Posted in ***** rating 5/5

Then. Now. Always. by Isabelle Broom

MoMo’s Book Diary highly recommends this latest release from the wonderfully talented Isabelle Broom.                

Isabelle Broom has done it again.  I had never heard of the town Mojacar on the south coast of Spain before reading this book yet now I have a strong desire to make time to go and discover this town for myself.

Isabelle Broom has a way of writing that takes you deep inside the story and you almost feel you are there along with the characters.  I felt the bond between the characters was true to life and very real. The complex and at times troubles that we face through life are sprinkled here perfectly.

I will rave about this book to friends for a long time – and like I did with Isabelle’s last book – A Year And A Day – I will buy and send copies to good friends who I believe will enjoy the book as much as I did.

Thanks to Netgalley, Isabelle Broom and Penguin UK for the chance to read and review this book prior to publication.  I was uncontrollably excited when I received the email asking if I would like to review this book and I just couldn’t put it down…

Synopsis

Hannah can’t believe it when she’s offered a trip to sunny Spain with her best friend and dreamy boss . . . what’s the catch?

Twenty-eight year old Hannah is ready for an adventure. She and her colleagues are in Spain for a month to film a documentary, and it’s a dream come true. Not least because Hannah will get to spend long summer days with Theo, her boss (and crush). If only Tom (Hannah’s best friend and cameramen) and Claudette (the presenter) would stop getting in the way…

Then things become even more complicated when Nancy, Hannah’s half-sister arrives. What on earth is she doing here?

For once in her life, can’t Hannah just have one perfect summer, free of any drama?

AUTHOR Isabelle Broom
BOOK TITLE Then Now Always
PUBLISHER Penguin UK – Michael Joseph
DATE OF PUBLICATION 20 April 2017
PRINT LENGTH 434 pages
ISBN 9780718186661
OBTAINED: NetGalley (Author email)

REVIEW PUBLISHED:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Broom, IsabelleIsabelle Broom was born in Cambridge nine days before the 1980s began and studied Media Arts at the University of West London before starting a career first in local newspapers and then as a sub editor at heat magazine. Nowadays, when she’s not writing novels set in far-flung locations, Isabelle spends her time being the Book Reviews Editor at heat and walking her beloved dog Max round the parks of north London. Her novels My Map Of You, A Year And A Day and Then. Now. Always. (Penguin Michael Joseph) are out now, and her fourth book, The Place We Met, will arrive later this year.

If you like pictures of dogs, chatter about books and very bad jokes, you can follow her on Twitter @Isabelle_Broom or find her on Facebook under Isabelle Broom Author.

Isabelle Broom on Penguin website

Twitter

Facebook

GoodReads

Amazon

 

Posted in ***** rating 5/5

Steps in My Shoes: The Life of a Foster Child by Ron Deming

MoMo’s Book Diary recommends this memoir as a motivational 5* read.               

Steps in my Shoes has been written in a memoir style aimed at reaching young people who have experienced, or are currently experiencing, foster care.  Ron tells snippets of the challenges he faced growing up in the system, but gives hope that if you can persevere at aiming for the best life you can make then its within reach.

I read this book quite quickly, its not long – 76 pages – but the message stayed with me hours after finishing.  I have not experienced life in the system but have a few friends that have and I have read a number of books regarding fostering and adoption and spent a few years working on the administration side of child services in the UK.

Ron’s story touched me with the way that he has written so personally about the events he chose to share in this book. These events are just a few of the days and I am sure Ron has many many more tales he could tell.

I think it is important for children who are currently in this situation that they know there is more to life than the days they are experiencing now.  It is good that they can read stories like Ron’s and see that there is hope they can move on with their lives and become people that matter, people that help others, people that do good.  So often we are told that children who have entered the system will never make anything of themselves in the real world… we know this is not true but do the children know that….

This was a very motivating read and one I would recommend reading.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this fascinating piece of writing.

Synopsis

Steps in My Shoes is a true account of my journey through the foster care system and beyond. Going through four foster homes, two adoptive homes, five behavioral facilities, and battling with reactive attachment disorder (RAD), and sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) certainly taught me a lot. 

The abysmal college graduation rate of less than 3% for foster youth did not prevent me from bagging a bachelor’s degree and becoming a licensed teacher. If I could go through all that and still found the courage to become a teacher and author, then I believe other foster youth can too.

Reading this book will totally educate you on what an average child in the foster care system passes through on a daily basis. This intriguing book is a must have for teachers, social workers, foster/adoptive parents, people considering being foster/adoptive parents, and current/past foster and adopted youth.

AUTHOR Ron Deming
BOOK TITLE Steps In My Shoes – The Life of a Foster Child
PUBLISHER Kamahl
DATE OF PUBLICATION 7 April 2017
PRINT LENGTH 76 pages
ISBN 9780692862940
OBTAINED NetGalley

REVIEW PUBLISHED:

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Amazon.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Steps In My Shoes Facebook page

Ron Deming on Goodreads

Ron Deming on Amazon

 

Posted in ***** rating 5/5

The Child Garden by Catriona McPherson

I bought this psychological thriller after a recommendation from an author I follow on Twitter.

Catriona McPherson was a new name to me but I liked the synopsis and the recommending author was one I enjoy very much (Ian Rankin).

There were a few twists which took some thought and the book easily fits the “can’t put down” category.  I finished it in just a couple of days.  I loved the fact it was set in Scotland and in places I could visualise easily by the way the author clearly describes each setting.

Highly recommend and I will be reading more from this very talented author.

Synopsis

Eden was its name. “An alternative school for happy children.” But it closed in disgrace after a student’s suicide. Now it’s a care home, its grounds neglected and overgrown. Gloria Harkness is its only neighbor, staying close to her son who lives there in the home, lighting up her life and breaking her heart each day.

When a childhood friend turns up at her door, Gloria doesn’t hesitate before asking him in. He claims a girl from Eden is stalking him and has goaded him into meeting her at the site of the suicide. Only then, the dead begin to speak—it was murder, they say.

Gloria is in over her head before she can help it. Her loneliness, her loyalty, and her all-consuming love for her son lead her into the heart of a dark secret that threatens everything she lives for.

AUTHOR Catriona McPherson
BOOK TITLE The Child Garden
PUBLISHER Midnight Ink
DATE OF PUBLICATION 8 September 2015
PRINT LENGTH 293 pages
ISBN 9780738745497
OBTAINED: Purchased Kindle version

REVIEW PUBLISHED:

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

McPherson, Catriona

Catriona McPherson was born in South Queensferry. After finishing school, she worked in a bank for a short time, before going to university. She studied for an MA in English Language and Linguistics at Edinburgh University, and then gained a job in the local studies department at Edinburgh City Libraries. She left this post after a couple of years, and went back to university to study for a PhD in semantics. During her final year she applied for an academic job, but left to begin a writing career.

These days, McPherson lives with her husband on a farm in the Galloway countryside, where she spends her time writing, gardening, swimming and running.

Catriona McPherson’s website

Catriona McPherson on TwitterFacebookGoodReads and Amazon

Posted in **** rating 4/5

The Trial by John Mayer

I found The Trial, John Mayer’s first book in The Parliament House book series to be a fascinating novel and would recommend it as a 4* thriller with a legal twist!  I was hooked after reading the synopsis and liked the fact that it is set in Scotland and written by an Advocate. I was not disappointed!

This is an intriguing story which is very well written. The author clearly describes the scenes in great detail, sometimes over wordy, but certainly in a way that you feel yourself in the heart of the action in each  setting.

There were a lot of twists and I found this difficult to follow at times but perseverance got me through those paragraphs and then I found myself back with the story again.

As mentioned, at times I had some difficulty following the legal terminology but this did not dampen my enthusiasm for the book.  I look forward to reading more from this talented author.

I was given this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Synopsis

An urban legal/crime novel set in the beautiful Scottish city of Edinburgh.

