**My Book Of The Month** January 2017

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Well we’ve reached the end of January 2017 which can only mean one thing, it’s time to choose my Book Of The Month for January 2017.

The Book Of The Month is chosen by myself at the beginning of every month, for the previous month. It goes to the author/book that I found outstanding for that month, and I may have given a higher rating than a 5 star review. I’m also hoping if a do this monthly come December it will make it easier to do a best reads of 2017 post or that’s my plan.

I have read some outstanding books in January, but here is where I fell at the first hurdle as I really couldn’t choose between two books this month, I’m not know for being decisive at the best of times! The two books I have chosen are polar opposites, but both books stood our for me because I still thought about them long after I finished them. Although very different in every way possible, they both had one thing in common they kept me glued to my kindle!

These fantastic books had all the elements I look for when reading books, well developed characters, a strong plot and bucketfuls of suspense, so without further ado the books I have given the Gold Star Award are……….

The Mountain In My Shoe by Louise Beech

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You can read my review here:
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/01/13/the-mountain-in-my-shoe-by-louise-beech-orendabooks-louisewriter-bookreview/

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

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You can read my review here: https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/01/29/blog-tour-behind-her-eyes-by-sarah-pinborough-authorinterview-review-sarahpinborough-wtfthatending/

As I mentioned earlier two very different books but they are two that I would highly recommend to everyone and anyone.

what do you think of my books of the month? Did I choose well? What books would you choose? Please feel free to leave a comment

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult #Review @JodiPicoult @HodderBooks

 

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Book description

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.

What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.

Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.

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I have always been a huge fan of Jodi Picoult but if I’m honest her last couple of books have left me slightly disappointed for different reasons, but I’m glad to say this is definitely one of her best books yet. Jodi Picoult takes her winner formula and devises a plot around a controversial subject and then weaves her intricate plot around it, yes it has the court scenes in it, but for Small Great Things this added to the story, rather than spoiling it.

Ruth Jefferson is an African-American woman, she works as a labour and delivery nurse, where she has earned the respect of both her work colleagues and the parents whose precious bundles she has delivered, that is until Turk Bauer a white supremacist and his wife Brittany come under her care, and all hell breaks loose when Ruth is suspended from her job in an incident , which is clearly related to the colour of Ruth’s Skin. Public assistance lawyer Kennedy comes to Ruth’s aid, and truly believes she sees everyone as equal, but as Kennedy prepares for the trial, she realises that both her and Ruth will be forced to re-examine their past and present, and more importantly their own prejudices.

As this book is 512 pages long the author has plenty of time to develop her characters and the plot. Ruth was an interesting character, as you believe her to be a character who has overcome prejudice. As you learn more about Ruth you realise she actually suppressed parts of herself to be accepted by others, trying to hide from her roots and the colour of her skin. As Ruth looks at past events in her life, the prejudice is there for all to see, although Ruth chose to pretend otherwise, that doesn’t mean to say Ruth doesn’t have her own prejudices, and as the story unfolds you realise that everything isn’t as black and white as it first seems.

Turk Bauer and his wife are unfortunately white supremacists who have such ingrained ideas and hate for those they don’t consider to be of their colour or race. What I found interesting about their characters was the fact they had “learnt” to be racist, bought up by people who forced their own ideology on them, they were convinced they were right in the beliefs and in the actions they took. Unfortunately this made for a credible read, after all children are born without prejudice, and it’s the values and beliefs we install upon our children that they carry with them as they grown into adults.

Although this isn’t the easiest of subjects to write about Jodi Picoult manages to deliver a though provoking, emotive read, she deals with the subject with great empathy. As I mentioned this is a fairly long book, but as the author weaves her magic and draws you into Ruth’s tale it really didn’t feel that long. I was slightly disappointed with the ending if I’m being honest, it left me with a few unanswered questions, I’m not going to say why as in doing so I would have to give away major spoilers, but what I will say is I would have liked to have learnt more about a certain character after the trial.

I’m sure Small Great Things will be a discussion point for many readers, and it did make me question the injustice of racism, and left me feeling sad that how ever much we would like to believe racism doesn’t exist, it’s a fact its just as prevalent in our society today.

4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5

Hardcover: 512 pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (22 Nov. 2016)

Amazon UK  🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

**Blog Tour** For The Love Of Grace by Andy Blackman #GuestPost

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Today I have an intriguing guest post from Andy Blackman author of For The Love Of Grace, which was published on the 27th September, so you don’t even have to wait to buy a copy. I confess I haven’t read For The Love Of Grace as my TBR pile has reached an all time high, but I’ve read the book description and it’s one that’s certainly piqued my interest. I hope you enjoy Andy Blackman’s guest post, and as usual I’ve included buying links further down the post.

