Thursday, 22 July 2021

No Number Nine by F. J. Campbell | Blog Tour Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

No Number Nine by F.J. Campbell - 4/5

Blurb:
"What do you do when your amazing, beautiful, beloved sister dies? Hide in your room for two years. Sleep with a very, very wrong man. Leave home and start a new life, lying to everyone you meet including your kind employer, your curious friends and the man you love?

Pip Mitchell's an expert at making seriously bad decisions. But when her past, present and future collide at the Sydney Olympic Games, she's going to have to decide whose side she's on - or she'll lose everyone she loves.

No Number Nine is a coming-of-age story about an 18-year-old girl who has put her life on hold for two years after the death of her sister. Pip leaves her home in England and tries to move forward with her life, taking a job in Germany as an au pair to the von Feldsteins, a family which is full of surprises - and not good ones.

Set in Munich, the story follows Pip for a year as she crashes from one embarrassing, awkward mistake to the next. Finally, as she starts to emerge from her fog of grief, she travels with the von Feldsteins to Sydney where, amid the drama of the 2000 Olympic Games, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. Can Pip protect herself and the people she loves? Does she have the courage to tell the truth, even if it destroys her?"

Review:
This is a beautiful coming of age tale following eighteen year old Philippa 'Pip' Mitchell.

Pip's older sister Holly was a hockey player, making the Great Britain Olympic team. She met Australian husband Troy through hockey and after Holly's untimely death, Pip reverts into herself, not leaving her room for two years.

Pip wants to go to the 2000 Sydney Olympics so in 1999, she takes an au pair job in Munich for a weathly family, the von Feldsteins, not realising that they are a hockey family too. The two older sons, Leo and Billy, both play for the German Olympic team.

She realises that they knew Holly and keeps the information about her sister to herself. She cements herself into the family, makes new friends and finds herself. She really sees what life is supposed to be like at her age.

This is a wonderfully easy read with a fantastic pace. I adored all of the characters, especially Pip and I loved her development as the story progressed. I had never read a book focused around the Olympics and I really enjoyed it. I was totally immersed in this world.




A massive thank you to Literally PR for having me on the blog tour. You can find the handles of the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.


Sunday, 18 July 2021

Lying With Lions by Annabel Fielding | Blog Tour Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received an e-book copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Lying With Lions by Annabel Fielding - 4/5
Blurb:
"Edwardian England. Agnes Ashford knows that her duty is threefold: she needs to work on cataloguing the archive of the titled Bryant family, she needs to keep the wounds of her past tightly under wraps, and she needs to be quietly grateful to her employers for taking her up in her hour of need. However, a dark secret she uncovers due to her work thrusts her into the Bryants’ brilliant orbit - and into the clutch of their ambitions.

They are prepared to take the new century head-on and fight for their preeminent position and political survival tooth and nail - and not just to the first blood. With a mix of loyalty, competence, and well-judged silence Agnes rises to the position of a right-hand woman to the family matriarch - the cunning and glamorous Lady Helen. But Lady Helen's plans to hold on to power through her son are as bold as they are cynical, and one day Agnes is going to face an impossible choice..."

Review:
Historical fiction would never be a genre that I'd actively seek out and I am unsure why but I was intrigued by the synopsis for this one. 

Agnes is employed by the Bryant family to curate archives about Lord Alistair and Lady Helen Bryant and their family. The two have three children, one of whom died when he was 10. Agnes is thrown into the secrets that this family hold and it is just captivating.

Fielding has a wonderful way of writing and the prose is beautiful. The family drama, the inserting of actual events that happened in the past and an LGBTQIA+ romance thrown in - I am here for it. The hierarchical differences between and women were interesting and especially the quote "Don't you know that mud sticks to women much easier than it does to men?" Still a very real thing.

I really enjoyed Lying With Lions and it has definitely changed my opinion on historical fiction.







Monday, 12 July 2021

The Counterfeit Candidate by Brian Klein | Blog Tour Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

The Counterfeit Candidate by Brian Klein - 5/5
Blurb: 
"Berlin, 30th April, 1945

As the Russian Army closes in on the war-torn City, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun take their own lives. Their bodies are burned and buried in the Reich Chancellery garden, above the F├╝hrer's bunker.

Buenos Aires, 9th January, 2012

Three audacious thieves carry out the biggest safe depository heist in Argentine history, escaping with more than one hundred million dollars' worth of valuables. Within hours, an encrypted phone call to America triggers a blood-soaked manhunt as the thieves are tracked down, systematically tortured, then murdered.

San Francisco, 18th January, 2012

Senator John Franklin, hailed as the 'Great Unifier', secures the Republican Presidential nomination and seems destined for the Oval Office. Despite the sixty-seven year interval and a span of thirteen thousand miles, these events are indelibly linked.

Chief Inspector Nicolas Vargas of the Buenos Aires Police Department and Lieutenant Troy Hembury of the LAPD are sucked into a dark political conspiracy concealing an incredible historical truth stretching from the infamous Berlin bunker to Buenos Aires and to Washington, which threatens the very heart and soul of American democracy."

Review:
What a book. I absolutely devoured this book and couldn't put it down even if I wanted to.

In the prologue we hear about Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun's deaths in April 1945. These deaths were faked and Hilter and Braun really fled from Berlin to South America, taking on new identities. They plan to build the Fourth Reich and own a huge pharmaceutical company, essentially taking over the USA.

Flash forward to Buenos Aires in January 2012, and three men break into a bank's safety deposit boxes stealing as much as they can.

Senator John Franklin is set to become the next President of the United States and his father's deposit box is one of the ones in which the contents were stolen. The documents hidden inside cannot be public knowledge. John's father, Richard Franklin hires men to seek out the perpetrators and even has an insider so they stay one step ahead of the police.

What is the connection to Franklin and Hitler/Braun? And why must these documents be kept a secret?

I was immersed in this story right from the beginning. The chapters are short and something big happens in almost every one so you feel that need to keep going and see what happens. There is a real chase and sense of urgency and you are just waiting for the truth to be outed.

It is so cleverly written and the stories between Franklin and Hitler are weaved very well together. It's an easy read and lots of little aspects are added in that probably could have been overlooked but they really add to the narrative.

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A massive thank you to Midas PR for having me on the blog tour for this book. You can find the Instagram handles for the other Bookstagrammers taking part in the graphic below.
Friday, 9 July 2021

What's Mine And Yours by Naima Coster | Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a proof copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

What's Mine And Yours by Naima Coster - 5/5
Blurb:
"When a county initiative in the Piedmont of North Carolina forces the students at a mostly black public school on the east side to move across town to a nearly all-white high school on the west, the community rises in outrage. For two students, quiet and aloof Gee and headstrong Noelle, these divisions will extend far beyond their schooling. As their paths collide and overlap over the course of thirty years, their two seemingly disconnected families begin to form deeply knotted, messy ties that shape the trajectory of their lives.

On one side of the school integration debate is Jade, Gee's steely, single, black mother, grieving for her murdered partner, and determined for her son to have the best chance at a better life. On the other, is Noelle's enterprising mother, Lacey May, who refuses to see her half-Latina daughters as anything but white. The choices these mothers make will resound for years to come. And twenty years later, when Lacey's daughters return home to visit her in hospital, they're forced to confront the ways their parents' decisions continue to affect the life they live and the people they love."

Review:
This book is a stunner.

What's Mine And Yours follows two families over fluctuating timelines in Piedmont, North Carolina. Black couple Ray and Jade have a son that they call Gee. Lacey May is white and has three daughters, Noelle, Margarita and Diana, with Robbie who is Latino and they are being raised in a white neighbourhood.

The book opens really strongly with a heartbreaking scene at the end of the first chapter and then the story weaves its way at a steady pace as we hear about the characters lives now as adults but flashing back to teenage years too.

The school that Lacey May's children go to is being merged with another school. A predominantly Black one. A lot of the parents are against it. They see the school as being high quality and the students mostly come out with top marks. They think the amalgamation will change everything. Noelle who has her own issues with Lacey May, befriends Gee, much to her mother's annoyance. Jade isn't happy with the situation for Gee either.

This book tackles the issue of race and how it can affect relationships and explores the intricacies of family in many different forms. It is complex and beautiful.

I went into this excited because I had heard that it had 'This Is Us' vibes and I completely felt it. Coster is a wonderful storyteller.