The Ballad of Fat Labrador (Weekend Rockstars Book 2) by Dave Holwill #BookReview (@daveholwill) #WeekendRockstars #TheBalladOfFatLabrador

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I’m delighted to be reviewing The Ballad of Fat Labrador by Dave Holwill on the blog today. My thanks to the author for asking me to review the book and for providing me with a digital copy, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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It’s been a blissful ten years since George put down his bass, left the Artful Badgers and vowed never to play in public again. But when tragedy strikes his best friend he’ll do anything to help. 

Unfortunately that means going back out on the road, and this time he’s taking his daughter with him.

Alice has realised she wants more from her best friend than she is prepared to give and the band they have spent so long building up may not survive the fallout. 

Luckily her dad has the perfect plan to take her mind off of it.

It might feel more like a support group than a band, but if George can’t keep it under control then it could destroy his best friend’s life, his daughter’s happiness and what’s left of his own sanity.

Join George, Alice, Tim and a whole host of familiar faces as George is dragged back into a world to which he hoped he’d never have to return.

This book is ostensibly a sequel to Dave’s first book, Weekend Rockstars. That is actually the only book by Dave Holwill that I haven’t read, so I am in a strong position to say that The Ballad of Fat Labrador works perfectly well as a standalone. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on any back story or was confused about what was going on because I hadn’t read the first book.

This is the third book I have read by this author and, although they have all been different as far as plot and genre and tone go, they all have one thing in common, and this is that they are completely driven by character. This author is a genius at drawing likeable, compelling and realistic characters that work brilliantly to bond with the reader and carry the plot. This book is peopled with … well, people that I fell in love with and was happy to spend several hours in the company of, sharing their adventures. In fact, I was very sad to part company with them at the end of the book.

We follow the adventures of George, a retired guitarist from covers band The Artful Badgers, who now works for the Post Office and manages his 17-year-old daughter’s musical duo. Then events conspire to upset the ordered progress of his life and he finds himself back in a band to support his bereaved best friend through his grief, and his daughter whose band splits. Cue a litany of mishaps as a ragtag group take to the road in search of fame and glory and peace of mind. It is a wonderful premise for a plot and, given the detail of what goes on, the author has obviously included a lot of personal experience in the writing of this novel.

This book is written with such warmth and affection that reading it is like snuggling down under a blanket with a bottle of wine with your best friend for an evening reminiscing about your misspent youth, as seen through a couple of pairs of rose-tinted spectacles. The characters felt like real people, and people you want to spend time with, and they evidently care deeply about each other. Through the bickering and mishaps and bad decisions, what shines through in this book, is a real sense of love and family and, when it boils down to it, that is what this book is about. Friendship and family and being there for one another through good times and bad. And how family is more than just the immediate people you are born to or married too. It is messy and sprawling and complicated and just yours, whatever you make it and however you make it work, and it is what keeps you going through the ups and downs of life.

As well as all the philosophical and soppy, mushy stuff, this book is hilariously funny. It is a warts and all look at the life of a low level band, playing covers in pubs and working men’s clubs, musical differences, shifting line ups, no sex, a few drugs and not very rock and roll. And lots of men called Lawrence. I came away from reading it with a huge smile on my face and a Ready Brek glow around my heart. A lovely piece of work that deserves attention.

The Ballad of Fat Labrador is out of 14 February and you can pre-order a copy here. If you fancy reading the first book in the series first, Weekend Rockstars is available here.

About the Author

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Dave Holwill published his first book, Weekend Rockstars: a romantic comedy loosely based on 25 years as a gigging musician, in 2016. He followed this up with dark comedies The Craft Room and Gap Years before bringing out the sequel to Weekend Rockstars, The Ballad Of Fat Labrador, in 2020. He lives in Devon with his wife and a not inconsiderable number of pets.

