Tag Archives: Gold Star Award

Book of the month **August and September 2018** chosen by the book review café

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WOW I can’t believe I’m sat here choosing my book of the month for September, where’s the year gone? I didn’t read as many books as I would have liked in September, but there was ONE book that stood out for me, yes you read that right. Anyone who follows my blog will know I always struggle to choose one book for the book of the month and have been known to have two or even three books included.

As I was on holiday at the beginning of September I never got around to posting my book of the month for August, so I’m including these in my post, and normal service resumes and there were two books I loved for my August book of the month 😂🙈. So without further ……

Book of the month **August**

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Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell

There are so many police procedure crime thrillers on the market, so for me personally to commit  to a new crime series it’s got to grab me by the throat,  with an interesting protagonist, gripping story line and plenty of heart thumping moments that leave me desperate to read more and guess what? Truth And Lies ticks every box and more.  You can read my full review here……#TruthAndLies by Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_Writes #MustReads #NewCrimeSeries

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Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan

Oh, what a tangled web Jack Jordan weaves when first he practice to deceive” and boy does he deceive in the best possible way, what a gripping and compelling read Before Her Eyes turned out to be,  this book rattles along like a express train, giving the reader no time to breathe. Full of misdirection and unreliable characters I can honestly say “this is definitely the authors best book yet”. Perhaps a **word of warning** from the wise (cough!) clear your schedule, lock the doors, it’s one of those books that the slightest irritation will bug the life out of you. Full review here …….**Blog tour** #BeforeHerEyes by Jack Jordan @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks #Must Reads2018

Book Of The month **September**

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The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood

OMG what a book The Hangman’s Hold turned out to be, this is one of my all time favourite crime procedure series, so I knew I was in for a thrilling read but Michael Wood has taken this brilliant series to a whole new level. It’s a shocker, brutal, dark and fabulously twisted in the best possible way. It’s not often when I finish a book I’m lost for words but I must admit I had to pick my jaw up off the floor and then re-read the last few chapters just to process what I was reading.  Michael Wood is a gifted story teller and deserves high praise indeed as this is definitely the best book in the series so far.  Although this book could easily be read as a standalone I would urge you to start at the beginning just because you are missing out on a “must read” series. Full review here….**Blog tour** The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood @MichaelHWood @KillerReads @HarperCollinsUK #CrimeFiction  

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**Blog Tour** #SuspendedRetribution by Rob Ashman @RobAshmanAuthor @Bloodhoundbook

**Blog Blitz** #TheForgotten by Casey Kelleher @CaseyKelleher @Bookouture

**Blog tour** #DoNoHarm by L V Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @OrendaBooks @annecater

**Blog tour** The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood @MichaelHWood @KillerReads @HarperCollinsUK #CrimeFiction

 

After a much needed extended break the book review cafe is back. My first review is for a crime series that just happens to be one of my favourites, so I’m over the moon to be taking part in the blog tour for The Hangman’s Hold by Michael Wood. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018 as I’m a huge fan of the Matilda Darke series, did it live up to my expectations? Read on for my thoughts…..

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Your life is in his hands.

In the gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields.

There’s a killer in your house.

The Hangman waits in the darkness of your living room. As soon as you get home, he will kill you – hang you by the neck – and make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget.

He knows your darkest secrets.

The police are running out of time. DCI Matilda Darke is facing her worst nightmare: a serial killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice, whose campaign of violence is spreading fear throughout the city.

And he is closer than you think.

As the body count rises, Matilda is personally targeted and even her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?

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OMG what a book The Hangman’s Hold turned out to be, this is one of my all time favourite crime procedure series, so I knew I was in for a thrilling read but Michael Wood has taken this brilliant series to a whole new level. It’s a shocker, brutal, dark and fabulously twisted in the best possible way. It’s not often when I finish a book I’m lost for words but I must admit I had to pick my jaw up off the floor and then re-read the last few chapters just to process what I was reading.  Michael Wood is a gifted story teller and deserves high praise indeed as this is definitely the best book in the series so far.  Although this book could easily be read as a standalone I would urge you to start at the beginning just because you are missing out on a “must read” series. 