Part 1 of The Parliament House book series

When Glaswegian Brogan McLane completes many years of university education and legal training he crosses that great divide from Glasgow to Edinburgh. ‘Called’ to the Bar of the Scottish Supreme Court, he becomes a member of the most prestigious club in Scotland; The Faculty of Advocates in Parliament House.

When High Court Judge, Lord Aldounhill, is found dead after a transvestite party in his sumptuous home, those who know the killer close ranks and need a scapegoat – who better than ‘outsider’ Brogan McLane?

Out on bail with his career on hold, McLane and his band of blood brothers in the Calton Bar in Glasgow need to get ahead of their enemies or McLane will go down for life after Trial. But every time they discover a piece of evidence, it seems there is a mirror image to contradict it.

Through the murky world of Russian controlled transvestite hotels and with some unexpected police and judicial help, McLane battles against ‘Low Life in High Places in the Old Town’ until the killer is found.

But well protected and knowing all the tricks, will the killer ever stand trial in Parliament House

AUTHOR John Mayer
BOOK TITLE The Trial
SERIES The Parliament House Books #1
PUBLISHER John Mayer
DATE OF PUBLICATION 29 January 2015
PRINT LENGTH 290 pages
ASIN B00SYZRN12
OBTAINED: Author

REVIEW PUBLISHED:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mayer, John

John Mayer’s Parliament House Books website

John Mayer on TwitterGoodReads

and Amazon

John Mayer (b. 1952) was born in Glasgow, Scotland at a time of post-WW2 austerity. But in 1963 when he heard The Beatles on Radio Caroline, his life path was set. Aged 14 he walked out of school because, in his opinion, he wasn’t being well taught. Every day for the next year, in all weathers, he cycled 9 miles to and 9 miles from the Mitchell Library in central Glasgow where he devoured books of all kinds.

While still an apprentice engineer he was soon teaching men two and three times his age. But in the 1970s he ‘dived off a cliff’ and set out to become a Record Producer. He built his own record company trading in 14 countries. After a court battle with global giants, he went to the University of Edinburgh and became an Advocate in the Supreme Courts of Scotland. He acted for the downtrodden and desperate as well as Greenpeace International. His specialism was in fighting international child abduction.
As an author, John has written non-fiction, legal texts and articles; broadcasting to tens of millions of people on US and UK radio, TV and print media.
The Trial is the first novel in his Parliament House Books series. Set in Edinburgh, it’s an homage to Franz Kafka’s book of the same title. The Trial sees crusading Scottish Advocate, Brogan McLane, fight injustice casually delivered by Low Life in High Places in the Old Town.

Posted in ***** rating 5/5

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead by Owen Mullen

WOW…. This book is way above a 5* read!

152b

I have to say I really enjoyed Owen Mullen’s first two books featuring PI Charlie Cameron – Games People Play and Old Friends and New Enemies – and have been recommending them both to everyone I speak to.

Owen Mullen writes a fantastic thrilling third novel, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead which is even better than the first two! I really cannot get enough of this author. His words reach me when no other author can!

It may be that once we reach book three we know the characters who feature in all three books.  I would love to meet Charlie Cameron!

I felt this book moved at a faster pace than the last which made it impossible to put down. I switched between the paperback and the kindle versions depending on where and when I was reading.

It was gripping and I look forward to Owen Mullen’s next release!

Synopsis

Gavin Law was a whistleblower.
Now he’s missing.

Just another case for Glasgow PI, Charlie Cameron, until he discovers there is more to Law and his disappearance than anyone imagined.

Wallace Maitland, the surgeon responsible for leaving a woman brain-damaged may have abandoned his sacred oath and become a killer. Did the hospital which refused to accept responsibility for the tragedy have Law silenced permanently? Or, with his wife little more than a vegetable, has David Cooper, believing he has been betrayed yet again, taken justice into his own hands?

Charlie comes to realise the world of medicine can be a dangerous place.

Across the city, East End gangster, Sean Rafferty is preparing to exploit the already corrupt city council in a multi-million pound leisure development known as Riverside. The project will be good for Glasgow. But not everybody is keen to work with Rafferty. 

With more than money at stake, Sean will do anything to get his way. His motto, borrowed from his old man, is simple. Never take a no from somebody who can give you a yes.

If that means murder, then so be it.

Charlie has crossed Rafferty’s path before and lived to tell the tale.

He may not be so lucky a second time.

AUTHOR Owen Mullen
BOOK TITLE Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
SERIES PI Charlie Cameron #3
PUBLISHER Bloodhound Books
DATE OF PUBLICATION 21 March 2017
PRINT LENGTH 272 pages
ASIN B06XQ33D5X
OBTAINED Purchased (paperback + kindle)

REVIEW PUBLISHED:

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

152c

Bloodhound Books website

Bloodhound Books on Twitter

Owen Mullen on TwitterFacebook and GoodReads

 

When he was ten, Owen Mullen won a short story competition and didn’t write anything else for almost forty years. In between he graduated from Strathclyde University with a Masters in Tourism and a degree in Marketing, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, andhad a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; on occasion he still performs. He returned to Scotland to run a management consultancy and a marketing agency. He is an Arsenal supporter and a serious foodie. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow – where the Charlie Cameron books are set – and their villa in the Greek Islands.

Posted in **** rating 4/5

The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and a Life-Changing Journey Around the World by Kim Dinan

Kim Dinan has given us a fascinating memoir telling of her journey, with her husband, around the world. As they prepared to set off on their adventure, their friends gave them a yellow envelope containing $1,000 for them to use for those in need on their journey.

Whilst I found the descriptive way the author talks of the places visited very interesting, I would have preferred to read more of this than the sections which read more journal-like. However, this is clearly a memoir and not just a travel story.

I would recommend this as a very fascinating read.  The synopsis had me excited to get started and I was not disappointed!

Thank you to Netgalley and SourceBooks for the opportunity to read an advance copy prior to publication.

Synopsis

After Kim and her husband decide to quit their jobs to travel around the world, they’re given a yellow envelope containing a check and instructions to give the money away. The only three rules for the envelope: Don’t overthink it; share your experiences; don’t feel pressured to give it all away.

Through Ecuador, Peru, Nepal, and beyond, Kim and Brian face obstacles, including major challenges to their relationship. As she distributes the gift to people she encounters along the way she learns that money does not have a thing to do with the capacity to give, but that giving—of ourselves—is transformational.

AUTHOR Kim Dinan
BOOK TITLE The Yellow Envelope
PUBLISHER Sourcebooks
DATE OF PUBLICATION 1 April 2017
PRINT LENGTH 346 pages
ISBN 978-1492635383
OBTAINED: Netgalley / Sourcebooks

REVIEW PUBLISHED:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kim Dinan is a freelance writers and blogger, whose travel blog, So Many Places, receives over 200,000 unique visitors per year and was selected by USA Today as one of the 2014 Best Hiking and Outdoor Travel blogs. Her writing has appeared in OnTrak Magazine and Northwest Travel Magazine, among others, and she was on a speaking tour for Backpacker Magazine.

Kim Dinan’s website

Kim Dinan on Twitter and GoodReads

Kim Dinan is the author of The Yellow Envelope and Life on Fire. Endlessly curious about the world, she has backpacked to over twenty-five countries on five continents and has called India, Mexico and numerous campgrounds around the USA home. Her love of the outdoors landed her a coveted job on Backpacker Magazine’s Get Out More Tour and has compelled her to climb mountains in the Himalayas, raft frigid rivers in Patagonia, and walk five hundred and fifty miles across Spain on her own. Her writing has appeared in Parks and Recreation Magazine, Northwest Travel Magazine, Trailer Life Magazine, Go Explore Magazine and OnTrak Magazine, among others. Her popular blog, So Many Places, was named one of the best outdoor blogs by USA Today and has been featured online by such sites as Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. She is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America and lives in Ohio with her husband and daughter.