Monday, 29 August 2016

Hemmie Martin - Garlic & Gauloises *BLOG TOUR*

**Review by Stacey

Alice Calwin finds herself without purpose in life after the death of her mother, whom she’d been caring for following a stroke. Theo Edwards, a literary journalist, has a sour outlook on life, bolstered by his ongoing divorce, and is feeling the pressure to revitalise his column in the newspaper. 

They encounter one another at a writers’ retreat in France, but Alice’s shameful past and Theo’s deceptive reasons for being there end up affecting them both in very different ways. 

When someone finally acknowledges their mistakes, is it ever too late to make amends?











This was my first read from Hemmie Martin though I am familiar with the author.

I am always intrigued to see how an author writing a book about an author pans out, and in fact there was more than just the one in this story!

Though the male protaganist (Theo) in this was a journalist posing as an author at a writer's retreat in France, and the main female was an actual author, Alice. Alice, along with five other authors, each had their own reasons for attending the retreat but the story focused mainly on Alice, whose mother has just died. Theo attends in order to get some 'juicy' content for the paper he writes book reviews for, and that he does!

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"It doesn't matter what others think, it's what you think about yourself that matters."
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The story in general felt quite jumpy and rushed, I would have liked to read more about the other characters at the retreat. The chapter format was just a bit confusing for me with it constantly jumping between different characters and no indication it was going to happen.

There was certainly a lot of emotion in the book and I found myself really feeling for Alice; she was really the only character I found myself connecting with though.

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She re-read every word he had written as a form of self-harm, and let each syllable carve blistering wounds on her heart.
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That was, other than Theo who I thought was an arrogant sod, until some life changing news made him rethink his actions. I didn't particularly feel a connection between any of the characters either.

The book deals with a number of themes and though I did find it jumpy, they all tied together well.

Overall, it was a book that I did read quickly as I wanted to know what happened to the main characters and Hemmie does give the reader closure.

3.5*

You can keep up with Hemmie and news about her books on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Get your copy of Garlic & Gauloises here (UK) or here (US). Add to your Goodreads TBR here.

Disclosure
I was sent a copy of this book free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are honest & my own.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Addison Kline - A Murder of Crowes (Shadow, #3)

*Contains adult themes
**Review by Susan

When the life of a family dies, what happens to their secrets? Are the memories of their vitality stamped out by the darkness? Are their heirlooms and photographs stowed away, hidden from view? Can the flicker of a candle’s flame reveal the secrets of a bygone life? Or will the damp and the darkness squelch the truth forever?

The Elkhart Bugle called it A Murder of Crowes. It was a clever play on words. A sinister spin on the traditional meaning of the phrase. A murder of crows - three crows gathered in unison. The trio are seen as an omen, a threat. The three stand in judgment over their peers. Self-declared kings of paupers. But on November 22, 1967, one journalist cloaked the phrase in further darkness when Ellis Crowe and two of his adult sons, Warren and Jasper Crowe, were murdered just moments after they had finished their evening dinner.


There were witnesses who had watched the ordeal play out and all evidence and accounts, all but one, led straight to Nathaniel Crowe. He was the youngest son of Ellis and Victoria Crowe. After his arrest, Crowe Towers was emptied of its residents for the first time since the grand estate was erected in 1754. It would not stay empty though. Like a sadistic case of whisper down the lane, the story changed. The truth was altered, shrouded by local lure, and those that believed the stories couldn’t deny the pull Crowe Towers had over them. They didn’t know that the truth was far worse than the tales that they believed.


Now thirty-six years after Nathaniel Crowe was first sent to prison, the State of Pennsylvania is preparing him for his release. The citizens of Elkhart are on edge. Nathaniel himself is uneasy. All he has known for the last thirty-six years have been the walls of Pennington Prison. But when a triple homicide occurs on the very night he is released from prison, one can only ask, “Is history repeating itself?” Or is there a copycat aiming to make sure Nathaniel never tastes the sweet nectar of freedom again?


So the third book in The Shadow Series, was a long one! I don't think it was any longer than the two books previously but I did struggle to get into the third story a little more than the first two.


The story of the long standing families; the Morrow's and the Crowes.


