginning with Allegra connecting her freckles on her arms to form constellations. This simple image connected me to her despite her character being someone who is hard to get close to initially. Feeling disconnected from everyone including her beloved father, Freckles as she is known has been hurt multiple times and keeps everyone at arms length including the reader. Her chosen career choice as a traffic warden which she loves for its rules and routine she follows with precisely was guaranteed to put a barrier between those in her new town and any relationships she may have. Freckles is a complex and authentic personality with many traits to indicate that she is neurodivergent, making her feel out of step with those around her. She says things as they are and sometimes cause offence without meaning to. As a neurotypical reader, I felt this was a good representation of a neurodivergency and gave an accurate glimpse into her world but with all books with neurodivergent characters the true test is how those with autism feel.

When she hears the quote telling her people’s personalities are made up of five people around them, she longs to meet those who will improve her lot. Her innocence in how she sees the world is refreshing and tugged at my heart especially when it leads her to situation you know she may get hurt. I felt a maternal love for her and longed to jump in and steer her in the right direction with some of the choices she makes on her pursuit to find herself and happiness. It made me reflect on my own life and pinpoint my five, while reading her emotional but uplifting journey.

All the characters around her are well developed and have interesting backstories to help push this character driven story forward. It tackles some heavy topics including self-harm and dementia in a sensitive manner.

Would I recommend?

Yes, behind this beautiful cover is a beautiful, warm and thought provoking book which may have a slow pace but it has depth and introduced me to Freckles who on her quest to find her five slipped into my heart and on to my forever shelf for a reread.

Author Biography

Photo of Cecelia Ahern
Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern is one of the biggest selling authors to emerge in the past fifteen years, having sold more than 25 million copies worldwide in over 50 countries. Two of her books have been adapted as major films and she has created several TV series in the US and Germany. Her novel PS I Love You was a New York Times bestseller and huge #1 bestseller in Ireland and the UK. In 2007, it was made into a major film starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler and most recently, Cecelia wrote the sequel- Postscript which was an instant bestseller. Cecelia has written13 bestselling novels including two YA novels and a critically acclaimed collection of short stories, ROAR which is being produced by and starring Nicole Kidman. Her novels have resonated with readers everywhere through their thoughtful, unique and inspiring storytelling and have won numerous awards.


Cecelia lives in Dublin with her family. To find out more please visit www.cecelia-ahern.com


Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

A quick Dystonia Around the World challenge update, dystonia attacks and migraines have slowed down the reading but currently on book five. To find out more about the challenge click here.

Take care and happy reading!

Love

signature of Katie

Why not pop over to other blogs on this tour.

Book Review: The Woman in the Wood by M.K Hill

Autumn has arrived here in Yorkshire and the evenings are drawing in earlier now we are in September. This is the perfect time to turn to thrilling reads, and with the title The Woman in the Wood and intriguing blurb, M.K Hill’s latest novel promised to be just that. Scroll down to see if it fulfilled my expectations.

Book Review: The Woman in the Woods by M.K Hill

The Woman in the Wood by M.K Hill

Title: The Woman in the Wood

Author: M.K Hill

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Genre: Thriller

Release Date: 4th March 2021

Blurb

A reality TV star becomes a suspect in an Essex murder case in the sharp, funny and moving new thriller from M.K. Hill.


Three years ago, Danny ‘Abs’ Cruikshank, star of reality show Laid in Essex!, was living the dream. And then, on the night of the party, everything changed. It was supposed to be an intimate weekend gathering. Just a few close friends in a remote cottage in Wales. But after a night of heavy drinking in the village pub, a local girl was reported missing,
presumed dead. Abs and his friends had been the last to see her alive.


No-one was ever charged, but the controversy destroyed Abs’s career. So now, three years later, the celebrity who once captured the heart of millions is opening Southend’s new branch of Quidstore. And then one of Abs’s mates is murdered. Does someone know what really happened that night in Wales?


DI Sasha Dawson and her team must race against the clock to find the killer before they strike again –
but first she must discover what happened to Rhiannon Jenkins on the night she vanished. Will the
truth set Abs free? Or bury him?

