A Winter Beneath The Stars by Jo Thomas #BookReview #BlogTour (@jo_thomas01) @headlinepg @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Christmas #AWinterBeneathTheStars

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On a courier trip to Tallfors, deep in Swedish Lapland, everything is going to plan. Halley has her bag, with two precious wedding rings inside for delivery… until she doesn’t.

The only way to save the wedding is to team up with mysterious reindeer herder Bjorn, the one person who can lead her across the snowy tundra to be reunited with her bag.

On a journey of a lifetime beneath the stars, with only the reindeer and a bad-tempered stranger for company beside the fire, Halley realises that she will need to confront her past heartaches in order to letthe warmth of love in once more…

I am so delighted today to be taking my turn on the blog tour for A Winter Beneath The Stars by fellow RNA Member and somewhat of a personal hero of mine, Jo Thomas. My huge thanks for Anne Cater for giving me one of the coveted places on this tour and to Headline for my copy of the book, which I have renewed honestly and impartially.

I absolutely love books that take me away to foreign climes while I am sat at home in my chair, so I can indulge my passion for travel mentally while I’m not actually travelling myself. For this reason, Jo Thomas has become one of my favourite authors in recent years and I was very excited to see what she would do with a winter book. Having read it, I can say with certainty that it did not disappoint me.

This book follows the story of Halley, who travel for a living delivering valuable items overseas, and how she comes to be stuck in Swedish Lapland with a gruff reindeer herder. That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, you’ll need to read the book to find out how she ends up in this predicament. Suffice it to say, a series of mishaps and some suspended disbelief is the order of the day.

Jo brings the setting of Swedish Lapland vividly to life. Her descriptions are beautiful and so evocative that you can smell the trees, feel the bite of the wind on your cheeks, hear the click of the reindeers’ ankles (I never knew they did that, but now I can imagine what it sounds like), taste the wild mushroom soup, see the sparkling sprinkle of stars across the winter sky. Her writing is a feast for every sense that transports you directly to the heart of the setting. What I particularly love about this book is that she captures the real place, not just the tourist side, and explores the life of the indigenous population that have lived on the land for centuries. It is this kind of detail and insight that makes me want to read and I think it is unusual to find that level of care about authenticity in a romance novel, which is why I love Jo’s book so much. I would absolutely love to have Jo on the blog to talk about her research for the book, I know it will be a fascinating tale which is touched on in the acknowledgements. Not that I’m hinting or anything!

Now I’ve waxed lyrical about the setting, which is the huge strength of this book, let’s talk about the plot. It has everything you could want in a book of this kind. Romance, humour, emotional revelations, exploration of love and loss and grief and how, as human beings, we navigate these emotions. All of this is done so warmly and wisely, with such honesty and empathy that you can’t fail to be moved by the experience of reading it. To be honest, I guessed quite early on what the situation was between Halley and her husband but that did not detract from my enjoyment of the story at all and I had total understanding of where she was coming from and her reactions. It took me a couple of chapters to warm to her, but once I did, I was firmly on her side and going through the wringer with her every step of the way – the elation and despair which the author so cleverly draws out with her writing.

Bjorn took a little more fathoming, but I warmed to him over the course of the book, and I am sure the author has paced his character development deliberately so that the reader’s feelings towards him develop in much the way Halley’s do. She has thrown them together in the most extraordinary of circumstances and my favourite part of the story was watching Halley find her feet and her confidence in dealing with experiences totally outside of her comfort zone. This story is as much about Halley finding herself as anything else and this gives the story a real depth and poignancy that raise it above the standard of the every day romantic novel.

There are plenty of light-hearted moments provided by secondary characters, particularly Lars whom I loved, and the novel is beautifully balanced in this regard. Actually, it is just beautiful and once you’ve read it, you’ll want to rush out and buy the rest of Jo’s books to try and maintain the feelings her writing will evoke in you. She writes the way I aspire to write, if I only I were this skilful.