Connect with Dave:

Website: http://daveholwill.com/index.html

Blog: http://davedoesntwriteanythingever.blogspot.com

Facebook: Dave Holwill

Twitter: @daveholwill

Instagram: @dave_holwill

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan Narrated by Jane Collingwood and Sandra Duncan #BookReview #audiobook (@ruthmariehogan) @TwoRoadsBooks @JaneCollingwoo1 @audibleuk #freereading #KeeperOfLostThings

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Meet the Keeper of Lost Things….

Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.

Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.

But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters….

At the risk of being accused of hyperbole, I am going to tell you that this may be the most perfect book I have read in a long while. It has absolutely everything I love in a good work of fiction, novelty of plot, sympathetic characters, romance, comedy, pathos, a hint of the supernatural and a fabulous ending. I adored every single minute I spent listening to it and I did not want it to end.

What a fantastic premise for a book, somebody picking up random items that have been lost in public and trying to get them reunited with their missing owners. I loved all the little stories that were attached to the missing items, the snippets of insight into everyday lives they gave -many of which took the most unexpected turn.

The characters in this book were just a delight, every single one of them, even the dreadful Portia who produced some of my favourite parts of the book – but more about that later. Anyone who reads this book could not help but fall in love with Rose, and wish her to get her happy ending, the marvellous and insightful Sunshine, gentle and generous Anthony and his heartbreaking story, Bomber and Eunice and their dogs… Everyone of them a beautiful and lovingly drawn portrait of a person that is essential to the story and will tug on the heartstrings of the reader, making them care very much about what happens to them, and the odd assortment of detritus that becomes so essential to their happiness. The way the characters and their stories and the objects were intertwined is so beautifully and cleverly done, reading it was just a joy.

This book made me feel everything. It was hilariously funny in places. I found myself actually laughing out loud at the parts where the plots of Portia’s novels were read out, proper big belly laughs. There were parts of the book that had my eyes pricking with tears – particularly the story of Eunice and Bomber, which was so gorgeous and real and sensitively drawn, they are characters and a story that will stay with me a good long while. And the ending, oh the ending had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck, and I mean that literally. I know it has taken me a long while to get to this book after its initial publication and the excitement surrounding that, but maybe this book was just waiting for the right time for me to find it. Maybe it was just what I needed right now and I would not have loved it as much if I had read it at another time. Whatever, all I know is that it has moved me and made me profoundly happy now that I have discovered it.

I think you can tell, I absolutely love this book. It definitely has a place on my forever shelf and I know I will come back to it again and again. The audio version is wonderful, the performances captured the characters beautifully but I look forward to reading it again soon in the physical version to see if I have a different reaction, if there are nuances to be found that I’ve missed. In any event, one of my favourite books of recent years, a definite keeper.

The Keeper of Lost Things is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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I was born in the house where my parents still live in Bedford. My sister was so pleased to have a sibling that she threw a thrupenny bit at me.

As a child, I loved the Brownies but hated the Guides, was obsessed with ponies and read everything I could lay my hands on.  Luckily, my mum worked in a bookshop.  My favourite reads were The Moomintrolls, A Hundred Million Francs, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the back of cereal packets, and gravestones.

I passed enough O and A levels to get a place at Goldsmiths College, University of Londonto study English and Drama.  It was brilliant and I loved it.

And then I got a proper job.

I worked for ten years in a senior local government position (Human Resources – Recruitment, Diversity and Training). I was a square peg in round hole, but it paid the bills and mortgage.

In my early thirties I had a car accident which left me unable to work full-time and convinced me to start writing seriously.  I got a part-time job as an osteopath’s receptionist and spent all my spare time writing.  It was all going well, but then in 2012 I got Cancer, which was bloody inconvenient but precipitated an exciting hair journey from bald to a peroxide blonde Annie Lennox crop. When chemo kept me up all night I passed the time writing, and the eventual result was THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS.

I live in a chaotic Victorian house with an assortment of rescue dogs and my long-suffering husband.  I spend all my free time writing or thinking about it and have notebooks in every room so that I can write down any ideas before I forget them.  I am a magpie; always collecting treasures (or ‘junk’ depending on your point of view) and a huge John Betjeman fan.  My favourite word is antimacassar and I still like reading gravestones.

