Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly – Blog Tour Review.

Open Your Eyes Cover

About the Book

Haven’t we all wanted to pretend everything is fine?

Jane doesn’t like confrontation. Given the choice, she’d prefer to focus on what’s going well, the good things in life.

But when her husband, Leon, is brutally attacked in the driveway of their home, in front of their two young children, Jane has to face reality. As he lies in a coma, Jane must open her eyes to the problems in her life, and the secrets that have been kept from her, if she’s to find out who hurt her husband – and why.

Maybe it’s time to face up to it all. Who knows what you might find . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Paula Daly is one of my favourite authors so I jumped at the chance to read her new book.
Jane is happily married to Leon, they have two young children and a good life. Leon is a successful author, something which Jane has always dreamed of but she has never been published. Their life changes when Leon is found badly injured on their driveway, moments after Jane left him to go back in their house.
Initially the novel focuses in Leon’s recovery and how different everybody behaves around him. His fascinating mother and sister seem to refuse to see a big change but Jane sees the more threatening side to him. Some of these scenes were intimidating, more so because it was so easy to see what could happen if she couldn’t calm him down. The only person he could interact with easily was their nephew.
Alongside the storyline of a family trying to rebuild their lives was the image of life inside the publishing industry. It shows success stories but also the envy and the pressure to write the next novel. Much of what is mentioned will be familiar to authors, publishers and keen readers who follow the book related news. One aspect of this was discussed in great detail after a book event a few years ago.
All of the novel takes place in Liverpool, a favourite city and there were a few scenes and observations on the characters that made me smile. They were welcome, much of the novel is unsettling with its loneliness, intimidation from Leon, the neighbours from Hell and at times an almost claustrophobic feeling.
It has been a few years since I read a novel by Paula and I’m looking forward to the next one. Just brilliant.

Open Your Eyes Blog Tour Poster

The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan – Giveaway – Blog Tour.

Language of secrets new cover

Today I am delighted to host a giveaway for the first two books in this amazing series.  ( UK only) All you need to do is retweet my pinned tweet or share this post and I will pick a winner using a random number generator on Friday 10th August.

About the Book

A terrorist cell is planning an attack on New Year”s Day. For months, Mohsin Dar has been undercover, feeding information back to the national security team. Now he”s dead.

Detective Esa Khattak, compromised by his friendship with the murdered agent, sends his partner Rachel Getty into the unsuspecting cell. As Rachel delves deeper into the unfamiliar world of Islam and the group”s circle of trust, she discovers Mohsin”s murder may not be politically motivated after all. Now she”s the only one who can stop the most devastating attack the country has ever faced.

The Unquiet Dead author Ausma Zehanat Khan once again dazzles with a brilliant mystery woven into a profound and intimate story of humanity.

You can see my review for The Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan here

language of secrets

Dead of Night by Michael Stanley – Blog Tour Review.

DEAD OF NIGHT Cover VIS_preview

About the Book

When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, but within a week she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that she doesn’t want, but can’t get rid of…

Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late, both for the rhinos and for her. She has a powerful story to tell, if she survives long enough to tell it…

Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller from Michael Stanley, author of the award-winning Detective Kubu series, introducing an intriguing new protagonist, while exposing one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the Detective Kubu series by Michael Stanley I knew I would enjoy this new novel, even though it is not part of that series.
The character on this series is Crys, a Vietnamese freelance journalist and biathlete who has spent most of her life in America. She is passionate about wildlife, there is a very touching part in the novel where she gives the reasons, and when a close friend goes missing whilst investigating poaching she takes his place. She hopes to find him, alive, and highlight the rhino horn poaching problem.
And it is in Africa that the magic starts. We can all go to zoos and wildlife parks in the countries that we live in, but reading this novel shows that you will never experience anything unless you see it in its natural environment. Reading about Crys’s joy at seeing the wildlife and the attempts by the farmers to keep them safe was touching and I felt like I was experiencing it myself. But there is more than just the wildlife, there is also the danger that comes with those who want to use the wildlife, in this case rhino, to make a lot of money. There are the poachers, corrupt police and many others to be wary of. There are also those who make their decisions for reasons that are more personal than greed.
This is one of those novels that make you open your eyes to a big problem. That if certain practices are not stopped it will be catastrophic for the future. There are many creatures who are at threat due to greed, power and unproven medical uses.
I don’t know if this is a standalone novel or the first in a series. It works well either way.

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Hunter’s Chase by Val Penny – Blog Tour Review.

Hunter's Chase book cover

About the Book

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city, and he needs to find the source, but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course.

Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder, but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: Detective Constable Tim Myerscough, the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable Sir Peter Myerscough.

Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this first novel in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Hunter’s Chase is a new series of books that is set in Edinburgh. Hunter is one of the more senior detectives in the squad and despite the book being about him there is also plenty of focus on the other members in the team. One of these is Will, and he has more to prove than the others. Not only is he new, he is also the son of a once high-ranking officer who is now an MP. There is history between him and Hunter and he has to get past the feeling of special favours being granted. Will was probably my favourite member of the police and I’m interested to see what happens to him next.
But the characters who I thought were portrayed the best were the younger ones. Jamie, with his delusions of being an object of desire, Frankie with his devotion to Annie, and Annie herself. Her story is very sad but I thought it cleverly done.
I am interested in seeing what happens in book two, which I will be reviewing next month.

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11 Missed Calls by Elisabeth Carpenter – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

Here are two things I know about my mother:
1. She had dark hair, like mine.
2. She wasn’t very happy at the end.

Anna has always believed that her mother, Debbie, died 30 years ago on the night she disappeared.

But when her father gets a strange note, she realises that she’s never been told the full story of what happened that night on the cliff.

Confused and upset, Anna turns to her husband Jack – but when she finds a love letter from another woman in his wallet, she realises there’s no-one left to help her, least of all her family.

And then a body is found…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
11 Missed Calls is a dual narrative novel concerning two women in the same family. Debbie who is the mother of Anna, went missing on holiday in Tenerife thirty years ago when Anna was a baby. They each have their story to tell. Debbie has struggled with depression and low esteem since the birth of Anna, her second child. Anna struggles to accept that her mother left her as baby and refuses to accept the rest of her family’s belief that she is dead. When communication is received to suggest Anna is correct, there are mixed emotions from all concerned.
It is slow burning novel. The narrative switches with each chapter so it did take me a while to get to know the characters. It took me longer to understand Debbie, to accept that she wasn’t selfish but struggling with post natal depression, low self-esteem and loneliness. Looking after babies was considered to be the mother’s job and the sense of frustration when her husband complained about having to change nappies etc was evident. She couldn’t see what her family and friends could, that she was a beautiful young women with a devoted family.
Anna, I liked immediately. She was like Debbie in some ways but was more open. She wanted answers, but recognised that they would cause anguish for others. It had been an obsession, but I can’t imagine what it must be like. Not to know and understand what happened. She was very much like her grandfather, Debbie’s father with her need to never give up hope.
It’s difficult to select a genre for this novel. It is a powerful story of relationships and bonding. Not only between parent and daughter but also in marriage and friendship. I think there are many families like this, where the need to cope with everyday commitments leaves feelings unspoken about. It is a novel that shows how important communication is.
I live in the area where the book is set, and I enjoyed reading about the places I know. There were a few times I was laughing to myself, these parts would probably only appreciate if you knew them too.
A great follow-up to 99 Red Balloons and I’m looking forward to book three.

11 Missed Calls Blog Tour FINAL