Sunday 29 November 2020

Blog Blitz - Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter - Laura Marchant


Although I read predominantly fiction, I do like to occasionally dip into non-fiction when it catches my eye and being a dog lover this cover certainly caught my eye! Look at all those cute little faces peering out from the cover, they all look so adorable, I just want to cuddle them all, awwww . . . . . oh sorry, I'm getting a bit carried away now, I'm supposed to be telling you about what's on the inside!

Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter is the tail (sorry, it was just too good an opportunity to miss! 😊) of Laura Marchant and her journey of setting up her pet sitting business. Laura had spent many years sitting at her desk in an office when she was unexpectedly made redundant. Corporate life was all she had ever really known but it gave her the perfect oppawtunity (again, I'm sorry! 😉) to follow her dream of setting up her own business, walking and looking after people's beloved fur babies.

I'd always imagined that this would be a fun, rewarding and somewhat relaxing job but I soon discovered that this was a profession with so many potential pitfalls that I'd never even considered and Laura definitely discovered some of them the hard way! From difficult dogs - and owners - inclement weather, car trouble and, what I imagine to be the worst case scenario, lost dogs, Laura has struggled with them all.

Reading this wonderful book was almost like sitting chatting to a friend while enjoying a coffee. I was completely drawn into Laura's world and felt like I knew all of her little furry friends, including her own precious fur baby, Brece, who I think was secretly running the show but letting Laura think that she was in charge!

There is a diverse and colourful group of dogs to get to know, and in my case fall in love with, including Wasabi, Doug the pug and the remarkable Rocky, who absolutely stole my already melted heart, to name but a few.

Not only is this book entertaining and heart-warming, it's also very informative, thanks to the additional notes on dog behaviours and care that can be found at the end. A great resource for all dog owners to help them understand their furry family members.

Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter is a delightful, feel good read and one that I would highly recommend to all dog lovers, regardless of if you have a four legged friend or not.

With kind thanks to author Laura Marchant and Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for my review copy and slot on the blog blitz.

Saturday 28 November 2020

Blog Blitz - The Abattoir of Dreams - Mark Tilbury


It's time for me to shout about another fabulous book from one of my favourite authors, Mark Tilbury. Mark is re-launching all of his books and today I'm excited to be spreading the book love for The Abattoir of Dreams and sharing the shiny new cover above, as well as my review below which was first posted here on The Hippo way back in May 2017!


I'm not usually at a loss for words when it comes to reviews but this book has left me speechless. . . in a good way!

Being a book blogger means that you find out about lots of books before they're published and some books create a real buzz in our community and The Abattoir of  Dreams was one of them. Several bloggers that I know and trust were screaming from the rooftops about it so I bought my copy with the plan that I'd sneak it into my schedule at some point, but then I lost my reading mojo. That's when I decided to give this book a go and I certainly got my mojo back!!

We first meet Michael Tate when he wakes up in hospital with no recollection of how he got there. He then finds out that he's been in a coma and that he's paralysed from the waist down, surely things can't get any worse for him. . . . . enter Detective Carver to accuse him of murder!

Michael has amnesia so he has no idea if Carver is telling the truth or not but his constant replies of "I can't remember" only seem to be provoking the detective who clearly just wants him to admit that he murdered his girlfriend Becky and he has some very unconventional and probably illegal ways of trying to get Michael to confess.

Then Michael starts to have dreams that take him back to his childhood which is a very dark place that's full of experiences no child should have to go through. But are these dreams real? Is his memory returning or is it the effects of the drugs he's taking?

I wasn't prepared for the extreme roller coaster of emotions that I was taken on while reading this. One minute my heart was bleeding for Michael and the next minute I was filled with horror at the level of abuse that some of the characters were subjected to. Every single character will evoke an emotion for one reason or another and that includes Oxo, Michael's dog. As much as I loved Michael and was willing his life to turn around, at the other end of the spectrum I was filled with a disturbingly vicious hatred for Detective Carver. I've met some truly despicable characters in books before but never in my life have I encountered one as truly repugnant as this one! He made my skin crawl and even thinking about him now while writing this turns my stomach.

The Abattoir of Dreams is a book that won't sit comfortably with some readers due to the subject matter but if you can get past that it's one that will leave you gasping for breath. Mark Tilbury has taken on a very dark and almost taboo subject and deftly created a story that deals with these issues sensitively and with compassion and the end result is a book that I honestly can't recommend highly enough.

Mr Tilbury, welcome to my top ten list of books of 2017!

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This book did make it onto my top ten list that year and Mark has repeatedly made the list with each of his subsequent offerings! If this sounds like a something that you'd enjoy reading, you may be pleased to hear that it's currently available to download for the bargain price of 99p.

Check out the rest of the blitz with these fabulous blogs:

Saturday 21 November 2020

Blog Blitz - Torment - Mark Tilbury


I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog blitz for Torment, by one of my favourite authors, Mark Tilbury. Mark is re-launching this fabulous book and it's got a shiny new cover, so to help spread the book love I'm sharing my review which was first posted, here on The Hippo last August.

Beth and David are a happily married couple desperate for a baby. After having suffered three miscarriages they are overjoyed to discover that Beth is eight weeks pregnant. Their happiness is short lived, however, when they return home after a night out and discover that someone has been in their home. Nothing has been taken but a wreath that Beth recently placed on her sister's grave is hanging above the couples bed and a knife has been stabbed into her pillow.

This is just the start of a series of strange happenings and, unnerved by these experiences Beth turns to her friend Kim for support, but Kim has her own problems to deal with in the form of her abusive boyfriend, Jonno. With David out at work all day Beth asks Kim to move in, and it's as much for Kim's safety as it is for Beth's sanity.

 Despite having someone in the house with her Beth's stalker doesn't stop with their ever increasing hateful campaign of terror. Who is it that seems to hate Beth so much, what can she do to stop them and most importantly of all, who can she trust?

Torment initially seems like a million miles away from this author's previous novels, but fear not dear readers, Mark is just doing what he does best and lulling you into a false sense of security and it makes this one story that you won't forget in a hurry!

It's more of a 'slow-burner' but, oh my goodness, once that spark is lit, things get hotter than Guy Fawkes' bum on the top of a bonfire! It will shred your nerves, make your heart race and mess with your emotions, which is exactly why I love this author's books so much. His books are always gripping right from the start and I'm invariably guilty of reading them far too quickly, only to regret reading the final word and Torment is no exception. If you love a dark and twisted psychological thriller then this book has to be in your collection.


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                                                       Author bio

Photo courtesy of Mark Tilbury

 Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He's always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had six novels published by Bloodhound Books, including his most recent release, You Belong To Me.

When he's not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

You can find out more about Mark, his books and connect with him using the links below:


Be sure to check out the rest of the blitz with these fantastic blogs:


Sunday 15 November 2020

Blog Tour - A Blackpool Christmas - Maggie Mason


A Blackpool Christmas is the third and final book in the Sandgronians trilogy and what a truly wonderful finale it is! It can be read as a standalone book, as there is plenty of backstory referred to, but why miss the opportunity to read two more fabulous books?

It's Christmas 1918, formerly estranged sisters, Beth and Babs are back in the bosom of their family and their mother, Tilly, couldn't be happier. Having her family around her and her girls back together is all she's ever wanted. She is determined to make this the best Christmas ever, but things don't get off to a good start when there's an accident involving several members of her beloved family, potentially putting all of Tilly's plan in jeopardy.

Underneath the surface this is a family with a turbulent past, untold secrets, past hurts, painful  memories and deep rooted distrust, all of which need to be confronted, but at what cost?

A Blackpool Christmas is not only a fabulous story, it also gives a very insighful glimpse into life just after the First World War, showing how families were re-uniting or recovering from their losses. It also touches on the class divide, something which was much more prevalent at this time, depicting how the wealthy would, on occasion, expect people from lower classes to acquiesce to their demands. It was this part of the story that really touched my heart and it was so poignantly written it brought tears to my eyes, something which is very commonplace when reading Maggie's books!

Once again Maggie Mason has written a moving tale packed full of emotion and drama that tugs at the heart-strings, which will appeal to anyone who loves historical saga's. I've loved getting to know these wonderful characters over the course of the three beautiful books and I'm sad that their story has come to an end as they've come to feel like my own family. 

With the nights closing in and the weather changing, now would be a perfect time to immerse yourself in this, or any other, of Maggie Mason's incredible books!

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                                                   About the author

Maggie Mason is a pseudonym for saga author Mary Wood. Mary was born the thirteenth child of fifteen and throughout her life had various factory, office and home-based jobs, finally becoming a Probation Service Officer before she retired.

Mary married in 1963 and with her husband Roy has four children, eight grandchildren, and five step-grandchildren. She got her first book deal in 2013 and has not looked back since.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour with these wonderful blogs:

With kind thanks to author Maggie Mason and Francesca at Little Brown for my stop on the blog and my review copy.

Sunday 8 November 2020

Blog Tour - Casino Chiseler - Leopold Borstinski


I'm always excited to read another book in the Alex Cohen series and Casino Chiseler was fabulous. It's like chatting to a friend that you haven't seen for a while and catching up on what they've been up to . . . and Alex has been a busy guy!

Recently released from prison, Alex is feeling somewhat neglected by members of  the syndicate who he had considered to be his friends. During his incarceration he had little or no contact from any of them and he's found himself in a very different America since becoming a free man.

Appearances can be deceptive though, it doesn't take Alex long to resume connections and make his way to where all the action is - Las Vegas!

Vegas is in its infancy and it's THE place to be for mobsters - casino's, gambling, hotels, drinking and prostitution are all ways for them to ensure a steady income if they play their cards right! Alex is soon right back in the action, doing what he does best, using his charm and powers of persuasion to coerce buisnesses into paying for their protection. He's happy to be back doing what he knows and he's even happier when a familiar face from the past re-enters his life. This happiness is short lived though as someone takes umbrage to Alex's actions but it's someone else who ends up paying the ultimate price.

Despite the fact that Alex is a gangster I find him to be a very likeable character. Underneath his tough exterior he does have morals and can be vulnerable under certain circumstances, particularly where his family is concerned.

Casino Chiseler is another superb book in this enthralling series. I love the fact that Leopold Borstinski seamlessly weaves fact with fiction which makes for fascinating reading. It also means that it will appeal to fans of both historical fiction and crime thrillers alike, which is a very clever move on the author's part. The short sharp chapters make for compelling reading and makes putting this book down very difficult as it would mean leaving the characters in a sometimes precarious situation - something I don't like doing, so I simply have to read on! 

If you haven't read any of these books I honestly can't recommend them highly enough and I'm already eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.


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                                                  About the author

Photo courtesy of Leopold Borstinski

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

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 Check out the rest of the blog tour with these fabulous blogs:


You can find out more about Leopold, his books and connect with him using the links below:


With kind thanks to Emma at Damppebbles Blog Tours for my stop on the blog tour and author Leopold Borstinski for the review copy.