#BookReview by Lou of Promises At Indigo Bay @EllynOaksmith @BOTBSPublicity @sarahhardy681

Promises At Indigo Bay
By Ellyn Oaksmith
Rated: 4 stars ****

Romantic with a twist and some gorgeous scenery sets up Promises At Indigo Bay by Ellyn Oaksmith. I am delighted to be closing this blog tour with a review.
Thanks to Sarah Hardy and Bookouture for inviting me to the blog tour and for providing a book to review from.

About the Author

Promises at Indigo Bay authorEllyn Oaksmith is the USA Today and Kindle bestselling author of the Blue Hills Series, featuring the Alvarez family.

After graduating from Smith College and attaining her MFA from The American Film Institute, Ellyn began her writing career as an award-winning screenwriter in Hollywood. Her books explore the same themes as her screenplays: grit, humor, family and love.

Ellyn lives on one of Seattle’s many hills with her husband and spends as much time as possible on the water as part of a competitive rowing team.

Ellyn Oaksmith is the USA Today and Kindle bestselling author of the Blue Hills Series, featuring the Alvarez family.

Promises at Indigo Bay cover

Blurb

Our life together meant more to me than he could possibly imagine. I just wanted another night. I thought I knew what was coming. A proposal. If only it had been that simple.

Things are finally working out for Stella Gallagher. Unlucky in love and faced with limited options in her small town, she was beginning to give up on romance altogether, until mysterious Italian Paolo Gentillo moved to Chelan…

Paolo is smart, kind, gorgeous and, most importantly, they’re completely obsessed with each other: Stella has finally found her match. Everything would be perfect, except there are things she hasn’t told Paolo—she doesn’t know how he’s going to feel about her when he finds out about her past…

So when Paolo proposes, Stella panics: it’s way too soon. She wants to be with him, but suddenly they’re talking about forever. He doesn’t even know the real her, she’s scared to face up to her secret, and she’s never felt so alone. Is the damage from her past going to threaten her chance at a perfect future?

A heart-warming story about learning to trust in yourself and the people you love, Promises at Indigo Bay will show you that it’s never too late to try for your happy ending. For fans of Robyn Carr, Carolyn Brown and Debbie Macomber. 

Promises at Indigo Bay cover

Review

Izzy at 60 years old has grown to love Pavarotti and Paolo who released her in a way from a more hemmed in life and breathed new life into her and loves her just the way she is. He also bought a boat and seems quite the adventurer and romantic. All seems most idyllic when they are out in it, but the atmosphere changes after a while when something happens in the water that later turns stormy.

There’s also Carmen, Izzy’s best friend, who she confides in and it seems all is not straightforward and feels untoward with Paolo when he proposes with the thought of deportation after a work visa runs out, looms over him. There is some humour as well when she meets his mother, but all the way through I found myself wondering what sort of relationship this all could be and if there would be any sort of happy ending or if she would leave him. There is something sinister in the relationship and perhaps some secrets, but it builds and then seems to ease off every so often, which works to a certain extent and develops some of the atmosphere. Paolo seems to have a bit of a temper about him at times and the man you think he is, is perhaps not how it is at all. It does have its intriguing moments, I felt, could be a little stronger at times, it is still a good read and moves along at a pretty good pace and with some momentary humour with gorgeous scenery and a beautiful ending.

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Promises at Indigo Bay - BT Poster

#BookReview by Lou of Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten #CrimeFiction @nholten40 @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK @BOTBSPublicity

Dead Perfect
By Noelle Holten
Rated: 5 stars *****

Today I am delighted to be closing the blog tour for Noelle Holten and her book – Dead Perfect.

Fast-paced, gritty and chilling to the end – Dead Perfect is a book that packs a punch, with its twists and turns and sinister moves of a stalker.
Thanks One More Chapter/Harper Collins for providing me with the book and for Sarah Hardy for later, inviting me to join the blog tour. 

