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Book Review

Book Review: Parade by Michael Graves

A huge thank you to Tomek at Storgy for sending me a review copy of Parade by Michael Graves! This was such a fun read, here is my review, and a little bit more about the book & the author…

Summary:

Reggie Lauderdale suffers from a crisis of faith. His cousin, Elmer Mott, dreams of becoming their hometown mayor. Both boys are stuck in suburbia trying to be adults … but they aren’t sure how to be themselves yet. When a twist of fate sends them fleeing in a stolen limousine, the cousins escape to Florida where they meet a retired televangelist, who inspires them on a path of glitzy sermons and late-night parties. But are the celebrations sincere or deceptive? And who is keeping tabs? Who is watching? Parade is a tour-de-force, comic tale of faith and friendship.

About the author:

Michael Graves is the author of Parade and Dirty One, a collection of short stories which was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist and an American Literary Association Honouree. Michael’s fiction has been published in numerous literary publications. He can be found online at
www.michaelgravesauthor.com
@MGravesauthor

My review:

This was such a fun, unique, and interesting read! One of the things I enjoyed most was the eclectic set of characters; they were each so well written and believable, and were really what made this book for me – I won’t be forgetting them any time soon that’s for sure! The story itself was also fascinating; I was really drawn to the humour in this book, it’s dark, but so clever. Another thing I absolutely loved about Parade was Graves’ descriptions and writing style, which are just incredible, I was completely immersed. It’s really difficult to compare this book to anything, as it’s really like nothing I’ve come across before, which is maybe one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much – it’s uniqueness! In the front of my copy, there is a Spotify playlist of some fantastic songs, which really added to the reading experience and overall vibe of this book. A highly recommended book!

Parade is out now! Get your copy here.

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Blog Tour

Blog Tour: The Imposter by Anna Wharton

Delighted to be sharing my review today of The Imposter by Anna Wharton. Huge thanks to the publishers for my copy, and to Random Things for having me on the tour – here is my review!

About the book:

A girl who went missing. A family who never gave up. A lonely young woman who only wanted to help…Anna Wharton’s fiction debut, The Imposter, is a gripping story of obsession, loneliness and the lies we tell ourselves in order to live with ourselves…Chloe lives a quiet life. Working as a newspaper archivist in the day and taking care of her Nan in the evening, she’s happy simply to read about the lives of others as she files away the news clippings from the safety of her desk. But there’s one story that she can’t stop thinking about. The case of Angie Kyle – a girl, Chloe’s age, who went missing as a child. A girl whose parents never gave up hope. When Chloe’s Nan gets moved into a nursing home, leaving Chloe on the brink of homelessness, she takes a desperate step: answering an ad to be a lodger in the missing girl’s family home. It could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to the story she’s read so much about. But it’s not long until she realizes this couple aren’t all they seem from the outside…But with everyone in the house hiding something, the question is – whose secrets are the most dangerous?

Author bio:

ANNA WHARTON has been a print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years,
writing for newspapers including The Times, Guardian, Sunday Times Magazine, Grazia
and Red. She was formally an executive editor at The Daily Mail. Anna has ghostwritten
four memoirs including the Sunday Times bestseller Somebody I Used To Know and
Orwell Prize longlisted CUT: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today. The
Imposter is her first novel.

My review:

As soon as I heard about this book, I was completely drawn in by the plot – it sounded so unique, compelling, and CREEPY, but in the best way possible, and the reality is, that it is all these things and more – I absolutely loved it. Sometimes thrillers can be a little predictable, but The Imposter by Anna Wharton truly took me by surprise, and had me gripped until the very end – I was completely absorbed in this original story, and the way that the author writes in so engaging, making this book incredibly difficult to put down. I truly can’t recommend this book enough, to anyone who enjoys dark, twisty thrillers, this is not one to be missed. I adored it.

The Imposter is OUT NOW!

