The Island by Ragnar Jónasson | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Ragnar Jónasson
Title : The Island
Series : Hidden Iceland #2
Pages : 342
Publisher : Michael Joseph / Penguin UK
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

| MY THOUGHTS |

After having really enjoyed The Darkness a while back, I couldn’t wait to see what Ragnar Jónasson had in store with The Island.

Four friends come together to spend a weekend on an isolated island for a reunion, marking the tenth anniversary of the death of one of their other friends. It soon becomes apparent their friendship isn’t as solid as it used to be. There’s a lot of tension, awkward silences, the conversation doesn’t flow like it did all those years ago and dark secrets are struggling to stay hidden. Then, one of the remaining four friends is found dead. DI Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the island to investigate this death. Could there possibly be a connection to what happened all those years ago?

Reading The Darkness had me immensely intrigued as to where Ragnar Jónasson would take this series. After all, book one was the end and we’re going back in time. From the start, I thought that was a really interesting premise. However, now that I’ve read the second book, I’m not sure I quite understand the point of going in reverse. I found it quite hard to care about Hulda because I already know what happens to her. It’s a bit like watching a film when the biggest spoiler or twist has already been revealed to you and you’re left to wonder why you’re wasting your time on something you already know the conclusion of. I can’t help but feel I’m missing something that would enlighten me about this premise and make me appreciate it more.

Saving grace in this instance, though, is Ragnar Jónasson’s writing. Always absorbing and beautifully descriptive, it paints the most magical picture of Iceland. The Island is dark, sometimes somewhat chilling, with a sense of foreboding and the investigation kept me guessing until the end. I couldn’t at all figure out whodunnit or why and needing to know the answers to those questions is what kept me reading.

Overall though, I am mostly left with sense of disappointment. I expected more, I suppose, and in that respect The Island didn’t really deliver. It’s a good book on its own but as the middle book in a trilogy, I feel it needed something more to really keep me gripped. That said, I will be reading the final instalment when it’s published as I am still intrigued enough to see what Ragnar Jónasson’s end game is.

The Island is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Book 8 from my 20 Books of Summer list

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 30)

Bye bye, June! You were really cold and then you were really hot so I forgive you for not realising Summer had already started because you sure as heck made up for it!

Obviously, because of this heat, I didn’t do anything much productive. Perfect excuse really, to just lounge around and complain to the other half because he is of course at work in air-conditioning all day. So not fair. Although I did, like a true crazy person, tackle my ironing in 32C heat. As you do. I’m hoping I lost enough calories doing that to balance out all the ice cream I’ve had this past week.

Last night, I abandoned my current book to watch two glorious hours of The Killers headlining Glastonbury. Few things make me drop a book but they will do it every single time. I was lucky enough to see them a few years ago and hope I get another chance at that some time in the future. Love them. ❤️

Anyway, books! That’s why we’re here, right? So, how did I do this week? Let’s see!

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

BOOM!!!! *smug face*

One somewhat disappointing, one absolutely fantastic, the others somewhere in between. Feel free to guess 😉

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

It’s a good thing I read 7 books last week because I may have ordered some*. But since they haven’t arrived yet, you’ll have to wait until next week to see what they are.

*(Only 8)

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

One for review (which actually arrived last week but I forgot to mention it) and one for a blog tour I’m ridiculously excited about! With thanks to Quercus and Michael Joseph.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Reviewed The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tuesday : Shared my review of After The End by Clare Mackintosh

Wednesday : This Week in Books (which I didn’t stick to again 🙄)

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson

Friday : Shared my review of The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Look at that! One blog tour! ONE! Quite obviously a mistake. 😉

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | Black Summer by M.W. Craven

Tuesday : Review | The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

Thursday : Review | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Reunion by Guillaume Musso

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Read all of them. I feel rather accomplished. Let’s not mention the reviews, shall we? 😳 I’m hoping to do those this afternoon but I’m pretty sure my brain has melted.

Please also note there are only two blog tours. Could it possibly be I finally have that whole thing figured out? Tune in next time 🤣

And that, as they say, is a wrap! Wishing you all a wonderful week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

This Week in Books (June 26)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding?

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’

So begins Tikka Molloy’s recounting of the summer of 1992 – the summer the Van Apfel sisters, Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – disappear.

Eleven and one-sixth years old, Tikka is the precocious narrator of this fabulously endearing coming-of-age story, set in an eerie Australian river valley suburb with an unexplained stench. The Van Apfel girls vanish from the valley during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river. While the search for the sisters unites the small community on Sydney’s urban fringe, the mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved forever.

