The Path Keeper (The Indigo Chronicles #1) – NJ Simmonds

TRIGGER WARNINGThe Path Keeper is a work of fiction but features potentially upsetting themes including sexual abuse, death and mental health issues.  It also includes scenes of a sexual nature.

 

What if every coincidence was a tiny miracle? What if our life was already mapped out before birth? What if someone had the power to change the path we were destined to follow?

Ella hates her new life in London, she misses Spain and she’s struggling to get over her past until she meets Zac. He has always loved her but he isn’t meant to be part of Ella’s story. Not this time. Not ever. Little does she know that his secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and will force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense, a world more dangerous than she could ever imagine.

The first in a thrilling new YA fantasy series, The Path Keeper is a tale of passion and secrets, of first loves and second chances, and the invisible threads that bind us. Can love ever be stronger than fate?

The Path Keeper Front cover

As you can see from the above warning, The Path Keeper touches on some heavy topics but it still manages to stay well within the romantic fiction realm.

We’re talking gritty romance here – not hearts and flowers!

It’s a book full of secrets and passion.  It’s a complex story of first loves and second chances and the storyline is multi-layered.  You need to read it with an open mind and go into it without preconceived notions.

The female protagonist is Ella, the girl with the “face of an angel and the mouth of a sailor”. She’s such a great character.  One aspect that I especially enjoyed about her (as a mother of two girls) is that she isn’t a weak female character.  She’s strong and she does things because she wants to and not for any other reason.  She has sex because she wants to, she curses (in Spanish – a lot!) because she want to and she drinks because she wants to. To put it simply – she has zero f*cks to give and I love that!

YA romance isn’t usually my genre but the blurb intrigued me and I thought I’d give it a go.  It’s perhaps a little young for me and maybe because of that, it felt somewhat cliché at times.  I could absolutely see my teenage daughter loving it though and she is precisely the intended audience after all.

I really don’t want to give too much of the story away and that has proven a difficult task for me while writing this review. I’ve chopped and changed the review so many times. So, I’ve decided to steer clear of the storyline and just give my opinion on this one!

If you enjoyed Game of Thrones or True Blood, this is for you.

About the author:

Natali Drake, who writes under the pen name of NK Simmonds, has written articles for various UK newspapers and online publications.  In 2015 she co-founded the online magazine The Glass House Girls and is a regular contributor.  Originally from north London, she now divides her time between her two homes in the Netherlands and Spain with her husband and two daughters.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater and NK Simmonds for the copy of this book in return for an honest review.  So happy to have read it!

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The Amber Maze by Christopher Bowden Blog Tour Review

While staying in a Dorset cottage, Hugh Mullion finds a mysterious key down the side of an antique chair. No one can say how long the key has been there or what it opens.
Hugh’s search for answers will unlock the secrets of the troubled life of a talented artist, destined to be hailed a neglected genius fifty years too late. And no secret is darker than that of The Amber Maze, from whose malign influence he never escaped.
The trail takes Hugh from Edwardian Oxfordshire to 1960s Camden Town, where the ghosts of the past are finally laid to rest.

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I haven’t read anything like this book before but the blurb caught my attention right away.  I won’t tell you what I find when I put my hand down the side of the chairs in our house but it’s certainly not a key that leads where fun or mysterious.  Even if it did, I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to see what door it belonged to!

I started this book weeks ago as I was intrigued but my diary forced me to put it down, rather reluctantly I might add, and come back to it closer to blog tour review time to keep it all fresh in my mind.

And, here we are.

It took me a little longer than I’d like to catch up with what was going on as there is a lot of information at the start.  I found myself confused at times but I came around quite quickly.

I felt a tiny bit out of my depth when I read the description and had to remind myself that the beauty of reading is that it’s for everyone.

The main character, Hugh, is compelling and relatable and if you like puzzle solving, then this is the book for you.

The book itself is great size and felt really nice in my hands when I was reading it.

The Amber Maze is a short book with lots of detail packed between the covers.  It’s a thoroughly entertaining read – thanks, in part, to the level of detail in the book.

Thanks, as ever, to Anne Cater, to the author – Christopher Bowden and to the publisher – Langton & Wood, for including me in this blog tour.

I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

the amber maze

 

 

 

This Queer Angel – Elaine M Chambers Blog Tour Review

‘One woman’s battle against the country she served’ is written on the cover.  As I said when this book arrived – give me a ‘one woman’s battle…’ book any day of the week.

Elaine joined the Army in 1982, aged 21, as a student nurse.  After qualifying as a staff nurse, she obtained a commission, becoming a junior sister in the rank of lieutenant.  Her ordeal began in 1987, after rumours about her sexuality reached the military police.  After being forced to resign, she met Robert Ely, who had been discharged from the Parachute Regiment after nearly 20 years service, and they founded Rank Outsiders, a campaign and support group, in 1991.  