A Winter Beneath The Stars is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

Please do make sure you check out some of the other reviews of this book by my fantastic fellow bloggers by following the tour:

Winter Beneath The Stars Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Jo Thomas Author Picture

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013, Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Connect with Jo:

Website: https://jothomasauthor.com

Facebook: Jo Thomas Author

Twitter: @jo_thomas01

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman #BookReview (@GailHoneyman) @HarperCollinsUK @PamelaDormanBks #EleanorOliphant

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Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

So, now I am sure I have achieved my goal of being the last English-speaking person in the western world to read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I thought it was about time I got round to it and posted a review. The only problem is, since every other book blogger on the face of the planet has already read and reviewed this book, ad infinitum, what could I possibly have to say that hasn’t been said already?

I have to admit I was little concerned going in, as the book has had such hype that I didn’t believe it could possibly live up to my expectations. At the same time, I have read more and more reviews recently by people who have abandoned the book at an early stage, having been unable to get on with the main character at all. This included my own mother, although she and I have very different tastes and opinions on most things anyway.

I needn’t have worried. I absolutely loved every page of this book. I thought the character of Eleanor was unique and intelligent and really insightful and the whole story so well-drawn from beginning to end that I could not help but get drawn in to her world and life. What a sad and touching and lonely life she has had, until her friendship with Raymond changes everything for her. My heart is bruised from how much this story pummelled it with wave after wave of emotional wrenching. It has been a long time since it has had such a workout.

I guess I can understand how some people can find Eleanor jarring, she does not represent the social norm, but that is the entire point. This is the reason she is so isolated and uncomfortable with her peers. The discomfort that the reader might feel is illustration of why people like Eleanor become so socially isolated and lonely, but if we, as the reader and as people in society, push past this, we find the real person underneath who just longs to belong and is well worth knowing and Raymond is the model of what we should be. Warm, tolerant and understanding, I just loved him, although he himself might not be seen by society on first glance as the perfect specimen.

When I am reading, I tend to make little notes of pages where a particular line or paragraph has caught my eye as something that has touched or spoken to me or is worth remembering. I don’t think I have made as many notes on a book of parts I wanted to revisit as I did on this book. It was like the author was speaking directly to me, or even speaking my own thoughts at times. The final paragraph of Chapter 8. Halfway down page 106. The penultimate paragraph of page 174. The third paragraph of page 195. The top of page 238. A small phrase three-quarters of the way down page 286. The phrase on page 305, “Yellow tights did not, I noticed, flatter a sporty calf.’ All of these held small phrases or images that were joyful or moving or resonant or delightful to me. You will all have your own favourites, I’m sure. Some of it made me cry. Some of squeezed my chest so tight I grew short of breath. Some of it was just too painfully….truthful.

This book is marvellous. It, and Eleanor, are truly worthy of every minute you invest in reading it, and re-reading it will I am sure be equally beneficial. Anyone who does not persevere and try to find some bond with the character is missing out. A profoundly honest book that feels like it was written just for me.

If there is any chance at all that you haven’t got a copy of this book, you can buy it here.

About the Author

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Gail Honeyman’s debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, won the Costa First Novel Award 2017, and has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Desmond Elliott Prize.

As a work in progress, it was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize. Since publication, translation rights have sold to over thirty territories worldwide, Reese Witherspoon has optioned it for film and it was chosen as one of the Observer’s Debuts of the Year for 2017. Gail was also awarded the Scottish Book Trust’s Next Chapter Award in 2014, and has been longlisted for BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.

Gail lives in Glasgow.

Connect with Gail:

Twitter: @GailHoneyman

Five Ladies Go Skiing by Karen Aldous #BookReview #BlogTour (@KarenAldous_) @HQDigitalUK @RaRaResources #RachelsRandomResources #FiveLadiesGoSkiing #Giveaway #RNA

Five Ladies Go Skiing

It’s freezing outside as the pinch of winter takes hold so it is apt today that I am on the blog tour for Five Ladies Go Skiing by Karen Aldous. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Make sure you visit the giveaway further down the post.

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When Ginny Watts’ husband passes away, she is left grief-stricken, not only over her husband’s death but the secrets he has left behind…

Luckily for Ginny, she has four wonderful friends – Lou, Cathy, Angie and Kim – poised to whisk her away on a ladies’ skiing holiday to beautiful La Tzoumaz, Switzerland.

