#Review By Lou of One Moonlit Night By Rachel Hore @Rachelhore @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC @BookMinxSJV #OneMoonlitNight #BlogTour #WW2 #BookRecommendation #BookTwitter #Blogger

One Moonlit Night
By Rachel Hore

Rating: 5 out of 5.

one moonlit night, rachel hore

One Moonlit Night is a rich, beautiful novel set during the war that is easy to get immersed in with its romance, secrets and war… Follow down to the blurb and my full review below.
Firstly, thanks to publisher Simon and Schuster for inviting me to review on the blog tour.

one moonlit night, rachel hore

Blurb

One Moonlit NightThe unmissable new novel from the million-copy Sunday Times bestselling author of A Beautiful Spy

Loyalty and betrayal, hope and despair, One Moonlit Night tells the captivating story of a husband and wife separated by secrets as well as by war.

Accept it, he is dead.
No, it’s not true.
It is. Everyone thinks so except you.

Forced to leave their family home in London after it is bombed, Maddie and her two young daughters take refuge at Knyghton, the beautiful country house in Norfolk where Maddie’s husband Philip spent the summers of his childhood.

But Philip is gone, believed to have been killed in action in northern France. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Maddie refuses to give up hope that she and Philip will some day be reunited.

Arriving at Knyghton, Maddie feels closer to her missing husband, but she soon realises that there’s a reason Philip has never spoken to her about his past. Something happened at Knyghton one summer years before. Something that involved Philip, his cousin Lyle and a mysterious young woman named Flora.

Maddie’s curiosity turns to desperation as she tries to discover the truth, but no one will speak about what happened all those years ago, and no one will reassure her that Philip will ever return to Knyghton.
The extraordinarily powerful new novel from bestselling author Rachel Hore. 

Review

Having enjoyed A Beautiful Spy, it now gives me great pleasure in telling you how good and compelling One Moonlit Night is. It is an eloquently written book, set in the second world war, that has a whirlwind romance to get caught up in before war breaks out and the lovers, now man and wife – Maddie and Phillip are then separated because he has to fight. They built up a family with two daughters, whom he has no choice but to leave behind, as they then seek refuge. It is like that ultimate emotional romance that plays out as glee that two lovers are together in such a romantic fashion, and scenic areas are painted in the minds eye throughout, which all turns to sorrow and into page-turner.

As the war rages on there is tides of emotion as Phillip may or may not be alive. Everyone except from Maddie thinks he is dead. You really feel for Maddie in this situation. It also turns out that she didn’t really know her husband as well as she perhaps thought as there are so many secrets to be uncovered about events that happened years ago that he never talked about.  The complex mystery about the man whom she married starts when a folder belonging to Phillip is handed to her and realises there are certain things that she had no idea about. It means she has to go to Knyghton, in Norfolk, a place where Phillip spent summer-times in. As well as meeting members of his family and the Land Girls, there is also a photograpgh, that poses many questions and further deepens the mystery of secrets that swirls round and compounds in the book, along with love, loyalty and betrayal. There is much intrigue to be sought and many questions to be answered right up until a well thought out ending.

One Moonlit Night blog tour

#BookReview By Lou of The Shadow Child By Rachel Hancox #TheShadowChild #RachelHancox @centurybooksuk @PenguinUKBooks @RandomTTours #ContemporaryFiction #LiteraryFiction #readingcommunity #Readers #Bloggers #BookTwitter

The Shadow Child
By Rachel Hancox

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Shadow Graphic 1

The Shadow Child is a compelling, thought-provoking contemporary fiction/literary fictiondebut novel full of secrets and the ‘human condition’. Find out more in the blurb and my review and then a bit about the author. First, thanks to Random T. Tours for the invite onto the blog tour.

Blurb

Shadow Graphic 3Eighteen-year-old Emma has loving parents and a promising future ahead of her. So why, one morning, does she leave home without a trace?

Her parents, Cath and Jim, are devastated. They have no idea why Emma left, where she is –
or even whether she is still alive. A year later, Cath and Jim are still tormented by the
unanswered questions Emma left behind and clinging desperately to the hope of finding
her.

Meanwhile, tantalisingly close to home, Emma is also struggling with her new existence –
and with the trauma that shattered her life.

For all of them, reconciliation seems an impossible dream. Does the way forward lie in
facing up to the secrets of the past – secrets that have been hidden for years? Secrets that
have the power to heal them, or to destroy their family forever …

The Shadow Child is a book of hope and reconciliation, of coming to terms with trauma and
learning to love again. Most of all, it’s about how you can never quite escape from the
shadows of your past – especially when one of those shadows is a child …

Review

The prologue sweeps by fast, with its talk about shadows, that is written in a way that you would expect from a child, but knowing the blurb, it takes on a bit of an eerie slant, thereafter it is a bit of a slow-burn of curiosity that seeks to grasp you and succeeds. The family is fairly normal, Cath is a teacher and Jim is a newspaper photographer and was practically love at first sight. They then had 2 children, but one died and the other is now mysteriously missing, seemingly without a trace. The family, of what’s left, use many coping strategies to get through these dark days and you can feel the emotion and see the strength of character that they keep going, even though they feel guilt and bewilderment that their daughter went missing and despair and helplessness that they have no answers. They also cling hard onto hope so they keep going in life.