My next read may still change. I’m in a mood. 😂

What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 23)

Boy, am I glad to see the back of this week. So much stress and anxiety, tis not good for the soul.

On Tuesday, the ball-and-chain and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Condolences welcome 😉. Now, you’d think that after 20 years, he would know that a) I don’t like surprises and b) I don’t like being the centre of attention. So naturally, he organised something behind my back that “involved other people”. I didn’t know where we were going, what I was supposed to wear, when I was supposed to be ready, nothing. And I hated every single minute of that day. Turns out we just went to a fancy restaurant with his stepbrother and stepbrother’s wife. And it was fantastic, had a really good time, sat outside until midnight, ate great food, drank fabulous wine and a cheeky limoncello or two.

But I could have done without the added stress as doggie wasn’t well again and I hated having to leave her behind with my mother-in-law, the babysitter. Yoshi was incredibly unsteady on her paws, almost toppled over a few times. She wouldn’t eat, she slept a lot. All in all, just not the kind of behaviour I’m used to from her. She’s also started walking into furniture as her sight is going. Anyway, stressful! For those wondering, she seems to be a bit better now but I’m obviously watching her like a hawk.

Obviously, all of this took a massive toll on my reading. I knew those 7 books last week would be a fluke but I wasn’t prepared for this week’s downward spiral. 😂

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Yep. Three. That’s it. Apart from a book where I got to 200 pages and then abandoned it. Two absolute corkers up there though! I’m sure you’ll be able to guess which ones 😉

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Of course I was going to get a hardback of The Whisper Man for my shelves! While browsing, I stumbled upon Allen Eskens and I really need to get caught up on his books so there is one. Charlie Donlea is someone I keep hearing lots about. I’ve only read two of his books so far, although I do have the others.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Black Summer was a book I chose in a giveaway I won. The other two are for blog tours, kindly forwarded on by Zoé 😘

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry

Thursday : Reviewed Beneath the Surface by Jo Spain

Friday : Joined the blog tour for The Whisper Man by Alex North

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I’m impressed with myself for getting this all out there on the right days and on time, considering the week I’ve had.

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Review | The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tuesday : Review | After the End by Claire Mackintosh

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Don’t Ever Tell by Lucy Dawson

Friday : Review | The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Look at that! Just the one blog tour! Do you need a minute? Feel a tad faint? 😂

My next blog tour isn’t until July 3rd. But I’ve only read 5 books from my 20 Books of Summer list so far, so I really need to get a move on. This upcoming week promises to be HOT AS HELL with temperatures of 38°C coming our way. The perfect excuse for doing absolutely nothing but read. Hopefully by the weekend, I’ll have another 7 books under my belt because this silly 3 just will not do!

Right, I have one review to write. I know, you’re jealous. Then I might browse around, possibly buy some more books as I still have a tiny bit of room left on my shelves and it looks stupid 😉.

Hope everyone has a fabulous week! If you’re caught up in a heatwave as I am, stay cool and drink lots of water. If not, erm, sorry 😂. Until next time! Happy reading! xx

The Whisper Man by Alex North | @writer_north @MichaelJBooks | #blogtour #bookreview #TheWhisperMan #recommended

Thrilled to bits to host a stop on the blog tour for The Whisper Man by Alex North today! My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the opportunity to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Alex North
Title : The Whisper Man
Pages : 400
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : June 13, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken. 
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home. 
If your windows left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass. 
If you’re lonely, sad, and blue the Whisper Man will come for you.

Oh. My. Word.

Say hello to what will possibly end up being my Book of the Year! Yes, I realise it’s only June, which is why I say “possibly”. But I tell you right now, it’s going to take something extraordinary to topple The Whisper Man off that number spot. As soon as I saw this book mentioned on social media, I knew I had to read it. There was just something about the cover and the book description that immediately said “this is the book for you, Eva”. Yes, it knew my name. 😉 My expectations were sky high but within the first few pages, I already knew those expectations would be met. However, I was not entirely prepared for those expectations to be exceeded and then some!

Tom Kennedy is looking for a fresh start for himself and his young son after the sudden death of his wife, Rebecca. New beginnings in a new house in a village called Featherbank. Little does Tom know that Featherbank hides a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer kidnapped and murdered five children. That serial killer, known as the whisper man, is behind bars. But Tom and Jake barely have time to settle in, when another child goes missing and Jake begins to act quite strangely.

