Monday, 24 September 2018

Street cat Blues by Alison O'Leary - BLOG TOUR and review


Street cat Blues by Alison O'Leary - BLOG TOUR and review

Today I am thrilled to join in the Blog Tour to launch the new title from Crooked Cat Books - Street cat Blues by Alison O'Leary.


My Review


You had me at cat! Honestly, who can resist a book with a cat as the lead character?

The main protagonist is a big tabby cat called Aubrey, he’s been around a bit and is pretty streetwise. He was locked up in the Stray cats home for a while, after his shopkeeper owner is killed. But now he has found his forever home with young couple Molly and Jeremy.

He’s loveable but a tad aloof, as most streetwise cats are. He is quirky and lively and pretty realistic, even if he’s telling the story, he can’t talk to humans or anything daft like that. The story is told as it runs through his mind as he observes what’s going on. He can, of course, communicate with other cats and there are plenty of them in the book and the cat narrative is fun and lively.

He still hangs around with all his feline chums who patrol the streets, they reminded me of Top Cat and his cronies. But this isn’t a children’s cartoon this is a murder mystery, when a serial killer begins to target local folk, some of whom Aubrey considered his friends (and one or two he’s not going to miss)

Being a cat he can hang around unnoticed, so he makes the perfect amateur sleuth. But being a cat, although he is bright and has a good take on humans, he doesn’t always cotton on to what’s going on, as quickly as a human would but he makes a really good attempt to figure out what’s going on.

When one of the ensuing murders is too close to home for young Carlos, a pupil at the school where owner Jeremy teaches, Aubreys adoptive family become embroiled in events and begin to fear for their own safety with a murderer on the loose. Aubrey grows fond of this young lad who’s a bit of a misfit just like him and the pair develop a tentative friendship.

Aubrey’s not about to let another friend get murdered if he can help it, though he knows being less than 2 feet tall means he has limitations, nevertheless he’s a tough cookie, he’s had to be, scrapping with other bigger cats for his territory, leaping swiftly from guttering to rooftop.

The deeper issues covered are of course murder, also a bit of bullying and illegal immigration.

The book is obviously aimed at adults but could be enjoyed by all ages as its quirky and fun and the murders although horrid aren’t described too gruesomely, I think it’s what you’d call a cozy mystery.

I thoroughly enjoyed my forays through the streets with Aubrey and his chums.

My only gripe is – why not have a cat on the cover? Even a silhouette of a cat on one of the rooftops to catch the eye of many cat lovers who will be drawn to this super book.


Don’t let that put you off though, Aubrey is so well rounded as a character you will soon picture him and want to give him a little rub behind the ears as you read his story.

The Blurb

A quiet life for Aubrey?

After spending several months banged up in Sunny Banks rescue centre, Aubrey, a large tabby cat, has finally found his forever home with Molly and Jeremy Goodman, and life is looking good. 

However, all that changes when a serial killer begins to target elderly victims in the neighbourhood. 

Aubrey wasn’t particularly upset by the death of some of the previous victims, including Miss Jenkins whom Aubrey recalls as a vinegar-lipped bitch of an old woman who enjoyed throwing stones at cats, but Mr Telling was different. 

Mr Telling was a mate…

Released on 24th September 2018 it can be ordered via Amazon


The Author - Alison O'Leary

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  
Alison was born in London and spent her teenage years in Hertfordshire.
She has also lived in Somerset and Gloucestershire.
After studying Law she decided to teach rather than go into practice and for many years taught Criminal Law to adults and young people.
Since moving to the south coast, Alison has been involved in qualification and assessment development for major awarding bodies.
When not writing, she enjoys crosswords, walking by the sea and playing Scrabble on her iPad – which she always sets to beginner level because, hey, why take chances?
Alison lives with her husband John and cat Archie.

Find her on Twitter @alisonoleary81






Sunday, 23 September 2018

Spotlighting - The Winter that made us by Kate Field - Blog Tour

The Winter that made us by Kate Field:


I am pleased to help introduce you to this new novel, in the genre of contemporary women's fiction.
As part of the Blog Tour for this new book by Kate Field I am delighted to share with you the beautiful cover:



Here's the blurb so you can discover what it's about:

When Tess finds herself unexpectedly alone and back in Ribblemill, the childhood village she thought she’d escaped, she’s sure she can survive a temporary stay. She’s spent a lifetime making the best of things, hasn’t she?

