Still Standing by Natalie Queiroz #BlogTour Review

Where to start?  Lets go to the beginning.

Natalie Queiroz was eight months pregnant when she was stabbed by her partner in the most vicious attack imaginable.

In the space of nine minutes, and in broad daylight, Natalie was stabbed twenty-four times with a carving knife. She suffered horrific wounds to her lungs, liver, stomach and uterus, whilst the knife missed her baby by a margin of two millimetres, before the arteries in her wrists were methodically severed by the hooded attacker she finally realised was her partner and the father of her unborn child.

After heroic intervention by passers-by and police, the attack was brought to an end, but her ordeal was not over. An air ambulance rescue was launched, and against all medical odds, Natalie and her baby survived – but not without life-changing physical and emotional damage.

Still Standing is the story of one life-shattering event – what came before that fateful day, what happened on it, and how one woman and her baby survived to rebuild and heal together after it. At once a shocking story of evil, manipulation and violence, and a truly moving reminder that a life can be pieced back together, no matter how bad the damage, this book will empower and inspire anyone who has ever faced true adversity to rise up and stand tall.

Still Standing Cover .jpg

Firstly, I’d like to say what an honour it is to be hosting such an incredible author and review on my blog today.  I’m not sure a book has ever moved me more – and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt the range of emotions I did whilst reading a book.  Ever.

I closed this book at the end and wondered how I was ever going to write a review that would do Natalie’s journey any justice at all.  I decided the best, and only way, I could do it was to be completely honest about my feelings.  I wrote this review straightaway as I didn’t want my feelings to dissipate at all between finishing the book and putting pen to paper.

I’m guessing a lot of people will already know Natalie’s story.  Well, you’ll know what you’ve seen on news reports and read online.  I’m loath to go into too much more detail here and I’ll tell you why.  Natalie survived this attack and had the strength to write her story. It deserves to be read cover to cover.  In fact, I’d say that whilst it’s an incredibly difficult and harrowing read, it’s also quite a necessary and very important one.

Still Standing is written in a conversational way – like Natalie is speaking to us all individually.  She’s telling each and every one of us her story over a cuppa. Natalie also writes in such an honest way and I presume there was a certain amount of catharsis that came with the brutal honesty. I hope there was.  Due to this, I read the book in two days.  Any breaks I took were purely because I needed to close the book for a while to get some fresh air and properly think over what I’d just read.  I think anyone who has read it already will understand that feeling.

Still Standing … How?  How is she still standing?  How did she physically and emotionally survive, keep her tiny baby alive and then manage to put it all down on paper to share with us? How did she find the strength to go on to rebuild her life? I asked myself these questions SO many times, even after I’d finished the book I still questioned where she got the strength from. The conclusion I came to is – she survived because she’s a mother and she knew her kids needed her around.

I see this book as a story of survival.  Yes, that survival is born from a terrifying ordeal and a brutal place but I no longer think of the attack itself when I think of Natalie.  I think of the survivor that came out of it.

Natalie Queiroz Author Pic.jpg

Natalie Queiroz is the survivor of one of the most appallingly brutal attacks imaginable. After being stabbed two dozen times by her partner when she was eight months pregnant, she has rebuilt her life and inspired people the length and breadth of the country with her courage and refusal to be bowed by her trauma. Alongside a successful full-time career, she has since become a motivational speaker and, through various feats of endurance and daring, raised thousands of pounds for the Midlands Air Ambulance charity she owes her life to.

Twitter : @natqleigh

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for bringing this book to my attention.  I won’t forget it in a hurry.  Thank you also to Natalie for writing this moving memoir and telling your story.

Still Standing is available for purchase right now.

You’ll find it here

Still Standing BT Poster

The Time of our Lives – Abby Williams #CoverReveal

Two women from two very different generations are brought together through dramatic circumstances and help each other to forge new paths.