Since leaving the Army, Elaine initially struggled to find work that could rival the prospects and camaraderie of her Army career – she has had nearly 20 different jobs,  mostly in nursing but also including stints at Eurostar, as a security guard at the Tower of London and briefly as a tree climbing instructor.  She is now working as a medical administrator for a GP practice, following a momentous decision to take her name off the medical register after her parents suffered serious ill health.  She lives in the Isle of Wight.

This Queer Angel Cover

 

A few words to describe this book – poignant, cruel, raw, brave, honest, amongst others.

I really wasn’t prepared for how hard this book would hit me.  Love is love, right?  Love is never wrong between two consenting adults and it should never be judged as otherwise.  How can one be deemed a criminal in the institution protecting fellow citizens’ hard-won freedoms?  This book discusses, in my opinion, a system that stinks of patriarchal assumptions about power balance.

I am so sad to say I had very little knowledge of the longstanding ban on LGBT+ personnel serving openly in HM Forces before reading this book and without wanting to be too dramatic, I cried a lot and my heart ached many, many times. I felt anger, disgust and an enormous amount of sadness.

I’m so glad Elaine chose to share her incredible story.  Things like this so badly need to be shared, addressed and spoken about – LOUDLY!

The patriarchy is alive, well and screaming throughout the book.

To think that anyone who is willing to serve their country, regardless of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or whatever other biases exist, should be forced to leave their job is hard to fathom.

I had such mixed feelings as I turned the pages as I was intrigued but equally felt like I’d discovered a very private diary that I shouldn’t be reading.  I felt I shouldn’t be turning the pages.  You know when you want to know more, but really don’t at the same time?  I knew that by reading this book, I’d never look at certain things the same way ever again but I also knew I needed the education this book was providing me. As this is a memoir, I’d say that’s a job well done on the part of Elaine.

This is such a carefully and lovingly crafted memoir that I had to remind myself that this is the first book by this author.  I think, because she is writing from a very personal place, it comes across that she has been writing for so much longer.  She has mastered her craft in her time planning and writing This Queer Angel that much is clear.  The human cost involved is also very clear.

I felt a great connection with Elaine throughout the book and I’d like to thank her for writing the first book covering recent military history, written from a lesbian perspective.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Elaine M Chambers, as well as Anne Cater and Unbound for including me in this blog tour.  It’s been an education!

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Forget Me Not – Claire Allan

Let’s get the disclaimers out of the way nice and early…I’m a huge fan of Claire (pretty sure that’s the first thing I said when Sabah Khan emailed me about this blog tour!) so it’s a real honour to be reviewing Forget Me Not.

A former journalist and columnist, Claire Allan has been writing fiction since 2006.

An Irish Times bestseller, she has tackled issues from post-natal depression, infertility, and dementia through to writing a based-on-a-true-story book about a couple reunited after 50 years apart. She has now decided to unleash her dark side!

Married with two children, two cats and a mad puppy she is happiest lost in a good book. She has kissed Michael Buble – you’ll have to ask her about that yourself!

Thanks to Avon Books, Sabah & Claire for this opportunity to share my thoughts in this review.

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I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.

Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.

When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.

But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

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Story-wise, you won’t be getting much from me in this review.  Why?  Well, because I want you to read this book.  I don’t want to run the risk of telling you too much because this is a book you need to go into blind to get the full effect.  Come back to me then!

I will tell you this much – it’s everything I want in a psychological thriller.  The pace is fast, it’s really well written, gutsy – in other words, unputdownable.

Claire has a real knack for keeping you thinking and guessing until she is ready for you to know what’s really going on.  That’s a real talent and one that I appreciate in an author.

Forget Me Not held me in it’s grip until the very end.  That’s more unusual than you’d think in the land of psychological thrillers.  Past a point, for me, they’re not always as engaging as they should be.  This is very, very different.

I will say one thing, it took me a couple of days to calm down on my dog walks after reading this.  I had to turn around and look behind me more than once on each trip!

Oh, lastly – I loved Elizabeth so much!

This blog tour continues until July and I’d urge you to show your support for this book during that period!

Available to purchase NOW!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It All Comes Back To You by Beth Duke

I’m so happy to be bringing you my review of this beautiful book.  Today is my day on the blog tour and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Anne Cater and Beth Duke for including me.

It All Comes Back To You cover

1947.  War’s over, cherry-print dresses, parking above the city lights, swing dancing. Beautiful, seventeen-year-old Violet lives in a perfect world .

Everybody loves her.