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Quickly, the Morrow's and the Crowes began to learn just how different they were, but somehow, they always remained connected in one way or another.
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The shocking truth of what happened all those years ago in the Crowe residence, and the release of one of Nathaniel. The man who knew the real truth...but had served time for the murders...

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The ancient bond the Marrow's and the Crowe's shared was severed...A blood bath occurred. The wrong man was arrested. A mad man ran free and unsuspected. A murder of Crowes.
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The departure of Nate was a sad one...but one he was at peace with...he may have lost some of his life serving time but in the remaining time in his story he was given something that he couldn't ever be more thankful for...

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"I'm sorry Nate.  I'm sorry things weren't better for you"...
"You don't know what you're talking about, Moira.  You two have me the greatest gift these last two days....You gave me a family again.
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The book was in the usual sense of flipping between the different characters and the plots that each of them had...but on occasions I did struggle to keep up. But overall, the last 40% of the story had me hooked. So please bear with the story. You won't regret it!


The Morrows showed their family commitment, love, respect and values as first set out in the first two books. The Morrows truly were an incredible family despite all the turmoil they had survived. This book was no different there.


A truly brilliant ending for all the Morrows, on the lead up to Christmas, which until then had been a somber occasion, they finally find some peace and happiness. Just what they all deserve.


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...It was the most memorable Christmas the family had enjoyed in quite some time....As Tristan smiled at her father...It was the happiest she could ever remember.
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You can keep up with Addison and news about her books on her websiteFacebookTwitter, or Goodreads.

Get your copy of A Murder of Crowes here (UK) or here (US). Add to your Goodreads TBR here.

Disclosure

I was sent this book free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are honest & my own.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Addison Kline - Stolen Innocents (Shadow, #2)

*Contains adult themes
**Review by Susan

Everybody in Elkhart has a secret and if they say they don't, they're lying. Three years have passed since Tristan Morrow returned home after her harrowing kidnapping ordeal with her former English teacher, Bernard Kendricks. A sense of peace has taken over the Morrow Manor, but it will not last forever. A killer of women is on the loose in Elkhart and has already claimed the lives of two young women. Will DiNolfo and her officers catch the killer before a third victim is claimed? When their three main suspects turn out to be innocent, the Elkhart Police Department is at a loss until a citizen comes forward with some crucial information: Tristan Morrow knows who is responsible for the murders. But does the information come too late? And how does this relate to the murder case of Tiffany O'Mara? Tristan soon learns that not even the dead can keep their secrets buried forever.








Stolen Innocents is the follow on story to Shadow Dancer and boy, do things step up a notch!


As we learn more about the O'Mara's and in particular their eldest daughter, Angie. The story throughout leads us to know that there is a grave secret in that family...


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Not all haunted houses are the same. While Morrow Manor fits the bill, the modern O'Mara house had more secrets than the whole of Elkhart combined.
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But as a the story of the murder comes to light, it is clear to see that females are being targeted. Bringing up memories or Tristan's ordeal three years previous at the hands of Kendricks (Bernard). She had moved on but did things seem a little copycat? Who was it within their community going to great efforts to lead the police to three male suspects?


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Hadn't the Morrow and the Piedmonte families suffered enough?
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As with Addison Kline's first book, the writing is beautiful and descriptive beyond measure...I felt like I was transported straight into the emotion filled page turner..

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He didn't cry...What happened was far more heart-wrenching than that.  Bridgette watched her nephews eyes as his sanity threatened to flicker out of sight...
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As a jewellery box known to the family makes an appearance with some grilling evidence giving an insight into who might be hurt next, the story steps up in danger and onto a new level of on-the-edge-of your-seat-peeing-your-pants lol.

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A heavy sigh released from Bridgette's lungs. She knew what the dates meant. The date on the back of the photograph was the date that each of the women had died at the hands of another.
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But as the story and danger permitted a lot was learned about the Morrow family. Their true feelings and understanding of one another, as well as seeing them no longer as children, but adults too.

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It was so easy to forget that her intelligent, beautiful and courageous niece had been through so much...Bridgette trusted Tristan more as a confidant then as a child.
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A truly mind blowing book that just kept getting better. One that didn't feel rushed or the ending cut short. Secrets, betrayal, grief and animosity all outweighed by the support and love of a tight knight community and family who hold on till the very end. One of my top reads of the year!