Connect with Ruth:

Website: http://ruthhogan.co.uk

Facebook: Ruth Hogan

Twitter: @ruthmariehogan

Instagram: @ruthmariehogan

A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan #BookReview #BlogTour (@ausmazehanat) @noexitpress @annecater #RandomThingsTours #ADeadlyDivide

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IN A TOWN FULL OF SECRETS, WHO CAN YOU TRUST?

In the aftermath of a mass shooting in a mosque, small town tensions run high. Clashes between the Muslim community and a local faction of radical white nationalists are escalating, but who would have motive and opportunity to commit such a devastating act of violence?

Detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty from Canada’s Community Policing Unit are assigned to this high-profile case and tasked to ensure the extremely volatile situation doesn’t worsen. But when leaked CCTV footage exposes a shocking piece of evidence, both sides of the divide are enraged.

As Khattak and Getty work through a mounting list of suspects, they realise there’s far more going on in this small town than anyone first thought…

I am thrilled to be taking part today in the blog tour for A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I have to say first off that I have not read any of the previous books in the Khattak and Getty series, this is my first book by this particular author. Although there were certain aspects of the book that I probably would have had a deeper understanding of if I had read the previous novels in the series, this works perfectly well as a standalone and not having read the previous books did not impair my enjoyment of this one at all. It just made me want to go back and catch up, in fact.

This book tackles an extremely difficult topic, probably the most controversial one in current affairs at this point in time because it causes such deep divisions in our society, from the bottom to the very top. We are talking about racism, Islamophobia, terrorism, hate crimes and white supremacy. This makes for a very difficult read that shines a light on certain ideas that a lot of us might prefer not to face and asks a lot of questions to which there are no easy answers.

Khattak and Getty are called to a small town in Quebec where there has been a mass shooting in a mosque. Once they start to dig into the crime, they uncover a morass of racial and religious tension bubbling under the surface of the community, which has finally spilled over into violence. There is extreme suspicion and mistrust between various factions in the town, people are keeping secrets and no one knows who they can trust, or who is hiding behind a facade of civility to conceal their hatred and bigotry. Khattak and Getty find themselves acting as part of a police team, and even within law enforcement it becomes obvious that there are elements sympathetic to the perpetrator and who cannot be trusted.

All of this makes for extreme tension and suspicion throughout the book. There are so many different elements involved in the case that it is impossible to keep track of who may be guilty of what and who might be hiding vital information. It is like trying to find the perpetrator in an ever-moving, swirling fog of mistrust and doubt, and every new act, every new piece of evidence stirs up the picture and makes it harder to penetrate. It then becomes obvious that Khattak has become the object of someone’s negative attention and another strand of confusion is added to the investigation – are the police dealing with one case or two?

Amongst all of this confusion and doubt, the one thing that stands strong and true is the relationship between Getty and Khattak. The two have absolute trust and faith in one another at all times, and this shines particularly strongly in an environment where every one else is to be suspected. In addition, Khattak’s identity and faith are relevant to his part in this investigation, and Getty’s complete acceptance and trust of him and his motives provide a sharp and welcome contrast to the situation playing out in the town, and give the reader faith that these people do not represent our society as a whole. They are a central beacon of hope and faith in this story.

The author approaches this subject with candour but sensitivity, and it is obviously a topic that matters greatly to her and she has taken care to do her research. As well as being a wonderful crime thriller, this is a brave and frank exploration of a worrying and unpleasant issue in our society. I found it unsettling, difficult and thought-provoking, taking me a step beyond your run-of-the-mill detective story. Definitely worth picking up.

A Deadly Divide is out now and you can get a copy by following this link.

Do follow the rest of the tour for more reviews and other great content:

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About the Author

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Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a specialisation in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. She has practised immigration law and taught human rights law at Northwestern University and York University.

Formerly, she served as Editor in Chief of Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine to reflect the lives of young Muslim women.