In 2012, she’s still beautiful, charming, and surrounded by admirers. Veronica “Ronni” Johnson, licensed practical nurse and aspiring writer, meets the captivating Violet in the assisted living facility where Violet requires no assistance, just lots of male attention.
When she dies, she leaves Ronni a very generous bequest―only if Ronni completes a book about her life within one year.

As she’s drawn into the world of young Violet, Ronni is mesmerized by life in a simpler time. It’s an irresistible journey filled with revelations, some of them about men Ronni knew as octogenarians at Fairfield Springs. Struggling, insecure, flailing at the keyboard, Ronni juggles her patients, a new boyfriend, and a Samsonite factory of emotional baggage as she tries to craft a manuscript before her deadline. But then the secrets start to emerge, some of them in person. And they don’t stop. Everything changes.

Alternating chapters between Homecoming Queen Violet in 1947 and can’t-quite-find-her-crown Ronni in the present, It All Comes Back To You is book club fiction at its hilarious, warm, sad, outrageous, uplifting, and stunning best. In the tradition of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and Olive Kitteridge, Duke delivers an unforgettable elderly character to treasure and a young heroine to steal your heart.

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This book is beautiful – both in the actual story and in the way it’s written.  I absolutely loved going back in time to get to know a young Violet.  I laughed for her, I cried for her and I cheered her on.

Each of the characters are very real and this is reflected in their flaws – basic, human flaws.  Because of this, it’s a very easy book to get lost in and, even though it is written during two different periods of time, it’s not at all a chore.  In fact, it was a total pleasure to read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes characters they can get involved with and get to know better on a really meaningful level.

It’s heart-breaking, heart-warming and a very, very special story.  It’s packed full of tenderness, aswell as some very difficult moments.

You won’t regret taking the time to get to know Violet and Ronni, and everyone that comes along with them.

The Art of Dixie is the official publisher of It All Comes Back To You.

Happy Reading!

xoxo

 

 

 

 

How To Make Time For Me – Fiona Perrin Cover Reveal

So happy to be bringing you a brand new cover reveal from Fiona Perrin.  Thanks Vicky Joss at Head of Zeus for including me!

 

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No-one said being a single mum would be easy…

Everyone knows that being a single mother means having no time to yourself. But for Callie Brown, it is more exhausting than most. She’s juggling the needs of three teenage children, two live-in parents, a raffish ex-husband, and a dog who never stops eating.
The last thing Callie needs is anything more on her plate. So when she bumps (quite literally) into a handsome, age-appropriate cyclist, she’s quick to dismiss him from her life. After all, if she doesn’t have time to brush her hair in the morning, she certainly doesn’t have time to fall in love…

Funny, heart-warming and oh-so-true, this is a novel about motherhood, families, and life after divorce, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Allison Pearson.

About the author

Fiona Perrin was a journalist and copywriter before building a career as a sales and marketing director in industry. Having always written, she completed the Curtis Brown Creative Writing course before writing The Story After Us. Fiona grew up in Cornwall, hung out for a long time in London and then Hertfordshire, and now writes as often as possible from her study overlooking the sea at the end of The Lizard peninsula.

Follow Fiona:

Twitter:  @fionaperrin
Facebook:  @fionajperrinauthor

Pre-order links:

Amazon
Google Play
Kobo
iBooks

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Blog Tour – Sleep by CL Taylor

Firstly, all of the thanks go out to Sabah Khan of Avon for the early copy of this book.  I’m so grateful, as always.

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All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel.  And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

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This was a two-sitting book for me. I’ve been so busy over these last few weeks that I thought it would take me forever to finish it but the storyline had other plans for me.

It sucked me in and I found I was taking the book everywhere with me – even if there was a chance I’d only get time to read a page or two!  I was absolutely intrigued from very early on.

I really liked Anna, the main character, from the very start.  I didn’t take to all of the other characters as quickly and had many questions (they were all answered) about them.  As I came to know more about them as individuals, I found myself warming more to them – some more slowly than others, I’ll admit!

The characters were so well written – each of them so different to the next.  I can’t think of one character who wasn’t relevant to the plot or who changed the story for the worst.   They were all on the island of Rum for their own reasons – as you’ll learn as the book goes on.  I never had to flip back in the book to remind myself of who was who or why they were there.  They all belonged.

I read it, all the while thinking I knew what was going to happen, but trust me when I say, I wasn’t even close!

Plenty of suspense, lots of tension (I loved that!) and very, very believable characters.

I gave it 5 stars already on Instagram but I’m making it official now!  I loved it.

 

Buy it here:

Amazon

 

 

 

Stolen by Paul Finch

Welcome to my day on the Blog Tour!  Thanks, as always, to Sabah Khan at Avon for the advance copy of this book.  Huge thanks also go out to the author, Paul Finch.