Goodness me, I don’t even know where to start. Gripping and compelling? Absolutely! Creepy and chilling? Yes! Addictive and clever? Totally! It is all that and so much more because there is a level of depth to The Whisper Man that you don’t always find in crime fiction thrillers and that’s what makes it stand out already. This story isn’t just about missing children and a serial killer. There are multi-layered and complex characters that struggle with a variety of issues, who pulled me in right from the beginning and didn’t let go. Cleverly plotted and brilliantly written, I was hooked from the very first page, flipping the pages faster and faster, utterly absorbed by the suspense and mystery. And sometimes also somewhat disgusted by human behaviour.

The Whisper Man is the kind of book any crime thriller fan dreams of. It made my skin crawl, it’s sometimes heartbreaking, it’s dark and twisty and just mind-blowingly fabulous! I’m not all surprised to learn that movie rights have already been sold.

Buy this book! Read this book! It could quite possibly indeed be the crime thriller of the year. It undoubtedly deserves to be. I can’t recommend it enough and you will most definitely be seeing this book again in my list of books of the year. Well played, Alex North! I’d like some more now, please!

The Whisper Man is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Alex North was born in Leeds, where he now lives with his wife and son. He studied Philosophy at Leeds University, and prior to becoming a writer he worked there in their sociology department.

Weekly Wrap-Up (June 16)

Halfway through June and still no sign of Summer. This past week, we had so many thunderstorms I lost count. I have no idea what’s going on but I do not approve.

What’s a girl to do when the weather is crap? Well, in hindsight, I suppose I could have done some ironing. Oops. Instead, I read. There was a bit of a wobble mid-week, when two books made their way onto the DNF pile. One I gave a go twice in the last few months. Seems safe to say it’s not for me. It was one of my 20 Books of Summer too, which means it’ll need replacing.

Anywho! What did I read this week? And did I manage to read more than 3 books this time around? Let’s find out!

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Well, would you look at that!!!! I’m too impressed with myself to say any more than that 😉. Probably all downhill from here again though. 🤣

Spoiler : one of those is currently my book of the year. It’ll take something special to knock if off that number one spot. Yes, you’re allowed to guess. No, there won’t be a reward. 😜

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Karin Slaughter!!!!!!! I couldn’t possibly be more excited! It arrived early too (yesterday instead of Monday/Tuesday) so obviously I’m already reading it. It’s SO GOOD! I’m incredibly annoyed that I have to go and be social today or I would have stayed up all night reading it, instead of going to bed and get some sleep in order to look halfway decent today. (Didn’t work, should have just kept reading 😂)

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Titan Books be spoiling me. A Shroud of Leaves is the second book in a series, which I wasn’t aware of. So naturally, I’m going to have to get the first one first because I just can’t help myself. 🙄

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Shared my review of All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride

Tuesday : Posted an extract for my stop on the blog tour for What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts

Wednesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for A Modern Family by Helga Flatland and shared my Week in Books

Thursday : Joined the blog tour for Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Friday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Without A Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Busy, busy. Good thing that reading slump is a tad less hormonal than a few weeks ago 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

Tuesday : Blog tour | Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry

Thursday : Review | The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

Friday : Blog tour | Review | The Whisper Man by Alex North

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Want to know something? I have read all of those! I know, right? Go me! I do still have two reviews to write but hey, can’t have everything. Besides, that’s not my fault but Karin Slaughter’s 😉

Personally, I think this entire wrap-up is most impressive. If you’d like to shower me with prizes, I won’t say no. 😂

That’s it for this week. I am now going to spend an insane amount of time staring at my wardrobe, trying to figure out what to wear for this lunch I am forced to attend. There will be wine! I’ll be raising a glass to my granddad, who would have turned 100 years old today, if he had still been with us.

Enough babbling. Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

The House On The Edge Of The Cliff by Carol Drinkwater | @MichaelJBooks | #blogtour #extract #excerpt

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for The House On The Edge Of The Cliff by Carol Drinkwater today! My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join. I have an extract to share with you all today but first, here is what this novel is all about.

Author : Carol Drinkwater
Title : The House on the Edge of the Cliff
Pages : 448
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Grace first came to France a lifetime ago. Young and full of dreams of adventure, she met two very different men.

She fell under the spell of one. The other fell under hers.

Until one summer night shattered everything . . .

Now, Grace is living an idyllic life with her husband, sheltered from the world in a magnificent Provencal villa, perched atop a windswept cliff.

