Spotlight | 337 by M. Jonathan Lee

It’s publication day for 337 by M. Jonathan Lee, so I’m celebrating by sharing a little bit about the book. Hopefully you’ll want to have a read as it sounds fantastic!

Synopsis

337 follows the life of Samuel Darte whose mother vanished when he was in his teens. It was his brother, Tom who found her wedding ring on the kitchen table along with the note.

While their father pays the price of his mother’s disappearance, Sam learns that his long-estranged Gramma is living out her last days in a nursing home nearby.

Keen to learn about what really happened that day and realising the importance of how little time there is, he visits her to finally get the truth.

Soon it’ll be too late and the family secrets will be lost forever. Reduced to ashes. But in a story like this, nothing is as it seems.

If this has peaked your interest, you can buy the book by following this link: https://amzn.to/2JG2Nz1

Until next time,

Book Review | The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

I actually won my copy of The Silent Treatment in a giveaway on Abbie’s Twitter (@AbbieGreaves1). It had been on my ‘wish list’ for months, so I was extremely excited and fortunate to win it on it’s paperback release date. Thanks again Abbie!

Synopsis

A lifetime of love. Six months of silence. One last chance.

Frank hasn’t spoken to his wife Maggie for six months.

For weeks they have lived under the same roof, slept in the same bed and eaten at the same table – all without words.

Maggie has plenty of ideas as to why her husband has gone quiet, but it will take another heartbreaking turn of events before Frank finally starts to unravel the secrets that have silenced him.

Is this where their story ends?
Or is it where it begins?

Review

Six months – the length of time that’s passed since Frank last spoke to his wife Maggie. He’s harbouring a number of secrets but the last is the one that made him silent. An event occurs that brings him to his senses. He begins to unravel, but will it be too late?

The Silent Treatment is a fascinating, honest, wonderful, rollercoaster of a book. It’s beautifully written, and Abbie has an amazing way with words. I could visualise each element and scene clearly, which I find to be a special gift in reading (and writing!) Her ability to conjure up both the emotions and visuals that make up a person in words is quite spectacular.

The characters are exceptional. I immediately took to both Maggie and Frank and quickly built up an image of both of them in my mind. As characters they were probably both older than the average protagonists that I read about, but I feel like this made me warm to them more quickly. I felt like I knew them from the outset and was drawn in by their story.

The time travel through Frank and Maggie’s forty year marriage is fascinating, and to see both of their perspectives was unexpected but worked really seamlessly. The book is in two parts, discussing both his silence and hers. I was drawn in by the first half and itching for the reveal! The relaying of the information was cleverly done and to see a ‘real life’ relationship with both it’s happiness, sadness and heart-wrenching moments was both raw and enticing.

I really enjoyed The Silent Treatment and really recommend it. After reading the sneak peak in the back of my copy, I’m also eagerly anticipating the release of The Ends of the Earth in April 2021!

Until next time,

Blog Tour | Haunted Magpie by Anna Nicholas

I’m very excited to bring you the first stop on the blog tour for Haunted Magpie by Anna Nicholas. Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity!

Synopsis

Eccentric, headstrong and engaging, Isabel Flores Montserrat is a cross between a highly charged Precious Ramotswe (The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) & Phyrne Fisher (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries).
When a young florist vanishes at night, the only evidence found is a tiny wooden heart. With nothing else to go on, Mallorca’s police chief calls upon unorthodox former detective, Isabel Flores Montserrat, to help.
But a second disappearance confirms a connection with a series of sinister cold cases. Suspecting that a serial killer has resurfaced, Isabel races to uncover the link between past and present, the meaning of the wooden heart, and the identity of the culprit.
Meanwhile, trouble is brewing in Isabel’s own village with a spate of mysterious animal disappearances. Could it all be connected?

Review

Isabel Flores is a police officer who quit the Spanish force to run her Mother’s rentals agency. Basking in a calm and quiet life in rural Mallorca, she can’t seem to stay away from crime for long. Enticed in by Tolo, her sort-of love interest, she is seconded in to assist on the disappearance of young florist Paloma. Her small town village then also becomes wrapped in crime as the residents beloved pets begin to disappear. Whilst investigating both of these instances, an abduction occurs involving a man named Gunter. It’s clear that something is astray both close to home and further afield, but will Isobel & her companions get to the bottom of it before the killer strikes again?

This is my first time reading any novels by Anna Nicholas and I found this book to be thoroughly enjoyable. Although this is actually the second in her crime series of books, it can definitely be read as a stand-alone as I didn’t feel I missed out on anything having not read the first one. (I will however be adding The Devil’s Horn to my reading list and am looking forward to reading it!)

The Mallorca setting was such a pleasant breath of fresh air. I haven’t read any books that I can think of which are based in such a vibrant setting and it was nice to feel a part of the community. The added tit-bits of historical information and area-specific knowledge just made it feel all the more realistic, which was even more welcome in the current climate where we are not travelling. The setting provided wonderful respite from the dull, rainy days of lockdown 2.0. I also enjoyed the Mallorcan and Spanish terms dotted throughout and the glossary at the beginning was a really unique touch.

I really warmed to Isabel as a character and felt integrated into her life very quickly. Her co-workers and family were all welcome additions and really brought together the community. Her pet ferret Furo was a lovely addition and he reminded me a lot of a dog – I had no idea that ferrets could be such loving and loyal pets!

I really enjoyed this crime novel, it’s different to anything I’ve read before and I definitely didn’t guess the perpetrator (or perpetrators, I don’t want to give anything away!)

Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour, details are below!

Until next time,

Blog Tour | The Fathers, The Sons and The Anxious Ghost by Jamie Adams

It’s my stop on the blog tour for The Fathers, The Sons and The Anxious Ghost and I’m excited to be sharing an extract from the beginning of this novella! Thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the opportunity.

Synopsis

Three guys in their thirties have something in common. Their children all go to the same school. One day a tragic event leads to them having to deal with a lurking aftermath which draws them into each other’s lives and causes them to rethink their attitudes to just about everything. The children tell the second part of this story, ten years after the initial events. The dust seems to have settled until one of them uncovers information that throws everything back into chaos. The third part… well that will have to wait.

Extract

Chapter 1 (Matt) 

The rain was thundering down against the car bonnet. The window wipers were going at it but seemed to have no effect in clearing the cloudy windscreens. The clock read 8:20, and I knew we were going to be up against it if we wanted to make it to school in time. I blame her! We could have just sent him to the local primary school. It was just down the road. We could have practically fallen out of the front door and arrived at school each day. Instead of this, Hannah had to fight for a place at a school in the next town. She said it had better results. She reckoned it would far improve his chances of doing well in life and set him up well for secondary school. What a load of rubbish! All it did was put an eight-mile journey down single carriageway roads in between us and where he needed to go each day. A road which was winding and often blocked with farm vehicles and slow-moving buses, parked cars and the occasional horse. It was his special assembly today. I could not let him be late! Each year group only did one play a year, and this was going to be it for him; his big day. 

She could not even be bothered to attend the thing. She had a meeting which she simply could not miss! I had arranged to go into work late, but she refused to change her meeting as she said it meant losing client confidence. Clients came first. At least that is how it seemed to me. She never changed her things around for me or him. Poor Max never moaned or whinged about it, but he must have known that she could have gone if she felt like it. Anyway, I clapped and made a fuss of him, regardless. 

He bundled into the back seat, chucked his bag next to him and closed the door, shutting out the rain. I waited for him to click his seatbelt together and put my foot down. With any luck, we would make it in time, with moments to spare. His mother stood under the shelter of the porch way and smiled at him sweetly. How fake it all felt. She was probably working out who she could screw over today, and how much she could swindle them for. After all, lawyers are always thinking of their next win. They preyed on misfortunes and opportunities which usually arose out of conflict. Max wiped down his coat and then called out to me. 

“Turn up the radio, Dad!” 

Ed Sheeran was on. I knew exactly what this meant. He started to join in with the lyrics. I soon joined in as well. Before long, being late had slipped my mind. We belted out the song and swayed our heads in time with the beat. He punched the air periodically, and I beeped the horn at the end of the chorus. 

“I love it when we do that, Dad.” 

The local countryside had quickly passed us by. We were now entering the neighbouring town and seemed to be doing well. As the radio blurted out the news, I began to become aware of how much my thighs hurt me right then. It had been a tiring ‘leg day’ at the gym the night before. 

So many people thought I was one of those gym obsessives. I wasn’t. I admit it made me feel good. Well…it made me feel good afterwards at least. When the endorphins have been released, and you have worked up a sweat, your body automatically feels relaxed; and stress is relieved a bit, even if momentarily. The main reason I started going was to give me some space from HER. I did it to get me out of the house. Originally it was just twice a week, but now it was almost every day. Addiction?! Not really. Avoidance tactic?! Yes – that is a better way of describing it.

Hopefully that extract has enticed you to read the rest of Jamie’s novella! You can find it on Amazon, through the following link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fathers-Sons-Anxious-Ghost/dp/1528917367.

Please do check out the other stops on the tour, all the details can be found below.

Until Next Time,

Book Review | Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

I purchased Ghosts almost as as soon as it came out and have very recently finished reading it. I thought today would be the perfect opportunity to share my thoughts on the book!

Synopsis

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.

A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

Dolly Alderton’s debut novel is funny and tender, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.

Review

Nina George Dean has arrived at her 32nd birthday, where she is at the beginning of the, self-confessed, “strangest year” of her life. Following this is a plethora of Ghosts, in all senses of the word. Online ghosts, ghosts of memories, ghosts of her friends and ghosts of her previous decades.

Dolly is a fabulous writer, as I already knew from reading her memoir Everything I Know About Love. I expected to like this and her first fiction novel didn’t disappoint. It surpassed my expectations and I loved this book.

Dolly’s writing is very vivid and so easy to mentally picture. I definitely felt like I’d hopped into the pages and joined Nina’s life, which was a wonderful bit of escapism and some much needed hours away from the current reality we have all found ourselves in!

Nina was a fabulous character and one that I warmed to instantly. She was extremely relatable and funny. As someone in their late-twenties, I find it’s quite rare to read about characters of a similar age acting in a ‘normal’, honest and open manner so that was refreshing. Despite her situation being very different to my own, there were elements I could relate to with both her life and her friends lives. Both Katherine and Lola, were brilliant and really added to Nina’s character.

She had a fascinating relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Joe, which I felt was interestingly portrayed. I’ve never known anyone, both in fiction and real-life, to have such a close relationship with an ex. It genuinely felt like they realised they worked better as friends and had actually made it work. I hope that does happen to some people in real life, as it was quite a nice change from the usual exes-hating-one-another storylines!

The element of dementia in storyline with Nina’s Dad, was so well written. I haven’t read much at all in fiction about dementia and especially not in that much detail. I think it was probably the thing that most drew me in to Ghosts. Having had first-hand experience with the disease, it really hit home how accurately portrayed it was. I found myself on the verge of tears at times, thinking of my grandma who we sadly lost earlier in the year and remembering her battle with it. It was wonderful to read something so honest but equally challenging as it mirrored a lot of how she was in recent years.

The ups and downs Nina faces throughout the novel are very honest and I was really rooting for her. When I reached the end I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t more – I’d love to read another novel featuring Nina and her world! What a fabulous character and a brilliant debut from Dolly – I highly recommend!

Until next time,