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A Guide to the destinations used as a backdrop to the story

I decided to base my book, initial in War torn England and picked the East End of London, as they still had a working docks, so it was central to the plot that although the characters live in the East End there was a way for Tom to escape easily. I had Tom escape to Odessa, I had never been, but have only read about Odessa and it sounded a magical place and I was convinced that although behind the “iron Curtain”, the people must had been ordinary and enjoy, and lived life as they did in any sea port around the world.

It was important to pick a sea port as Tom’s escape was by sea, so logically he would dock at a port. Belize I can say I have some authority on, I was stationed there for 6 months during my Army career, so I know the place well, especially Punta Gora as this was the town closes to our base, and sometimes at weekends we were allowed to visit and drink in the local bars, it was a rundown shanty place, but we lovely it being close to the sea, still hot even at night plus the bars never closed.

Belize City is a vast sprawling city with two airports, the international and the city municipal, I have flow from them both, even taking an island hopper plane down to the Keyes for a weekend from the municipal airport, which was an adventure in its self. The place Tom calls home in Belize, is a place I know, as just down form where the Army landing crafts were moored was a bank of abandoned seaside shanty building all with broken jetties, and I always thought one of these would make a great hide out, placing it near the main road into Belize City was just logical.

America of course is a country that I have visited many time, during my career, especially Washington DC, I once drove from Washington DC to New York, so I knew the journey, so having Tom drive the same route was easy, of course the hotels and the men’s club are fiction, but I am sure that New York has such places. As for Hampshire it was a county I lived in for many years and know it well, but of course the Duke of Hampshire is fiction but I am sure that Hampshire in the bygone days could have had a Duke, and of course there is a Marquees of Winchester and a Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, but I wanted Grenville to be much more grand and come from true blue blood background, and of course Hampton hall is based on your own idea version of a stately house, we can all imagine what Hampton hall is like.

About Andy Blackman

After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren.

Book Description

Grace Backer had a life full of tragedy. But despite everything, she raised her son, Tom, with her secret intact. Tom is a prodigal child, destined to escape the slums of the East End of London for a better life; circumstances will make him flee his loving mother and their home much sooner than expected. Tom starts a new life in Odessa, Russia, and with the help of new-found friends starts a business. At last, he is finally accepted into a new and loving family, but one which holds its own dark secrets.

A chance meeting with the son of a duke of the realm leads to close friendship and a new business partnership. When Tom decides to move his company to London and have his regal new friend run it, the firm thrives. However, not everything is as it seems, and Tom?s business soon conceals dangerous secrets of its own. Years later, when Tom finally decides to return to London, he is a wanted man, one hunted by the intelligence agencies. If he is finally to be reunited with his beloved mother and his best friend, he must fight to put the past behind him. But keeping secrets is never easy

Amazon UK     Barnesandnoble

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**Holiday Reads September 2016**

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Hello the book review café is back, did you miss me? Probably not!! Well here I am anyway and I thought I would share my holiday reads with you all. I’m glad to say I had the most relaxing holiday ever in Portugal, and I managed to read TEN whole books, yes you read that right! It’s the most I’ve ever read in such a short time, and my god I read some real corkers. I’m super excited that I have made a dent in my Netgalley reads (six of the books were Netgalley reads), and now I just need to try and stay away from requesting any books until I’ve posted my reviews, and my shelf will be reasonable (watch this space, note I said TRY😂🙈). Just in case you are wondering what I read I’ve included a list. As a blogger I like to write my review straight away, so I’m feeling slightly sick at the thought of having to write ten reviews, and trying to remember everything I want to include in my review. So don’t expect them any time soon 😀😀……so here are the books I read

Ward Zero by Linda Huber

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Anything For Her by Jack Jordan

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Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst

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Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow

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Untouchable by Sybil Hodge

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The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe

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Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

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Hide And Seek by M J Arlidge

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No Way Back by M J Arlidge

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The Forgotten Woman by Angela Marsons #Review

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Book Description

Two ordinary women. Two damaged lives. One friendship that would save them both

Kit Mason has lived a life of unimaginable pain. An ex-prostitute, she has fled the clutches of an abusive pimp and now finds herself living hand to mouth in a new city, without anyone to help her.

Frances Thornton seems to be living the perfect life. A lawyer from a privileged background, her perfect façade hides the painful secrets that still haunt her.

Brought together by their attempts to conquer their addictions in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, the two women strike up an unlikely friendship.

But can they find strength in each other – or will the demons of their past catch up with them?

A compelling, moving and ultimately uplifting novel about overcoming the very worst life can throw at you and starting over. The perfect read for fans of Jodi Picoult and Amanda Prowse.

