Author Archives: Thebookreviewcafe

About Thebookreviewcafe

Hi and welcome to my blog, I love reading and always have a book or my kindle on the go. I love reading crime/psychological thrillers, but I will read most genres if a book takes my fancy. If you would like me to review a book for you please send me a email, although I cannot guarantee to review a book if it has a tight deadline due to work commitments. As a new blogger I would be grateful for any hints or tips established bloggers could give me, so feel free to email me. Thanks for calling in and hope you enjoy my reviews

What’s on your bookshelf? With #BookBlogger Stuart at Always Trust In Books @AlwTrustInBooks

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Today I’m thrilled to welcome book blogger Stuart to share his bookshelves with us. Stuart blogs over at http://www.alwaystrustinbooks.wordpress.com/ if you haven’t visited his blog yet, you really should take a look.

How many bookcases do you have?

I currently have three. A huge one in my living room with about 350+ books on it and two large ones with all my hardbacks on. My wife is so considerate when it comes to having my books all over the house. I constantly ask myself if I need this many books but somehow the thought doesn’t really go anywhere 😏.

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Approximately how many books are on your book case?

I would say I have about between 700 and 800 books in total. This amount has gone up and down over the years quite a bit. It got out of hand when I was looking at this massive bookcase from Ikea that covered an entire wall of the house. I thought about it for ages but then reconsidered. I still want it…

What genre do your bookcase mainly comprise of?

I don’t really limit myself to just a few genres. My bookcases are filled with all sorts from classics and poetry to crime, horror or non-fiction. If I had to narrow down a few main genres then I would say fantasy, mythology and psychological thrillers. I just re-organised my books and found all my Michael J. Malone books so I have put them to one side for re-reading.

 

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Which book on your bookcase are you desperate to read?

I just started reading it. It’s called Sanctuary by V.V. James and its a small town crime-mystery surrounding witches. It is so cool and I am loving every moment watching this elaborate and mysterious case unravelling. It’s a must read.

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Which book has been sat on your bookcase the longest and you haven’t yet got around to reading?

Oh that has to be Strange Weather by Joe Hill. I have read all of JH’s books repeatedly over the years but I still haven’t gotten round to this one. That and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman which I have been putting off for some unknown reason. Hopefully I will get to both of these this year. Fingers crossed.

Which books are you desperate to add to your bookcase over the next few months?

I haven’t actually given this much thought because I am so busy with the books I have that are staring at me from the shelves. I listened to The Rosie Project on audiobook, it was amazing, and I am incredibly eager to get my hands on the Rosie Effect and the Rosie Result this year. I am excited for The Song Of The Sycamore by Edward Cox as it sounds like an awesome concept for a fantasy novel. Jay Kristoff’s Darkdawn is required as well. I need Little Serbia by Antti Tuomainen as I adored Palm Beach, Finland and The Man Who Died. Oh so many books!

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If you could only keep one book from your bookcase, which one would you choose? And why?

I do consider this question quite often and I keep coming back to Kings Of The Wyld by Nicholas Eames. I still don’t fully understand my overwhelming reaction to this book but it blew me away. It’s the first book in as long as I can remember that, as soon as I finished the last page, I wanted to start it all over again right away. It is fantasy at its best. I could easily see myself on a desert island with this book, not a care in the world.

Last question if you could have one author come to your house to borrow a book who would it be and why?

This is a tough one but I would say Matt Haig. His books are something else. I met him last year and I would really like to chat with him again. I have so many questions for that man. I would like to meet Johana Gustawsson and Simon Morden too as they both seem like really cool people. I need to get out and meet more authors!

About Stuart

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My name is Stuart (29) and I attempt to manage the book blog that is Always Trust In Books. I started the blog to talk books with people and found an awesome community that gladly gave me a place within it for which I am grateful. I review Fantasy, Science Fiction, Crime, Non Fiction, Mystery and Psychological Thrillers. I am lucky to have an amazing and patient wife, two impatient yet equally epic sons, a rescue cat called Mrs and a hamster called Eight (that is the only word my two year old can say at the moment).
  • Links to your blog and any social media links you would like included
and my Twitter handle is @AlwTrustInBooks
and my Instagram handle is @alwaystrustinbooks.

My thanks to Stuart for answering my question and for the use of his personal photographs.

If you are a book blogger and would like to take part in this feature, the more the merrier as I’m hoping to make it a long running feature. Please email me at thebookreviewcafe.mail.com or leave a comment below. Many thanks 

The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell #BookReview @Caroline_writes @BOTBSPUBLICITY @AmazonPub #BlogTour #thriller #thomasandmercer

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the blog tour for The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell. Anyone who follows my blog will know I’m a huge fan of the authors crime books. The Perfect Mother takes the author in a different direction, so I did pick up this book with some reservations. Read on for my thoughts…..

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She thought they wanted her baby. But they won’t stop there.

Roz is young, penniless and pregnant. All she wants is to be the perfect mother to her child, but the more she thinks about her own chaotic upbringing, the more certain she is that the best life for her baby is as far away as possible from her hometown in Ireland.

Determined to do the right thing, Roz joins an elite adoption service and can’t believe her luck. Within days she is jetting to New York to meet a celebrity power couple desperate for a child of their own. Sheridan and Daniel are wealthy and glamorous—everything Roz isn’t. Her baby will never go hungry, and will have every opportunity for the perfect life. But soon after Roz moves into their plush basement suite, she starts to suspect that something darker lurks beneath the glossy surface of their home.

When Roz discovers she isn’t the first person to move in with the couple, and that the previous woman has never been seen since, alarm bells start ringing. As the clock ticks down to her due date, Roz realises her unborn baby may be the only thing keeping her alive, and that despite her best intentions, she has walked them both into the perfect nightmare…

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The Perfect Mother is certainly different to Caroline Mitchell’s previous crime thrillers, described as a psychological thriller, it’s a book that kept me glued to my kindle screen. For me this book show cases  what an accomplished author Mitchell is, whether  it be a crime or psychological thriller it’s evident the author puts her heart and soul into her writing. Guess what? I absolutely loved The Perfect Mother,  it’s creepy, chilling, and very dark. It’s a story of motherhood, and the lengths people will go to to protect those they love. 

Roz is broke and pregnant and wanting the best life for her baby. A life she feels she can’t provide based on her own upbringing, in desperation she turns to an ‘elite’ adoption agency that connects her with a wealthy celebrity couple celebrity Sheridan and Daniel, they can provide the baby the sort of life Roz could only fantasize about. She moves into the couples opulent home, to await the birth of her baby, and here’s where things take a very sinister turn. 

If you think The Perfect Mother’s plot isn’t an imaginative one,  believe me once you pick up the book,  you will realise it’s an unique plot. The Perfect Mother is a combination of plot and character driven, and what an eclectic bunch they turned out to be! Sheridan is a celebrity, she’s one of those characters that gets under your skin for all the wrong reasons, she’s cold, calculated and definitely deluded, she actually made my skin crawl and fear for Roz’s baby. Roz is naïve, a lost soul, wanting only the best for her baby. Her naivety puts her in a situation that turns out to be her worse nightmare.

I really thought I had the plot all worked out, but to my surprise Caroline Mitchell threw in a couple of brilliant twists that left me speechless, no mean feat!  Whilst reading this book I was accompanied by an increasing sense of dread as the story unfolded. This is one of those books that’s addictive and before you know it you are half way through the book. With an enticing plot, twists and turns, an unlikable character, one chapter turns into another and another. The Perfect Mother has such an innocent title, but don’t be fooled, inside it’s pages there’s a dark and twisted tale lurking. A superb read full of suspense, mystery and plenty of drama! Highly recommended.

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (14 Jan. 2020)

Buying link:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧

My thanks to the author, Amazon publishing and Sarah Hardy at Book On The Bright Side for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

About the author

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New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post and International #1 Bestselling Author. Shortlisted by the International Thriller Awards for best ebook 2017 and the Killer Nashville Best Police Procedural 2018. Over a million books sold.

Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family in a village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, she has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time.