Every day she looks out over the sea – the only witness to that fateful night years ago.

Until a stranger arrives at the house. A stranger who knows everything, and won’t leave until he gets what he wants.

| EXTRACT |

Beyond gently billowing muslin curtains, the windows were open wide, exposing a waxing crescent moon hanging midway in the sky. It was a little after five in the morning, and I was awake. My head resting on Peter’s chest, I tuned in to his heartbeat. Its speed was alarming. In spite of his daily medication, it still beat disconcertingly fast. By com-parison, my ticker is an old plodder. I lifted myself to a sitting position. Peter was sleeping, sighing and moaning.

‘My darling, please get well.’

I have always been in the habit of rising early. When the house is silent, I slip out for a long walk and a swim, like a full-sail galleon scudding across a cloudless sky, leaving my cares behind me. But during these anxious days, these fretful days of waiting for Peter’s operation, once out of bed I dally, hang back before heading for the beach, watching over my husband until I feel secure about leaving him.

This early-May morning, my knees tight against his side of the bed frame, I gazed upon him. Peter, my beloved, swathed in a twisted, sweaty sheet. He was fight-ing for equilibrium. His heart had become his enemy, hammering furiously at him. It pained me to observe his suffering, his visible decline. I bent low to him, stroked his shoulders, reassuring him of my love, while taking care not to disturb him. I crouched, laid my cheek against the fleshy part of his upper arm, softly kissing it. I inhaled him, the night on him. The heat, the worry sweat. He claimed he was not apprehensive about what lay ahead, but I would have argued otherwise. I was witness to his unsettled dreams.

I am the spectator, tuning in to his restlessness.

Throughout his waking hours, I had begun to remark a new expression in Peter’s eyes. A fixed stare, glassy, as though his pupils had glazed over or been coated in a thin layer of varnish. This focus disguised his fear, blocked it out, blocked me out. Peter was pushing me away, which, according to his logic, was to protect me. He believed that he was sheltering me from his terror, or sheltering himself from my terror, my inability to confront the worst possible outcome: his death.

I dreaded losing my husband, his heart packing up without warning, ‘worn out by strain’, in the consultant’s ominous words. Snatched from me while he was sleeping or, when the appointed day arrived, while he was under sedation. A being submerged beneath the effects of medication who would never awaken.

I refused to compare it to the past, to the first time I had lost someone, a lover who never resurfaced, the years it had taken me to come to terms with it.

Had Peter made the connection, cast his mind back to 1968, ‘our first summer’ together at this house, our long, carefree days together on this beach? Until calamity had struck.

It had come as no surprise to me that Peter was diag-nosed with atrial or supraventricular tachycardia, SVT. He had lived his life at a supersonic pace, in the turbo lane. He had travelled ceaselessly, worked incessantly, handled and triumphed over high-profile legal cases, which had won him a coveted international reputation and the honour of a CBE. However, alongside the acknowledgements came high stress levels. His caring heart carried the burdens of those less fortunate, those whose liberties he fought for and won. In his juridical field, few reputations, if any, surpassed Peter Soames’s.

Long-haul flights were his norm, sometimes once or even twice a week. He was always out of bed by five thirty a.m. no matter when we had turned in the night before. Even after we had stayed up till two watching a movie, he had set his phone alarm for five. And then he’d switch it off and roll over for half an hour, indulging in his ‘lie-in’.

I longed for him to slow down. Some days I felt as though I’d never catch hold of him, never pull him by his shirt tails and draw him in slow motion back to me, begging, ‘Hey, what’s the rush? Bide time with me.’

I turned now from the bedside and pattered to the open window, leaning my elbows on the sill, mesmerized by the swallows dipping and circling above the pink-tinged beach. I loved this time of year, with the first stirrings of summer ahead. I loved this old cliff house built high into its scrubby hillside overlooking the Mediterranean. Heron Heights. Peter had inherited it, this rather splendidly eccentric sunlit villa, from his late aunt, an artist, Agnes Armstrong-Soames. Yes, the painter. The very same.

I loved the privacy, the isolation, the villa’s distance from the nearest town. Our lives here have become secluded, our world privileged. The environment has cocooned me, allowed me to feel safe, even from the past. My past. Our past. The tragedy that took place here too long ago to remember. Except that I do remember. I have never allowed myself to forget it, but I have forgiven myself. Forgiven myself for the foolish, brainless role I played in someone’s death.

