Tuesday 10 October 2023

#Blogtour Someone You Know by Erin Kinsley

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Someone You Know by Erin Kinsley.

About the Author

Erin Kingsley is a pseudonym of Anne Zouroudi, author of an award-winning series of mysteries featuring enigmatic Greek detective Hermes Diaktoros. Someone You Know is her fourth novel under the Erin Kingsley name. She lives between East Anglia and the Greek Islands. Follow @KinsleyErin on X (the artist formerly known as Twitter)

About the book

When Dee Cutter discovers her daughter Natalie dying in the cellar of her remote Norfolk home, she never imagines anyone could have meant Natalie harm. But Natalie's death leads to the unravelling of the dark secrets she's been keeping, secrets which impact on everyone around her, especially those who loved her most.

Some people are born bad, and some grow rotten from the core. If Someone You Know is doing terrible things, how far should you go to try and stop them?


This is one of those books that make it hard to discuss the content in the review, because it automatically leads to the solution. I'll tread carefully, however the core of the premise is too good not to discuss.

The question is whether the punishment fits the crime and if sometimes the wrong thing to do is exactly the right thing to do. Do certain circumstances warrant breaking all the rules? Is saving a loved one always enough of reason to excuse any action?

When Dee starts to wonder why her daughter Natalie hasn't been in touch and isn't responding to any contact, she goes looking for her. The last thing she thinks she will find is her daughter hurt and dying on the floor of her cellar.

In the search for an explanation Dee starts to see a picture emerge of  the daughter of a woman she hardly knew, who perhaps wasn't the wonderful mother everyone thought she was. 

It's a captivating premise, perhaps more so because the author takes the reader on a road of grey area, which wanders off into the dark side now and again. In the end the majority will probably understand that sometimes you have to take a stance, make a choice and protect the most vulnerable in that situation.

Buy Someone You Know at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Headline, pub date 1 Jun. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Sisters Under the Rising Sun by Heather Morris

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Sisters Under the Rising Sun by Heather Morris.

About the Author

Born in New Zealand, Heather Morris is an international number one bestselling author, who is passionate about stories of survival, resilience and hope. In 2003, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who 'might just have a story worth telling'. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Lale's story formed the basis for The Tattooist of Auschwitz and the follow-up novel, Cilka's Journey. 

In 2021 she published the phenomenal conclusion to the Tattooist trilogy, Three Sisters, after being asked to tell the story of three Holocaust survivors who knew Lale from their time in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Together, her novels have sold more than 16 million copies worldwide. In 2020 she published Stories of Hope, her account of her journey to writing the story of Lale Sokolov's life.

About the book

Sisters under the Rising Sun tells the story of a group of women from Australia, England, the Netherlands and beyond, who were captured by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1942 and held in brutal conditions in a camp in the Indonesian jungle. 

Mainly based upon the real-life experiences of Australian nurse Sister Nesta James and English musician Norah Chambers, who, after surviving a brutal 24 hours in the sea, reached the beaches of a remote island, only to be captured by the Japanese and held in one of their notorious POW camps – places of starvation and brutality, where disease runs rampant. Sisters in arms, Norah and Nesta fight side by side every day, discovering in themselves and each other extraordinary reserves of courage, resourcefulness and determination.

Sisters under the Rising Sun is a story of women in war, exploring the powerful bonds of sisterhood of over 500 hundred women who struggled and survived together for nearly four years in the darkest of circumstances.


I think it's always important to shed a light on moments in history that tend to be given less attention and are thereby sort of forgotten somewhere along the way. The actions of the Japanese military during WW2, especially in regard to their treatment of their enemies, prisoners and the many innocent who crossed their paths, are grossly minimised in comparison to other atrocities. 

Whilst I was aware of treatment in internment camps, and the massacres they were guilty of, for instance the Bangka Island massacre mentioned in this story, I wasn't aware of the pressure and limitations placed upon the female survivor/s to keep certain elements of the massacre under wraps. It's unforgivable, a tragic scandal at the cost of survivors that their own government made them lie about the brutal assaults the women were subjected to before being massacred.

Much like their attitude towards the girls (many still children) and women forced to become Comfort Women - the Japanese have a long history of lack of accountability.

Kudos to the author for giving a voice to these forgotten victims, the brave women who endured and helped others to survive, cope and then went about their lives as if they weren't an incredibly important part of history. That sentiment of a voice counts in equal measure for those who didn't survive.

It's a story of courage, perseverance, the extraordinary strength they showed and the bonds the women in this story created in the most dire situation.

Buy Sisters of the Rising Sun at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Zaffre | 28th September 2023 - Hardback, £20 | Also available in eBook and Audio. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 9 October 2023

#Blogtour The Babysitter by Emma Curtis

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Babysitter by Emma Curtis.

About the Author

Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and now lives in London with her husband. After raising two children and working various jobs, her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to start writing psychological suspense thrillers. She has published five previous titles with Transworld:  One Little Mistake, When I Find You, The Night You Left, Keep Her Quiet and Invite Me In. Follow @emmacurtisbooks on X (the artist formerly known as Twitter).

About the book

Three women. Three secrets. - Claudia's life imploded ten years ago when she was convicted of the murder of her child. Now she has done the unthinkable and confessed to manslaughter in order to be granted parole - her only hope of finding out what really happened to Tilly.

Sara is married to Joe, Claudia's ex-husband, and they have a young child together. She finally has everything she ever wanted, but Claudia's release threatens the perfect life she has created.

Anna was the babysitter who let Claudia and Joe down on day their daughter disappeared. Married with a child of her own, Claudia's reappearance in her quiet cul-de-sac is an unwelcome surprise.

These three women are tied together in more ways than they realize. But only one of them is capable of killing.


Admittedly, this did not start the way I expected it to - it's an excellent opening gambit. So simple and yet so consuming. The mother who will question ever moment, every person and each interaction going forward. Was there something obvious that could have changed the outcome of the evening?

Who could have imagined that one moment of assumption would lead to an endless horror of a nightmare. Claudia is stuck in time with a lack of answers whilst Anna has moved one, and Sara has more or less slid into the open space created by a tragedy.

There is an interesting moment towards the end, it sort of solidifies the state of mind of the perpetrator. Excuse as an explanation. If you hadn't then I wouldn't have had to. It's a very specific logic when they assign blame to a certain order of events. It's a special kind of manipulation I think, because it automatically kickstarts a thought process that makes the innocent party question their own actions. Just imagine if you hadn't done x before z.

It's a riveting and complex dark domestic psychological thriller, one that would work well as a mini series. Imagine the diversions, the sleight of hand, and ultimately the lack of real consequence, but hopefully eventually the truth.

Buy The Babysitter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Corvus | Paperback Original £8.99, Pub Date: 12 October 2023. Also available in e-book. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Figurine by Victoria Hislop

 It's my turn on the Blogtour The Figurine by Victoria Hislop.

About the Author

Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller, has sold more than 6 million copies and was turned into a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra.

Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, and in the number one bestseller The Return she wrote about the painful secrets of its civil war. In The Thread, Victoria returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale of Thessaloniki and its people across the twentieth century. Shortlisted for a British Book Award, it confirmed her reputation as an inspirational storyteller.

Her fourth novel, The Sunrise, about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the enduring ghost town of Famagusta, was a Sunday Times number one bestseller. Cartes Postales from Greece, fiction illustrated with photographs, was a Sunday Times bestseller in hardback and one of the biggest selling books of 2016.

The poignant and powerful Those Who Are Loved, was a Sunday Times number one hardback bestseller in 2019 and explores a tempestuous period of modern Greek history through the eyes of a complex and compelling heroine.

Victoria's most recent novel, One August Night, returned to Crete in the long-anticipated sequel to The Island. It spent twelve weeks in the Top 10 hardback fiction charts.

Her books have been translated into forty languages and Victoria was executive producer on the adaptations of three of her novels for Greek television.

Victoria divides her time between England and Greece and in 2020, was granted honorary citizenship by the President of Greece. She was recently appointed patron of Knossos 2025, which is raising funds for a new research centre at one of Greece's most significant archaeological sites. She is also on the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.

Victoria was recently granted an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Sheffield. Follow @VicHislop on X (the artist formerly known as Twitter)

About the book

In her irresistible new novel, Sunday Times No 1 bestselling author Victoria Hislop shines a light on the questionable acquisition of cultural treasures and the price people - and countries - will pay to cling on to them.

Of all the ancient art that captures the imagination, none is more appealing than the Cycladic figurine. An air of mystery swirls around these statuettes from the Bronze Age and they are highly sought after by collectors - and looters - alike.

When Helena inherits her grandparents' apartment in Athens, she is overwhelmed with memories of the summers she spent there as a child, when Greece was under a brutal military dictatorship. Her remote, cruel grandfather was one of the regime's generals and as she sifts through the dusty rooms, Helena discovers an array of valuable objects and antiquities. How did her grandfather amass such a trove? What human price was paid for them?

Helena's desire to find answers about her heritage dovetails with a growing curiosity for archaeology, ignited by a summer spent with volunteers on a dig on an Aegean island. Their finds fuel her determination to protect the precious fragments recovered from the baked earth - and to understand the origins of her grandfather's collection. Helena's attempt to make amends for some of her grandfather's actions sees her wrestle with the meaning of 'home', both in relation to looted objects of antiquity...and herself.


The story opens up a dialogue on a contentious issue, the acquisition of culturally significant treasures from foreign countries. Taken during the occupations, the colonisation and in the name of research and history, they fill our museums and in some cases the homes of the private collectors.

However many of the origin countries want their antiquities back, due to their historical importance and perhaps to restore collections to their entirety. Britain isn't interested in doing so, and they argue for instance that the objects are safer with them than somewhere they could be damaged or destroyed. A little bit like scolding the naughty child who doesn't understand the importance of the item. I digress.

Helena visits her grandparents in Greece every year from a certain age, and although she eventually understands the tension between her grandparents and that her grandfather is quite unpleasant at times, but what she is unable to fully comprehend is the complexity of the political and historical tensions in her mother's country of origin.

It's very much a story about inhabiting a small cosmos in a family dynamic and being unable to fully understand that both parents and their parents before them have lived lives and perhaps been pivotal figures in the lives of others, and not in a positive way. How does one reconcile cruelty in blood relations, especially when they are the cause of despair in others? Then equally it's about the desecration and plundering of antiquities.

Buy The Figurine at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Review, pub date 28 Sept. 2023. Buy Amazon com.

Friday 6 October 2023

#Blogtour The Keeper of Hidden Books by Madeline Martin

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Keeper of Hidden Books by Madeline Martin.

About the Author

Madeline Martin is a New York Times and International Bestselling author of historical fiction and historical romance novels filled with twists and turns, adventure, steamy romance, empowered heroines and the men who are strong enough to love them. Follow @MadelineMMartin on X (the artist formerly known as Twitter)

About the book

A heart-warming story about the power of books to bring us together, inspired by the true story of the underground library in WWII Warsaw, by the NYT bestselling author of The Last Bookshop in London.

It is 1939, and nothing could prepare Marta and Janina for the Nazi occupation of their homes and families in Warsaw. Friends since childhood, the two women couldn’t be more different – Marta is Polish and a stubborn, practical planner; Janina is half-Jewish with fanciful ideas of war and heroism.

But as the bombs rain down on Warsaw and Hitler’s forces surround the city, a series of tragedies spur them to action. Both avid readers, they find ways to join the war efforts using one of the only weapons that still feel safe to them: literature.

While Marta and her father become active in the underground and work to salvage books in danger of being destroyed, Janina aids a secret library in the ghetto, lending and delivering books to orphans.

As the round ups and executions intensify, these books become a life preserver for members of their community. But the closer Warsaw gets to liberation, the more dangerous it becomes for the women and their families – and escape may not be possible for everyone. Through the destruction and death raging around them, Marta and Janina must fight to preserve their culture and community, finding hope in each other in order to survive.


In 1939, Marta and Janina are aware of another possible German encroachment, but matters of education and reading books on the banned books list seem far more important. Overnight their world is changed to one of destruction, fear and intimidation, as Warsaw loses the battle to hold off their enemy and oppressor.

Jews are targeted, opposing voices are silenced, and the underground resistance begins a fraught battle of survival. Small moments and actions become monumental, such as saving books from the hands that seek to destroy them. The same hands who plan to systematically eradicate Poland's leaders and intellectuals, their culture and their literature. To break the country by breaking the spirit of its people.

I think it's important to keep revisiting certain moments in history, especially if there is a possibility of  avoiding the same atrocities again. It's equally important to remember the victims, the losses and both the named and unnamed people who tried to save, help, comfort and oppose. This book does all of that, and also gives a glimpse into the planned and well executed destruction the Nazi regime showered upon its own country and the many countries they invaded.

Kudos to the author for creating a story around the perhaps lesser known historical facts and situation in Warsaw, during the German occupation in WW2. When I say lesser known I mean outside of the more commonly known facts, because they are certainly known the people of Poland. That includes the interesting connection of the Guides and Scouts and their involvement during this period in history.

It's a riveting story of perseverance, of resistance, friendship, loss and tragedy - one based on factual historical events, which makes it even more poignant.

Buy The Keeper of Hidden Books at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Hanover Square Press pub date 1 Aug. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 3 October 2023

#Blogtour The Time of Cherries by Michael S. Hollington.

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Time of Cherries by Michael S. Hollington.

About the Author

Michael S Hollington qualified as a chartered surveyor. After spells in the City, Belgium and North America he spent the bulk of his career in Hong Kong, selling buildings on behalf of clients. He lives in London with his wife, Sarah. The Time of Cherries is his first published novel.

About the book

Burgundy, 1861. - Christine ‘Kiki’ Vellay, the daughter of vineyard workers, is forced to marry an older man in exchange for a piece of land. He abuses her. Seduced by a young naval cadet she plots to run away. When her husband is killed during the attempt, she finds herself wrongly accused of his murder. 

Kiki is on the run. - On reaching Paris in disguise, Kiki discovers she is pregnant and takes on various jobs to survive. When her child is stolen from her, she begins a desperate attempt to find him. Her story takes her from imprisonment in the infamous Conciergerie, to a chateau in the Loire, back to Paris under siege – as a spy – during the Franco-Prussian war, culminating in a dramatic conclusion in the final bloody week of the Paris Commune.

A story of resilience in the face of immense hardship, The Time of Cherries is a gripping account of a woman’s instinct and longing for her child.


Her story is very much one that is part of a bigger picture when you are born a woman, beholden to the decisions made by the men who control your fate, and always subject to the derision of the those who keep the patriarchy alive and well. There is little room for self-choice or development and certainly not enough for personal and emotional fulfilment. Is this even a thought in her mind when Kiki engages with Junius?

Is there any part of her that realises one step will lead towards heartbreak and betrayal. To a tearing of her heart, as she navigates the turbulent world around her whilst seeking her child. Staying alive becomes a task upon itself as the country is swept up in a conflict, which makes her personal sorrow seem secondary.

I wonder if this is the last we shall hear of Kiki and her quest to right the wrongs done unto her, and perhaps in equal measure to the country she lives in. Will the last chapter indeed be the last or will we be privy to the possible difficulties of the aftermath of both the political state of France and her personal life. Is it really just a question of picking up where wounds were inflicted with no thought to the pain they may cause or will the end of her journey be the beginning of one filled with mistrust and doubts?

It's a story of perseverance, of love and seduction, of conflict and lies, and ultimately one of survival as Kiki fights to reunite with the person she holds closest to her heart. Historical fiction meets romance and saga in this engaging read.

Buy The Time of Cherries at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Book Guild Publishing Ltd, pub date 4 Aug. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Dolphin Who Saved Me by Melody Horrill

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Dolphin Who Saved Me: How an Extraordinary Friendship Helped Me Overcome Trauma and Find Hope by Melody Horrill.

About the Author

Melody Horrill is an award-winning journalist, presenter, and documentary producer, with more than twenty years’ experience in broadcast media. She is well-known for her passionate writing and filming about the endangered wild dolphins in Australia. Her documentary Dance with a Dolphin was broadcast across the world on CNN, with Melody presenting it from the U.S.

About the book

When Melody Horrill arrived at university she was a troubled and lost young woman, hiding behind a carefully crafted exterior. She had experienced a childhood of emotional and physical trauma, mainly at the hands of her violent father, that was as damaging as it was brutal.

One day Melody volunteered to help her lecturer monitor pods of nearby river dolphins. There for the first time she encountered Jock, a solitary dolphin with a maimed fin, who lived apart from the highly social pods. Melody grew to form a bond with Jock that gave her the key to freeing herself from the demons of her own past, their extraordinary friendship being the start of her long-term mission to save river dolphins.

Beautifully written and filled with insight and compassion, Melody’s memoir details her life-changing friendship with the river dolphins, and how Jock helped her to heal.


In a sense the two beings mirror each other in certain ways, which is probably something Melody instinctively and subconsciously recognises, but perhaps only realises the importance of as time passes. The damaged mammals echo pain in body and soul, and their closeness is an emotional and visual healing process. I think it's equally important to take note that this is also a message about the way we treat not only the most vulnerable, but also living beings in general. The path they have both taken seems to be one of isolation, one as the outcast the other perhaps more as a coping mechanism.

It's a beautiful and poignant journey and story. Whilst the reader can only assume what the response one side is I think the experience and response is evidence that the connection between Jock and Melody is a core memory, a connection one of them will ever forget. It has clearly left a positive mark in the life of the author, and one can only hope it has helped to heal previous trauma.

The other important element of this book is the discussion about how attitudes have changed when it comes to interacting with marine life and the way we should be supporting the conservation of species, the reintroduction or naturalisation of captive marine life. I think the world has taken a step in the right direction when it comes to the general public, but we have a long way to go. If this story leaves any kind of impact it should be the special relationship between human and dolphin, and the remarkable journey the two of them experienced together.

Buy The Dolphin Who Saved Me at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Greystone Books, pub date: 28 September 2023 Paperback • £14.99 U.K. Buy at Amazon com.