Caroline writes psychological and crime thrillers. The most recent, Silent Victim reached No.1 in the Amazon charts in the UK, USA and Australia and was the winner of the Reader’s Favourite Awards in the psychological thriller category. It has been described as ‘brilliantly gripping and deliciously creepy’.

You can follow Caroline on Twitter at @Caroline_Writes and www.Facebook.com/CMitchellAuthoror www.caroline-writes.com

Sign up to join her Reader’s club for access to news, updates and exclusive competitions and giveaways. http://eepurl.com/IxsTj

Follow the blog tour……

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#Beast by at Matt Wesolowski #SixStories @OrendaBooks @ConcreteKraken #HangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to share my review for Beast by Matt Wesolowski. Beast is the fourth book in the #SixStories series and although they can all be read as stand-alones, I would urge you to read them in order, just because it’s such a brilliant series. Read on for my thoughts on the latest book in series……

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Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories…

In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old Vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.

Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’

However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.

Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire… 

Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…

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The Six Stories series by Matt Wesolowski is one of my favourite crime series EVER! It’s deliciously dark, extremely imaginative, each book has been beyond riveting. Beast like the other books in the series features modern day themes, combined with darkest folklore, and yet again the author’s vivid imagination propels the reader into a plot that’s marked by an unrelenting bleakness, and yet Beast makes for an all consuming read.

Six Stories is precisely that, Six Stories told from the perspective of six witnesses narrated in the form of pod casts with online investigating journalist Paul King. I’m not going to rehash the plot details, I think the tagline on the book sums Beast up perfectly “A frozen girl, a haunted town, a deadly challenge, six stories, which one is true?”. What follows is a tense, horrifying read that’s darker than the dead of night.  

The author has an unique ability to create the perfect setting, Tankerville Tower in the small town of Ergarth is a character darkly atmospheric, and creeping, it’s a place shrouded in folklore tales of bloodthirsty vampires, a place where evil lies. Even the climate is the perfect backdrop for this book, set during the wake of  ‘The Beast from the East’, with its plummeting temperatures, the biting winds, it gives the sense that Ergarth is inhospitable, a place you wouldn’t want to visit for the fear of what you might encounter.

Beast is very much a modern day tale, and one that highlights, a phenomenon that’s very real, society’s need for validation and attention through social media. The author paints a bleak and disquieting picture of the negative side of social media, it’s disturbing and frighteningly credible. As each pod cast ends, trepidation and dread grows, the darkness of the book pulls you in, holding you in its clutches until the final page.

If there’s one thing I love about this series, it’s the author’s ability to write a book that doesn’t fit one particular genre, Beast is no different it has components of horror, thriller and crime with a modern day twist, it’s impossible to second guess where the plot is leading, which for me made this such a memorising read. Each book Matt Wesolowski writes is imaginative, captivating, and cleverly constructed, this is an author who doesn’t rest on his laurels each book is as good if not better than the last. Matt  Wesolowski has once again written the epitome of a page-turner. Highly, highly recommended. 

Yes you’ve guessed it I’m giving Beast, my second book of 2020 the shiny Book hangover award, 

What criteria does a book need to meet to win this award?

It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orenda Books (6 Feb. 2020) kindle edition (out now)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon USA 🇺🇸

My thanks to Karen Sullivan for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

 

Other books in the Six Stories series

 

 

Nine Elms by @robertbryndza @LittleBrownUK @BooksSphere #NineElms #MustReads #BookHangoverAward #BlogTour

Today I’m over the moon to be re-sharing  my review for Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza, to celebrate its release in hardback.

Nine Elms is the first in a brand new crime series and I have a feeling this book is going to be a huge hit with crime thriller lovers. Before I share my review here’s the book description……..

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A DETECTIVE WHO WOULD STOP AT NOTHING

Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and with a keen sense of justice, she solved several high-profile murder cases.

UNTIL A KILLER STOPPED HER IN HER TRACKS

But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her sharp instincts couldn’t help her find him – until he found her.

NOW, HE’S BACK FOR MORE

Sixteen years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well – and into a case only she can solve.

