#BookReview By Lou – Good Cop, Bad Cop By Simon Kernick Happy Publication Day @simonkernick @headlinepg @RandomTTours #GoodCopBadCop #Thriller #BlogTour

Good Cop, Bad Cop
By Simon Kernick

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Firstly – I wish Simon Kernick a Happy Publication Day! Today I am pleased to review Good Cop, Bad Cop by Simon Kernick on the Random Things Blog Tour.

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Don’t forget to breath whilst reading this high octane book!

Check out the blurb and my full review below. Thanks to Headline for gifting me Good Cop, Bad Cop and for Random Thing Tours for inviting me to review.

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Blurb

COURAGEOUS HERO OR COLD-BLOODED CRIMINAL? TONIGHT WE FIND OUT.

It’s 14 years after the worst terrorist atrocity in UK history and, with the perpetrators either dead or missing, the motive remains a mystery.  But Dr Ralph Teller, a wealthy industrialist who lost his wife in the attack, never gave up hope of justice.  He thinks he knows the real identity of the mastermind responsible.

Only one person can help him put together the final pieces of the puzzle – retired police officer Chris Sketty, who infiltrated the terrorist group and was wounded trying to prevent the attack. But Cleverly thinks Sketty is a liar…and possibly far worse He has a dossier on all the former cop’s dark secrets and will make them public unless Sketty tells the truth.

So, over one night, Sketty will share his brutal tale of betrayal, ruthlessness and corruption, finishing with a revelation so terrifying and unexpected that it will change everything. Is Sketty a brave hero, crippled in the line of duty, or the most ruthless mass murderer the country has ever seen?

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Review

Mr Chris Sketty is an interesting character you will want to know. He has a deeply shocking story to tell. It’s about a shocking time of terror that he recalls from 15 years ago. You’re absorbed into Counter Terrorism and the events that happen round about. The book however starts in present day with a heart in your mouth, seriously emotional moment, before whisking readers back. It feels like Chris Sketty, now seriously injured in the line of duty, is sitting beside you giving his account of what happened. It’s clever, involving writing. Simon Kernick revs up the pace very quickly for a a high occtaine, adrenaline driven book.

Chris, with the horrors he sees in his work to contend with, also has major relationship issues. Then there’s the fact he is also lauded a hero, and perhaps on the face of it he may be, but this is twisty book that keeps you guessing and questioning if he really is a hero or not and whether all is as black and white as it first seems. One moment it’s easy to see why he is praised for being all heroic, but the next moment, raises questions as all starts to spill out, like a statement that you’re witnessing as to what really happened, but you never know for sure until the very end what is the real truth and whether he is hero or criminal. 
There is so much that Sketty gets embroiled in as well as the manipulative people he has to deal with. It’s the darkest of places where terrorists lurk and carry out their evil acts. Each page that turns is edge of your seat writing; the pages can’t turn fast enough!

There are so many revelations, even in part 2, which was only 6 weeks ago from part 1. There are so many deaths and you can’t tell instantly who to trust and who are totally untrustworthy. The writing is masterful and so skilled. The thriller is never lost and increasingly builds until you’ve reached the end and closed the book.

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#Review By Lou – Drinking Custard – Diary Of A Confused Mum By Lucy Beaumont @LucyABeaumont @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #DrinkingCustard #Memoir #Parents #Families #NonFiction

Drinking Custard – Diary Of A Confused Mum
By Lucy Beaumont

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Today I am on a blog tour for an entertaining non-fiction – autobiographical book – Drinking Custard – Diary of a Confused Mum. Discover more in the blurb and review below. Thanks first to Random T. Tours for inviting me to review on the blog tour and for Octopus Books for gifting a hardback copy of the book. 

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Drinking Custard Graphic 1About the Lucy Beaumont
and the Book

Known for her sharp, witty and surreal view on everyday life, Lucy shares the unpredictable craziness of being a mum in this brilliant and laugh-out-loud ‘mumoir’. Mums everywhere will recognise the madness of it all. From when Lucy was hospitalised with indigestion in her third trimester (blame the burrito), to when she was *this close* to slapping her hypnobirthing instructor, to fi nding herself drinking a whole pint of custard in one sitting.
Drinking Custard also captures Lucy’s marriage to comedian Jon, as they navigate Lucy’s raging pregnancy hormones and balk at pram prices together.