It’s interesting and, perhaps more powerful for it, the way that Emma (the missing child) has her own narrative to tell readers why she disappeared. It’s a good way to get into her psyche and infact all of the main characters have their own present story and backstory to tell about their lives.

Jim and Cath also have a cottage that they inherited, so take on tenants – Lara and Nick. Then all the characters become even more intrinisically linked and it becomes apparent that there are so many secrets being harboured in the pages, that keeps the book engaging, as well as the fact that there’s a need to discover how it could possibly all end and whether certain things will work out well or not.

There’s quite a philisophical bent at times, that creates for some rather elegant thought-provoking moments, through its sometimes nuanced approach and natural human thoughts. The book is essentially about relationships, how they interconnect to other people’s lives, the impacts secrets can have, the upbringing that occurs at childhood and how that feeds into adulthood. How to attempt to reshape life and cope with incredibly traumatic situations.
Overall it is quite a compelling, complex book about the twisting paths of life, loss and hope.

About the Author

RACHEL HANCOX read Medicine and Social and Political Science at Cambridge, qualified as a doctor three months after getting married, and has juggled her family, her career and a passion for writing ever since.
She worked in Paediatrics and Public Health for twenty years, writing short stories alongside NHS policy reports, and drafting novels during successive bouts of maternity leave. Rachel has five children, three dogs and a cat. She lives in Oxford with her husband and youngest children.

Shadow Child BT Poster

#BookReview By Lou of – The Former Boy Wonder By Robert Graham #RobertGraham @LendalPress @kenyon_isabelle #Music #Fiction #TheFormerBoyWonder #Midlife #Readers #ReadingCommunity

The Former Boy Wonder
By Robert Graham

Rating: 4 out of 5.

One for the music fans! One for those interested in father/son relationships. One for those interested in a story with a midlife crisis within it. Check The Former Boy Wonder out the blurb and my review of The Former Boy below.
Thanks to Isabelle Kenyon and Lendal Press for inviting me to review on the closing spot for the blog tour and for a copy of the book.

Blurb

The Former Boy Wonder coverA bittersweet comedy that takes a sidelong look at first love, mid-life crisis and the
challenges of the relationship between fathers and sons.
With his 50th birthday approaching and his career in tatters, Peter Duffy is hard at work trying to
repair his marriage when an invitation arrives in the post. Caitlin, one of his university friends, is
having a party at the country house where he met his first love, the exotic Sanchia Page. If all his old friends are going to be there, there’s a slim chance that – just maybe – she will, too. Faced with this possibility, re-living his time with Sanchia threatens to turn his head and ruin all his good intentions.
Set in the new Manchester of the 21st century and the old Manchester of 25 years before,
The Former Boy Wonder takes a wry look at mid-life men and the women who have to live with them.

Review

Take a pinch of nostalgia from the 1970’s and 1980’s, mixed with more closer to present times – the twenty-teens and you have the timeline for The Former Boy Wonder, with the toys, the sweets and the music. The fun of the eras is intertwined with hardship. From near the start, there is a big pang of sadness, that immediately makes you sympathise and empathise with life situations, along with a more cool vibe of celebrities of the time and fashion magazines, such as Vogue.

The Former Boy Wonder cover 2Peter Duffy is 49 years old and his career as a music journalist is flat-lining, from its once hugely successful years of being around the big bands and A-list stars. He’s reached a certain age and having a bit of a mid-life crisis and the work that used to come his way, isn’t the same and no-longer is he seen as the young hot-shot journalist he once was.
The music scenes are entertaining with so many bands and artists, but also shows an interesting contrast of how it was in Belfast, Northern Ireland compared to Manchester, England. The enthusiasm really shines through. 

Life and love and fatherhood is complicated, bringing more drama and sometimes humour and warmth. One of the big, powerful themes is that of a father-son relationship and readers can see this develop and will be able to totally relate to the teenage attitude.

The Former Boy Wonder keenly observes all aspects of life throughout the decades and how things change, how people are percieved, change when they age up. It’s very much like looking into someone else’s world with a full, unobstructed view, with everything documented and emotions drawn.