Previously published as My Name Is

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I’m a huge fan of Angela Marsons crime thrillers so imagine my delight when I found out Bookouture had re-released Angela’s earlier books. If I’m being totally honest I wasn’t sure The Forgotten Woman would be my cup of tea, considering I’m a huge crime thriller fan at heart. Forgotten Women is the complete opposite of her crime thrillers, “chalk and cheese” spring to mind when I compare this book to the authors crime thrillers. The Forgotten Women introduce the reader to two very different women, Kit an ex-prostitute who grew up in poverty, and Fran a lawyer from a privileged background, despite their very different backgrounds they have one thing in common they are both alcoholics determined to beat their addiction. As an unlikely friendship begins both women gain strength from each other, they both realise to have a future they must first deal with their pasts.

The Forgotten Women is most definitely a character driven story, it explores how a shared condition and fighting a battle can unite people, despite them coming from very different backgrounds. Both characters were very well developed and their plight as addicts was very credible. Angela Marsons has created two very different but believable characters, and as their friendship grew I found myself becoming very attached to them. As they begin to share their troubled past with each other, you can not help feeling empathy for the two women who had never been shown love, at times the pain and guilt that Fran and Kit felt were tangible. I also found myself experiencing many emotions as the author explores the issues that drove the two women to seek solace in alcohol. Both characters were complex and had very realistic flaws, their battle was alcoholism was very believable, but the author dealt with this issue in a sensitive manner.

This book really is very different from any of the authors crime thrillers, it’s one of those books that explores real life issues at a gentle pace, whilst untangling the threads of Fran and Kits life’s and delivering an emotional tale. I’m glad to say Angela Marsons didn’t tie up The Forgotten Women in a “happy ever after” which I half expected, I think the way she ended the book was far more fitting to the story. I found The Forgotten Women to be a moving and yet an uplifting read, and despite my preference for a good crime thriller I exactly enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. If you are expecting a thrill a minute novel then this book definitely isn’t for you, but if you are looking for a compelling and emotive tale, with complex characters then I would highly recommend you get yourself a copy of this book.

My thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for an honest review

4⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5

Print Length: 286 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (4 Oct. 2013)

Amazon UK

Nina Is Not Ok by Shappi Khorsandi #Review

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Book description

Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?

Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all.

And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before , then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend.

But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book apart from what I had read in the book description, but this has to be one of the most brutal and harrowing story’s I have ever read. Nina is seventeen and loves a drink, well what seventeen year old doesn’t? You may ask, but Nina takes drinking to the extreme, Nina is in fact an alcoholic and in denial. We first meet Nina when she’s thrown out of a nightclub after committing a sexual act. She is so drunk, she doesn’t have a clue what really happened that night. However, it’s a night that will come back to haunt her in the most awful way. Nina is a girl hell bent on self-destruction and soon her drinking is out of control, having sex with strangers, sometimes more than one! falling out with friends and family, and drinking herself into oblivion. When Nina does the unthinkable, her mother at her wits end forces her to go to rehab.

You can’t help becoming emotionally involved in Nina’s story as her life spirals out of control, as does the drinking, at times she wasn’t the most likeable character, she appeared needy and desperate for affection, although in her defence you can see why she’s this way as the story unfolds, but she also had a vulnerable side which was heartbreaking to read about, as she made one bad choice after another, putting herself in some very dangerous situations. Nina’s character was frighteningly realistic as was her relationship with her mother, I felt I was living every mothers worse nightmare,and the relationship with her little sister Katie was heartwarming to say the least, and added warmth to a dark tale. fraught with tension and emotion throughout, I found myself completely immersed in Nina’s story. This could have been a dark and very depressing read, but the author adds just the right amount of humour through Nina’s dialogue with friends and family to counteract this.

As Nina begins her recovery and explores the issues surrounding her drinking, you can’t help hoping she will be able to find the strength to live a life without alcohol, I found this part of the book very emotional to read as Nina comes to terms with the terrible and heartbreaking things she’s  done whilst under the influence. Nina Is Not Ok is the definition of character driven, I can’t remember the last book where I became so emotionally involved with the characters or the plot, so much so I actually cried reading a few scenes.

Brutally honest and hard hitting Shappi Khorsandi deals realistically with the many issues facing teenagers today. Yes it’s an uncomfortable read at times due to the subject matter, and the author is very forthright in her writing, but in my opinion this made for a very powerful and realistic read. This book may not be to everyone’s taste due to the subject and sexual content, but in the authors defence this adds credibility to a shocking story. I would highly recommend you get yourself a copy of this book, whether your a teenager, a parent in fact I would go as far to say everyone should read this book, It’s the most tragic yet unexpectedly uplifting novel I’ve read all year.