Peter and I never talk about it, never allude to it. That long-ago midsummer night.

But what happened on that long-ago midsummer night? If you’re intrigued and you’d like to find out more, The House on the Edge of the Cliff is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Anglo-Irish actress Carol Drinkwater is perhaps still most familiar to audiences for her award-winning portrayal of Helen Herriot in the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. A popular and acclaimed author and film-maker as well, Carol has published nineteen books for both the adult and young adult markets. She is currently at work on her twentieth title.

The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles | @MichaelJBooks @sriya_v | #blogtour #bookreview

It’s a real pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles today! My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the opportunity to join and for the lovely review copy!

Author : Daisy Styles
Title : The Wartime Midwives
Pages : 384
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : May 16, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

1939.

Mary Vale, a grand and imposing Mother and Baby Home, sits on the remote Fylde coast in Lancashire. Its doors are open to unmarried women who come to hide their condition and find sanctuary.

Women from all walks of life pass through Mary Vale, from beautiful waitress Emily, whose boyfriend has vanished without trace, to young Isla, cast out by her wealthy family after her first year at university goes horribly wrong.

Awaiting them is Nurse Ada and Sister Anne who work tirelessly to aid the mothers and safely deliver the babies. But the unforgiving Matron and Head of Governors, Captain Percival, have other, more sinister, ideas.

As war looms the women at Mary Vale must pull together for the sake of themselves and their babies and Ada and Anne must help protect their patients, no matter what the cost.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Author Daisy Styles was completely unfamiliar to me when the invitation to join this tour landed in my inbox. But with a historical fiction story about midwives in the early years of WWII, how could you possibly go wrong?

Mary Vale is a mother and baby home, a place of sanctuary for unmarried mothers-to-be who need to hide away their pregnancies. Women from all walks of life travel to the coast of Lancashire to have their babies in peace. So, we meet Emily, an unmarried waitress whose boyfriend has disappeared. There is also Shirley, a fifteen year old girl who needs protecting in more ways than one, and Isla whose parents kicked her out of her home the minute they discovered she was pregnant. Some of these women will return home with their babies, some will put their children up for adoption. And despite their differences, they may just find friends for life.

But not everything is as perfect as it seems at Mary Vale. Matron is not a very nice person and that’s putting it mildly. She and Sir Percival, Head of Governors, come up with quite the sinister scheme. The women at Mary Vale will need to pull together to keep their babies safe.

I must admit that I tend to like my historical fiction with a bit more depth and bite to it but there is something about these women that just pulled me in. It’s hard to imagine the days that unmarried pregnant women had to hide themselves away aren’t that far behind us and sad to see how parents valued their status above their own daughters, having no qualms but to throw them out of house and home because the shame and disgrace was too hard to handle. Even with a war looming, these women needed a safe space because as one of the characters is fond of saying : life goes on. Babies will not stop being born.

The Wartime Midwives is a heartwarming and moving story about love and friendship during the hardest of times. There are some wonderful moments between mums and their babies, but also some truly emotional ones. These characters will worm their way into your heart and you will root for them every step of the way. If you like your historical fiction a bit more on the lighter side or enjoy tv series like Call The Midwife, then this is definitely for you.

The Wartime Midwives is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Daisy Styles grew up in Lancashire surrounded by a family and community of strong women whose tales she loved to listen to. It was from these women, particularly her vibrant mother and Irish grandmother, that Daisy learned the art of storytelling. There was also the landscape of her childhood – wide, sweeping, empty moors and hills that ran as far as the eye could see – which was a perfect backdrop for a saga, a space big enough and wild enough to stage a drama, one about women’s lives during the Second World War.

Weekly Wrap-Up (May 26)

I know I keep complaining about the weather like some old woman but seriously, what is going on? It doesn’t feel like May at all! One day I’m outside in a short-sleeved t-shirt basking in the sunshine and the next I’m having to turn on the heating.

The reading slump, I’m sad to say, continues. When pulling weeds in the garden sounds more appealing than a book, I know I’m definitely in trouble. So, I watched The Hobbit trilogy. Yes, again. And the behind the scenes footage as well. I’m not even sorry!

Am I getting in trouble with my schedule? Why, yes but also no. There’s nothing quite as stressful as finishing a book the evening before your blog tour stop and writing your review the morning of, though, is there?