How do you find the missing when there’s no trail to follow?

DC Lucy Clayburn is having a tough time of it.  Not only is her estranged father one of the North West’s toughest gangsters, but she is in the midst of one of the biggest police operations of her life.

Members of the public have started to disappear, taken from the streets as they’re going about their every day lives. But no bodies are appearing – it’s almost as if the victims never existed.

Lucy must chase a trail of dead ends and false starts as the disappearances mount up. But when her father gets caught in the crossfire, the investigation suddenly becomes a whole lot more bloody.

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This book is my first introduction to DC Lucy Clayburn and I’m now a firm fan.  She’s a detective, her father is a crime boss – not the best of combinations.

There is so much going on in Stolen – dogs going missing, an ex-nun who is addicted to drugs, missing pensioners, gangsters.  It’s a lot to take in and I did find myself wondering how it was all going to link up and mean something to the storyline. There is a lot of information to take in but I managed just fine and was able to pick up where I left off no problem each time I put it down.  For me, this was made easy by a story that is gritty, fast-paced and superbly written.

There’s definitely room for confusion though.

As I mentioned above, this is my first Lucy Clayburn book.  I read it as a standalone and with no prior knowledge about Lucy or the other books in the series.  It made me want to know more though so I will be purchasing the others.

As a character, I really liked Lucy.  She’s gritty and real. Before the first chapter was done I was already invested in the plot and her character.  Sister Cassie is another character that intrigued me from the very first time we met.  I wanted to know more about her straightaway.

The introduction of Lucy’s father just brought more intrigue along with it.

The story doesn’t disappoint and delivers everything it promises to in the first, exciting chapter.

By the time I finished Stolen, I wanted more.  So will you.

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Buy it here:

Amazon

 

 

 

Cover Reveal – Best Friends Forever by Dawn Goodwin

You all know I love a Cover Reveal party!  There’s something so exciting about discovering a gorgeous cover on a shelf in a book shop and today I feel very honoured to be bringing you the cover for Best Friends Forever by Dawn Goodwin.

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Have you ever wanted to kill your best friend?

Anna was the perfect wife. Perfect mother. Perfect woman. And now she’s dead. Leaving behind her husband, David, and two young children their lives will never be the same. But Vicky will make sure life goes on…

These two women have been best friends forever, a lifetime of secrets lies between them and now Vicky is ready to step up into Anna’s perfect shoes. But not everything is as it seems and as David begins to question Vicky’s motives for walking into his life things might just get a little murderous.

The question on everyone’s lips is, who killed Anna? And what actually happened on the night she died?

Perfect for fans of The Rumour, The Silent Patient and The Suspect.

About the author

Dawn’s career has spanned PR, advertising and publishing. Now, she loves to write about the personalities hiding behind the masks, whether beautiful or ugly. Married, she lives in London with her two daughters and a British bulldog called Geoffrey.

Follow Dawn:
Twitter: @DGoodwinAuthor
Facebook: @DGoodwinAuthor

Pre-order links:
Amazon
Kobo

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Website: http://www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
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Born Bad by Heather Burnside

I’m so happy to be taking part in the tour for Born Bad by Heather Burnside.  Thank you so much to Vicky at Head of Zeus for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Brother and sister, Peter and Adele Robinson, never stood a chance.  Dragged up by an alcoholic, violent father, and a weak, beaten mother, their childhood in Manchester only prepared them for a life of crime and struggle.  But Adele is determined to break the mould.

She studies hard at school and, inspired by her beloved grandmother, she finally makes a successful life for herself on her own.

Peter is not so lucky.  Getting more and more immersed in the murky world of crime and gangs, his close bonds with Adele gradually loosen until they look set to break altogether.  But old habits die hard, and one devastating night, Adele is forced to confront her violent past. Dragged back into her worst nightmares, there’s only one person she can turn to when her life is on the line – her brother.

Afterall, blood is thicker than water … 

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This is my first introduction to Heather Burnside’s books and based on Born Bad, it won’t be my last.  With characters that are realistic and very believable, it wasn’t a hard book to become engrossed in. It’s a very easy read!

The book description above is plenty of the story to give away as I think sometimes reviews can give a little too much away on certain books and I don’t want to do that with Born Bad.

What I will say is it’s a dark and gritty read – the storyline makes you want to keep turning those pages.  I finished the book in a little over a day (in a very busy week!) so that tells you all you need to know, I think.

This is Book 1 of a trilogy, which is good news in my opinion. When you finish this book, you’ll wish you had Book 2 right there ready to go my advice is to go in prepared!

Now, straight onto Book 2 for me … !

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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