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Blog Tour

Blog Tour: The Drowned City by K.J. Maitland

Delighted to be on the blog tour today for The Drowned City by K.J. Maitland! Thanks so much to the publishers for my copy, and to Random Things for having me on the tour. Here is my review…

About the book:

The first in an exciting new series from an expert writer at the height of her powers. Gunpowder and treason changed England forever. But the tides are turning and revenge runs deep…A year to the day that men were executed for conspiring to blow up Parliament, a towering wave devastates the Bristol Channel. Some proclaim God’s vengeance. Others seek to take advantage. In London, Daniel Pursglove lies in prison waiting to die. But Charles FitzAlan, close adviser to King James I, has a job in mind that will free a man of Daniel’s skill from the horrors of Newgate. If he succeeds. For Bristol is a hotbed of Catholic spies, and where better for the lone conspirator who evaded arrest, one Spero Pettingar, to gather allies than in the chaos of a drowned city? Daniel journeys there to investigate FitzAlan’s lead, but soon finds himself at the heart of a dark Jesuit conspiracy – and in pursuit of a killer. A compelling historical thriller for fans of C.J. Sansom, Andrew Taylor, Antonia Hodgson and Laura Shepherd Robinson.

About the author:

Karen Maitland is an historical novelist, lecturer and teacher of Creative Writing, with over twenty books to her name. She grew up in Malta, which inspired her passion for history, and travelled and worked all over the world before settling in the United Kingdom. She has a doctorate in psycholinguistics, and now lives on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon.

My review:

The Drowned City was equally as compelling as it was fascinating – I learned so much about a period of history that I never knew much about. The way Maitland writes is so gripping, and this book was such a page-turner from the beginning to the very end. I was utterly captivated by the vividly described setting and the rich variety of characters – I became heavily invested in this story very quickly. The Drowned City is perfect for fans of historical fiction, or even those who just enjoy a compelling mystery/thriller with an exciting setting – it’s an absolutely brilliant read, and I can’t recommend it enough! I can’t wait for the next instalment in the series.

The Drowned City is OUT NOW!

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Blog Tour

Blog Tour: The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Harwood

I’m delighted to be sharing my review today of The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Hardwood! Many thanks to the publishers for sending me a print copy of the book, and to Random Things for having me on the tour!

About the Book:

Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid. Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter. One night, while among her beloved books, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay… Melding history and fairy tale, this is a dark and intelligent new take on the story of Cinderella that looks at women, the price of labour and the cost of hope.

About the author:

JJA Harwood is an author, editor and blogger. She grew up in Norfolk, read History at the University of Warwick and eventually found her way to London, which is still something of a shock for somebody used to so many fields. When not writing, she can be found learning languages, cooking with more enthusiasm than skill, wandering off into clearly haunted houses and making friends with stray cats. THE SHADOW IN THE GLASS is her debut novel.

My review:

The Shadow in the Glass was such a fantastic read – I really enjoyed the fact that it mixes a range of different genres; it gives it a really unique and enticing feel. This story was so dark, atmospheric and overall creepy, but I absolutely loved it! I love the fact that it’s a re-telling of Cinderella – usually I don’t read these sorts of books, but this one really captured my imagination. It’s a page-turner, and is totally compelling – it’s perfect for fans of the Gothic genre, and dark, atmospheric fairy-tale retellings! Highly recommended.

The Shadow in the Glass is out now!

Categories
Blog Tour

Blog Tour: The Favour by Laura Vaughan

Delighted to be sharing by review today as part of the blog tour for The Favour by Laura Vaughan! Thanks so much to the publishers for my copy, and to Random Things for having me on the tour!

About the book:

Fortune favours the fraud.

When she was thirteen years old, Ada Howell lost not just her father, but the life she felt she was destined to lead. Now, at eighteen, Ada is given a second chance when her wealthy godmother gifts her with an extravagant art history trip to Italy. In the palazzos of Venice, the cathedrals of Florence and the villas of Rome, she finally finds herself among the kind of people she aspires to be: sophisticated, cultured, privileged. Ada does everything in her power to prove she is one of them. And when a member of the group dies in suspicious circumstances, she seizes the opportunity to permanently bind herself to this gilded set. But everything hidden must eventually surface, and when it does, Ada discovers she’s been keeping a far darker secret than she could ever have imagined…

About the author:

Laura Vaughan grew up in rural Wales and studied Art History in Italy
and Classics at Bristol and Oxford. She got her first book deal aged twenty-two and went on to write eleven books for children and young adults. is her first novel for adults. She lives in South London with her husband and two children.

My review:

The Favour by Laura Vaughan was such a brilliant read, I was absolutely captivated from the very first pages and was gripped until the very end. The thing I loved most about this book was the setting – the way in which the author describes Italy was so vivid that I felt I could actually have been there. I’ve never read a book like this that focuses fairly heavily on art and art history, so it was really refreshing to read something so original. The story itself is so unique, and I absolutely loved the fascinating mix of characters. The pacing was also brilliant, and I really struggled to put this down at times, I always wanted to know what was going to happen next! If you love dark, psychological thrillers with a strong and enticing setting, I can’t recommend The Favour by Laura Vaughan enough. You won’t regret it!