About The Author

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering cases of domestic violence and abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Dead Inside is her debut novel and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

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Blurb

A murdered woman…

When the body of a young woman is found in a local park, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she’s dealing with no ordinary killer.  The murder victim has been disfigured; her outfit changed to resemble someone else.  Someone Maggie knows all too well…her close friend Dr Kate Moloney.

A determined detective…

Maggie is determined to keep her friend safe, but with Kate already struggling with a threatening stalker, Maggie now fears Kate’s life is in real danger.  Who else would want to harm Kate and why else would the killer be turning his victims into exact replicas – his living dolls? 

Can Maggie find the depraved killer?  Or will Kate become his next living doll?

Dead Pefect

Review

A tapping sound, a hammer and a video makes an intriguing prologue.
The Major and Organised Crime Department at Stafford Police Station is where DC Maggie Jamieson is in active service and in comes a sinister case that could be so close to home for her and the team, with a stalker on the loose. The writing is impactful and emotional, as well as compelling and believable as it twists from as early on from the first couple of chapters.

The team solving the case are likeable, especially Nathan and his protective nature.

When it comes to the culprit, there is edge of your seat, atmophere, as the tension builds, as does the case. It also has an air of creepiness about it. This is powerful writing of a stalker’s harrowing and spine-tingling activities.

There is also Lucy Sherwood, who has completed her probation at Markston and is an agency Probation Officer who is opening a refuge for men and women. She also feeds into the case as well, in a practical sense and both her story and the case all come together rather seemlessly and naturally. The author has evidently used some of her own background when writing about Lucy Sherwood, which enhances the character.

There’s the question of whether the stalker and murderer are one of the same person or if both cases are not linked at all. It’s a book that keeps you guessing!
There is also the question of the press being involved that adds to the intrigue.

It’s quite edgy and graphic in nature, but in a realistic sense of being tied-up, which then becomes absorbing, with a need to find out what happens next and who will be caught and who will survive and how people are connected as evidence is pieced together, but there are twists and turns within this as well.

It is captivating as the behaviours of the stalker are discussed and as the colleagues try to work it out and also recall a historic serial killer. There seems to be a lot for readers to get stuck into in this book and all is detailed with what needs to be done to protect the officers as much as possible about each part of the case to catch the criminal, but still, Noelle Holten manages to keep everything pointing in the same direction of attempting to solve the case and keep it all gripping and chilling to the very end.

Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse – What You Urgently Need To Know @NinaDSchick @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #DeepFakes

Deep Fakes is quite some read, but I wanted to take it on in the blog tour that I was invited to by Anne Cater from Random Things Tours because it seems to me to be one of the most important books within this technological age to help innocent people from being caught up in the deep fakes that people do, as cons and also to create fake news and much more. It is a great book that seems to me to forewarn and forearm against this type of, lets face it, despicable activity. I also thank Octopus Books publishing company for giving me a physical book to review from.
Please find the synopsis and my full review below.

“In writing this book, it is my modest aim to help you understand how dangerous
and untrustworthy our information ecosystem has become, and how its harms
extend far beyond politics – even into our private and intimate life. It is my hope
that this understanding can help us come together to bolster our defences and
start fighting back. As a society, we need to be better at building resilience to the
Infocalypse. Understanding what is happening is the first step.”

In Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse, Nina Schick warns us urgently of the impending
information overload (known as the ‘Infocalypse’) and explains the dangerous political
consequences of this Infocalypse, both in terms of national security and what it means for
public trust in politics. Deep Fakes have been around for less than three years, to silence
and for revenge and fraud. Government, business and society are completely unprepared.
Schick also unveils what it means for us as individuals, how Deep Fakes will be used to
intimidate and to silence, for revenge and fraud, and how unprepared governments and
tech companies are.
The malicious use of Deep Fakes is not only a real threat for democracy but they take
the manipulation of voters to new levels. With the impending US election, and with vast
amounts of money being spent of social media, it is expected that Deep Fakes will become
a huge story later this year – – AI generated fake content is here for good, and we will have to
figure how to navigate a world where seeing is no longer believing.

