Wishing Under a Starlit Skye by Lisa Hobman @LisaJHobmanAuth @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #romance #contemporaryfiction #netgalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Wishing Under a Starlit Skye by Lisa Hobman. This is a wonderful read and one I absolutely adored.

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 book via NetGalley.

Wishing Under A Starlit Skye
Glentorrin bakery owner, and lone parent, Caitlin Fraser, is single and finally ready to mingle.
With her daughter, Grace, about to become a teenager, and her friends all settling down, Caitlin decides she deserves a shot at happiness too.


Resisting the pull of dating apps, Caitlin embarks upon a series of disastrous singles events where she bumps into fellow villager, and astronomy buff, Archie Sutherland, who is nursing his own past secrets.
When Grace’s best friend’s father, handsome Lyle Budge, asks Caitlin to dinner, things progress quickly and she has a taste of what their future as a family could be, much to both their daughters delight! But when Archie makes a shocking discovery, and he turns to Caitlin for help, she soon discovers Lyle isn’t the sharing type, meaning prickly ultimatums loom for everyone.


Will wishing upon the stars over Glentorrin help Caitlin to figure out her way forward? Or is her hunt for romance like a once in a lifetime comet, easily missed in the blink of an eye?


Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW

This is the second book I have read set on Skye by this author and I have to say both have been gorgeous reads. The author does a recap with some of the characters, but this latest one could also be read as a stand-alone.

Caitlin and her daughter Grace are two strong and lovely characters. Caitlin has lived on Skye since just before Grace was born. Grace’s father is not on the scene and the relationship mum and daughter have is amazing. They are supportive of each other. Friends have been pushing Caitlin towards trying dating, something she hasn’t done since before Grace, and Grace thinks it’s a great idea.

What better than being in a relationship with Grace’s best friends Dad, Lyle. He sounds like such a nice man, supportive of his daughter and such a nice man. Caitlin however mentions how Grace came to be and it doesn’t go down as well as she hoped. Not everyone knows about Grace’s conception, but then it’s not something that Caitlin or Grace have spoken to others about.

This is a fabulous book that I read in one sitting, it was definitely one of those books where I kept saying “I’ll just read one more chapter”… and then just kept going!

Being part of a family or choosing to start a family is different for many people, Caitlin is one that decided what she wanted and has done an amazing job by herself, much to the disgust of her mother.

The island community of Skye is a wonderful idyllic sounding one that the author has created. The supporting cast for this story are a wonderful bunch, there when you need them and also to give the odd honest opinion when it is most needed.

As the story gradually led into the main section, it is friends that give Caitlin a nudge, but it is ultimately up to Caitlin to do something about it. This is not just a simple and straightforward romance where two people meet and that’s it, no, this is a story that throws up some really interesting scenarios and it makes for such an addictive read.

A story that fans of contemporary fiction and romance will adore. Not the standard romance, or family set up and I think this is what makes this so good, it has a realistic feel to it. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Hobman has written many brilliantly reviewed women’s fiction titles – the first of which was shortlisted by the RNA for their debut novel award. In 2012 Lisa relocated her family from Yorkshire to a village in Scotland and this beautiful backdrop now inspires her uplifting and romantic stories. Her first title for Boldwood Dreaming Under an Island Skye was published in February 2021.


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The Garden by the Sea by Amanda James @amandajames61 @OneMoreChapter_ #publicationday #NetGalley #contemporaryfiction #

I am delighted to share my review today for The Garden by the Sea by Amanda James. This is one of my “go-to authors”, so whenever I see a new book I am there!

Happy Publication Day Amanda xx

My thanks to the Publisher – One More Chapter for approving my request to read this via NetGalley.

A heartwarming novel of new beginnings, community and finding your tribe when you need them the most…

A precious heirloom passed down from mother to daughter…

Lowena Rowe’s beloved mum always claimed her family seedbox was special. Said to contain soil from Tintagel, the mysterious seat of the legendary King Arthur, whomever made a wish upon the box would have a beautiful garden, bountiful crops and love of their fellow man’. Lowena isn’t inclined to believe the myth but can’t part with the box, knowing how much it meant to her mum.

Starting over with a new home and a new job in the Cornish village of St Merryn, Lowena can’t help feeling lost and alone… but she isn’t the only one. Now, as a community of misfits finds solace and friendship in the shade of her growing garden, she realises there might have been truth to the mythical box after all, and she may just be growing the life and love she’s always wanted…

MY REVIEW

This is the second book in The Cornish Escapes, the books can be read as stand-alone as they are individual stories in their own right. This is an author that I will automatically read and I always enjoy her stories.