Her debut novel, The Unquiet Dead, won the Barry Award, the Arthur Ellis Award and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best First Novel. It is followed by The Language of Secrets, Among the Ruins and No Place of Refuge in the Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty mystery series.

She is a longtime community activist and writer. Born in Britain, Ausma lived in Canada for many years before recently becoming an American citizen. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

Connect with Ausma:

Website: https://www.ausmazehanatkhan.com

Facebook: Ausma Zehanat Khan

Twitter: @ausmazehanat

Instagram: @azkhanbooks

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When Adam Met Evie by Giulia Skye #BookReview #BlogTour (@GiuliaSkye) @RaRaResources @RNATweets #PublicationDay #RachelsRandomResources #WhenAdamMetEvie

When Adam Met Evie

I am so happy to be taking part in the blog tour today for the debut novel by my fellow RNA New Writers’ Scheme member, Giulia Skye – When Adam Met Evie. And it’s Publication Day! I hope you enjoy it, Giulia.

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My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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When former Olympic Swimmer, Michael Adams—now Canada’s hottest reality TV star— insults his fake showbiz wife on social media, he escapes the ensuing scandal and jumps on the first flight to Australia. Desperate to experience ordinary life again—if only for a few weeks—he becomes “Adam”, just another tourist traveling through the Outback. But with a reward out for his safe return and his fame’s nasty habit of catching up with him when he least expects, he needs a better disguise… and he’s just found it.

Sweet and scruffy British backpacker, Evie Blake, is taking a year out of her busy London life. Tired of lies and liars, she’s looking for adventure to heal her broken heart. So when the hot Canadian she meets at the campground offers to be her travel partner through Western Australia’s wild Kimberley region, she grabs the chance, unaware he’s got the world out looking for him.

He’s just a down-on-his-luck traveler, right?

This book was always going to start off on the right note for me because there is nothing I love more than a book that takes me on a journey to a place I’ve never visited before and makes me feel like I am really there with the characters, and this novel does that in spades.

The author whisks us off to the Kimberley region of Australia, a place few of the readers of the book will have visited in person, as it is a remote and often hostile environment, well away from the normal tourist trail. This is exactly why it has attracted the two protagonists in the book, who are both running from something in their every day lives. It is somewhere that the author has obviously visited though, as she describes it in vivid and beautiful detail, making the landscape come alive to the extent that it becomes an additional character in the book, and an essential part of the story. I felt like I was exploring and experiencing the harsh landscape and amazing sights along with Adam and Evie as they went on their journey.

Aside from the allure of the great unexplored landscapes, the emotional journey that the protagonists go on in the book is equally compelling. The author has drawn two interesting and complex characters to explore, and created a complicated relationship dynamic between them, woven through with real emotion and sizzling chemistry. The writing felt honest and real – this is no flowery, fairytale romance, but a proper, lusty, immediate physical attraction that grows into something emotional and mature. A relationship written the way relationships actually are, rather than the way we imagine they might be before we’ve actually experienced life (except Adam has a much better physique than any man I’ve come across in real life, and Evie is much nicer than most people, but it wouldn’t be fiction if it were too close to real life, would it? We always need a hint of escapism!)

The plot is novel and interesting, containing enough tension and twists to make the reader want to pursue it to the very end. I was invested enough in both characters to care what happened to them, and I enjoyed all the fun little escapades that were fed in along the way (Webbo and his novel travelling companion were a particular highlight!) Giulia doesn’t shy away from writing the love scenes with *ahem* passion either!

This is a strong debut by a confident new author and I will be watching eagerly to see what she does next. Having looked at what she has planned for her follow ups, I am sure I will be taking more exotic adventures with her characters soon. One to keep an eye on.

When Adam Met Evie is out today as an ebook and paperback, and you can buy a copy here.

