#Review by Lou – What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson @coryanderwrites @penguinrandom @WriteReadsTours @WriteReads #BookReview #YA #Thriller

What Beauty There Is
By Cory Anderson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I have a dark thriller for young adults/older teenagers that has characters to root for twists and turns that grip on the backdrop of a harsh environment. 

I thank The Write Reads for inviting me to review and for Penguin for gifting me a copy of the book.

Read further for the blurb and full review of the book.

What Beauty There Is banner

Blurb

Winter. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.

What Beauty There IsJack Morton has nothing left. Except for his younger brother, Matty, who he’d do anything for. Even die for. Now with their mother gone, and their funds quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison. He chooses the money.

Ava Bardem lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one. Trust no one. Now Victor Bardem is stalking the same money as Jack. When he picks up Jack’s trail, Ava must make her own wrenching choice: remain silent or help the brothers survive.

Choices. They come at a price.

Review

Set to be a big thriller for YA/teenage readers, What Beauty Is, is dark and full of twists that would capture and engage older teens. It’s subject matters of loss and hard times growing up are stark. Jack’s mother had committed suicide when he was younger and his father is in prison. This book shows his and Atlas’s resilience.Later Jack meets Ava, who is another main character and she too has had a hard life, witnessing her mother having to leave the family home and Barden being central to this.

There’s also drugs involved as that’s why their father is in prison, and the money has to be found. There is also a real concern as social care services are contacted and Jack is worried about being separated from his brother and put into foster care. There’s quite an intensity to the book that is sure to grip and readers may well be rooting for the young characters as they try and find their way through their tough upbringing, with the hope they can and will survive. It shows cause and effect of this type of life and the emotions and how the teens react to it all.

So, as you can see, there’s a lot going on, much of which will grip the teenage population and have them talking as the subject matters are huge and also not unknown by them. It is also written in a way that makes it entirely suitable for teens, there isn’t anything that is too adult within them, it is written well with them in mind and is sure to engage.

What Beauty There Is

#BookReview by Lou – The Lost Hours @susanlewisbooks @fictionpubteam @LizDawsonPR @HarperCollinsUK #TheLostHours #Thriller

The Lost Hours
By Susan Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5.

 

Immersive and page-turning, The Lost Hours, with its fabulous cover is such a page-turner and quite unputdownable as a family goes through such a hard ordeal. It is a brilliant plot in the way it is written, that grips all the way through…

I thank Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour and for her and Elizabeth Dawson for gifting me a book.

Follow down for the blurb and my review and to find out a bit more about the author.

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Blurb

A perfect marriage…

Golden couple Annie and David Crayce have it all. A loving marriage, three beautiful children and a thriving family business. Life couldn’t be better. Until the unthinkable happens…

A perfect crime?

A piece of damning DNA evidence has arisen, placing David as the prime suspect of a murder committed twenty-years ago. Annie is sure her David is innocent. But if he isn’t guilty, then either his father or brother must be.

As the police investigate the cold case, so does Annie. Trawling through her old diaries, she begins desperately looking for answers. But it all comes down to a few lost hours she can’t solve.

And Annie begins to doubt the one person she thought she knew best… Her husband.

The Lost Hours Cover

Review

Lots of us I am sure have blown a dandilion clock to “tell the time” or play a game that shows the “hours pass-by” and watched each fragment, artistically blow away in the wind. The cover is evocative in the way it shows time passing by.

Annie and David Crayce have 3 children, a thriving business, a loving marriage. It is the absolute perfect life. In 1999, however, the book begins with a short-sharp jolt from this knowledge, with a body being found and a thought of Karen Lomax being missing, DCI Underwood was the investigating officer and Timbo Jaks was a suspect, but nothing more and the case remained unsolved.
Fast-forwarding to 2019 and DCI Gould and DS. Natalie Rundle is on the case as she starts out her new posting in Dean Valley Force in the CID Department in Kesterly, when readers really get to know more about what happened and things really get interesting with familial DNA…

There are secrets abound and all isn’t all it seems in this supposedly almost perfect family. The family are faced with so much turmoil when the investigation is re-opened.  As time moves on, there are doubts and aspertions cast upon the family. Things hot up and suspense heightens with the familial DNA discovery. The “perfect” family face not just the nightmare of the disappearance of Karen, but then face the scruitny into their lives, especially that of David’s, including his mental health and how he can be, since leaving the army, and harks back occassionally in his nightmarish flashbacks to what happened during his time of service.

