#Review By Lou of Within You, Without You By Sara O’Donovan @saraodonovanwriter @valleypress @RandomTTours #BlogTour #WithinYouWithoutYou #Debut

Within You, Without You
By Sara O’Donovan

 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks to Valley Press and Random T. Tours I have a review on a book reminiscent of the film Sliding Doors. So, slide down to discover the blurb and the review of this well constructed debut novel.

 

Kathryn Johnson’s life is at a standstill. Stuck in a lacklustre marriage, the spark that once burned so brightly within her has since been snuffed out by the monotony of the everyday.

Returning to England after many years of living in Ireland, she is shocked to discover a familiar face on the side of the road one dark and stormy night. But a person can’t just reappear like that. Not when they’ve been dead for twenty years.

Uncovering long-buried memories of first love and its devastating loss, Kathryn returns to the past to see if she can rewrite her present. But love divided by time is a complicated equation to solve.

Review

There’s a dreamy beginning as you enter Kathryn’s life in the prologue and then a startling revelation that is sure to reawaken your senses with a jolt, before slipping into the first chapter to see more of her life as it pierces with grief before swinging you into 1992 and there’s Ed and his love of horses and the racing fixtures. There’s also the life, culture and music of Liverpool, the 90’s films like Top Gun and Ed and Kat’s love blossoming. The party and drugs scenes, however are also in full flow. In fact, The Beatles had a song called Within You, Without You. It is worth a listen to, perhaps after reading this book. It interestingly does in some respects marry up to the book. I don’t know if this is what the author had in mind or the film Sliding Doors, or both, but this works pretty well.

It is an intense read, but quite compelling as you see her life in the past and present. It is quite sliding doors in a sense. This is what makes it compelling as you really need to get to the end to work it all out and what truly happened and also to find if and how lives work out. Investing time and required concentration in their lives certainly is worth it as you go through all the twists and turns and pangs of nostalgia throughout.

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#BookReview of The Garnett Girls By Georgina Moore @PublicityBooks #TheGarnettGirls #ContemporaryFiction #Debut #readingcommunity

The Garnett Girls
By Georgina Moore

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Garnett Girls is a terrific debut! It is easy to lose yourself as you enter this family’s complex lives. Discover the blurb and full review below. 

Blurb

Forbidden, passionate and all-encompassing, Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff of legend– but, ultimately, doomed.

When Richard walked out, Margo locked herself away, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, to run wild.

Years later, charismatic Margo entertains lovers and friends in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard and her painful past. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.

Rachel is desperate to return to London, but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home.

Dreamy Imogen feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when life is taking an unexpected turn.

And wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her fractured family and controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core…

The Garnett Girls, the captivating debut from Georgina Moore, asks whether children can ever be free of the mistakes of their parents.

Review 

Set between Venice, The Isle of Wight and London, the lives of the Garnett Girls unfolds, swirling and captivating from the moment the book is open.
After an exquisite prologue, then sweep into the opening chapter in captivating Venice, where Imogen, a playwright and is interested in Russia when it had Tsars, before it became a Communist state, is, with her imminent fiancé, William. You quickly learn how she and her mother, Margo used to holiday with all the busyness of the fun things to do, I rather like that!
The book is intriguing from the start as Margo loves Italy and yet never took her daughters – Rachel (married to Gabriel) Imogen (engaged to William in Venice) and Sasha (married to Phil, doesn’t appreciate the arts and instead went into medicine, travelling to set up medical crises centres around the world with a charity). There’s also their father – Richard, who’s a dark character as secrets and truths come to light about him.Margo is heading for 60. She also dwells a bit on her age and how she will soon have a bus pass. I must say, what a privilege and better than the other things you read about that happens as you age.

It quickly becomes apparent that this family is complex in so many ways, from the decisions they make, past and present to their relationships between each other and others.

This sweeping story is attention grabbing from the beginning and remains ever curious all the way through to the end. It is a highly accomplished debut novel that is easy to lose yourself in.