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**This review does includes a health warning**

Robert Bryndza is a danger to my health, that’s a fact! I read Nine Elms the first instalment in a brand spanking new crime series, whilst on holiday in Greece. I became so engrossed whilst reading it I forgot to reapply my sun tan lotion and ended up with slightly sunburnt legs! Very painful let me tell you! Was Dark Elms worth a restless and uncomfortable nights sleep because of my burnt legs? You bet it was! I loved the Erika Forster series but Dark Elms takes the authors writing to a whole new level of amazing. Dark Elms ticks all the boxes for me it’s dark, gory (I grimaced at more than a couple of the authors descriptive crime scenes) and features a serial killer who will send shivers down your spine, if Hannibal Lecter gave you nightmares, be prepared for a few disturbed nights! 

I’m sure lovers of the Erika Forster series will be wondering how the author could top this series, rest assured if Nine Elms is anything to go by, this will be a hell of a series. I instantly connected with Kate, the complexity of her characters lies deeply seated in her dreadful past, there’s an air of fragility about her, but at the same time she is determined not to let her past define her, which is easier said than done especially when her past comes back to haunt her in the most horrifying way.

Luckily for Kate she has a cast of supportive and very likeable characters to help her on her journey. As for the serial killer, there perfectly depicted, chilling, cunning and yet you can’t help but become drawn into their backstory story, its one that’s original and disturbing to say the least. As to their killing techniques Robert Bryndaza, has come up with something stomach churning (best read on an empty stomach) Without giving too much away the killer in question is surrounded by evil forces, who tap into their disturbed psyche, urging them on to commit even more horrific crimes. These evil people are in need of serious therapy,  but such a brilliant combination. I won’t deny I found them fascinating, but at the same time I felt sickened by their behaviour. 

I really liked the fact that Nine Elms isn’t a regular police procedural novel, Kate has the skill set of a police detective but isn’t hindered by procedures or led by rules and regulations, so she’s more likely to bend the rules making her unpredictable. At every turn of the page Nine Elms crackles with apprehension and a growing sense of dread, it’s a fast-paced, exhilarating read that I found impossible to put down even for a few minutes. Robert Bryndza can transport the reader to the crime scenes with vivid descriptions, that make you realise just how depraved the killer is, although some scenes are stomach churning, they never felt superfluous. Once again Robert Bryndza has confirmed why he is one of my favourite crime thriller authors EVER, Nine Elms is a cracking book and an exciting start to a compelling new series, I’m definitely looking forward to the next book and the one after that….. Highly recommend to all crime thriller lovers.

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And yes in case you hadn’t already guessed I’m giving Nine Elms my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (1 Nov. 2019)

My thanks to the publishers for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

Buying links:

Amazon UK Kindle Edition

UK Hardback Edition

Amazon USA Kindle Edition

USA Paperback Edition

USA Hardback Edition

Kobo Ebook

iBooks Ebook

Google Play Ebook

About the author

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Robert Bryndza, is a crime writer and his books have sold 3 million copies, and they’ve been translated into 28 languages. The author is British and lives in Slovakia. In addition to writing crime fiction, he has also published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels.

His new novel, Nine Elms, the first in the Kate Marshall private detective series has just been published.

The author of the international #1 bestseller THE GIRL IN THE ICE, which is the first in the Detective Erika Foster series, and to date, it has sold over one million copies.

You can find out more about Rober Bryndza at

http://www.robertbryndza.com

and on Twitter and Instagram @RobertBryndza

Sign up to the authors New Release Mailing List here: http://eepurl.com/UITxz

Follow the blog tour………

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Mine by Case Kelleher @CaseyKelleher #Mine #psychologicalthriller #MustReads2020

Today I’m thrilled to share my review for Mine by Casey Kelleher this book is so different to her usual gritty crime thrillers. Read on for my thoughts….

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WHO DO YOU TRUST IN A WORLD BUILT ON LIES… 

Rebecca Dawson lives a life that many women want – married to wealthy, handsome businessman Jamie and new mum to beautiful daughter, Ella, she thinks nothing can burst her bubble. Until a series of sinister events leaves Rebecca convinced that she is being stalked. While her only priority is keeping Ella safe, Rebecca knows that this might be more than coincidence, and fears that her past is back to haunt her. Because somebody knows what she did. They are watching her, tormenting her and soon they are going to make her pay. 

