Strand of Faith by Rachel J Bonner #coverreveal #love #life

Strands of Faith.- Cover Reveal

Strand of Faith

When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?

A girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love.  But those from whom they expect support are manipulating them both because their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.

After a stormy youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery.  That is, until he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. To follow his heart, he’ll have to face his demons again, outside the security of the monastery. Is it worth the risk?  Can he beat them this time? Or will they finally destroy him?

Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the abbey. All she wants is to learn how to manage her unusual abilities so that she is not a danger to those around her. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything threatens to spiral out of her control.  Whether she leaves or whether she stays, how can she possibly avoid destroying – yet again – those she has come to care about?

Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice.  He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war.  Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for.  He knows what he has to do but is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?

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Front cover Faith

Striking, unusual cover which I believe has been painted with acrylics, also with the glimmer of a shiny silver necklace.

Buy it here at:

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Strand-Faith-Choices-Consequences-Book-ebook/dp/B07GKZT8LF

http://www.books2read.com/strandoffaith

Author Bio

Rachel J Bonner is the author of the four book Choices and Consequences series, the first of which, Strand of Faith, is due out in November 2018.

Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in paranormal romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun. When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club. Target shooting only, honest. Nothing to worry about.

She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary.  It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.

You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at www.racheljbonner.co.uk.

https://twitter.com/RachelJBonner1

Cover Designer’s Social Media

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http://www.facebook.com/pengilleyart

@oliverpengilley  

http://www.patreon.com/oliverpengilley

http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/oliverpengilley

 

 

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How We Remember by J.M. Monaco #review #life #thepast #familysecrets

How We Remember by J.M. Monaco

I was kindly offered by RedDoor Publishing to review this arc of How We Remember, ready for the publication date.

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My Review

This story is about Jo O’Brien and her family around her, as life develops and how she grows up. The story starts straight into the beginning, where you’re thrown into the torment of her mother’s death. Jo comes home to support her dad and brother Dave, in sorting all the things that need to be finalised, when someone passes away.

As Jo and her dad go through all the details belonging to her mum, they find some secrets that Terry (Jo’s mum) has kept to herself, something that is beneficial to their own future. However, with this newfound secret, some problems arise, giving a twist to the story that continues to the very end.

Along with this twist to the story after her mum’s passing, you are introduced to a much younger Jo. The story is told as Jo grows up, spending time with her extended family, her own family and how she meets her long-term friends and husband. The story covers very personal details of abuse and neglect; not being able to support your own child was one very important factor, to how Jo grows up and sees herself as a person.

There are lots of areas in this story of family members using counselling to help them feel free of their worries, the counselling starts on early with Dave, who has many struggles, to when Jo is growing up and needs someone to talk to, expressing her concerns about her past.

This story brings lots to the reader; love, growing up, career development, family torment, health and money worries.

The story even brings to light the concerns that you may not fit into the social surroundings that you find yourself in, especially if your background is not wealthy enough. Does your financial status really play an important role on your life and future? One question that this book makes you ask yourself.

I enjoyed reading this book, the story itself will stay with me for a while, it gave me lots to contemplate and think about, in some cases to made me realise what life is really about. Are the worries that cause us concern in life; are they really worth it in the end?

I recommend reading this debut novel, it will be a story you will remember.

Buy it here at:

Amazon
Netgalley
The book can also be found on RedDoor Publishing website.

‘What a heartbreaker! A deeply assured, soulful and savage portrayal of family life and secrets. This book gets under your skin – and stays there’
Emma Jane Unsworth

How We Remember drew me in with its vividly drawn characters right from the beginning. Unsettling, honest and thought-provoking’
Joanne Burn

‘Monaco evokes time and place in a manner that is wholly engaging; she tells an engrossing story about the truth about coming to terms with the past, and the feel of this stays after the final page’
Ruth Figgest

Author’s blog can be found here or you can find the Author here on Twitter.

 

The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner #review #war #love #history

The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner

I offered to take part in this blog tour of The Blue Bench, on behalf of Random Tour Things, I was very glad I did and I was definitely not disappointed!

Synopsis

Margate 1920 The Great War is over but Britain is still to find peace and its spirit is not yet mended. Edward and William have returned from the front as changed men. Together they have survived grotesque horrors and remain haunted by memories of comrades who did not come home. The summer season in Margate is a chance for them to rebuild their lives and reconcile the past. Evelyn and Catherine are young women ready to live to live life to the full. Their independence has been hard won and, with little knowledge of the cost of their freedom, they are ready to face new challenges side by side. Can they define their own future and open their hearts to the prospect of finding love? Will the summer of 1920 be a turning point for these new friends and the country?

 

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My review

This is a story of the after effects of war, life as it continues, love, sexuality, death, birth and the decisions to support those that need, or search for it.

The book is beautifully written and is very easy to follow, it only took me a few days to finish this and with 601 pages, it was a challenge in itself!