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour and read the reviews and content of my marvellous fellow bloggers:

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About the Author

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Italian-born Giulia Skye spent her childhood watching classic Hollywood films and thinking up her own romantic stories. After two decades working in TV production, she knew turning those stories into novels would be much more enjoyable – and far cheaper – than turning them into films. She still keeps her hand in TV production but is at her happiest being a stay-at-home mum, spending time with her family, growing her own vegetables and conjuring up sizzling stories about sexy heroes meeting fiesty heroines who aren’t always as they at first appear.  When Adam Met Evie is her first novel, Book 1 of her “Take a Holiday” series.

Connect with Giulia:

Website: https://giuliaskye.com

Twitter: @GiuliaSkye

Instagram: @giuliaskye

The Devil’s Bride by Emma S. Jackson #BookReview #BlogTour (@ESJackson1) @darkstrokedark @crookedcatbooks @RNATweets #PNR #paranormalromance #romance #TheDevilsBride

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England, 1670

No one goes near Edburton Manor – not since the night in 1668, when demons rose from the ground to drag Lord Bookham’s new bride to a fiery death. Or so the locals say.

That’s what makes it the perfect hideout for the gang of highwaymen Jamie Lorde runs with.

Ghost stories have never frightened her. The living are a far more dangerous prospect, particularly to a woman in disguise as a man. A woman who can see spirits in a time when witches are hanged and who is working hard to gain the trust of the most ruthless, vicious man she has ever known because she intends to ruin and kill him.

But when the gang discovers Matthew, Lord Bookham’s illegitimate brother, who has been trapped by a curse at the Manor ever since the doomed wedding, all Jamie’s carefully laid plans are sent spiralling out of control.

I am over the moon today to be celebrating the publication of my fellow RNA New Writers’ Scheme member, Emma Jackson’s new paranormal romance, The Devil’s Bride. My thanks to Emma for inviting me to take part in the tour, and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Look, I’m going to admit that this book is in a genre I wouldn’t normally read. I’m not someone you will find wandering the aisles of the paranormal romance section of my local bookstore, eagerly sniffing out my next read. But when someone you know writes a book and is kind enough to mention you in the acknowledgements (thank you, Emma, that was a lovely surprise!), the least you can do is check it out.

I made the mistake of starting this very late at night, straight after I had finished another book, and I was way too tired at that point to give the opening chapters the attention they deserved , so it took my a little while to get into the story. This is entirely down to the fact that this book steps outside my normal genre choices and is so rich in detail and atmosphere that it required some concentration from me to get into the groove of the writing style. This is absolutely no reflection on the author at all, because when I came back to it fresh the next morning and started again, I was absolutely hooked and devoured it in a single sitting. I was so completely absorbed in the book that my OH was complaining that I wasn’t listening to him while he was trying to talk to me (he was right, I wasn’t, the book was way more interesting!)

Despite the fact I am not a connoisseur of Gothic romance, I can appreciate good writing in any genre when I come across it, and this book is just fabulous. From the opening chapters, we are whisked to a sumptuously drawn, all-enveloping world which you can feel, hear, touch, taste and smell from the very first page. Honestly, I felt like I was putting on a period costume and wearing it for the duration of the book; it was so vivid, I was living it. Imagine  yourself in a dense, dark forest surrounding a crumbling and sinister house, haunted by heaven knows what or who. Imagine you are approaching this house in the company of some bloodthirsty and merciless highwaymen, and at the same time, you are pretending to be something you are not and are desperate not to be found out. Can you feel the suspense and the tension? Well, you don’t have to imagine it if you pick this book up because the author will take you right there and plonk you in the middle of the action, then keep you there, straining every nerve from first page to last.

I loved the premise of this book, and inhabited fully the character of Jamie throughout. I was with her through every tense moment, every risky decision, every moment of strain between her and the other characters. Jamie is a brilliant protagonist to carry this book, a strong, independent woman of the day, fighting against the circumstances she finds herself in and determined to carry through with her plans. She is headstrong and passionate and, to a degree, ruthless, but with a seam of compassion that allows her to be  likeable. In short, she is my kind of woman and I absolutely adored her.

