Tag Archives: Contemporary

Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill #BookReview @melissahillbks @HQstories

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Book description

A mother always knows best. Doesn’t she?
What if your choice for your child could harm someone else’s?

Every mother faces impossible choices. Vaccination is one of the hardest. For single mum Kate O’Hara, there was no decision to make. Her daughter Rosie is one of a small percentage of Irish children who can’t be vaccinated against measles. All Kate can do is hope that her little girl is safe.

For mummy blogger Madeleine Cooper, it was a leap of faith she wasn’t prepared to take when she and her husband declined controversial measles jabs for their daughter Clara. All she can do is pray that it’s the right decision.
But when classmates Clara and Rosie both become sick will Kate pay for Madeleine’s choice?

A stunning and addictive new book club read from beloved bestselling Irish author Melissa Hill that explores every mother’s worst fear

My review

I decided to read Keep You Safe as I was intrigued by the book description it’s the first book I’ve read by Melissa Hill and what a book it turned out to be, it’s a thought provoking read, and it’s one that will certainly cause heated debate amongst its readers. My own son was vaccinated and there was no doubt in my mind at the time I was doing the right thing, back in the early 1990’s it wasn’t something you questioned, with the lack of internet you took everything medical experts told you as gospel. Keep You Safe certainly gave me food for thought. Although I was expecting a controversial read from the book description I wasn’t expecting to find Keep You Safe to be such an emotive and compelling read.

Keep You Safe is the story of two mum’s, Kate and Madeline, who like any parent want to keep their children safe and do the best for them. Both of mum’s decide not to vaccinate their daughters for very different reasons, and when they both contract measles one women’s decision becomes the basis for a legal battle. The story is told alternating from the point of view of each Mother, from the off I found Madeline to be a character I disliked, not because of the choices she made, but because she’s not a particularly endearing character, but that said her character fitted the storyline perfectly. As for Madeline I couldn’t help but have a great deal of empathy for her plight, in fact I became so involved in her heart breaking story I became very emotional (tears were shed). I always think if an author has managed to evoke strong emotions in me they’ve done a remarkable job.

Melissa Hill has written a well crafted book full of emotion it offers a compassionate look at both sides of a controversial topic. The author’s writing and structure of the novel reminded me very much of author Jodi Picoults books, with a moral dilemma and court room scenes, so although not highly original the author has still managed to make Keep You Safe a throughly captivating read.

Every character in this novel seems to have an opinion on the Pro and Anti Vaccination debate, Should vaccinations be mandatory or should it be down to personal choice? Are parents who don’t let their children have vaccines irresponsible? this book raises so many questions, it’s a minefield that’s for sure. Melissa Hill has obviously researched the subject in great depth, and manages to present both sides of the argument in an unbiased tale. Keep you safe is full of emotion and engrossing, it’s heart warming and heartbreaking in equal measures, it’s a story that will pull on the most hardened heartstrings and it’s definitely a book I would recommend.

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQ (21 Sept. 2017)

The Art Of Hiding by Amanda Prowse #Bookreview @MrsAmandaProwse

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Book description

Nina McCarrick has it all: a loving husband, two beautiful boys, a well-appointed home and more time than she knows what to do with. Life is perfect. Until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

Bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this stirring and empowering tale of one woman’s loss and love.

Anyone who follows my blog will know The Art Of Hiding is an unusual book for me to review, but only because it’s not a crime or psychological thriller. I’ve decided every now and then I’m going to mix it up a bit and read a book out side of my comfort zone. The reasons I picked The Art Of Hiding will probably shock a lot of my fellow book bloggers, but I must admit I have NEVER read a book by Amanda Prowse (shock, horror!) but I’ve heard such fabulous things about this author, I’ve decided to rectify this and also add another new author to my blog, after all my New Years resolution was to read more #NewAuthors. Would I pick up another book by Amanda Prowse? Now that would be telling!

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Oh WOW I can see why author Amanda Prowse has a legion of fans, what a gifted story teller she is. I was expecting a compelling read, but no way was I expecting such an emotive and powerful one, the author certainly knows how to write a story that will pull on the most hardened heartstrings. It’s going to sound cliched but I really didn’t want to put this book down as I was so caught up In Nina’s story.

Nina appears to have it all, the dream home, holidays in exotic places, her children go to private school and the most difficult decision she has to make is what to have for tea. Life often deals a cruel hand and when her husband Finn is killed in a car crash, Nina is left with a mountain of debt and life changes for her in the most dramatic way. The Art Of Hiding follows Nina on her journey of self discovery and what a powerful and very “human” story it is.

Beautifully written with characters that are so incredibly real, dealing with “real” life situations The Art Of Hiding made for a compelling read. I must applaud Amanda Prowse on her ability to create such wonderful and believable characters, Nina for instance is a character with immense depth and strength and I found myself drawn to her, as she struggles to make a new life for herself and her two son’s I felt so many emotions that truly added to my enjoyment of this novel.

Amanda Prowse tells a remarkable tale but also a thought provoking one with a valuable lesson, society today is very much focussed on possessions, who has the biggest television? the newest phone? The Art Of Hiding very much shows there are far more important things to value in life, family, friends, a roof over our heads, everyone would be a lot happier being content with what they’ve got instead of striving to have the very best.

The Art Of Hiding is a story of grief, relationships and redemption and so much more. I would certainly recommend this book, and I’m thrilled to have found a new author’s books to read, and even better I have a big back catalogue of books to read by Amanda Prowse, some of which I ordered as soon as I finished The Art Of Hiding.

Buying links: Amazon UK 🇬🇧

Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 290 pages

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (18 July 2017)

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**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