Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes #ancientgreece #myths #legend #nonfiction #audiobook #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Pandora’s Jar: Women in Greek the myths by Natalie Haynes. I saw this title on Audible and as I do love hearing about myths from all around the world I decided to give this one a go.

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The Greek myths are one of the most important cultural foundation-stones of the modern world.

Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Virgil to from Aeschylus to Sophocles and Euripides. And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost three thousand years ago. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and have routinely shown little interest in telling women’s stories.

Now, in Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes – broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist – redresses this imbalance. Taking Greek creation myths as her starting point and then retelling the four great mythic sagas: the Trojan War, the Royal House of Thebes, Jason and the Argonauts, Heracles, she puts the female characters on equal footing with their menfolk. The result is a vivid and powerful account of the deeds – and misdeeds – of Hera, Aphrodite, Athene and Circe. And away from the goddesses of Mount Olympus it is Helen, Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Antigone and Medea who sing from these pages, not Paris, Agamemnon, Orestes or Jason. 

MY REVIEW

I do like stories and tales from the times of Ancient Greece. I think it was watching films such as Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, then as I got older reading stories and watching documentaries and now listening to audiobooks.

The author brings together her knowledge of this topic and she definitely knows her stuff. She narrates her own book and she has a nice voice to listen to.

She tells of the women that have appeared over time that many of us will already know about, and there are some that I hadn’t heard of. These are ones that have been forgotten about or didn’t have such an important role in history according to more male-dominated figures. As I listened to this book I realised I knew far more male figures from mythology than I did female. The author does suggest that historians such as Aristotle and Socrates and writers such as Ovid are men, so focused more on the strengths, adventures, toils, and victories of their male heroes. Women tended to be scorned rather than revered, and Medusa is a prime example of this, and when I listened further the author went on to tell of how women had been used, abducted and blamed. The author does give a more balanced view of women in history, rather than being the victims they are shown their own rights and show their own strength. The author does use modern references to give a present-day example using songs from pop culture, literature and art.

This is a really interesting book to listen to, there are loads of historical fact and obviously a lot about myths and legends from the days of the Greek heroes. This is a book that provides a good discussion and isn’t one that tries to rewrite history, it does give opinions and thoughts to help bring women into the forefront and away from the patriarchal stereotype. It is one I really enjoyed listening to and one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Natalie Haynes, author of THE FURIES (THE AMBER FURY in the UK), is a graduate of Cambridge University and an award-winning comedian, journalist, and broadcaster. She judged the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and was a judge for the final Orange Prize in 2012. Natalie was a regular panelist on BBC2’s Newsnight Review, Radio 4’s Saturday Review, and the long-running arts show, Front Row. She is a guest columnist for the The Independent and The Guardian. Her radio series, Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics, was first broadcast in March 2014.

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My Week In Books (w/e 4th December 2022) #bookupdates #booklove #MeAndMyBooks

Welcome to my weekly round-up of books I have read. I am a day late with this, basically, I forgot what day it was and I changed one of my nightshifts so it threw everything out. Change is good, but not when you work nights and struggle to remember the day. I usually work on a Monday night, and it is still Monday in my head until I have been home and had a couple of hours of sleep, it then becomes Tuesday! It all makes sense to me, if you work nights you’ll get exactly what I mean 🙂

Here is what I have read and listened to over the past week…

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Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek myths by Natalie Haynes – this was an interesting book to listen to and the author explores how women had been perceived over the years in the myths, legends, films, TV and literature. The author did use modern equivalents from pop, film and drama to show this. I did enjoy it and found it to be a very interesting one to listen to. Ideal if you like discussion-style audio with well-reasoned examples and the full review will follow soon.

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The Angel’s Mark by S. W. Perry – this was one of the titles I had hoped to read in the summer but it got bumped down my TBR. I am kicking myself because it is a brilliant historical fiction, murder, mystery and crime story. It is the first book in the series and I cannot wait to read more. Full review to follow.

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A Gift Called Hope by Eva Jordan – This is a lovely story and it deals with the excitement of Christmas with a young child and as a parent dealing with loss. Gorgeous story and a full review to follow.

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The Nazi’s Son by Andrew Turpin – if you are a fan of espionage, conspiracy and thriller reads then you won’t go far wrong with this series. This is the 5th book and it mixes Stasi, KGB, CIA, and MI5/6 with links going back to the 1986 nightclub bombing in Germany. Brilliant story and series, full review to follow.