The Favour is OUT NOW!

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Blog Tour

Blog Tour: While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart

Thrilled to be on the blog tour for While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart! Thanks so much to the publishers for my print copy of the book, and to Random Things for having me on the tour! Here is my review…

About the book:

In the tradition of Virginia Bailey’s Early One Morning and M. L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans, a luminous, powerful portrait of the brutality of war and the tenacity of love. Santa Cruz 1953. Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door. Paris 1944. A young woman’s future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope. On a darkened platform two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined. Beginning on an ordinary day and ending on an extraordinary one, WHILE PARIS SLEPT is an unforgettable read.

About the author:

Ruth Druart grew up on the Isle of Wight, moving away at the age of eighteen to study psychology at Leicester University. She has lived in Paris since 1993, where she has followed a career in teaching. She has recently taken a sabbatical, so that she can follow her dream of writing full-time.

My review:

When Paris Slept is a phenomenal read! I thoroughly enjoyed learning about this era of history, as I’ve never really read many books of this period – this has made me realise that I really should. Both the characters and the setting were fantastically described, and I was completely swept up in the lyrical way in which Ruth Druart writes. This story is both heart-wrenching and heart-warming, in so many different ways, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also found it incredibly thought-provoking, and it was a fantastic tale of human survival and resilience. I would highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction!

When Paris Slept is OUT NOW!

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Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Dog Days by Erika Walker

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Dog Days by Erika Walker! Thank you so much to the publishers for my print copy, and to Random Things for having me on the tour. Here is my review…

About the book:

George is very angry. His wife has upped and died on him, and all he wants to
do is sit in his underpants and shout at the cricket. The last thing he needs is
his cake-baking neighbour Betty trying to rescue him. And then there’s the dog,
a dachshund puppy called Poppy. George doesn’t want a dog – he wants a fight.


Dan is a counsellor with OCD who is great at helping other people – if only he
were better at helping himself. His most meaningful relationship so far is with his
labrador Fitz. But then comes a therapy session that will change his life.


Lizzie is living in a women’s refuge with her son Lenny. Her body is covered in
scars and she has shut herself off from everyone around her. But when she is
forced to walk the refuge’s fat terrier, Maud, a new life beckons – if she can keep
her secret just a while longer…


Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters – joyous, heartbreaking and wise – Dog Days is about those small but life-changing moments that only come when we pause to let the light in.

About the author:

ERICKA WALLER lives in Brighton with her husband, three daughters and pets. Previously, she worked as a blogger and columnist. Dog Days is the sum of everything she has learned about love, loss and the healing power of dogs.
Twitter: @erickawaller1
Instagram @erickamary
http://muminthesouth.co.uk/

My review:

When I first started reading Dog Days, I thought that it would be incredibly light-hearted, which at times it is, but overall, it is a really powerful and moving book that truly sticks with you. I absolutely love dogs, so this was such an enjoyable and unique read! I found the variety of characters in this book to be really interesting – whilst some were definitely more likeable than others, the way Erika Walker writes and describes things is so realistic, I felt like I really knew each of the characters in the book. This is a heart-warming story that has plenty of twists, turns and shocks, but is thoroughly enjoyable and one that I would highly recommend!

Dog Days is out on 11th March! ❤

Categories
Blog Tour

Blog Tour: The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin! Thank you so much to the publishers for sending me a copy, and to Random Things for having me on the tour. Here is my review…

Summary:

A debut novel of unlikely friendship, in which two women, one young, one old, meet in art class while in hospital and decide to celebrate their well-lived lives through paintings.

Fiercely alive and brimming with tenderness, this uplifting story revels in our infinite capacity for friendship and love when we are most in need.

Life is short – no one knows that better than 17 year-old Lenni Petterssen. On the Terminal ward, the nurses are offering their condolences already, but Lenni still has plenty of living to do. For a start, she has questions about her fate she needs answers to, and stories yet to uncover.

When she meets 83-year-old Margot, a fellow patient in purple pyjamas offering new friendship and enviable artistic skills, Lenni’s life begins to soar in ways she’d never imagined.