Review

Technology is moving at a great rate and the probability of most people coming across deep fakes is high, as this book suggests that with every new bit of technology. It feels a deeply uncomfortable read, but one that is sadly necessary to be better informed and armed to spot deep fakes. It is a very important book for our times. One that I wish didn’t need to even be considered having to be written, but glad that it has been and it really hits hard the way that segments of society is so menacing that innocent people get hurt, as get reported on our news and consumer programmes at times and global issues get knocked askew.

It is very informative and even if you are unsure of what a deep fake is, Nina Schick has carefully taken time to explain in plain language what one is before really delving into the misuse of technology and how it has been used to skew politics and other normal things we partake in our lives on everyday platforms like You Tube and more. It also doesn’t miss out deep-fake porn either. It’s enough to make anyone with a conscience to think about the real and dangerous, harmful consequences of deep-fakes. As uncomfortable and real this is, the author has managed to not go down any scare-mongering route tactics.

She goes into what has been happening within Russia and the US in part and brings it right up to 2020 and what has been put out about Covid 19 from people who are supposed to be trusted and hold the most power, not just in their respective countries, but in the world to what is being put out about shootings in the States. The book shows across the world there are internal and global threats that there is a huge impact on everyone’s lives when social media is filled with fakes and misinformation and also goes further still in showing how much damage has been caused to people’s lives who have been victims of fraud.

After, responsibly alerting people to how dangerous the Infocalypse has become it ends on a slightly more positive note saying where to check your facts, such as BBC Fact Checker. Basically safe places where you can get up to the minute facts on what you’ve seen around the web, including social media, so that you can get the truth and figure out if what you’ve seen has been a fake or not and gives practical ways to up your defense in the onslaught of cyber-crime and fakes.

The book is there to help build some resilience and knowledge to protect yourself a bit more against the people who get their kicks out of conning innocent people. There are nuggets of how AI can be good as well, but it is more of a focus to educate people, so they can be better prepared for the parts where technology itself will not protect and it does it in a thought-provoking and considered manner.

#BookReview by Lou of The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley @MsAmeliaHenley @HQstories @RandomTTours #TheLifeWeAlmostHad

The Life We Almost Had
By Amelia Henley
Rated: 5 stars *****

Amelia Henley Banner

Romance can be beautiful and come when you least expect it, but can bring so many twists and turns. Elegantly written, this romantic fiction bring uplifting and heartwarming to despair and heartache all with a large pinch of hope and courage that is quite the page-turner as it becomes ever more absorbing and an addictive read.

Thanks to HQ Stories and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour and for providing such an elegant and gorgeous physical copy of The Life We Almost Had.
Read further for the blurb and full review.

The Life We Almost Had Cover

Blurb

This is not a typical love story, but it’s our love story.

Anna wasn’t looking for love when Adam swept her off her feet but there was no denying their connection, and she believed they would be together forever.

Years later, cracks have appeared in their relationship. Anna is questioning whether their love can really be eternal when a cruel twist of fate delivers a crushing blow, and Anna and Adam are completely lost to one another. Now, Anna needs Adam more than ever, but the way back to him has life-changing consequences.
 
Is a second chance at first love really worth the sacrifice? Anna needs to decide and time is running out…

A beautiful and emotional love story that asks, how far would you go for a second chance at first love? Perfect for fans of The Man Who Didn’t Call and Miss You.

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Review

Each chapter takes readers to Anna, Adam and Oliver in this beautiful, purposeful, romantic story of life.

Anna and Adam meet in unconventional circumstances, when love strikes.
It shows in a believable, honest way how relationships can break-down, but gives a kind of hope that second chances can occur.

Ann was supposed to have gotten married, but was dumped only two weeks before and can’t help but look up her ex-fiance’s Facebook Page. Nell, her best friend, is a wise soul, who tries to help her out with this compulsion, in urging her to unfriend him and taking her mind off things in the best ways possible, until an incident, whilst swimming. It’s all written with the upmost believeability and with so much that women, who have experienced having a bad relationship experience, will be able to relate to. The water scene is also descriptive that you can totally imagine what it would be like in a difficult situation. What happens next, is when Adam comes in, being all brave and handsomely masculine, with a romantic idealism. It’s enough for even the most confident of swimmers to not mind being in challenging circumstances; not when the chivalrous Adam is about anyway.