There we have it for another week,

Have a great week ahead

Yvonne xx

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Wicked Girls by Heather Atkinson @HeatherAtkinso1 @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #thriller #gangland #crime #bookreview

Today I am delighted to share my review of Wicked Girls by Heather Atkinson. This is a brilliant gangland-style thriller, and, as with other books I have read by this author, it is another fabulous read.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book for review.

Cousins Valerie and Toni McVay have been best friends forever, and when you’re a McVay you need all the friends you can get.
When Toni’s twelfth birthday is marred by a terrible crime, the wicked path of the girls looks set. A decade later, the McVay family aren’t the unstoppable force they once were in the Glaswegian criminal underworld but Frankie McVay, the up-and-coming prince, is determined to restore the family to its former glory by whatever means necessary. And the whole family are expected to help.
His sister Toni shares her brother’s blood lust but Valerie dreams of a quieter life, and when she meets and falls in love with Seb, as straight as Frankie is bent, as kind as Frankie is wicked, Val sees her way out.
Can she escape a family that is determined to own the city, and to keep Valerie firmly in their violent grasp? And will Toni ever let her best friend Val turn her back on the bloody secret they have shared for all these years…


Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW

This is a brilliant read and if you are a fan of gritty and tough gangland-style genres with strong female leads then this is one you should have on your list.

Toni and Val are cousins, they stand by each other through thick and thin and always have each other’s back. The story starts in a shocking way when the girls are 12 years old, it gives a brief intro as to why Toni especially is so ferocious as she gets older. The main bulk of the story is told a few years later, Toni is coming up to her 20th birthday. When I say ferocious, she really is, but don’t underestimate Val, many have and many have realised their mistake.

The girls have always known the lifestyle they have been brought up in is a violent one. They are part of the McVay family and you don’t mess with them, especially Toni’s brother Frankie. Just his name is enough for people to back off unless, of course, you are one of the rival families.

While Toni is definitely happy with her lifestyle, Val is not so much and wants more of a normal life. Toni would call it boring, but this is where the girls do differ. With Val wanting a different life it means that there are going to be times when she has to make some tough decisions. This becomes more evident when she finds a “nice, normal boyfriend”, Seb shares the same interests, but he is a student and has a different calling in the way he sees his future.

I really enjoyed the dilemma that the author set out for Val. While she wants to continue a relationship with Seb, she doesn’t want him to know how violent her family actually is. At some point, it is obvious that he is going to meet them though.

The relationship between Val and Toni is great and I can see why the girls are as they are. But having different futures is something that doesn’t cross Toni’s mind. Val has a job which Toni sees as pointless as Frankie pays them for doing the ‘odd job’ for him.

These girls are tough, they know how to look after themselves and they are not averse to using whatever means necessary to prove their point. The author has had to make these two tough and the back story of Toni when she was 12, gives relevance and a reason. The story focuses mainly on Val, I liked this as it meant I could see a different side to her, while Toni is the strong and quick-tempered one, Val is more the thinker, the planner and the plotter. It is this difference that means Val can see the bigger picture.

The tension of this story gets better and better as you read it. The sense of danger lurks on each page and it did make me wonder how on earth these two girls were going to get through. The ending of the book is quite a shock, and it gives a really good conclusion.

This is a tough and at times shocking story, it is full of tension and there are some great twists. the characters are fabulous and there are definitely some I was rooting for. If you like gangland crime thriller stories then this s one you definitely should have your eye on. It is one I would also recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime fiction genre. Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family, including twin teenage daughters, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Her gangland series for Boldwood, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow begins with the title Blood Brothers.

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The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake #fiction #friendship #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake. This is a book that I have had on my shelf for a while. It was when Natalie, a fellow Book Blogger, posted her review of this book on her site that I knew I wanted to find my copy and read it.

Jackie Collins for a new generation. The Thunder Girls is a blockbuster novel, filled with obsession, addiction, betrayal and revenge, that charts the rise and fall of an 80s girl band from Melanie Blake, a true insider of the music business.

THE

Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita, an eighties pop sensation outselling and out-classing their competition. Until it all comes to an abrupt end and three of their careers are over, and so is their friendship.

THUNDER

Thirty years later, their old record label wants the band back together for a huge money-making concert. But the wounds are deep and some need this gig more than others.

In those decades apart life was far from the dream they were living as members of The Thunder Girls. Breakdowns, bankruptcy, addiction and divorce have been a constant part of their lives. They’ve been to hell and back, and some are still there.