As their bond deepens, a world of stories opens up: of wartime love and loss, of misunderstanding and reconciliation, of courage, kindness and joy. Stories that have led them to their combined one hundred years, to the end of their days.

Author bio:

Marianne Cronin was born in 1990. She studied English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Birmingham. She now spends most of her time writing, with her newly-adopted rescue cat sleeping under her desk. When she’s not writing, Marianne can be found performing improv and stand up in the West Midlands, where she lives.

Her debut novel The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is to be published around the world and is being adapted into a feature film by Sony/Columbia Pictures. It has been sold in 25 territories to date.

My review:

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is written SO beautifully, that I can’t believe this is the author’s debut! The way Marianne Cronin writes is so compelling, and I absolutely fell in love with this story. One of my absolute favourite parts of this stunning book, was the characters. Particularly in the hospital, they are just so interesting and quirky, and I loved spending time with them! The two main characters, Lenni and Margot, were equally memorable, and so incredibly well-developed that I felt like I truly knew them by the time I turned the final page. Exploring a range of different and important themes, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is an unforgettable story of grief and friendship, and is incredibly heart-warming – you will find yourself crying one minute, to laughing with joy the next! I highly recommend this.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is OUT NOW!

Categories
Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Botanical Curses and Poisons by Fez Inkwright

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for the blog tour of Botanical Curses and Poisons by Fez Inkwright! Many thanks to the publishers and to Random things…

Book summary:

Poisonings are among the most memorable deaths in history, from the Roman Empire to the Medieval era and beyond. Concealed and deliberate, it’s a crime that must be planned in advance. And yet there is a fine line between healing and poisoning – Paracelsus argued that only the dosage matters! In Botanical Curses and Poisons, illustrator, author, and folklorist Fez Inkwright returns to archives to uncover the fascinating folklore, lurid histories, and untold stories behind deadly plants, witching herbs and fungi. Filled with beautiful illustrations, this treasury of folklore is packed with insight, lore, and the revealed mysteries of everyday flora!
Botanical Curses and Poisons is printed in hardcover with metallic foiling, a ribbon bookmark, black-and-white illustrations on nearly every page, and a wealth of folklore, history and poetry about the deadly plants within!

About the author:

Fez Inkwright is an illustrator, author and folklorist. Her greatest passions are botany, nature, primitive religions, and folklore, which flavour most of her work.
For the past eight years she has produced work for children’s books, hand-drawn maps and tattoo design and now spends her time indulging in conservation work and writing. She lives in Bristol with two cats and several hundred bees.

My review:

The first thing you will notice about this book is how stunning it is! The front cover is absolutely gorgeous, and inside, there are numerous drawings and designs that all completely beautiful. I never usually read books like this, but this has made me realise that I should, as I’ve learned so much, and am completely fascinated with this subject now! Whether you are looking to learn about plants, witchcraft, folklore and so on or not, this is a truly beautiful book, and would also make a perfect gift. Whether you read it cover to cover, or dip in and out, it’s a fantastic book that I can highly recommend.

Botanical Curses and Poisons is OUT NOW!

Categories
Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Space Hopper by Helen Fisher

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Space Hopper by Helen Fisher! Thank you so much to the publishers for my copy, and to Random Things for having me on the tour. Here is my review…

Summary:

They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found
that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact,
none of this is what you’d expect.


I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight.
And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.

Right now, you probably think I’m going mad. Let me explain…


Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a
child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother
herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events,
she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced
with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but
away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for
another moment with her mother?


For fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife comes an original and
heartwarming story about bittersweet memories, how the past shapes
the future, and a love so strong it makes you do things that are slightly bonkers.

About the author:

Helen Fisher spent her early life in America, but grew up mainly in Suffolk where she now lives with her two children. She studied Psychology at Westminster University and Ergonomics at UCL and worked as a senior evaluator in research at RNIB. Space Hopper is her first novel.

My review:

If you adore poignant stories about complex relationships, memories, and moments, Space Hopper by Helen Fisher is a total must-read. The book follows the story of Faye, who despite being happy with her life after becoming a new mother, is weighed down by the death of her own mother as a child. After a strange turn of events, she is placed back in her childhood home in the 1970s, and is faced with the opportunity to seek answers to the questions that have built up over a lifetime. This is a fantastic and gripping story about taking an enormous leap of faith. I loved the various layers of this book, and it’s truly like nothing I’ve read before – it’s totally original, and I cannot recommend it enough!

Space Hopper is OUT NOW! ❤