It’s an involving, provocative book that has plenty of suspense and keeps you suspicious about who committed the crime all those years ago…

About the Author

Author Susan Lewis at her Bagington home. Friday 5th of December 2014
Author Susan Lewis at her Bagington home

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including One Minute Later, My Lies, Your Lies and Forgive Me. Susan’s novels have sold nearly three million copies in the UK alone. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s.

Susan has previously worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. She’s lived in Hollywood and the South of France, but now resides in Gloucestershire with husband James, two stepsons and dogs.

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#Review by Lou Backstories by Simon Van Der Velde @SimonVdVwriter #ShortStories #Backstories #Charities #BookReview

Backstories
By
Simon Van Der Velde

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Backstories take readers into compelling shortstories in the most original for yet! Guess the narrator in each story, it will be someone you may know. It is a book of backstories of famous and sometimes infamous, people’s lives, before they became so well-known, in fictional form.
This quirky book also has something extra…. Check this out… This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth.

The book is available in paperback, e-book and audible forms…. See links below and find out more as you see the very eye-catching cover, the blurb, the full review and then the links.

 

Backstories

Blurb

These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.

CAN YOU FIND THE FAMOUS PERSON HIDDEN IN EVERY STORY?

Dreamers, singers, heroes and killers, they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves, they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth?

“Whatever happened to, all of the heroes?” The Stranglers 1977

I was twelve years old when I first heard this song and although there was something in the feral tone that grabbed me, I didn’t really understand it. I do now. I get the angst and the loss and the emptiness, which is why, in Backstories, I aim to answer the question.

I’m not interested in simplistic tabloid truths. They clung on too long, drank too much, lost their looks and their charm and generally reminded us that we’re all getting older. That’s not what I want from my heroes.

What I want is to find the spark, to dig down into their pain, their passions and their imperfections, and show you our heroes as they truly are.

So join me on my quest. Let’s bypass the obvious, the tedious,and the dull. Brave the deeper, darker paths where the treasures can be found, and together we’ll uncover the fears and doubts that made our heroes what they were and perhaps catch a glimpse of ourselves along the way.

Whatever happened to all of the heroes?

They turned out to be human beings, in all their diverse glory.

Backstories

Review

Backstories is waxing lyrical with an intimate look through portals into snapshots of people’s lives is what Backstories brings readers. It is short stories told in the most original, unusual form. Each story is almost like a game within a plot as readers have to decipher for themselves just who the narrator of each one is.

Each story is an intimate painting of life, of familiar scenes, of people you may know the likes of as the events and people, are real and are well-known, although pretty well fictionalised, but within in each story are good elements of truth.

The characters will have readers delving into the deepest, darkest corners of society and peels back people’s lives from any glitz and glam there may well be, to show souls that are raw, which can be read with real interest as even the most sensitive of subjects are touched upon.

These are fascinating stories that are an impressively compelling read. Backstories certainly brings something new to writing and style.

