**Guest Post** By Jennifer Gilmour Author Of Isolation Junction.

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Today I am thrilled to have Jennifer Gilmour author of Isolation Junction on my blog. Jennifer is a passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors experiences alongside her own to write her first novel detailing the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage.

Although the author discusses a difficult subject in her guest post, I do think it’s an important one, if it helps to raise awareness than it can only be a good thing right?

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I’m Jennifer Gilmour, a young married mum of 3, an entrepreneur and now a published author. From an early age, I have had a passion for writing and have been gathering ideas and plot lines from my teenage years.  A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, I have amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors’ experiences alongside my own to write my first novel. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

With Christmas almost upon us the pressures for someone who is in an abusive relationship can be at a peak. From little pressures such as whether you can or can’t attend a Christmas party, see friends and family and what is said and how’s it’s said in anyone else’s presence. To the threat that something bad will happen and the worry that the abuser will ruin Christmas for the children or relatives. From my own experience it seems to be taken upon yourself to do above and beyond your ability to make sure nothing will go wrong; and to try and sail through Christmas in any way possible. Then there’s the financial abuse, if the abuser refuses to help buy Christmas gifts how are you going to buy them or are you going to give nothing and lie about why. These are just a couple of examples and there are 1,000 more that could present. People often asked why I didn’t leave the relationship and it was because of all these 1,000 reasons to stay to make it easier and which were fuelled with fear, there are only been perhaps a 100 positive reasons to leave and they seem to out weigh each other massively.

Between the 19th December to 26th December and the kindle version of Isolation Junction will be just 99p. It is also free on Kindle Unlimited.

Could this help someone you know who is being abused but they are defensive? This book could help them see that it isn’t normal behaviour, it’s not their fault and they can be happy and leave safely with the right help. The novel has opened up a huge discussion of the behaviour and for those who don’t understand, it’s enlightened them to see what it could be and the progression behind it. My aim is to encourage questions, challenge the current law and the behaviour itself. It has gotten people thinking about their friendship circle and I have been contacted by many saying, “I have passed your book on to my friend because I think they are in this situation…”

People have seen a different side to abuse through my fictional novel. It’s something that has before been addressed in a text book rather than a novel. The reaction has been that people have learnt about a different type of abuse and what coercive control can look like. It is hard to explain in a text book to fully demonstrate this type of behaviour. I’m pleased that people are being educated through my fictional story and are also looking for the signs of abuse in friends and family.

I quote a few reviews here to give you a bit of an idea:

”This book I was not able to put down”
“A hugely important book!”
“A very gripping and interesting read”
“Thank you Jennifer for highlighting this issue and hopefully inspiring women to break free from emotional abuse”
“A fictional account of an everyday, unacceptable issue”
“It really packed a punch and left me feeling quite emotional!”
“Isolation Junction shows that there can be life after abuse”

As well as educating, it is also an entertaining book as you can see from the reviews. It is not filled with doom and gloom but features romance and some comedic moments.

I would like to wish you all a happy Christmas but also a safe one as well.

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Born in the North East, I am a young, married mum with three children. I am an entrepreneur, running a family business from my home-base and I have a large readership of other young mums in business for my blog posts.

From an early age I have had a passion for writing and have been gathering ideas and plot lines from my teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, I have amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors experiences alongside my own to write my first novel detailing the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

I hope that in reading my debut novel, I will raise awareness of this often hidden and unseen behaviour and empower women in abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and find the confidence to change their lives.

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Website     Facebook     Twitter     Amazon Author Profile

Book description

Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’. She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business. It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.

After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t, will she be able to do it? Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?

Amazon UK 🇬🇧 Paperback        Amazon UK 🇬🇧Kindle

You can read my review here……

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/11/08/isolation-junction-by-jennifer-gilmour-review-jenlgilmour/

My thanks to Jennifer Gilmour for her Guest Post.

If you would like help or advice on domestic abuse You can contact…….
24 hour free-phone National Domestic Violence helpline on 0808 2000 247

 

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 🇺🇸

Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow #Review

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Book description

Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …

So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?

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Even though I’m a huge fan of crime/psychological thrillers there are a small bunch of authors who write what I call “need to escape, cheer me up books” and the very talented Christie Barlow is one of those authors, and she certainly never disappoints me. I’m sure millions of women will relate to Lizzie on many levels, she’s in a humongous rut, her marriage is stale, in fact she has better conversations with her Gary Barlow calendar than she does with her husband! her children have flown the nest and she’s not sure where her life is going (ring a bell anyone?), but then the very handsome and charismatic Marcus moves into her street and things take a turn for the better or do they? You will just have to read Lizzie’s Christmas Escape to find out!