Matilda Darke is one of my favourite fictional Detectives the author has incorporated traits into her character that make her relatable to readers, as a Detective she’s confident, resourceful and determined but you also have a woman who is still grieving for her husband alongside the guilt she feels about a crime she was unable to solve, which makes her character vulnerable but at the same time far more likeable. Just as you think the author is going to bring some happiness into Matilda’s life things go down hill rapidly.  Matilda is targeted by the serial killer and things take a creepy and sinister turn, one that will make her question the loyalty of her own team.

A vigilante turned serial killer isn’t an original plot but Michael Wood puts his own unique spin on the subject and has written a story that’s gripping, fast paced with some real shockers hidden within the pages.  Now normally this type of serial killer would make me question the rights and wrongs of what they were doing, but not this one, he seems to relish what he’s doing (no spoiler here as the sex of the killer is in the book description), and there’s definitely more behind his motives but to what my lips are tightly sealed.  There are few scenes that some may find upsetting but they are paramount to the plot and aren’t to explicit. 

The Hangman’s Hold is rife with tension, the author throws in plenty of red herrings to misdirect the reader and thus maintaining the suspense to the heart stopping conclusion. I definitely can’t wait for the next book in the series after Michael Wood left a clue to the subject of the next book. In my humble opinion The Hangman’s Hold is a dark and engrossing tale that any crime thriller will enjoy. Highly recommended. 

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  The Hangman’s Hold the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. 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 reached the very last page.

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Paperback: 450 pages

Publisher: Killer Reads (20 Sept. 2018)

Links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US🇺🇸

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Michael Wood is a proofreader and former journalist from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He is the author of the DCI Matilda Darke series set in Sheffield.

For Reasons Unknown was Michael Wood’s debut novel, which was published in 2015. Harper Collins published the second instalment, Outside Looking In 2016 and A Room Full Of Killers in 2017 

Other books in the series

 

Link to buy further books in the series Matilda Darke series

Follow the rest of the blog tour…..

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#TruthAndLies by Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_Writes #MustReads #NewCrimeSeries

 

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Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell. It’s the first book in the DI Amy Winter crime thriller series and what a gripping read it turned out to be. Read on for my thoughts, but first the book description….

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Meet Amy Winter: Detective Inspector, daughter of a serial killer.

Meet Amy Winter: Detective Inspector, daughter of a serial killer.

DI Amy Winter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her highly respected police officer father. But when a letter arrives from the prison cell of Lillian Grimes, one half of a notorious husband-and-wife serial-killer team, it contains a revelation that will tear her life apart.

Responsible for a string of heinous killings decades ago, Lillian is pure evil. A psychopathic murderer. And Amy’s biological mother. Now, she is ready to reveal the location of three of her victims—but only if Amy plays along with her twisted game.

While her fellow detectives frantically search for a young girl taken from her mother’s doorstep, Amy must confront her own dark past. Haunted by blurred memories of a sister who sacrificed herself to save her, Amy faces a race against time to uncover the missing bodies.

But what if, from behind bars, Grimes has been pulling the strings even tighter than Amy thought? And can she overcome her demons to prevent another murder?

6964FDB0-E0FD-4BD0-AC03-BC0E4DF97731Every  time I see Caroline Mitchell is publishing a new book I get really excited, but when she brings out a new book that’s also the first book in a new crime series well let’s just say my excitement reaches fever pitch. Truth And Lies is the first book in the DI Amy Winter series and what a cracking start to the series it turned out to be.  There are so many police procedure crime thrillers on the market, so for me personally to commit  to a new crime series it’s got to grab me by the throat,  with an interesting protagonist, gripping story line and plenty of heart thumping moments that leave me desperate to read more and guess what? Truth And Lies ticks every box and more.  

