Posted in Book Review, Crime, Friendship, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult

Are You Watching? Vincent Ralph 4* #Review @PenguinUKBooks @VincentRalph1 #AreYouWatchingMagpieMan #YA #Teen #CrimeFiction #Mystery #SocialMedia #YouTube #RealityStar #Suspense #BookReview #BlogTour #Paperback #RandomThingsTours @AnneCater

Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man. She was the first of his victims but not the last. Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all. The whole world is watching her every move. And so is the Magpie Man.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

‘Are You Watching?’ has universal appeal for those drawn to page-turning reads. The social media and YouTube concept is aimed at young adults.

Jess hopes her story will attract a viral audience and draw out her mother’s killer. Told from her point of view, the reader has immediate and uncensored responses from the main protagonist. It also maintains the mystery, as we only know what she does. Relatable and realistic, Jess is a likeable character, with authentic teenage emotions and motivations.

This is an emotional story. Jess feels her mother’s loss but also griefs her family’s demise. Her father is an understandable emotional wreck and she is doing this for him as much as for herself. Parents may question, whether they would have allowed their teenager to do this. Jess’s father feels guilty about his daughter’s damaged life, and will make amends anyway he can.

The book’s structure of short chapters aids the pacing and suspense, which builds as the story progresses. The plot has twists and an unexpected ending.

This story has dark themes, but it is written to engage its target audience. Contemporary fiction focused on crime, relationships, suspense and technology, which will appeal to an older adult audience too.

#VincentRalph

Vincent Ralph has been writing in one form or another since his teens and always dreamed of being a novelist. He owes his love of books to his mother, who encouraged his imagination from an early age and made sure there were new stories to read. Vincent has lived in London, Cornwall and Chester but he now lives in his home county of Kent with his wife, son and two cats.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Saga

The Children From Gin Barrel Lane – Lindsey Hutchinson 5* #Review @BoldwoodBooks @LHutchAuthor #BlogTour #boldwoodbloggers #Gin #Victorian #HistoricalFiction #Saga #BookReview

Broken hearts and broken bones are just a fact of life in a Gin Palace, but for orphan Dolly, the Crown is her last hope.

After the death of her mother, Dolly ran away from her sleazy step father Arthur, only to find herself living on the streets. When Jack discovers her hiding in the back yard of The Crown, he persuades his mother Nellie Larkin, to take Dolly in.

But Dolly has a secret – a very valuable secret – and Arthur is determined to get his clutches on her at any cost. And when local hard-man Ezra Morton joins in the hunt, the Larkins may have to risk everything to keep Dolly safe…

Amazon UK

#boldwoodbloggers

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set in the Victorian era, this historical saga encapsulates the danger, depravity and dire circumstances the majority of the Victorian population endured. Despite this, the sense of community survives, and this is evident in this story.

Nellie runs a Gin Palace, which is well patronised by the local community, her young son Jack, friend Nancy, and Poppy, help her run it. The hours are long, the work is hard, and the atmosphere less than conducive for children, but there is food on the table, somewhere safe and warm to sleep, and love and understanding, which is more than most have. When Jack finds a young girl running away from an abusive step-father, he befriends her and soon she is part of the delightful, dysfunctional family.

The setting is atmospheric and vividly described, and lets you experience the sights smells and uproar of the gin palace. The characters are well crafted, it reminded me of Fagin’s boys and Nancy in Oliver, even though the children here are spared a life of crime. The camaraderie and banter draw you into their lives. The plot is simple but effective. It lets the characters shine, whilst delivering a smartly paced, suspenseful plot, that keeps you turning the pages.

The villains are what you’d expect in the Victorian era, and they threaten Nellie’s family and her livelihood. The story is the perfect length, encompassing, the sense of family, place and time, even though it is shorter than most sagas of this type.

Female characters take the lead in this story, which delivers an engaging family drama, amidst the sights sounds and smells of Victorian England.

Lindsey Hutchinson

Lindsey Hutchinson is a bestselling saga author whose novels include The Workhouse Children. She was born and raised in Wednesbury and was always destined to follow in the footsteps of her mother, the multi-million selling Meg Hutchinson.

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