Matthew was also a great character, and Fielding, and Emma has built a beautiful, detailed and complete world here. In fact, it gave me a whiff of one of my favourite books of all time, Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, with a strong woman falling in amongst rogues and having to hold her own, and I can’t really think of a better compliment to pay than that. We’ve got pistols and punches and curses and ghosts and romance and the supernatural, all described in exquisite detail. What could there possibly be not to love about this book?

I was left at the end exhilarated, breathless and totally shocked by the turn the plot had taken, and with a million questions that need answering. The author has very cleverly written a satisfying book on its own, but with the door left open for a sequel and a desperate compulsion in the reader to know WHAT COMES NEXT, which will mean the success of a sequel is already guaranteed. Where is the next book, I need it! I am in awe, Emma, truly, you have done the most magnificent job on this book, I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it.

The Devil’s Bride is out now in paperback and ebook and you can buy a copy here.

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour for more reviews:

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About the Author

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Emma Jackson is the best-selling author of A MISTLETOE MIRACLE, published by Orion Dash. A devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old, she joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association on their New Writers’ Scheme at the beginning of 2019, determined to focus on her writing. Her debut novel was published in November 2019.

When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE is her second novel, published by DarkStroke as Emma S Jackson. She hopes to continue working across sub-genres of romance, as she believes variety is the spice of life. 

Connect with Emma:

Website: https://esjackson.co.uk

Facebook: Emma Jackson Author

Twitter: @ESJackson1

Instagram: @emma_s_jackson

 

Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil Narrated by Joanne Froggatt #BookReview #audiobook (@sarahdenzil) @JoFroggatt @audibleuk #freereading #SilentChild

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In the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son’s red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year – a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river, and drowned.

His body was never recovered.

Ten years later, Emma has finally rediscovered the joy in life. She’s married, pregnant, and in control again…

… until Aiden returns.

Too traumatized to speak, he raises endless questions and answers none. Only his body tells the story of his decade-long disappearance. The historic broken bones and injuries cast a mere glimpse into the horrors Aiden has experienced. Aiden never drowned. Aiden was taken.

As Emma attempts to reconnect with her now teenage son, she must unmask the monster who took him away from her. But who, in their tiny village, could be capable of such a crime?

It’s Aiden who has the answers, but he cannot tell her the unspeakable.

Wow, what a ride this audiobook turned out to be! I was absolutely blown away by this book because, unlike most of the titles I read these days which I have picked up on recommendation from someone, I plucked this one out of the blue in a 2-for-1 Audible promotion last year. I chose it based purely on the blurb, I had heard nothing about it, went in to it with no expectations at all and I absolutely loved it.

This is the story of Emma, a teenage mum whose small child is presumed drowned after he goes missing from school on the day of a biblical-scale flood. His traumatised mother eventually manages to pull herself together and move on with her life when, a decade later, he turns up out of the blue, so mentally scarred by his ordeal that he is mute. The rest of the story follows Emma as she tries to reconnect with her son, now a teenager, absorb him into her new life and find out what happened to him and where he has been all this time.

As a parent myself, it was only too easy to identify with Emma and her absolute despair at her child’s disappearance. I tried to imagine how I would feel, and I think the author did a truly fantastic job of portraying the range of emotions and reactions that Emma has to this unbelievable situation. It felt very authentic to me and cemented Emma as a relatable character in my mind and someone who could carry the story for me and make me suffer the ups and downs with her.

Aside from the character study and the examination of what I might do and feel in this position, this was also a totally gripping psychological thriller and, by that, I mean I was finding reasons to do things that meant I could listen to my audiobook so I could progress the story – I REALLY needed to know what was going to happen. In the end, I just sat and listened to the last hour of the book on the sofa, something I never normally do with an audiobook, they are always accompaniment to some task or other, because I just had to finish it. I went backwards and forwards as to who had done what, and who was the main suspect and, although I had suspicions, the author confounded me with what actually happened – I did not see it coming at all.