Lowena Rowe has just moved into a gorgeously sounding cottage with a wild garden that overlooks the sea. Her move also means a new job. It is a fresh start for her as she has sold her Mums home, there are certain things that Lowena brings with her to her new home, one of which is a little box that her Mum had told her was special.

This is a story that is captivating, enchanting and so wonderfully described. The author has brought together a mixed bunch of characters who have their own quirks and foibles. Zelah is fab and I do think she is one of my favourites. The thing with this story is that it felt right, by this I mean that there are some of the characters who I thought “that could be so and so from my village”. Having characters that could so easily be from your community makes for really great reading.

The story is about bringing people together, making new friendships and helping others out. Stepping out of your comfort zone is something that is tough, but there are several characters that do actually need to make this journey to realise that there is more to life.

There is a romantic element to this story and not just for one set of characters. While I do think that these were really good, it did feel a little bit too convenient, this is not a bad thing as they all fitted in within the context of the story. I just think that there is the potential for being a lot more to several of the characters and a couple of them I was really intrigued to know more about.

This is a lovely and wonderful story, it is about new starts, looking towards the future and believing. It is a heartwarming story and one that I adored. It is one I would happily recommend.

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Put a Wet Paper Towel on it by Lee Parkinson and Adam Parkison #NetyGalley #nonfiction #education @HarperCollinsUK #humour #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Put a Wet Paper Towel on it by Lee Parkinson and Adam Parkinson. I admit it was the title of this book that definitely caught my eye. I remember that a wet paper towel was used in school for so many things.

A heart-warming and hilarious look at life in the classroom from the teachers who host the most popular UK education podcast, Two Mr Ps in a Pod(Cast).

Have you ever wondered what really happens during the day when your precious little angels are at school?

In this book, The Two Mr Ps will take you on a side-splittingly funny journey through the weird and wonderful world of primary schools. It will also explore the pressures of modern-day teaching, revealing exactly what it takes to wrangle a chaotic classroom (or seven) on a weekly basis. From the absolute characters found in the staffroom to school-trip mishaps and everything else in between, Put A Wet Paper Towel on It is a must-read for teachers and parents alike.

So sit up straight, four legs on your chair, fingers on lips and get ready to take a trip down memory lane. And remember – when in doubt, just put a wet paper towel on it. 

MY REVIEW

This is quite an entertaining book about working in a Primary School in the UK. The title immediately caught my eye as I can remember wet paper towels being used for nose bleeds, cut fingers, grazed knees and many other things.

The authors are brothers, both working in primary Education, one a teacher the other a teaching assistant. The authors provide a background that tells their journey into the classroom, and also rather humorously some of the events that have occurred over the years.

They list various types of personalities that you can find amongst teachers, students and also parents. There are various observations from both about the way the education system keeps evolving and how there seems to be more paperwork than ever before.

Both of the authors have a similar attitude but they also have a very strong ethos when it comes down to teaching and helping those in their care.

While this is a humorous book there are also some very important things discussed and it does highlight the plight of education, schools, politicians and the ever-changing goalposts. This is a nicely balanced book and one that I did enjoy reading. It is one I would happily recommend. 

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Hustle by Owen Mullen @OwenMullen6 @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Hustle by Owen Mullen. This is the 3rd book in The Glass Family series and it gets better with each book. It is a series I would recommend reading in order as it shows the special dynamics of the family.

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

Hustle
What was meant to be a straightforward jewellery heist goes horribly wrong, and the thieves are forced to take a hostage to make their escape. But when they discover their prisoner is the infamous Nina Glass – one of the bosses of the most dangerous criminal dynasty in London – they soon realise they have made a terrible mistake.
Greed wins out over good sense and the gang decide to make the best of a bad situation. They send Luke Glass a ransom note. But messing with London’s top crime dynasty is a serious error. Now Luke must track down the gang who abducted his sister before they carry out their brutal threats.
The Glass family have other problems. The crooked cop they have on their payroll – DCI Oliver Stanford – makes an unwelcome discovery. The insider they had all presumed dead, may, in fact, have survived, and still be feeding information to the police. 
Under attack from all sides, and desperate to save his sister, Luke has the reputation and survival of the crime dynasty in his hands – is this the end of the Glass family?

Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEWS FOR THE PREVIOUS BOOKS –

FAMILY – Ist book – Full Review HERE

INSIDER – 2nd book – Full Review HERE

MY REVIEW

The author really is injecting some interesting and dangerous characters into this series. This is a brilliant gangland crime series that is great for those who like a grittier thriller read.

The family concerned is the Glass family, brother Luke took over from his ruthless brother Danny. The sisters have an interest in the legitimate side of the business and while they don’t necessarily get on, they are family.

When Nina is caught up in a robbery it is a mystery for the rest of the family to work out why, where and what on earth the robbery had to do with Nina. To say tempers are short and volatile is the understatement of the year as those closest to Nina are trying to act as if all is normal. They still have a business and also a reputation to keep going.

I really like how this series is evolving with new and interesting characters, I say interesting because you are never quite sure how the author’s characters are going to react or behave. Some are downright narcissistic, others seem ok and others have the subtle art of deception down to a tee.

Using one of the main characters the way he has with Nina, the author has upped the stakes on the family. Putting Nina and the family in a vulnerable situation has made it possible to see more of their individual characteristics and traits. It also allows the reader a glimpse into how well they control their tempers and emotions. Quite an eye-opener for anyone who is following the series.

As this is very much a gangland crime thriller then you do expect a different level of brutality. There is a fine line between giving enough as far as descriptions go or too much. Thankfully the author knows how to walk this line without crossing it. Descriptions give enough for the reader’s mind to add what is not mentioned!

This is an addictive series and yes I do think it needs to be read in order so you get to know the characters and why they are as they are. This is one for readers who enjoy a more brutal, gritty hardcore crime thriller read and this latest book in the series is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Owen Mullen is a highly regarded crime author who splits his time between Scotland and the island of Crete. In his earlier life, he lived in London and worked as a musician and session singer. He has now written seven books and his first gangland thriller for Boldwood, Family was published in January 2021.

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My Week In Books (w/e 9th January 2022) #booklove #MeAndMyBooks

Hello, and welcome to my weekly wrap up of books that I have read over the last week. The weather certainly has taken a turn for the worst, cold, wet windy and also thundery. It seems that we don’t have a drizzle or a shower instead it chucks it down.

I am certainly looking forward to warmer weather so I can get out in the garden. It’s a good job I have plenty of house plants to keep me occupied. I spent a while removing the dead and dying leaves from my carnivorous plants in the window sill and tidying up some of the many others I have in just a couple of rooms. I still have the ones in the kitchen to go through! Can’t ever have enough plants or books 🙂

Here is what I have read…

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I received a copy of You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen McManus via Amazon Vine and it had purple sprayed edges! This is a Young Adult book and one that had plenty of twists and turns. I did like the connections that were made in the latter third of the book as the story began to come together more. This is one for mystery and crime readers and one I would recommend.

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Wow! One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardener was a one-sitting read for me. This is the second in the Frankie Elkin series and it is brilliant. I would suggest reading the first book as it does give you the background for why Frankie looks for missing people. Keep an eye out for the Blog Tour and my full review.

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This is the first time I have read anything by this author. Other Parents by Sarah Stovell was a brilliant introduction to this author. This is a dark and quite sinister story set around parents, their opinions and views. It deals with social and class structures, bigoted and narrow-minded views and was a brilliant book. Full review to follow soon.

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The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain is another brilliant read and is one that also has differing viewpoints. This one is a duel-timeline story set in North Carolina in the 60s and 2000s. How the past and the present connect is intriguing and when truths emerge it is an eye-opener for sure. This is a story that deals with the Civil Rights Movement and it makes for tough reading at times. Again, my full review will be soon.

Well, there we go another week of quite serious reading and dealing with a wide array of topics and themes.

Wishing you all the very best for the coming week.

Take Care, Stay Safe

All the best, Yvonne xx

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Heartcross Castle by Christie Barlow @ChristieJBarlow @rararesources #LoveHeartLane #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for the latest book in the Love Heart Lane series. Heartcross Castle by Christie Barlow is the 7th book in the series, and yes I have read and loved every one of them. If you know this series then you know you will be in for yet another treat.

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

Heartcross Castle
Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what
A second chance…
When her grandfather Marley passes away Grace Power discovers she’s been left the beautiful but crumbling estate of Heartcross Castle. As a single mum of three, Grace has no idea what she’s going to do with it – but who can say no to a roof over their kids’ heads and a chance to get away from past hurts?
And a forever home
Heartcross Castle is full of secrets – especially a lost security deposit box that holds the truth to everything… But when celebrity chef Andrew Glossop sets his eyes on the castle and, to make matters worse, mistakes Grace as the new housekeeper, Grace tells him there is absolutely NO CHANCE he is getting his hands on her home.
 