Thanks to HQ for gifting me the book in exchange of an honest review.

#BookReview By Lou of The Time Jigsaw – Adventures In Time Book 1 #TheTimeJigsaw #SciFi #CrimeFiction #Mystery

The Time Jigsaw – Adventures In Time
Book 1
By David Munro

 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Having read and rating them pretty highly – two of David Munro’s books – Georgina and  I asked him if there were others, so he directed me to where it all began – The Time Jigsaw. He informs me it is inspired by where he comes from. Check out the blurb and review below…

 

Blurb


Following a move to Nice, the life of James Carsell-Brown begins to change when he meets pretty Michelle Duvallier, whom he believes is the woman of his dreams. However. appearances can be deceptive. After the body of a young woman matching Michelle’s description is washed up on a beach, all hell breaks loose. He is kidnapped and upon his escape, decides to flee to the calmer waters of Scotland. In Scotland, though, he faces new challenges – time travelling from one period to another quite by chance.

Review

The Time Jigsaw is a slow-burn but one that’s worth staying with. There’s time travel and as well as this, a murder to solve. It’s certain intriguing as readers are invited to not only be immersed in solving a crime, but also in the sci-fi element of time travel, which feels very well researched.

Readers can follow the main character – James Carsell Brown who gets metaphorical “itchy feet” and makes the move from Aberdeen to Nice. There are interesting comparisons made between the two, and the differences. He doesn’t get the warmest of welcomes. It isn’t long before he meets Michelle Duvallier, there’s intrigue in the conversation that piques interest as to who she is. When her body is washed up, James finds himself embroiled in whoever she truly was and has no clue about what the police are on about. There’s intrigue with a little suspense as Detective Claude Laurant takes on the case. From then the suppositions and accusations fly and all is not as innocent as first appeared with the woman who seemed like she had an average life.

When in Scotland, an innocent enough journey and this is when things get even more mysterious and interesting as he finds himself travelling through time to various time periods. The author has clearly thoroughly researched the time periods and paints a picture of each place in time he arrives in. This is when the title – The Time Jigsaw comes into its own as there are many parts to piece together.

Between the time travel and the mystery of Michelle Duvallier, it is a fairly engaging story. It is an entertaining and interesting concept of mixing crime fiction and time travel.

 

About the Author 

David Munro was born in the north of Edinburgh and then moved to the capital’s Royal Mile. His family originally came from Ardrishaig, on the banks of Loch Fyne. David was employed by a well-known brewery in Edinburgh, and at the age of 27, relocated to Aberdeen, then Glasgow. He attended university and college to attain Chartered Marketer status in an arts discipline. As an arts professional, and with experience of different cultures, this lends to creative literature. Relaxing to music and taking long walks through the scenic Scottish countryside, assists David in formulating ideas for his novels.

#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

#Review By Lou of Yinka, Where Is You Huzband @DamilolaLizzie @VikingBooks #YINKA #UpliftingFiction #ContemporaryFiction #BlogTour #Romcom

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband
By Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
Rated 4 1/2 stars

Today I am excited to be on the blog tour for the highly entertaining and fun book  – Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband. I had good vibes about it just a few pages in…Thanks to Viking Books for gifting me a proof copy and for inviting me on the blog tour. Find out more below in the blurb and full review, as well as what critically acclaimed authors such as Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary say…

Blurb

Yinka Where is Your Huzband coverYinka wants to find love. Her mum wants to find it for her.

She also has too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, a preference for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food, and a bum she’s sure is far too small as a result. Oh, and the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too…

When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences ‘Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding’. Armed with a totally flawless, incredibly specific plan, will Yinka find herself a huzband?

What if the thing she really needs to find is herself?

Review

 Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband is so relatable, especially to singletons who are asked that eternal question about a partner. Yinka has many aunties who want to know when she is going to find a man and get married, after all, she is in her 30’s and this seems important to them. It is interesting to see Yinka trying to forge her own life. She is also career driven, until one day, something happens that changes her life plans, which forces her to plan new life-goals.

I was interested to see if Yinka would find a man and there are some very funny steps that are taken in her hunt for one, but I was also engrossed in other aspects of her and the other characters lives too.

It is interesting how organised Yinka is, even in her personal life and the text shows this through well-placed tables and lists. There are also letters pertaining her employment status too. These are very well-conceived and placed and not over-done.

The book is great for cosying up to on a cold day as it is easy to get wrapped up in the story, and yet is as light as a summer breeze, where you can easily sit with it and take in the rays of the sun. It is a feel-good, highly entertaining read that is joyous and fun!

Readers who like Bridget Jones Diary and Shopaholic series in style are sure to enjoy Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband. It is just as humorous and a fun debut novel!
I highly recommend this book and would be interested to see what comes next from the author -Lizzie Damilola Blackburn.

           

 

Yinka, Where is Your Huzband Tour 6 copy (1)

 

#BookReview of The Younglings By Helena M. Craggs @h_craggs @LoveBooksGroup #YoungAdult #Halloween #Fantasy #Paranormal #Vampires #Ghosts #Witches #Debut

The Younglings
By Helena M. Craggs

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today it is my turn to share my review on the blog tour of The Younglings. A spookily good book for Young Adults/Teens in time for Halloween. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the full review…
Thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me onto the blog tour to review. Thanks to Helena M. Cragg for gifting me the book, the Cadbury’s Dark Milk Chocolate (long since eaten) and the pen (now well used).

The Younglings 3

Blurb

The Younglings 1Humans have no idea what lurks in the shadows.

Mortals don’t expect to see supernaturals. Their minds rarely consider the possibility, even when it’s staring them right in the face. I was one such person … until I met my estranged father.

Let me introduce myself. The name is Carter. Quinn Carter. A witty, laid-back, regular guy, who just happens to be half-demon.

Finding out Dad is a demon king was like a sucker punch to the gut. Seriously, I’m a total biological freak. Meeting him was the catalyst for my life tail-spinning into a new world—a world where things of legend are real.  

The one positive about this whole situation is the friends I have made. Good friends. But they too have secrets … big secrets. They’re not exactly your average individuals. Turns out demons aren’t the only paranormal creatures out there.

I also need to mention a Vampire Ministry, evil stab-worthy demons, and troubled spirits stranded on the spectral plane. As a consequence, life for my friends and me became a tad problematic.

Being heroes in the mortal realm hadn’t been on anybody’s to-do list, but we had no choice in the matter, and things were about to get very interesting.

Review

The Younglings 2Once you’ve opened the spookily brooding cover, it is found that the book is cleverly written as from the beginning, readers are practically being directly spoken to and then the story unfolds in third-person from there. This technique is captivating.

It comes as a bit of a surprise to Quinn Carter that he isn’t quite the regular teen he thought he was as he discovers he is half-demon and further still, discovers his friends aren’t as average as he first thought either as some of them have magical powers. Even his best friend Eve isn’t exactly who he thought she was as he discovers she is half-angel. There are also witches and a vampire and ghosts, some even with jobs like Lilth who is a nanny, just not your normal sort…
There’s a story there about good versus evil. There’s even a Vampire Ministry and rules to get to know. This book has everything you’d want in a supernatural book, plus there is a mention of historical times and witch trials in the North of England.

This is a great read for teens in the run up to Halloween, or indeed any other time of the year. There is humour within the spooks that would most certainly appeal to teens. It is entertaining and fast-paced so grabs attention quick.  It has great, realistic characterisation that teens will be able to identify with. Each character has their own trials and tribulations to overcome, sometimes from within. There are also certain relationships brewing that readers can really get behind. There’s romantic chemistry and fight scenes readers can really get into.
Most of the time, characters are easy to root for, sometimes they can be frustrating, but it all goes in with teen behaviours and actions, which gives this book a certain grounding.

It’s a strong debut novel that is very much worth getting your vampire teeth stuck into!

The Younglings tour poster