Tag Archives: Must reads 2018

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

 

Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers on the Blog Blitz for The Forgotten by Casey Kelleher. If you love a gritty crime series then I might just have found your next book. Read on for my thoughts but first the book description…….

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The more people you love, the more you have to lose…

Nancy Byrne might be the head of the notorious Byrne crime family, but she’s determined to give her little daughter, Scarlett, the best start possible.

After the death of her beloved father, the notorious gangster Jimmy Byrne, nothing’s stopping Nancy from making money on her own terms – even if she has to combine motherhood with providing for her entire family. But with enemies at their door, she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her loved ones.

But then comes the day when Scarlett goes missing, snatched by a stranger during a trip to the local park, and Nancy’s world is torn apart. Amidst the terror of losing her precious daughter, Nancy is sure of only two things. Someone has taken her daughter … and when she finds them, there’s going to be hell to pay.

Can she find Scarlett – before it’s too late? Or will Nancy’s life of crime come back to haunt her in the worst way possible. 

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Oh my what an explosive book The Forgotten turned out be, when it comes to writing hard hitting crime thrillers Casey Kelleher’s  up there with the best. Not only has she written a cracking story but she managed to incorporate all the elements I love in this type of read, a gritty storyline, dysfunctional characters, violence and treachery  all combined  together in one darkly wrapped package. I would recommend you read all three books in the series as each is a continuation of the last, but it wouldn’t be any hardship to start at the beginning as it’s such a brilliant series. 

Nancy as the head of the notorious Byrne crime family has gathered many enemies over the years, each one holds a grudge and it’s time for them to exact their revenge,  as the old adage says “revenge is a dish best served cold” and my god Nancy’s enemies are queuing up in droves to get theirs. The Byrne family are the definition of dysfunctional, each has their own secrets they would prefer to stay buried, the simmering anger between them causes tension and rather like car crash you can’t help but read on in horrified fascination, as you know things are going to get a lot worse!  

Nancy is one hell of a character ballsy, confident and doesn’t suffer fools gladly, even if their members of her own family, but now she has a daughter to protect you can actually see a chink in her armour, a softer side that wants to protect her daughter at any cost. There’s violence and swearing but that’s pretty much standard in a book that’s set around the criminal world, personally I think it gives the book an air of gritty realism. The author certainly knows how to keep the reader entertained with Nancy facing crisis after crisis I flew through the pages. The Forgotten is a story of treachery, loyalty and family ties and although these are familiar themes in the authors book, she still manages to write an exciting tale with surprises galore which make this a “must read” series for crime thriller lovers.

  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Bookouture (7 Aug. 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧          Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author 

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Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher grew up as an avid reader and a huge fan of author Martina Cole. 

Whilst working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children together with her husband, Casey penned her debut novel Rotten to the Core. Its success meant that she could give up her day job and concentrate on writing full time. 

She has since published 

Rise and Fall, 

Heartless, 

Bad Blood, 

The Taken, 

The Promise, 

The Byrne Trilogy

The Betrayed (Book 1 Byrne series) 

The Broken (Book 2 Byrne series) 

and her latest The Forgotten (Book 3 Byrne series) due for published on the 7th August 2018. 

For all news and updates:

www.caseykelleher.co.uk

 

 

 

To learn more about the series or buy the authors books….Casey Kelleher Books

My thanks to Kim Nash, Noelle Holten and Bookouture for my ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Don’t forget to check out my fellow book bloggers reviews……..

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

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the many bloggers taking part in the blog tour for Do No Harm by L V Hay, published by Orenda books,  you don’t even have to wait to get a copy, one click and it’s yours, but a **word of warning** you may want to clear your schedule before starting this one As it’s such a compelling read. Before I share my thoughts here’s the book description……..

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After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…

Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…

Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

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What a fabulous and captivating  psychological thriller Do No Harm turned out to be. Deviously plotted the L V Hay delivers a story with sustained tension, surprises, and a constant sense of impending doom, definitely my kind of read. There is nothing  I find more satisfying than reading a book that heightens my feelings of anticipation, excitement and anxiety and this is one of those rare books that managed to evoke all these feelings and more.  

Lily is looking forward to starting a new life with Sebastian, she believes she can finally shut the door on her first marriage to Maxwell, a possessive control freak, but before the ink has even had time to dry on the marriage certificate, it soon becomes apparent  someone will do anything to break the couple up. Hay drags the reader into a compelling plot that’s claustrophobic and very tense, you very much feel like a “fly on the wall” as the couples life begins to unravel, you want to jump into the pages and warn them “to trust no one”. 