Devastated to have got it so wrong, Andrew will do anything to make it up to her – but is she willing to listen?

Purchase Links Amazon – UK US

MY REVIEW

I know that there are many readers out there that adore the Love Heart Lane series, I am definitely one of them. This is book 7 and it keeps getting better and better, I do think this one may be my favourite so far.

Running away from home and Heartcross Castle as a teen was something that Grace felt she had to do. Years later she finds herself realising that life hadn’t been a bed of roses, but at least she had her three sons. Her life revolves around them and when she receives a letter she knows that this is the thing she has been waiting for. A fresh start for her and her boys.

I have read and loved every one of the books in this series, they can be read as stand-alone as they are a story in their own right. What you will miss out on is how the community has been connected, brought together and developed with each book.

Grace returns to her childhood home, but rather than being the gorgeously decorated castle she finds a run-down, unloved looking place that definitely needs work. Her first impression isn’t good, but gradually it is her sons that give her the inspiration she needs to see past the grime and tatty facade. It is the community that will give her the support and rekindle the lost friendships because this is what this community does best.

Andrew her neighbour, well he could not be more different to Grace if he tried. Their first meeting didn’t go well when he mistakes her for being the housekeeper! It sort of sets the tone of his characters and shows how out of touch with the real world and everyday life he really is.

Thank goodness for the three boys, who are just adorable. They are mischievous, cute, funny and they themselves steal the show for this story. While they are a major part of the story, they just crop up in the best parts and in the best way. I imagine the author chuckling as she wrote their antics into the story.

This is once again another fabulous addition to the series. It is heartwarming, at times sad, with plenty of surprises and revelations but most of all it has all the magic of previous books, once again cementing another wonderful set of characters into this series. I adored this one a huge amount and it is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

– Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.
Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.
Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.
Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Sapphire by Heather Burnside @heatherbwriter @AriesFiction #NetGalley #crime #thriller

I am delighted to share my review today for Sapphire by Heather Burnside. This is a gangland crime thriller and part of The Working Girls series, but this book can be read as a stand-alone.

My huge thanks to Andrew Knowles for getting in touch regarding this Aries Fiction publication via NetGalley.

TWO SISTERS ALONE.

Sophie and Kelsey have always had each other. When their mum is diagnosed with cancer and their dad fails to step up, they’re forced to move into the care system. But Sophie knows they’ll be okay as long as she’s there to protect her sister.

ONE FINAL CHANCE.

But when Kelsey is found a foster family and Sophie can’t join her, Sophie’s left in an unsafe situation in the home, forced to do things against her will. Finding her own foster family feels like a relief, but it’s short-lived when her trust in her new foster parents is betrayed.

NO GOING BACK.

With nowhere to turn, Sophie finds herself homeless. But when she finds her new street family, Sophie joins the working girls and her new identity as Sapphire is complete. It’s a hard life working the streets, especially when those around her look to take advantage, but can the dream of one day finding Kelsey keep her going?

MY REVIEW

This is an author who is new to me and so I was intrigued when I saw this book. Even though it is part of a series it is one that can be read as a stand-alone.

Sapphire is the name of Sophie, older sister to Kelsey. Life goes from bad to worse for the pair when their mother dies and their father wants nothing to do with them as he has a new family. The girl’s des[erately want to remain together but it is hard to find places for teens, so when Kelsey is offered a place with a foster family Sophie lets her go.

As the story continues life for Sophie doesn’t go the way it did for her sister, the two slowly drift. The point where Sophie becomes Sapphire is further in the story. It is a heartbreaking story and one that was tough to read. Unfortunately, it is one that could very easily be true. It is the story of how a teen finds herself alone, on the streets and homeless.

The author has given a very harrowing account of Sapphire and her experiences, the hardships the dangers and the addictions. It is one way of showing how living in a nice warm and comfy home can go wrong and that all the things that follow are a downward spiral.

The author takes the reader into a world of poverty, drugs, destitution, prostitution and death. It is not a pretty world or a nice one to read about. All the while I thought this is how easy it could be if you are completely alone and think you have no choices or options. It does have a grim reality to it.