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Bury a secret, and prepare to have it haunt you well past your dying day.
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You can keep up with Addison and news about her books on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Get your copy of Stolen Innocents here (UK) or here (US). Add to your Goodreads TBR here.

Disclosure
I was sent this book free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are honest & my own.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Helen J. Barnes - Nameless

*Contains adult themes
**Review by Stacey & Susan

Addison is a typical teen, who worries only about the relatively insignificant things in life like; college, friends, boy bands and passing her driving test. 
Little does Addy know, life is about to put her to the test when she becomes the object of an addiction, an infatuation and an obsession on a level she cannot begin to comprehend. 
As the weather turns frosty and the icy season draws in Addison finds that, someone she assumed to be a relatively innocent secret admirer, is taking things to the next level and their thoughts are colder, darker and more sinister than the freezing winter nights. 
But how do you stop a faceless, nameless stalker when even authorities can't find the culprit?











Stacey
It's been a long time since I have read a romantic suspense, or any suspense at all in fact, though I have read Helen's work before. I know this was a completely new genre for her though and going by the blurb I was so excited to read it!

Addison (Addy) is in the prime of her teenage years and loving life with her best friends Dayna & Lexi when she discovers she has a stalker. This happens around the same time she meets Ben and Olly, both interested in her and from two totally different backgrounds, but like many people, she is quick to judge them.

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"Wanker or not, you got to admit he's got a great arse," I say with a giggle. "Shame that's where he keeps his brains."
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I must admit, I judged them the same as Addy but I did take a dislike to Lexi straight away - my bitch radar was on full alert! Helen's character profiling is great though, I really love Dayna and felt so much sympathy for Addy. I grew to adore Ben too as he was such a sweetheart. And Razz, even though he is 'only' a dog he was like a main character and I love him as well!

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When our lips collide again it's a kiss full of promises and gratitude. Both of us claim one another in that moment and we each know that we would do anything for the other.
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Helen definitely kept me hanging on throughout the story and I was always changing my mind about who Addy's stalker was, but it was still a surprising revelation! I love how Helen's writing kept giving me chills because of the actions taken by the stalker, and it was really full of tension toward the end. I could hardly put it down and was frustrated when I had to, to look after my family, ha! I could tell Helen had done her research. It also gives out the message that you shouldn't judge a book - or a person - by the cover.

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My heart breaks that I may never see him again. I can't bear the thought and feel the last of my determination rise from within me. I will go down fighting, for Ben, and the future we deserved together.
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Overall, Nameless is a story full of crazy roller coaster emotions and it gripped me from start to end - a 5* must read.

Susan
I was so bloody excited about this landing on my kindle...after reading the blurb (yes I do it from time to time!) and eye-floving the stunning cover, I flew through my first read by Helen J Barnes! 

Addy is a funny, smart and typical nearly-18 year old! Well, until we discover she has someone who thinks a little too much of her...

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...I didn't anticipate this getting so serious; so sinister. A secret admirer was more infuriating, not knowing who it was, rather than scary just a couple of short weeks ago. Now I feel like I can't do anything without some nameless freak knowing what I'm doing, where and who I'm with.
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I've got to say it's been a refreshing read as it's a story line that I can't say I've read before and I genuinely think young people/YA would get a lot out of it, not only in terms of the hilarity and typical teenage banter (and backstabbing!) that comes with girls, but also down to personal safety, the use of social media and knowing who to trust. 

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Do I want to fight back? Or stay hidden in my prison, safe behind closed blinds and locked doors? Is it worth the fight to reclaim a carefree life? Would my life ever go back to what it was? 
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A really well written story that I fell in love with...especially the formatting of the text and messenger screenshots. This gave it a really good "fun" feel and a uniqueness I can't say I've ever got with another book. I can only praise Helen J Barnes and say that this is just the first of many of her books I plan to read.


Be sure to go one click Nameless now! You won't regret it.


You can keep up with Helen and news about her books on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Get your copy of Nameless here (UK) or here (US). Add to your Goodreads TBR here.

Disclosure
I was sent a copy of this book free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are honest & my own.