Sunday, 30 December 2018
It's that time of year again - when I take a look back over all the books I've read this year and try to pick out my favourites! It's always fun to remind myself of all the great books I've read over the last twelve months, but it's always so difficult when it comes to choosing my overall favourites.
Once again my list is in no particular order other than the dates I read them. If you're looking for some new books to add to your TBR then maybe this list will give you a few ideas.
Can't Get You Out of my Head - Sue Shepherd
The Key to Death's Door - Mark Tilbury
Bob the Dog: The Memoirs of Evil Bob Terrier - CBX Martin
An Artisan Lovestyle - Kiltie Jackson
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Gina Kirkham
Blood Ribbon - Roger Bray
Death Dolls - Simon Farrant
A Long Goodbye - Anthony Le Moignan
Blackpool Lass - Maggie Mason
Fallible Justice - Laura Laakso
Perfect Bones - A.J. Waines
A skillful mix of thriller, mystery and suspense and a worthy addition to any crime lovers bookshelf.
So there you have it, my somewhat eclectic mix of my favourite books of the last twelve months. Have you read any of them or are you planning to seek them out now that I've brought them to your attention? Maybe you're read something that you thought was amazing and you think that I should add it to my TBR! I'd love to hear your thoughts and any recommendations you might have.
As this is my last post of the year I'd like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the authors, publishers and fellow book bloggers who have contacted The Hippo this year. You've helped me discover so many fantastic books and, as always, I'm hugely grateful. I'd also like to say thank you to everyone who takes the time to stop by to read and comment on my little corner of the internet, whether you're an author, a book blogger or an avid bookworm - thank you all so much. I hope that 2019 will be a fabulously bookish year for each and every one of you!!
Sunday, 23 December 2018
Christmas will be here in literally a few days so I just wanted to write a quick post to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
I will be posting a couple of reviews over the Christmas period as well as my favourite books of the year - once I've finally whittled my list down to a manageable amount!
I'd like to say a huge thank you to all the authors, publishers, bloggers and readers of my little blog who have helped to make 2018 another amazing year of books for me. I've discovered some fantastic new authors and read lots of fabulous books but you'll find out more about those in my annual list and hopefully you'll discover some favourites for yourselves.
I've already got a few blog tours lined up for next year and some other exciting things planned so I hope you can join me for those. But for now I'd like to wish you all a very Happy Hippo Christmas. I hope that it's filled with lots of love, laughter and most importantly books!
Sunday, 16 December 2018
Despite only having discovered Mary Wood's books fairly recently, she has very quickly secured herself a spot on my go-to authors list so I was thrilled to be asked to take part in the blog tour for her latest release, The Forgotten Daughter.
Flora never felt the love that a young child should have from her parents. Her mother was resentful towards her and her father was weak but luckily she had nanny Pru to care for her. Then one eventful night nanny Pru is told to leave the family home and little Flora is sent away to school and relatives at every given opportunity to keep her as far away from home as possible.
Over the years, and with the help of one of her school friends, Flora manages to find nanny Pru, the pair form an unbreakable bond and Pru becomes the mother that Flora never had. With the threat of war looming, Flora decides to join the St John's Ambulance and when war finally breaks out she's requested to join the Red Cross and travel to Belgium.
Flora has no idea what awaits her and her new friends as they travel to Belgium and she is going to need all of her strength to deal with the horrors that are heading her way.
Once again Mary has written a book that I was completely immersed in right from the outset. My heart absolute broke for little Flora when her beloved nanny Pru was sent packing from the family home, as she was the only genuine source of love for Flora. Her own mother was heartless, her father was spineless and her brothers were selfish and Flora deserved so much better. Following her as she forged a new life for herself was at times harrowing to read, especially when she was treating the casualties of war and to find out what life was like for the volunteer nurses during this horrific time was truly eye-opening.
Mary's books are a delight to read, despite the fact that she always manages to make me shed a few tears, which is a testament to her truly wonderful writing and the way that she writes her characters so well that I always take them close to my heart.
I was thrilled to find out that this is the first book in The Girls Who Went To War series and I can't wait to catch up with Flora's friends Ella and Mags in the future books. I would highly recommend The Forgotten Daughter to all fans of historical fiction and family saga's.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour with these wonderful blogs:
With kind thanks to author Mary Wood and publishers Pan Macmillan for my review copy and spot on the blog tour.
Saturday, 1 December 2018
There's no escaping that Christmas is on it's way! Being a bookworm I'm sure that like me, you've got several books on your list for Santa - but we all know that you can never have too many books and you might not want to wait until Christmas to get your hands on a fantastic book to read.
So, with that in mind, welcome to the first day of Bloodhound's Christmas Cracker Blog Tour. What's that I hear you ask? Well, the lovely people at Bloodhound Books are reducing the price of some of their fabulous authors books (and they've got quite a lot let me tell you!) from now until right up to the big day itself.
How it works is that each book that's featured will be half price or even free for a limited time following the review appearing on the blogs shown on the banners at the end of this post. So if you're looking for some fantastic books to add to your ever growing TBR's then this is THE blog tour for you.
One of my personal favourite books published by Bloodhound Books is The Liar's Promise by Mark Tilbury and that's the review that I'll be re-posting for you all today. This review was originally posted here on The Hippo on 3rd December 2017.
Back in May I read my first book by Mark Tilbury, The Abattoir of Dreams, and it quite literally blew me away so when I was offered a spot on the blog tour for his latest book, The Liar's Promise, I couldn't say yes quick enough!
When Mel takes her four year old daughter Chloe to the local theatre, she is stunned when Chloe starts screaming, refusing to go any further than the foyer because she's afraid of the 'Tall Man' and she doesn't want to die. Nothing will calm her down so Mel takes her home, manages to calm her daughter down and settle her into bed, but this unsettling incident is just the beginning of a very eventful night!
Over the course of the next few days Chloe's behaviour changes dramatically, she draws pictures, talks about horrific events in the first person and makes frequent references to the 'Tall Man' who is coming to kill them.
Not knowing who to turn to she decides to talk to Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at the school where she works, unaware that he is very closely connected to the events that her daughter is talking about and by speaking to him about it she has potentially made the situation a whole lot worse.
I won't tell you any more about the plot but what I will say is that I'm pretty sure that you won't be able to put this book down, I know I couldn't!
After I read The Abattoir of Dreams I knew that Mark Tilbury was a talented author who was capable of freaking me out with his writing but I had no idea just how far he could get under my skin, and he did just that with The Liar's Promise. This book was so creepy I was convinced that I was going to have nightmares each night as I was reading it before turning off the light and snuggling down under my duvet. All sorts of disturbing images were flying around my head, the Tall Man, an innocent looking child's doll, an array of coloured freezers. . . . . nope I'm not going back there again as I've only just managed to get the images out of my head.
I absolutely loved this book, despite the fact that it freaked me out so much, which is a testament to the author's writing. It's a fast-paced book that will drag you kicking and screaming to places that you never want to go, it's gruesome, it's sick, it's twisted, it's dark, it's disturbing and I can't wait to see what comes next from this outstanding author!
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If you love the sound of The Liar's Promise, I can tell you that it's currently just 99p to download and it really is as good as it sounds! Maybe you've read some of Mark's other books (a few of which will be featuring in this fantastic blog tour) but haven't got your paws on this one yet. Well now is a perfect opportunity!
So keep your eye on all of these fabulous blogs right up until Christmas and you can get some amazing books to read over the holiday season.
Sunday, 25 November 2018
I love losing myself in an historical fiction novel so I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read The Aro Street Girls which follows the lives of the Reyling's a family living in a small town in New Zealand.
Kathy lives with her parents and siblings Belle, Margaret, George and Walter. When war breaks out Kathy's sweetheart, Freddie sets sail to the frontline while she can only stay at home and pray for his safe return. At a time when women were seen as the homemakers, keeping the house and looking after and bringing up the children, Kathy has other idea's about her future. She wants to be a school teacher, a career which would be elusive to her if she was to marry Freddie, but she also has an interest in politics, something which is very much frowned upon by her mother.
Life soon becomes a struggle for Kathy when significant changes take place in her family and the not knowing how Freddie is faring becomes a constant worry for her, but she has to keep going and doing what she thinks is for the best.
I loved all the characters in this book and my heart genuinely went out to them as I was reading their story. Knowing that stories like this actually took place and people were struggling to get by like the Reyling's really hit home as I was reading. Lying in my comfy warm bed or curled up in a comfy chair, I was more than a world away from the trials, tribulations and suffering that these courageous people experienced during the war. As it's the centenary year, and with Remembrance Sunday just a few weeks ago, these events have been at the forefront of people's minds and The Aro Street Girls is a wonderful insight into this era. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Lyndsay Campbell took me on an emotional roller coaster with this book and I'll be keeping a watchful eye out for more books from her.
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Lyndsay Campbell - Author Bio
Writing has always been an integral part of my life. From factual articles for newspapers and news stories for a local radio station, interviewing offenders as a probation officer and writing their pre-sentence court reports for New Zealand’s District Courts, as well as amassing a small collection of poetry.
My historical fiction is inspired by the stories of my Scottish and Irish ancestors who crossed the seas in sailing ships in the mid 1800s to find a new life in Aotearoa New Zealand. This, combined with years spent working in the field of counselling and social work after my family had grown, has given me an interest in the lives of our ancestors more than a century ago and in writing about what makes people act the way they do. I love to create believable characters who find themselves in challenging situations.
I am a natural gypsy and while I love to travel internationally, more recently my husband and I have enjoyed motor homing around New Zealand. Walking the beaches and bush tracks and meeting people who also enjoy the mobile life is lots of fun. The wonderful thing about writing is its portability. I am happy with my laptop on my knee in our mobile home, or at a proper desk. Living on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua where steaming mud and thermally heated pools are the norm is quite a blessing and I am sometimes to be found writing in one of Rotorua’s lovely cafes.
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You can find out more about Lyndsay and connect with her on Facebook (where you'll find a photo of the original Kathleen, the protagonist) and The Aro Street Girls is available to buy now.
Check out the rest of the blog tour with these fantastic blogs:
With kind thanks to Jill at Books n All Book Promotions for my review copy and spot on the blog tour.