The two main characters were two soldiers that have come back from war and survived, one of the soldiers didn’t come back as whole, as would have liked and has secrets of his own, that in time are told.

The story starts off in 1940 with Patrick who as you read on, you find out he is a six year old boy of a lady the soldiers meet, the story continues in 1917 in the war, then follows onto 1921 when the story is finalised with a final chapter in 1941, from Patrick who has now grown up.

Throughout the story you learn more about the other characters and how they become close to Edward and William, how they impact each other and the impressions they place on the people of Margate.

A young girl called Evelyn, starts volunteer work for Alice and Alistair in a café to help support them, as Alice is pregnant and needs support. As a couple they have their own memories and torment of the war.

When Evelyn starts looking for paid work, she meets Catherine and that is where they meet Edward and William, as Edward has music performances in The Winter Gardens.

The story shows the passion that Edward has for playing the piano, to the devastation of his past. As you read on you can feel the sea air on your face, the descriptions are deep and meaningful.

The mention of ‘The Blue Bench’ is made throughout the story and towards the end, you find out what it represents, which I thought was very intriguing and emotional.

This story also looks into the development of the characters, their sexuality, also understanding how we feel towards people and how it affects us. The story is well written and you can appreciate the writing behind it.

I loved reading about how they enjoyed time at the sea cliffs, having picnics and the time where etiquette and dress were very important.

I would definitely recommend this book, it has stuck with me ever since I read it. One for the memory banks!

Buy it here at Amazon.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul grew up in a west London suburb and now lives in Berkshire with his wife and two children. He is passionate about music, sport and, most of all, writing, on which he now concentrates full-time. Paul has written four novels and his primary literary ambition is that you enjoy reading them while he is hard at work on the next one (but still finding time to play drums with Redlands and Rags 2 Riches). 

Twitter :  @marriner_p

Paul Marriner Author picture

Blue Bench Blog Tour Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stepsister by Jenny O’Brien #coverreveal #thriller

The Stepsister Cover Reveal

The Stepsister

With thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join in with this fantastic, gripping Cover Reveal for The Stepsister!

Book Blurb

When a stranger leaves step-sisters, Victoria and Ness, a half-share in a house in Holland, they think it must be a mistake.

But there’s no mistake when Ness goes missing.

Desperate for the truth, Victoria heads to Holland to find out what happened to her. Has she, as her texts show, embarked on a whirlwind romance? Has someone abducted her or even worse?

But there’s someone watching, and that person wants her dead.

Can Victoria find out the truth before it’s too late?

Prologue

I died yesterday, or so I’ve been told.

Yesterday is the day my life changed but how or why is still a mystery. There are things I know and there are things that they’ve told me but I can’t seem to trust any of it.

I know I’m a woman but I don’t know my age. I know how to hold a cup in the same way I know it’s rude to stick the end of a knife in my mouth. So, somewhere along the way, someone cared enough to drill manners into me. Those are the things I know, the things I can trust but as for the rest…

They tell me I’m in Holland but can I believe them? I don’t remember if I’m Dutch but I also don’t remember if I’m not. I can’t speak Dutch. I’ve been trying all morning but can one lose a language overnight? I seem to have lost everything else. Who knows? Maybe I took the wrong train or something and just rolled up in the wrong city. That would make sense except that it’s not just my sense of place that’s missing. It’s my sense of everything. I have no name, no age and no identity. Yesterday I died and today I’m still here.

They’ve left me alone now while they try to puzzle out what to do and in the meantime I’m going to try to remember stuff. I don’t know how long they’ll leave me alone but I need to take this opportunity to come up with some answers to all the questions they’ve been throwing at me like who the hell I am.

Slipping out of bed I recoil as bare feet meets cold tiles, but that’s not going to stop me. Pulling the back of the hospital gown closed in an effort to retain some degree of dignity, I shuffle over to the bathroom and then the mirror only to stare into the face of a stranger.

It doesn’t matter what I look like or that I’m suffering from the worst case of bed-head known to man. It doesn’t matter that my eyes are green or that my hair is that shade of nondescript mouse that keeps colourists in business. The only thing that matters is my reflection, which holds no clues as to my identity. I’m a stranger to them. I’m a stranger to me.

My body holds a clue though – just one.

I push up my sleeve again to stare at the tattoo on my arm. The tattoo puzzles me. It’s not me, or part of me or who I think I am and yet it’s there, a large indelible letter V.

I have no idea what it stands for. Oh, I’m not stupid or anything or, at least I don’t think I am. I can’t quote which exams I’ve passed or if indeed I’ve ever attended school but I do know V stands for victory. But what does it mean to me? Am I victorious? Am I making a statement about something? It must be important because it’s the only tattoo I have. It’s also the only clue.

I’m tired now. My eyelids collapse over my eyes even as I struggle to shift them upwards as I remember the cocktail the nurse told me to swallow like a good girl. I want everything to go away. I want to hide under the blankets and forget. I’ve already forgotten…

Here is the cover reveal …

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Pre-order on Amazon UK

Author Bio

Jenny O’Brien was born in Ireland and, after a brief sojourn in Wales, now resides in Guernsey.
She’s an avid reader and book reviewer for NetGalley in addition to being a RoNA judge.
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so. She’s also an avid collector of cats, broken laptops, dust and happy endings – two of which you’ll always find in her books.

In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off.

Readers can find out more about Jenny from her blog: https://jennyobrienwriter.wordpress.com


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JennyOBrienWriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScribblerJB

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Where the Missing Go by Emma Rowley #review #gripping #psychological #thriller

Where the Missing Go

I was very kindly offered to read Where the Missing Go by Orion Books, I was very intrigued by this synopsis.

MY NAME IS KATE.

I volunteer at a missing persons helpline – young people who have run away from home call me and I pass on messages to their loved ones, no questions asked.

I don’t get many phone calls, and those I do are usually short and vague, or pranks.

But today a girl named Sophie called.

I’m supposed to contact her parents to let them know their child is safe.

The problem is, Sophie isn’t safe.

AND SOPHIE IS MY DAUGHTER.

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My Review

The story starts off with a brief Prologue from the point of view of a young girl, following with an article about this missing girl. The story begins two years later with Kate and her husband Mark – the mother and father of Sofie, the missing girl.

As time carries on, there has been very little contact from Sofie, apart from a few post cards that say she is well and safe. Kate’s life has fallen apart, she can’t understand what went wrong, so wrong for Sofie to want to run away. With her marriage also falling to pieces, Kate feels alone and decides to help with a missing persons helpline.

This one evening she receives a call from a young girl, as she tries to talk to this girl she starts to believe, that this missing person is her daughter – Sofie. She does her best to keep her on the line, but with a swift ending and the telephone line being so poor, Kate is unable to speak any further. With this new development, Kate begins her search again for her daughter, she knows something isn’t right, was it what this missing girl said, or is it just a mother’s instinct?

Kate goes through all the previous avenues, talking to the police, old friends of Sofie’s and her then boyfriend. As she tries to unravel more information, she becomes more confused on what she is finding out, then coming to a dead end.

Her search engulfs her as she is so dedicated to finding out the truth, that family around her start to become concerned for her wellbeing.

This book has so many twists from the very beginning, helping you understand and letting your mind think where Sofie has gone and why. However, the story twists to where you get to know Sofie’s side of the story, so from the middle of the book it continues like this, with Kate explaining what is going on, to finding out where Sofie is and what is happening to her.

As you read on it becomes very gripping, with new surprises as the story continues. I thought I knew what was coming, with the clues that were given, however Emma Rowley has written this story so well, that the final twist is incredible!

As the story comes to a gripping close (no spoilers), you find out the whole story and what Sofie’s story has got to do with another’s past.

Amazing read, please read and enjoy what I have thoroughly devoured over the last 24 hours!

Buy it here from Amazon.

Perfect Ten by Jacqueline Ward #blogtour #teamcaro #review #revenge

Perfect Ten by Jacqueline Ward

An explosive debut thriller about one woman’s search for revenge – and the dangerous chain of events she sets in motion…

Caroline Atkinson is powerless and angry. She has lost more than most – her marriage, her reputation, her children.  Then one day, she receives an unusual delivery: lost luggage belonging to the very man who is responsible, her estranged husband Jack.

In a leather holdall, Caroline unearths a dark secret, one that finally confirms her worst suspicions. Jack has kept a detailed diary of all his affairs; every name, every meeting, every lie is recorded. He even marks the women out of ten.

Caroline decides it’s time to even the score. She will make this man pay, even if it means risking everything…

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My Review

I was very kindly offered by Anne Cater – Random Things Tours, to be part of the Perfect Ten blog tour. This book sounded great from the synopis and was a fantastic read!

The story is all about Caroline, a mum to two young children and a wife, to a husband she would to anything for and thought he was the most wonderful husband, until he decides that he wants to have a divorce. The divorce goes through and Caroline loses everything, from her children to her reputation that becomes scarred, until one day she receives some lost luggage that belonged to her husband. She decides to withold this one bag, that she later on finds out, contains some very useful but very hurtful information. With this information she fuels her revenege on this ‘perfect husband’ and the ‘lovely’ ladies he has spent time with.

This book is a delight to read, as you read on you are hoping for a brighter future for Caroline, you find out how her life had been like with her ex-husband, with this in mind you are shouting encouragmement to Caroline to keep on with her revenge!

There are so many twists to this story, things about Caroline she does to make her feel busy, feeling not so engrossed in her loss to how that effects her in her quest for revenge. The lengths she goes to ensure her revenge is hidden from not implicating her in any way, which adds to the suspense of the story.

With Caroline getting involved with the police and the her ex-husbands affairs, this story has so much to offer in gossip and wow factor! We all know how affairs can be, however this one has such an explosive way of becoming public it was fantastic!

I did feel for Caroline with the loss of her children and the reminders that occur daily, however as she became stronger, her character grew with strength giving her the edge to continue.

In some instances you feel like Caroline may have gone too far, she is definitely dedicated to going through with what she sets out to do.  In the end it all fuels the final finale giving Caroline the edge she so surely needs, but will it help?

I don’t want to give any spoilers, however this is an explosive read, with lots of challenging scenarios going on, you just want to read to the end to see if it was all worth it!

I definitely recommend reading this, just for the moments that will make you laugh and cheer ‘Team Caro’!

Buy it here from Amazon

Author Bio

Jacqueline Ward is a Chartered Psychologist and scientist working in high hazard safety. She holds a PhD which explored the stories we use in everyday life to construct our identities, and in 2013 received an MBE for services to vulnerable people. She lives in Oldham with her partner and their dog.

Jacqueline Ward Author Picture

Perfect Ten Blog Tour Poster

 

The Amber Maze by Christopher Bowden #review #history #blogtour

The Amber Maze

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.

Delicately crafted noir fiction at its best.

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My Review

With thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources, for offering me to join the blog tour for The Amber Maze.

The mystery begins with Hugh Mullion finding a key, wedged down the side of an antique chair, while he is on holiday in Dorset. This key starts off a chain of events that finally becomes clear, which places past ghosts to rest, bringing some history that has also been hidden, now being brought back to life to its full glory.

After spending a lot of time researching who this key belongs to or what it opens, the mystery continues. At every step of the way Hugh finds out more information about what The Amber Maze is and what it represents, once he locates the history behind The Amber Maze, more details are clear of who was involved and what it meant, with more historical documents brought back to life and the few people left, are able to fill in the gaps, the details of The Amber Maze are now made clear.

This is story of investigation and research into something from 1960s, it takes different avenues, bringing back history that is dark and provides answers, as more questions arise from the history Hugh looks into.

This story is very much like a return to sender letter, as Hugh looks into The Amber Maze, an artist Lionel Pybus comes to life, you get to know what part he plays within the research, what happened to him and the family and friends around him and what happened to them.

The research made, uses different methods from historical documents; diaries, bound books, newspaper cuttings, paintings and a visit to Assendene Court in Oxfordshire, where more questions are solved.

As you read through the story there are some other dark mysteries that occur, making you think twice about why these happened.

Without the perseverance of Hugh finding out all the answers he could, the ending would not be so rewarding. It was good to learn more about Lionel Pybus his troubled past and how 50 years later he receives the audience he deserves.

A very unusual but enticing book to read, which I recommend just to satisfy your curiosity about The Amber Maze.

You can purchase it here at Amazon or Waterstones.

Author Bio

Christopher Bowden lives in south London. The Amber Maze is the sixth of his colour-themed novels, which have been praised variously by Andrew Marr, Julian Fellowes, Sir Derek Jacobi, and Shena Mackay. 

Social Media Links –  Facebook – The Amber Maze

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The Amber Maze Full Tour Banner

 

 

The Night She Died by Jenny Blackhurst #review #gripping #thriller #NightSheDied

The Night She Died

On her own wedding night, beautiful and complicated Evie White leaps off a cliff to her death.

What drove her to commit this terrible act? It’s left to her best friend and her husband to unravel the sinister mystery.

Following a twisted trail of clues leading to Evie’s darkest secrets, they begin to realize they never knew the real Evie at all…

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My Review

I received this ARC from Anne Cater; blog tour organiser of Random Things Tours, in exchange for an honest review, I was certainly not disappointed!

From the title already you have an idea its going to be gripping and from previous comments about this Author, I knew it was going to be a thriller, but my question was ‘how gripping?’.

From the very beginning you are thrown into the story, where in the Prologue, it immediately explains what happens to Evelyn White, as she throws herself off of a cliff face, into the deep waters not long after exchanging her vows, to her newly wed husband. But one question remains – ‘Why?’

After this dramatic beginning, you get to know about the two other main characters; her newly wed husband and her best friend Rebecca. Everyone at the wedding party, have just been informed of the brides ‘accident’ and no one can understand why it has happened. The police are starting to ask questions, they have two witnesses that have seen her jump!

Not long after the incident, Rebecca receives some creepy communication from an unknown person, claiming to be Evelyn! This scares Rebecca and makes her un-nerved as she knows Evelyn has died and can’t understand why someone would do this. However, as you read on there is more than one secret that has been kept and Rebecca knows more than she is telling, especially with Richard; Evelyn’s husband.

The story bounces from now, just after the incident to back in time, when Evelyn is a young girl, you learn about her family and her life as she grows up. Evelyn has struggles of her own as any child would, she falls in love, argues with her parents and attends various schools and universities, depending on where her father wants her to go. You find out a lot of detail about her struggles, which impact her relationship with her father. As she gets older some of the old torments come back to haunt her, causing Evelyn to make some choices that impact her future and demise!

As Evelyn attends university and starts her photography future, she meets various new people, one being Rebecca. Rebecca is drawn into the charm of Evelyn and what she has to offer, with a carefree attitude and the warmth they bring as best friends, it would seem they couldn’t do without each other, as though they were joined at the hip!

The story flickers between what is happening now with Richard and how Rebecca is supporting him over his grief, to Evelyn as she grows up with Rebecca along with how she fits into this story, including how they share the secrets they hide.

With the police asking questions, as well as close friends saying things that were not mentioned on the day of the suicide, also more clues coming to light, the fight Richard has to find out why his wife jumped off the cliff, becomes more apparent. It would seem he is the only one that has no idea who is wife really was, and the secrets she has.

The twists, secrets, lies and continuation of shock to this story is amazing, at every part of the story there is something else, that brings to light why Evelyn threw herself off of the cliff. I had questions as I was reading; there are clues as when Rebecca talks what she says, something is amiss. So I had a feeling something was not quite right with the original suicide story.

However, as you get to the ending more unravels and becomes clear, but when you get to the final chapter, it was a massive twist to the story and an amazing, creepy ending. This finale totally caught me off guard, but seemed so clear once mentioned.

I would definitely recommend this book, it’s a dark, gripping and disturbing story, one to be careful of who you trust!

Buy the book here at Amazon.

Author Bio

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. The night she died is Jenny’s fourth novel.

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The Night She Died Blog tour poster

Sleeping Through War by Jackie Carreira #blogtour #review #courage #inspiring

Sleeping through War by Jackie Carreira

Set against the backdrop of real, world-changing events, these are the stories that are forgotten in the history books.

The year is 1968 and the world is changing forever. During the month of May, students are rioting and workers are striking across the globe, civil rights are being fought and died for, nuclear bombs are being tested, there are major conflicts on every continent, and war is raging in Vietnam. Against this volatile background, three women strive to keep everything together.

Rose must keep her dignity and compassion as a West Indian nurse in East London. Amalia must keep hoping that her son can escape their seedy life in Lisbon. And Mrs Johnson in Washington DC must keep writing to her son in Vietnam. She has no-one else to talk to. Three different women, three different countries, but all striving to survive – a courageous attitude that everybody can relate to.

Although Sleeping Through War is a work of fiction, this somewhat hidden history attempts to humanise a few weeks in time that were so stuffed with monumental events that it’s easy to forget the people involved.

The author was a child in 1968 and lived in London and Lisbon during the 1960s. She met women like these and didn’t want their voices to go unheard into the future.

Readers of both history and literary fiction will enjoy this emotionally-vivid work that weaves fiction into fact.

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My Review

I was invited by Rachel’s Random Resources to take part in this three-day blitz for Sleeping Through War by Jackie Carreira. The synopsis sounded very different than my normal reads and I was very intrigued, I am so glad I took part in this blog tour and took the time to read this book, it is definitely a must read!

The story is written in different forms, one is a letter from a mum to her son in the war; in Vietnam, another is a black nurse who joins a care home in London which seems to write like a diary entry, and the other is a mum and son from Lisbon, Portugal, written like a story, these are all based in May 1968. Now you may think that sounds confusing to keep up, however this is so well written and every part of the story is written in different text types, so you know whom you were going to read about.

You can sympathise at every stage, for each of the women in these different situations around the world, the story telling is so grounding and emotional. In between the different stories, you are provided with news reports of things that are going on around the world, reporting crimes, protests, the war and Government law changes, with this information you can really place how things are at this time in 1968.

I loved every main female character in this book, they all had so much determination and courage to continue, regardless of discrimination or of what others did or said. All their situations are very different, with a story of their own to tell. I enjoyed reading the passion the nurse (Rose) had to continue with, being not only strong within her role at her job, but with friends and neighbours around her. Amalia tries her best for her son as she looks after him in Lisbon, providing what she can to give him a future, for her future choices are heart wrenching, but as a mother myself I can see her choices are valid. Mrs Johnson in Washington DC that has her son at war in Vietnam, is a completely different story, she enjoys writing to her son, talking about what she is doing, how his sister is with her new boyfriend’s and how life is still continuing as normal.

There are some surprises along the way for all the women, parts that make you feel proud and parts that are really quite upsetting, bringing a tear or two. You can understand how they must be feeling, to just continue with what life provides and be strong, regardless of whatever life throws at you!

I absolutely adored this book, it showed me strength and love in different forms, at the worst of times and I really enjoyed reading each part of their stories as they developed. This was very much like a snippet of people’s lives and you felt you were there with them.

This book is definitely emotionally driven and the passion written behind each character is noticeable, you can understand a clear picture of their situation, from reading this story.

It is a must read, just to appreciate the lives of these women at that time, the Author shows her first hand knowledge of these situations at this time. I would happily read this book again! I loved reading these stories; heartwarming, emotional and inspiring.

Buy it here at Amazon, Wordery or Waterstones.

Author Bio

Jackie Carreira is a writer, musician, designer, co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre Company, and award-winning playwright. She mostly grew up and went to school in Hackney, East London, but spent part of her early childhood with grandparents in Lisbon’s Old Quarter. Her colourful early life has greatly influenced this novel. Jackie now lives in leafy Suffolk with her actor husband, AJ Deane, two cats and too many books.

Social Media Links –  

FACEBOOK: @SleepingThroughWar

WEBSITE: jackiecarreira.co.uk

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What’s Left Unsaid by Deborah Stone #extract #lovebooksgrouptours

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Sasha is just about managing to hold her life together. She is raising her teenage son Zac, coping with an absent husband and caring for her ageing, temperamental and alcoholic mother, as well as holding down her own job. But when Zac begins to suspect that he has a secret sibling, Sasha realises that she must relive the events of a devastating night which she has done her best to forget for the past nineteen years.

Sasha’s mother, Annie, is old and finds it difficult to distinguish between past and present and between truth and lies. As Annie sinks deeper back into her past, she revisits the key events in her life which have shaped her emotionally. Through it all, she remains convinced that her dead husband Joe is watching and waiting for her. But there’s one thing she never told him, and as painful as it is for her to admit the truth, Annie is determined to go to Joe with a guilt-free conscience.

As the plot unfurls, traumas are revealed and lies uncovered, revealing long-buried secrets which are at the root of Annie and Sasha’s fractious relationship.

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Extract

Joe

For how long do we remain undamaged? We are marked men the moment the midwife leaves a handprint on our rear ends. It’s just the luck of the draw as to whether you benefit from nature, nurture or something far worse. Whatever the fates throw at you, some of it sticks, building to create the final set of armour plating we hide behind as adults. Like fingerprints, each one of us is different, and we mutate as we collide with random others in our path through life.

Sasha

I heard a strange clang as I turned the corner to my attic office. I glanced around before I took another step, but I could see nothing in the hallway, and the room itself appeared empty. Dropping my handbag to the floorboards with a deliberate thud, I spotted a pair of scissors lying open by my keyboard and one of my drawers was half-open. A file I usually kept on the desk was on the floor. I edged into the room. The scissors looked slightly bent and the lock on my grey filing cabinet appeared to be scratched, as though someone had tried to force it open. I crept over to the window and rattled it, but it was tightly shut.

‘Boo!’

‘Jesus, Zac, you frightened the life out of me. What the hell are you doing hiding behind the door?’ I jumped and the tea I was holding leapt out in a perfect arc and landed in my handbag. ‘Damn… I didn’t realise you’d be back so early today,’ I said, half- smiling at my son and half grimacing at the thought that my phone was probably soaked, and possibly ruined.

‘I just thought I’d surprise you.’ Zac paused to assess how cross I was. ‘I had an unexpected free period, so I got back early.’

‘You should have texted me. I could have picked you up from the tube on my way back from my meeting,’ I said, grabbing a wad of tissues from the box on the filing cabinet and swabbing my phone. I pressed the home button to check it was still functioning.

‘Oh, it was no bother.’Zac was already out of the door and heading down the stairs, his long legs hurdling two steps at a time.

‘What did you need up here, by the way?’ I called after him. My papers were strewn in what to the untrained eye might appear seemingly chaotic, yet was actually well-organised in its own fashion, and I didn’t like anyone else to touch them. The filing cabinet always remained locked and I had the only key.

‘Oh, nothing. I was just looking for some sticky tape to fix the cover on my book.’

‘You’ve got some on your desk in your bedroom. If you tidied up a bit, you might even find it.’ I waved my scissors at him as he reached the bottom of the staircase. ‘Zac, did you do this? They’re totally bent out of shape.’

‘No’, he glowered, plugging in his wretched earphones. One day, he would have to have them surgically removed. I followed him down the stairs and yanked his earphones out again as he pushed open the door to his bedroom.

‘But look, Zac, my scissors are dented. Are you sure you didn’t touch them? It’s very odd, because it looks as though someone might have used them to try to get into my filing cabinet.’

Zac scowled. ‘I didn’t bloody use them, OK? Are you accusing me of breaking and entering?’ He turned away from me and slumped face down on the bed, pulling a pillow over his head.

‘Zac, I’m not accusing you of anything. I’m just asking… and don’t swear at me. Show some respect.’

He laughed, lobbing the pillow at me, which missed. ‘I’ll show you respect when you show some to me.’

‘Excuse me?’

‘You know what I mean.’