While she hides her past, Rebecca finds herself unable to trust anyone, not even her husband, Jamie. Because Jamie is keeping secrets too. Is Jamie gas-lighting Rebecca into thinking she is going mad, in a bid to cover up his own sordid lies? Or is someone more sinister seeking their revenge?

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I have always been a big fan of Casey Kelleher’s gritty crime thrillers, so I was eager to read her latest offering Mine, unlike her previous books this one is a psychological thriller, and what a fantastic, twisted read it turned out to be! I know there are a vast number of psychological thrivers published every year, so what makes Mine so special? It’s riveting, with a plot steeped in malevolence and trepidation, it’s one of those reads that will make you place everything on hold whilst you read to the end.

Rebecca thinks she found her ‘Prince charming’ who comes in the shape of wealthy Jamie, now happily married she gives birth to her daughter Ella, and here’s where the fairy tale ends and the nightmare begins! Ella is a demanding baby, and for Rebecca motherhood isn’t a stroll in the park, her mental wellbeing is a cause for concern, as her perfect  life begins to crumble under the pressures of motherhood. I love an unreliable narrator and Rebecca  is one such character or is she? At times she appears paranoid and delusional so its almost impossible to take anything she says at face value, I enjoy a book more when it messes with your head, and Casey Kelleher does just that with finesse. Is Rebecca spiralling into a psychosis? Or is her beloved James toying with her? So many questions to keep your head in a spin. 

Sporadic chapters told from an unknown narrator add a growing sense of fear to the story, thick with tension I’m sure my blood pressure went through the roof by the halfway mark! The author manages to convey Rebecca’s frame of mind and emotions with such conviction; I found myself living and breathing her story; I became paranoid, anxious and fearful as Rebecca’s story took on a far more sinister tone. I really thought I had the plot worked out, and was feeling pretty smug with myself, but then OMG the author threw a curveball that I clearly didn’t see coming! Casey Kelleher has proven what an accomplished author she is, whether it be a gritty crime thriller or a psychological thriller, she certainly knows how to capture a reader’s attention. Highly recommended. 

Print Length: 403 pages

Sold by: Amazon Media 

Publication Date: 7th January 2020

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧   Amazon USA 🇺🇸

My thanks to Casey Kelleher for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

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When Stars Will Shine compiled by Emma Mitchell @emmamitchelfpr #BookPromo #WhenStarsWillShine #HelpForHeroes

Today I’m sharing a promo post about When Stars Will Shine, I don’t normally do these kind of posts, but it’s for such a worthwhile cause, as all proceeds go to #HelpForHeroes.

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When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a read with a twist.

With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time.

From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride!

When Stars Will Shine is the perfect gift for the bookworms in your life!

A Note from Emma Mitchell:

Working closely with Kate Noble at Noble owl proof reading  and Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s get booked  I’ve been able to pick the best of the submissions to bring you a thrilling book which is perfect for dipping into at lunchtime or snuggling up with on a cold winter’s night. I have been completely blown away by the support we’ve received from the writing and blogging community, especially the authors who submitted stories and Shell Baker from Baker’s not so secret blog , who has organised the cover reveal and blog tour.

There isn’t a person in the country who hasn’t benefited from the sacrifices our troops, past and present, have made for us and they all deserve our thanks.

It has been an honour working on these stories, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.