Determined to throw herself into village life, Tess starts a choir and gathers a team of volunteers to restore the walled garden at Ramblings, the local stately home. Everything could be perfect, if she weren’t sharing a cottage and a cat with a man whose manner is more prickly than the nettles she’s removing…

As winter approaches, Tess finds herself putting down her own roots as fast as she’s pulling them up in the garden. But the ghosts of the past hover close by, and Tess must face them if she’s to discover whether home is where her heart has been all along.

Order a copy now from Amazon.

My thanks go to Rachels Random Resources @Rararesources who arranged the blog tour.


The Winter That Made Us - Kate Field - Spotlight post for BLOG TOUR

The Winter That Made Us - Kate Field - Spotlight post for BLOG TOUR


Today I'm pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for the new book by Kate Field - The Winter That Made Us.


Isn't that cover beautiful? So wintry and serene.

The book is contemporary romantic fiction:

Description

When Tess finds herself unexpectedly alone and back in Ribblemill, the childhood village she thought she’d escaped, she’s sure she can survive a temporary stay. She’s spent a lifetime making the best of things, hasn’t she?

Determined to throw herself into village life, Tess starts a choir and gathers a team of volunteers to restore the walled garden at Ramblings, the local stately home. Everything could be perfect, if she weren’t sharing a cottage and a cat with a man whose manner is more prickly than the nettles she’s removing…

As winter approaches, Tess finds herself putting down her own roots as fast as she’s pulling them up in the garden. But the ghosts of the past hover close by, and Tess must face them if she’s to discover whether home is where her heart has been all along.

Order your copy here

The Author:
Kate Field


Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire,  where she lives with her husband, daughter and hyperactive cat.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Kate’s debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers in 2017.

Find her on Social media
Twitter: @katehaswords


My thanks to @rararesources for providing this tour and inviting Beadyjansbooks along.







Friday, 21 September 2018

The Woman in the Wood - Lesley Pearse - Review

The Woman in the Wood - Lesley Pearse - Review


My Review:

Oh My goodness, this was rather a surprise, it covers some rather shocking and brutal subjects.

The book begins very beguilingly and gently, it starts almost like an Enid Blyton - "5 go down to the woods" featuring Maisy and Duncan, a very innocent pair of teenage twins going to stay with their grandmother who doesn't want them at her home, or even like them much. Their father is also a very remote and dour character and their Mother has recently been committed to a mental asylum!

It's just as well that this brother and sister are very close and don't really need anyone else, they are happy to spend a lot of their leisure time together, having picnics, exploring the countryside and New Forest on their bicycles, it could almost be idyllic and I was lulled into an era of innocence and naivety. They even begin to make friends with the family helper Janis becoming almost a surrogate Mum and getting to know the strange and reclusive inhabitants of the forest including Grace, the woman in the wood.

But suddenly everything turns sour when Duncan suddenly disappears. Despite a police search the family aren't too concerned, only Maisy knows her twin so well she knows he wouldn't run away without telling her and she cannot give up her search for him.

It's just as well for what has happened to Duncan is no Babes in the wood fairy tale, its something out of a nightmare. The story is part mystery, part psychological drama.

Something terrible really has happened and it is up to Maisy to try and find out what.

There are some very dark and nasty things which are described mainly quite sparsely, leaving a lot to the imagination and without too much sensationalism or graphic detail. But one brief description of what happened to one young boy, quite literally gave me nightmares.

A very readable yet scary look at madness, survival, abduction and abuse, wrapped in a candy coating which doesn't take away the very unpleasant taste of things you don't want to think about.

The Blurb

Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan Mitcham have always had each other. Until the fateful day in the wood . . .

One night in 1960, the twins awake to find their father pulling their screaming mother from the house. She is to be committed to an asylum. It is, so their father insists, for her own good.

It's not long before they, too, are removed from their London home and sent to Nightingales - a large house deep in the New Forest countryside - to be watched over by their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham. Though they feel abandoned and unloved, at least here they have something they never had before - freedom.

The twins are left to their own devices, to explore, find new friends and first romances. That is until the day that Duncan doesn't come back for dinner. Nor does he return the next day. Or the one after that.

When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive. With Mrs Mitcham showing little interest in her grandson's disappearance, it is up to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the wood about whom so many rumours abound. A woman named Grace Deville.