A police officer who happens to be the daughter of a pair of notorious serial killers was sheer genius on the author’s part, not so good for Amy I must admit, especially when her mother Lillian Grimes contacts her promising to reveal the location of three of her victims, but what will she want from Amy in exchange for the truth? and what twisted game is Lillian playing? and where does a young girl going missing fit it? There were so many questions I was desperate to find the answers to.  

I have to mention what a fabulous character Lillian turned out to be, I do love a well depicted serial killer, she’s  creepy, a master of manipulation, and cold hearted to say the least! and yet I couldn’t help but be intrigued by her character, on many occasions I felt a chill settle on me as her calculated games grew more sinister. As for Amy the author has created an exciting and complex protagonist, yes she has her problems like many fictional detectives, but how many have serial killers as parents? As you learn more about Amy’s horrifying childhood you can’t help but become involved in her story,  and it’s a chilling one to say the least.  Another fascinating character was Paddy,  Amy’s work colleague and right hand man, his story? well let’s just say “there were a few surprises there”, and certainly added a mysterious element to the overall plot.   

On many occasions whilst reading about the crimes Amy’s biological parents committed  I couldn’t help but think of notorious serial killers Fred and Rose West, which made this book more horrifying. Caroline Mitchell never fails to amaze me, I love her style of writing and her characters, add to the mixture a gripping plot, and a couple of real “OMFG” moments (very devious, but loved them) Truth And Lies has “bestseller” written all over it. I’m already excited for the next book especially as the author leaves the reader with a humdinger of a teaser.  Would I recommend this book? you bet I would. If you consider yourself to be a  crime thriller lover this is one not to be missed.  

I’m giving Truth And Lies the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. 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 US 🇺🇸

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (30 Aug. 2018)

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To celebrate Caroline Mitchell’s Truth And Lies being her 10th book to be published she is running a FB party on Saturday 1st September if you pop by you can interact with the author and win some fab goodies link below……..

Caroline Mitchell FB Party 🎉🎈📚

 

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**Blog tour** #BeforeHerEyes by Jack Jordan @JackJordanBooks @CorvusBooks #Must Reads2018

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I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for one of my most anticipated reads of the year Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan. If you enjoy a psychological thriller with lots of twists and a gripping story line look no further, read on for me review, but firstly the book description……

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She can’t see the killer

But the killer can see her…

Naomi Hannah has been blind since birth. Struggling with living in a small, claustrophobic town, Naomi contemplates ending her life. But then she stumbles across the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. She senses someone else there at the scene – watching her. 

Naomi may not be able to see the killer’s face, but she is still the only person who can identify him.

As the police begin hunting the person responsible and more victims are discovered, Naomi is forced to answer the question on which her fate hangs: why did the killer let her live?

In a town this small, the murderer must be close, perhaps even before her very eyes…

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“Oh, what a tangled web Jack Jordan weaves when first he practice to deceive” and boy does he deceive in the best possible way, what a gripping and compelling read Before Her Eyes turned out to be,  this book rattles along like a express train, giving the reader no time to breathe. Full of misdirection and unreliable characters I can honestly say “this is definitely the authors best book yet”. Perhaps a **word of warning** from the wise (cough!) clear your schedule, lock the doors, it’s one of those books that the slightest irritation will bug the life out of you. 

What I loved about this book was it felt far more menacing than most psychological thrillers I read, partly because the protagonist Naomi is blind, this adds a creepy vibe to the whole plot as you realise the killer is hiding in “plain sight”  I felt the hairs on the back on my neck stand on end as things became far more sinister. When Naomi stumbles across a body, and knows there is someone there in the shadows watching her, her sense of fear and anxiety were palatable,  countless times I found myself holding my breath on her behalf. This turned out to be a nerve wrecking book, as the author puts Naomi in jeopardy on more than one occasion.  Before Her Eyes is fraught with tension and feels very claustrophobic thanks to the “small town, living in everyone’s pockets” setting and Naomi’s condition.  