GIRLS

Can the past be laid to rest for a price, or is there more to this reunion than any of them could possibly know? Whilst they all hunger for a taste of success a second time around, someone is plotting their downfall in the deadliest way possible . . .

MY REVIEW

This was a fabulous book to read and it was one that took me back to the 80s and mentioned pop stars and bands of the time as well as some of the dodgy fashion trends. The story is based around The Thunder Girls, chart toppers in the 80s but after a massive bust-up, the band members have not spoken in over 30 years. They were a 4-piece band and they were successful.

Each of the women has moved on, they have gone in different directions and all have made adjustments but the bitterness these once good friends had is still very much present. So when Chrissie has to get in touch with each of the other band members, she knows she is going to be in for a rough time. She doesn’t have any other choice in the matter though.

This is a story that dips into the past of the girls and brings up relevant things that build up the story of how they got to the stage they are each at. With fame in the 80s, they were wild, didn’t have any care but had problems. These are not fully revealed until later in the book and when the author reveals them they are shockers.

The author builds a picture and a past for each of the women, some have married, some divorced, some have children and they all try to put on a brave face like a mask. It is when they come together that this mask slips, but who is the one that is going to break and admit mistakes or own up to what happened? These are strong women and over the years they have become a little warier, but they still hold their anger. It is going to be tough for any of them to admit that they made a mistake or show any sign of weakness.

This is the story of the women but also the other important people in their lives. It also gives a glimpse into the scenes behind the stage and how bands are micromanaged. But while you may be thinking this is a nice little get-together you soon realise that there is a subtle but growing idea of something being amiss. There is more to these women and the other characters than meets the eye and when I say things will hit the fan, I really mean it.

This does refer to being a Jackie Collins for a new generation, I was a fan of the original books and I can see that there are some similarities. There is the sly, conniving, backstabber in bitchiness that you got with those books, but this one does go a lot further with the mysterious side of a longer game.

I was surprised by how quickly I got wrapped up in this book, and I pretty much devoured this in two sittings. The women became likeable and I could see why they had gone their separate ways, and it made sense. Putting the past in the past and moving on is a tough one to do, but the author did a brilliant job of weaving a story that did just that. Several twists, and great pacing and is a very addictive book to read.

This is the story of reunion, friendship and moving on and I adored it immensely. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Source by Sarah Sultoon #crime #thriller @OrendaBooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Source by Sarah Sultoon. I have had a copy of this book for quite a while now and I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. The Source is the debut book for this author and my goodness she doesn’t mess about.

I originally won this book in a giveaway that was run last year.

A young TV journalist is forced to revisit her harrowing past when she’s thrust into a sex-trafficking investigation in her hometown.

One last chance to reveal the truth…

1996. Essex. Thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Carly lives in a disenfranchised town dominated by a military base, struggling to care for her baby sister while her mum sleeps off another binge. When her squaddie brother brings food and treats, and offers an exclusive invitation to army parties, things start to look a little less bleak…

2006. London. Junior TV newsroom journalist Marie has spent six months exposing a gang of sex traffickers, but everything is derailed when New Scotland Yard announces the re-opening of Operation Andromeda, the notorious investigation into allegations of sex abuse at an army base a decade earlier…

As the lives of these two characters intertwine around a single, defining event, a series of utterly chilling experiences is revealed, sparking a nail-biting race to find the truth … and justice.

A riveting, searing and devastatingly dark thriller, The Source is also a story about survival, about hopes and dreams, about power, abuse and resilience … an immense, tense and thought-provoking debut that you will never, ever forget.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that I have had on my shelf for far too long and I am annoyed that I didn’t pick it up sooner. This is a fantastic read although it is sometimes hard due to the subject matter.

This is told over two timelines, one from a young girl called Carly and the other is in the present-day from Marie. The synopsis tells well of the two women and of the way they are living at the time. But, what the synopsis doesn’t mention is the way they have been treated over the years.

This is a story that is a tough read as it does deal with sex trafficking and abuse. While the author doesn’t go into any details she definitely gives the impression of how it makes Carly feel.

As a journalist, Marie is looking into stories regarding the sex trade, and she goes undercover to find those responsible. What she and the rest of the newsroom do not expect is an announcement regarding an older story. Operation Andromeda is reopened and declarations are made announcing that mistakes were made. How opportune is this announcement though, the timing feels rushed and it could derail the investigation that Carly is looking into.