 

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Review

Firstly, Lucy Beaumont makes it clear she hasn’t written a parental advice book. As I read through the book, this is a book with humour and with anecdotes that parents may be able to relate to in their own lives.
There is about Lucy herself, who is also a comedian and her lifestyle as well as how she met fellow comedian – Jon Richardson, who she rubs up the wrong way from time to time. It’s really rather funny!

The way the book is set-out is fun, quick and easy to read for those busy parents. It’s easy to dip in and out of. It’s an entertaining enough book for something different to read to lift people’s mood.

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There are some serious moments too, about hormones, the changes within her body whilst being pregnant and the challenges of those night feeds. There’s also joy of reaching certain milestones too, between missing the life pre-baby. There’s the changes in conversations from Homes Under The Hammer exchanged to Paw Patrol and Bing etc. and the groups to join up to and progressing onto nursery runs.

The book is entertaining and seems to be an honest, yet humorous account of life and becoming and being parents.

 

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#BookReview By Lou of State Of Terror By Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny @HillaryClinton #LouisePenny @panmacmillan @RandomTTours #StateOfTerror #Thriller #PoliticalThriller

State of Terror
By Hillary Rodham Clinton

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Today I am excited to reveal my review of this close to the bone, absorbingly good, chilling and terrifyingly realistic political thriller that is State Of Terror.  Check out the blurb and the rest of my review to find out more about the book and my thoughts. Discover more about what Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton thought of writing together and a bit more about them, below as well as what I and 4 authors think of the fictional thriller that is – State Of Terror.

I thank Random T Tours for inviting me to review on my blog and Pan MacMillan for gifting me a hardback book.

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Blurb

State of Terror CoverWhen an ingenious #1 bestselling novelist, known for her rich themes, riveting plots, and empathetic characters, and one of the world’s most experienced leaders with inside knowledge on the global power players from top to bottom, team up to write a novel, the result is STATE OF TERROR, by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny.

STATE OF TERROR is an explosive, never-seen-before thriller.  Set in locations around the world, there is edge-of-your-seat suspense, breathtaking action, ride-or-die friendships, unlikely allies, even a blush of romance—plus all the heart and humanity you can expect in a Louise Penny novel. With a behind-the-scenes perspective that only an insider could know, STATE OF TERROR is a unique thriller that has a beating heart, plus plenty of female characters at the fore.

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.

There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.

As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source.

Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.


What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.

As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of influence in the places where it counts the most.

To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state and her best friend and counsellor.

Review

A critically acclaimed author (Louise Penny) and Former First Lady in the US collaborating to write a book has worked even better than imagined. It’s pretty close to the bone at times and there are certain characters you may recognise the traits of with real life people, but it does then have a way of absorbing you, so you then concentrate on the actual characters as just that, fictional people. It’s the sort of book, I can only imagine, may have taken courage to write. It works so well because Louise Penny is critically acclaimed for writing thrillers and Hillary Rodham Clinton, although has the knowledge behind the story told in State Of Terror, she has also written books before. It turns out it seems a formidible collaboration and really hits the mark.

Ellen Adams is Madam Secretary and the fabulous thing is that it is refreshing that here is a high-powered ambitious woman who ends up rushing like so many people do to get ready for work and with moments of doubt. The authors have skillfully written a high-powered woman with some details that everyone the world over will be able to relate to. Then there is the gritty work of trying to build alliances and being strong to do such a job as Secretary of State.

The newly elected President is President Williams and has a dislike of Ellen. He’s also pretty full of himself with narcisstic tendencies, then there is also the Defence Secretary, Tim Beecham, a loyal supporter of the president, but at times sits between that and occasionally being okay in attitude towards the Secretary of State. It shows the quick-fire lines that have to be ready at any given moment to give back to colleagues after their rubukes, in the corridors and rooms of such immense power. There is also Betsy, who is quite the friend within this story. The working relationships may come across as relatable to many, wholly or partly and are also interesting in the way they are weaved into the book and you really get to know the pressures and their personalities.

