Dreams Come True at Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters @Vicky_Walters @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #romance #HeraBooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Dreams Come True at Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters. This is a fabulous series and each book could be read as a stand-alone but then you would be missing out on some fabulous stories.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy from the Publisher Hera Books.

Lorna is following her dreams. But can she follow her heart?
Lorna Ferguson has dreamt of opening her own bed and breakfast in the village of Glendale for as long as she’d pictured falling in love. While her love life remains frankly hopeless, Lorna is determined to secure Dove House – the home she imagined living in as a child – to start this new venture with her family.
Along with brother Adam, Lorna starts restoring the house to its Art Deco glory, but faced with a whole host of renovation problems and their money fast running out, they worry that Dove House will never be ready to open in the New Year.
When a mystery man turns up, needing to fulfil a promise he made to his dying father and find the object he left at Dove House many years ago, Lorna’s heart goes out to him. But what they find there is going to change both of their lives forever.
Facing problems at every turn, and distracted by her heart, Lorna is going to need all the magic that her beloved Glendale can supply to make all her dreams come true.


Purchase Links – Amazon Kobo Apple Hive

MY REVIEW

This is 5th book in The Glendale series and it is a wonderful one to read. The author has based her fictional village of Glendale in Scotland, it is a community with a warm welcome and once you have arrived you never want to leave.

Lorna and Adam are siblings, their mother took them to visit the wonderful Art Deco Dove House when they were small children. They have always loved the cottage and had dreams of one day owning the cottage and running it as a B&B. A huge undertaking but one that they suddenly have the chance of buying and making their dreams come true.

I adored the feeling of coming back to this community and the characters of Glendale and the surrounding area. Having read and followed this series, each book is a wonderful chance to sit and immerse myself.

The challenge of renovating Dove House is a massive task, it will take all of Lorna and Adam’s time, money and effort to get it to a stage where it can once again become habitable. Both are single and both are looking forward to starting this new venture, they have the support of their family and friends, well mostly! Some don’t see the dream coming to fruition though.

There is something more to Dove House than either sibling realised, a mysterious visitor wanting to fulfil a final wish, a chance to start again, admissions as to feelings and being open to change is just the tip of the iceberg.

This is another fabulous instalment in this series, it has the warmth and familiarity of the previous books, and yes this is where I would suggest reading the series in order. To be fair though, each book could be read as a stand-alone as the author does give the basics of family and friendship connections from previous books.

If you are a fan of contemporary fiction stories that are centred around communities, friends and family then this is a book and series you really need to have on your list. The author creates each story with a wonderful heartwarming essence, nothing is straightforward and there are bumps in the road, but then that is very much what life is like.

Gorgeously written, with wonderful characters and a wonderfully heartwarming story that I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Victoria Walters is a full-time author living in Surrey. Victoria writes cosy books including the bestselling uplifting and romantic series GLENDALE HALL and the new gripping and charming crime novel MURDER AT THE HOUSE ON THE HILL. She has been chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for two RNA awards. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star.
Find out more about Victoria by following her on Instagram at @vickyjwalters, on Twitter at @Vicky_Walters or by visiting her blog at:https://victoria-writes.com/

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Tick Tock by Simon Mayo #thriller #contemporaryfiction #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Tick Tock by Simon Mayo. I have not read any of his books before, but if his latest one is anything to go by I will be reading them.

It starts quietly enough. A tick tick ticking you can hear in your ear. Tinnitus, you think. It will pass. But it doesn’t. It gets worse – and then you pass it on.

Before you know it, it spreads. Elsewhere across the globe, it emerges, small outbreaks at first, contained groups of people, young and old, and suddenly it’s a plague – and ten days later it’s killing people. The hospitals are overflowing and there is no cure. There is a paranoid panic which sets friend against friend, neighbour against neighbour. Where does the world go from here?

In the north London school where it is first discovered, head of English, Kit Chaplin is struggling to understand what he is witnessing. Even eminent bacteriologist and his partner Lilly Slater can’t help him. But as the virus rips through the school and into the outside world, the world starts to take notice. Kit is more concerned about his students – and his young daughter, Rose – but little by little he gets sucked into where this mystery illness might have come from. And how it’s going to threaten his world.

Tick Tock is the compelling new novel from master storyteller and legendary DJ, Simon Mayo. It tells the story of a different kind of pandemic through the eyes of three people at the heart of the storm. Utterly exciting, urgently contemporary, piercingly insightful, it more than confirms the promise of his bestselling and acclaimed first thriller, Knife Edge.

MY REVIEW

I had seen this book getting some good reviews and decided it was one I really wanted to read. I mean the first paragraph in the synopsis – “It starts quietly enough. A tick tick ticking you can hear in your ear. Tinnitus, you think. It will pass. But it doesn’t. It gets worse – and then you pass it on.” that really was the hook for me!