About the Author

Robert Graham is the author of the novel Holy Joe; the short story collections The Only Living Boy and When You Were a Mod, I Was A Rocker; and the novella A Man Walks Into A Kitchen. His play about fans of The Smiths, If You Have Five Seconds To Spare, was staged by Contact Theatre, Manchester. He is co-author, with Keith Baty, of Elvis – The Novel, a spoof biography; and, with Julie Armstrong, Heather Leach, Helen Newall et al, of The Road To Somewhere: A Creative Writing Companion; Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Creative Writing; and How To Write A Short Story (And Think About It). He grew up in Northern Ireland and for most of his adult life has lived in Manchester. He teaches Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University. For more information please see http://www.robertgraham.life and follow Robert on Instagram @robert55graham

 

#Review By Lou of Quicksand of Memory By Michael J. Malone @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks #QuicksandOfMemory #Revenge #PsychologicalThriller #TartanNoir #BlogTour #RandomTTours #TeamOrenda

Quicksand of Memory
By Michael J. Malone

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Quicksand Graphic 4 (1)

Quicksand Of Memory is a page-turner that packs a punch! Check out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below about this psychological thriller/TartanNoir… Today I have the privilege of closing the blog tour. The book is Available Now!
Thanks first, to Random T. Tours and publisher – Orenda Books for inviting me to review and for a copy of the book.

Quicksand of Memory Proof Cover

About the Author

Michael Malone pic

 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.
 His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines, After He Died, In the Absence of Miracles and A Song of Isolation soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.
Michael lives in Ayr.

Blurb

Quicksand cover 2Jenna is trying to rebuild her life after a series of disastrous relationships.
Luke is struggling to provide a safe, loving home for his deceased partner’s young son, following a devastating tragedy.
When Jenna and Luke meet and fall in love, they are certain they can achieve the stability and happiness they both desperately need.
And yet, someone is watching.
Someone who has been scarred by past events.
Someone who will stop at nothing to get revenge…
Dark, unsettling and immensely moving, Quicksand of Memory is a chilling reminder that we are not only punished for our sins, but by them, and that memories left to blacken and sharpen over time are the perfect breeding ground for obsession, and murder…

Review

Michael J. Malone has skillfully delved into the inner-sanctum that is memory. The way he plays with his characters memories has created a psychological thriller that waxes lyrical and yet grips hard until the end.

Jenna has attacks of anxiety due to her relationship issues, so seeks a therapist – Luke. It’s rivetting being in the therapist’s room with her, as she pours out her life to him, which is more than what she thought she was originally for as he probes into other life events. This is possibly the most sedate the book is and then delving further, it all becomes such a page-turner.
hrough Luke, you can really see the power of loss and guilt and so much more, that permeates through, and through his clients, the sense of needing a support system, or at least someone to give support through life, or parts of life.
It’s just as, or even more fascinating when it comes to learning about Luke. There is so much more to Luke than healing people in his therapy sessions and the sinister burdens he carries.
Then, as time moves on, the fractures in lives really start to open up, wider and wider, increasingly revealing more secrets, more previously buried truths and falsehoods and deadly obsessions.

Quicksand of Memory twists and turns, leading readers down a deep, dark path of the professional and personal aspects of life and the blurring of lines and crimes committed, with romance flourishing and revenge, later in the book with revenge occuring. It is beautifully constructed and written. Once started this visceral, chilling psychological thriller; it’s pretty hard to put down as you find out more about people’s pasts, where they are presently and the spine-tingling secrets that emerge. 

Malone gives lots for readers to ponder over, with the thought-provoking, complex themes of obsession, guilt, love, revenge, support, memory, trauma, grief, violence, drug-use and more… It really packs a punch. 

Quicksand Graphic 3 

Quicksand of Memory blog tour banner

 

#Review By Lou of The Rabbit Factor By Antti Tuomainen @antii_tuomainen @OrendaBooks #TheRabbitFactor #NotTheEasterBunny #BlogTour #SoonToBeAMovie #ReadingCommunity #FilmCommunity

The Rabbit Factor
By Antti Tuomainen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

 Dark Comedy Crime; Black Humour; Literary Fiction; International Mystery & Crime; Nordic Noir;

 

 Dark Comedy Crime; Black Humour; Literary Fiction; International Mystery & Crime; Nordic Noir;

The Rabbit Factor is going to be a Major Motion Picture starring Steve Carell. This darkly humoured, Scandi-Noir type book is available to read now. Discover more in the blurb and my review below…
I firstly, thank Random T. Tours and Orenda Books for inviting me to review on the blog tour.

 Dark Comedy Crime; Black Humour; Literary Fiction; International Mystery & Crime; Nordic Noir;

Blurb

 Dark Comedy Crime; Black Humour; Literary Fiction; International Mystery & Crime; Nordic Noir; What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.
And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.

But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…

Warmly funny, rich with quirky characters and absurd situations, The Rabbit Factor is a
triumph of a dark thriller, its tension matched only by its ability to make us rejoice in
the beauty and random nature of life.