Links

      Amazon – Backstories        Audible
Goodreads-Backstories
BookBub-Backstories
http://www.simonvandervelde.com/

 

 

The Positivity Project – #Review by Lou of Understanding Kids – 3 books – The Friendship Maze, What’s My Child Thinking? What’s My Teenager Thinking? @TanithCarey @Summersdale @dkbooks @RandomTTours #parenting #UnderstandingKids

The Positivity Project – Understanding Kids
By Tanitha Carey
Rated: 5 stars *****

3 books – The Friendship Maze, What’s My Child Thinking, What’s My Teenager Thinking

I have something a bit different today and this is indeed a very exciting I have 3 short reviews on 3 books that create part of The Positivity Project, which I see as being highly exciting, totally worthwhile and exactly what people need right now, which is why I am excited to have been invited onto the blog tour by Random Things Tours and books gifted and what a treat there is in store. The 3 aforementioned books focus on creating positive children and adults. The books are best used by parents, carers, educationalists, counsellors. They are plain-speaking. There’s no challenging jargon. They are easy to follow. I have a quick overview of the books and then quick reviews and blurbs for each book in turn. Check out the layout of the pages as you scroll down too.

The books The Friendship Maze, What’s My Child Thinking, What’s My Teenager Thinking are the best, healthiest parenting books in a long time…. read further as to what you can find in them and why this seems to be the case… The books are simply incredibly amazing!!! They are some of the most exciting parenting books around right now, my fingers can hardly contain themselves as I write about them. I think they are the Must Read books if you’re a parent of a baby, a toddler, a child, a teenager. They will guide you through every stage.

Being a parent at any time can be a joy and yet challenging, especially in the age we live in. There are behaviours, influences, questions, social media, social pressures and so much more to deal with. These books are much more unique and nuanced than other parenting style books. These are, practical books that don’t pile the pressure of what the latest trend in parenting style is ie helecopter or tiger parenting etc. These books are stripped from all of this and creates something incredibly positive and rounded for parents to read as they bring up their children at all the different ages and stages of their lives. These books also, perhaps inadvertantly, shine a more positive light on future children and adults too as these books give a realistic, healthy look into childhood and teenagers and healthier ways to deal with them as parents. The books are suggestive, rather than preachy.
So many parents are going to find these books highly helpful and sensible. No subeject matter goes untouched. No subject seems to be too small or too big. They amazingly cover literally everything that can crop up at every single age-group in a dynamic, sensitive and most helpful way so parents can use them in their quest to have well-rounded, resilient children and teenagers, as well as helping themselves a bit along the way.

The books have all recieved high praise from key educationalists and psychologists. The books are developed to be used by parents/carers, but can also be used as a useful tool for educationalists and counsellors.
Today I bring you The Friendship Maze, What’s My Child Thinking, What’s My Teenager Thinking. Find out more about them in my reviews and the blurbs and then concluding in bullet points, what each book looks at in turn.

About the Author

Tanith Carey Author PicTanith Carey is a journalist and author who writes on the most pressing challenges facing today’s parents. Her writing has featured in The Telegraph, The Times, New York Daily News, and more. She also appears on TV and radio, such as Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, ITV’s This Morning, and Good Morning Britain.

The Friendship Maze

Review

The Friendship Maze Cover (1)Friendships, it can’t be assumed social skills and actually making friends is a linear process, nor should be taken for granted that this happens naturally, it doesn’t. The book starts off explaining a bit about friendships and then moves onto how sometimes what starts off as being good, can fall into difficulties. It has great tips on bringing up children to show kindness and developing friendships as well as giving some space for independence to grow. It shows that these skills are also something that needs to be taught and gives non-evasive, yet highly practical hints on how to do this.

The book  shows what can impact on social skills and what can in a negative way, with reality tv, puberty, pressure of cliques and social media and what can be positive and what can be negative. The book, as it does throughout, explains and sometimes has a scenario and then has bite-size bubbles with hints how parents can help their child or teen navigate through these times. Parents really can find that there is a helping hand at every stage, even how to have happier playdates.

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Blurb

Friendship battles among children have existed since the words ‘you can’t play with us’ were first uttered in the playground.

But the concern today is that unkind and excluding behaviour appears to be starting sooner than ever – even in nursery school.

Yet despite playing such an important part of their well-being, friendships are the area of our children’s lives that adults understand the least – but worry about the most.

By bringing together the latest social science on friendship for the first time for a UK audience, parenting author Tanith Carey peels back the mystery of children’s relationships so parents can guide their children better.

This bold analysis looks at the factors which have made the friendships of British children some of the most fraught in the world.

