Sunday 30 December 2018

My favourite books of the year!

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

Don't be fooled by the light and frothy, romantic like cover. This is a tale about the close relationship between siblings and families and a wonderful book, full of hidden depths.

The Key to Death's Door - Mark Tilbury

My list wouldn't be complete without a book by Mark Tilbury, King of sick and twisted books! The Key To Death's Door isn't a book for the faint-hearted, a dark and gritty tale of the friendship between two young boys who find themselves struggling against impossible odds.

Bob the Dog: The Memoirs of Evil Bob Terrier - CBX Martin

A unique, original and heart-warming tale - or tail to quote Bob himself - about a furry fiend called Bob. It will make you laugh and it may even bring a tear to your eye and a lump to your throat. Everyone needs a little Bob in their life and I'm sure that he'd love to meet you - you might have a spare sausage roll!

An Artisan Lovestyle - Kiltie Jackson

 A wonderfully heart-warming story about coming to terms with grief, moving on, overcoming your fears and the strength and support we gain from others.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Gina Kirkham

More hilarious adventures with Mavis Upton in the follow up to Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong. This book is sure to add a little sparkle to even the dullest of days!

Blood Ribbon - Roger Bray

 A taut, dark thriller that is full of unexpected twists and turns about a sassy young woman who is determined not to be labelled a victim.

Death Dolls - Simon Farrant

 A macabre, dark crime thriller for those with a strong stomach. Imagine a cross between Dexter and The Twilight Zone and that should give you an idea of what to expect!

A Long Goodbye - Anthony Le Moignan

 A highly emotional, poignant and thought provoking story which is based on real life experience of  Early Onset Alzheimer's.

Blackpool Lass - Maggie Mason

 A  true roller coaster of a novel. Set in Blackpool in the 1920's, it's a perfect read for fans of family saga's and historical fiction.

Fallible Justice - Laura Laakso

Book one, in what promises to be a stunning trilogy. Old London is a place where mystical races and humans co-exist, a place where shaman, paladins and mages are everyday words and a world that I would definitely recommend you visit.

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

Hippo Christmas!

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

Blog Tour - The Forgotten Daughter - Mary Wood

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

Bloodhound's Christmas Cracker Blog Tour - The Liar's Promise - Mark Tilbury

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.