The narration of the audio version of this book is superb, Joanne Froggatt was perfect to bring Emma to life and she imbued her voice with every emotion Emma was going through. I really felt it all, and was totally hooked from beginning to end. It was one of those books where the narration actually enhances the story. A perfect synchronisation of story and performance. Wonderful stuff, worth a full Audible credit and a massive bargain for me.

Silent Child is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Sarah A. Denzil is a British suspense writer from Derbyshire. Her books include SILENT CHILD, which has topped the kindle charts in the UK, US, and Australia. SAVING APRIL and THE BROKEN ONES are both top thirty bestsellers in the US and UK Amazon charts.

Combined, her self-published and published books, along with audiobooks and foreign translations, have sold over one million copies worldwide.

Her latest thriller ONLY DAUGHTER, published by Bookouture is released in March 2019, about a mother desperately trying to find out why her seventeen-year-old daughter died after falling into a quarry.

Sarah lives in Yorkshire with her husband, enjoying the scenic countryside and rather unpredictable weather. She loves to write moody, psychological books with plenty of twists and turns.

Connect with Sarah:

Website: https://www.sarahdenzil.com

Facebook: Sarah A Denzil

Twitter: @sarahdenzil

 

Dreaming of Verona by T. A. Williams #BookReview #PublicationDay (@TAWilliamsBooks) @canelo_co @RaRaResources #RachelsRandomResources #DreamingOfVerona

Dreaming of Verona

Happy Publication Day to T. A. Williams for Dreaming of Verona. I’m delighted to have a review of this book today for the publication day push. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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Verona is the City of Love. But will Suzie find romance there or, like Romeo and Juliet, will it all end in tears?

When Suzie is hired to accompany spoiled, abrasive Lady Alexandra Tedburn on an all-expenses paid holiday to Italy, she fears the trip will be a disaster.

But she soon discovers there’s more to Alex than shopping and tantrums, and she’s determined to help her realise her potential – against Alex’s authoritarian father’s wishes.

As they settle in Verona, Suzie can’t stop thinking about local artist Michael, who is still mourning the tragic death of his wife. With Suzie’s future uncertain, and Michael’s past holding him back, it seems there’s no hope for romance in the city of
star-crossed lovers… or is there?

This is my first book by T. A. Williams, although I have a couple of others waiting patiently on my TBR. I was fairly confident I was going to enjoy the book, set as it is in probably my favourite city in my favourite European country, and I have to say I was not disappointed.

This is a really entertaining and charming read about blossoming relationships, both romantic and friendly, set against the beautiful and romantic city of Verona. I absolutely loved the attention to detail in bringing the location to life and making it actually an additional character in the story, and it is obviously a place the author has visited and is passionate about. It is always a real joy for me when a novel really manages to take you to another location and make you feel like you have actually been there.

I immediately warmed to the characters in the book and, although the plot was perhaps a little far-fetched, I was happy to go along with it because it was so beautifully written and such a fun story. The author kept me guessing until the end how things were going to go, which is quite tricky to do in a romance of this type, I genuinely was not 100% sure who Suzie was going to end up with, which made for some real tension in the story. I particularly loved the professor and his Shakesperian-monikered dog, as Much Ado About Nothing is my favourite play, and he was such a sweet character.

One small niggle was the number of times the author referred to Suzie blushing, but I’m nit-picking here. A few too many red cheeks aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was everything that I look for in a book of this genre, with an added maturity of writing that gave it an extra level of depth. I would highly recommend it for fans of Italian-set romances, and I will be ushering the author’s books closer to the top of my TBR, especially when I am looking for a holiday read. It has made me long to take another trip to Verona with my own Romeo in the near future.

Dreaming of Verona is out today and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

TA Williams

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations and, as a writer, I obviously have to go there in person and check them out first. I love my job… 

Connect with T. A. Williams:

Website: https://tawilliamsbooks.com

Facebook: Trevor Williams Books

Twitter: @tawilliamsbooks