The Woman in the Wood is a powerful, passionate and sinister tale of a young woman's courage, friendship and determination.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

#BlogTour and Review of Daisy Belle: Swimming Champion of the world by Caitlin Davies

Blog Tour and Review Daisy Belle: Swimming Champion of the World by Caitlin Davies


Today I am very honoured to kick-start the Blog Tour for the wonderful new novel Daisy Belle.




My Review

Isn’t the cover artwork just beautiful? I love that misty sepia vintage image of Daisy in her Victorian swimwear.

I loved the book too!  Daisy is such an endearing and engaging character, from her first forays into the water aged just four – right through to her adult life and the trials and tribulations of being a women born to succeed in a world dominated by men, and some of them pretty nasty men at that.

This book is Historical Fiction based firmly on real-life female swimming pioneers who broke the mould of swimming not being a ladylike pursuit and it is a real tribute to strong and determined women throughout the ages especially those who battle against the odds to achieve their goals.

This is one of a number of books I’ve read recently with swimming as a theme and it makes me want to don my swimming costume and dive right into the water alongside Daisy.

We meet Daisy when she is just 4 years old, accompanying her father who teaches swimming and works at Lambeth swimming pool, he knows she will never be able to swim competitively she is a mere girl after all. But she is a natural and takes to swimming like a fish to water and he is forced to acknowledge that she could be a valuable addition to his Family of frogs swimming troupe and perhaps a lucrative asset to his ambitions and plans.

As Daisy grows older, despite her Mothers reluctance to allow her to join in any swimming events, nevertheless knitting Daisy a swimsuit (a knitted swimsuit OMG) She takes part in some amazing feats of endurance and skill, but learns that placing your trust in anyone but your own self can lead to disappointment and very near tragedy.

I was rooting for her all the way, especially when she ends up as part of a mermaid exhibition that had me gasping for breath.

Daisy entranced me and the story is gently gripping and rather heartbreaking in some parts but Daisy is a real trooper and I couldn't help but admire her. She is a real pioneer for women's equality.

There is a lovely love story at the heart of the book, but really it’s about never giving up on the things you hold most dear and going for it whatever the cost.

For lovers of historical fiction, romance and of course swimming, Daisy Belle is a heroine who deserves to be heard and her story is charming and delightful despite the men who treat her badly and the true love of her life.

The Author - Cailyn Davies can be found at her website, on Twitter @CaitlinDavies2 and there's a Daisy Belle Facebook Page:

You can order it here 


Heres the Blurb

Summer 1867: four-year-old Daisy Belle is about to make her debut at the Lambeth Baths in London. Her father, swimming professor Jeffrey Belle, is introducing his Family of Frogs - and Daisy is the star attraction. By the end of that day, she has only one ambition in life: she will be the greatest female swimmer in the world.   

She will race down the Thames, float in a whale tank, and challenge a man to a 70-foot high dive. And then she will set sail for America to swim across New York Harbour. But Victorian women weren't supposed to swim, and Daisy Belle will have to fight every stroke of the way if she wants her dreams to come true.   

Inspired by the careers of Victorian champions Agnes Beckwith and Annie Luker, Daisy Belle is a story of courage and survival and a tribute to the swimmers of yesteryear.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Review - The Binding by Bridget Collins - heart pounding

MY REVIEW of The Binding by Bridget Collins


Isn’t it wonderful when you hear about a book you’re certain you’ll love.

Isn’t it awesome when you are granted a copy to read and review before most folk get to read it? (Thank you Harper Collins and Edelweiss+)

Isn’t it amazing when you love it even MORE than you thought humanly possible?

Isn’t it brilliant to be able to shout about it and tell people how amazing it is? And isn’t it hard to find the right words to do it justice?

To say I adored this book is a gross understatement, I devoured it and it satisfied every need.

First, it is fantasy realism which is utterly believable. There is really only the one element of fantasy - the premise that real memories can be taken from your mind by binders who create them into a book which allows all your worst most hurtful memories to be hidden, even from yourself, forever.

It is set in an unnamed historical era which feels like late 1800s. Peopled with many wonderful characters I fell in love with, several whom I loathed and one completely despicable, loathsome wretch I despised so much I shook when I read about him.

It is a work of literary genius, so beautifully written it made my soul ache.

Emmett is a farmers son, working the land on the family farm he has recently been best by ill health leaving him weak and barely able to think straight let alone do the heavy physical work labouring on the farm he loves alongside his sister Alta, the sibling he squabbles with but will do virtually anything for.