My Thoughts

The premise of this novel surrounds an ex-reality T.V star Abs, who is famous for his appearance on Laid in Essex, which is similar to a series we all know with a similar name, and what someone will do to make sure the secrets of the night a woman disappeared are never revealed. A murder of his friend triggers an investigation led by Sasha Dawson. As a central protagonist, I found her character intriguing and wanted to know more which is always good in a crime series because it meant not only did I keep turning the page to follow this investigation, I’ve added the previous book to my TBR and intend to keep an eye out for the next to see how the dynamics of her team and family relations develop with time. Abs was not an easy character to warm to, but I found it fascinating to see how he coped with his downfall from being a star and at times felt pity for him with his constant belief he could return to stardom. It is through his eyes we discover what happened in the past with his friends in the woods; the deeper I got into the mystery, the more I needed to know who did it and what exactly they did. I didn’t get much sleep when the pace picked up, events turned darker and I headed to the conclusion which I would never have guessed.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a strong, dark crime novel with many twists, well-developed characters and personalities throughout using the desire for fame as a backdrop.  Sasha Dawson is a detective to follow and I could easily see this adapted to television.

Author Biography

M.K Hill

Mark Hill was a journalist and an award-winning music radio producer before becoming a full-time writer.
The first novel in the Sasha Dawson series, The Bad Place, was described as ‘everything a police procedural should be’ by The Times, who also named it as their Crime Book of the Month. He lives in London.

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

signature of Katie
Other blogs on the tour

Book Review: Dear Grace by Claire Swatman

Finally, it is my turn to share my review for Dear Grace by Clare Swatman. I’ve been wanting to tell you all about this book as soon as I closed it for the final time a few weeks ago. Scroll down to see why.

Book Review: Dear Grace by Claire Swatman

Dear Grace by Clare Swatman

Title: Dear Grace

Author: Clare Swatman

Publisher: Nielsen

Genre: Contempory fiction

Release Date: 25th June 2021

Purchase: Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dear-Grace-Clare-Swatman/dp/1916906001/

  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1916906001
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1916906006

Blurb

The most unlikely friendship. The most unexpected consequences.

When Anna’s husband cheats on her, she’s sure she’ll never be happy again. But then she meets 94-year-old Grace. Despite an age gap of more than fifty years, the pair set out together on a life-changing journey halfway across the country in search of some answers.

Sometimes the only way to move on is to revisit the past. But will Anna and Grace be prepared for what they find?

A story about love, female friendship, heartbreak and learning to forgive.

My Thoughts

Oh my, where do I start? This book is phenomenal and one of the best examples of friendship fiction, the chemistry between Anna and Grace leapt off the page and showcased the depth of love that can exist between friends, whether they are new or old ones. Like in this story, age doesn’t matter; sometimes you meet someone and you just click like these two did.

Clare Swatman has captured realistic characters on the page and I instantly connected with them all but especially Grace with her fierce determination and meddling. She is the glue holding the other characters, Anna and Tom,  in place while they find their place in life. She made me chuckle on more than one occasion and I had to keep on reading when her past began to be revealed.

The descriptions of the seascape and locations are perfect, and atmospheric; I could visualise being on the beach and felt every lap of the ocean on the shore, and this along with the depth of emotion layered in this beautifully written tale immersed me into the trio’s lives. I didn’t want it to end.

Dear Grace is full of humour, love and stunning use of words and it is more than just a novel about friendship, it’s about living your life and loving those you meet.

Would I recommend?

If you have read the above, you know the answer. This is a must read of the year. It’s uplifting and heart-breaking and grabs your soul, making you want to reread it again and again. This is one for my forever bookshelf to be treasured. I now need to read Before You Go.

Author Biography

Clare Swatman

Clare Swatman is an author and journalist. She has had two previous novels published, with her debut, Before You Go, selling in 22 territories around the world. She has also spent 20 years writing for women’s magazines in the UK.

Her latest novel, Dear Grace, is inspired by her love of Lowestoft, the town where she spent many happy holidays with her late grandparents.

Clare lives in Hertfordshire in the UK with her husband and two boys. Even the cat is male, which means she’s destined to be outnumbered forever.

Facebook at Clare Swatman Author, Insta @clareswatmanauthor, and twitter, where she’s @clareswatman

Why not pop to other blogs on the tour?

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

signature of Katie

Book Review: The Happiness Revolution by Dr Andy Cope and Prof Paul McGee

I’m excited to share a different type of book for me The Happiness Revolution by Andy Cope and Prof Paul McGee, a non-fiction guide to living your best life. The last eighteen months have been difficult for all, but the last few months have been for me the hardest with everyone jumping back into real life. I’ve found myself in a rut, so when the invite for this book popped into my email I jumped at the chance to read it despite it not being my usual read. Scroll down to see if this book does what it says on the cover.