The book is very gripping and most pages are a tense read, with terrorists and so much life at stake. There is also the question for Ellen to work out who she can trust within the world and within the political sphere, including the administration she works for. The book has smaller details of diplomacy within it, which gives this book something quite unique and something new to perhaps learn, after all, even fiction has a base of fact to it, to bring its believability, which this has lots of, as you think about what happens in the world and see the scenes (albeit fictional ones), playing out on the page. It does somehow feel like fiction and reality rapidly colliding, with readers pulled into different parts of the world where the Secretary of State sees where diplomacy is required and terrorists try to hide and plot their next attack with deadly weaponary. Behind the scenes of the locations always seems to be movement, more evidence found, coded messages to crack.

The book also digs really deep and not just into terrorism as such, but also whatelse threatens the world and its population, some of it far away from America, but some of it within the States and it shows some attitudes that are within them. The only thing is, there is a bit of repetition that goes on, which is a pity, but it keeps certain parts of the story fresh in people’s minds as it is so complex. This doesn’t detract too much for it being a fast-paced, breath-taking read.

It’s a chilling read and one that is so close to the bone, but one that all the way through you hope the White House team behind Ellen, wins through, as the clock ticks down, that makes you want to hold your breath…
I think readers who liked Homeland on TV would enjoy this book.

 

Writing Together

“When it was suggested my friend Hillary and I write a political thriller together, I could not say yes fast enough,” said Louise Penny. “What an incredible experience, to get inside the State Department. Inside the White House.  Inside the mind of the Secretary of State as high stake crises explode.  Before we started, we talked about her time as Secretary of State. What was her worst nightmare? STATE OF TERROR is the answer.”

Hillary Clinton added, “Writing a thriller with Louise is a dream come true. I’ve relished every one of her books and their characters as well as her friendship. Now we’re joining our experiences to explore the complex world of high stakes diplomacy and treachery. All is not as it first appears.”

Filled with real-life international figures, unforgettable characters, as well as wonderful cameos that will thrill the most ardent Louise Penny fans, STATE OF TERROR is a unique and utterly compelling international thriller co-written by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 67th Secretary of State, and Louise Penny, a multiple award-winning #1 New York Times bestselling novelist.

 

About the authors:

Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny Authors PicHillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman in US history to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. She served as the 67th Secretary of State after nearly four decades in public service advocating on behalf of children and families as an attorney, First Lady, and US Senator. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, and No 1 Sunday Times bestselling author of seven previous books, all published by Simon & Schuster.

Louise Penny is an international award winning and bestselling author whose books have hit #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Globe and Mail lists.  Her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels, published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of the St. Martin’s Publishing Group, have been translated into 31 languages.  In 2017, she received the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian culture. Louise Penny lives in a village south of Montréal.

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#BookReview by Lou of Journey To The Moon And Other Stories By Ed Goodwin @whizoap @ConradPress @RandomTTours #JourneyToTheMoon #ChildrensBooks #MiddleGrade #9-12yearolds #Humour #Fantasy #Unicorns #Space #Humour

Journey To The Moon
And Other Stories
 By Ed Goodwin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3 stories in 1 provide adventure, fantasy, humour, realism all for 9-12 year olds. Find out more in the blurb and my review below…
A little later than planned due to unforseeable circumstances.
Thanks to Random Things Tours and Conrad Press for the book and invite to review.

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Blurb

Fantasy, reality and humour are blended in three adventures. Nothing is as it seems as two young girls go to the moon, present a unique style of Punch and Judy and try to look after a unicorn.
In ‘Journey to the Moon’, with the help of a possibly over-optimistic dad and practical mum, two young sisters make their dream visit to the moon and back despite numerous setbacks. In ‘Punch and Judy’ the question of what would happen if violence was banned in Punch and Judy shows is explored. In the story ‘Unicorn Tale’, looking after a unicorn presents more challenges than expected, especially when it disappears into a dream world.