Twenty-six-year-old Erin has everything she’s ever wanted – a good job, a gorgeous fiancé and a best friend who’s always there for her. But suddenly her life comes crashing down around her. Unable to return home to her parents, she takes a room in a house nearby and her life starts over in the most unexpected of ways.

Seventy-six-year-old Lydia, who, shocked by the sudden death of her husband, is devastated to discover that he has left her in crippling debt. With no choice but to take in a lodger, Erin comes into her life. When they find a letter hidden in the attic old secrets come to light and, with Erin by her side, Lydia finds herself going on a trip of a lifetime.

Perfect for fans of The Flatshare, 59 Memory Lane and If Only I Could Tell You.

the time of our lives.png

A bit about the author

Abby Williams is the pseudonym for Fiona Ford, writer of romantic up-lit and historical fiction. Fiona started out as a freelance journalist for titles such as Grazia, Sunday Mirror and Stylist before realising her passion lay in novels. Now she spends her days immersed in made-up worlds and reckons she has the very best job in the world. When she’s not writing, Fiona is a gym nut, but only so it means she can eat lots of cake and drink lots of wine – not necessarily in that order. She lives in Berkshire with her husband and two cats who she sometimes thinks she might love just a little bit more than all the humans she knows. The Time of Our Lives is her first romantic novel and she is now busy scribbling away her second.

Thanks so much to Aria Fiction for including me in this exciting cover reveal.

 
Follow Abby:

Twitter: @Fionajourno
Facebook: @Fionafordauthor

Pre-order links:

Amazon
iBooks
Kobo
Google Play
Follow Aria:

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

Sinner by Jacqui Rose #BlogTour review

A new urban gangland thriller from the truly authentic voice of bestselling author Jacqui Rose.

Having been brought up amongst the hardest gangsters and faces of London, Franny Doyle learnt never to let love be her weakness. But she’ll do anything to protect those close to her, and at whatever cost.

Her partner Alfie Jennings is under pressure. The only person he ever sent down has recently been released from prison, and his Soho nightclub is under threat from his rival Charlie Eton – a man who doesn’t respond kindly to people taking away his business.

Charlie is playing dirty to come out on top, and when innocent children become involved in the feud, Franny and Alfie are dragged into a dark underworld where Alfie must face demons from his past, and Franny is in a dangerous race against time to ensure her own secrets aren’t exposed. Betrayal and lies come with consequences, and old sins cast long shadows…

The heart-racing new thriller, perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Kimberley Chambers.

Sinner-Blog-Tour.jpg

 

Where do I start with the list of things I loved about this gangland masterpiece?  

Let’s start with London.  I love how London is written through the eyes of our author.  I love how gritty and dark it is. I love how seedy it is.

Mental health issues, drugs and prostitution are touched on in Sinner, amongst other things so this book won’t be for everyone.  If you don’t mind these subject matters (as well as a decent body count) and you love a really fast-paced thriller with some teary moments, then Sinner is for you.

This is the second book I’ve read by Jacqui Rose and to say I’m hooked is an understatement.  There’s no sitting back with these books.  It’s go, go, go and you’ll be looking for all the free time you can find so you don’t have to put the book down!

I’d like to thank Sabah Khan in Avon Books for the copy of Sinner in return for an honest review.  I don’t think I could be any more honest with my love for this book!

Publication date 13th June 2019

Buy Sinner here

 

sinner-a-gripping-crime-thriller-that-will-keep-you-in-suspense

Forget My Name – J.S Monroe #BlogTour review

You are outside your front door. There are strangers in your house. Then you realise… You can’t remember your name.

She arrived at the train station after a difficult week at work. Her bag had been stolen, and with it, her identity. Her whole life was in there – passport, wallet, house key. When she tried to report the theft, she couldn’t remember her own name. All she knew was her own address.

Now she’s outside Tony and Laura’s front door. She says she lives in their home. They say they have never met her before.

One of them is lying.

forget my name cover reveal

I was captivated by this story from the very minute the blogger pack landed in my hands.  It could be any of us in this situation and I think that’s what made it so enticing.  Some might say the amnesia plot has been done to death but this is quite a fresh take on that.

My spine tingled on more than a couple of occasions, which is fully due to the foreboding atmosphere that is built by the author.  I had a lot of “I’ll just finish this chapter” moments, which inevitably led to me finishing this book in record time.  Once I’d finished it though, I found myself sitting, just holding the book in my hands and wondering how some bits snuck up on me like they did!

It is written through the eyes of several characters and, as I’ve said in previous posts, this can get quite confusing if not done properly.  That wasn’t the case here and it just helped to build the suspense even more.  The fierce climax was just the cherry on top!

Forget My Name is a very cleverly plotted book with compelling characters, quite unpredictable twists and a believable story.  I was all-in for the whole time I was reading.

A bit about the author

J.S. Monroe read English at Cambridge, worked as a foreign correspondent in Delhi, and was Weekend editor of the Daily Telegraph in London before becoming a full-time writer. Monroe is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller, Find Me.

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review, which is what I have given.  I’d like to take this chance to thank Vicky Joss in Head of Zeus.

Buy links:

Amazon

iBooks

Kobo

Google Play

Follow J.S. Monroe:

Twitter: @JSThrillers
Facebook: @JSMonroeFindMe

Follow Head of Zeus:
Twitter: @HoZ_Books
Facebook: @headofzeus

forgetmenot.jpg

One Last Greek Summer by Mandy Baggot #BlogTour Review

Firstly, I’d like to thank Vicky Joss at Aria Fiction for my copy of this book, in return for an honest review.  I’d also like to thank Mandy Baggot.

 

Beth Martin is 31, newly divorced and wondering just what life holds for her.

Best-friend, Heidi, is adamant that all the answers lie in Corfu – the island where the girls partied away their youth.

So cue a trip to a sun-drenched Greek island, ouzo cocktails, a trip down memory lane … and Alex Hallas, the man Beth has never quite forgotten.

As they dance under the stars, the sand beneath their toes, old feelings begin to resurface and Beth might just have a chance to take back her life.  If they can learn to love the people they’ve become … 

greek summer.jpg

One Last Greek Summer is a perfect accompaniment to summer time – whether you’re lounging by a pool somewhere sunny and hot with a cocktail in hand, or whether you’re at home wishing for warmer days.

It’s a warm, fuzzy, happy summer read with affairs, divorce, second-chance romance, humour, fun, laughter … should I go on?  It’s such an entertaining read with so many laugh out loud moments.

I have been to Corfu once, many years ago.  (I’m pretty sure I was 21 too!) I just love the way Mandy sets the scene and her descriptions of the island are beautiful.  The reader can instantly tell that it’s a place she loves and is very close to her heart.

Mandy knows her market yet makes it feel she wrote this book just for me.  She writes with individuals in mind, which is a really lovely thing.

I absolutely adored Beth & Heidi for countless reasons, none more so than the fact that at certain points (I won’t be telling you which points!) they reminded me of myself and my friends over the years.

If you haven’t already guessed by all of the above, I really enjoyed One Last Greek Summer and would highly recommend it.

This Blog Tour goes on until June 23rd and I’d encourage you to take in all of the reviews and comments.

Follow Mandy:

Facebook @mandybaggotauthor  Twitter @mandybaggot

Pre-order links:

Amazon
Kobo
Google Play
iBooks
Follow Aria

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

 

 

 

 

 

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott – #blogtour review

She thought she would never go back …

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house.  The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago.  Her father.

Leaving London behind to settle her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, accompanied by the half-sister she’s never taken the time to get to know.

With the past threatening to swallow her whole, she can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything …

The Missing Years Cover .jpg

Firstly, pink lettering on the front cover of a thriller wasn’t what I was expecting at all and it really draws the eye in.  Fabulous choice!

We know from the get-go that Ailsa’s mum has died and she has no idea where her father is.  After all, he has been missing for two and a half decades.  We also know Ailsa has inherited half of the Manse, an old Scottish manor, from her mother’s estate.

Half an estate, missing owner of the other half … you can sense problems and mystery straightaway.

From very early on, there are so many questions.  Where is Ailsa’s missing father?  Why has he been missing for so long?  Is he dead or alive?  Is the house trying to give Ailsa messages? Yes, I did just say that – there is a supernatural element to this book, which just added another layer to the whole story but wasn’t for me unfortunately, and despite the obvious mysterious storyline, this book just didn’t grab me.  I felt that, for me, it promised just a little more than it delivered.

There are some fantastic characters and relationships in the book, some of which I would have loved to see explored just a little more.

I had high expectations for The Missing Years but it just took too long to get going and I didn’t find myself engaging with it as I’d hoped.

I gratefully received a digital copy of this book from the publisher – Corvus Books, via Anne Cater, in return for an honest review, which is what I’ve given.

I would urge you to remember that a lot of work goes into being an author and each reader has very individual needs and expectations from books.  This blog tour is ongoing until June 15th with many other fabulous book bloggers taking part and therefore I’d encourage you to take it all in and make your own decision on The Missing Years.

Available to buy here

The Missing Years BT Poster .jpg

 

Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession – a review

Leonard and Hungry Paul are two friends who see the world differently. They use humour, board games and silence to steer their way through the maelstrom that is the 21st century.

‘The figure in Munch’s painting isn’t actually screaming!’ Hungry Paul said. ‘Really, are you sure?’ Replied Leonard. ‘Absolutely. That’s the whole thing. The figure is actually closing his ears to block out a scream. Isn’t that amazing? A painting can be so misunderstood and still become so famous.’

Leonard and Hungry Paul is the story of two quiet friends trying to find their place in the world. It is about those uncelebrated people who have the ability to change the world, not by effort or force, but through their appreciation of all that is special and overlooked in life.

image

It’s only June and I know this book will take some topping this year.  It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and I don’t say that lightly.  The characters are just defined so brilliantly and it’s quite a charming read.

An absolute joy of a book and it will hang around in the corners of my mind for a long time to come, of that I have no doubt.

It is so nice (and somewhat rare) to read a book that celebrates our individual quirks and the things that make us who we are.  (The Big Bang Theory, anyone?)

It took me all but a few hours to read and it turned out to be exactly the book I needed at that time.

I’d love to know if you’ve read it and, if so, what you thought of it?  Or more to the point, how it made YOU feel.

Happy reading

xoxo

Casting a spotlight on … Someone Is Lying by Jenny Blackhurst

Someone Is Lying is the chilling new psychological thriller from Jenny Blackhurst, the #1 eBook-bestselling author of How I Lost You. Full of unexpected twists, this is perfect for fans of Friend Request, Close to Home and The Guilty Wife – all of which I’ve read and loved.

Someone Is Lying Cover

A bit about the book

It’s been a year since Erica Spencer died in a tragic accident at a party, and the community where she lived has moved on with their lives.

Everybody has secrets.

But someone thinks it wasn’t an accident. Someone thinks it was murder.

Some are worth killing for.

And when an anonymous podcast names six local suspects, shockwaves ripple through the neighbourhood. Before the podcast is over, the police will be opening more than one murder enquiry. Because someone is lying…

But who?

A bit about the author

Jenny Blackhurst grew up in Shropshire where she still lives with her
husband and children. Growing up she spent hours reading and talking
about crime novels – writing her own seemed like natural progression.

Jenny Blackhurst Author Photo

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for the invitation to join this blog tour.

Someone Is Lying was published as an eBook on 31st May 2019 by Headline and is available here to purchase.

Someone Is Lying BT Poster

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!

FINAL Path Keeper BT Poster

 

 

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.

IMG_20190601_203840.jpg

 

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

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: