I post book reviews as often as possible but at least once a week every Wednesday! I hope they help you to find some new books that you'll love as much as I did!
Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Stone Song by Tom Bale! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops!
On a sweltering summer’s night, teenage siblings Jack and Lily witness a helicopter crash on the main road between Brighton and London. The next morning they wake to find their village has been sealed off from the entire world. A terrorist cell is holed up in Stenhurst – or at least that’s the official story, put out by sinister government agent Wynter and his vicious sidekick, Major Kellett.
But later that day, Lily and Jack stumble on the truth: the authorities are hunting for a mysterious creature, labelled CatX, who escaped during the crash. Together with their friends, Erin and Oliver, Lily and Jack take it upon themselves to defy the lockdown and protect the creature, no matter what the risks.
The stakes are raised still further when a team of American agents arrive with their own unique technologies. Nobody who sees the CatX must be allowed to survive, and yet it soon becomes clear that there is a much bigger secret here...one that threatens the entire world.
I was excited to be invited to this blog tour for so many reasons! I’ve never reviewed an audiobook on my blog before and since The Stone Song is a dystopian sci-fi thriller, it also gave me the chance to read a little outside of my usual genre, an experience which I always enjoy.
And I certainly did enjoy every aspect of The Stone Song. All of the characters felt well-developed and real, while the plot kept me fully engaged and completely gripped.
I also really enjoyed the narration by Raza Jaffrey. He’s got a beautiful voice which kept me captivated and only heightened the intrigue and tension I felt during the audiobook. (Additionally, I loved the interview with Jaffrey at the end, I thought it was a nice little addition.)
Overall, I’m giving The Stone Song 4 out of 5. It’s fast-paced, tense and had a poignant but satisfying ending. I’ll definitely be reading more by Tom Bale.
This audiobook was provided free in exchange for an honest review.
Today is my stop on the blog tour for Safe House by Jo Jakeman! Thanks so much to Mia for organising the tour, don’t forget to take a look at the rest of the stops too!
Charlie just wants to be forgotten but everyone else wants to know her story...
The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She has bought the crumbling cottage that has lain empty for over a decade, and she’s going to make it her home. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.
Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. That lie cost her everything. And now she has the chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really paid the price for what she did.
I’ve got to admit, when I got the email inviting me to this blog tour and saw that the author was Jo Jakeman I immediately said yes, without even reading the synopsis! The thing is, since I read Sticks and Stones last year, Jo Jakeman has been at the top of my list of authors you can rely on for an amazing read. I find her writing totally hypnotising and Safe House only strengthened this notion.
Charlie was a really enjoyable character to read and she took me on such a journey throughout the book - I went from emotional to suspicious and then absolutely everything in between. Jakeman had me questioning all of the characters wondering whether they were who they said they were and I’m certain that if she’d wanted me to be, I would’ve been suspicious of the dogs too!
The structure worked really well for me, initially it took a little bit of concentration to to keep up with the different names and who was who, but once I got that bit sorted, it really kept the pages turning and was a great way of building up the tension and gradually feeding pieces of information through.
While the fact that I’m going to enjoy a Jo Jakeman book is predictable, the story certainly isn’t! Safe House managed to surprise me when I was least expecting it (which I suppose is the only time you can be surprised really!!) and after I managed to get my breath back from the shocking finale, I was left thoroughly satisfied.
Safe House has it all really, great twists, plenty of action and suspense and an extremely satisfying conclusion - definitely one of my favourite books this year so far.
Overall, I’m giving Safe House 5 out of 5 and adding it to my five star favourites shelf. It’s hypnotising, pacey and stunningly addictive. Jo Jakeman is definitely one of my favourite authors and her next book can’t come soon enough!!
This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review.
And if that didn’t make you want to pick up the book instantly, did I mention that the ebook will be 99p throughout November on Amazon?! What’s not to love?
About the Author
Jo Jakeman was the winner of the Friday Night Live 2016 competition at the York Festival of Writing. Born in Cyprus, she worked for many years in the City of London before moving to Derbyshire with her husband and twin boys. Safe House is her second novel and Sticks and Stones was her debut thriller.
Today is my stop on the blog tour for In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone! Thanks so much to Anne for organising the tour and don’t forget to take a look at the rest of the stops!
John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home. Following a massive stroke, she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.