Carly is only 14 and has already had a troubled and awful life. A missing father and a drunk mother are not the best way for a young woman to grow up. She also looks after her young sister and does have an older brother.

Marie is a woman who suffers with demons from her past, she has ways of dealing with these but they are getting increasingly more difficult to quiet.

The author has taken the horrendous theme of sex trafficking, abuse, systematic abuse and corruption to the limits. It is one of those stories where you want to say is all fiction, but if you read the papers then you will be aware that this is just not the case. Covering up past allegations, not reporting crimes and trying to hide events is just the tip of a very complex iceberg that the author has built. The trail of corruption rises into some very high echelons of society and government. This makes this very much a political thriller as well as a journalistic thriller that shows systemic corruption at work.

This is a story that feels very wrong when I say it is a brilliant one, but it really is. The story is one that flows and gradually lets out the secrets of the past. While it is laden with awful events it does have a message of hope of things being finally revealed. It is a story of strength and discovering the truth. If you like a more serious and eye-opening story then this is one you should definitely read. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading mny post,a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Driven by Kerena Swan @KerenaSwan @rararesources #crime #mystery #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Driven by Kerena Swan. This is the second book in the series, and the first I have read! Check further down the post to also stand a chance of winning a paperback copy of the 1st book 🙂

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour for this fabulous book.

Every mother’s worst nightmare
It was only for a couple of minutes, while dropping Noah off at nursery. Little did Melanie realise that leaving her sleeping son in the car would end up being the biggest regret of her life.

A teenage challenge turns sour
For teenager Woody, stealing cars with his new friend helps alleviate the tedium of a life of poverty and boredom. This isn’t what he wants to do with his life but for now, he feels accepted. Except on this occasion, his actions have consequences that could change his life forever. Is it too late to turn his life around?

How far would you go to save those you love?
While DI Paton is on the case of the missing child, he is quickly drawn into a web of deception that hits dangerously close to home. He soon finds himself torn in two, not knowing which way to turn: save his career or his family? Will he be able to crack the case before he himself cracks?


Purchase Links – Amazon UKUS

MY REVIEW

I really liked the synopsis for this book, it suggests that there are three stories wrapped in the cover. There is also more to this than the synopsis suggests, so I had better be careful what I mention!

This is the 2nd book in the series and it is the first one I have read. I did get the feeling that there is more to be garnered from reading the first book, but Driven does work well as a stand-alone.

DI Paton is struggling with balancing his home life and his work life. This does lead him to make the odd mistake, but when it involves the kidnapping of a child there can be no mistakes.

There is also the part that involves the teenager, Woody, now I know what he did was awful but I have to say I had a bit of a soft spot for him as I learnt more about him.

From discovering a child has been kidnapped to the story as it ended was a fabulous journey that was full of tension, suspicion and more than a few shocks and twists along the way.

The story flowed at a wonderful pace and because of the various characters and the different subplots, it kept me eagerly turning the pages. This is one of those stories that you don’t want the author to swap between the characters because you need to know what happens to them. Obviously, this is the format of the story and it is a great way of keeping me reading it means I start to suspect and usually get various things wrong. There were some wonderful routes that the author took and these did surprise me.

It is a book where you may think about a character one way only to find that there is a history that has shaped them. Stereotyping people is a great way of setting the reader up to get their suspicions and observations wrong. The storyline is tense and it is actually quite dangerous and not necessarily for the most obvious of reasons.

I really enjoyed this one and I do like the little teaser that the author has left for the next book. This is a series I can definitely see myself carrying on with, I do like Paton’s sidekick or left-in-command!

For a police procedural with a twist, I really enjoyed this one. One for crime and mystery fans and also one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Before coming to Hobeck, Kerena had published three novels, Dying To See You, Scared to Breathe and Who’s There? and has built a solid fan base around her writing career thus far. She is a juggler extraordinaire: driving forward a successful care business she runs with her husband yet finding time to write. She loves to write, here and there and everywhere when she’s not working. We don’t know how she does it but we are glad that she does! Kerena talks about her writing, her influences and how she came to Hobeck in this video.

Social Media Links – Website Twitter Facebook

There is an amazing #GIVEAWAY chance to –

Win a paperback copy of Blood Loss by Kerena Swan (Open to UK Only)


*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch #fantasy #crime #murder #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. This is the first book in the Rivers of London series and I am so glad there are lots more to read since this one was first published in 2011.

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Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

MY REVIEW

I have had this book on my kindle for far too long. (3rd August 2012 to be exact!) When I first saw this book I knew it was one I wanted to read but over time it has slipped down the list and now I have discovered it!

This is a police procedural of sorts, it does have police officers, and detectives and there is a chain of command and all that gumpf. But in with this, there are also ghosts, ghouls, auras, vampires and other things that lurk in the shadows.

Peter Grant is a probationary police officer, he has been given his first assignment. It isn’t to the detective department as his fellow officer is going to go, but to work alongside DCI Thomas Nightingale. He is a one-man department within the MET and he has decided to take on an apprentice. Yes, an apprentice!

Nightingale is the officer that is called when bizarre and other world events happen. River of London is a wonderful introduction to the Gods Goddesses and other creatures of the Thames and tributaries. Peter will have to tiptoe the shores and the politics of the river rulers as well as keep on the right side of other detectives who are reluctant to accept that Nightingale does in fact have his uses.

This was a brilliant story to sit down with and it soon became one that I knew I would not put down until I had finished it. A one-sitting read that has many twists, and unexpected occur5ance, with danger lurking around and within the walls.

At times this is quite funny and I love the writing style of the author. A mix of fantasy and mystery that have been warped or wrapped around a crime and police procedural genre. I can see now how this book has garnered so many great reviews and why it has become a popular series. I will definitely be reading the next book very soon and I would definitely recommend this to readers who like crime with a fantasy twist.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ben Aaronovitch’s career started with a bang writing for Doctor Who, subsided in the middle and then, as is traditional, a third act resurgence with the bestselling Rivers of London series.

Born and raised in London he says that he’ll leave his home when they prise his city out of his cold dead fingers.

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My Week In Books (w/e 27th November 2022) #booklove #bookupdates #MeAndMyBooks

Hello and welcome to another weekly round-up of books I have read. I cannot believe this is the final week of November already. Not only has the month flown by, but the whole year also has to be perfectly honest.

The weather has not been the best again down here in Cornwall. lots of rain, wind, hail and thunder. There is an excellent side to the rain though, and that is that the reservoirs are filling and we did get a small rebate on our water bill.

On the reading front, I have finished all my Blog Tour commitment books for the year, although I already have several lined up for January, February and March already 🙂

Here is what I have been reading…

Merrily Ever After by Cathy Bramley – this is a wonderful festive fiction story that I adored. I didn’t realise there was another book that has one of the characters in it until a fellow Book Blogger told me about it. My full review was published last week and here is the link if you want to read it.

Rivers of London (Rivers of London, #1)

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch – I bought this book on my kindle in 2012 and have just found it again. This is a brilliant book and I am so glad there are more in this series. A mix of police procedural, supernatural, fantasy and mystery. It is a genre I do enjoy and I am definitely looking forward to reading the next books. Full review to follow.

The Source

The Source by Sarah Sultoon – this is another book that has been sat on the shelf for too long and it is a fabulous read. Some very tough topics that have been approached very well. A story of two timelines and one that has far-reaching implications. Corruption, abuse, scandals, institutional abuse and an amazing read. Full review to follow.

The Thunder Girls

The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake – yep another one that has also been gathering dust! Once again another fabulous read. The Thunder Girls were a band in the 80s, they split up and now 30 years later there is a chance for them to reunite. There are problems with this though, they all went their separate ways, there haven’t spoken since the split and there is a huge amount of animosity between them. This is the tip of the iceberg compared to what is going on behind the scenes. Full review to follow.

It has been great reading books that have languished for far too long on my shelves. I am finding that they are brilliant and were definitely worth getting them when I did. I dare not admit how many I have still to be read on my kindle and on my actual bookshelves 😬🤪

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Wishing you all a fabulous week ahead,

Take Care

Yvonne xx

Merrily Ever After by Cathy Bramley #festivefiction #contemporaryfiction #chicklit @orionbooks #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Merrily Ever After by Cathy Bramley. This is a title I saw on NetGalley and decided to request for review. What a wonderful story this was and my thanks to Orion Books for accepting my request to read this.

Merrily Ever After

Two strangers. One big secret. And a Christmas to remember . . .

Merry has always wanted a family to spend Christmas with, and this year her dream comes true as she says ‘I do’ to father-of-two Cole. But as she juggles her rapidly-growing business, wedding planning and the two new children in her life, her dream begins to unravel.

Emily is desperately waiting for the New Year to begin, so she can finally have a fresh start. She has always put her family first, leaving little time for happiness and love. When her beloved father Ray moves into a residential home, she discovers a photograph in his belongings that has the potential to change everything.