Do No Harm is an unsettling tale of obsession, Lucy Hay explores the persistent disturbing preoccupation someone appears to have with the couple through occasional chapters told from their POV, it’s these chapters that make you realise how obsession can turn into something much more dangerous and chilling.  The author has created a cast of characters who can only be described as untrustworthy, and that’s the thing I loved about this book as the reader your on high alert looking for inconsistencies in the characters dialogue, constantly second guessing and trying to work out who and why someone is manipulating the couples relationship, I think every character featured as a “suspect” at some point hence my constant feelings of anxiety.  Although I did guess the “culprit” correctly I still really enjoyed this book as I was stilll left wondering WHY? and the motive behind   their increasingly disturbing behaviour.  

Do No Harm has all the ingredients I’ve come to expect in a psychological thriller and then some,  with unstable characters, steeped in mystery and suspense.  I raced through this book, it’s satisfyingly twisted and made for a compelling read.  I should mention I loved the conclusion so satisfying and yet shocking. L V Hay is definitely an author to look out for and I’m excited to see what twisted plot she comes up with in her next book.  Highly recommended. 

  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (30 Jun. 2018)

Buying links:     Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts. Lucy’s the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS for fiction as well as screenwriting. Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN,  published by  Orenda Books and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine.

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

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Today I’m sharing my review for The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager another one of my most anticipated reads of the year, before I share my review here’s the book description

Have you ever played two truths and a lie?

Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .

Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.

Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all… 

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Riley Sager is back with a cracker of a crime thriller,  I was a huge fan of his debut novel Final Girls , Last Time I Lied is intense, addictive, and such a Compelling read . I do love the way the authors books are written, they very much remind me of the 1980’s scarey  movies I was so fond of back in the day, minus the dramatic music of course! A word of **Warning** once you pick this book up prepared to drop everything else, full of misdirection and deceit it’s a book that’s nigh on impossible to put down. One thing I will say if you loved Final Girls for the horror/slasher vibe running through it, you may find The Last Time I Lied slightly disappointing as this book isn’t as dark, but never the less I still found it a really enjoyable read.

Years after Emma’s three friends went into the woods and disappeared, she returns to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale, hoping to find out what really happened to the three young girls. Oh how I absolutely adore an unreliable and troubled narrator, and boy does Emma fit the bill perfectly. Her story is one of teenage lies and mental illness, which make this book so unpredictable. Last Time I Lied is told  through past and present chapters, all I will say is the author is a master in deception, so good luck with trying to separate fact from fiction, as I didn’t even get close to working out where this tale was heading.  

Although some may consider the start to be a slow one, it’s definitely worth persevering, Riley Sager firstly sets the tone and atmosphere of the story helped along by Camp Nightingale the perfect location for a crime come horror thriller, with a cinematic narrative it feels like you are actually watching a movie rather than reading a book. With an underlying sense of menace running through its pages Last Time I Lied is definitely one to be read during day light hours. As a huge crime thriller reader there is nothing I like more satisfying than an author  taking me by surprise, now this could be an unexpected plot twist or something else entirely, and the author managed both, to the “why” or the “what” my lips are sealed. Highly recommend.

  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Digital (12 July 2018)

 

Buying links:   Amazon UK 🇬🇧          Amazon US 🇺🇸

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

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Today I’m thrilled to share my review of Before I Met Him by John Nicholl as part of the blog blitz. If you’re a fan of dark, gritty crime thrillers then look no further they don’t come much darker than this one.  I mean just look at the cover it’s enough to give you nightmares,  but what a fab cover. Read on for my thoughts but first the book description……

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Every once in a while the hunters become the hunted…
When Rebecca’s childhood abuser avoids prosecution, it sets her on a path to revenge and soon she is handing out retribution on any man who preys on the innocent.
The twenty-three-year-old poses as a child online and sets her trap, luring one predatory sex offender after another to their deaths.
When a severed head is found washed up on a windswept estuary beach, DI Gravel and his team are called in to investigate.
In what might be his toughest case yet, DI Gravel finds himself asking if vigilante justice is ever justified…
Read this chilling new psychological thriller and decide for yourself.