What I absolutely love about the authors book is her attention to her characters, they are a joy to read about, they are so well developed by the end of the book you really do feel you are saying “goodbye” to old friends. The relationship between Lizzie and Ann was heartwarming and very genuine, they are the best of friends and you couldn’t help wishing for a friend just like Ann or Lizzie. Their friendship is one many woman could only wish for they are supportive, loyal of one and other and the humour and banter between them helps them through the difficult times, and there are plenty of those! The dialogue between the two friends was so realistic at times I thought I was eavesdropping on a friends conversation, it’s full of humour and honesty that only true friends would understand, and at times I laughed out loud at some of their conversations.

Lizzie’s story reminded me very much of an old adage “the grass isnt always greener on the other side”, or is it? this was something Lizzie was forced to find out for herself I’m afraid. Lizzie’s story made me laugh and cry, sometimes all in the same chapter, you can understand Lizzie feeling fed up with life and why she strived to find something better, but life is what you make it, and just maybe Lizzie will have to learn this lesson through making her own mistakes. As Christmas approaches you can’t help feeling sorry for the two friends (everything seems so much worse during this period, don’t you think?), as they experience what could be their worse Christmas ever.

What I would say about Lizzie’s Christmas Escape is its a shame that many readers will only pick this book up if they are looking for a “Christmassy” read, I read it whilst led on a sun lounger in Portugal, and I feel this book has so much more to offer than a mediocre Christmas read, it’s about family, reaching a crossroads in life, and the importance of family and friends, with a “just what the Dr ordered, a dose of humour thrown in”

Christie Barlow has again written a captivating and charming book packed full of characters you will care about one way or another, full of drama and bucketfuls of humour. So I would recommend you pull the curtains, light the fire (unless you have an electric one of course!) and pour yourself something sparkling and immerse yourself in Lizzie’s heartwarming tale. This is a book I would recommend to anyone looking for “a feel good read” and definitely NOT just to be read at Christmas!

5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5

Print Length: 348 pages

Publisher: Bookouture (21 Oct. 2016)

Amazon UK 🇬🇧

 

 

 

**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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Dead To Me by Lesley Pearce

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Book Description

Spring 1935. Two girls meet by chance on Hampstead Heath. To an outsider, they could not appear more different. Verity is well-mannered and smartly dressed, living with her parents in a beautiful house close to the heath. Ruby is dishevelled and grubby, used to a life of squalor where she is forced to steal to survive. Yet there’s an instant affinity between them, and when their fortunes are shockingly reversed, it is the strength of their friendship that keeps them resilient to the challenges and hardships they face.

As Britain prepares for war, Ruby finds herself in Devon with the world at her feet and enjoying her first taste of romance. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, Verity is forced to leave behind everything she has ever known and a shadow from the past threatens her chances of a new beginning. But through it all, the girls are always there for each other. Until the day Verity does the one thing that will break Ruby’s heart.

In a country torn apart by fighting, will Verity and Ruby survive long enough to find a way back to each other? Or do some betrayals go with you to the grave . . .?

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Despite being a huge crime and thriller fan, (I would say 90% of the books I read are of this genre), I do love a Lesley Pearse book, I’ve read every and I mean every book she has ever written and she never fails to let me down. Dead To Me begins in spring 1935 and tells the story of Verity and Ruby, Its suffice to say the book description tells you all you need to. This is a story of friendship, resilience, challenges, hardship and most importantly the bond between two friends. Lesley Pearce has an extraordinarily talent, she is able to create such well developed characters you feel like you actually know them inside out, by the time I reached the end of Dead To Me I felt like I was saying “goodbye” to old friends. As Verity and Ruby suffer one traumatic event after another I felt so many emotions I laughed, I cried and felt so much empathy for these two characters, as I rooted for them to find their “happy ever after”.

Lesley Pearce always delivers on the plot, her story lines are well developed and flow seamlessly, rich in detail Dead To Me transports you first to the 1930’s and then to the blitz. I was captivated by the story of Verity and Ruby, as we follow their journey to adulthood, they face adversity that will test their friendship to the limits. Different as chalk and cheese Verity and Ruby life’s are changed dramatically by circumstances they have no control over, through tragedy and heartache, their friendship goes through many phases, which adds a sense of authenticity to both characters and their relationship. This is fairly long book at 512 pages, but it certainly never felt like it, as I found Dead To Me to be a compelling read, yes some parts of the story were predictable, but this in no way distracted from my enjoyment of this novel.

I really enjoyed this compelling story, the plot has plenty of depth to it with some suspense thrown it. Dead To Me is a heart-warming and evocative tale that is a real delight to read, if you are looking for a book to escape the demands of every day life for a few hours I would highly recommend you read Dead To Me.

Hardcover: 512 pages

Publisher: Michael Joseph (14 July 2016)

Amazon UK

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