As past secrets come to light, will this be a magical Christmas for Emily and Merry to remember?

MY REVIEW

This was such a gorgeous story to read and it is based around two women. They live in the same town but don’t actually know each other. One runs a candle shop the other works as a school secretary.

Merry has a wonderful-sounding shop that sells candles, the name of the shop is Merry and Bright and it sounds amazing. It is the run-up to Christmas so it is a naturally busy time, she also has a wedding to get ready for.

Emily has settled for a secretary job as it fits better with her father. He has dementia and is becoming more confused, Emily looks after him but has to contemplate a change for him into a care home.

A chance meeting between the two women happens while Emily and her Mum are out shopping, when they bump into each other again they recognise each other. However, Emily knows something about Merry now and isn’t sure how to broach the subject.

If you are after a book that will tug on the heartstrings then this is one that should be on your list to read. Yes, it is a festive-themed book as it does include Christmas markets, a wedding and the obvious festive season. This is simply a time of the year, the story that hides underneath the glitter and baubles is one that is simply gorgeous.

Both women are facing changes ahead for different reasons, and the sense of family is strong in each woman. I have to be so careful about what I say as there are so many wonderful moments within this story, there are several layers that are gradually unwrapped and believe me when I say you may need a tissue or more.

This is a story of discovery and of acceptance. Looking towards the future and allowing changes to happen as well as settling some secrets of the past. I do hope I have intrigued you with this title and you pick it up to read because it is fabulous. One for fans of contemporary fiction, festive fiction, and families and it is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cathy Bramley is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby Farm, Wickham Hall, Conditional Love and The Plumberry School of Comfort Food. She lives in a Nottinghamshire village with her family and a dog.

Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted, romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has been always an avid reader, never without a book on the go and now thinks she may have found her dream job!

Merrily Ever After

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The Summer Escape (Isles of Scilly #3) by Hannah Ellis @BooksEllis @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #family #friendship #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Summer Escape by Hannah Ellis. This is the 3rd book in her Isles of Scilly series and each book is a fabulous story to read. They can be read as standalone, but they do work much better when read in order.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Single-mother Beth desperately needs a break.


Grieving the loss of her mother, she sets off to the Isles of Scilly with her five-year-old daughter, Ellie.
Their holiday cottage is utterly charming, but it’s meeting Trystan – the owner of the cottage – that makes Beth’s stay so perfect.
When their holiday fling starts to feel like something more, she knows she’s in trouble. Her life is in Plymouth, while he lives in London. Besides, Trystan has already admitted he’s not ready for a family.


Is he prepared to take a leap of faith for Beth and Ellie? And with the odds stacked against them, can they find a way to make their relationship last beyond the lazy days of summer?

Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW

Oh, it was so nice to go back to the Isles of Scilly for the 3rd book in the series. The previous books have focused on one of the Island families, this time it is the turn of Trystan. He lives and works in London but does come back to the Isles when he can. This time when he returns he can’t stay in his usual cottage.

In the cottage are Beth and her daughter Ellie. They had been on holiday for a week and the weather had been awful, quite typical for my neck of the woods. They are convinced that they should stay on for a few days more as the weather has now brightened up. The cottage belongs to Trystan and his mum rents it out for him, so he is just going to have to stay with her for a few days.

This is another gorgeous story from this author. Each time I come to this series I am hooked. The close family on the island is great to come back to and the banter they have with each other is great. Trystan has recently split from his partner of 10 years. Beth doesn’t have an obvious partner, but she does have a daughter.

Bringing two people together is a nice idea, but there are other circumstances that also need to be considered especially when there is a child involved, I have to say I liked how the author approached this and how there were some awkward situations. Nothing, however, should be taken for granted, as Beth is a single Mum she is very protective of her daughter and after all, they are only on holiday!

This is a wonderful and tentative story that works its way along at its own pace, not too rushed and at times with some amusing outcomes. It was a chance to learn more about the family and especially Trystan and I am delighted to see who the author has her sights set on for the next story!!!

This is one for those who like a holiday romance, contemporary fiction, family and friendships and a really wonderful heartwarming story. I would definitely recommend this one, and also the previous ones in the series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

– Hannah Ellis spent many years working in childcare before deciding she’d like to write books. When she’s not busy writing she likes to read, drink tea and eat chocolate. She also enjoys yoga and jogging.


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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx