The Vanished Child by M.J. Lee #blogtour


The Vanished Child Cover EBOOK

The Vanished Child by M.J. Lee

What would you do if you discovered you had a brother you never knew existed?

On her deathbed, Freda Duckworth confesses to giving birth to an illegitimate child in 1944 and temporarily placing him in a children’s home. She returned later but he had vanished.

What happened to the child? Why did he disappear? Where did he go?

Jayne Sinclair, genealogical investigator, is faced with lies, secrets, and one of the most shameful episodes in recent history as she attempts to uncover the truth.

Can she find the vanished child?

This book is the fourth in the Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery series, but can be read as a standalone novel.

Every childhood lasts a lifetime.

My Review

I was very kindly offered by Rachel’s Random Resources to take part in this blog tour of The Vanished Child by M.J. Lee. I was so happy that I did and what a stunning and emotional rollercoaster ride I was taken on.

This is my first book in this type of historical genre that I have read, about how families can be torn apart and possibly brought back together many years ahead using the support and knowledge of a Genealogical investigator. The idea of piecing back together the lost letters, information and knowledge of others to create a clear view of that person and their life, opened my eyes to how hard and emotional this must be for those people.

The story starts with Harry, a young boy who unfortunately found his circumstances not to be the most reassuring. This was a time where single parents could find themselves able to pass on their children to charities, where they would care for their child until they were back on their feet and confident to take care of their own child. In the beginning of the story it sounds like a perfect idea to support families, however as the story unravels you find out more about these children, how they are badly treated and used in a manner that is unforgiveable, passing them on as objects rather than children, that needed care in the first place.

The story runs from 1952 to the present day 2017, where the sister of the little boy has decided to use the help of her newly wed husband’s daughter, who is Genealogical investigator. With her help and support of another investigator they do their best to track down the history of Harry, in the hope to locate him.

The emotions you feel from the characters as they get to know more information, is evident in the authors writing. I cried and laughed throughout the book!

As the story moves back from 1952 to 2017 you follow Harry through his journey and what he and other children are subjected to. The story is very believable and very saddening to hear what children may have endured at that time. Harry is a very innocent little boy and as you read on you feel his pain and suffering and how that develops, as he get older.

I’m not going to spoil it to confirm if they find Harry or what happens in the end, but it gives you a greater insight in the past history of the 130,000 child migrants that were sent away to do the work of God and other charities.

This book is a heart stopper, emotional and gratifying in places. I definitely recommend this book to read and enjoy.

Author Bio

Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.

He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.

When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, researching his family history, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.

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Buy it here at Amazon.

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Hellcorp by Jonathan Whitelaw #blogtour #hellcorp #laughoutloud

HellCorp - Jonathan Whitelaw

Hellcorp sparkles like a blood-black diamond. Satan’s got his work cut out in this darkly comic crime tale. A cracking read! – Mark Leggatt

Life is hard for The Devil and he desperately wants to take a holiday. Growing weary from playing the cosmic bad guy, he resolves to set up a company that will do his job for him so the sins of the world will tick over while he takes a vacation. God tells him he can have his vacation just as soon as he solves an ancient crime.

But nothing is ever easy and before long he is up to his pitchfork in solving murders, desperate to crack the case so he can finally take the holiday he so badly needs…

This is a perfectly-pitched darkly comic crime novel that is ideal for fans of Christopher Fowler and Ben Aaranovitch.

My Review

I was offered to join the book tour of Hellcorp published by Urbane Publications alongside Love Books Group Tours, which I jumped at the chance to do. The hype around the book had already started and I was very intrigued to find out more!

Giggling and sniggering to myself!

Within reading the first two chapters I was already laughing out loud and giggling to myself (probably looking like a mad woman!). Already becoming a fan of The Devil with his characteristic traits. The introduction with the Pope was a fantastic start, the descriptions of the surroundings and how the characters feel, was so very clear to see.

The story is a very enjoyable and easy to follow read, I loved every part with some characters that change themselves, to the demons that work for the Devil; which made it creepy and shocking! I really enjoyed how you got to know The Devil so well throughout the story, his mannerisms towards others, what he says about humans and how they deal with life.

The Devil has (as expected) quite a fowl mouth, but I found how he spoke was perfect for his character and made me laugh (normally I might skip a swear word or two if its too much), but I thought it was very apt for his character.

Along the way The Devil meets his sidekick and helper Jill Gideon, I really appreciated why the author chose the name Gideon and how The Devil always thought, it was a bit of a joke that the person he should meet was someone named Gideon, (God had help from someone with that name many years before as recorded in the Book of Judges). You find out at the beginning and throughout how The Devil and God are connected, which I thought was very cleverly done and quite amusing.

“You helping me, you knowing what killed Anton Baggio, you being a Gideon, it’s all part of His plan.”

