#bookreview: Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart (@keefstuart)

Days of Wonder Book CoverFormat: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher: Sphere
Published: 7th June 2018
Pages: 480 Pages
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Illness; humour.

The Blurb
Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah’s diagnosis with a heart condition that will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen, that time is coming.

Hannah’s heart is literally broken – and she can’t bear the idea of her dad’s breaking too. So she resolves to find a partner for Tom, someone else to love, to fill the space beside him.

While all the time Tom plans a final day of magic that might just save them both.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


Father and daughter duo, Tom and Hannah, take you on a hilarious journey of love, laughter and heart troubles. Yes, heart troubles, not just that of the emotional variety. Let’s not sugarcoat the issue here Hannah’s heart is falling and everyone is worried. Other than her tiredness and her ability to lose her breath in 10 seconds, she’s doing fine!

Well, the Days of Wonder is certainly one of my favourites reads of 2018. It’s going to take a lot for me to add another book to this category anytime soon.

There is a natural balance of humour from the Willow Tree Theatre with a seriousness of Hannah’s heart disease. You’d imagine that on some occasions you’d feel sadness or grief, but you would be wrong. It made me laugh, whilst still appreciating the need to listen to the important topics that Keith highlights throughout. I think the main idea behind this approach was to add a hint of normality to an often traumatic time.

Hannah’s character is strong and realistic. She has an adult head on her young shoulders. However, she still likes to hang around with her best friends and boyfriend.

Tom and Hannah’s relationship was something I admired. It’s very rare that you read about a single dad raising their children, especially when they are going through something as dramatic as Tom is experiencing. They never have to worry about being alone as the Willow Tree Theatre company are like their family. The community spirit from Ted, Sally, Magaret, Shaun and James (I’m sure I’ve missed a few characters off this list) radiates from Keith’s words. Each member of the theatre provides you with enough backstory to keep your curiosity at bay. I particularly liked Magaret and her ‘way back when’ stories.

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#bookreview: Bring Me Back by @BAParisAuthor

Format: Paperback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 1st March 2018
Pages: 384 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery Thriller; Crime.

The Blurb
A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she’s not inside. No one ever sees her again.

Ten years later he’s engaged to be married; he’s happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She’s turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love.

As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

Bring Me Back will be the third book that I have read by BA Paris and as always, I was not disappointed. However, it was probably my least favourite of her novels. Paris’s other books include The Breakdown and Behind Closed Doors – all with a thriller/crime feel.

Told in three parts, Bring Me Back is the story of Layla and her disappearance. Finn, her (ex?) boyfriend, is the narrator whereby he talks you through his own ramblings, as well as his relationship with Layla’s sister Ellen (oh er). I’ll have to admit that I felt a little awkward knowing that Finn was planning to marry Layla’s sister Ellen, regardless of how long Layla had been missing for (12 years!). Part of me hopes that he was doing it because he actually did love Ellen, rather than to be with her because she reminded him of Layla.

You also get to read the narrative of an unknown character that is playing with Finn’s head. Is it Layla? his friend Harry, or someone else? The ending will reveal all.

A clever story of mind games, sleep deprivation and what, when, how, why’s? – you may also experience a lack of sleep too because you just have to find out if Layala is back! However, let’s be honest here and say that (to me) it wasn’t as action-packed as I thought it was going to be. I’d say it was more of a calculated and well-thought-out story that left you feeling content with reading for a few hours.

Other book reviews commented on how obvious the ending was – totally don’t understand that. They must be great detectives because I had NO idea that was going to be the outcome. Yes, I did try and think about who took Layla because she wouldn’t have just left on her own accord – that’s not a spoiler! However, I never imagined the ending to be how it was.

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#bookreview: The Fear by CL Taylor (@callytaylor)

The Fear Book Cover

Format: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher: Avon Books
Published: 22nd March 2018
Pages: 400 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller; Crime.

The Blurb
When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

As I write this review, The Fear is jumping to the top of the Sunday Times bestsellers list and it’s totally deserved! I’ve not read many books like this and yes, I may sound like a broken record, but it’s true it’s bloody brilliant. It drew me in, messed with my emotions and then spat me back out. How could you do that to me? Anyway, it was ‘Wow’.

The Fear contains materials that some readers may find distressing. However, Taylor deals with it sensitively and appropriately. The main concept of the novel focuses on child grooming and the parties involved with one man’s actions. You’d expect it to be quite a difficult read yet it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, just angrier that things like this happen to vulnerable people.

During the ordeal, you read the POVs of three women Wendy, Chloe and Louise. They each have a relationship with Mike – whether that is through love or hate – and their stories are how he has affected them through his actions. There’s no denying he is a sex offender but will he ever change his ways? You’ll have to read to find out 😉

Prepare to be taken on an emotional rollercoaster of mind games, violence and infatuation.

The Fear Book Review BannerImage Credit: Avon Books UK

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#bookreview: Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill

Keep You Safe Book CoverFormat: Hardback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 21st September 2017
Pages: 384 Pages

The Blurb
For readers who love issue-driven fiction, Melissa Hill has written a breakout novel exploring the “to vaccinate or not” debate and the tragic consequences of one mother’s decision on another.

Single mom Kate O’Donnell is living her worst nightmare. Her young daughter, Clara, who has a medical condition that doesn’t allow her to be vaccinated, becomes critically ill when one of her classmates, Lauren-whose family chose not to vaccinate-contracts and spreads the virus. While Lauren has no trouble recovering from the disease, Clara’s condition worsens. With time spent by her daughter’s bedside, Kate loses her job and slides deeper into medical debt. But when another school parent points the blame at Lauren’s mother, Lucy, and the media begins an attack, we see two very different views on parenting and how badly things can spin out of control when all either of these two women wanted was to keep their daughters safe.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK

The Review

Keep You Safe is something completely different and a story that you’ve probably not heard much about – I know I certainly haven’t. This book is designed to cause some serious debate and quite rightly so. As someone noted on their Goodreads review, it’s definitely a ‘two sides to every story’ kinda thing.

You’re introduced to two families, both with younger children and both unable to vaccinate their daughters with the MMR jab. However, their reasoning’s why they’re unable to are incredibly different:

  • One cannot due to medical reasons, and;
  • Two won’t because of morals and ethics.

Which one would you agree and disagree with?

Personally, I don’t know what I’d choose. I am, myself, allergic to most injections due to the nature of what it’s mixed with, so they always made me poorly, but I think I’m grateful not to have succumbed to one of the nasty diseases you’re preventing. Then again, I don’t have children, so who knows?! Lots of questions!

My short paragraph above demonstrates just how much the issue of vaccinating your children is debated amongst groups. Melissa dealt with the issue brilliantly – not only was it provoking, it was written diplomatically. I liked how both families received the same amount of time within the book because I think it would appear biased otherwise.

Visit the other hosts on the tour – for stops see the photo below!

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