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Dog Days By Erica Waller

Dog Days‘Dog Days’ is the latest book by Erica Waller.

Dog Days is a novel about those small but life-changing moments that only come when we pause to let the light in. It is about three people learning to make connections and find joy in living life off the leash.

I spent a lazy Sunday with my head in this book. A beautifully written story tackling sensitive subjects such as grief, mental health, domestic abuse as well as sexuality.

The story is seen through the perspective of three characters, George, Lizzie and Dan. Grumpy old man George, who throughout the story made me think of George from the Pixar film called ‘UP’. George has a gruff and ignorant nature and is at a loss when his wife Ellen dies suddenly. George is used to having Ellen, making his meals, washing his clothes and without Ellen there to do these things for him, George’s life stops at a standstill with only a beautiful little Dachshund puppy called Poppy to keep him company. Ellen thoughtfully bought Poppy as something for George to focus on as well as help him lose weight and get some exercise. It’s at his lowest that Betty comes into George’s after receiving complaints about Poppy’s barking and comes to George’s rescue much to his disgust. Betty is a warm-hearted and bubbly woman who loves to help others and the pair of bicker constantly with George protesting against Betty’s help and Betty fighting against with wonderfully sweet and creative language.

Lizzie has turned up at a women’s shelter with her little boy called Lenny, but has yet to reveal her story. She’s a quiet intense woman who misses her old life of being a primary school teacher and is at her most comfortable sharing facts and information with people. She’s not a dog lover but part of leaving at the shelter is to take elderly Jack Russell Terrier called Maud for walks. Maud knows that Lizzie isn’t used to dogs and does all she can to offer friendship and comfort to Lizzie.

Dan is at crossroads with his sexuality and when Atticus comes to his counselling sessions, Dan has to finally confront his thoughts much to his own fears. Dan is a wonderful character, he’s kind, shy and outspoken Atticus helps Dan finally feel comfortable with himself. Dan has a beautiful Golden Labrador called Fitz, a loyal companion who accepts Dan, no matter his sexual orientation.

All three people are facing real struggles in their lives and as they face them, there’s a four legged there to offer a hug or lick at their lowest ebbs. I absolutely adored this book and I found myself racing through it, purely for George’s perspective as he was the most amazing character. He’s a traditional man, with an old-fashioned mindset. Ellen did everything for him but he cared for Ellen in his own way, crafting pieces of furniture for her that made her delighted. His relationship with Betty was truly clever and fun reading as they battled with each other, but they brought some joy and company to their lives. Out of the three characters, George was the man with no interest in dog but as the story progresses, we see the shutters come down and he grows to love the tiny dog and the company she provides. Another beautiful element to the story, was the inclusion of letters to George from Ellen that she left for him after her death. These letters make for tender reading, as she’s offering guidance and support with gentle reminders of things that need sorted. These letters usually arrive when George is at his lowest.

As a dog lover myself, this book wholeheartedly proves the comfort and companionship that dogs provide, they offer no judgement and will love you unconditionally. This book was a joy to read from the start to finish. Filled with wit, tenderness and moments that will genuinely break your heart and give you hope, Ericka has written a book that handles hard hitting issues with grace and sensitivity, ‘Dog Walks’ is a book that stays with you long after you reached the final page.

You can pre-order ‘Dog Days’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 11th March 2021.

Alter Ego By K.A. Masson

Alter Ego‘Alter Ego’ is the latest book by K.A. Masson.

Alex Kendrew is juggling single parenthood, work and dating; with a wild, impetuous streak that’s hard to keep in check, she struggles to find a balance and feels perpetually guilty for the choices she makes. Alex begins a passionate affair when an old flame gets in touch. But one morning, the police arrest her for his attempted murder. Someone is framing her; can she prove her innocence as the evidence mounts against her?

Firstly, I’d like to apologise for not writing this review sooner, I had forgotten to add it to my calendar, so I spent my head absorbed in this story, only moving to get fresh tea.

The story is seen through the narrative of freelance photographer Alex and is set in the present when she is arrested for the attempted murder of her boyfriend called Mal.

The story then flows back to past times, leading up to the couples first interaction. After her relationship broke down with her son’s father, Alex decides to try online dating and one day meets Mal, who seems perfect for her until he breaks it all off as he wants to give an old relationship another chance. Heartbroken, Alex throws herself into online dating meeting men for sex until she meets an old friend from university called Adrian and they become a couple. Adrian seems like the perfect charming man but once he gets Alex and her son under his roof, he turns into a controlling, egotistical monster and when Mal reappears in Alex’s saving her from the unhappy relationship. But just as Alex is about to get her happy ever after with Mal, Mal is stabbed and Alex is the prime suspect.

This book is an extremely cleverly crafted thriller packed with dislikable characters, that made them all suspects in this whodunnit thriller. Alex is great character, she’s strong and independent and determined to prove her innocence and love for Mal. Adrian is an absolutely horrible man, gaslighting at any opportunity, he was cruel and cold and many of the scenes with him made for unsettling reading.

I really liked the flow of the story, moving from the past to present tenses and I really thought that helped build up the suspense and drama to the thriller.

A chilling psychological thriller that really gets under your skin, ‘Alter Ego’ is a fantastic debut about one woman’s quest looking for love only to have to prove her innocence.

You can buy ‘Alter Ego’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.