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On A Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk #bookreview #randomthingstours #blogtour #positiveonly #5*

MY VERDICT? Charming, funny and unashamedly escapist fiction. This really made me laugh! There were so many great lines and hilarious, relatable episodes in this book. Fran Cooper is an engaging, if slightly infuriating, heroine. For an intelligent and capable woman, she has a mile wide blindspot as far as her awful, controlling boyfriend, Stew, is concerned, and I’m sure some readers will take issue with that. But even though she came across as a bit of a naive doormat, I read her as a woman stuck in a rut she doesn’t know how to climb out of…until true romance arrives. I really enjoyed this and highly recommend it to anyone who would like to escape to the glam and glitzy Crystal Ball for a few hours. Thanks to the author and Random Things for the chance to take part in the blog tour.
THE BLURB: Within days of wishing she could change her life, Fran Cooper is acting assistant to a celebrity, on a yacht in the Mediterranean, and en route to a tiny Italian island and the glittering Crystal Ball, along with the world’s rich and famous.
When she – quite literally – bumps into a handsome American called Evan, a man able to keep his cool in the face of chaos, the magic really begins. Evan makes her a promise: no last names, no life stories, just one unforgettable night. Yet Evan belongs at the Crystal Ball and Fran is a gatecrasher. They may be soulmates, but their homes are an ocean apart, and their lives a world apart. They’ll never meet again – unless, on a night like this, everything can change forever…

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Call of the Penguins by Hazel Prior #bookreview #randomthingstours #blogtour #positiveonly #5*

MY VERDICT? A heart-warming and hugely engaging character driven story that doesn’t shy away from exploring some deeper issues. Veronica McCreedy is an instantly compelling character and the supporting cast – Patrick, Terry, Daisy to name a few – are equally brilliantly drawn. What made this book stand out for me was the underpinning environmental message – clear and heartfelt, but at no point heavy -handed. It’s a beautiful, clever book that works on so many levels. I highly recommend it. Thanks to the author and Random Things for the chance to take part in the blog tour.
THE BLURB: Meet the heroine everyone’s talking about . . .
Fiercely resilient and impeccably dressed, Veronica McCreedy has lived an incredible 87 years. Most of them alone, in her huge house by the sea. But Veronica has recently discovered a late-life love for family and friendship, adventure and wildlife. More specifically, a love for penguins! And so when she’s invited to co-present a wildlife documentary, far away in the southern hemisphere, she jumps at the chance. Even though it will put her in the spotlight, just when she thought she would soon fade into the wings. Perhaps it’s never too late to shine?

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Beyond the Veil Ed. Mark Morris #bookreview #randomthingstours #blogtour #positiveonly #5*

MY VERDICT? Ever since I was a Point Horror obsessed teen, I’ve loved reading fiction that deals with the darker side of human nature. And if it comes with a supernatural twist, then I absolutely want to read it. The stories in the ‘Beyond the Veil’ collection satisfy on both counts and have a bang up-to-date feel, with references to the pandemic, killer viruses and anti -vaxxers. The near future world of Beechfield Miracles may have roots in ancient stories, but is juxtaposed with a post -Brexit nightmare world that feels uncomfortably close to the bone. Polaroid and Seaweed is the most revoltingly gothic, with some truly uncomfortable scenes that induce a sense of revulsion. Clockwork had an Angela Carter feel that I loved. The God Bag ends with a twist that seems inevitable, but is no less horrifying as it explores bad parenthood, a theme considered in several of the stories. Standouts for me were The Dark Bit, a grotesque psychological study of self harm and collective hysteria, and A Mystery for Julie Chu. The latter has a Black Mirror -esque feel with secret auctions, haunted objects and a lead with a gift. I’d love to read more of her adventures! Thanks to Flame Tree Press, the anthology authors and Random Things for the chance to take part in the blog tour.
THE BLURB: SOME TRUTHS CAN’T BE TOLD.
Beyond the Veil is the second volume in an annual, non-themed horror series of entirely original stories, showcasing the very best short fiction that the genre has to offer, and edited by Mark Morris. This new anthology contains 20 original horror stories, 16 of which have been commissioned from some of the top names in the genre, and 4 of which have been selected from the 100s of stories sent to Flame Tree during a 2-week open submissions window.

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A Mother Never Lies – Sarah Clarke #bookreview #positiveonly #5*

MY VERDICT? Whoa! I genuinely could not put this down. I love dual narrative stories, especially with distinctive voices, and Ben and Phoebe’s pitch – perfect perspectives added to the twistiness of this complex plot. I also love domestic noir, so this hit the spot for me on every count. Highly recommended.

THE BLURB: SOME TRUTHS CAN’T BE TOLD.
I had the perfect life – a nice house, a loving husband, a beautiful little boy.
But in one devastating night, they were all ripped from me.
It’s been fourteen years, and I’m finally ready to face the past.
I’m taking my son back.
He just can’t know who I am…or why we were torn apart.
A nail-biting thriller packed with twists and turns, perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Shalini Boland.

Buy from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mother-Never-Lies-gripping-psychological-ebook/dp/B097CPSGNW/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

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Sleep Tight – CS Green #bookreview #positiveonly #5*

MY VERDICT? I have a real love for books with a supernatural twist. Combine that with a quirky heroine and a cracking plot, and I’m in book heaven. ‘Sleep Tight’ ticks every five star box. Can’t wait for DC Rose Gifford’s next case.

THE BLURB:Even in your dreams you’re not safe…
The nightmare is only just beginning…
When DC Rose Gifford is called to investigate the death of a young woman suffocated in her bed, she can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to the crime than meets the eye.
It looks like a straightforward crime scene – but the police can’t find the killer. Enter DS Moony – an eccentric older detective who runs UCIT, a secret department of the Met set up to solve supernatural crimes. Moony wants Rose to help her out – but Rose doesn’t believe in any of that.
Does she?
As the killer prepares to strike again, Rose must pick a side – before a second woman dies.

Buy from ukbookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/books/sleep-tight-a-dc-rose-gifford-thriller/9780008390761

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Shuggie Bain Review #bookreview #positiveonly #5*

MY VERDICT? This prizewinning novel is not for the faint-hearted. The eponymous Shuggie suffers appalling neglect and abuse and the author is unflinching in his portrayal of poverty. A stunning telling of a painful story.

THE BLURB: It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive. Agnes Bain has always expected more from life. She dreams of greater things: a house with its own front door and a life bought and paid for outright (like her perfect, but false, teeth). But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and soon she and her three children find themselves trapped in a decimated mining town. As she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her, yet one by one they must abandon her to save themselves. It is her son Shuggie who holds out hope the longest. Shuggie is different. Fastidious and fussy, he shares his mother’s sense of snobbish propriety. The miners’ children pick on him and adults condemn him as no’ right. But Shuggie believes that if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place.

Buy from Bert’s Books: https://bertsbooks.co.uk/product/shuggie-bain-booker-longlist-2020-6th-august-2020/

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The Pull of the Stars Review #bookreview #positiveonly #5*

 

MY VERDICT? Be prepared for a lot of graphic childbirth descriptions! Beautifully written Irish fiction set in the 1918 pandemic. A story about love and loss between women that seems eerily relevant today.

THE BLURB: Dublin, 1918. In a country doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city centre, where expectant mothers who have come down with an unfamiliar flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders: Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney. In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over the course of three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

Buy from Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-pull-of-the-stars/emma-donoghue//

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Lock Every Door #bookreviews #positiveonly #5*

 

MY VERDICT? Page-turning horror-lite that took me down a well-trodden path then switched it with a twist I hadn’t seen coming.

THE BLURB: Recently heartbroken and practically homeless, Jules accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind. Out of place among the extremely wealthy, Jules finds herself pulled toward other apartment sitter Ingrid. But Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her. Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story – but the next day, her new friend has vanished. And then Jules discovers that Ingrid is not the first temporary resident to go missing…

Buy from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lock-Every-Door-Riley-Sager/dp/1529104416

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The Foundling #bookreview #positiveonly #5*

MY VERDICT? Spell-binding historical fiction told with the pace and verve of a contemporary thriller. 

BLURB:London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst, that Clara has died in care, Bess is astonished to be told she has already claimed her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why. Less than a mile from Bess’s lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade.

Buy from HIVE: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Stacey-Halls/The-Foundling–The-gripping-feminist-Sunday-Times-bestsel/25091991

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Hamnet #bookreview #positiveonly #5*

MY VERDICT? Beautifully-written and inventive historical fiction. I couldn’t put this down.

THE BLURB: On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever.

Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home? Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs.

Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that Hamnet will not survive the week. Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright: a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

Click to buy from HIVE: https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Maggie-OFarrell/Hamnet–WINNER-OF-THE-WOMENS-PRIZE-FOR-FICTION-2020—THE-NO-1-BESTSELLER/25586660