5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Out of 5

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (28 July 2016)

**Guest Post** Marie Campbell Author Of Baby

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Today I am featuring a Guest Post from Marie Campbell, Marie’s book Baby is published on the 13th July 2016, and its described as “a gripping psychological thriller”. I have read the book description and I will certainly be adding this one to my TBR pile. I hope you enjoy Marie Campbell’s guest post, book description and links to buy are included further down the page.

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How Baby was born

Not many people knew that I wanted to write a book. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long – I guess life just always got in the way, and I thought there was always time later. Over the years, I’ve written short stories, kept diaries and scribbled in journals, but writing a book was my dream. I just didn’t know whether I could.

Five years ago, after having a baby, taking a career break from the Civil Service and moving house, I decided that it was now or never, and embarked on a series of online writing courses. The first couple focussed on short stories, and I plucked up the courage to enter some of my work into competitions. Finding success in a few of these really spurred me on, and as part of a novel-writing course, I started work on what was to become Baby. By the end of the course, and with the encouragement of my wonderful tutor and fellow students, I had a short, rough first draft of a book.

Much research and rewriting followed. I am fortunate to have friends who work in the medical profession, who were happy to answer my questions on sedation and transporting an unconscious body (!), and Google was my constant companion. My search history certainly made for interesting reading and featured everything from the best type of locks and chains to bus route maps!

When I had a draft I was happy with, I set about finding an agent. This was no easy task, but armed with a copy of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, I worked my way through the lists. Some wanted an email, some wanted a letter. Some wanted a 100-word synopsis; others 300 words. Three chapters or fifty pages – I gave them what they asked for and waited for a reply. And some of them did respond. But it took six long months before I secured someone who liked my book and wanted to represent me. And then we began the process of tweaking, deleting and adding new chapters. Honing the book until it was as good as it could be.

After the first round of submissions to publishers was unsuccessful (but with some tantalisingly close calls and positive feedback) Baby was tweaked again, and submitted again. Finally, early in 2016, many months after I’d thought my book was ‘finished’, The Conrad Press, a publishing house based in Canterbury, offered to publish Baby.
The process of writing a book is an amazing one – putting words on a page and seeing characters come to life. It is, for me, a very private process, but I’ve learnt that this changes as publication approaches. I’ve realised the power of social media, and the amazing blogging community, as well as supportive Facebook groups and other authors. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a brilliant cover designer, and have taught myself how to create a (very basic) website. I’ve set up a newsletter that people have actually signed up for and read.

I get a huge buzz from seeing my book available on Amazon, and an even bigger one when I see that people have left reviews. The support I’ve had has been overwhelming – not only from family and friends, but from bloggers, Twitter followers and people who I’ve not been in contact with for years, who’ve got in touch with their good wishes.
The journey from the first chapter to publication has been a long, hard and exciting one. Having a book out there in the world is both scary and utterly exciting. I’m now working on my second book, and fit in writing whenever I can around my family and working as a freelance proofreader.

I’d like to thank Lorraine for having me here on her brilliant blog.

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Book Description

When Michael Stanton goes to work one day and doesn’t come back, everyone – friends, family, police – thinks his pregnant girlfriend Jill should accept he’s left her. After all, he’s done it before.
But Jill just won’t believe that Michael would walk away from her and their unborn child. Increasingly desperate and alone, she’s determined to find him.
Just where is Michael?
What Jill doesn’t know is that his beautiful ex, Anna, wants him back, and won’t take no for an answer. And it isn’t just him she wants…
In a blurred maze of captivity, sexual tension and dark desire, Michael battles with his feelings. Does he really want his normal life, or could there be a future with the woman who terrifies, controls and fascinates him?
Baby is a compelling, sexy, disturbing and unforgettable thriller.

Amazon UK

About Marie Campbell in her words

I was born in Hetton-le-Hole, in the north-east of England, in 1972. Growing up, I spent many hours reading and writing stories and can still recall the pride when, aged eight, my story was chosen by the primary school teacher to be backed in cardboard and put on display.
Fast-forward several years, via an abandoned teaching degree, many years as a civil servant and a new baby; driven by a lifelong passion for words, I embarked on an online writing course. I wrote many, many short stories, and then I decided to write a book.
Over the years, I’ve written everything from reports to magazine articles, blogs to short stories. I write mostly at the kitchen table, picking up a pen, thinking, ‘What if…’ and seeing where the story takes me. 
When I’m not writing or looking after my son, I run a freelance proofreading business Marie Campbell – Proofreading. I also love to read and do so wherever and whenever I can.

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