Detective Markus Campbell is at the centre of the police investigation and he’s certainly got his work cut out with a cold case and more victims being discovered, but he’s determined to get to the truth and protect Naomi. Jack Jordan deviously keeps  the attention of the reader deliberately focused on the numerous red herrings and false motives in order to conceal the identity of the murderer, and my god he does it with confidence and flair. The author teases the reader by throwing numerous “suspects” into the ring, just when I thought I had it all worked out it and had the culprit  firmly in sight, he deviously twisted the knife (excuse the poor pun) and made me question everything I had read.  

As reviews go I’m keeping this one vague as I would hate to spoil the read for others, but I do hope this review will pique your interest enough to pick this book up. With an original premise Before Her Eyes made for a terrifying and atmospheric thriller, I literally read this book in one hugely satisfying sitting. As psychological thrillers go this is probably one of the best books I’ve read this year, I really enjoyed the element of surprise that I can find sometimes lacking in this genre.  Highly recommended.

 This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving Before Her Eyes the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. 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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  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Corvus (16 Aug. 2018)

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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Jack Jordan is the global number one bestselling author of Anything for Her (2015), My Girl (2016), A Woman Scorned (2018), and Before Her Eyes (2018). 

To find out more about Jack, enter numerous annual giveaways to win signed copies of his books, and be one of the first to hear of new book releases and news, follow him here:

Facebook: JackJordanOfficial

Twitter: @JackJordanBooks

Instagram: @JackJordan_Author

Goodreads: JackJordanOfficial

If my review hasn’t convinced you to buy this  book, you may want to check out my fellow book bloggers  reviews…..

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The book review cafe book of the month **July 2018**

WOW what a scorcher July turned out to be, it’s very strange but I’ve been struggling to read in this hot weather, I only managed to read one book last week, and I feel I can no longer call myself a book blogger😢. Hopefully things will improve this month.

As it’s the first of August it’s time to choose my book books of the month I really should rename this feature. I read so many fabulous books in July it’s impossible to choose just ONE book yet again so I’m sharing my TWO books of the month, good job “it’s my blog my rules” 😂 so without further ado here are the books I found to be outstanding reads last month in no particular order………

 

In The Dark by Cara Hunter

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Definitely one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read this year, with a compelling narrative, twists galore and oodles of deceit, I have a feeling In The Dark is going to be a HUGE success and one of this summers MUST reads. Highly recommended. You can read my full review here….. In The Dark by Cara Hunter #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

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Sometimes as a reader a book comes along that blows me away, it doesn’t happen very often I must say. There are books I love and books I will treasure forever and The Lion Tamer Who Lost by the superbly talented Louise Beech falls into the latter.  As far as I’m concerned Louise Beech is the “queen” of story telling, this novel was such a compelling and emotive read, and so beautifully written I’m not convinced anything I write will convey how truly wonderful this book was. Full review here…..The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech #SummerMustReads @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks

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You can read my reviews for my highly recommended reads here…

Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager #BookReview @penguinrandom @riley_sager #SummerReads

**Blog blitz** #BeforeIMetHim by John Nicholl @Nicholl06 @Bloodhoundbook

**Blog tour** #NowYouSeeHer by Heidi Perks @HeidiPerksBooks @arrowpublishing #SummerReads

Her Name Was Rose By Claire Allan #SummerReads @AvonBooksUK

**Blog blitz** Portraits Of The Dead by John Nicholl @nicholl06 @BloodhoundBook

Into The Darkness by Sibel Hodge @sibelhodge #BookReview

Books I’m hoping to read this month

I’m being optimistic here and hoping to read more books this month, well I can live in hope 😂🙈

 

 

 

 

In The Dark by Cara Hunter #MustReads @CaraHunterBooks @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks

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Today I’m sharing my review for In The Dark by Cara Hunter and what a gripping crime thriller it turned out to be, read on for my thoughts, but first the book description

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY’RE HIDING IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR?

From the author of the massive bestseller CLOSE TO HOME, comes the second pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive.