While all of them appear to have their lives together from the outside, little do the ladies know that every single one of them is fighting a secret battle.

As the trip unfolds, they realise that fears of tumbling down the slopes after too much après-ski fun is the least of their worries and all is not what it seems…

I was really looking forward to reading this book, attracted by the cover and the title and the blurb. I am really enjoying the current trend of books featuring older protagonists and I have thoroughly enjoyed the ones I’ve read this year. I think it is refreshing to read about women who are a bit older, although there was quite a lot of talk in this book about having a body of a younger woman which actually slightly detracts from the appeal of a book of this nature for me. I like heroines who are happy to be and look their age!

The setting of the Swiss Alps, a cosy chalet in a bustling ski resort and all the trappings that go with a ski holiday were the main draw of the book for me and this aspect fully lived up to my expectations. I love to ski, and I think the author did a fabulous job of bringing the scene and the whole experience to life, especially the food! I loved the fact that four of the ladies had never skied before and the trials and tribulations of that learning experience in later life were marvellously portrayed. The theme of being young at heart and it never being too late to experience new things were delightful and the book gave me everything I had hoped for in this regard.

The heart of this story is the friendship between these five women, which has lasted through the years and seen each of them through some tough times. However, it also explores the ideas that people still keep secrets from each other, however close they are, and that these secrets have the potential to destroy even the closest of relationships. Again, I think the author brings the characters to life very well and they are all warm and likeable and the relationships they have are genuine and plausible and really reflect how women interact and relate to one another. So far, so great.

However, there were parts of the prose that needed cutting because they dragged the pace of the book to a crawl, especially at the beginning. I understand that the author was trying to establish the characters, and this took some doing as there were five of them and the book is telling the story from multiple points of view. However, there was simply too much description early on, too much telling, rather than showing, of the ladies’ back stories and a lot of repetition of points that had already been covered.

It was a bit of a shame, because it made the reading a little laborious to begin with of what was otherwise a warm, seasonal, uplifting  and enjoyable book about female friendship and enjoying life.

Five Ladies Go Skiing is out now in e-book format and will be available in paperback on 13 December. You can buy a copy here.

Giveaway

To enter a giveaway to win one of 5 paperbacks of Five Ladies Go Skiing, please click on the Rafflecopter link below.

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*Terms and Conditions –Please note prize will be distributed once the paperback is available (published 13th December).  UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

If you would like to check out the other blogs on the tour, you can find them on the poster below:

Five Ladies Go Skiing Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Author Karen Aldous High Res

Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine!

Much of Karen’s inspiration comes from her travels and meeting people. The UK, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and parts of the USA and Asia are just some you will experience in her books to date. However, wherever she goes, new characters emerge in ‘Karen’s World’ screaming at her to tell their stories; past or present. She loves to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives – but struggle to control them! And, of course there’s always a gorgeous hunk or two!

Connect with Karen:

Website: http://www.karenaldous.co.uk

Facebook: Karen Aldous Author

Twitter: @KarenAldous_

Instagram: @karenaldous_

Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes #BookReview (@MarianKeyes) @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks @PenguinRHUK @BleuViola #RachelsHoliday

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“They said I was a drug addict. But my occasional drug use was strictly recreational. And, hey, surely drug addicts are skinny?’

Rachel is living it up in New York City, spending her nights talking her way into glamorous parties before heading home in the early hours to her hot boyfriend Luke.

Then her sensible older sister shows up and even though it seems like a bad joke, she finds herself in actual rehab.

It’s there that she’s supposed to kick her non-existent drug habit – and to get over losing Luke. Luke’s a fox; he’s also strong and kind, but he has had more than he can take of Rachel.

None of this was part of her plan and saying goodbye to fun will be hard.

But not as hard as losing the man that, too late, she believes might be the love of her life.”