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Let’s start with the cover. It’s just so eye-catching and fun. This is a book where children can go and have adventure that will send their imaginations soaring. 3 stories in 1 also makes this fun and rather special.

This hits some trends for children, including unicorns. There’s much fun and humour to have in these stories. The puppet shows that the family perform is great and may well spark the imaginations of its readers. That is possibly one of the best bits as it brings puppets back into the modern sphere again.

The family is one that I think children will have fun within this book during quiet times or bedtimes. It’s great for wherever you want to read.

Each story brings something different. From an adventure to the moon, which brings about a touch of reality to the realms of fantasy, such as in working out how to look after a unicorn. Each story provides entertainment in different ways. that are sure to surprise and give children space to have a laugh.

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#BookReview By Lou of The Family Man By Kimberley Chambers @kimbochambers @HarperCollinsUK #RandomTTours #GangsterCrime #CrimeFiction #GangsterFiction

The Family Man
By Kimberley Chambers

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Spectacular and mightily gritty with a fast pace. This is slick gangster crime with edge, at its best!
Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me to review and to Harper Collins for providing an exquisite Limited Gold Edition of the book. Follow down to find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below…

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Blurb

A brand-new series from the queen of gritty crime

A fascinating interviewee and a brilliant raconteur, Kimberley has appeared on BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live, Loose Ends and Front Row, BBC Radio 2 Graham Norton and the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio…

The Family Man Graphic 2MEET THE BONDS…
Kenny Bond is finally out of prison after doing a long stretch for killing a copper, and is determined to get back to life on the straight and narrow. He’s got a lot of time to make up for, he’s missed his beloved wife, Sharon, and his family is growing up fast.
A FAMILY LIKE NO OTHER…
Kenny’s son Donny might lack his father’s edge but his twin grandsons, Beau and Brett – well, they are Bonds through and through. Like him, they won’t let anyone stand in their way.
BUT THEY’RE ABOUT TO MEET THEIR MATCH…
Family comes before everything else for Kenny. There’s nothing he won’t do for them. But there are enemies from his past he can’t shake off, and a family feud is brewing. Kenny’s determined that nothing, and no one, will threaten his family. But can the Bond family stick together when someone’s out to take them down?

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Review

The Family Man is fast-paced and enthralling. It’s full of grit and pulls readers into the authenticity of the underground of a gangland family.

The Family Man tells the story of The Bond family throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s. For a gangster family you really get the sense of those family bonds and the whole juxtopositions that is especially embodied in Kenny, who is a gangster and murderer, yet really cares about his family. Don’t be mistaken, there is nothing that is cosy and warm as such. This book feels authentic in language and situations used. It has bags of intense grit that builds from Wormwood Scrubs and throughout the book.

The bonds between the family are put to the test and there’s someone after them… It puts into question how far someone will go to protect their family, even in the gangland world.

It’s interesting reading how Sharon, a devoted wife to Kenny Bond, really feels about things as she has spent so much time standing by her man, even though he was banged up in prison. The relationships in this family and strong feelings really come through in this, at times, visceral book.

There, even in such an underground of life, is emotion in many ways, felt by the characters, simmering away, but all the while, in the forefront is that knowledge they are gangsters. The family feud that brews and betrayal, adds another level of intensity and grit.

About the Author

Kimberley Chambers Author PIcA truly unforgettable character, Kimberley injects authenticity into her gritty gangland crime novels set around the east end. She came to writing later in life, having worked as a street trader (being promoted from tea girl to sales when she rugby-tackled a shoplifter), a DJ and a cabbie.
Fed up of scraping a living, she set her mind to writing a novel, despite being laughed at by friends and family, who dubbed her ‘a female Del-Boy’. But with her creative mind, colourful life experiences and memorable covering letter (‘Take a chance on me, you won’t regret it. This time next year I’ll be wearing Prada, not Primark’), she quickly had five agents knocking at her door and a publishing contract. Fifteen novels and three Sunday Times number ones later, she’s top of her game and an incredible inspiration.
Join Kimberley’s legion of legendary fans facebook.com/kimberleychambersofficial on and
@kimbochambers on Twitter.