In a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash.
And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence...
Having never had the chance to read one of Malone’s books before, I was unsure of what to expect going in. What I ended up experiencing with In the Absence of Miracles though, was one hell of a powerful read. One that I know I’m going to have to be careful to review in order to avoid spoiling any of its impact. (So this may end up being a slightly shorter review)
In John Docherty, Malone has created an incredible character who draws you straight into his story, making you truly feel his emotions alongside him. The author managed to make me care about Docherty and all of the characters so, so much, which is why it had so much of a powerful impact when the truth finally came to light. It also made the issues raised within the book even more shocking. These issues are really emotionally harrowing to read, yet they’re handled so sensitively. Thoughts of the book and it’s contents stayed with me long after I’d finished reading.
Overall, I’m giving In the Absence of Miracles 5 out of 5 and adding it to my five star favourites shelf! It’s captivating, heartbreaking and sensitively written. I can’t wait to read more from Michael J. Malone.
About the Author
Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.
Today is my stop on the blog tour for Three Days in Florence by Chrissie Manby! Thanks so much to Jenny for organising the tour and don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops!
Kathy Courage has never visited the famous Italian city of Florence before, so she's thrilled when she and her boyfriend Neil are invited there for a wedding. Unfortunately, with Neil's constant complaining and his teenage children in tow, it's not exactly the romantic break Kathy was hoping for.
But when a mix-up with her flights leaves Kathy stranded in the city, she decides to embrace the unexpected and stay on alone.
What follows is a life-changing few days in the Tuscan sun, as Kathy begins to question the choices that have led her here. With the help of the colourful Innocenti family, who offer Kathy a place to stay, she gradually begins to realise that there's a much bigger world out there, if only she can be brave enough to explore it.
Could Italy hold the answers to her future happiness? Or is Kathy destined to return to her old life?
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I recently returned from a trip to Italy. While it wasn’t Florence that I went to, reading Three Days in Florence brought back the essence of Italy, in a really authentic manner. Manby’s writing perfectly captures every element and made me feel as though I was actually there.
The characterisation is masterful and I found myself instantly disliking Neil, rooting for Kathy and falling head over heels in love with the Innocenti family (because really it’s impossible not to).
While Crime and Thrillers will always hold a special place in my heart, I really enjoyed the change of genre that Three Days in Florence provided. It was simply a joy to read and is packed with not only warmth and romance, but laughs too, making it a real feel-good summer book.
Overall, I’m giving Three Days in Florence 4.5 out of 5. It’s warm, funny and beautifully written. A stunning summer read.
This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review
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About the Author
Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty five romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award.
Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can't walk in.
You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.
Today is my stop on the blog tour for Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops!
Heather and Jess were best friends - until the night Heather's sister vanished.
Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.
But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.
And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she's avoided for so long:
What really happened the night Flora disappeared?
After reading and absolutely loving Then She Vanishes, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’d never read any of Douglas’ work before this! I’m so shocked that I’ve never come across her books before, but I suppose the good thing is that I’ll now be able to go back and catch up on her back catalogue - and if Then She Vanishes is anything to go by, I will definitely be in for a treat!
As soon as I started reading this book, I knew instantly that I was going to enjoy it. I loved it all, but I think my favourite element is definitely the way that the tension is built up over the course of the book. It was so expertly done, that by the end, my eyes were totally glued to the pages.
I also loved the wide cast of characters. Whether they were likeable or not, I still enjoyed reading about all of them because of how well-developed and realistic their personalities were. Their dialogue was also realistic and it flowed so naturally. In the end, I found that I really cared about what happened to them.
When the truth was finally revealed, I was completely shocked, which was another thing I loved. The ending left me satisfied, other than the fact I was disappointed that the book was over!
Overall, I’m giving Then She Vanishes 5 out of 5! It’s tense, compelling and so, so twisty. I will certainly be reading plenty more books by Claire Douglas!
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This book was provided for free in exchange for an honest review
About the Author
Claire Douglas has worked as a journalist for fifteen years writing features for women's magazines and national newspapers, but she's dreamed of being a novelist since the age of seven. She finally got her wish after winning the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award, with her first novel, The Sisters, which was followed by Local Girl Missing, Last Seen Alive and Do Not Disturb, all Sunday Times bestsellers. She lives in Bath with her husband and two children.
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