From the very beginning and throughout, the bickering between these two characters was like a married couple and never ending, creating a love/hate relationship I don’t think they even realised they had, however it worked to their advantage to solve the murder.

The journey The Devil goes on is a learning curve for him too. The Devil gets to appreciate (even though he won’t admit it!) how sometimes helping others is the only way. I wouldn’t say The Devil gets a conscience, but he seems to have grown fond of Jill by the end of the story.

The murder that occurred creates many twists and turns for The Devil and Jill to resolve and deal with, which in itself unveils more surprises along the way.

The ending was great and once again made me giggle, I really don’t want to say too much which may spoil it!

This book did give me tears of happiness, an urgency to read more and the giggles throughout. A fabulous read that I would definitely recommend to others and I would read again!

Devilishly delightful! A must read!

Buy it here at Amazon.

About the Author

Jonathan Whitelaw is an author, journalist and broadcaster. After working on the frontline of Scottish politics, he moved into journalism. Subjects he has covered have varied from breaking news, the arts, culture and sport to fashion, music and even radioactive waste – with everything in between. He’s also a regular reviewer and talking head on shows for the BBC and STV. ‘HellCorp’ is his second novel following his debut, ‘Morbid Relations’.Social Media links:

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What Kitty Did Next #blogtour #excerpt #LoveBooksGroupTours

What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean


I was asked by Love Books Group Tours to join the blog tour for What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean, published by RedDoor Publishing, I hope you enjoy the excerpt.


England, 1813 – Nineteen-year-old Catherine Bennet lives in the shadow of her two eldest sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, who have both made excellent marriages. No one expects Kitty to amount to anything. Left at home in rural Hertfordshire with her neurotic and nagging mother, and a father who derides her as ‘silly and ignorant’, Kitty is lonely, diffident and at a loss as to how to improve her situation. When her world unexpectedly expands to London and the Darcy’s magnificent country estate in Derbyshire, she is overjoyed. Keen to impress this new society, and to change her family’s prejudice, Kitty does everything she can to improve her mind and manners – and for the first time feels liked and respected.

However, one fateful night at Pemberley, a series of events and misunderstandings conspire to ruin Kitty’s reputation. Accused of theft – a crime worse almost worse than murder among the Georgian aristocracy – she is sent back home in disgrace. But Kitty has learnt from her new experiences and what she does next does next will not only surprise herself, but everyone else too.

Based on Jane Austen’s much-loved characters, this is the story of one young woman’s struggle to overcome the obstacles of her time and place and truly find herself.

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Chapter 1

Longbourn, January 1813

Matters matrimonial had long been the focus of Miss Catherine Bennet’s world. How could it be otherwise? The absolute necessity of finding a husband – a respectable husband, of course, but one whose chief recommendation must be his wealth – was the very cornerstone of her education. Her tutor and adviser in this winsome endeavour was none other than her indefatigable mother, Mrs Bennet, a woman whose sole aim in life was to see her five daughters married, and married well.

Catherine had accepted this doctrine, taking it as her own. Now though, with three sisters all wed within half a year, mildly disturbing thoughts were forming in her nineteen-year-old mind. Those sisters had all three married for love. Catherinehoped – expected – to do likewise but, young and inexperienced as she was, even she had begun to see that love was an indefinable commodity and certainly not one that guaranteed a life without care. Inchoate questions clamoured for answers she did not have. What if she were not to find a suitable husband? Where would she live? What would she do? What would she like to do?

Mrs Bennet burst into the parlour, dispelling any possibility of further introspection. ‘Oh Kitty, there you are. Where is Mary, where is your sister?’

If she wanted replies, Mrs Bennet did not wait for them. Instead, she peered at Kitty. ‘Really, what is to become of you?’ she said, shaking her head and unwittingly echoing her daughter’s unvoiced concerns. ‘You don’t look well, child. What is the matter with you? Are you unwell?’

‘I am quite well thank you, Mama,’ said Kitty, wondering what was wrong with her appearance now. It really was very hard to please her mother. ‘I am just a little tired.’

‘You are not lively these days,’ declared Mrs Bennet, subsiding into a chair. ‘You and Mary should walk into Meryton; it is days since we heard news. The day is bright, there is no rain. Perhaps the militia are returned? Aunt Phillips will be waiting to see you. She will know if the officers are back. How I long to hear from your dear sister Lydia. Not a word from her since Christmas. I am sure she will have much to tell us.’

‘Mary is not given to walks into Meryton, Mama,’ said Kitty. ‘If you can persuade her then so much the better, but I fear she will not give up her books.’

‘Books,’ said Mrs Bennet, investing the word with disdain. Since the early days of their marriage, a somewhat disillusioned Mr Bennet had treated his library as a refuge, both from his wife and the clamour of family life. Mrs Bennet had become used to this arrangement and tolerated books insofar as they could provide some form of entertainment, but that they should be preferred to social intercourse was, to her, quite unnatural. Her husband must read his books, of course, but for her daughter Mary to shut herself away reading her sermons and treatises was not to be borne. It was not as if the girl was blessed with uncommon beauty; she really must learn to smile more and lose those dour expressions. In that, at least, she could learn from her younger sister, Kitty. Books, indeed!

Mrs Bennet contemplated these unpleasant traits for a few moments and then, with surprising rapidity, rose, collected her skirts and left the room, calling out for Mary to attend her. Kitty stared at the closed door, sat back in her own chair and let the silence surround her. Did she look tired? She got up and went to study herself in the glass over the mantel.

Like young women everywhere, Kitty found much to worry her. She was not fair like her sister Jane; her expressions were not as pert and pretty as Elizabeth’s; she was not robust like Lydia; her features were not good enough… and so on and on. To anyone else – anyone, that is, not prone to measuring every attribute of womanhood against a supposed ideal of physical perfection so that it can be found wanting – Kitty’s looks were very pleasing. Some young ladies attain their fullest bloom at fifteen or sixteen years, and often fade fast thereafter; others have features that slowly and subtly change to reach their fullest perfection at one and twenty or thereabouts. Kitty was one such. Slender, but without any loss of feminine form, her figure was graceful. She appeared delicate. Her face, framed by an abundance of dark brown hair, could, in repose, seem rather too serious but when animated threw off any melancholic or grave aspects. Her eyes were clear and blue; her nose was straight and unassuming; her mouth neither small nor large. Nature had given her all the necessary attributes of attractive womanhood and if, when she entered an Assembly room, she did not command as much attention as others less fortunate physically, this was more to do with a lack of confidence in herself (and, of course, a lack of fortune).

There was no sign of Mary; presumably Mrs Bennet had not been successful in persuading her of the merit of exercise over books. Kitty settled back into her chair, wondering how to amuse herself for the next hour. It had been some time since she had read a book. She had suffered poor health as a child and spent weeks confined to her room and her bed. During those times, books had offered some solace but when she had recovered her health she had not wanted to stay seated, still less reading. How she had envied Lydia’s energy and high spirits. It had not taken long before the older sister had been in thrall to the younger and anything Lydia did or wanted to do was endorsed by Kitty.

And now Lydia was Mrs Wickham, living in Newcastle and all but estranged from her family. Jane was become Mrs Bingley and removed to Netherfield House; and Elizabeth was Mrs Darcy, mistress of a fine estate in Derbyshire, and far away. A Christmas had come and gone without the accustomed noisy family cheer. For Kitty, left behind in Longbourn with only her parents and Mary for company, life was dull and not a little lonely.

She did not much feel like meeting any new officers either, an unusual admission for Miss Catherine Bennet and one which, if articulated, would have produced an incredulous tirade from her mother. Marriage and money, livings and love… what else was there for her to think about? Kitty’s thoughts returned to her sisters.

That Jane, the beauty of the family with a character and disposition perfectly in harmony with her pleasing appearance, should be married to an amiable, handsome gentleman of good fortune was, without question, exactly as things should be. Kitty held Charles Bingley in high regard and was exceedinglyreadyto like and admire him. Not only was he in love with her eldest sister but his personality was such to find pleasure in, or at least tolerate with benign countenance, the company of all his wife’s family. Kitty was not in the least afraid of him.

Elizabeth’s husband was a different matter. Whilst unfailingly correct and polite, the taciturn Mr Darcy was a figure of some awe to Kitty. In truth, she had been amazed when Lizzy had announced her betrothal and still did not fully comprehend her sister’s choice – though she was in no doubt that it was an excellent match. Who would argue against a man with ten thousand a year, especially one of sound body and mind? Certainly not Mrs Bennet! Even so, to choose to spend one’s life with a man such as Fitzwilliam Darcy, rich though he was, seemed to Kitty something of a sacrifice, although she had to own that Lizzy seemed not to consider it so.

With regards to George Wickham, Kitty scarce knew what to think. The circumstances of Lydia’s hasty marriage to the dashing Captain Wickham, who with his red coat and easy manners cut such a debonair figure, were no longer discussed in the Bennet household, as if silence could eradicate the taint of scandal the elopement had occasioned. This suited Kitty very well. While not complicit in the couple’s infamous plan, some censure had fallen on Kitty who had been in correspondence with Lydia during her stay in Brighton from whence she and Wickham had fled – the one to escape his debts, the other to pursue an ideal of romantic love. Kitty pouted as she remembered her father’s unspoken wrath. Long since derided by him asone of ‘the silliest girls in England’, she feigned indifference but felt aggrieved. She was not the only one to succumb to Captain Wickham’s charm. Why, even Lizzy, her father’s favourite, had enjoyed his company, and Lizzy could do no wrong in her father’s eye.

