#BlogBlitz | #BlogTour | #BookReview | MY VIRTUAL LIFE by Sharon Dempsey @svjdempz (11th December 2018, Bombshell Books @bombshellpub)

Welcome!! This is our stop on this Blog Blitz Tour for MY VIRTUAL LIFE by Sharon Dempsey.

I would firstly like to say a rather big thank you to the amazing Emma Welton, Bombshell Books and of course the wonderful Sharon Dempsey who gifted me an early copy of MY VIRTUAL LIFE. I am forever grateful and promise that the review below is 100% honest and of my own views.

To kick off, we have the “blurb” for the book;

Glamorous lone parent, Stella wants nothing more than to impress her teenage daughter. She has spent her life shielding Tara from her religious upbringing and has never told Tara about her father. But when they move back to Belfast, hiding the past becomes tricky.

When Stella lands her dream job as fashion editor at a teen magazine, Tara thinks she will die of shame. Soon after, Tara starts a blog to pour out her teenage angst and begins working at a home for rescued animals run by the enigmatic Nora. 

When Tara’s blog takes off, a rival magazine offers to publish it as a column, putting her in a difficult situation.

Will Tara risk hurting her mother in order to achieve her dream of being a writer?

Can three generations of one family, who struggle to understand each other, ever develop real bonds?

So, you want to know what I think?

This book really appealed to me when I read the synopsis as with the techno mad world we live in these days I thought it would be interesting. I wasn’t disappointed.

I really enjoy how this book was mainly written as a lonely girl blog narrated by Tara who with the help of her fashion editor mother seems to be any ordinary teenage girl dealing with all the angst that goes with it. I thought it was good reading the book as blog entries as you could read the events that happened throughout the book but they weren’t dragged out and you were given just enough information to get a good overview of the story without being bored.

I enjoyed seeing how different scenarios appeared to both Tara and Stella and how they each read situations differently. Although Stella was more of a secondary character and the book was mostly about Tara it was good to get those snippets of Stella’s thought processes too and it gave us a bigger glimpse into Tara and why she thinks the way she does.

There weren’t a lot of big surprises but it wasn’t completely predictable, I didn’t try to guess what was going to happen or how it would end and it made a nice change to romantic novels and I was interested to see how Tara and Stella’s relationship developed. I think they were both very likeable characters which really adds to the enjoyment of the book and I also think a lot of mums with teenagers will appreciate the struggles Tara goes through.

It was a very quick read for me and I found myself just enjoying it for what it was.

About Sharon Dempsey;

My Virtual Life is Sharon Dempsey’s second contemporary women’s fiction novel. Sharon is a Belfast-based writer of three fiction titles with four non-fiction health books published. Her crime debut Little Bird was released in July 2017 with Bloodhound Books. A Posy of Promises is the first in a trilogy and published by Bombshell Books.

She facilitates therapeutic creative writing classes for people affected by cancer and other health challenges, and runs a creative writing group for young people, called Young Scribblers, at the Crescent Arts Centre. She is a creative writing tutor at Queen’s University and Stranmillis College. Sharon studied Politics and English at Queen’s University and undertook a newspaper journalism post grad at City University, London.  She has written for a variety of publications and newspapers, including the Irish Times. She regularly reviews books for BBC Radio Ulster. Sharon is working on the follow up to Little Bird and a collection of dark short stories.

Sharon’s Social Media Links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/svjdempz @svjdempz

MY VIRTUAL LIFE is out now and can be purchased at the following outlets;

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US)

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Be sure to check out the other blogs who participated in this Blog Tour. See below for further details and be sure to follow all of the action across Twitter!

#IncidentReport | #BookReview | DEAD TOMORROW (Roy Grace #5) by Peter James @peterjamesuk (December 1st 2009, Pan Macmillan @panmacmillan)

DEAD TOMORROW (Roy Grace #5) by Peter James
1st December 2009, Pan Macmillan

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*Lynn gripped the sides of the armchair, trying to put aside her own inner terror. ‘I can’t believe I’m thinking this, Ross. I’m not a violent person, even before Caitlin’s influence, I never even liked killing flies in my kitchen. Now I’m sitting here actually willing some stranger to die.’*

The body of a teenager dredged from the seabed off the coast of Sussex is found to be missing its vital organs. Soon two more young bodies are found.

Caitlin Beckett, a fifteen-year-old in Brighton, will die if she does not receive an urgent liver transplant. When the health system threatens to let her down, Lynn, her mother, turns in panic to the internet and discovers a broker who can provide her with a black-market organ – but at a price.

As Superintendent Roy Grace investigates the recovered bodies, he unearths the trail of a gang of child traffickers operating from Eastern Europe. Soon Grace and his team will find themselves in a race against time to save the life of a young street kid, while a desperate mother will stop at nothing to save her daughter’s life…

With the last line of Dead Man’s Footsteps (number 4 in the Roy Grace Series) I was very eager to jump right into book 5.

Unfortunately I was a little disappointed in the fact that Sandy is only briefly mentioned in a will they won’t they moment and we didn’t really get any more answers. However that being said it didn’t take any of the enjoyment out of the story.

I like the way that Peter manages to find different subjects to write about. Although murder is the ultimately the theme, the reasons for murder are always surprising and a little bit shocking at times. Dead Tomorrow was a lot of the latter. Although certain points are written from the killer’s perspective so we know who the culprits are it doesn’t take anything away from the story.

We see a lot more of the side characters in this instalment, mostly Roy’s colleagues but I enjoyed getting to know some of them better and I hope this continues on in the other books. There is also a glimpse of Roy’s personal life, Sandy aside. I feel that the fact we are beginning to see Roy moving on from his ex wife may lead to explosions personally for Roy further down the line.

Dead Tomorrow had me sat at the edge of my seat eager to keep reading to find out where all the different roads lead and how the characters become entwined.

It kept me guessing right until the very end as the story doesn’t come together until the last 5%. I was surprised by the end, it was not how I expected it to finish and I was a little sad but I liked the fact that it was surprising and not predictable.

You can buy DEAD TOMORROW (Roy Grace #5) from the following booksellers (and obviously many more!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Book Depository | Waterstones

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#IncidentReport | #BookReview | BETRAYAL by Martina Cole @MartinaCole (October 20th 2016, Headline @headlinepg)

BETRAYAL by Martina Cole
20th October 2016, Headline

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Survival. It’s all down to who you trust.

Aiden O’Hara has been head of the family since he was kid, and he’s going to keep it that way.

Jade Dixon is the one who watches his back. Mother of his son. The one who makes him invincible.

But Jade’s been in the game a lot longer than Aiden. She knows no one’s indestructible.

And when you’re at the top, that’s when you’ve got to watch the hardest.

Especially the ones closest to you . . .

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I had an idea of what I was letting myself in for reading BETRAYAL. Martina Cole has this magic of being able to create characters and families, all with their own different traits, but blend together really well.

BETRAYAL is the second book of Martina’s I have read (I read THE TAKE early last year) and I cannot wait to devour more of her titles. There’s something about the raw, grittiness of the worlds she creates that pulls you in and pops you right in the middle of it.

Martina has the skill of creating characters that drive you crazy. Love and hate are so close in emotion and I felt this a lot with Aidan. I loved the way he fought from a young age to provide for his family as essentially the man of the house, to make a name for himself and ensure that his family was taken care of. What I didn’t like were how the power slowly starts to corrupt him and with that comes unsavoury behaviour towards both his girlfriend and his family.

The ending of this story came up quickly and out of the blue. It was that shock factor that I’m sure Martina had in mind all along. Obviously no spoilers from me, but it was the right way to end the story – given everything that took place before it.

Short, snappy chapters keep the pace of the story moving so not to get bored. This wasn’t an issue for me – I prefer shorter chapters. I find that I retain more of the story that way and don’t get bogged down with unnecessary content.

This novel did not disappoint. I was hoping for strong, no nonsense characters, a bit of violence, plenty of swearing and drama and I received that ten fold!

 

You can buy BETRAYAL from the following booksellers (and obviously many more…be kind to your local independant bookseller!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Book Depository | Waterstones

-S.