Monday 28 March 2022

Shoot The Moonlight Out by William Boyle | Blog Tour Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received an eBook copy for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Shoot The Moonlight Out by William Boyle
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: No Exit Press
Publication date: 1st March 2022 

Southern Brooklyn, July 1996. Fire hydrants are open and spraying water on the sizzling blacktop. Punk kids have to make their own fun. Bobby Santovasco and his pal Zeke like to throw rocks at cars getting off the Belt Parkway. They think it's dumb and harmless until it's too late to think otherwise. Then there's Jack Cornacchia, a widower who lives with his high school age daughter Amelia and reads meters for Con Ed but also has a secret life as a vigilante, righting neighborhood wrongs through acts of violence. A simple mission to strong-arm a Bay Ridge con man, Max Berry, leads him to cross paths with a tragedy that hits close to home.

Fast forward five years: June 2001. The summer before New York City and the world changed for good. Charlie French is a low-level gangster-wannabe trying to make a name for himself. When he stumbles onto a bowling alley locker stuffed with a bag full of cash, he brings it to his only pal, Max Berry, for safekeeping while he cleans up the mess surrounding it. Bobby Santovasco - with no real future mapped out and the big sin of his past shining brightly in his rearview mirror - has taken a job working as an errand boy for Max Berry. On a recruiting run for Max's Ponzi scheme, Bobby meets Francesca Clarke, born in the neighborhood but an outsider nonetheless. They hit it off. Bobby gets the idea to knock off Max's safe so he and Francesca can escape Brooklyn forever. Little does he know what Charlie French has stashed there.

Meanwhile, Bobby's former stepsister, Lily Murphy, is back home in the neighborhood after college, teaching a writing class in the basement of St. Mary's church. She's also being stalked by her college boyfriend. One of her students is Jack Cornacchia. When she opens up to him about her stalker, Jack decides to take matters into his own hands.

This is a really wonderful novel. I went into this book excited because I love any type of crime novel but this gave me so much more.

The story is told from many perspectives which in the beginning I felt was a bit much, more than what I'm used to, but it wasn't confusing at all by the end. 

The story starts in Brooklyn in 1996, with fourteen year old Bobby Santovasco and his thirteen year old friend Zeke keeping themselves entertained by throwing rocks at cars, until something awful happens.

We then hear about Jack whose wife Janey has passed away and his daughter Amelia's subsequent car accident.

The timeline then switches to 2001 where we go back to some of these characters but we meet some new ones too. But all of their stories are interconnected.

William Boyle writes beautifully and this isn't like any crime novel I've read before. The emotions in every chapter, on every page are felt as you read and the New York backdrop is just perfect in my eyes.

I feel like it is really tough to go into the actual stories that these people are going through without spoiling it but if you like crime dramas that are emotional with flawed characters, this one is for you.

A massive thank you to No Exit Press for having me on the blog tour. You can find the Twitter handles of the other bloggers who are taking part in the tour in the graphic below.
Wednesday 16 March 2022

The Shadow In The Glass by J.J.A. Harwood | 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.]

The Shadow In The Glass by J.J.A. Harwood
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication date: 18th March 2021

Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.

One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay…

The Shadow In The Glass is a loose retelling of Cinderella. I had never read a retelling novel before so I was excited to see how it would pan out.

Eleanor Hartley's mother was a housemaid for The Pembrokes. After her mother and father died, the Pembrokes became her legal guardians and Mrs Pembroke promised that Eleanor would become a lady. Those plans changed however when Mrs Pembroke passed away and Mr Pembroke didn't heed his wife's wishes.

Mr Pembroke is a lecherous man, having his way with the maids and dismissing them when they fall pregnant. Eleanor is determined that it won't happen anymore. When she discovers a book in one of her secret trips to the library of the house, a strange woman comes to her offering her seven wishes in exchange for her soul.

This could be what Eleanor has been waiting for, an out. But it comes at a cost. 

I absolutely loved the backdrop of Victorian era London in this novel. It is written so beautifully that you can picture every scene vividly. I felt like I couldn't put it down and was desperate to see how Eleanor's decisions and life would go.

I will definitely read more retellings after The Shadow In The Glass!


A massive thank you to HarperCollins for having me on the blog tour. You can find information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.

Friday 11 March 2022

The Problem With My Normal Penis by Obioma Ugoala | Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a proof copy of this book to take part in a readalong with Tandem Collective. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

The Problem With My Normal Penis by Obioma Ugoala
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 31st March 2022

You’re a black man. 
Aggressive. Athletic. 
Feared. Fetishised. 
Policed. Politicised.
It’s limiting. It’s tiring. And it’s not true. 

I jotted down so many notes that stood out to me when reading this but I am finding it hard to convey how important this is. This is a book that everyone should read.

The stereotype from the title of the book is just the tip of the iceberg and Obioma Ugoala delves deep into racism, sexism and masculinity.

Ugoala has written this very well with facts and statistics interspersed with his life as a man with Jamaican heritage on his father's side and Irish heritage on his mother's side, things that he came up against as a schoolkid, teenager, actor. The shackles comment on Obi's choral trip genuinely made me gasp.

When George Floyd was killed protests happened, companies posted a black square with the hashtag #blacklivesmatter but then what? I agree that it did feel like a token act. We see racism still happening in so many aspects of life today. People just speaking without realising that what they are saying is offensive. What needs to happen for us to change, as a society?

Two quotes that really stuck out to me were:

"Black people should feel grateful that their cup of wine is only a tenth mixed with cyanide, because previously it was half and half"

"Racism is not your fault but it's going to be your challenge"

Read this book.

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Before The Dawn by Emma Pass | Blog Tour Book Review

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

Before The Dawn by Emma Pass
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Aria
Publication date: 3rd March 2022

When everything you hold dear is torn apart by war, can love put you back together again?