‘Zac, what on earth are you talking about? First, you frighten the life out of me, and then you get defensive the moment I ask you a question. I really don’t have the time, nor frankly, the energy for your nonsense today. And somehow this conversation seems to have turned from me asking you if you’ve dented my scissors, to you accusing me of something, which is what, exactly?’

‘Why don’t you tell me?’ Zac glared at me, unblinking.

‘You’re not making any sense, Zac and you know I don’t enjoy riddles, so spit it out.’

‘Ooh, that’s a good one,’ he replied, sitting up and staring straight at me as though I were now his sworn enemy. ‘You do like riddles, as it turns out, so why don’t you spit it out?’

I started to feel as if I was in alternative universe, where I didn’t quite speak the language. I’d been there many times before – it’s called parenting a teenager – but this felt different. This time, I really needed an interpreter. Zac lay on his unmade bed, prone and half camouflaged in a pile of dirty washing, wiring himself back into his iPod.

‘Zac,’ I called, pulling an ear bud out of his head yet again, ‘is something upsetting you? Has something happened at school?’He just stared at me, unblinking, defiant. ‘Look, if you don’t want to talk now, come and find me when you do, but right now, I need to feed Stanley, reply to a snotty email from my wretched new client, and then I need to decide what to cook for dinner.’

It must have been a combination of the magic words ‘feed Stanley’ and ‘dinner’, because at that precise moment, Stanley arrived behind me – even though, technically, he wasn’t allowed upstairs – tail wagging, brown eyes wet with hunger. With every movement, he signalledimminent starvation. He was, after all, a golden retriever.‘OK, Stanley, let’s go. Kibble awaits.’ As I turned, I caught a rancid glass of chocolate milk with my foot, which Zac had left on the floor some days ago, sending dregs of foul smelling liquid all over the cream carpet. Well, it was a stupid choice of colourfor a teenaged boy’s floor, but anyway. Stanley waited expectantly at the top of the stairs.‘Christ, that’s all I need. What the hell was that doing there? Zac, get up and fetch me a towel, will you?’

Zac couldn’t hear me, because he’d stuffed his earphones back into his lugholes yet again and was too busy staring at some inanity on Twitter to notice that anything was amiss. The chocolate concoction was soaking rapidly into the cream carpet, so I bolted downstairs and returned with a couple of towels, stopping to wet them in the bathroom.

Running the tap, I glanced up at myself in the mirror. Deep, dark shadows underscored my eyes and my mascara had flaked. I hoped I hadn’t looked like this in my meeting. The client I’d just seen must have thought she was conversing with a zombie, or someone who’d had a traumatic experience on the way to meet her. I reassured myself with the well-known fact that bathroom lighting is never flattering, but these days, I wasn’t too sure which light was. What I really wanted was to be able to wander around in soft focus, like older actresses in films. Living life through a filter would improve so many things. I wrung the towels out before heading back to tackle the carpet. I sank to my knees and scrubbed away at the stain for several minutes, with Stanley standing over me watching, head cocked to one side like a benign inspector. I carried on for a while longer and got the worst of it out. When I stood up, my knees complained of being locked in one position for too long.

It was then that I noticed the mess under Zac’s desk. There were books, leaflets, football magazines, balls of paper, files, empty ink cartridges, tangled headphones, other assorted wires and pieces of Blutak, all forming anthills of detritus. In the far corner, there was a photograph. It looked like it was an old baby photo of Zac from years ago. I wondered what on earth that was doing there.‘Zac. Zac!’ I shouted, yanking the perennial earphone out of the left side of his head, attempting to reconnect him with reality.

‘What now?’ Zac scowled.

‘Stop being rude, Zac. Please. Look at all this mess underneath your desk. Find a bin bag and get rid of some of this rubbish, will you. I don’t know how you can work in such a dump.’

‘It’s my room and I can keep it how I want. I’m seventeen years old, not five. Stop telling me what to do.’ Zac kicked his legs down hard onto the bed like a toddler having a tantrum. Filthy laundry bounced underneath him, emitting unpleasant odoursof teenage boy.

‘And it’s my house, so sort it out. I’m going downstairs to make dinner. Come on, Stanley. It’s definitely time for kibble now.’ I wheeled around and Stanley took his cue. He led the way out of the door, tail wafting, turning to make sure that, this time, I was following him towards his bowl. Zac replaced his earphones and slammed the door shut behind me. I needed to remember to buy some new scissors and maybe think about putting a lock on my office door.

Joe

I’m not sure I agree with Kant. He asserted that people only lie out of selfishness to get what they want, and for that reason, one should never lie under any circumstance. But surely there are occasions – many occasions, in fact – when it is preferable not to tell the truth, or at least to fudge it, bend it or possibly deny its very existence. Childhood is built upon a bed of lies – Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, the Bogeyman. Yet we do not all grow up to be corrupt individuals, bereft of any understanding of right and wrong. We lie to protect our children, to shelter them from emotional harm. Can you honestly tell me that you have never told a little white lie to save the feelings of others? I know I can’t. The question is, in hindsight, was it the correct thing to do?

Annie

I think I might have said the wrong thing to Zac. I’m sitting here in the conservatory chatting to him and we’re watching the sparrows eat the breadcrumbs, which Zac has spread out for them on the garden table. They nibble at them in short, sharp bursts, glancing around in case some larger bird might arrive to spoil their feast. He’s a good boy, Zac, coming to see his Grandma every so often. I make him a cheese sandwich and give him milk to drink and he tells me about his day and I tell him about mine. I don’t have a great deal to say, but fortunately, Zac does. He’s a very chatty boy. He explains what he gets up to at school and what he’s studying, although I usually forget what he’s told me five minutes later. He’s very handsome, rather like his Grandad. He reminds me very much of Joe, only he’s much taller. He’s got the same thick dark hair, deep brown eyes and a smile which warms your insides. When he walks in, I think, Joe is back. Hi, Joe, I don’t remember you being so tall and how much younger you look. You look younger than you did when we first met. Then Zac says, ‘Hello Grandma’ and I realise it’s not Joe. How I miss Joe.

I’m showing Zac one of my old photo albums with ancient pictures of Joe and me with all our celebrity friends back in the day. My stereo is belting out ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark. I do love Petula. She’s so neat and tidy, you know, elegant. I met her once, but I can’t remember where.‘Look, Zac, this is Jackie Lamarr, one of the most famous actresses in the Sixties. She was in that thriller with – you know – what’s his name. I can’t quite remember. Never mind. Look at her fabulous fox fur and those diamond earrings. Not hers, mind you. Always rented. She never had a penny to her name. Terrible gambler, you know. And this is Billy Burns, who read the BBC News, in the days when all the newsreaders looked smart and spoke properly. Not like today when you can’t understand half of them.’Zac smiles, but I don’t think he can remember any of these people. Before his time, I suppose.

Then I show him some pictures of Joe in his heyday. Joe has a photograph taken with every guest he invites onto his show – he insists on it – and we take many more photos later, at the after-show parties. Joe parades up and down with his dark hair slicked back, wearing the smart navy blue suit with a slight sheen to it and a thin red tie with his matching handkerchief peeping out of the top of his jacket pocket. I show Zac pictures of me as well. In one of my favourites, I’m wearing a shimmering silver floor length evening gown. He tells me how stunning I look. A real glamour puss, he calls me. I feel my cheeks redden.

In another album there are photos of Zac’s mum, Sasha, pouting at the camera. Such a vain little girl, always posing. There are hundreds of photos of Sasha and Joe together. Joe adores her. They are inseparable. Well, they were, Zac reminds me. He tells me how much Sasha misses Joe. She doesn’t miss him as much as I do, I tell him. A child can never miss their parent as much as a wife misses her husband. How many times have I told her that? She is so self-indulgent. Zac tells me how he wishes that he could remember his Grandad. I show Zac photos of Sasha and Jeremy. Zac laughs at the clothes his mum and dad are wearing with their high shoulder pads and enormous glasses. He is shocked to see that Jeremy has a full head of shaggy brown hair.

I show Zac some of his baby photos. ‘Here’s you, Zac, with your Grandad Joe. You were such a beautiful baby.’ He picks up the photo of a bare baby lying face down on his plastic changing mat, smiling up at the camera. Joe is standing next to him with an air of uncertainty, as if he’s frightened that the baby is about to do something which he can’t handle. Zac turns the picture over and frowns.

‘Grandma, this date says 1996. I was born in 1998.’

‘Oh, that’s the other one,’ I say.

‘The other one?’ Zac is staring at me oddly and pulling at his fringe, rolling his hair into tight twists. ‘What other one?’

I stop. I think I’ve got a bit confused. I know there’s something I’ve muddled up here. Something I’m not supposed to say. I fiddle with the buttons on my cardigan. One of them is coming loose, but I can’t sew it back on any more. My hands won’t work the thread. ‘I don’t mean the other one. I mean you, love.’

‘But I wasn’t born until 1998. This says 96.’

I need the toilet and start to get up, using the arm of the chair to heave myself forwards.

‘Oh, I don’t know, Zac. You know Grandma’s stupid. I probably wrote down the wrong date. Now fetch me my stick, would you?’He’s staring at me, but I shuffle past him, reaching for the wall to steady myself.

Zac leaves just after I shuffle back to my chair. I know I’ve said the wrong thing. I must remember to tell Sasha. I’ll ring her later, when I’ve had a short rest. I settle down in my chair, using my hands to wrench my knees onto the poof, before pulling the blanket over them. That’s better. I reach for the TV remote. The racing is on. The horses are so handsome. I’ll just watch the races for a bit. Just for a moment, until I get my breath back.

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Author Bio:

Deborah Stone read English Literature at Durham University. She lives in North London with her husband, two sons and her dog.

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