Book Review: The Happiness Revolution by Dr Andy Cope and Prof Paul McGee

Happy Revolution by Dr Andy Cope and Prof Paul McGee

Title: The Happiness Revolution: A Manifesto for Living your Best Life

Author: Dr Andy Cope and Prof Paul McGee

Publisher: Capstone

Genre: self-help, no-fiction

Release Date: 10th June 2021

Blurb

The book for our times! As we emerge from lockdown and re-evaluate our lives before and during the pandemic, we now have a unique opportunity for change and a more positive future.


 A guide for everyone who feels that they are just muddling along. While we cannot be happy all of the time, we can learn how to live a less stressed and happier life.


 Two of the best-selling experts in the field of positive psychology brought together for the first time and available for
interview: Dr Andy Cope (The Art of Being Brilliant) and Prof Paul McGee (S.U.M.O.).


 Grounded in science and tested in life, The Happiness Revolution compiles all that we know about the science of happiness and presents it in a cheerful, often hilarious, and practical way – so that you can upgrade your wellbeing.


Happiness. We chase it, we crave it… it’s so in demand… yet so scarce.


But here’s the good news. In The Happiness Revolution: A Manifesto For Living Your Best Life, bestselling authors Dr Andy Cope and Professor Paul McGee deliver a page-turning self-help book of the times, for the times. As the world wakes up to a new kind of normal, The Happiness Revolution challenges readers to sign up to an uprising of wellbeing and to making the most of the privilege of being on this planet.

The book outlines a 10-point Happiness Manifesto. Grounded in the science of human flourishing and the reality of life, the principles are simple, do-able and above all make a difference not only to yourself but to others too. Let the fight back to mental wealth start right here. Welcome to global domination of the happiness kind!

Discover:
 How to regain your sanity, clarity, and wellbeing, even when your smartphone, kids, spouse,
job, and possessions seem to be conspiring to keep you from doing just that.


 Why it can be so hard to maintain a happy outlook when the outside world has never been
so fast, complex, and unpredictable.


 How to be at your best in a world that is doing its worst.


Happiness is the #1 thing you want for yourself and your family. The Happiness Revolution is an indispensable guide for everyone trying to live their best life and to spread some happiness whilst doing so.

Rise up and be happy! Vive la revolution!

My Thoughts

When lockdown happened, everyone became recluses and, as a spoonie, my world opened with many online opportunities popping up to keep everyone entertained and less lonely – catch ups with friends, courses in everything you could dream of, accessible conferences and events were all happening on zoom. My diary hadn’t looked so full since I became ill. As a shielder, when freedom day arrived and real life began again, my social calendar shrank again and my mood plummeted. I had high hopes this book would give me a lift, and it did. It really did, despite life throwing more curveballs at me while reading it; the authors’ words offered me respite from my troubles and helped me remain calm and concentrate on what I could control and the positive, however small.

Split into easy-to-read sections and sprinkled with humour, I zipped through the book over a few days. The ideas and tips are accessible, and though backed by science, they are presented in a way that meant I wasn’t bogged down by jargon. They felt I could slot them into my life without feeling overwhelmed and giving up within a day. Usually, I’m a glass half person, so maybe that helped with my enjoyment as their words made sense, gave me a kick in the right direction and focus on the things I can control rather than not. This book does require an open mind and the desire to give it ago because batting away negativity is never easy, especially when the brain is programmed to focus on it.

Would I recommend?

Yes. It’s highly accessible, full of humour and manageable tips to get you out of a rut and begin to treat yourself like your own best friend so you can discover the elusive sense of happiness.

Author Biography

Dr Andy Cope

DR ANDY COPE is the UK’s first ever Dr of Happiness. He has a passion for motivation and positive psychology and
strives to influence people to think differently. He founded Art of Brilliance in 2004 to blaze a new trail – one that was
non-academic, totally rooted in the real world and that would make a massive and immediate impact on
individuals and organisations. Andy is a sought-after keynote speaker, bestselling author, and authority on happiness, motivation, and human flourishing.

Prof Paul McGee


PROF PAUL MCGEE is a visiting professor at the University of Chester and is one of Europe’s leading speakers on the subject of change, resilience, wellbeing, and communication. His book SUMO became a Sunday Times best seller and his book on Self Confidence reached number one in the WHSmith’s business chart and remained there for a further 24 weeks. His books have sold over a quarter of a million copies worldwide. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast television and is a regular contributor on BBC Radio. He has had the privilege of working with one of the world’s top management gurus the late Dr Stephen Covey and his work has been endorsed by Sir Clive Woodward. Chris Evans described Paul’s book ‘How Not to Worry’ as “a gift to the world.” His clients include prominent blue chip organisations, public sector bodies and a leading Premier League football club.
He combines his love of comedy and football by supporting Wigan Athletic and Bradford City

Other blogs on this tour

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love