What’s my Child Thinking

Review

What's My Child thinking Cover (1)No one can totally know what their child is thinking, after all no one is a mind-reader, but it does give some pretty educated insights and how to handle them in a positive way.

To do this, the book asks the parent to take a few minutes to think about their own childhood and what their values are. There are some directional questions to aid in this process. There are some milestones for child-development given, before looking into child behaviours. It’s all broken down into age-groups and bite-size chunks. There isn’t any jargon to get your head around, it’s done plainly and simply.

The book jumps into what the child is thinking and verbalising, such as the word “no” and seeking that bit of independence of wanting to try to do something themselves. The book clearly explains these and then has a great way of how parents can respond. The book gives an informative chart of how to handle eating out, then goes onto behaviours such as hitting and wanting something, such as your phone. As well as detailing these behaviours and how to deal with them, it clearly states what to do in the long term, as well as in the moment, making this book excellent for longevity.

The book literally goes into every crevice of the child’s world and has a reassuring and healthy way of dealing with anything. Parents often say, there isn’t a handbook for bringing up children. This book comes pretty close. It’s one of the best and sound parenting books because of this and its roundedness and not focusing on any particular trend of a parenting style, which makes this book practical for years and years to come.

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Blurb

For this unique new book, Tanith and Angharad have pulled together the most important aspects of research and advances made in child development, which up to now, hasn’t been available to parents.

Designed for time-pressed parents, it allows mums, dads and carers to quickly and accurately interpret their child’s behaviour in the moment in more than 100 different challenging situations – and give the best science-based solutions, without having to wade through text and opinions

From tantrums, friendships (real and imaginary), sibling rivalry and having a new baby to sleep problems, aggressive behaviour and peer pressure, parents can quickly find a situation and understand exactly what their child is thinking, and the best way to respond. 

There are also practical survival guides dotted throughout which offer more detailed information and key principles to follow when dealing with more complex issues. These include shyness, coping with birthday parties, hitting and biting, travelling in a car and eating out. Complicated situations like separation and divorce are also included.

The book highlights the importance of working together as a team if you have a co-parent, and how it can helpful to seek advice from others if you are raising your child alone. There is guidance on how to decide what matters to you most in terms of values, along with reminders about why children react in the way they do, especially when they don’t yet have the words to explain. Feeling pressured to be the ‘perfect’ parent is also addressed.

What’s My Child Thinking? is the first parenting book that simultaneously brings together the thinking of both the parent and the child. It clearly explains how to decode a child’s behaviour, understand the psychology behind it and confidently find the best solution to resolve it. It shows that by tuning into your child’s innermost thoughts you can get a calmer, happier family life.

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What’s My Teenager Thinking?

Review

What's My Teenager Thinking Cover (1)Often parents find some of the most challenging times being when their small child becomes a teenager and there are even more and different things to navigate. I love that, again, this isn’t preachy and nor does it go into any parenting trends and is much more down-to-earth and more rounded than that. It’s another must have for any parent’s bookshelf. It serves as a practical guide and support, which is bang up-to-date and covers the very sort of world your teen is living in. I’m super impressed and excited for those with teens, that they can have such a book.

The book has a lovely, but easy to understand introduction to what is going on the inside of your teenager’s brain to the hormones it is producing. For the younger teens, it goes from needing the latest phone to addressing hygiene and body changes to FOMO to the changing friendships, crushes and social media, joining marches, moodswings and the more sinister side,. It also handles even more serious issues such as self-harm.It moves up in increments in age as some thoughts change or get deeper than at 13/14. So at 15/16 the themes continue, but extends to exam pressures to thoughts of certain people hating them. It focuses on sleep and shaving too, to wanting more of an allowance to sexual behaviours, dating, coming out as gay. It also handles when the teen wants driving lessons. At 16/17 it takes the themes further to consent, drugs, being worried about the future, anxieties and suicidal thoughts.