Full contents:

Fredrick Snellgrove, Private 23208 by Rob Ashman

Four Seasons by Robert Scragg

The Close Encounter by Gordon Bickerstaff

Believe by Mark Brownless

What Can Possibly Go Wrong? by Lucy Cameron

Mountain Dew by Paul T. Campbell

The Art of War and Peace by John Carson

A Gift for Christmas by Kris Egleton

Free Time by Stewart Giles

Died of Wounds by Malcolm Hollingdrake

The Christmas Killer by Louise Jensen

The Village Hotel by Alex Kane 

A Present of Presence by HR Kemp

The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin

Brothers Forever by Paul Moore

Girl in a Red Shirt by Owen Mullen

Pivotal Moments by Anna Franklin Osborne

Uncle Christmas by Val Portelli

Time for a Barbeque by Carmen Radtke

Christmas Present by Lexi Rees

Inside Out by KA Richardson

Penance by Jane Risdon

New Year’s Resolution by Robert Scragg

Family Time by Graham Smith 

When Stars Will Shine is available to in digital and paperback formats and on Kindle Unlimited.

Buying link: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

**please note I do not use affiliated links on my blog**

For more information, please contact Emma Mitchell: emmamitchellfpr@gmail.com

You can read my full review here…..When Stars Will Shine compiled by Emma Mitchell @emmamitchelfpr @BakerPromo #WhenStarsWillShine #HelpForHeroes

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The Home by Sarah Stovell @sarahlovescrime @OrendaBooks #BookShelfReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my first review of 2020, it’s for The Home by Sarah Stovell, and what a fabulous, heartbreaking read it turned out to be. I’m not sure I have conveyed just how amazing this book is, but you can read on for my thoughts and apologies for my ramblings……

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One more little secret … one more little lie…

When the body of a pregnant fifteen-year-old is discovered in a churchyard on Christmas morning, the community is shocked, but unsurprised. For Hope lived in The Home, the residence of three young girls, whose violent and disturbing pasts have seen them cloistered away…

As a police investigation gets underway, the lives of Hope, Lara and Annie are examined, and the staff who work at the home are interviewed, leading to shocking and distressing revelations … and clear evidence that someone is seeking revenge.

A gritty, dark and devastating psychological thriller, The Home is also an emotive drama and a piercing look at the underbelly of society, where children learn what they live … if they are allowed to live at all.

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I’m not sure I can convey just how much this book affected me, The Home by Sarah Stovell is a book that will swallow you up, and then spit you out, your heart will break, you will live and breathe the tragic and horrifying story of three young girls Hope, Lara and Annie. These characters will burrow their way into your heart and mind leaving you bereft as this haunting tale reaches its final pages. The Home is part mystery, part thriller, and yet it’s so much more, it’s an emotive, deeply moving, and tragic tale of those who live amid abuse and poverty. 

Hope, Laura and Annie first meet in The Home, three damaged girls who find themselves bound together by their shared horrifying and imaginable pasts. The story begins with the shocking death of pregnant fifteen-year-old Hope, but Hope’s death is only the beginning of the story, what lies beneath is the heart-breaking story of three girls failed by a flawed system, failed by budget cuts and staff shortages.  Although this is a fictional story, for me it’s felt like the heartbreaking story of thousands of children who have been placed in care through no fault of their own. They have grown up where love and nurturing have been replaced with violence and abuse, their young life’s shaped by abusive parents, family and friends. 

The authors almost lyrical prose could seem at odds with this harrowing tale, but the two fit perfectly together creating one of the most emotive stories I have ever read. Sarah Stovell has created three living, breathing characters, you feel their every emotion, anger, despair, fear and frustration. A small part of me kept wishing for that ‘happy ever after ending’, but is there such a thing for children who have been so badly damaged? It’s a story that’s brutal, disquieting, and uncomfortable and yet there are tender moments filled with ‘hope’, love and friendships.  

There’s no getting away from it Sarah Stovall has written a multi layered story that left me broken, as I reached the final pages I openly cried for Hope, Annie and Laura, and that’s a testament to the author’s superb writing. The author has bravely tackled some uncomfortable subjects, but in doing so she has created a beautiful, compelling read that will haunt me for a long time to come. If you are looking for a ‘warm fuzzy’ read then this book definitely isn’t one for you, but if you are looking for a book that has depth, with unforgettable characters, a book that will cause you to feel a spectrum of emotions then you should make The Home your next read. Highly recommended.  

It will come as no surprise but I’m giving The Home my first shiny Book hangover award of 2020, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon USA 🇺🇸

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Orenda Books (22 Jan. 2020) kindle copy out now 

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