A holiday romance that is so spontaneous that it captures and wraps you up with love as the conversation of Anna and Adam as they click together are just sublime, about life, university and the truth of not being a high flyer, which in itself is so refreshing and dreams, such as Anna wishing she was a writer and Adam wanted to travel.

It’s so incredibly heartwarming and uplifiting and Adam is sure to be the man of every woman’s dreams.

It isn’t all plain-sailing though as unknown things like the possibility of endemetriosis starts to show and so does some of the stress and tension that it can cause in a relationship. Being unable to conceive is a hard-hitting subject, that is written with such realism, but altogether with the strife, heartbreak and the romance intertwined, makes rooting for this couple easy, as the likeable groundwork to Anna’s and Adam’s personalities has already been done, earlier in the book. The way the effect of this issue affects both men and women is balanced so well and adds an understanding to the book, that endemetriosis emotionally affects both in a couple. It’s a pleasingly mature way of observing this in the writing as it would be so easy to write from just a female perspective. It is also, surprisingly thought-provoking at how couples can feel and can end up.

There’s a twist to the tale and things take a heartbreaking turn for Adam, which makes for a story of so much hope as he becomes unwell and it becomes even more of a page-turner, with a change of pace and urgency to continue.
The way scientists look at patients and the way partner’s do is highlighted well, with the contrast of the cold, hard medical experiement to push whatever boundary and the warmth, human touch of a partner who see a human-being much more. It’s strong and again, honest. This in turn, introduces Oliver Chapman and also hynotherapy for Anna.

There’s a spiralling, unravelling that appears in Anna’s and Adam’s lives in unconventional ways, that then made, my memory anyway, cast back to the swirling water near the beginning, whether it was intentional or not, it’s cleverly written. RIght to the end, it’s an enthralling book that is heartwarming and uplifting and this will sustain any reader through what becomes utter despair and heartbreaking for the characters.

It is so worth reading the utterly heartbreaking author’s note at the end to understand why this book was written and to know why there is such a sense of heartbreak within this wonderful book that covers just about every single emotion.

There are then questions for Book Clubs.

I took a read of an excerpt from the next book, I am very intrigued to see how that unfolds too as it gets off to a brilliant start.

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#Bookreview of #ChildrensBook – Ben and The Bug by Natalie Reeves Billing – Essential Reading for Our Times @BillingReeves @RandomTTours

Ben and The Bug
By Natalie Reeves Billing
Rated: 5 stars *****

One of the most important and essential children’s books of our times!
Engaging and sensitive, this book takes children through our times of Covid 19 in a way they will understand and not be scared, but that will assist them to be more aware, through story, facts and a game.
I thank Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour and for them and Natalie Billing for sending me a copy of the book.

Blurb

When Ben meets Bug at the swing park, they instantly become the best of friends. But when everyone around them gets sick, Ben wonders about the identity of his new playmate.Ben and the Bug is written for families looking for a friendly approach to discussions around Coronavirus.

Ben and the Bug Front Cover

Review

This is an engaging story with one of the most important purposes of our times. Everyone knows about the Corona Virus now, but it can be challenging to remind children or know where to even start with children, when explaining it. In this engaging book that really brings everything down to a child’s level, this book will be an incredibly useful tool for children, child-educators and parents alike, through story and a game.

The game is “Spot the Bug”. On each page there is a bug to find, which will engage children further into the story of Ben and his Auntie Pat.