No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

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Last year I read Close To Home the debut novel from Cara Hunter which I thought was a pretty amazing crime thriller.  In The Dark the second book in the DI Fawley series has made this an unmissable series. Yes it can easily be read as a standalone but because this is shaping up to be a such a gripping series it’s definitely worth starting at the beginning.  In The Dark opens with a belter of chapter, A young woman and a child are found locked in a cellar, William Harper the owner is an elderly man who  appears to be confused, and is unable to remember how they got there. Neither of the victims can speak due to trauma they suffered. Which means DI Fawley and his team start an investigation where they find themselves literally working “In The Dark” who is the woman?  how did she end up in the cellar of a quiet Oxford street? These are just some of the questions that are at the forefront of this gripping and compelling crime procedure thriller. 

Cara Hunter has a gift for writing crime books centred around police procedures, she not only tells a story in the conventional way, but adds police interviews, forensic reports, social media post and newspaper articles to make the reader feel they are right there amid the investigation sifting through the clues. This way of sharing the information gives the plot a present day feel but it also makes the whole investigation feel very credible. It’s very cleverly done in my opinion as it adds a sense of urgency to the plot, the need for answers to the why and how,  keep the reader fixated.

Creating a character whose confused to say the least, who also happens to be the main suspect was sheer genius on the author’s part. Although there is some character development of Fawley and his team, the investigation is definitely at the forefront of this book, so no time is wasted on unnecessary chapter filling, which made this book even more enjoyable to read. There is nothing more satisfying than being surprised by a book, and boy did Cara Hunter surprise me! At one point I thought the author was rehashing a well used plot in crime thrillers but when I least expected it she threw in the mother of all curve balls, it truly was a “OMFG I never seen that coming” type of moment.  Definitely one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read this year, with a compelling narrative, twists galore and oodles of deceit, I have a feeling In The Dark is going to be a HUGE success and one of this summers MUST reads. Highly recommended.

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving  the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. 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 reached the very last page.

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  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (12 July 2018)

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧           Amazon US 🇺🇸

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The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech #SummerMustReads @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks

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I’m thrilled to be sharing my review of The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. I’m not normally one of those readers who takes much notice of the cover of a book, but I love this cover. Read on for my thoughts about this fabulous book, but first the book description……

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Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? 

What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story … with a tragic heart. 

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Sometimes as a reader a book comes along that blows me away, it doesn’t happen very often I must say. There are books I love and books I will treasure forever and The Lion Tamer Who Lost by the superbly talented Louise Beech falls into the latter.  As far as I’m concerned Louise Beech is the “queen” of story telling, this novel was such a compelling and emotive read, and so beautifully written I’m not convinced anything I write will convey how truly wonderful this book was. When Andrew and Ben meet by chance little do they realise their meeting will irrevocably change their destinies forever.

Louise Beech has written one of the most powerful love stories I have read in a very long time, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a story of love, secrets and coincidences, but at the same time it’s also an emotive and beautifully told love story, that will break the most hardened heart into a million pieces. I’m not going to waste words on regurgitating the plot, read the book description if you want, but this is a novel that no book description can do justice to the captivating and bittersweet story that lies within its pages. 

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a story that is superbly told, interspersed with extracts from Andrew’s book, and chapters set in the UK and on a Zimbabwe lion reserve. The author writes in such a descriptive way I could feel the heat, the smells, and the sounds of the Lion reserve, bringing scenes I could only dream about to life. For me personally it was the characters that made this such a fabulous read I’m sure Andrew and Ben will be in my thoughts for a long time to come, never have characters had such a profound effect on me, I laughed, I cried and then cried some more. Even Ben’s dad grew on me as the novel progressed despite his bigotry comments and his constant womanising. 

This is a modern day tale that tackles subjects that  many may consider to be taboo, but the author has an incredible way of writing, one that includes sensitivity and beautiful poetic prose that even the most narrow minded readers will find it difficult not to fall in love with this book and it’s characters. The Lion Tamer Who Lost made for an intense, all consuming read, and one I simply adored. 

This is going to come as no surprise but I’m giving The Lion Tamer Who Lost the very prestigious Gold Star Award Rating. 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 reached the very last page.

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  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (15 July 2018)

Pre-Buying Links :   Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

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