This is a gangland styler crime thriller, it is brutal and does explore various aspects of homelessness and living as best you can. It is quite an addictive read and one I found very difficult to put down. It is one I would recommend. 

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The Unravelling by Polly Crosby @HQStories #contemporaryfiction #mysterious #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Unravelling by Polly Crosby. I read this book a while ago and loved it, the publication day was delayed and so now this gorgeous story is now available for purchase.

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Tartelin has been employed by Marianne Stourbridge to hunt for butterflies, but she quickly uncovers something far more intriguing. The island and Marianne share a remarkable past, and what happened all those years ago has left its scars.

The island has a strange effect on Tartelin, too, finally allowing her to confront her own, painful, memories. As she does, Marianne’s story begins to unravel around her, revealing an extraordinary tale of two girls, an obsession with pearls, and a truth beyond imagination.

Atmospheric and deeply emotional, The Unravelling is a captivating novel about the secrets we can only discover when we dare to look beneath the surface.

MY REVIEW

The Unravelling is such a great read, it has the haunting atmospheric feel that the synopsis mentions. The story is based on a small island, Dohhalund and only one house is inhabited, Dogger House. This island and house have been in the ownership of the Stourbridge family for generations. Marianne is the current resident, she has employed Tartelin to help her with her work documenting the changes don’t the island and of the butterflies.

Once a community of herring workers worked here, and the family also used to collect the pearls from the oysters. They then moved into the silk business. It is the silk that occupied a young Marianne’s time as she cared for the silkworms.

The story alternates between timelines and tells the life of a young Marianne and the people in her life at the time. What happened years ago and why was the island taken over by the military in 1955. This is something that nags a Tartelin’s conscience. As does the mystery of why a wheelchair-bound Marianne has returned after all these years.

This is really a stunning story that almost has an ethereal feel to it, the memories and events of the past just sit out of sight of Tartelin and she must indeed unravel the mysteries of the previous decades. Marianne is not forthcoming with information, but there are hints and clues. Marianne is not the only one to return to the island, there are visitors such as birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.

This is one of those stories that I was able to completely lose myself in. The story and the characters flitted back, forth and around like the butterflies. There is a gentle ebb and flow to the story which is reminiscent of the tide as one thing is solved for another to take its place.

As Tartelin discovers more about the island and of Marianne she starts to see changes in herself, she is taking more risks and is coming into her own. For me, she was very much like a butterfly as it transforms.

This is a gorgeously written story, atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful. Captivating and totally immersive. It is one for those that like delving into mysteries of the past, to discover more about a family and to discover the secrets.

This is a book I would definitely recommend.

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

A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #romance #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Bloggers to be opening the tour and to share my review today for A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland. I have read each one of the books in this series and I adore them. I am going to suggest you read them in order if you haven’t, but they can be read as stand-alone stories.

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 book via NetGalley.

It’s time for the wedding we’ve all been waiting for…

Life at Hedgehog Hollow is never dull, although Samantha hopes that the new year ahead will be a little less chaotic as she prepares to marry the love of her life, Josh. But disaster strikes when she checks the rescue centre’s bank account after the festive season and discovers it has been emptied. Who would do such a thing, and why? With the future of Hedgehog Hollow now in jeopardy, planning a wedding has lost its shine.

Phoebe is desperate to escape the shadow of her family, infamously known for their attacks on Samantha’s beloved rescue centre. Could the kindness of the Hedgehog Hollow team be the chance she needs for a fresh start, or will her family’s secrets continue to drag her back?

Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW

I really don’t know how the author manages it, but this is once again an amazing book to read. I suppose you could read it as a stand-alone but in all honesty, you will get so much pleasure from reading this series in order.

As the title suggests, this one is about a wedding at Hedgehog Hollow, if you are following this series then you will know who it is! While the wedding is an important part of the story, it is about so much more than that.

This one is told in two voices and I adored it. Samantha is the owner and hedgehog rescuer, she has run the hedgehog sanctuary for a while and is doing great. Always busy but never too busy to help others when needed. The second voice is Phoebe, and while she had been mentioned previously she has a story to tell and if you thought Samantha’s was tough, Pheobe’s is definitely worse.

The way the two stories have been combined makes for some tough reading at times, and it certainly is very pertinent to the story that gradually emerges. Things at the sanctuary are hanging in the balance, but while Samantha and the rest of the family, friends and volunteers are doing their best, Samantha is run ragged.