This is a big story but one that has a small amount as far as the cast of characters goes. They are father and Daughter, Kit and Rose and Kit’s partner Lilly and her daughter Jess. The story focuses mainly on Kit, Rose and Lilly, as circumstances and events mean they come together for various reasons further in the story.

It has not been long since the Covid pandemic and this is referred to in this story as something that has happened and the world has moved on. The ticking can be heard not only by the person who emits it but also heard by those close to them. For me, this is a step forward from a cough or sneeze that we were all distancing ourselves from over a previous couple of years.

The author does use some of the reactions that we saw from Covid in this story and then elaborates on others. Pandemic and panic, social media and public opinion are something that goes hand-in-hand with this story. It adds to the tension and especially when the clicking then turns into deafness and then death.

I liked how the author brought things to a quiet presence, where people didn’t wear headphones and music playing loudly and while it sounds peaceful it came across as very ominous and quite a scary atmosphere. You need to be able to hear if people are clicking and therefore if they are infected. So this was a great move within the story.

The characters come across as trustworthy, Kit is a Head of English, Rose is a student and Lilly is a known virologist. This adds a credence to the feel of the story as such because we are talking about two adults who are educated and having the daughter involved means they have access to the modern generation’s use of technology and social media.

This was a gripping story and one that I really enjoyed. It was a tense read and one that I read easily over two sittings. I have not read any of this author’s previous books so I am looking forward to changing that.

This is one for those who like a story that is tense, well-paced and has a lot of theories that are discussed. I like how the characters are forced together to search for their own answers and this again is where the choice of characters and their roles come into play so well. This was one that had quite a few twists and I wasn’t entirely sure where the author was going to go or how it would end, definitely kept me hooked and I would definitely recommend it.

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The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski @Borstinski @ZooloosBT #historicalfiction crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski. While I am delighted to share I am also sad that this is the final book in the Alex Cohen series. It has been a fabulous series to read and an absolute pleasure to support in the Blog Tours.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful book.

How can a crooked man ever go straight?
Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen settles down in Florida surrounded by his wife and family. But his past life in the criminal underworld stalks his every move and when a bullet whizzes past his ear, he must decide whether to run or fight.


In his desire to go straight, Alex inserts himself in the East Coast porn film industry, only to find that the tentacles of the mob are clasped tight around his life. With the Feds using new laws to hunt down mob bosses, and rats in his own organization all too ready to testify against him, Alex must clean house before the authorities throw him in jail or the mob kills him to stop him ratting them out.


The seventh book in the Alex Cohen series is a historical thriller novel, which reveals the dying embers of Jewish organized crime in America. Leopold Borstinski’s crime fiction shines a light on the death of the old-style mob in an explosive finale.

PURCHASE LINK – HERE

MY REVIEW

Mensch is a Yiddish term for a person of integrity and honour (according to Google). Could you call a gangster a man of honour or someone with integrity?

In this final book in the Alex Cohen series, the author takes a glimpse, at times of the past, of Alex. From his beginnings when he arrived at Ellis Island to where he is in 1965. He started in The Bowery’s and has gradually emerged into a name that is revered i8n the gangs of the US. The author has had him in the mix and rubbing shoulders and swapping stories with Alfonse Capone, The Kennedys, Fidel Castro and Frank Sinatra.

As the years have passed, Alex has become a husband and a father, he has a close-knit group of friends and business partners. He has worked hard and has put himself in danger many times. and occasionally the lives of his family. He has known a vast number of people and some of them have walked away unharmed!

In this final book, Alex is contemplating his future. He has always said that certain parts of his business will become legitimate and others will go to his oldest and closest business partners and friends. As the author gradually approached the 70s, the once feared name of Alex has started to lose some of its impact. The FEDs have been around for many years, but recently the noose is tightening around the old-style gang bosses. Eager to remain free, there are some who are not averse to turning witness.

Alex has always had a motto and it is one that has been mentioned several times in each book. In this final book, it is mentioned even more. If you have followed the series then you will know to what I refer.

I have enjoyed this series from the very start, following the highs and the lows. The Mensch is a book that feels slower, and it sort of makes sense to me as Alex is starting to slow down. But, that does not for one moment mean he is relaxing and taking things easy. He is getting things in order and this means huge amounts of travelling for face-to-face meetings. I think by slower, I mean he is spending time thinking over the past, the present and the future. Life is going to change, what and when that change will be, well you are going to have to read this one to find out.

This is a series that is one for those who like historical fiction that is based around the gangsters of the US. From an unknown immigrant to one who has associated with the rich, the famous and the notorious. A fab series and a brilliant finale in this final book. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.
There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.
He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

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The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre #NetGalley #PublicationDay @LittleBrownUK #thriller #crime #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre. This is a tense and fabulously addictive story set on a remote Scottish Island.