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Utterly pathetic 😂. The Slaughter / Child collaboration doesn’t even count. It’s only about 85 pages. At least I’ve not missed a tour stop so far. Yet. I was hoping to add another one to that, which is for tomorrow’s blog tour but I’ve not finished it yet 😳

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I really enjoyed Alice Feeney’s previous book so I Know Who You Are was a no-brainer. And I’ve been hearing so many good things about The Dangerous Kind that I just had to buy it.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

One for a blog tour, one a proof copy. With thanks to Michael Joseph and One World Publications.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Nothing

Tuesday : Joined the blog tour for Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Friday : Forgot what I wanted to post here so didn’t post at all 🤣

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Anyone else missing the days where I posted every day like a mad woman? Just me? Okay then.

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Review | Your Deepest Fear by David Jackson

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Nothing

Friday : 20 Books of Summer Challenge

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I have a few busier weeks coming up the next few months but not as particularly crazy as I’ve been known to do. Which is good thing because as you can see from Friday’s post, I will be joining in the 20 Books of Summer Challenge again this year and I will, like last year, be reading those 20 books on top of my other commitments. Nothing like living a bit dangerously, especially in the middle of a reading slump 😂

This afternoon, I shall be finishing the book I’m currently reading for tomorrow’s blog tour. And then I’ll probably not be picking up another book for a few days and try not to worry about that or my schedule. But first, it’s civic duty time and voting.

Question of the week : Another easy one for you this week. What is your favourite book so far this year? I’ll even allow you to split your choices up into genres, if need be.

For me, it would be “The Taking of Annie Thorne” and in the historical fiction genre “Finding Dorothy”. Your turn!

That’s it! Wishing you all a fabulous week and lots of happy reading! xx

The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister | @GillianMAuthor @MichaelJBooks @Livvii | #blogtour #bookreview

Delighted to join the blog tour for The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister today! My thanks to Olivia at Michael Joseph for the opportunity to join and for the fabulous review copy!

Author : Gillian McAllister
Title : The Evidence Against You
Pages : 422
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : April 18, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

It’s the day her father will be released from jail. Izzy English has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.

Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?

| MY THOUGHTS |

After having read and enjoyed Gillian McAllister’s previous books, I was incredibly excited to hold her latest book in my hands. Even though I admit, I initially had a wee struggle with the earlier chapters, I soon found myself completely immersed in the intrigue and suspense.

Almost two decades ago, Izzy’s father was convicted of the murder of his wife and sent to prison. Izzy has had no contact with him since. But now, Gabriel is released and he wants to talk to Izzy, give her his side of the story, defend himself, maybe even convince her he is innocent. But should Izzy give him the time of day?

While I found Izzy quite hard to like for some reason, I could completely understand her struggles. The way she longs for that feeling of belonging to a family, her willingness to listen to her father because at least she’d have one parent back in her life and the way she shies away from starting a family of her own because she fears there is evil inside of her. Despite my misgivings about her, I couldn’t help but root for her when she starts to dig deep into her parents’ lives.

Just like Izzy, I kept going back and forth on my opinion about Gabriel, unable to figure out whether he was truly guilty or if this whole thing had been a massive miscarriage of justice. But this story isn’t just about Gabriel’s guilt or innocence. It is also about the impact nineteen years in prison has on a person. Imagine being cut off from the world for such a long time and then be thrown back out there, expected to fend for yourself when everything has been done for you all these years. Where do you even start when the whole world has moved on without you?

As I’ve come to expect from Gillian McAllister, The Evidence Against You is a slow-burner but nevertheless immensely tense and compelling. As I mentioned, I struggled just a little bit with the slow pace in the beginning but it also has its advantages, as it gives you the time and opportunity to really get a feel for these characters. It’s almost impossible to determine who to trust or believe and that includes Izzy herself, because how reliable are her own memories after all this time? With plenty of twists and turns, unreliable characters, lies and betrayal, I was gripped until the rather devastating end. The kind of ending where you wish deep down things could have been different, yet one that is also extremely fitting and just makes sense.

The Evidence Against You is a gripping and thought-provoking story, guaranteed to have you flipping the pages faster as you go. Brilliantly and cleverly plotted, Gillian McAllister knows how to draw the reader in and keep them coming back for more. Her books are always worth the wait and I impatiently await what’s next.

The Evidence Against You is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Gillian McAllister has been writing for as long as she can remember. She graduated with an English degree before working as a lawyer. She lives in Birmingham where she now writes full-time. 

She is the Sunday Times bestselling author of Everything but the Truth, Anything You Do Say, No Further Questions and The Evidence Against You.