Blog-Tour: Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill

Today is my stop on the Blog-Tour for Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill. It really is my pleasure to introduce you to this controversial little gem of a book. I’m sure it will generate plenty of discussions and reactions.

About Melissa Hill

A USA Today and No. 1 Irish times and Italian best-seller, Melissa Hill’s books are translated into 25 different languages. One of her titles has been optioned for a movie by a major Hollywood studio, and another is currently in development for TV with a top US production company. Visit her website at www.melissahill.ie or contact her on Twitter @melissahillbks, or melissahillbooks on Facebook and Instagram. Follow @HQStories

Buy Keep You Safe

About the book

What if your choice for your child could harm someone else’s?

Every mother faces impossible choices. Vaccination is one of the hardest. For single mum Kate O’Hara, there was no decision to make. Her daughter Rosie is one of a small percentage of Irish children who can’t be vaccinated against measles. All Kate can do is hope that her little girl is safe.

For mummy blogger Madeleine Cooper, it was a leap of faith she wasn’t prepared to take when she and her husband declined controversial measles jabs for their daughter Clara. All she can do is pray that it’s the right decision.

But when classmates Clara and Rosie both become sick will Kate pay for Madeleine’s choice?

Review

There is no denying that this is a hot topic. There are plenty of parents, who choose not to vaccinate their children. They will hit you with a multitude of arguments of why it’s the healthier choice for their children, of course it may be at the expense of your child or mine, but the most important factor is that their conscience is clean.

They are convinced the vaccines can be linked to autism, a false fact that has been debunked. The one in every thousand statistics make it seem as if every child will be the one who has a severe reaction. I can understand and feel empathy for the parents trying to protect their children, however the fact these same parents rely on the so-called herd-immunity to keep their own children safe and healthy automatically negates all their arguments for not vaccinating. If you are so convinced that vaccinations are a bad choice and a danger to children then surely you would want them abolished entirely instead of hoping the rest of the vaccinated herd keeps your own baby healthy, right?

Although I believe in vaccinations I also firmly believe that Health Services have a duty of care to children and parents. Vaccines need to be regularly checked and researched. Eradicating dangerous illnesses whilst keeping patients safe should be a priority, as opposed to the growing wealth and influence of big pharmacy. I have lived in a variety of European countries and the vaccines differ from country to country, so over-vaccination and unnecessary vaccinations need to be vetted better. Fact is that anti-vaxxers are the reason certain diseases are making a reappearance again, for instance polio in certain western societies.

At the same time the Health Services need to inform people better and make a more concentrated attempt to debunk myths and wrong information being spread by worried parents.

I really smirked at the ‘it wasn’t as if she used the blog or any other media she was involved in to foist her opinions on anyone else, and it was just a bit of light-hearted fun’ paragraph. The sad thing is Madeleine truly believes that, and I’m guessing the majority of Mommy bloggers would say the same thing, however subconsciously they know that is the farthest thing from the truth. It’s all about telling the world your opinion, and of course about how many followers you can attract while doing so. The more funny, snarky or original you sound the better. Regardless of whether you may be spreading dangerous information and pseudo science disguised as facts. Goop springs to mind. There is nothing worse than a sanctimonious supposed do-gooder being able to convince an audience of false facts, just because they are popular.

If you are putting your opinions out there then you also have a duty of care. I think many people who have a social media following tend to forget or rather they decide not to acknowledge it, because the end count is more important.

Kate and Madeleine both made choices for their children, however Kate makes hers because the vaccine does present a proven danger to her child, as opposed to the presumed danger Madeleine thinks exists.

Hill gives an excellent balanced view of both sides of the argument, there is no bias towards either side of the vaccination issue. Both the anti-vaxxers and vaxxers get their day in court. She also plays around with the question of guilt when it comes to sending an ill child into society when they are a probable danger to other children. It made me think of these idiotic chicken pox lollipops and parties some parents have, when they think having the child contract a contagious disease sooner rather than later or at all, is a brilliant idea.

Ultimately the reader decides, and the author makes sure all the opinions are well-represented and both her main characters are flawed and realistic. We all have to make these decisions as parents, and we try do it to the best of our ability. with the welfare of our children at heart.

Hill manages to keep the story well-paced and captivating, despite the seriousness of the topic. It never bows under the pressure of blame or conscience, instead it informs and educates. A good book doesn’t always have to be entertaining. Sometimes, and this was one of those moments, it needs to be more than that.

Buy Keep You Safe at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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Insidious Intent by Val McDermid

Insidious intentI don’t think I have ever read such an unusual request by an author in an actual book. I have read impassioned pleas on social media and in blog posts, but never as an add-on author’s note after the read. I guess it says a lot about how much McDermid wants her readers to enjoy the story completely without any spoilers.

I have to say I can understand why she wants this particular twist and spectacular ending to be experienced during a subjective reading experience.

Carol has ended up on the wrong side of the law. The powers that be made sure that she can still do her job, but that has dire consequences. She is finding it hard to cope with some of her past decisions, which makes her doubt her current actions.

The team are confronted with a meticulous killer. The type, who plans every last detail and pre-empts every possible scenario the police may investigate. Have they finally met their match?

There is a sub-plot in the midst of the serial killer storyline about an issue that happens far too often in this age of social media, so first of all kudos to McDermid for presenting both sides of this particular issue.  I have actually come across a similar scenario at our local high school, just without the blackmail element. Both parents, young adults and teens have difficulty comprehending that sending, receiving, sharing and owning of certain material is also considered a crime when you are a teen. McDermid has created a realistic scenario, which should give some readers some food for thought.

The ending is way out of left field, and it happened so quickly it left me slightly bewildered, and I’m sure I am not the only one who wants to know where the heck do they go from there?

Once again McDermid proves why she is such a revered crime writer.

Buy Insidious Intent at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailers.

Follow @valmcdermid

The Betrayals by Fiona Neill

the betrayalsI think I might put this book on my list of favourites for this year. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and yet at the same time it was.

I don’t even think the betrayals are the driving force in this story. The deterioration of Daisy, the codependency of her brother Max, and of course the triggers, they are what propel the story forward with quite a lot of force.

First of all kudos to the author for the in depth research and description of the obsessive compulsive disorder. It controls and rules Daisy, her life and to a certain extent the lives of those around her. Like many other disorders, it has become somewhat of a blasé throwaway phrase that people mention in a jokey kind of way. The truth is it can control and take over your entire life, and indeed people who suffer from severe OCD are often unable to cope with the demands of everyday life, due to their condition.

I enjoyed the perfect imperfections of the characters and the story. In general life isn’t an ice cream sundae with a cherry on top. It tends to be more like a melted mess that drips faster than you can eat it.

The lives of two families are changed forever when Nick and Lisa decide that lust is stronger than loyalty. Their spouses and children are less than thrilled. In fact Daisy believes their betrayal is the trigger for her OCD and every other problem in her life. To be more specific she believes Lisa is the root cause of her problems, and what Daisy thinks Max thinks too.

It’s interesting how Daisy suffers from selective memory and fixates on her father and his mistress. Memory and in particular false memories and the way our brain works in relation to memories is Nick’s speciality, which makes some aspects of the plot all the more ironic.

It really is an engrossing read, perhaps more so because the complete disintegration of families and relationships is so commonplace, and it leaves many victims in its wake. Neill writes a compelling plot with relatable characters.

Buy The Betrayals at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

The Wife – To Have and to Hold (Book 1) by M.L. Roberts

the wife part1This definitely has a Dr. Foster feel to it, and if you haven’t seen that particular programme then be prepared for a paranoid and vengeful woman, and the close scrutiny of a marriage.

Marriage, relationships and friendships are at the forefront of this story. The story starts after specific events, which lead to the deterioration of her mental health and her marriage. The reader remains unaware of what those events are specifically until the author starts to reveal some of the details towards the end of this book.

It’s hard to feel a lot of empathy for Ellie. because she seems so unstable. She is jealous, paranoid and isn’t adverse to the occasional bouts of stalking. She doubts everything her husband says and does, perhaps with good reason though.

Roberts describes the charismatic husband really well. The charmer, the kind of man women want attention from, even if it is just the faintest of touches or a short moment of eye-contact. I think they thrive on the energy, the heavy feeling of lust and danger in the air. The short culmination of spiked desire, albeit only in a brief second of imagined abandonment. Michael is that type of man. The kind of man who holds the attention of the room, and enjoys every second of it. You have to be a strong woman or partner to accept this particular vice or personality trait. Why? Well, because he will only ever belong to you completely when there is only the two of you and no other person to stroke the ego of the prettiest peacock in the room.

No wonder Ellie is driven to distraction, especially after the damage her marriage has already incurred. It’s interesting to note, and yet absolutely the norm, that as a woman she is expected to forgive, forget and go back to being the happy little wife. Regardless of the pain, horror and irreparable damage to her life and well-being she has had to endure.

The author writes a good game. In book one the nails are being slowly driven into the coffin one by one, whilst the reasons for her obsessive and paranoid behaviour are revealed at a calculated pace. Some characters look guiltier than others, however there are always three sides to every story. Her side, his side and somewhere in the middle is the truth. This is a four part series and I am looking forward to reading the next book For Better, For Worse.

Buy To Have and to Hold -The Wife (Book 1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @AuthorMLRoberts @michellebetham @HarperImpulse

Order:

The Wife – Book One: To Have and to Hold

Pre-order:

The Wife – Book Two: For Better, For Worse

The Wife – Book Three: In Sickness and in Health

The Wife – Book Four: Till Death Us Do Part

Blog-Tour: House of Spines by Michael J. Malone

spines

Today is my stop on the Blog-Tour for the fabulous House of Spines by Michael J. Malone. Be prepared to be drawn in by this eerie mystery and you may even start to wonder about reality, dreams and hallucinations.What is real and what is taking place in his darkest corners of his mind?

About the Author

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In-Residence for an adult gift shop. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge: Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage and The Bad Samaritan. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number one bestseller. Michael is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

Follow @michaelJmalone1 on Twitter or facebook.com/themichaeljmalonepage

Visit mjmink.wordpress.com

Buy The House of Spines

About the book

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who it seems has been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, it seems Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman…

A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

Buy The House of Spines

Review

Imagine not only inheriting a whole house and the kind of library every bookworm dreams of, imagine inheriting a lifetime of secrets and lies too.

Ran seems to be pleased, and yet at the same time unnerved by Newton Hall. The question is whether his gut instinct is warning him about some danger in the house or are his mental health issues starting to reappear now that he is off his medication. Instead of enjoying being the man of the manor he seems to be looking over his shoulder and jumping at shadows.

I’m just saying I wouldn’t be displeased if someone decided to give me a huge house with a massive library filled with books. I wouldn’t mind putting up with all the weird spooky stuff, the passive-aggressive relatives and the leftover staff from the Adams Family.

Newton Hall has secrets hidden in the walls and in the mirrors. The kind of secrets that haunt and torture people, especially the guilty. Ran is starting to unravel the mysteries or are they starting to slowly unravel him. He is losing his grip on reality, drifting back and forth from moments of lucidity and nightmare scenarios.

Mental health issues play a pivotal role in the plot, which is done in a subtle and a realistic way. The author manages to portray the illness and the way society, and loved ones react to the illness. The constant suspicion, doubt and lack of trust is a constant factor on both sides.

