#GuestReview: Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall (@RuthDugdall) @Legend_Press @Tracie_Delaney

nowhere girl.jpg“When Ellie goes missing on the first day of Schueberfouer, the police are dismissive, keen not to attract negative attention on one of Luxembourg’s most important events.

Probation officer, Cate Austin, has moved for a fresh start, along with her daughter Amelia, to live with her police detective boyfriend, Olivier Massard. But when she realises just how casually he is taking the disappearance of Ellie, Cate decides to investigate matters for herself.

She discovers Luxembourg has a dark heart. With its geographical position, could it be the centre of a child trafficking ring? As Cate comes closer to discovering Ellie’s whereabouts she uncovers a hidden world, placing herself in danger, not just from traffickers, but from a source much closer to home.”

Have I ever mentioned that my TBR is pretty darn scary?  Hmmm…think about it, it may be difficult to remember (hahahaha).  OK, so I mention my #terrifyingTBR in virtually every post I write, and I can guarantee that it’s not getting any smaller.  Hello, my name is Emma and I’m a book addict.  So it’s time to do something about it and I will do that with the help of some incredibly generous, amazing guest bloggers and reviewers.

And the first willing volunteer (notice I didn’t say ‘victim’!) is the very lovely Tracie Delaney over at Passionate About Books.  Not only is she a fantastic blogger but she’s just about to release her debut novel!

IMG_1003.jpegHere’s everything you need to know about the very lovely Tracie:

I’ve been obsessed with books for as long as I can remember. As a child, I could be found with one of two things in my hand; a book or a bridle (I was an avid horse rider in my younger years).

Reading is a wonderful form of escape. I love the way books transport you to different worlds and allow you to be a part of so many character’s lives.

I blog and write under the pseudonym Tracie Delaney. My first novel, Winning Ace, is due out in May 2017.

And here’s Tracie’s review of Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall:

When I offered to read and review Nowhere Girl for Emma Welton over at the fabulous damppebbles.com, I had expected a new arrival on my Kindle. So when an actual book arrived in the post, I was super excited. The first thing I did on opening the package? I opened the book and sniffed the pages. Now, to non-book people, that would seem very odd, but to us book-types? The most normal thing in the world!

When seventeen year old Ellie Scheen goes missing at the local fair in Luxembourg, the police don’t appear to be taking the disappearance seriously. After all, this isn’t the first time Ellie has gone missing.

And when a witness at the fair reports that she saw Ellie’s mother, Bridget, hit her daughter and, on further investigation, it doesn’t seem to have been the first time, the police start to focus their attention on Bridget.

Cate Austin, the partner of Olivier Massard, the detective in charge of the case, doesn’t think the police are taking Ellie’s disappearance seriously and so decides to investigate Ellie’s disappearance for herself.

 My Review

The blurb of this book really intrigued me and I was very much looking forward to reading it. However, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I would. The story is intriguing and all the elements of a great novel are there, but it just didn’t hit the mark.

The present tense style of writing is not one of my favourites, but I can easily get past that for a great story, but in this novel, I found it rather distracting. The pacing of the novel was extremely slow. If 20,000 words had been cut during editing, it wouldn’t have hurt the story; in fact, it would have helped to create a faster paced novel with more tension and intrigue. The pacing picked up as we reached the climax of the novel—as it should—but at least seventy five percent of the novel was too slow for my tastes.

I also found it difficult to connect to any of the main characters, apart from Amina, a young Algerian girl smuggled illegally into Luxembourg in the hope of a better life. It was almost like watching a movie through a pair of net curtains. You could kind of see what was going on, but the detail was missing. I wanted to get deep inside the character’s minds, to really feel what they were feeling and experience their terror, horror and panic at what was happening, but the author fell short in translating that closeness from page to reader.

Despite the novel’s blurb telling us that Cate decides to investigate matters for herself, I found she was very easily persuaded onto a different path. With a few sharp words from Olivier, Cate seemed to oscillate between half-hearted attempts to find out what happened to Ellie, and then, just as quickly, she would decide she couldn’t do anything. In those moments, her purpose in the novel seemed to consist of taking her daughter to school and walking the dog. Again, it was the last quarter of the novel where Cate digs her heels in and, despite her better judgement telling her to leave well alone, she finally finds the grit and determination to bring Ellie home.

This novel deals with very serious subjects; the hopelessness of people in certain parts of the world, the risks they will take to secure a better life for themselves and the horrifying reality of the hidden crime of child trafficking. However, for those concerned with that subject, it is dealt with very sympathetically, and there is only hints of what is going on, rather than graphic description.

I wouldn’t put anyone off reading this novel if, like me, they are intrigued by the blurb. The very parts that didn’t suit me may be exactly  what others love to read.

My heartfelt thanks, once again, goes to Emma Welton at damppebbles.com for giving me the chance to read this novel.

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Thank you so much for your fantastic review Tracie.  I rather like this guest reviewer lark so if you are a blogger or reviewer and would like to read one of my (many) books then please let me know and I’ll send you my epic book list.

Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall was published in the UK by Legend Press on 31st October 2015 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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ruth dugdall.jpgRuth studied English at university and then took an MA is Social Work. Following this she worked in the Criminal Justice System as a social worker then as a probation officer. Part of this time was spent seconded to a prison housing serious offenders. She continues to work within the Criminal Justice System, most recently in Luxembourg.
Ruth’s novels are informed by her experience and are “authentic and credible”.

Author Links:Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#BlogTour | #GuestPost: Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard (@SusannaBeard25) @Legend_Press

Dare to Remember cover.jpg“Reeling from a brutal attack that leaves her best friend dead and her badly injured, Lisa Fulbrook flees to the countryside to recuperate. With only vague memories of the event, she isolates herself from her friends and family, content to spend her days wandering the hills with her dog, Riley.

However, Lisa is soon plagued, not only by vivid flashbacks, but questions, too: how did their assailant know them? Why were they attacked? And what really happened that night?

As she desperately tries to piece together the memories, Lisa realises that there’s another truth still hidden to her, a truth she can’t escape from. A truth that may have been right in front of her all along.”

Welcome to my stop on the Dare to Remember blog tour.  Today I am absolutely thrilled to have a fantastic guest post from author Susanna Beard to share with you.  So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Susanna…

Turning on a sixpence

There’s an old expression: “Turning on a sixpence” which means turning in a very small space. (For those too young to remember, a sixpence is a small silver coin in the old currency, which today would be worth two and a half pence.)

In Dare to Remember, my debut novel, one of the areas I wanted to explore was the concept of our lives turning on a sixpence. Some people, I’ve observed, know their lives are set in a certain direction; by middle age it will all be sorted out. They will have achieved a certain position, career, family ambition, financial level, and it will all go on getting better – or at least, staying the same. Some people’s lives do indeed happen that way. But many of us start with an idea of what life will look like in ten, twenty, thirty years, only to find that actually things turn out very differently.

But so often life sends us a curved ball, to use another cliché, and our lives click into another dimension. In my novel, Lisa and her best friend Ali are living happily in the city, not expecting anything to change – until it does, when a catastrophe occurs.

Lisa loses all memory of the event which changed everything for her and struggles to recover from a serious injury while mourning Ali’s death. The story follows her efforts to get her life back on track, knowing that she won’t make progress until she knows – remembers – what happened. When she does remember, she knows her life will never be the same. But is her life, now taking a different course, better or worse? Or just different.

I’m not talking about myself here, though some things have happened in my life that I didn’t expect. My life certainly didn’t turn on a sixpence. But I like the idea that we should never be complacent; we should enjoy, or at least come to terms with, the moment. Perhaps we can never predict how our lives will turn out, or how we might be affected by events along the way. But we may be able to take what comes and turn it, guide it, create a path for it so that it becomes what we wanted all along.

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A fascinating post, thank you Susanna.  It’s made me want to read Dare to Remember even more than I did before!

Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard was published in the UK by Legend Press on 1st February 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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Susanna Beard2.jpgSusanna is a psychological crime writer who lives in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Her day job in PR both demands and celebrates writing and she’s helped promote everything from websites to wine. She writes every day, all the time: news, articles, speeches, websites, blogs – and now novels.

She likes dark, contemplative stories with a twist; she’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships and the impact of insignificant events on people’s lives.

Susanna started writing fiction after attending a course at the Faber Academy. Other passions include her dogs, who keep her grounded, and tennis, which clears her brain of pretty much everything.

Author Links:Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook |