welcome and croeso to my brand new blog

this is a new chapter in my book blogging life

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— Oscar Wilde.

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Book Review The Flower Arranger by JJ Ellis #TheFlowerArranger @AgoraBooksLDN #BlogTour Publication Date September 26th

Description:

And now he knew what was wrong with the arrangement. It was the Ma… the negative space… There was only one thing beautiful enough to fill it and — finally — she was with him. Ready, if not willing, to play her role.


Holly Blain wants to cover real news. The entertainment beat — pop stars and teen trends — was not why she moved to Tokyo. When she meets Inspector Tetsu Tanaka, head of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police’s Gaikoku-jin unit, it might just be her big break.


Tanaka isn’t so sure. Always one to do things by the book, he’s hesitant about bringing this headstrong reporter into his carefully controlled investigation.
But young women keep disappearing and Tanaka is given no choice. He and Blain must trust each other if they are to stop a tormented killer from bringing his twisted plan to its shocking conclusion.
Filled with twists and turns, this unforgettable thriller is JJ Ellis’ first novel.

go take a look at the rest of the reviews

My Thoughts:

As debut novels go this one is fantastic. This is a mysterious thriller set in Japan, fronted by the characters Holly Blain and Tetsu Tanaka and featuring a very artistic serial killer.


Ellis really shows off their knowledge of Japan in this story, we get a true understanding of the culture, fashion, people and scenery. I enjoyed discovering new facts and trivia about the place. There was a few Japanese words and phrases thrown in (Google came in handy for me here) at first this did seem to annoy me, but, as the story went on it felt natural and was a nice added feature.

The story is a crime thriller and perfect for fans of Tana French, Jeffrey Deaver and Keigo Higashino. We get to delve into Tokyo’s seedy underground behaviour, which shocked me at times especially at the use of younger girls. But, to balance things out we also get to learn about beautiful flowers and their simplicity. Although, even this turns sinister during the book.


This is the first novel in a major new series following journalist Holly Blain and detective Tetsu Tanaka. I am looking forward for their next adventure already. The relationship between these two is a good combination, at first they both clash wanting to out-do each other and being a hindrance to each others goals. However, as the story develops so does their relationship and they gain respect for one another. I found it charming how Tetsu sees Holly as the daughter he lost, and this bonds their partnership and allows for further greater things.


It’s not everyday that I sympathise with a serial killer, but the author managed to get me to feel sorry for the murderer in this story. When we discover the motive behind their crimes it gave me an understanding into why they wanted to carry out such heinous crimes.


Between all three characters they have a common thread, something that has happened to them in their lives. The story shows how it can affect each in a different way.


I urge you all to buy this book as it’s a fantastic read and it will keep you gripped till the climactic reveal.
Thank you to @AgoraBooksLDN for allowing me to be part of the Blog Tour and gifting me an ARC copy in exchange of an honest review.

Links to Buy

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-flower-arranger/jj-ellis/9781911295815

Very Nearly Dead Book Review @Bloodhoundbook @akreynoldswrite #blogtour

Description


My name is Jasmine Black, and I’m an ordinary woman apart from three things;
I’m hiding a terrible secret from my youth, my past is catching up with me and when it does, I’ll be dead.

Jasmine Black, a 34-year-old alcoholic, criminal lawyer, has a secret.

At the age of 16 she was in a gang of youths that committed a horrendous crime. As members of the gang start being killed one by one, Jasmine fears for her life.

Desperate to uncover who is responsible for the murders, Jasmine starts to investigate.

But can she uncover the truth before it’s too late?

Check out everyone’s reviews

My thoughts


Our introduction to Jasmine Black is very dramatic. She is driving home from another stressful day at work, she has popped into the pub for a quick drink. There then follows an event that spirals her life deeper into an abyss.


I will admit that this initial introduction to the character of Jasmine made me really dislike her. I couldn’t believe a woman with such a high-flying job could stoop so low and show no remorse for her actions. She kept saying how much family meant to her, but this didn’t show up much when thinking of others. I won’t divulge what she has done in that first chapter that made her so dislikeable to me, that is for you to pick up a copy for yourself and find out.


However, as the description points out Jasmine has a secret from her past. So, now not only is she dealing with her actions from the first chapter we realise she is also harbouring something from a very dark past. And, this is catching up with her very quickly.


This debut novel by a husband and wife writing team is filled with mystery, suspense and thrills. Despite not liking Jasmine I still wanted to know what happens to her. The gang she hung round with in her youth are dying off one by one. Will she be next? Frankly, at some points I did hope she would be next on the hit list. But, that’s just my warped mind.


The story is told from a first person narrative. Jasmine is sharing with us the reader her day to day experiences, we get to uncover the mysteries and secrets of her past throughout the story. However, Jasmine is an alcoholic and has black outs making her an unreliable character and harder to trust her version of events. But, I think this style is perfect for this story as we are constantly left guessing.


The story develops beautifully, we are drip fed only enough information to keep us on our toes and wanting more. There was a jaw dropping moment where we got to find out a crucial element, and this blew my thoughts of Jasmine completely out of the water.


A tension filled page turner of an ending just tops off this book to a tee.
Thank you to Bloodhound Books for allowing me to take part in this blog blitz, and gifting me an ARC copy in exchange of an honest review. And also thank you to @akreynoldswrite for the amazing well written story.

Buy the book:
VERY NEARLY DEAD can be downloaded from Amazon using these links:
Amazon 🇬🇧 https://t.co/Xu8t1yMp1Y
Amazon 🇺🇸 https://t.co/qsSUr9VnVy

About the author

Andy and Kath Reynolds are a husband and wife writing team who use the pen name A K Reynolds. As Kath doesn’t care for publicity, only Andy is pictured on our website.

Kath provides the ideas for their stories and writes the introspective thoughts of their fictional characters. Andy does most of the plotting and writes the action scenes.

As to their backgrounds, Kath has worked in a women’s refuge and latterly as a consultant; Andy is a former lawyer.

Very Nearly Dead, a domestic noir thriller with a woman at its centre, is their debut novel. They plan to write many more

Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay @netgalley @hqstories Publication Day 5th of September 2019

Genre: General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers

Description

The New York Times bestselling author of A Noise Downstairs and No Time for Goodbye returns with an edge-of-your-seat thriller that does for elevators what Psycho did for showers and Jaws did for the beach–a heart-pounding tale in which a series of disasters paralyzes New York City with fear.

It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets. Right to the bottom of the shaft. It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world–and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment–is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men in women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered. Who is behind this? Why are they doing it? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line?

Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers before the city’s newest, and tallest, residential tower has its ribbon-cutting on Thursday. With each diabolical twist, Linwood Barclay ratchets up the suspense, building to a shattering finale. Pulsating with tension, Elevator Pitch is a riveting tale of psychological suspense that is all too plausible . . . and will chill readers to the bone.

About The Author

Linwood Barclay is the author of eighteen previous novels, and two thrillers for children. A New York Times bestselling author, his books have been translated into more than two dozen languages. He wrote the screenplay adaptation for his novel Never Saw it Coming and his book The Accident has been made into a TV series in France. His novel No Time for Goodbye was a global bestseller. Born and raised in Connecticut, he now lives in Toronto with his wife, Neetha.

My Thoughts

3🌟

When I saw this book on Netgalley I knew I had to have it. It sounded so exciting and thrilling. So, when I got approved for the e-arc (thank you Netgalley for my copy in exchange of an honest review) I was eager to get started.

It starts of with a dead fingerless body, followed by an elevator losing control and plunging 4 people to their deaths. There then follows a few more elevator deaths. Now, given this story is set in New York a heavily populated vertical city where people are dependent on elevators (I’m going to call them lifts from now on because I’m not American) There is a sense of fear as to who is behind all this.

But, the middle of this book just dragged and didn’t do it for me, I did consider giving up but I did want to know if I had guessed correctly the culprit. I knew it was definitely down to two characters, I didn’t know why with one but I was right.

It did feel that there was just too many characters in this book and not enough development to give us a connection with them. I understand that the Flyovers where put in there as a red herring, or were they because we were told quite early they were only involved in the bombings. Which was very few.

It did have elements of a good thriller. Hated mayor, a son who wanted to impress, a blood thirsty journalist, mysterious men telling families to keep quiet, a cop struggling with past troubles, the Flyover group, another man trying to impress his peer, a blossoming romance, a mother/daughter relationship that was tense. As you can see there was a lot going on, but a bit too much for one story.

So, here lies my problem this story had everything that I want in a book but I wasn’t overly thrilled with it. What kept it from being a 2 star for me was the descriptions of the deaths and that very thrilling ending. They were what made the book.

Just an afterthought, a major bug bear for me was the fact that the mayor didn’t recognise Barbara, just because she had in her words dyed her hair and put on a bit of weight. He only realised who she was when she mentioned her maiden name. This was very unrealistic, given she was in his life a lot hounding him and the very fact he remembered who Maude was.

#Book Review #TheDayWeMeetAgain by Miranda Dickinson

Publisher HarperCollins UK,
ISBN0008323224, 9780008323226
Genre Romance, Romantic Comedy

Links to Buy

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Day-We-Meet-Again/dp/0008323216/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1567610596&sr=1-1

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-day-we-meet-again/miranda-dickinson/9780008323219

Synopsis

Their love story started with goodbye…
The brand-new novel from The Sunday Times bestselling author, Miranda Dickinson.

Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn’t part of the plan. So they make a promise: to meet again in the same place in twelve months’ time if they still want to be together.

But is life ever as simple as that?

This is a story of what-ifs and maybes – and how one decision can change your life forever…

My Thoughts

‘Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow.’ Mary Tyler Moore

The Day We Meet Again is a story of taking chances 😊

Phoebe Jones is setting off on an adventure 💼 Sam Mullins is going back to his roots, to figure out a family mystery 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 They are both at St Pancras station when they meet…and fall in love at first sight 💓

But, this is the day they have both decided to leave, in completely the opposite directions 🚃

‘We’ll meet again at St Pancras station, a year from today. If we’re meant to be together, we’ll both be there. If we’re not, it was never meant to be . . .’

What then results is a story told from both Phoebe and Sam’s point of view of their year apart 😊 will they still love each other by the end? And will they meet? 🤞🏻

This was an engaging story of “will-they-wont-they’ meet again. I enjoyed the different stories of their adventures. Sam’s search for his father and revisiting his hometown was beautiful. I particularly liked the touching scene when Sam played his fiddle.

Dickinson set the scenes well, and gave us a great image of where the characters were.

‘Everything sparkles in the sunshine and the streets are alive with colour, from brightly painted awnings to elegant window boxes on the terraces above shops and cafés.’

I have to admit, there were times that I wanted to reach out and shake both of these characters (Phoebe in particular) and make them see sense. For two 32 year old adults, there were times that they acted very childish.

Overall this story was a charming and pleasant read. ‘A story of what-ifs and maybes – and how one decision can change your life forever…’

About The Author


Miranda is the author of ten books, including six Sunday Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into seven languages and have made the bestseller charts in four countries. She has been shortlisted twice for the RNA awards (for Novel of the Year in 2010 with Fairytale of New York and again in 2012 for Contemporary Novel of the Year for It Started With a Kiss). She had now sold over a million copies of her books worldwide.

Miranda is the founder of WriteFoxy – resources, vlogs and inspiration writing days for writers of all ages and abilities. Her popular vlogs feature her own publishing journey for each new novel, together with advice for authors and lots and lots of hats!

Miranda lives in Dudley with her husband, Bob and daughter, Flo. She is also a singer-songwriter and recently released her first solo album, About Time.

@readersfirst Book Review The Museum of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan

Synopsis

Paris, today. The Museum of Broken Promises is a place of wonder and sadness, hope and loss. Every object in the museum has been donated – a cake tin, a wedding veil, a baby’s shoe. And each represent a moment of grief or terrible betrayal. The museum is a place where people come to speak to the ghosts of the past and, sometimes, to lay them to rest. Laure, the owner and curator, has also hidden artefacts from her own painful youth amongst the objects on display.

Prague, 1985. Recovering from the sudden death of her father, Laure flees to Prague. But life behind the Iron Curtain is a complex thing: drab and grey yet charged with danger. Laure cannot begin to comprehend the dark, political currents that run beneath the surface of this communist city. Until, that is, she meets a young dissident musician. Her love for him will have terrible and unforeseen consequences.

It is only years later, having created the museum, that Laure can finally face up to her past and celebrate the passionate love which has directed her life.

My Thoughts

This book is written in such a poetic and beautiful way. It really transports you to the places described. It is a story about Laure, the curator of the Museum of Broken Promises and how she got to where she is.

It is told from three different periods and places in her life.

Paris, the present day. This part of the story tells us more about the museum, it’s a quirky place where people bring in objects that remind them of their broken dreams and promises. I liked the different back stories to the objects and why people wanted to display them.

Prague, 1986. Here we get to delve deeper into Laure’s background. She has started work as an au pair for a wealthy family. And, she falls in love with rock musician Tomas. But, the path to true love is not easy. With Prague in the middle of a Cold War, things are difficult for Laure. I enjoyed the historical elements in here, it felt like we got to learn more about the effects of communism.

Berlin, 1996. Laure is now working for the British Embassy, and comes across her old employer. The father of the family she worked for. Secrets are revealed, and here we get to learn more.

This book isn’t my usual genre, however I enjoyed the historical references and the descriptions of the cities. It was good to see how Laure’s character developed and we got to realise the true reasoning behind the museum.

#BookReview American Royals by Katherine McGee @netgalley @penguinrandomhouse

Title: American Royals by Katherine McGee
Publisher: Random House UK Children’s
Penguin
Genre:Teens & YA, Women’s Fiction
Pub Date 05 Sep 2019

ISBN: 9780241365953:

Pages: 448

RRP: £7.99

Synopsis: Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl in this completely addictive and gloriously fun modern-day royal fairytale . . . Meet the Washingtons – the most scandalous royal family ever!

HRH Princess Samantha has always been a royal rebel. She’s the spare not the heir, so no one minds too much who she dates or how hard she parties.

It helps that her sister, Princess Beatrice, is literally perfect. She’s demure, sweet and beautiful, and she knows that the crown always comes first – no matter what her heart might really want.

But they’re not the only ones with their eye on the throne. Daphne Deighton might be ‘newly noble’ but she won Prince Jefferson’s heart once, and she’ll do anything to get back into the court’s favour – and his bed.

If only she knew that her competition was a common nobody – plain little Nina Gonzalez, the daughter of the king’s secretary.

Together these four young women must navigate the drama, gossip, scheming and sizzling romance of the most glorious court in the world. There’s everything to play for – but there can only be one queen.

My thoughts

A modern day fairytale of princesses, kings and queens. This is a wonderful story of make believe about how America would be like if instead of a presidency there was a monarchy.

I loved the concept of this story, it’s something I have never come across before, and the added extras of historical references made it seem more realistic.

We were introduced to four main characters, and the story was told through their eyes:

Beatrice Georgina Fredericka Louise of the House of Washington, the future Queen of America. And, the first female to be on the throne. Her grandfather had abolished the centuries old law stating now that the throne would pass to the eldest child, and not the eldest boy. Despite this being a made up story, I like the use of real life uses of royal reference and protocol.


Samantha, Bea’s younger sister who feels pushed aside because her sister gets all her father’s attention.
Nina, the commoner who is in love with Jefferson (Samantha’s twin brother)
Daphne, Jefferson’s ex girlfriend, who will go to any lengths to get what she wants.

While reading this book we forget how young these girls really are, the lives they lead are designed to make them act and be more grown up than they are. I liked reading and finding out all the protocol and scenarios they have to go through, it is a nod to the real monarchies of the world.

This book was a lovely easy read, with nice flow of writing. It was an excellent choice of character point of view. The story had enough secrets dotted throughout to keep us guessing and wanting more. What exactly did happen in the graduation party.

All the characters in the story have their own love story to tell, were they face the trials and tribulations of being in the public eye at such a grand scale. This gave the characters room to develop. Through the story we see the characters grow up in their thoughts and ways. For example Beatrice, who has been moulded to be the next heir and be very polite, a girl who never puts a foot wrong. Actually defies her peers and goes with her heart.

The ending was definitely not what I expected, I had my ideas of how everyone would end up. And, I was shocked but in a way it has made me eager to read the next installment.

I can’t wait for the second installment of this book to see what happens next for each one of them, and will they go with their hearts or their heads

#RewindBook Book Review Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard 5🌟

Synopsis

Psycho meets Fatal Attraction in this explosive story about a twisted voyeur and a terrible crime from the bestselling author of Distress Signals and The Liar’s Girl. (Readers First)

PLAY 
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE 
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND 
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

My Thoughts 🤔

What do we have in this story?
A woman is stabbed to death in bed by a mysterious figure 🔪
It was all caught on camera 🎥
A creepy holiday cottage owner 👨🏼
A lurking handyman 🛠️
A missing Instagram star 🎬
A very quiet sleepy Irish village 🇮🇪

What more do you need for a mysterious tale 😊 I absolutely loved this book, I couldn’t wait to sit down and read more and find out what had happened to Natalie O’Connor.

There are a few strange and omnious characters residing in the sleepy village of Shanamore. And, I couldn’t help but accuse everyone. I loved the setting, it made it more creepy. If this was set in a busy bustling city, I don’t think we would have got creepy vibe to it. Excellent scene setting.

The chapters are set out in a video recording format. Rewind, Fast Forward, Play and Pause. I found this a clever way to present the story, and it gives us a basis of the timeline within the story.

This story develops to be something very sinister, (well come on it does start with a murder 😊) but, we do discover things about the the characters that are a bit disturbing along the way. And, it all adds to the creepy brilliance of this book.

I highly recommend you buy this book. Out Today 22nd August 2019