Pieces Of Her by Karin Slaughter – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

You’ve known her your whole life…
Andrea Oliver knows everything about her mother Laura. She knows she’s always lived in the small town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. But she’s hiding something…
Then one day, a trip to the mall explodes into a shocking act of violence and Andy suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. And it could destroy you both…
Hours later, Laura is in hospital, her face splashed over the newspapers. But the danger has only just begun. Now, Andy must go on a desperate race to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past. Unless she can, there may be no future for either of them…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Pieces of Her is only the second book that I have read by Karin Slaughter. Like this, that was a standalone novel. I am aware that she has a huge fan base and after reading this book, which left me at times with my heart racing and had me chewing on my knuckles I know why. And I know I have a huge back catalogue to enjoy.
It took me a while to get used to both of the main characters. Andy has some major issues, I couldn’t tell if it was lack of confidence or depression and at times she really annoyed me. But there was one moment in this book that my opinion changed completely and I was rooting for her. I don’t think I was meant to laugh but I did. I didn’t know what the situation was with Laura, I felt that she was pushing Andy away for her own safety but didn’t know why. The reason I came up with was totally wrong, and the real reason isn’t revealed until much later.
The narrative switches back and forth throughout the entire novel. The chapters are fairly long and the second half of the novel was when I was chewing on my knuckles, anxious to get back to find out more.
I’ve thought for a long time that a female author is better at creating a character that feels really evil. There are two characters in this novel that made me cringe every time they appeared. Karin Slaughter has proved me right in my thinking and has also showed that she is one of the best.

Pieces of Her blog tour banner

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims – Review.

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About the Book

It is Mummy’s 39th birthday. She is staring down the barrel of a future of people asking if she wants to come to their advanced yoga classes, and polite book clubs where everyone claims to be tiddly after a glass of Pinot Grigio and says things like ‘Oooh gosh, are you having another glass?’
But Mummy does not want to go quietly into that good night of women with sensible haircuts who ‘live for their children’ and stand in the playground trying to trump each other with their offspring’s extracurricular activities and achievements, and boasting about their latest holidays.
Instead, she clutches a large glass of wine, muttering ‘FML’ over and over again. Until she remembers the gem of an idea she’s had…

My Review

Like many who have read this book I became aware of it by the author’s Facebook page Peter and Jane. It is a ‘diary’ of how she wishes her life as a mother of two young children would be and the reality of how difficult it is to raise a family and work without losing her sanity.
I don’t have children but this novel is believable, especially the daily battles to get them into school on time, dealing with squabbles and illnesses and what appears to be a lack of support from ‘gadget twat’. At times I was doubled up with laughing, not able to explain to anybody why I was laughing so much.
At times Ellen annoyed me, I didn’t enjoy as much the ‘middle class’ parts of the novel or some of the decisions she made. She did appear at times to be selfish and inconsiderate.
I did read the novel in a short period of time, it is easy to read, but I would probably have liked it a lot more if I had spread it out rather than read it all at once. I imagine if you are a mother of young children you would see a lot of similar situations to your own life in this book. Recommended.

Fatal Masquerade by Vivian Conroy – cover reveal.

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Today, I am delighted to share with you the cover for Fatal Masquerade which is the latest in the Lady Alkmene series by Vivian Conroy. It is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a standalone.

About the book

Lady Alkmene Callender has always loved grand parties, but when she receives an invitation to a masked ball thrown by Franklin Hargrove – oil magnate, aviation enthusiast and father of her best friend, Denise – she’s never seen such luxury. The estate is lit up with Chinese lanterns in the gardens, boats operated by footmen float across the pond and the guest list features the distinguished, rich and powerful!
But below the glamour, evil is lurking. When a dead body is discovered, it forces Lady Alkmene to throw off her mask and attempt to find the true killer before Denise’s family are accused. If only her partner, Jake Dubois, weren’t hiding something from her…
This case might just be more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.
You can pre – order the book here

As you can see, this new cover looks perfect with the other books in the series which are published by Harper Collins.

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No Man’s Land by Simon Tolkien.

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About the Book

From the slums of London to the riches of an Edwardian country house; from the hot, dark seams of a Yorkshire coalmine to the exposed terrors of the trenches, Adam Raine’s journey from boy to man is set against the backdrop of a society violently entering the modern world.
Adam Raine is a boy cursed by misfortune. His impoverished childhood in the slums of Islington is brought to an end by a tragedy that sends him north to Scarsdale, a hard-living coalmining town where his father finds work as a union organizer. But it isn’t long before the escalating tensions between the miners and their employer, Sir John Scarsdale, explode with terrible consequences.
In the aftermath, Adam meets Miriam, the Rector’s beautiful daughter, and moves into Scarsdale Hall, an opulent paradise compared with the life he has been used to before. But he makes an enemy of Sir John’s son, Brice, who subjects him to endless petty cruelties for daring to step above his station.
When love and an Oxford education beckon, Adam feels that his life is finally starting to come together – until the outbreak of war threatens to tear everything apart.

My Review

‘The trenches changed all of us: made us older and drier – like we are trees that have lost their sap…’

No Man’s Land is a novel that I can only describe as a beautifully written but devastating book to read. It follows the life of Adam Raine, from his childhood poverty in Islington, a move to a mining community in Yorkshire and then to the trauma at the Somme.
It did take me some time to get into it but I was prepared for this after seeing a handful of reviews that said the same. I found it picked up after a serious accident at the mine that changed Adam’s life completely. He adapted to his life quite well, even though he still felt like an outsider much of the time. Luckily he had some good friends in the village and with Seaton, his benefactor’s son.
When war broke out Adam was initially reluctant to join up but after being in Scarborough when it came under attack he realized that he had no other option. The parts of the novel that covered the war was the most upsetting piece of fiction that I have ever read. There were times that everything I was reading had me in tears and I was constantly processing it even when I wasn’t reading it.
Simon Tolkien does a fantastic job of portraying the fear experienced by the soldiers. The ineptitude of the generals along with the sights, smell and noise of the battle. Certain descriptions of the trenches will probably stay with me for years.
But amongst all of this was the friendship between Adam, Ernest, Rawdon, Luke, Seaton, Harry, Davy, and the ones who were left at home that gave strength and odd touches of humour to the novel.
This is a novel that at times I struggled to read but only because of how it made me feel emotionally. It’s one that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend, brilliant.