My thanks to Little, Brown UK for accepting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

One hen weekend, seven secrets… but only one worth killing for

Jen’s hen party is going to be out of control…

She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think.

As well as Jen, there’s the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law.

It’s a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed.

Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.

MY REVIEW

This was a very intriguing book to read. A group of women goes away together to a Scottish Island for a hen party weekend. This is not a close bunch of women and some don’t know everyone.

The author introduces each of the women and the story is told from their individual perspectives. This makes for a faster-paced story as there is a constant interchanging of characters. When the women first meet up there is some tension, but the bride-to-be, Jen, is hoping that things will settle and any past animosities can be put behind them.

For a while, yes the women seem to hold it together, but then the cocktails soon alter the balance. Oh! and a dead body in the kitchen doesn’t help nor does the delivery of an email to each of them.

I really enjoyed the mystery of this story, yes there is a body, but this isn’t the main story. The story is about the women themselves, the email mentions there being one of the group that isn’t exactly who they say they are. This is actually quite clever, as the synopsis mentions, everyone has a secret!

Having secrets and trying to keep them, or letting them out as much as you dare is one thing, but when they impact those around you as they do in this story, then you need to re-evaluate. I liked how everyone becomes a suspect and while most of the group let some snippets out, not all do. There are some who have a grudge from when they were teens, others have a point to prove and some are definitely not what they appear. This adds to the suspense and the tense energy that surrounds the group.

While this is a crime story as such, I felt it was more of a mystery thriller and the author does gradually bring out the mysteries and secrets of each person. There is also the main question of who actually is responsible for the initial crime and who is the focus of the revenge.

This is a story that keeps twisting the more you read. I do admit that I did work out the who, but that was much later in the book. Up until that point I was flittering between characters and changing my mind.

This really was a fab story, it is addictive, and I do like the locked room feel of the island setting. This is one that like a story with multiple characters and perspectives, has a tense atmosphere and is a riveting read. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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A Change of Heart by Hannah Ellis @BooksEllis @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the tour today and to share my review today for A Change of Heart by Hannah Ellis. This is the second book in the Isles of Scilly series and I adored that book, and yes it would be better to read them in order.

My review for the first book, The Weekend Getaway, is HERE

The Weekend Getaway

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.

She was never meant to fall for her best friend’s brother…

Seren has had a soft spot for her best friend’s brother for as long as she can remember. But when she starts to see Kit as more than just a friend, she knows she’s on dangerous ground.

Avoiding him is probably her best course of action, but that’s easier said than done when you live on a tiny island.

When Kit declares he’s in love with her, she’s forced to deny her feelings. There’s too much to lose for her to do anything else.

If only her heart would get the message that she and Kit aren’t meant to be.

As the tension between them builds it becomes more and more difficult for Seren to keep her feelings hidden.

Can she find the courage to risk everything for love? And will Kit still be waiting for her when she does?

Purchase Links – Amazon Universal link

MY REVIEW

This is the second book in the Isles of Scilly series and again I absolutely adored it. The previous book introduces the reader to the Treneary family who lives on the Isles of Scilly. The first book was about Kiera and Noah, it also introduced the rest of the family. This latest book focuses on best friends Kit and Seren.

They have been friends for years, but recently there has been a change. Both like each other, but there is something more that threatens to rock the boat. Having a friendship is a great thing, you have support and company as well as someone to have a laugh with. Seren is a friend of the family, she spent most of her childhood growing up and around the Treneary house, so Kit is almost like her little brother, and she often reminds him of this. Kit runs a business and he is always popping in to see Seren at the local pub where she works. He is in love with her but doesn’t think she feels the same.

Once again the author has woven such a lovely story that was tantalising with the constant will they/won’t they hanging over. At times this gave quite a fraught feeling and I wanted them to get together, but things never go according to plan. Especially when exes turn up, or you are seen laughing with someone else, or you start to avoid the other person. This leads to heartache and also makes for a wonderful story.

This is a wonderful family, there are several family members and each is mentioned, some more than others and I am hoping that the author has plans to give them each a story over the series.

The setting is fabulous as there are no secrets but plenty of gossip in this island community. If you like the village romance-style stories then this has a very similar vibe.

A gorgeous story that I was only planning on reading a few chapters of, but, which, once again I read in one sitting. Thank goodness I didn’t have work the next morning!

A gorgeous story of family, friendship and change. It has a tense feel to it as the author puts her characters through the mill, but this makes it great for the reader. Ideal for fans of contemporary fiction and romance. One I would defiantly recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hannah 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.

Social Media Links – Twitter Facebook Instagram

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The Game by Scott Kershaw @HQstories #NetGalley #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Game by Scott Kershaw. The cover and the snappy synopsis definitely caught my eye when I requested it.