Bit of a retro review today which might make a nice change! I’ve not signed up for many blog tours this month, as I wanted to take the pressure off during NaNoWriMo, so I was planning on using the break to make a dent in my TBR. Then my friend, Kate, over at Ideas Become Words mentioned that she had started reading the copy of Rachel’s Holiday I had given her (she’d never read a Marian Keyes book, can you believe it?) and I was suddenly overcome with the urge to re-read it myself. It is my favourite of her books and it has been a few years since I read it. Then I felt guilty, because I have loads of new books languishing unread on my TBR. Then I thought how ridiculous that was, I read for pleasure so, if I want to re-read an old favourite, why not? Book blogging can warp your mind sometimes!

This is no small book. At 625 pages, it takes a commitment of time, but it is oh so worth it. As I went through, I remembered exactly why Marian Keyes is one of my favourite authors, and why I am not alone in adoring her. I think it also came along at an auspicious time in my own writing journey, to give me some insights into writing that I need to be able to move my own project forward.

This book is an exploration of addiction through the eyes of Rachel, who can’t see that she has a drug problem until her friends and family stage an intervention and force her into a treatment facility. We follow her progress through all the steps of her recovery, and it is an eye-opening, painful and emotional experience.

And this is the genius of Marian’s writing. It is completely truthful. She doesn’t shy away from showing things exactly the way they are. She writes with complete emotional honesty, without pulling any punches or shying away from things that are painful and laying everything bare. her writing isn’t sugar-coated or glittery, but it is real and her readers respond to this. They can see truths about the human experience, their experience, reflected back at them.

Rachel is not a very likeable character for most of the book. She is monstrously selfish and self-involved, refusing to see her issues and blaming everyone but herself, but Marian manages to make us care what happens to her by giving us glimpses of why she is the way she is and hints that maybe she is capable of redemption and worth rooting for and we can see it is important that we are shown the truth of what addiction does to a person. She is also not the stereotype of a drug addict, so we are left thinking, ‘there but by the grace of God,’ which draws us in to the story even more. It is a masterclass in hooking the reader and exactly the kind of thing I wish I could do with my own writing. Well, we can all dream!

Anyone who had read any of Marian’s non-fiction writing or follows her on Twitter will know that this is how she is in real life too. She is very honest about the struggles she has had herself with alcohol dependency and depression and is a vocal advocate of the things that she believes in. Plus, she is absolutely hilarious. All of this spills through and is very evident in her writing, which is a clear reflection of who she is. If you gave me an anonymously bound book written by Marian Keyes, I would know who the author was immediately, her voice is so strong and distinctive. I have been through a phase recently of not making much progress on my book for various reasons, one of which is that I am afraid my author voice is too light to do justice to the serious subject matter it covers, and that my prose style is too bare. Reading this book has reminded me of the value of being honest and open and authentic in your writing. Of just letting your voice speak out and putting the passion for your story and the truth of your experience into your book. This is what we, as readers, respond to. It shines from the pages and lights up the work, drawing the reader to it.

Re-reading this book has been one of the most useful experiences I have had this year and I feel motivated to crack on and be more Marian in my own writing – except the Yorkshire version, of course!

You can get a copy of Rachel’s Holiday here.

About the Author

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Marian Keyes’ international bestselling novels include Rachel’s Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There?, This Charming Man,The Brightest Star in the Sky, The Mystery of Mercy Close and The Woman Who Stole My Life. Two collections of her journalism, Under the Duvet and Further Under the Duvet, are also available from Penguin. Marian lives in Dublin with her husband.

Connect with Marian:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarianKeyes

Twitter: @MarianKeyes 

Instagram: @marian_keyes

Website: www.mariankeyes.com

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham #BookReview (@JohnGrisham) @HodderBooks #TheRoosterBar #Thriller #Legal

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“Law students Mark, Todd and Zola wanted to change the world – to make it a better place. But these days these three disillusioned friends spend a lot of time hanging out in The Rooster Bar, the place where Todd serves drinks. As third-year students, they realise they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specialising in student loans, the three realise they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

So they begin plotting a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they have to leave law school, pretend they are qualified and go into battle with a billionaire and the FBI . . .”

Ah, Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Back to school, the weather starts to nip, boots and coats are dug out of the closet, the leaves change colour and…it is time for a new John Grisham release. I always equate this time of year with the time to get a new one of his book. I now always have them on pre-order so I get them the day they come out, because I absolutely love his books. Always an edge-of-your-seat, irresistible combination of thriller and legal puzzle, his book are guaranteed to keep me glued to the pages from start to finish. I normally devour them as soon as they are out.

So imagine my surprise when, whilst waiting for his new book The Reckoning to be published, I realised that I hadn’t read last year’s release, The Rooster Bar. How did that happen? I can’t imagine except that my memory is like a sieve these days (I blame my age and hormones. In fact, it is even possible that I have read it and forgotten, things have got that bad.) Anyway, happy days – I now had another unread John Grisham to enjoy on my recent holiday.

I am always fascinated as to where authors get their ideas for novels from and there is an interesting note at the back of this book where Grisham reveals that the idea for this novel came from an article he read about the level of debt students in the US were taking on in order to put themselves through law school. Quite how he goes from what sounds like quite a dull article, particularly to non-lawyers, to a nail-biting thriller is the nature of his genius, because somehow he manages to spin it in to one of his classic plots that kept me up late desperate to get to the end.

The plot of this book is quite outrageous and I think you need to suspend your disbelief to buy in to it, but that is true of most thrillers, which are by their nature outlandish and pushing the boundaries of what is probable. These books are pure escapism, sometimes keeping only a slight grasp on reality and I am sure the court system in the USA would be outraged to think this could possibly happen (although I am now waiting for someone to tell me that it has been done.) Anyway, likelihood aside, the plot is original and gripping and an interesting spin on the ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ roles as the protagonists are actually breaking the law but we still end up rooting for them, despite the fact that they are jeopardising the futures of their clients, because they themselves are victims in some respects. Should they get away scot-free? Is what happens to them justice? I don’t want to give anything away by revealing my thoughts but I think you will find more to ponder in these books than people often give Grisham credit for.

When I have revealed to people in the past what a massive fan I am of John Grisham’s books, I have met with some literary snobbery, most particularly from people who have never read any of his books. Well, firstly, I would query whether you can form a valid opinion of an author without reading a word they have written. And, secondly, you don’t sell as many books as John Grisham has without being able to write. He is the master of creating a taut, exciting and interesting thriller and this one is no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I always do, and can’t wait to read his new book.

The Rooster Bar is available now and you can get a copy here.

About the Author

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Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham’s hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing’s greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham’s reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham’s success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, The Associate, The Confession, The Litigators, Calico Joe, The Racketeer, Sycamore Row, and Gray Mountain) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 40 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books’ protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients’ case, earning them a jury award of $683,500—the biggest verdict of his career.

When he’s not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Follow John on social media:

Website: http://www.jgrisham.com

Facebook: John Grisham

Twitter: @JohnGrisham

Instagram: @johngrishamauthor

Tempted by….Random Things Through My Letterbox: Bitter by Francesca Jakobi @fjakobi @wmbooks @annecater #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #Bitter

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It’s 1969, and while the summer of love lingers in London, Gilda is consumed by the mistakes of her past. She walked out on her beloved son Reuben when he was just a boy and fears he’ll never forgive her.

When Reuben marries a petite blonde gentile, Gilda takes it as the ultimate rejection. Her cold, distant son seems transformed by love – a love she’s craved his entire adult life. What does his new wife have that she doesn’t? And how far will she go to find out? It’s an obsession that will bring shocking truths about the past to light . . .

Bitter is a beautiful and devastating novel about the decisions that define our lives, the fragility of love and the bond between mother and son.

Today’s book which has made its way on to my teetering TBR courtesy of a recommendation by a fellow book blogger is Bitter by Francesca Jakobi which I bought after reading this review by Anne Cater who blogs at Random Things Through My Letterbox.

Anne needs no introduction to most of you, she is the doyenne of book blogging, a highly respected blog tour organiser and general all-round head cheerleader for book promotion. I would find it hard to believe that there is anyone reading this who hasn’t read Anne’s blog but, if not, head over there straight away and check it out. Her reviews are always honest and well-balanced and insightful so, when she raves about a book as much as she did this one, I know it is something I need to read.

