Kill The Father [review]

kill the father - Sandrone Dazieri

Title: Kill The Father
Author: Sandrone Dazieri
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK


[Synopsis]

In this fascinatingly complex thriller, two people, each shattered by their past, team to solve a series of killings and abductions…

When a woman is beheaded in a park outside Rome and her six-year-old son goes missing, the police unit assigned to the case sees an easy solution: they arrest the woman’s husband and await his confession. But the Chief of Rome’s  Major Crimes unit doubts things are so simple. Secretly, he lures to the case two of Italy’s top analytical minds: Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe, and Dante Torre, a man who spent his childhood trapped inside a concrete silo. Fed through the gloved hand of a masked kidnapper who called himself “The Father,” Dante emerged from his ordeal with crippling claustrophobia but, also, with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and hyper-observant capacities.

All evidence suggests that the Father is back and active after being dormant for decades. Indeed, he has left tell-tale signs that signal he’s looking forward to a reunion with Dante. But when Columba and Dante begin following the ever-more-bizarre trail of clues, they grasp that what’s really going on is darker than they ever imagined.

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[My Review]

This is a complex and well written thriller with a really intricate plot, and one I really enjoyed reading. Plus I discovered a new-t0-me author, too!

The story really packs a punch with excellent characterisation – Caselli and Torre both as great ‘Detective’-style characters (I know Torre isn’t actually a Detective, but he does his research very well and pieces things together with real skill!). They’re characters which both have their own interesting personalities, with flaws and strengths that make them both great to  read about.

The story itself takes some concentration; as mentioned before, it’s a complex plot and it covers various murky topics. It’s not an easy read, and there were several points in which I had to stop and think to myself, who is who? What exactly are they talking about? But I soon caught myself up!

There are plenty of twists throughout Kill The Father, which I loved, and from what I can tell (not being able to read Italian, which the novel was originally written in) it is brilliantly translated by Antony Shugaar. The writing is brilliant and very rich in detail, without being too ‘flowery’ or falling into gratuitous descriptions. I certainly couldn’t guess where the novel was going or what would happen, and it definitely kept me in suspense. There was no cheesiness and a distinct lack of annoying, overdone stereotypes.

I do however feel that it is perhaps a bit long and could be cut down by about 100 pages. I know authors probably hate people who say this, but for me the middle part started to drag a bit – I have to admit I started to lose interest slightly. However, towards the final part of the book it really picks up, with these pages packed full of exciting developments. This finishes off the novel beautifully, and I was left feeling pleased that I’d found a great quality and well-written thriller!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to LoveReading who provided a copy of this novel for review. Kill The Father will be published in the UK on 9 February.

 

Watch Her Disappear [review]

Watch Her Disappear - Eva Dolan

Title: Watch Her Disappear
Author: Eva Dolan
Publisher: Vintage (Penguin)

[Synopsis]

YOU CAN RUN FROM YOUR PAST. BUT YOU CAN’T RUN FROM MURDER.

The body is found by the river, near a spot popular with runners.

With a serial rapist at work in the area, DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are initially confused when the Hate Crimes Unit is summoned to the scene. Until they discover that the victim, Corinne Sawyer, was born Colin Sawyer.

Police records reveal there have been violent attacks on trans women in the local area. Was Corinne a victim of mistaken identity? Or has the person who has been targeting trans women stepped up their campaign of violence? With tensions running high, and the force coming under national scrutiny, this is a complex case and any mistake made could be fatal…

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[My Review]

Watch Her Disappear, the fourth in the DI Zigic and DS Ferreira series, is another great Detective novel by Eva Dolan She’s an author I’ve only read one other book by (After You Die – read my review here) so far, which I also hugely enjoyed!

DS Ferreira is back, and still a really cool character – strong, opinionated and fiery – which makes you want to read more about her and her working relationship with Detective Inspector Zigic, who I also really like. Together they make a great team heading up Peterborough’s Hate Crimes unit, and it’s quite refreshing to read a crime novel that isn’t strictly set in the CID department, but instead Hate Crimes, and in my home city of Peterborough (strange to read about murders and such in Ferry Meadows, somewhere I used to go a lot when I lived in Peterborough!)

I found the subject matter really interesting, and learning more about men or women transitioning to a different gender. It’s not something I personally know a huge amount about, but from reading Watch Her Disappear it feels like the author has done her research, and presented it all in a convincing, reasoned way. She has approached a difficult subject really well, in my opinion; it’s just a shame more people (such as some of those in the novel) don’t treat the subject with a bit more compassion and understanding.

There’s plenty of shocking moments and grit in this novel, but it never feels superfluous or overexaggerated, and I like her writing style. The characters involved – for example Corrinne and Nina – aren’t black and white ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and the narrative really makes you think about whether someone is as bad as they’re made out to be, or whether someone else (who everyone might put on a pedestal) might be at fault too. I really hate when characters are oversimplified – it makes me feel insulted as a reader, but I know I’m never in danger of feeling like that with a well-written crime novel – and this certainly falls into that category!

I am so pleased that Watch Her Disappear is as well written and intriguing as After You Die, with twists and turns leading the reader skillfully to the final conclusion, and I certainly will be reading more by Eva Dolan!

[Rating: 5/5]

Watch Her Disappear is out in the UK on 28 February.

Many thanks to Vintage Books for providing a copy of this novel, on which I chose to write an unbiased and honest review

Burned and Broken [blog tour]

Burned and Broken - Mark Hardie

Title: Burned and Broken
Author: Mark Hardie
Publisher: Sphere

I am thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for the fantastic Burned and Broken by Mark Hardie! This is a fantastic crime novel that I hugely enjoyed, so read on for my review…

[Synopsis]

An enigmatic policeman – currently the subject of an internal investigation – is found burned to death in his car on the Southend sea front.

A vulnerable young woman, fresh out of the care system, is trying to discover the truth behind the sudden death of her best friend.

As DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell from the Essex Police Major Investigation Team are brought in to solve the mystery that surrounds their colleague’s death, they’re under intense pressure to crack the case without damaging the force’s reputation.

When a dramatic turn of events casts a whole new light on both cases, the way forward is far from clear. Were the victims connected in some way? And just how much should Pearson and Russell reveal to their bosses as they begin to unearth some dark secrets that the force would rather keep buried?

Mark Hardie’s stylish and gripping debut introduces a brilliant new detective duo to the world of crime fiction, weaving together two suspenseful stories that end in a breath-taking finale.

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[My Review]

The cover on my copy of this novel states that it will be perfect for fans of Peter James. As a huge Peter James fan, I was instantly intrigued, wondering if this would be true…

It definitely is!

Burned and Broken is a well-written novel with its fair share of grit and mystery, which follows Southend’s police force as they investigate an array of recent crimes, seemingly separate but perhaps linked in some way – and one of these involves the murder of Detective Inspector Carragher. When it’s one of their own, the stakes are always higher.

Burned and Broken had various elements I love ina well-written crime novel: excellent characters, interesting crimes and suspects with plenty to hide. There are police who aren’t as squeaky clean as they should be, investigations that perhaps weren’t carried out as thoroughly as they should have been, and opinions by some of the force that aren’t so politically correct. It makes you realise that not everything in the police (and indeed the outside world, too) is quite as it seems, and I loved the twists and turns the novel presented.

The story jumps back and forth in time a little, and I love narratives that do this. We know at the beginning of the novel that D.I Sean Carragher has been killed, but as we go four days back in time we start to unravel what exactly he – and the other characters – were hiding, working back up to the present day. It’s told from the perspective of various different people, too, giving a great overview of events (instead of just from the police’s point of view as is the case with many other crime novels). I found the narrative from the point of view of Donna, a girl just out of the social care system, really interesting – in fact, the whole plot continued to completely absorb me throughout, well-paced and intriguing as it was.

The story is easy to follow without being too simple, and the novel really manages to evoke a sense of atmosphere and reality within its pages. I didn’t find myself becoming distracted whilst reading at all, and raced through it in hours. I will certainly be reading any future novels, particularly in this series which I wholeheartedly enjoyed.

Definitely recommended for fans of well-written crime, or in fact anyone who fancies reading an excellent debut!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Sphere for providing a copy of this novel, and please do check out the other stops on the blog tour, which finishes tomorrow.

Burned and Broken is out now in e-book format.

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WWW Wednesday [25 January 2017]

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words.

Visit her blog to take a look, and get involved too if you can, even if you don’t have a blog yourself – as she says, you can leave your answers in the post comments. I’d love to see your answers too!

Well, as usual I’ve left it ages since the last WWW Wednesday – far more than a week’s worth, I should point out – it’s been about a month! So there’ll be plenty here!

The three W’s are:

  1. What have you finished reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What have you finished reading?

The Book of Mirrors – E.O. Chirovici
Relativity – Antonia Hayes
The One – John Marrs (and I currently have a giveaway where you can win a paperback copy too!)

What are you currently reading?

Actually reading FOUR books this week – I usually only let myself read one at a time, but I’ve started a few paperbacks then happened to only have my kindle with me, and vice versa…

Blue Light Yokohama – Nicolas Obregon (review to follow soon)
The Best of Adam Sharp – Graeme Simsion (review to follow soon)
A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson (on hold until I get other books read)
The Breakdown – B A Paris

What will you read next?

The Witchfinder's Sister - Beth Underdown

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown – can’t wait to read this!


What have you been reading recently? Any exciting books you’re looking forward to reading next?

If you do your own version of this tag please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your answers too!

Why not add me as a friend on Goodreads!

The One [review + giveaway!]

The One - John Marrs

I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for The One! Read on to find out what I thought, AND I have a copy of the novel to give away to one lucky winner!

[Synopsis]

How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes.

One tiny DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love.

Now, five more people take the test. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…

[My Review]

This is definitely a different and absorbing novel. It’s the first I’ve read by author John Marrs, and has certainly made me want to read more by him – he’s a great storyteller! The entire premise of The One is based on a really interesting idea: what if everyone had a ‘soulmate’-style partner out there, who is perfect for them and who, at some point after meeting, they’re bound to fall completely in love with? And imagine if you could be DNA tested to find this match?

Though at first this situation might seem pretty great, the problems soon become apparent. And that’s kind of what this novel is all about – there are plenty of ‘sticky situations’ that occur because of this.

The story flits between 5 main storylines, each featuring a different person  who has participated in this programme. At first it can be a little confusing but it soon becomes easier to figure out which ‘narrative’ you’re reading. I am a big fan of separate storylines that are all linked in some way, so this is right up my street!

I am really impressed with the way John Marrs has created such well-rounded, convincing characters; they each have their own personalities and quirks, just like real people do, and I feel like I really got to know them.

It’s important to remember that this kind of story is bound to be, to some extent, a little unbelievable. Some parts require you to suspend your disbelief a little – but the story is so entertaining that I don’t care! I think John Marrs has done a great job of making this all seem believable, and it shows what a great storyteller he is.

Something that also makes this novel really unique was the way it doesn’t cleanly slot into any particular genre. It has elements of mystery, romance, psychological thriller and crime, all rolled into one, so it’s never too romantic, gritty or dramatic – I felt like it was just right! It has twists and turns, some of which I kind of saw coming and some I really didn’t – and (without giving too much away) there’s definitely a healthy dose of gore and violence, to retain a bit of the shock factor which I personally love!

For something a little different, and really entertaining, look no further than this novel – I have no doubt this will be a huge seller… and deservedly so!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Ebury Publishing for providing a copy of this novel for review – and another copy for a lucky reader to WIN! 

GIVEAWAY

To win a copy of this novel, enter your details via the link below – good luck!
* The giveaway has now closed *

Behind Her Eyes [review]

Behind Her Eyes - Sarah Pinborough

Title: Behind Her Eyes
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: HarperCollins

[Synopsis]

Only two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

It’s said that the only people who really know what goes on in a marriage are the couple themselves. But what if even they don’t know the truth?

David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?

Louise, David’s new secretary, is intrigued. But as Louise gets closer to each of them, instead of finding answers she uncovers more puzzling questions. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise could never have guessed how wrong things really are and just how far someone might go to hide it.

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[My Review]

Well, Behind Her Eyes left me feeling completely dazed, impressed and kind of taken aback – but in a good way! The book feels like a great, gripping psychological thriller, with some extra elements thrown in (some of which do require some serious suspending of your disbelief, but I was completely fine with that!) and so I was happy enough knowing that I’d found a new book in this genre that I would be happy to recommend. Then, towards the end, it steps up AGAIN and it feels like the whole game has just shifted!

Because the novel is written from two (sometimes three, in a way, because of the diary entries) perspectives, you get contrasting versions of events and different impressions on who is being genuine and who isn’t. There are twists, turns and characters that you hate to love – or love to hate… both, mostly! I spent a LOT of time feeling like I had no idea who was actually ‘good’ and who wasn’t, but this is a feeling I genuinely enjoy when I’m reading a book like this. Also, some characters should be seen as negative – surely no one thinks having an affair is an admirable character trait? – but then in other ways they seem quite redeemable and likeable.

The sense of confusion, in my mind, simply makes reading this novel more exciting and adds suspense. You just know there’s bound to be a surprise at the end. I can’t give much away without spoiling it but I definitely finished Behind Her Eyes with a satisfied sigh (and simultaneously an excited squeal!) and a feeling that I’d just read something amazing… something that could truly stand apart from others in this genre. And, as someone who generally loves suspense and psychological thrillers anyway, that’s no mean feat!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to HarperCollins who provided a copy of this novel. Behind Her Eyes is published in the UK on 26 January.

The Book of Mirrors [review]

The Book of Mirrors - E.O. Chirovici

Title: The Book of Mirrors
Author: E.O. Chirovici
Publisher: Cornerstone, Random House

[Synopsis]

When big-shot literary agent Peter Katz receives an unfinished manuscript entitled The Book of Mirrors, he is intrigued.

The author, Richard Flynn is writing a memoir about his time at Princeton in the late 80s, documenting his relationship with the famous Professor Joseph Wieder.

One night in 1987, Wieder was brutally murdered in his home and the case was never solved.

Peter Katz is hell-bent on getting to the bottom of what happened that night twenty-five years ago and is convinced the full manuscript will reveal who committed the violent crime.

But other people’s recollections are dangerous weapons to play with, and this might be one memory that is best kept buried.

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[My Review]

This is an interesting, well-written book with plenty of layers and depth, centered as it is around a story within a story. It definitely drew me in, and I do love books with several parts or narratives – particularly when there’s also an element of mystery!

The Book of Mirrors is a story of several parts – we start by reading the manuscript sent to an agent, but soon discover it’s only a partial manuscript and so although it seems to be based on truth, on a real murder of a University Professor which happened many years ago, we don’t know if it’s true – and if it is true then who killed him, and how?

We switch to other viewpoints as they try to find out what actually happened. I really love novels which are essentially a ‘book within a book’ with dual narratives, as this is. I always find them intriguing, and The Book of Mirrors was no exception. The only annoying thing about this kind of novel is that I often feel that, just I’m just becoming completely absorbed in the plot, it switches and I feel a bit disappointed because I want to continue. However this does allow the reader to read from another viewpoint, and tease out the small intricacies connected to the murder that only certain characters may know.

Avoiding some of the characteristics of the crime genre, this book does not focus on the police investigation much at all; it’s more focussed on the private investigator hired by the publishers, who is trying to work out what happened. Memories are muddied and forgotten (and purposefully altered?) so that nothing is as it seems. I really like that sense of uncertainty.  When reading the manuscript we are focussed on the story as it unravels, completely at the mercy of the narrator, Peter, and whether he is a reliable narrator – or not.

E.O. Chirovici writes really well, and creates a novel which you’ll want to keep reading. It’s different and deliciously deep, drawing you in as you try to unravel the details!

[Rating: 4/5]

The Book of Mirrors is published in the UK on 24 January by Cornerstone.

Many thanks to Cornerstone for providing a copy of this novel, on which I chose to write an unbiased and honest review

Relativity [review + blog tour]

Relativity - Antonia Hayes

Title: Relativity
Author: Antonia Hayes
Publisher: Little Brown


[Synopsis]

Twelve-year-old Ethan Forsythe, an exceptionally talented boy obsessed with physics and astronomy, has been raised alone by his mother in Sydney, Australia. Claire, a former professional ballerina, has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he s becoming increasingly curious about his father s absence in his life. Claire is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son and of her own feelings. But when Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event that occurred during his infancy, her tightly-held world is split open.

Thousands of miles away on the western coast of Australia, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart, but an unexpected call forces him to confront his past and return home. When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that like gravity pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

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RELATIVITY BLOG TOURI’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Relativity, a fantastic book that I SO enjoyed. Read on to see what I thought…

[My Review]

Relativity is a novel that mixes the out of the ordinary with the ordinary. It depicts, for the most part, ‘real life’ – ie. family life and relationships that most of us experience all the time, but with some added elements that are a little different, giving the novel a magical touch without ever feeling ridiculous or unbelievable. It feels like an enjoyable, heartfelt journey through the lives of the characters, though at times the content is quite hard to read about – it definitely leaves you thinking about it after you’ve finished.

Ethan is a lovely character. He’s so sweet and funny – you can’t help but warm to him, and in the scenes where other kids are being cruel to him my heart felt like it was breaking! You really care about him and his feelings, as well as his mother Claire, and even his dad Mark, even though he is, according to Claire, a bad father to Ethan. Because of an incident many years ago, her and Mark have had no contact – until now.

This is a story of childhood and growing up, of relationships and whether one mistake by someone can ruin so many relationships forever – between mother and father, between father and son… even between mother and son, in some ways. It really made me think about how one devastating moment can change the course of so many lives forever.

Part of the novel focuses on Mark and Claire when they were young and first fell in love, and being quite a romantic at heart I really enjoyed reading these bits. It all leads up to the ‘incident’ that changes everything, though, and as the readers we’re aware of this, so there’s a sense of foreboding throughout that we’ll soon find what exactly happened. The other part of the story is set in the present day, with Ethan finally learning more about his dad and the consequences of this.

Physics, a subject that plays a huge part of this and one I know very little about, not being particularly good at science myself, is woven so beautifully into the story and feels really magical, even though it is (of course) pure science! Even though it’s set in Austrailia, the other side of the world, I felt really close to the characters by the end, when I finished the book with a contented sigh -though I didn’t want it to finish! Antonia Hayes has done a great job of creating a sparkling, lovely story that you won’t want to put down.

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Little Brown for the copy of this novel as part of the blog tour! 

Here’s tomorrow’s stops on the blog tour to look out for:

relativity_blogtour_twitpic_friday

WWW Wednesday [18 January 2017]

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words.

Visit her blog to take a look, and get involved too if you can, even if you don’t have a blog yourself – as she says, you can leave your answers in the post comments. I’d love to see your answers too!

Well, as usual I’ve left it ages since the last WWW Wednesday – far more than a week’s worth, I should point out – it’s been about a month! So there’ll be plenty here!

The three W’s are:

  1. What have you finished reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What have you finished reading?

The Perfect Blend – Tess Masters
Sheet Pan Suppers – Molly Gilbert
The Watcher – Ross Armstrong
Little Deaths – Emma Flint
Good Me, Bad Me – Ali Land
Bridget Jones’s Baby – Helen Fielding
The Fifth Letter – Nicola Moriarty
A Boy Made of Blocks – Keith Stuart (I’d read this before but republished my review as part of the blog tour, as it’s just come out in paperback!)
The Girl Before – JP Delaney (review to follow soon)
Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough (review to follow soon)

What are you currently reading?

The Best of Adam Sharp – Graeme Simsion
A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson

What will you read next?

I think I’ll read:

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown
The Breakdown – B A Paris

…but I don’t often end up reading what I think I will!


What have you been reading recently? Any exciting books you’re looking forward to reading next?

If you do your own version of this tag please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your answers too!

Why not add me as a friend on Goodreads!

A Boy Made of Blocks [review]

a-boy-made-of-blocks-keith-stuart-uk-cover

Title: A Boy Made of Blocks
Author: Keith Stuart
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group, UK

I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour for A Boy Made of Blocks! Read on for my review, and check out the other stops on the tour too!

[Synopsis]

Discover a unique, funny and moving debut that will make you laugh, cry and smile.

Meet thirtysomething dad, Alex
He loves his wife Jody, but has forgotten how to show it. He loves his son Sam, but doesn’t understand him. Something has to change. And he needs to start with himself.

Meet eight-year-old Sam
Beautiful, surprising, autistic. To him the world is a puzzle he can’t solve on his own.

But when Sam starts to play Minecraft, it opens up a place where Alex and Sam begin to rediscover both themselves and each other . . .

Can one fragmented family put themselves back together, one piece at a time?

Inspired by the author’s experiences with his own son, A Boy Made of Blocks is an astonishingly authentic story of love, family and autism.

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blog_tour2

[My Review]

Firstly, I have to say what a fantastic novel! It’s full of interesting and unique characters who I really grew to love as the novel went on. Alex himself is a bit of a tricky one, because as a father he seems like an absolute failure – he avoids spending time with his son, Sam, because Sam’s autism makes him unpredictable and, at times, very hard to handle. His relationship with his wife, Jody (who seems far too good for him and puts up with a lot until now, when she seems to have had enough), is on the rocks and he’s living with his enigmatic, funny friend Dan.

At the beginning of the novel I really felt like Alex was just a selfish, inconsiderate man who should try a lot harder. Then, as the book carried on, I thought more about his situation and thought: how do I know how anyone reacts when they have such a lot more to deal with than (most) other parents? His way of approaching Sam (ie not really approaching him at all unless absolutely forced to) is obviously his coping mechanism, and I feel like it’s unfair on Sam and Jody, but everyone acts in a different way in different situations, and as the novel continues we see Alex’s relationship with Sam blossom and change. It’s such a lovely (though at times hard) story to read, and very moving.

I should point out that none of this is written in an overly soppy, cheesy way – Keith Stuart manages to portray everything from Alex’s point of view in an honest and frank way which feels so real and true. It’s very emotional at times, and you really see inside Alex’s head as you start to understand just how hard things can be for him and Jody, and the struggles they go through trying to raise an Autistic child.

I’m a huge fan of authors such as Nick Hornby and David Nicholls, and A Boy Made of Blocks reminded me of some of their novels in its portrayal of everyday (or everyday for Alex and Jody, anyway) life and its challenges – to families, relationships and everything else too. I hugely, hugely enjoyed this novel and will be recommending it as a novel to a lot of people who I know would really enjoy it.

Also, it really made me want to start playing Minecraft!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel for an honest and unbiased review.

Tomorrow’s blog tour participants:

blog_tour3

Follow the blog tour on Twitter using #MadeofBlocks