Malone invites the reader into his little shop of horrors and let’s them wrestle with the question of whether the nightmare is real or just the meanderings of a sick man. House of Spines may have a gothic feel to it, but it also has the interesting aura of a Hammer Horror. Some readers might not remember Hammer, however they were renowned for evoking an eerie and haunting sense of horror. The kind of hair on the back of your neck creepy you never quite forget.

The house will drag you in and may not let you go again, well at least not until she gets what she wants.

Buy House of Spines at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Visit orendabooks.co.uk  Follow @OrendaBooks

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

the word is murderIf you have read the Magpie Murders by Horowitz then this book won’t seem at all bizarre or unusual. He is an author who likes to think outside the box. His plots are wee bit like Conan Doyle does Schrödinger’s Cat in the form of a murder mystery. While I’m on the subject it is worth mentioning that in 2011 the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle gave Horowitz the official endorsement to write a continuation of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

The Word is Murder more or less features Anthony Horowitz as himself in the main role. It is an interesting way to approach a crime story. I’m sure readers will start to wonder how much is fiction and how much of the actual crime story is fact.

It isn’t until Horowitz actually mentions a few of his accolades that you realise just how accomplished and successful he is. In this scenario his diminishes his success, and plays with the fact he has prominent contacts.

A woman walks into a funeral parlour to plan and arrange her own funeral, and a few hours later she is ready to use the coffin she just bought. Is it just a huge coincidence or did someone end her life prematurely? Well the cord around her neck speaks volumes.

Horowitz is unaware of this particular event until an ex-police detective asks him to write a book about the murder with himself starring as the savvy detective. Horowitz finds it hard to work with this eccentric, obstinate and yet very observant detective, however he can’t help but be pulled into the intriguing story that unfolds in front of him. Hawthorne is like a grumpy Columbo with Sherlock’s deductive skills.

I enjoyed it, just like I really enjoyed the Magpie Murders, because the author isn’t afraid to mix it up and challenge his readers. Thinking outside of the crime and mystery schemata to create unusual and yet captivating reads. The word is murder, but in this case the word is also Horowitz and Hawthorne are the new Watson and Sherlock.

Buy The Word is Murder at Amazon uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @AnthonyHorowitz  @penguinrandom

Visit anthonyhorowitz.com

Darien, Empire of Salt by C.F. Iggulden

darienI do like bit of well-written fantasy and Iggulden is certainly quite talented at spinning a fantastical tale. Darien is the first in the Empire of Salt series.

Although the magic plays a pivotal role it doesn’t overpower the individual stories. Each of those stories and characters are interesting enough to hold their own in a standalone novel, but bringing them together in this book makes the idea all the more intriguing.

Their lives and stories do eventually come together at a certain point in time during great conflict. This collision sets them all on completely different paths.

Elias has always used his gift to help himself and others. Selfless acts of magic to help everyone survive another day. When he accidentally reveals his gift to someone ruthless he falls into a trap that puts his family at risk. Having to use his magic for evil instead of good goes against every grain in his body. It’s the beginning of the end.

Daw and Nancy come together under less than auspicious circumstances. He wants to use her null potential to steal, however the two of them end up finding more than they bargained for. Nancy ends up becoming a strategic player in an unexpected coup.

Then there is the old swordsman Tellius, who happens to stumble upon Arthur, a young orphan. It doesn’t take Tellius long to discover that he has found a magic being older than time itself. His kind hasn’t been seen or heard of for centuries. Unfortunately that also makes the being very desirable to a lot of people. What follows is a intrigue laden battle for power in the midst of a coup, and the possible assassination of a king.

It has all the ingredients for a great read, and it certainly lives up to the hype and Iggulden’s reputation. It’s as if the magic draws all of them together for the greater cause, and yet none of them can see the individual threads. I am eager to see where this tale goes from here. I have to admit that Arthur and his story might have made me aww a little. It reminded me of the little boy in AI (Spielberg). It tugs on the heartstrings a little.

It’s a really good read.

Buy Darien at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.