These are just a few of the meaty subjects within the book, that have been broken down to just a few pages, giving parents the support they need in a practical way. Each has a very realistic scenario, then segments of what your teen may be thinking and how as a parent you can respond in that moment and practical tips on how to in the long-term.

What is my Teenager Thinking Layout

Blurb

Are your child’s teenage years more challenging than you ever imagined?

Do you struggle to know how to respond when your child says: ‘I hate you!’, ‘Get out of my room!’, ‘My life is over if I don’t get these grades’ or ‘Do I look fat in this?’

Despite your best efforts to say the right thing, do you often find that your suggestions are seen by your teens as ‘criticism’ and your concerns about their well-being are viewed as ‘controlling’?

At a time when our teenagers face unprecedented challenges to their mental health, it’s more important than ever for adults to find better ways to understand and connect with adolescents. What’s My Teenager Thinking? by parenting author Tanith Carey and clinical child psychologist Dr Angharad Rudkin, is a new kind of book that takes a unique approach.

  • It uses the best child and development psychology to translate adolescent behaviour in more than 100 everyday scenarios, many of which are not tackled in other parent books, including issues that have surfaced in lockdown.
  • Drawing on the best research in child psychology, development and neuroscience, each scenario offers practical, easy-to-access solutions parents can use both in the moment and the long-term.
  • It compressed the best science in a way that time-pressed parents can quickly and easily access when a problem arises, without wading through text.
  • Unlike other books which lump the teen years together, it looks at how the teenage brain and thinking evolves through the early, mid and later teenage years

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What the Books Look At:

The Friendship Maze…

  •  How has social media changed the way children relate to each other?
  • How do hierarchies form in every classroom?
  • Why are boys now just as like to engage in ‘mean behaviour?
  • Why do some children always seem to be left on the side-lines?
  • Are we too quick to call ‘bullying’?
  • Deal with classroom and social media politics.
  • Inoculate your child against the effects of peer-group pressure, cliquiness and exclusion.
  • Learn what’s really going on in your child’s social circle.
  • Bully-proof your child throughout school.
  • Work out when to step in and step out of your child’s conflicts.
  • Help your child make friends if they are stuck on the side-lines.

What’s My Teenager Thinking

  • Designed for parents of all adolescents, What’s My Teenager Thinking includes what to say when your teen says:
  • I am revising
  • Stop following me on social media
  • Everyone else plays this computer game
  • You never listen
  • You swear. Why can’t I?
  • I’ll tidy my room in a minute
  • I’m going anyway
  • Can my boyfriend sleep over?

What’s my Teenager Thinking? tackles real-world concerns including online safety, exam pressures, eating disorders, depression, alcohol, drugs, and sex and doesn’t shy away from hard-hitting themes such as porn, self-harm and suicide.

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A #Spotlight into What Beauty There Is @coryanderwrites #YA #Teens #Thriller #TheWriteReads #TheWriteReadsOnTour

What Beauty There Is
By Cory Anderson
Spotlight

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Something sinister and exhilerating is coming to the Young Adult book market… What Beauty There Is, is published by Penguin Random House UK on 8th April. It’s going to be one heck of an amazing  ride, not for the faint-hearted!!! It has an all immersive atmosphere that will have you hanging in there for the duration of the book. It’s like hearing and seeing everything in 4D in your mind. It will set your pulses racing and eyes glued to every page! You will want to know what happens next this thriller that depicts beauty and brutality. This has a dark, intense grittiness within it as it  poses the thought-provoking question of “How far will you go to protect your loved ones…”
This is a new thriller older teens and young adults will get much reading pleasure from.
What Beauty There Is, is a fast-paced, well-written thriller from Cory Anderson, who is a winner of the League of Utah Writers Young Adult Novel Award and Grand Prize in the Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest. What Beauty There Is, is her debut novel.
Find out more in the blurb below.
In April, I will be back with a full review of this Thriller of a book!
Thanks to The Write Reads for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.

What Beauty There Is

Blurb

An exhilarating, emotionally impactful and superbly written thriller with the atmosphere of Winter’s Bone and the compulsive reading experience of Karen McManus.