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John Nicholl isn’t afraid to write stories that challenge and shock, he pushes the boundaries of what we expect, if anything Before I Met Him is his most shocking and disturbing book yet. This book deals with a very tough subject child abuse, and for that reason I’m not sure this book will be to everyone’s taste, it’s definitely not one for the faint-hearted as they are some pretty detailed scenes that are grim and very violent. Rebecca’s childhood is left in shatters when her abuser escapes justice. Fast forward seventeen years and Rebecca wants her revenge what follows is a dark and very disturbing tale.

Before I Met Him is a book about vengeance and getting revenge on the worse kind of people, that commit the most abhorrent crimes. It’s very clear from John Nicholl’s writing that he is extremely knowledgeable in both police matters and child abuse, so although Before I Met Him makes for a grim read, it also unfortunately makes for a very credible one in parts. The author gives an ugly insight into the minds of the predators who carry out the most heinous crimes, as a reader you can only hope these men get “their just deserts”.

Before I Met Him is a very dark psychological thriller there no doubt about that, but it’s also fraught with tension and the sense of evil radiating from the pages is palatable. Before I Met Him shows that nothing is black and white, sometimes the lines between become blurred, what happens when the justice system fails the very people it’s there to protect? Is it ever acceptable for someone to take the law into their own hands to seek justice? these were questions I found myself thinking about as I read this book, it’s a controversial story that I’m sure will raise many a debate amongst it’s readers. This novel is definitely not going to be to everyone’s taste It’s shocking and makes for a disconcerting read, so would I recommend it? Yes but only to those with a strong disposition.

Buying links:  add links

About the author

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John Nicholl, an ex-police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written six darkly psychological suspense thrillers, each of which has been an Amazon # 1 bestseller. John is happily married, lives in rural west Wales, and has three adult children and one grandchild, with a second expected in August 2018. He began writing after leaving his job heading up child protection services for Carmarthenshire.

John is represented by Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA.

You can find out more about John and his books at: http://www.johnnicholl.com

Links:

Facebook
 

 

You can follow the rest of the tour and see what my fellow partners in crime (excuse the pun) have to say about Before I Met Him in the tour poster below……

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

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the bloggers taking part in the Blog tour for Now You See Her by Heidi Perks, I have a feeling this is going to be one of the most talked about reads this summer. Before I share my review here’s the book description……

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She’s playing at the school fete with your children. You pull out your phone, scroll through Facebook, and look up again.

NOW YOU DON’T

Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable, tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.

Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

Someone is hiding the truth about what really happened to Alice.

E1F3660A-E5FA-4419-8451-16F1D13B7348Three year old Alice goes missing, hardly an original theme you might think and to some degree I would agree with you,  but then Heidi Perks comes along and turns what could have been another “run of the mill” psychological thriller into something very special. Imagine being asked to look after your best friends child and then you lose them, what would be worse losing  your own child or someone else’s? that’s pretty much the premise for Now You See Her. Friendships are tested, scrutinised And dissected, fingers of suspicion are pointed, making Now You See Her a suspense fuelled and very compelling read.  

Unusual in a book with this theme the main focus isn’t on the police investigation but centres around the two main characters Charlotte and her best friend Harriet, both flawed, with very different personalities. The author explores their unlikely friendship and as she scratches away at the surface she deftly pulls the threads of their friendship apart. I found my feelings towards both characters constantly shifting as more details about them were revealed, I found myself distrustful of both characters at different points of the story, which certainly added to my enjoyment of this book. There’s one character who deserves a mention without giving too much away, they made my skin crawl and my hackles rise,  definitely a testament to the author’s writing skills that a character could get under my skin and stir up emotions I wasn’t expecting.  

Now You See Her alternates in chapters between Charlotte and Harriet and move back and forth between events before and after Alice’s disappearance. Sometimes I can struggle with this format, but not this time this form of story telling actually made this book a more enjoyable read as I found myself constantly second guessing things. I did have a niggling feeling I knew where the plot was heading and although I guessed correctly the author still managed to surprise me on one or more occasions.  

I wouldn’t consider Now You See Her to be action packed, but like many psychological thrillers the emphasis is very much on the characters, you will find yourself doubting them, questioning their motives, and desperately turning the pages to get to the truth. With familiar themes of deception, manipulation and secrets Now You See Her is a book I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy a psychological thriller with intriguing characters. Personally I think this book is the perfect beach read,  and I can definitely see this being one of the most talked about books this summer.  

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Century (26 July 2018)

Buying links :    Amazon UK 🇬🇧         Amazon US 🇺🇸

About the author

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Heidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.

Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.

Heidi successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing her first novel, Beneath The Surface.

She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional. 

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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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