The premise of the book really grabbed me, a woman who walks out on her young child. As a mother, I can never understand how any woman could do this, so I’ll be fascinated to see what the protagonist’s motivations are and how their reunion pans out. I’m really drawn to books with flawed central characters, as most of us are in real life, and how the writer manages to make a reader care about someone who has done something deemed by society as so unnatural. Anne waxed so lyrical about the depth, subtlety and beauty of this book that it sounds like a compelling read and I’m looking forward to getting in to it.

Please do go and check out Anne’s original review of the book and if you then feel like it might be something you would enjoy, you can buy a copy here.

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer #BookReview #BlogTour (@KelRimmerWrites) @headlinepg @annecater #randomthingstours

Before I Let You Go Cover

“Your sister or her baby. Who do you choose?

As children, Lexie and Annie were incredibly close. Bonded by the death of their beloved father, they weathered the storms of life together. When Lexie leaves home to follow her dream, Annie is forced toturn to her leatherbound journal as the only place she can confide her deepest secrets and fears…

As adults, sisters Lexie and Annie could not be more different. Lexie is a successful doctor and happily engaged. Annie is an addict – a thief, a liar and unable to remain clean. When Annie’s newborn baby is in danger of being placed in foster care, Annie picks up the phone to beg her sister for help. Will Lexie agree to take in her young niece? And how will Annie survive, losing the only thing in her life worth living for?”

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer, which I have really been looking forward to reading. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

So, where do I even start with this book? It has completely blown me away in so many different ways. This book has given me so many things to think about, and aroused so many different emotions, I know it is one of those books that I may have closed the covers on and put back on the shelf, but it will remain open and alive in my mind for a long time to come.

This is the story of two sisters who are incredibly close despite being very different. This is the story about children robbed of their childhoods due to events and decisions of their parents over which they have no control. It is the story of how traumas inflicted on us early in life can send our lives spiralling off course in ways we cannot imagine. It is a story about how people need to open up and allow other people to help them if they are to survive and thrive in life. Mostly, it is a story about love and familial bonds that survive, no matter what.

This book deals with some very difficult topics – childhood loss, abuse, drug addiction, neo-natal addiction – but it does it with such empathy and tenderness and huge respect that, despite the terrible nature of the topics, they become easier to stomach some how, whilst still being shocking. The author has obviously done a huge amount of research for this book and introduces relevant and compelling facts about the subjects which are enlightening without being too dense to navigate. I found the parts dealing with the laws surrounding women and drug-taking during pregnancy particularly hard to believe and stomach and will definitely read up more on this topic.

The characters are beautifully written, particularly Lexie and Annie. I loved the way that we are able to clearly hear the voices of both women through the use of first person for Lexie throughout, and through Annie’s journal entries. It is a clever device, well executed and I really felt I got inside the minds of both women, who are both complicated and damaged. I came out totally understanding what was driving them both, and was very emotionally connected to both of them, to the extent that the book had me in tears in several places.

This book touches and tests the reader in a myriad of different ways – emotionally, intellectually, morally. It would be impossible to come away from reading this without asking yourself a lot of questions about what you believe about the subjects covered, and possibly like me, crying for the injustice meted out to certain sectors of society. It is particularly relevant, given the questions at the forefront of debate at the moment about how society views and treats women. Honestly, my head is spinning with thoughts and feelings about it all.

This book represents what good writing should do, and the kind of book that I would like to write if I thought I had the tiniest fraction of the talent it has taken to write this. This is definitely the kind of book we all should be reading – beautifully written, intelligent, thoughtful, provocative. Pretty much perfection.

Before I Let You Go is out now and you can purchase your copy here.

To see a range of views of this book, make sure you follow the rest of the tour as detailed below:

Before I let you go

About the Author

Kelly Rimmer Author Picture

Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels, including Me Without You and The Secret Daughter. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Connect with Kelly:

Website: https://kellyrimmer.com

Facebook: Kelly M Rimmer

Twitter: @KelRimmerWrites

Instagram: @kelrimmerwrites