Review

Rabbits are cute and furry, but in this case the rabbit is something quite different in what is a darkly quirky story. Just wait and read the opening paragraph about this rabbit, it’s sure to raise a chuckle.

Mathematics/Math/Maths, however you want to say it, has a universal truth. It makes so much calculable, rock steady, you know where you are with it and nothing changes. Henri Koskinen knows this all too well and appears to have a bit of an obsession with maths, to put it mildly and is an actuary for a Finnish insurance company. It brings Henri and Tuomo Pertila a certainty about life and all the things in their environment around them. I did say, this was quirky. Bear with the book though. You don’t have to be a mathematician to read and enjoy it. It’s not really full of rabbits telling you how to do algebra and even more hard sums. Everything is so precise in Henri’s life and you begin to wonder where is the space for the fun things in life.

An actuary and one as pedantic about life as Henri is, isn’t perhaps anyone’s usual character to be rooting for and although his life views seem pedantic, the Toumainen manages to skillfully steer clear from it becoming frustrating for the reader and instead injects some dry humour.
The book is going to be made into a major motion picture, starring Steve Carrell. I can imagine him well in this film and I think it could be entertaining to watch. The book certainly has a number of twists and even more corners of life to turn into as life paths change accordingly to each milestone and situation. This isn’t always comfortable for Henri as he tries to calculate his way through life and not all calculations, even for a mathematically obsessed actuary as Henri is, can bring that certain steadfast certainty they normally do.

Life changes quite a bit when his job circumstances, and as it goes, inherits an adventure park from his brother. All isn’t what anyone would imagine at all. The circumstances he finds himself in with the park is also rather quirky as is the employees, then there is also the poor financial situation and criminals to contend with. As Henri’s life changes, it sends him into a bit of a spin as no longer is he totally in his own little world that he comfortably inhabited before, but he has to do recalculations of formulas he normally lived by, as he tries to control his life so much in such a pedantic way after chaotic formative years, that is illuminating to enter his mind and life.

Romance also enters Henri’s life as he meets Laura, who is an artist. You can’t help wondering how he will calculate and live that aspect of life through.

Fans of Scandi-Noir and Chris Brookmyre would enjoy this book, which is the first in a series.

 Dark Comedy Crime; Black Humour; Literary Fiction; International Mystery & Crime; Nordic Noir;

 

#BookReview By Lou of The Wedding Crasher By Abigail Mann @abigailmann @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #romanticfiction #humour #book #bookblog #BookTwitter #fiction #TheWeddingCrasher #bookrecommendation #RomCom

The Wedding Crasher
By Abigail Mann

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Lonely Fajita and The Sister Surprise PB with text

Lots of humour, romance and a passion for photography is in store for the very entertaining Wedding Crasher by Abigail Mann. This is one of the funniest I have read of this author’s books, so far… Thanks to One Chapter/Harper Collins for inviting me to review. Discover more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the review below…

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Blurb

The Wedding Crasher coverPoppy got married young. Too young in fact, and she put her dreams aside for love. Fast-forward eight years(ish) and now it’s time to reclaim her life and first love – photography.

What better way to celebrate her new-found freedom than a blissful week alone on an island with just her camera for company. Until her best friend has a catastrophe with the high-profile wedding she’s planning and begs Poppy to help. After all, she owes her.

Poppy doesn’t expect to recognise the groom as an old friend, nor for the bride to get cold feet but what’s a wedding without a little drama. And as the wedding week – yes, week – gets underway, Poppy might find happiness again, just not in the way she expected.

If you love Mhairi McFarlane, Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary, you will love Abigail Mann.

Review

Let the countdown to the wedding begin…
The Wedding Crasher is entertaining from the start. Dare I say it, but this may be one of the most entertaining books from Abigail Mann. It is so enjoyable getting to know Poppy, Lola and Will. The humour all starts in a rather rocky dinghy and some witty chat and repartee.

Poppy it turns out, has a love of photography and teaches it in a school that is teetering on the edge with the eyes of Ofsted on them. Then there’s also the awkward relationship complications between Poppy and Josh. Poppy then ends up involved in taking photos for a wedding that is a week long, including all the build-up to it. It’s high profile and the very rich groom is certainly a kaleidoscope of personality and life. In saying that, Poppy has gumption and inner-strength, especially when it comes to her own relationship with Josh and how that is hitting the rocks.

There are islands – Orwell and the much more glamourous Loxby Island with its Art-Deco designed archticture to explore, with beautiful, idyllic backdrops. The book as whole is just so easy to be swept along by. 

There are also moments focused on the current debates around sport, but you really don’t have to be even remotely a sports fan to get enjoyment from this book as far, far from the dominant part of the book.

The comedic moments keep coming, which is impressive; even when there are serene moments of reflection and emotion, this isn’t lost sight of and put altogether, makes a great mixture for this book.