Pheobe is a character who gradually emerges and I adored how she started to grow in confidence given the tough life she had been given.

This story is one that has some home truths that emerge, and for me, they are rightly deserved. Some interesting new characters and of course some old favourites. By the end of the story, I was struggling to read due to the watery eyes! Emotional it definitely was on many levels. I have to say that I think this is the best one so far, although I adore the previous books.

While there are some tough topics there are some brilliant fun moments, especially the naming of newly arrived hedgehogs! I also learnt more new things about hedgehogs as well.

This is a series that I would recommend reading in order, it is heartwarming and at times made my blood boil, but it also made me chuckle, grin and tear up. It is a brilliant read and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Redland is the top 10 bestselling author of over thirteen novels, including The Secret to Happiness. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.


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The Book of Sand by Theo Clare #NetGalley @CENTURYBOOKSUK #fantasy #dystopian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Book of Sand by Theo Clare. This is a good-sized fantasy book that has a dystopian and mystery/ thriller feel to it. It is due for Publication tomorrow and I wish to thank Century Books UK for my e-copy that I received via NetGalley.

The Book of Sand: the first novel in an epic series created by the late Mo Hayder, one
of the UK’s finest and most inventive storytellers.

SAND. A hostile world of burning sun.

Outlines of several once-busy cities shimmer on the horizon. Now empty of inhabitants, their buildings lie in ruins.

In the distance a group of people – a family – walk towards us.

Ahead lies shelter: a ‘shuck’ the family call home and which they know they must reach before the light fails, as to be out after dark is to invite danger and almost certain death.

To survive in this alien world of shifting sand, they must find an object hidden in or near water. But other families want it too. And they are willing to fight to the death to make it theirs.

It is beginning to rain in Fairfax County, Virginia when McKenzie Strathie wakes up. An ordinary teenage girl living an ordinary life – except that the previous night she found a sand-lizard in her bed, and now she’s beginning to question everything around her, especially who she really is …

Two very different worlds featuring a group of extraordinary characters driven to the very limit of their endurance in a place where only the strongest will survive.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that completely caught me by surprise, I was aware that there were two stories involved here but how they connected was a complete curve ball!

One timeline is a group, or as they refer to themselves, a family who are surviving in an inhospitable desert. Each member has a different background and they have random memories from their previous life.

The second is of a young girl, fascinated by wind and sand. She lives in the US and is looked at as a bit of an oddity, her family don’t understand her and her obsessions.

I really don’t know how to start this review so it may be a little disjointed and most likely very vague! The two storylines don’t seem to have any connectors in them, two completely different worlds and people. One is a world we would recognise, as it has a present-day “normal world” setting. The other is definitely not, think of something like Dune but with scarier creatures that emerge at night and that has a time limit to it.

The two stories are very good in their own right, and it took me a while to realise how unconnected they both are. It is not until a lot later in the book that there is that sudden OMG moment when the author literally drops the bombshell. And it was a massive one that suddenly changed the story.

Given the slower and slightly disjointed storyline at the start of the story, I found something about this that kept me reading. I have seen very different reviews of this and some feel that it does go on a bit long. Others and I am one, think it is perfect. I thought it was a way of the author making sure we really get to know the characters. I also found that it very subtly ramped up the mystery and intrigue and I didn’t realise that until the bombshell moment.

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it is a mix of dystopian, fantasy, contemporary and mystery. It is from the pen of Mo Hayder who sadly passed away this year (July 2021) at the age of 59. This book is the first time I had read anything by her and I will be going through the back catalogue.

The Book of Sand is a story that I do think will divide readers, it is one that I found was really intriguing and it was the two separate timelines and the different worlds that really drew me in. The end section does change things a lot and it becomes darker and more dangerous.

I really enjoyed this and I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for something engaging, mysterious, dystopian and a little bit different.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mo Hayder

THEO CLARE left school at fifteen. She worked as a barmaid, security guard, filmmaker, hostess in a
Tokyo club, educational administrator and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia. She had an
MA in film from The American University in Washington, DC and an MA in creative writing from Bath
Spa University, UK. She wrote crime novels under the name Mo Hayder, and her fifth novel Ritual was
nominated for the Barry Award for Best Crime 2009 and was voted Best Book of 2008 by Publishers
Weekly. Gone, her seventh novel, won the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and her novel Wolf was nominated
for Best Novel in the 2015 Edgar Awards and is currently being adapted for the BBC. Theo Clare was
diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2020 and passed away in July 2021.

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