A petulant sigh escaped Kitty. It really wasn’t fair. They had all been deceived as to Wickham, and this was another of the unwelcome thoughts troubling Kitty. How could one ascertain another person’s character? What if another handsome young officer presenting as a perfect gentleman should turn out to be a blackguard? Kitty’s confidence in mankind had been severely shaken.

Meanwhile, she was dissatisfied with both her appearance and her plight. In the wake of Lydia’s ‘shameful and deplorable antics’ (her father’s words), Mr Bennet had, at last, sought to exercise his parental control: he expected nothing less than perfect behaviour; he saw no need for his daughters to be at every social gathering, at every ball; henceforth any young men showing even a passing interest in his daughters would be the subject of his careful scrutiny; he required at least two hours of useful study every day. Mr Bennet did not mean these instructions to be taken literally, although Kitty interpreted them so.

For Mary, ever studious and serious, quite uninterested in such frivolous pleasures as flirting and dancing, life continued unchanged, but Kitty felt the strictures keenly. Why should she suffer blame for Lydia’s indiscretions? Why was it all her fault? Why did no one ever listen to her? It was all so unfair!

About the Author

Carrie Kablean began her career in London, where she was born, and now lives in Australia. Arriving in Sydney in 1990 (via eight years in Papua New Guinea, during which time she edited the local newspaper on Bougainville), she was with The Australian newspaper for more than 20 years, and was, concurrently, a theatre critic for the Sunday Telegraph.

You can buy it here at Amazon.

What Kitty Did next

Corrupted by Simon Michael #craytwins #murder #corruption

Corrupted - Simon Michael

Corrupted by Simon Michael

Corrupted is the fourth book in the Charles Holborne thriller series, and Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Lighterman. The reader is immediately swept into the world of law, justice and seedy business meetings where nothings is what it seems. Charles is building his reputation as a brilliant murder trial lawyer and living good life with partner Sally. But he can’t escape the influences – and dangers – of the past, and finds himself drawn once more into the orbit of the notorious Kray twins. It’s not long before Charles is courting scandal – and threats to his very life – when investigating a sex ring that involves not just the Krays and the Mafia, but goes to the very echelons of the country’s power. Simon Michael brings the past back to life, featuring real people from the time across a beautifully rendered swinging 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.

My review

I received this arc before the blog tour was announced, my husband is a fan of the Kray history and I’ve watched the films with him, so I knew a little bit about the Kray twins, when I spotted this arc available I asked if I could read and review, which was perfect timing, as not long after I was kindly asked by Kelly Lacey (Love Books Group) on behalf of Urbane Publications to join the blog tour!

This genre of book is very different from what I would have ever chosen, I read murder mystery and I have recently read books, based around gangsters and the police force, but never with this type of 60s crime background. This is a gem of a book, I started reading it, and by the end of the day I had already consumed half of the book without even realising. From the very beginning you are engrossed in the 60s timeline, which I really enjoyed reading about, the places to socialise and eat/drink at. There is a  prologue to start you off on your journey; to possibly help you understand more about the Kray twins and the other characters based in this book.

The first chapter is where it all starts the story is clearly set out so you know at what point the author is referring to, as it jumps from two days earlier to the present day from the very beginning, then throughout the story it reads like a diary entry with dates and times. This didn’t affect my reading at all and made it clear at what times things were happening.

The story throughout is very smooth and easy to read, the way this book is enticing and wants you to read more, I’ve not read many books that I just keep going, not only with the gripping story line, but with the way it was written. Even though this book is the fourth in the series, this was definitely a standalone and I didn’t need to read the others to appreciate the story line. However, time permitting (lots of blog tours!) I will read more of Simon Michael books from this series.

The main character Charles Holborne is fantastic, while reading this book I felt a range of emotions from fear, encouragement, pride to sorrow. You can see what he is going though and how his role as a Barrister can take over his whole life, but you also appreciate why and his dedication to the job is so important to him and how others see him as a person. His relationships become tested along the way with his partner Sally and his work colleagues, this runs alongside the storyline, where your told about his own family.

There are graphic scenes of sexual content but not distasteful to the reader, an essential piece of the story that needs to be told to ensure you understand the power held over some of the characters, especially one character that this story is based upon. The story discusses sexual abuse on various levels and the torment that it places onto others. It did make me think of the moral attitude in the 60s and it how it was illegal to be homosexual at that time, which making the use of abuse something that was hidden and not discussed.

There is a constant fight that Charles Holborne feels he has to do what is right and you can see, where he gets his feelings from, treading on the toes of the Kray twins and their mob is a constant battle that continues throughout, his stubbornness and guts gets him out of many of the predicaments that fall upon him.

I did wonder whether I would enjoy the court parts of the story, if there would be too much jargon that I may not understand or appreciate. However; and due to the Authors first hand experience, the court hearings were pleasantly simple to follow, I was there shouting “Yes, that’s perfect!” when his turn came to cross examine, you could see where his questioning was going and how the characters in the box, could not answer his questions truthfully.

The book was a fantastic read throughout, gripping, engaging and certainly a page-turner! I would happily read his other books.

Please read this book you can purchase it from Amazon.

About the Author

During Simon Michael’s years of practice at the Bar he has prosecuted and defended enough murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy to provide him with a lifetime of true crime stories. The Charles Holborne thriller series is set in the dangerous gangland streets of 1960s London. Simon currently lives in London.

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corrupted (1)

VOX by Christina Dalcher #100Words #dystopia

VOX – Silence can be deafening! By Christina Dalcher

Imagine a world in which you can only speak 100 words a day.

Any more and a thousand volts of electricity will course through your veins.

But only if you’re a woman.

I was chosen by HQ Stories to be one of 100 people to review this unusual debut.

It was a fantastic read, engaging and fast paced. Strong willed female characters that refuse to be silenced, in this dystopia based book! Lives are lost and passion is found. It made me wince and cry! How could anyone be in this situation, be sane and survive! To have strength to protect the many. Who you can trust was also important to this storyline, I was shocked. Very intriguing and thought provoking, a must read!


You can buy it here from Amazon – pre-order!


#tubing by K.A. McKeagney #blogtour #review


Tubing by K.A. McKeagney

A huge thank you to Red Door Publishers for including me in their blog tour for this fantastic book!

My first impression of the front cover said to me murder mystery or possibly thriller, this is a book that grips you throughout.

At the beginning there is a small build up to the characters, which sets the scene of how things are within the main characters relationship, which is where the story begins. You get to know more about the characters further through the book, so you are slowly finding out, why each character is as they are and why they might behave in a certain way, which I thought was not only more interesting than finding out everything from the beginning, but it makes you want to read more, enticing the reader to follow through as you have your own questions.

As I was reading I was quite surprised at the sexual scenes that were portrayed early on within the story as I wasn’t expecting it initially, I’m not someone that hasn’t read other mildly explicit books, but I hadn’t planned it in my head to read this. The scenes were detailed but not crude enough not to appreciate, where the writer wanted to place you within the surroundings and to appreciate how this could occur.

At the beginning I felt a bit surprised on how Polly (the main character) dealt with her feelings towards her partner Oliver, however as the story unfolds you get to understand why she may be like the way she is as she was very unfortunate in her childhood years and you start to feel sorry that its become that way, at some points I felt like shouting, “why didn’t you say anything!!”

At around the middle of the book, I was wondering where this was going to take me and all of a sudden ‘boom’, more facts start to appear and the understanding of what is happening to Polly, becomes clear and very troublesome. I admit I started the book one evening and I finished it the next day! I couldn’t put it down and I wanted to know more!

Towards the end I was rooting for her to keep going and keep strong, yes I agree some of her problems could have been resolved if she trusted the right people, but fatuation can be a very strong emotion especially if you feel insecure.

The final dramatic end, I felt was a great ending of all endings, her continuous attitude to finally get this problem resolved and using her common sense to ask the right questions, gave her the edge she needed! Amazing, fast paced read definitely recommended!

You can buy it from Amazon. Definitely worth a read!

tubing author


Her Mother’s Secret by Rosanna Ley #review #thetruth #secrets #family

Her Mother’s Secret by Rosanna Ley

For many years Colette has avoided returning to her homeland – the magical island of Belle-Ile-en-Mer in Southern Brittany – afraid to confront the painful memories she left behind. She is living on the Cornish coast when she hears about her mother Thea’s failing health and realises that the time has come for her to go home. But can Colette ever forgive Thea for what she has done?

Despite Colette’s wariness, romantic Belle-Ile still fascinates her. She takes on the running of her mother’s flower shop and makes friends with Elodie from the Old Lighthouse, where Thea once worked as a nanny, and with the enigmatic Etienne who shares Colette’s mixed feelings about the island. As Thea opens up to her for the first time, Colette finds herself softening and being drawn back into the landscape of her past. But can Belle-Ile also be a part of her future?

The ghosts if that past still linger. What happened all those years ago and how did it cause the rift between mother and daughter? It becomes clear that the beauty of Belle-Ile hides a devastating family secret – one that Colette is determined to unravel at any cost.

her mothers secret

My review

I was really looking forward to joining the book blog tour for this book, I’ve always dreamed of going to Brittany and I have visited Cornwall many times with my family, so I thought this book would be a great read, alongside a devastating family secret! I was definitely not disappointed!

The story is very descriptive and the author gives you every opportunity, to envelope your senses with the language she uses. I felt I was immersed within the story alongside the characters, which for me was bringing back the smells and sounds of Cornwall.

This book had twists and turns I wasn’t expecting, as you read along you might feel like you had an idea what might happen next, but I didn’t feel it was that simple to gauge what could be the secret. The secret was very in depth and not as simple as I was expecting, which intrigued me to read further and not be able to put the book down until I knew more!

The failing health of Thea was devastating and you are able to understand what it might feel like, if you were in that situation, either as the carer or as a family member.

The family torment of not dealing with situations at an early stage, made this story unbearable at some points, as you feel like shouting “You should have told her!” But we all know, this happens in real life and you can sympathise with the situation you could easily be put into.

The secret develops and it seems others have secrets too; this makes the reading even more interesting and how it develops some friendships for the future.

This novel is sad and emotional, however I feel that it was more centred about the secrets than the sadness that was occurring throughout.

The story is very well written and it is easy to follow as you go back in time, when they refer to their younger selves, which helps to understand why they took the actions they did. I especially enjoyed reading the diary excerpts of one of the character’s, it was such an important piece of the puzzle to help resolve the secrets, that had in the past destroyed and torn families apart.

My feelings towards one of the characters varied as an acceptance of a character as her life was, to be pulled from one emotion of achievement to devastating surprise in the next instance. For me she showed resilience that most of us could question.

This book is definitely a perfect holiday companion and a must read, it was heartfelt, soul searching and an engaging read and I would happily read it again!

A huge thank you to Anne Cater for arranging this blog tour and inviting me to join!

You can buy it here at Amazon.

Please see below the blog tour for Her Mother’s Secret.

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Shores of Death by Peter Ritchie #blogtour #review #murder

Shores of Death by Peter Ritchie

Grace Macallan is at breaking point. All around her, events threaten to run out of control – and a new investigation is testing her to the limit.

An undercover officer is missing and a woman is washed up, traumatised and barely alive, on the shores of Berwickshire. She has witnessed horror on the dark waters of the North Sea, but survival turns her life from a bad dream into a nightmare.

As she untangles the woman’s story, Grace is drawn into a cold-blooded criminal world. At its head is Pete Handyside, no notorious gangland boss who will fight hard and dirty to control his brutal empire and keep the money flowing.

But a traitor in his midst is intent upon betrayal – a betrayal that triggers an uncontrollable wave of violence. As she hones in on crucial evidence, Grace knows that one wrong move could end in tragedy.

About the Author

Peter Ritchie is a retired senior police officer. The real-world authenticity in his novels comes from vast experience gained working in CID, murder squads, Serious and Regional Crime Squads, NCIS London and Europol.

My review

I was very pleased to be asked to do a review for Shores of Death, joining the Black & White Publishing team on another great blog tour.

To start off I have added the Author’s history to the beginning of my review, purely because this book is very detailed and has in depth information, on how the police deal with this type of case. The knowledge is incredible and I felt like I was a police officer there with them along the way. This is all down to the Author, not only in his research but first hand experience in cases like this one, bringing the story to life.

If you love crime police stories, and books that tell you exactly how things are being dealt with and how, this is the book for you. At every stage of the story you get to understand how each character plays a role within their part of the story and how it affects the others. The language is certainly colourful and not a problem for me to read, I wouldn’t expect anything less from this type of book and it would have been unrealistic for the characters not to do so.

The story I felt, was very deep and the descriptions of the characters behaviour and the brutal incidents that occur were described perfectly. The characters were believable and they worked well within the story line.

Grace Macallan is a force to be reckoned with, she is a strong character who has recently been through trauma herself and then to become a mum. Her roots and passion for her job, show pure dedication and I would imagine in that kind of role you would find it hard to do anything less.

Ganglands main man Pete Handyside is as dedicated to his role within the crime empire, he has two sides to him, one being the boss of crime within the North and the other a family man, dedicated to the safety of his family.

Throughout the story you get to know these characters very well and appreciate where each one plays an important role within the story, how their own families show support and understand what they must do to help them.

From the very beginning the story picks up quickly and your wanting more, throughout the main part of the novel it’s being explained how they go through police channels to locate the criminals, with the criminals who are fighting their own battles and who is involved, here is where you get to know who works for who and those that make big mistakes, through to the end where it picks up again to the finale.

The fight scenes between the criminals were gruesome which provided an intense and enthralling read. There were also twists to the story that continued throughout. The story covers other areas such as mental health and internal affairs within the police force, making fascinating reading.

After reading this novel I felt like I had been dragged through gangland and joined the police force, in resolving the questions they had to locate the various criminals to end this brutal attack. It is gripping and you always want to know more, in one way you could pick your side to support, both had so much going on, you definitely felt you were sucked into their world!

I would definitely recommend this book to read and devour! Buy it here at Amazon.


The Power of Dog by Andrew Marshall #blogtour #extract

I was pleased to be asked by RedDoor Publishing to be involved in the blog tour for The Power of Dog – How a puppy helped heal a grieving heart by Andrew Marshall.

9781910453605          andrew-g-marshall-pumpkin

This is an extract from the book, please enjoy …


What I wanted most and what frightened me most, when I was a child, turned out to be the same thing. Every year as I blew out my birthday cake candles, I’d wish for a puppy ‒ with my eyes tightly closed to maximise the magic. But while my daydreams were full of adoring Labradors fetching sticks, my nightmares were stalked by their distant relatives: wolves.

My parents belonged to the ‘comfortably off’ middle classes and were only too happy to pay for tennis lessons, new bikes and summer camp – indeed they were particularly keen to send me to these. My birthday cake was always home baked, a fruit cake decorated with teddy bears sitting in a spiky snow scene. Despite the growing number of candles and my entreaties, the gods of birthday wishes were unmoved. Although my mother agreed first to guinea pigs and later mice, she remained firm about getting a dog: ‘I’ll be the one who ends up walking it.’

I can pinpoint the exact moment the nightmares started. Our next-door neighbours, whom I’d christened H’auntie and H’uncle, had retired to Bournemouth and one summer we stayed overnight at their house. I must have been four or five and already possessed a vivid imagination. In the middle of the night, I had to tiptoe across an unfamiliar landing to the lavatory ‒ never toilet because my mother considered the term vulgar. Returning, I closed the bedroom door as quietly as possible and revealed a large hairy wolf ready to pounce. I can’t remember if I screamed or whether anybody came. Maybe my mother pointed out that the wolf was really a man’s woollen winter dressing gown hanging on a hook; all of those details have been forgotten but I can still remember the nightmares.

Back home in Northampton, I slept in a tall wooden bed which had originally belonged to my father. The mattress and the springs were so old that they had sunk to form a hollow which fitted exactly around my small body. I felt safe nestling between the two hills on either side. However, the old-fashioned design left a large amount of space under the bed. By day, this space housed a box of favourite toys, but at night I never had the nerve to lift the white candlewick counterpane. I instinctively knew the wolves had set up camp there. The rules of engagement were simple: I was safe in bed, but they could pounce and catch me if I didn’t run fast enough back from the loo ‒ an acceptable abbreviation. On particularly dark nights, the wolves would emerge from their lair and dance round the room with their teeth glinting in the moonlight. I’d scream out and Mummy would come and reassure me:

‘The wolves will not get you.’

She would lift the counterpane and show me.

‘There’s nothing there.’

It was easy for her to say – the wolves would disappear as soon as she’d open my bedroom door. But after she’d told me to ‘sleep tight’ and gone back to bed, they would rematerialise, slink back into the lair and an uneasy truce would be established.

Wolves did not have a monopoly on my fears. For a while in the sixties a ‘cop killer’ called Harry Roberts evaded the police by haunting my nightmares. If there was a strange-looking man drinking alone at the rugby club bar ‒ where my father was treasurer ‒ I would sidle up to one of my parents and whisper: ‘THERE’S HARRY ROBERTS.’ It must have been embarrassing for my parents, but in defence of my seven-year-old self, the rugby club did attract an odd crowd.

Fortunately, my fear of Harry Roberts was easy to cure. One night in 1966, I was allowed to stay up late to watch his capture on the news. I can still picture the small makeshift camp in the woods ‒ the blanket strung between three trees and the discarded tin cans ‒ but not where (except it was many miles from my home). I slept soundly that night.

Flushed by her success with Harry Roberts, my mother took me to London Zoo. I was softened up with lions, monkeys and possibly even a ride on an elephant. Next, she casually mentioned that they had wolves too. I can’t remember what I was wearing but I can picture myself in an anorak so large it came down past my knees ‒ ‘you’ll grow into it’ – being taken to an enclosure hidden in some back alley of the Zoo. Did I actually look at the wolves? Perhaps I refused. Perhaps they were asleep in their den. Whatever happened next, the pack under my bed would not be exorcised so easily.

At that age it was impossible to believe I would ever reach ten; but I did. I even turned eighteen and left home for university where I studied Politics and Sociology. After graduating, I got a job first at BRMB Radio in Birmingham (in the newsroom) and then Essex Radio in Southend (as a presenter and producer) and Radio Mercury in Crawley (where I rose to become Deputy Programme Controller). My nightmares about wolves had long since ended, but if they appeared on TV they would still make me feel uneasy and I would switch channels. I still wanted a dog, but I was far too practical. I had a career to pursue. Who would walk the dog? Would it be fair to leave it alone while I worked? I couldn’t be tied down by such responsibilities.

At thirty, I fell in love with Thom and we talked about getting a dog together. However, for the first four and a half years, he lived in Germany and I lived in Hurstpierpoint (a small Sussex village). In the spring of 1995, Thom finally moved over to England with plans to set up an interior design company. However, six months later, he fell ill. All our plans for dog-owning were put on hold, while we concentrated on getting him better. He spent months in hospital first in England and then in Germany and I spent a lot of time flying backwards and forwards between the two countries. I loved Thom with a passion that sometimes terrified me, so when he died, on 9 March 1997, I was completely inconsolable.

I moved into the office he’d created in our spare room, but I couldn’t stop the computer from still sending faxes from Andrew Marshall and Thom Hartwig. As far as Microsoft Word was concerned, he was immortal. I tried various strategies to cope with my bereavement but three different counsellors did not shift it. Two short-term relationships made me feel worse not better. I had just turned forty. My regular sources of income – being Agony Uncle for Live TV and writing a column for the Independent newspaper – were both terminated. My grief was further isolating me and many of Thom and my couple friendships had just withered away.

Approaching the Millennium, something had to change but what?

You can purchase the book here at Amazon.


Wojtek – War Hero Bear!

I was very pleased to be involved in the book blog tour for Wojtek by Jenny Robertson alongside Love Books Group, it sounded like a wonderful heroic read for children and I was really looking forward to reading this book – it didn’t disappoint me!

Wojtek book cover (1)

Wojtek – War Hero Bear

When a tiny bear cub adopted by Polish soldiers during World War II, little does anyone guess that young Wojtek will become one of the bravest fighters of them all. As the soldiers train to take part in some of the fiercest fighting of the war, Wojtek grows up, providing headaches and laughter in equal measure. But at the famous Battle of Monte Cassino, Wojtek now a fully signed-up soldier, comes into his own, dodging the bullets to carry ammunition to his comrades as they inch their way to victory.

After the war, the Polish soldiers move to Britain. Wojtek comes too and soon becomes the centre of attention in a new country. But the fighting now over, how long can he keep his freedom?

My Review

This was my first children’s book blog tour, the synopsis I was provided with intrigued me and I was very pleased I took the time to read this.

This little bear cub became the mascot for the Polish soldiers and gave them hope and time away to think about fun and laughter, rather than the pain and suffering some of them endured.

The book was a lovely read, easy to follow and with no over describing of the scenes or what was happening, I would find this essential, for this book is ideally for children aged between 9-12 years. However, I loved it! It reminded me of a book I read as a child, about a little dog from Scotland.

The book is descriptive enough to explain what was going on, but not to put the reader off, should the scene be too graphic. You could tell what the characters were feeling and the emotions that could be felt while they were at war and how Wojtek and his antics supported them.

Wojtek’s connection between his handler; Piotr Prendys was amazing how he nurtured him from the beginning, to when Wojtek’s natural instincts kicked in, this in itself was a intense read! The trust they gained towards each other was very rewarding and heartfelt. Wojtek helped Piotr to have a purpose while in the army away from his family.

The story explains where the soldiers came from and how they became part of the army, and the suffering that others endured while WWII continued, including family and friends that were separated.

With Wojtek becoming an integral part of the Polish troops and their missions, he was finally immortalised in 2017 as a statue in Edinburgh, which I felt was very fitting of his service in the army.

One of my most favourable parts of the book was at the beginning, when Piotr named the bear cub, ‘’His name is Wojtek.’ He pronounced it Voy-tek.’ This for me seemed so helpful for the reader, some of the Polish names were a little hard to translate, so for me this helped to get the main characters name perfect, as I read through the story. This would also be ideal, as when a child had read and loved the story they may tell others, if the name of the book/character is easy to remember, it would help them recommend it to others.

This book made from laugh, cheer and cry, which I feel is essential for any good read involving animals.

This book is ideal for children to understand more about History and the WWII. At the back of the book there is a timeline which I thought was also very helpful, should this book be used within a Literacy lesson.

This book is beautifully illustrated throughout, by Tim Archbold, I believe this also helps children to enhance their imagination, reading the story while enjoying this book to its full potential.

I would recommend this book definitely to young children and adults alike, its a warming remembrance of those who went to war, who had something special to keep them strong, at the heights of their suffering.

Here is the Statue of Wojtek in Scotland, along with the Author Jenny Robertson.

The statue itself would make a wonderful visit to Scotland, either as a family or on a school visit, to follow up the story and to enhance the full experience.

You can buy Wojtek at Amazon.