Winter. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.

Jack Morton has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he’d do anything for. Even die for.

Now with their mother gone, and their funds quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison.

But in the harsh, isolated landscape of the mid-Rockies with winter approaching, it isn’t easy. And soon Jack realises he’s not the only one on the hunt . . .

An unputdownable thriller about how far you’ll go to protect those you love.

What Beauty There Is is Cory Anderson’s YA novel about brutality and beauty, and about broken people trying to survive—perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Laura Ruby, and Meg Rosoff.

#Review by Lou of Notebook by Tom Cox @cox_tom @unbounders @RandomTTours #NonFiction #Notebook

Notebook
by Tom Cox

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am absolutely delighted and excited to be on the blog tour for Notebook by Tom Cox. It is humorous, moving and highly engaging. I read it all in one sitting! 

Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me to review and to Unbound for sending me such a beautiful copy.

About the Author

Notebook Tom Cox Author Pic (1)Tom Cox lives in Norfolk. He is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling The Good, The Bad and The Furry and the William Hill Sports Book longlisted Bring Me the Head of Sergio Garcia. 21st-Century Yokel was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize, and the titular story of Help the Witch won a Shirley Jackson Award.Tom Cox has 75k followers on Twitter and 25k on Instagram. He is also the man behind the enormously popular Why My Cat is Sad account, which has 250k followers.
@cox_tom

Notebook Cover (1)

Blurb

Sure, sex is great, but have you ever cracked open a new notebook and written something on the first page with a really nice pen?
The story behind Notebook starts with a minor crime: the theft of Tom Cox’s rucksack from a Bristol pub in 2018. In that rucksack was a journal containing ten months worth of notes, one of the many Tom has used to record his thoughts and observations over the past twelve years. It wasn’t the best he had ever kept – his handwriting was messier than in his previous notebook, his entries more sporadic – but he still grieved for every one of the hundred or so lost pages.
This incident made Tom appreciate how much notebook-keeping means to him: the act of putting pen to paper has always led him to write with an unvarnished, spur-of-the-moment honesty that he wouldn’t achieve on-screen.
Here, Tom has assembled his favourite stories, fragments, moments and ideas from those notebooks, ranging from memories of his childhood to the revelation that ‘There are two types of people in the world. People who fucking love maps, and people who don’t.’
The result is a book redolent of the real stuff of life, shot through with Cox’s
trademark warmth and wit.

Notebook (2)

Review

Firstly, got to feel very sorry for the theft of his rucksack on all this writing, but this is a marvellous book that has come from experiencing such a terrible crime.The writing is absolutely exquisite, from the humour to the descriptions. It is such a pleasure to read about these seemingly random things and yet to put the observations into a book in such a way that is the complete opposite of mundane that brings such joy is wonderful and no mean feat, it shows skill as he tells anecdotes that are both moving and such fun. There’s an honest about his recollections and Tom Cox writes as though you could be right beside him or as though you’ve unlocked some written treasures. It has the air of intimacy about it as he tells of many places and days. It makes me smile that he talks of Mansfield and around Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire places I know well (and no I don’t live there). He also talks candidly about Norwich and its churches and a ghost walk, before moving onto Norfolk and Somerset and what can be found there. He takes notes on the countryside and nature that can be found in the places he has been to.
The anecdotes throughout the book are humorous and really bring the book to life in the way they are written, whether its about a place, the people, the nature or writing.

There’s so much of life (and death) in the book and so much that is also moving, but it is also incredibly uplifting and is sure to capture people’s humorous side of life and give them a chuckle. As in the style of any notebook, nothing is dwelled on too much and it is jam-packed full of all sorts of curiosities that make it engaging and would defy not to draw any reader in.

The strings of ideas, points of views and observations and thoughts are expertly woven together and yet in the air of a very well-kept notebook, yet raw, honest, no airs or graces and all scribbled down as he sees and thinks things, which is quite a delight for the senses. 

 

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