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#BookReview by Lou – Freckles by Cecelia Ahern @Cecelia_Ahern @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK @RandomTTours #Freckles #Fiction

Freckles
By Cecelia Ahern

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Freckles is a warm and well-observed book with interesting concepts.
Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below, as well as a bit about the author.
Firstly, thanks to Random T Tours for inviting me to the blog tour to review and to Harper Collins for this opportunity and for an e-book.

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Blurb

Freckles Graphic‘Freckles is a beautiful, hopeful book when the world needs hope most. Cecelia has written a novel about our search for our authentic selves in a crazy world. Like all her novels, it’s inspiring, life-affirming and full of insight’ CATHY KELLY
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with… When a stranger utters these words to Allegra Bird, nicknamed Freckles, it turns her highly ordered life upside down. In her current life as a parking warden, she has left her eccentric father and unconventional childhood behind for a bold new life in the city.
But a single encounter leads her to ask the question she’s been avoiding for so long: who are the people who made her the way she is? And who are the five people who can shape and determine her future?
Just as she once joined the freckles on her skin to mirror the constellations in the night sky, she must once again look for connections.
Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and growing into your own skin.
Five people. Five stars. Freckle to freckle. Star to star.

Review

Freckles 3D CoverFreckles is a bit like 6 degrees of separation in some ways and an interesting concept to find connections. Allegra Bird is otherwise known as Freckles, who is by and large an interesting character and yet someone readers will be able to connect to. It begins with her connecting her own actual freckles in different, creative ways and gets her thinking about life connections and how it can shape a person. It’s a though-provoking concept and one that makes you think about who are the 5 people you are most connected in life and in what ways they play a part in making you who you are as she tells you that you are the average of 5 people.

Freckles is a “plan A” type of person and has grit and determination to stick with it, no “plan B”, until the first plan doesn’t work and she ends up being a parking warden with Fingal County Council, so she’s not totally inflexible and it’s close to her desires. She’s an enjoyable character to discover more about, as is where she is based – Malahide, a real place, near Dublin, with its beautiful scenery, which Cecelia Ahern presents so well and truly paints a picture of there and Valentia.

Freckles tells her story in the first person and of the people she meets and the routines she has, such as the bakery she goes to and who serves her. The writing is so accomplished and is so well thought out that it is almost like you are following Freckles around her lifestyle. From the start you’re pulled into her life in the present and also get a peek into her past, when she was at boarding school. The past, especially is written in such a way that you could be sitting next to Freckles having a wonderfully fascinating conversation.

Readers will meet Becky and Donnacha, who she babysits for;  Pops, who loves music; Paddy who is a work colleague; a person who is a Great Dane Walker and Spanner who is a baker, each with interesting lives, some also with secrets. There’s friendship and human connectivity at the heart of this story, how people’s paths cross, how some become part of routines, yet not taken for granted. It also tells a story about how lives aren’t always rosy. Freckles however seems a positive and friendly person to get to know and it is fascinating to see who outwith her family at each stage of her life had some influence in her character building. It’s a book that may make you do some introspection too as Freckles leads you down the path of self-discovery and also having the desire, even if it seems impossible to write letters to certain people, which certainly brings a different slant to things, with some added warmth and humour.

Freckles is a heartwarming and entertaining book to explore and by then discover who connects to who and how they all connect back to Freckles.

About the Author

Cecelia Ahern Author PicCecelia Ahern is one of the biggest selling authors to emerge in the past fifteen years, having sold more than 25 million copies worldwide in over 50 countries.
Two of her books have been adapted as major films and she has created several TV series in the US and Germany. Her novel PS I Love You was a New York Times bestseller and huge #1 bestseller in Ireland and the UK. In 2007, it was made into a major film starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler and most recently,
Cecelia wrote the sequel- Postscript which was an instant bestseller.

Cecelia has written 13 bestselling novels including two YA novels and a critically acclaimed collection of short stories, ROAR which is being produced by and starring Nicole Kidman. Her novels have resonated with readers everywhere through their thoughtful, unique and inspiring storytelling and have won numerous awards.
Cecelia lives in Dublin with her family. To find out more please visit http://www.cecelia-ahern.com

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