When an offer of an apprenticeship reaches him he is aghast at the thought of learning to be a book binder, one of the rare few who can take other people thoughts and bind them into books. He doesn’t want to learn this job, he doesn’t want to leave his family and live out on the marsh in the bookbinder Seredith’s rambling old house. But he goes, because he is given little say in the matter and because deep down he knows it makes sense.

The book is in 3 distinct parts, the first part introduces us to Emmett as we learn about his new trade alongside him, it’s quite slow paced and has a dreamlike quality as Emmett faces great change and makes a gradual recovery from the nameless malady which beset him for so long it eases us into the story, introduces Julian Darnay, leads us through Emmetts world and lulls us into a sense of false security thinking this is going be a steady, intriguing rather gentle book. OH NO IT ISN’T!!

The second and third parts take us back in time, before he was a binder, before he really knew what books were, before he really knew who and what he was, and as you begin to bite your lip, and hold your breath you realise exactly what it means to be a binder and to be bound and the pace increases and sharpens and begins to writhe and twist and deceive.

Love and passion and deception all play a part in this phenomenally breathtaking book which is an exquisite love story, an intriguing mystery with touches of depravity and cruelty which enraged and distressed me, whilst breathing the wonder of new love into my hardened soul.

The 3rd part – well you’ll have to read it to find out, suffice to say I read the second part with my breath held tightly and my heart beating far too fast than is good for me. By the time I read part 3 it felt as though I had STOPPED breathing altogether.

There was not one moment during this story that I managed to breathe properly and my heart hasn't yet stopped pounding (and OMG Splodge!)

Perfection on paper!

I think this is a book everyone will be talking about and will have fans from 15 to 150 quivering like mayfly as they gasp and shudder their way through The Binding.

The Blurb

Imagine you could erase your grief.
Imagine you could forget your pain.
Imagine you could hide a secret.
Forever.

Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.

In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded.

Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.

THE BINDING is an unforgettable, magical novel: a boundary-defying love story and a unique literary event. 

It won't be out until 2019 but it really isn't too early to put your name on a copy now.

Read more about it on the publishers website




Friday, 24 August 2018

Blog Tour The Cold Cold Sea - Linda Huber an extract

Today I welcome Linda Huber to my blog as part of the blog tour for her book The Cold Cold Sea. Linda has provided an enticing extract from her book to whet your appetite.


Book Description and info:

Blurb:

They stared at each other, and Maggie felt the tightness in her middle expand as it shifted, burning its way up… Painful sobs rose in her throat as Colin, his face expressionless now, reached for his mobile and tapped 999.
When three-year-old Olivia disappears from the beach, a happy family holiday comes to an abrupt end. Maggie is plunged into the darkest nightmare imaginable – what happened to her little girl? 

Further along the coast, another mother is having problems too. Jennifer's daughter Hailey is starting school, and it should be such a happy time, but the child is increasingly moody and silent. Family life has never seemed so awkward, and Jennifer struggles to maintain control.

The tide ebbs and flows, and summer dies, but there is no comfort for Maggie, alone now at the cottage, or for Jennifer, still swamped by doubts.

‘A psychologically astute, edge-of-the-seat story.’ Hilary Johnson

‘Unsettling and disturbing… I couldn’t put it down.’ Rebecca Muddiman

‘Breathtaking and utterly compelling.’ Debi Alper

Heres an extract so you can have a taster of Linda's writing before you rush out and order your own copy

Maggie stood in the doorway and stared into Olivia’s bedroom. It was tiny, like all the rooms in the cottage, but this one was still. Toys, games… everything in here had been motionless for a week now. Baby dolls vied with Barbies on the shelf, an assortment of soft toys lay strewn across the bed, and Olivia’s darling Old Bear was sitting on a wooden chair by the window.
   Maggie could hear the sea battering against the cliffs. High tide. The beach would be covered in water now; surging, white-tipped waves beneath a flawless blue sky. How beautiful Cornwall was, and how lucky they were to have a holiday cottage here. That’s what they’d thought until last week, anyway. If this had been a normal day they’d have been picnicking on the clifftop, or shopping in Newquay. Or just relaxing around the cottage, laughing and squabbling and eating too much. All the usual holiday stuff.
   But nothing was normal anymore, and Maggie knew that tomorrow was going to be the worst day yet. The twenty-third of August. Olivia’s birthday. Right now, Maggie and her daughter should have been making the cake Olivia had planned so happily, the raspberry jam sponge with pink icing and four pink and white candles. 
   No need for any of that now. Maggie stepped into the room, grabbed the pillow from the bed and buried her face in it, inhaling deeply, searching for one final whiff of Olivia, one last particle of her child. But the only smells left were those of an unused room: stale air, and dust.
   ‘Livvy, come back to me, baby,’ she whispered, replacing the pillow and cradling Old Bear instead, tears burning in her eyes as she remembered holding Olivia like this, when Joe had whacked her with a plastic golf club on the second day of their holiday. She’d had two children then. She hadn’t known how lucky she was.
   ‘I didn’t mean it, I didn’t.’ Her voice cracked, and she fell forwards, her kneecaps thudding painfully on the wooden floor. How could she live on, in a world without Olivia? 
   ‘I’m sorry, Livvy, I’m sorry!’ 
   She had barely spoken aloud all week, and the words came out in an unrecognisable high-pitched whimper. Bent over Old Bear on the floor, Maggie began to weep. Her voice echoed round the empty cottage as she rocked back and forth, crying out her distress.
   But no-one was there to hear.

Linda Huber






Friday, 17 August 2018

Open your eyes - by Paula Daly - gripping

Review - Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly



A well-written fabulous new page-turner from an author whose books never fail to grip you by the larynx and apply increasing pressure throughout, exactly what Grip-lit should be.

This is a stand-alone domestic Noir thriller about Jane, a would-be author, married to Leon, the couple have 2 young children and everything is going fine apart from the books Jane writes being constantly rejected for publication. She knows how hard it is to break into publishing, she is a creative writing tutor and her husband has several successful published books under his belt already.

One fateful day everything she knows is about to come crashing down around her ears, when suddenly Leon is attacked, right outside their own home and whilst he is in a deep coma in hospital she has to try and keep things at home on an even keel. But how can she ever feel safe where such a dreadful thing happened?

The story is gripping on two levels, there is the deep mystery of who did this to Leon and why, and there is the very realistic and moving story of a woman trying to cope with a massive change in her personal circumstances. Add some very authentic and quirky characters, lots of different threats and fears and you have the perfect recipe for a real page turner.

I obtained my review copy from Netgalley


The Blurb

Haven’t we all wanted to pretend everything is fine?

Jane doesn’t like confrontation. Given the choice, she'd prefer to focus on what’s going well, the good things in life.

But when her husband, Leon, is brutally attacked in the driveway of their home, in front of their two young children, Jane has to face reality. As he lies in a coma, Jane must open her eyes to the problems in her life, and the secrets that have been kept from her, if she’s to find out who hurt her husband – and why.

Maybe it’s time to face up to it all. Who knows what you might find . . .

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Review - A Little Bird Told Me - Marianne Holmes great debut novel

Review - A Little Bird Told Me by Marianne Holmes



What a terrific debut novel, I take my hat off to the author who has recreated the long hot summer of 1976 and turned it into a simmering heat haze of suspicion, misunderstandings and mystery.

A Little Bird Told Me is the story of siblings Robyn (nicknamed Little Bird) and her older brother Chistopher also known as Kit.

The book sweeps effortlessly back and forth in time from 1976 when the pair were children and 1988 when as young adults, they return to the small town of their childhood so that Robyn can try and make amends for an injustice she blames herself for.

In 1976 as the youngsters swelter in the heat, make dams by the river, play with friends and put up with bullying as well as a fractured family life. As they watch their Mum, keeping things hidden and constantly trying to evade someone or something it's clear that there is more going on than meets the eye.

Events which occurred in the past have left their mark on both these young people and its testament to Robyns lack of understanding as to what exactly was going on at the time has carried over to the present day and I read the whole book knowing that something dreadful happened but unsure what. Robyn blames herself for much if it and someone is missing and she is going to leave no stone unturned trying to solve the mystery despite Kit's reluctance to let her. But as her thoughts and actions are impaired by missing facts, so is the story a fractured version of events which will keep you wondering and guessing what dark secret is at the heart of Little Birds story. Robyn is a slightly unreliable narrator mainly because of her fractured memories of the past and her volatile personality.

This is a quality piece of literary fiction with psychological twists and something very nasty at the bottom of the woodpile writhing around showing glimpses of itself as some pretty nasty characters do some contemptible deeds.

I really felt for Robyn, her childhood has left her damaged goods, not only in the painful scar she carries around her waist but she tries so hard and frequently gets things wrong, she has a temper, she can be a very poor judge of character and yet she is very likeable.

This is a deceptively dark and twisty read, which starts out as a summer saunter down memory lane but becomes a morass of lies and puzzles you dread uncovering.

For anyone who likes their Domestic Noir to have a kick in the tail and really make you think.

My Thanks go to the publisher @AgoraBooksLDN for my review copy and my congratulations to the author for writing a compelling debut which indicates great promise.

This book is due out in September and can be pre-ordered now

The Blurb

In the scorching summer of 1976, Robyn spends her days swimming at the Lido and tagging after her brother. It’s the perfect holiday – except for the crying women her mum keeps bringing home.

As the heatwave boils on, tensions in the town begin to simmer. Everyone is gossiping about her mum, a strange man is following her around, and worst of all, no one will tell Robyn the truth. But this town isn’t good at keeping secrets…

Twelve years later, Robyn returns home, to a house that has stood empty for years and a town that hasn’t moved on, forced to confront the mystery that haunted her that summer.

And atone for the part she played in it.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Review - The Lion Tamer Who Lost - Louise Beech - heartbreaking fiction

Review – The Lion Tamer who Lost by Louise Beech


Be careful what you wish for it might just come true, is definitely the moral of this lovely, engaging romantic and heartbreaking read.

Ben has always wished he could work with lions, whilst Andrews wishes are more complex, so he keeps his written on post-it notes and concealed inside his Wish Box.

When these two meet it feels like fate could have thrown them together and this book is certainly a series of bizarre and pretty improbable coincidences.

When you read a book that breaks a piece of your heart and you turn to the back and discover your own name in the mentions and thankyous … perhaps that’s just another of those bizarre coincidences, for not only did that happen to me in my proof copy of this book, which eventually found its way to me via a long and circuitous route (and I was so thrilled to be mentioned I yipped out loud on the bus) but a similar thing also happens in the book to one of the characters.

The book alternates in point of view between the two main characters Ben and Andrew. Andrew is an author and every chapter of this book begins with a quote from the book he is writing, a childrens book called … “The Lion Tamer who lost” whilst Ben is tells his story from Africa where he is living out his wish by working on a Lion conservation project.

As other readers have already said, it’s quite difficult to describe the story without giving too much away. So I’ll tell you how it made me feel - I galloped through it, as it is a real page turner and the series of coincidences left me reeling, first with delight then with sorrow and there is a real punch in the gut OMG moment that I hadn’t anticipated which almost physically had me reeling.

The clever author, whose previous book Maria in the moon, which I also loved, covered some pretty difficult subjects, takes a handful of taboo and thought provoking topics and blends these ingredients together into a perfect, beautifully iced cake, which you bite into only to find a shockingly bitter and terrible core. Family dynamics are the main underlying base to this gateau, filled with love and passion, sprinkled with wishes and hopes, and sandwiched together with loneliness, impossibility, sickness and pain.

You do need to be able to willingly accept very unlikely coincidences and also believe in fate to go with the flow and enjoy this book as it was intended to be enjoyed. But hey, isn’t life often stranger than fiction and bizarre and unpredictable things can happen.

You also need to be able to read this somewhere a little private as it’s certainly going to make you ugly cry at some point. There is a certain point where the realisation that in one aspect at least this book is never, ever going to have one of the happy outcomes it’s made you long for, that completely knocked me sideways. But, many of the characters, the ones you grow to love and even the ones you dislike and get very exasperated with will surprise you and by the end, you will feel a part of the disparate family at the core of the story.

My thanks to Lovereading.co.uk for my copy.

The Blurb

Long ago Andrew made a childhood wish. One he has always kept in a silver box with a too-big lid that falls off. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn't...

Long ago Ben dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally goes there, it isn't for the reasons he imagined...

Ben and Andrew keep meeting where they least expect. Some collisions are by design, but are they for a reason? Ben's father would disown him for his relationship with Andrew, so they must hide their love. Andrew is determined to make it work, but secrets from his past threaten to ruin everything.

Ben escapes to Zimbabwe to finally fulfil his lifelong ambition. But will he ever return to England? To Andrew? To the truth? 


A dark and poignant drama, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a mesmerisingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart.

Street cat Blues by Alison O'Leary - BLOG TOUR and review

Street cat Blues by Alison O'Leary - BLOG TOUR and review Today I am thrilled to join in the Blog Tour to launch the new title from...