It's 1943, and the Second World War is raging. Ruby Mottram works for her local newspaper, the Bartonford Herald, typing up adverts and obituaries, whilst dreaming of a more exciting life. Between her shifts as an ARP warden and caring for her ailing father, the chance for escape doesn't come often to Devon.

Meanwhile, in America's deep south, Sam Archer is hatching a plan to raise enough money to get his mother and sister away from his abusive stepfather. Using falsified documents to hide his age, he enlists with the U.S. Army.

Two chance encounters bring Ruby and Sam together from opposite sides of the Atlantic, giving them the chance of love, hope and freedom from their troubled lives. But fate, in the shape of D-Day and Omaha Beach, has other ideas.

When their very lives are at risk, will their promise to wait for one another be what keeps them alive?

Historical fiction or historical romance wouldn't be a genre I'd typically choose to read. I assumed that I wouldn't enjoy them, especially ones set in wartime, with nothing to back that up whatsoever but Before The Dawn has completely changed my mind.

This book is split into three parts and it set between 1939 to 1945. Ruby Mottram lives in Devon and is about to start her new job at the Bartonford Herald when war is declared. Fast-forward four years and 18 year old Ruby is still at the Herald and the main news is that American soldiers are coming over to train.

Ruby lives with her protective father who is adamant that she is not to get involved with the Americans and they are bad news. 

17 year old Sam Archer from Coltonsburg, Virginia, sick of watching his mother being abused by his stepfather Kirk, decides to lie about his age and enlist in the U.S. Army as a way to send money back secretly to his mother so she can survive with Sam's sister Meggie.

Whilst at training in Devon, Ruby and Sam meet and begin a secret relationship. This is such a beautiful and innocent love story that is really heartwrenching. The backdrop of World War II is interesting and you can feel the pain between the Sam and Ruby when they are apart, and only have letters to rely on for contact.

I will definitely read more set in this era!


A massive thank you to Aria for having me on the blog tour. You can find the information for the other bloggers taking part in this tour in the infographic below.

Friday 4 March 2022

The Curfew by T. M. Logan | Blog Tour Book Review

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

The Curfew by T. M. Logan 
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Zaffre
Publication date: 17th March 2022

I should have known something was wrong. I should have sensed it. Felt it in the air, like the build-up of pressure before a thunderstorm, that heavy, loaded calm.

The curfew
Andy and Laura are good parents. They tell their son Connor that he can go out with friends to celebrate completing his exams, but he must be home by midnight.

The lie
When Connor misses his curfew, it sets off a series of events that will change the lives of five families forever.

The truth?
Because five teenagers went into the woods that night, but only four came out. And telling the truth might mean losing everything...


Whenever I go into a T. M. Logan book and I always know I am in for a treat. He really knows how to write a book that will capture you.

Dr Andy Boyd and his wife Laura have a twelve year old daughter called Harriet and sixteen year old son, Connor. Connor always adheres to his curfew of midnight. 

I really don't want to give too much away with regards to the ins and outs of the twists, especially at the beginning - we had a few before we even got 10% into the book! Connor, his cousin Zac, Drew, Olivia and Emily all went out to celebrate the end of exams but only four of the teenagers made it home.

Connor seems to be implicated for one of the girls' disappearance but Andy is adamant that his son had nothing to do with it. The story feeds us bits and pieces about what really happened so as a reader it is exciting to discover the truth and makes you want to read on. I sped through! It really focuses on how far you would go to protect your child, no matter what.

I really enjoyed the chase and thought that the character of Harriet was really interesting as a secondary character.


A massive thank you to Compulsive Readers for having me on the blog tour. You can find the information for the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the infographic below.

Tuesday 1 March 2022

One Night On The Island by Josie Silver | Blog Tour 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.]

One Night On The Island by Josie Silver
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Penguin/Viking Books
Publication date: 17th February 2022

One cottage. Two strangers.
Every great love story starts somewhere...

Cleo writes about love stories every day. She just isn't living one of her own.

When the editor of her dating column asks her to marry herself on a remote Irish island - a sensational piece to mark Cleo's thirtieth birthday - Cleo agrees. She's alone but not lonely, right? She can handle a solo adventure.

Cleo arrives at her luxury cabin to find a tall, dark, stubborn American who insists it's actually his. Mack refuses to leave, and Cleo won't budge either. With a storm fast approaching, they reluctantly hunker down together. It's just one night, after all . . .

But what if one night on the island is just the beginning?

Cleo Wilder works for one of the UK's leading online lifestyle magazines and she has her own column called "Finding My Flamingo", all about her search for love.

She is asked by boss Ali to take a trip to a remote Irish island, known as Salvation Island, and "marry herself" (not legally binding, of course!). She is soon turning 30 and feels that it would be the perfect time to fall in love with herself.

When she gets there and arrives at Otter Lodge where she will be staying for the month, she finds that someone else has arrived to stay too - Mack Sullivan. Mack has travelled from Boston to stay at his cousin's lodge as he is currently experiencing some tough times himself after separating from his wife and not seeing his two sons every day.

Before going into this book, I obviously assumed it would be a cut and dry romance novel but it is so much deeper. Although you do get the element of romance it is not what you expect and it's not easy.

I love the backdrop of the Irish island and the mix of characters are wonderful. Cleo is left wondering if the hustle and bustle of London life is really for her. She evaluates her life, her friendships and her job. It has a really nice portrayal of self love. 

One Night On The Island is super emotional at times and very easy to fly through!

A massive thank you to Penguin/Viking Books for having me on the bookstagram tour. You can find the information for the other bookstagrammers taking part in the tour in the infographics below.