The book starts in the park. That’s where the bug was first encountered. It’s a fun, yet serious story that shows how a bug can be spread and make people feel unwell. It’s done in a sensible and sensitive way, through fun and bold illustrations and story, that is engaging for children. As well as the story are facts about keeping clean and the bug that all backs up the story and gently informs children. There are more facts at the back of the book as well, that can be brought into any discussion.
The book also shows the bug being sad that it is making people sick and wants to help. It will dissipate any fear factor, even though, of course the bug won’t do that, yet will help children to be able to better understand what is going on, to ease some anxieties, which could also help them to take the situation of Covid 19 more seriously. The book has elements of positivity as it tells of what people are trying to do to make this situation better.

About the Author

Natalie Reeves Billing. Author Pic (1).jpgNatalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool lass with a dark sense of humour, which often spills onto the page. She loves to write spooky, fantastical stories for young audiences, and dabbles in poetry, contemporary fiction.
Natalie spent most of her early career in the music industry as a performer and professional songwriter. This lead, almost inevitably, to storytelling.

Natalie is an Arvon Foundation friend and is a student of the Golden Egg Academy. She is mentored under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, with her Bubs Literacy project. She is published in several anthologies with her poetry and flash fiction, including the Writing on the Wall, Read Now, Write Now, and is involved in several collaborations with fellow writers across poetry, song, and scriptwriting.
Her new book, My Mummy is a Monster (part of the Monstrous Me collection) will be available in March 2020 and Carry Love in June 2020
Connect with Natalie on Twitter @BillingReeves.

#Bookreview by Lou of #ChildrensBook – My Daddy Is A Monster by Natalie Reeves Billing @BillingReeves @RandomTTours #MonstrousMe #MyDaddyIsAMonster

My Daddy Is A Monster
By Natalie Reeves Billing
Rated: 5 stars *****

Following from My Mummy’ – Is A Monster, this is another dual perspective book that is thought-provoking for young children.
Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours and Natalie for inviting me onto the blog tour and for a copy of the book.

My Daddy is a monster pic

Blurb

The Monstrous Me collection are split perspective books looking at situations from other points of view, helping children develop a sense of balance, roundedness and wellbeing. Readers can literally and figuratively, turn the story on its head, and look at the very same situations from different angles. In this second book, ‘My Daddy is a Monster’ a curious little boy is convinced his dad is a monster. But, is he really? When we look through his dad’s eyes, we see a very different story.

Review

One way the book is My Daddy Is A Monster. Turn the book upside down and you get My Kid Is A Monster.
Monsters can hide and daddy turns into a big purple monster. He does all sorts of things like takes away the kids IPad, makes them awful food, drags them to a football match and much more. Then at bedtime, it all turns more positive for the kids as they realise daddy is not a monster after all as he does some really kind things.

On the flip-side the kids are monsters who leave toys lying out, fidget and fight, take daddy’s phone and moan through the football game and more…
When the kids are all tucked up in bed, the perspective changes and both kids and daddy wonder if each other are really monsters.

It’s a story that will make children think and could assist in seeing each other’s perspectives and try to regulate and think about their behaviour. It could enhance certain aspects of growing-up and being respectful and in growing into a more rounded individual. It’s perfect for opening up thoughtful discussions with young children, as well as enjoying the game and story, in a home and education setting.

It’s also beautifully illustrated with a game of “Hunting the Monstrometer” throughout the book.

About the Author

Natalie Reeves Billing. Author Pic (1)Natalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool lass with a dark sense of humour, which often spills onto the page. She loves to write spooky, fantastical stories for young audiences, and dabbles in poetry, contemporary fiction.
Natalie spent most of her early career in the music industry as a performer and professional songwriter. This lead, almost inevitably, to storytelling.

Natalie is an Arvon Foundation friend and is a student of the Golden Egg Academy. She is mentored under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, with her Bubs Literacy project. She is published in several anthologies with her poetry and flash fiction, including the Writing on the Wall, Read Now, Write Now, and is involved in several collaborations with fellow writers across poetry, song, and scriptwriting.
Her new book, My Mummy is a Monster (part of the Monstrous Me collection) will be available in March 2020 and Carry Love in June 2020
Connect with Natalie on Twitter @BillingReeves.

My Daddy is a Monster BT Poster (1)