My huge thanks to HQ for granting my request to review this book via NetGalley.

The rules are simple. To save their life, you have to play.

[text message]

DEAR PLAYER,

THE PERSON YOU LOVE MOST IS IN DANGER.

TO SAVE THEM, YOU MUST PLAY THE GAME.

THE RULES ARE: THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE WINNER.

IF YOU LOSE, YOUR LOVED ONE WILL DIE.

ALL PLAYERS ENTER ALONE.

DO NOT SHARE THIS MESSAGE. DO NOT SEEK HELP.

WELCOME TO THE GAME.

YOU’VE JUST STARTED PLAYING.

[end of message]

MY REVIEW

I have to admit it was the cover that first caught my eye with this book. Snappy title, simple graphic and the line – The rules are simple. To save their life, you have to play.

This is a mystery thriller, that does have a crime element to it, but it is more about the mystery of The Game. What is The Game, who runs it, why is this being done and what would you do to keep those you love safe and alive!

There are 5 players in this game, they are unconnected, they are oblivious to each other and they have travelled from the US, France and Uk to meet up so they can learn more about The Game. The consequences are not as clear cut as I originally thought they might be. There was a curiosity to both stories but I was never fully aware of what was occurring until further into the story. The author does pace this story so well, it is one where some players are on a time limit, and this increases the tension of the story.

There is a lot more to this story than the synopsis gives away. The suspense of wondering if any of the players will do something stupid or brave is an ever[present one.

The players are normal people, with normal lives. Because they have been drawn from different countries it makes any connection unlikely. I liked how the author introduced each player and then kept referring back to things in the past. I soon found that I got to know who was who especially when they do meet up to actually continue The Game.

This is intriguing, I liked the time element and the mystery that was underlying all the way through. It is a thriller and I really enjoyed the story. The characters are not all likeable, but this is down to how the author portrays them. I look forward to reading more by this author and I would happily recommend this book.

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A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman @G13Julie @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman. I have read a couple of books by this author and have enjoyed them so when I saw this one I knew I wanted to read it.

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

Discover the secrets and surprises that the scenic Scottish town of Briar Glen has to offer…
When wedding planner Sophie Harkness refuses to move a friend’s wedding to accommodate a spoilt bridezilla, she finds herself out of a job. That is until she discovers her late grandma has purchased a local shop for her in the pretty Scottish town of Briar Glen.
Surprised and delighted, Sophie opens her own porcelain shop in honour of her grandmother. But when an unusual tea set is left with Sophie, along with a mysterious letter, she can’t help but be intrigued by the story behind the antique.
And when the handsome but aloof art critic Xander North comes knocking on her door, Sophie is about to find out the true colourful past of her latest treasure.
The perfect feel-good romance for fans of Jo Thomas, Katie Fforde and Trisha Ashley.

Purchase Links – AMAZON – UK or US

MY REVIEW

This was such a delightful read and one, that when I started I could not put it down. It was definitely a case of “just one more chapter then I’ll go to bed!”.

There is only so much that wedding planner Sophie can deal with when it comes to demanding brides. So from wedding planner to shop owner in a few days is not something she had envisioned. The shop has already been bought, she has some items that will give her the money to buy her stock and get things ready. The downside is that this is the final wish of her grandmother.

The shop is one that sounds just amazing and I will admit not the first thing that I would think of if I have left this opportunity. Luckily the author knows what readers like and so a shop that sells tea sets and crockery was the focus. Tea is something I and my husband drink a lot of, we are the “dunk the bag in the mug” drinkers, but I do drag the old pot and cosy out in the winter so it can sit by the fire to keep warm and we can have a second stewed brew. After reading this book I know want a nice teapot to go with my china and porcelain teacups and saucers.

The teapots and the history of some of the more collectable ones were really interesting and I admit that the author really sold me on this being the best use for the shop that Sophie has taken on. Now, this isn’t a straightforward story where Sophie gets the shop, sells the pots and things are great. Oh no, this is one that comes with mysteries, one of which accompanies a mysterious set from 1900 and how it came to be handed in at the shop. This is a brilliant storyline and one that kept popping in and out of the story along with the story of Sophies Gran.

If the mystery and the interesting information about the tea sets weren’t enough the author has also wound in a confusing time for Sophie with two male characters. Very chalk and chees these guys are. One comes across as aloof and cold, the other has that cheeky chap aura about him. How will they impact Sophie when she already has enough on her plate researching the mystery tea set and also trying to get her shop ready for opening! Well, you will just have to grab a copy to find out.

This was an adorable story and one that I really loved everything about it. It has mystery, romance, intrigue and gorgeous descriptions throughout. One for fans of contemporary fiction, mystery and romance. It is one I would definitely recommend. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Shackman is a former journalist from Scotland, who has always wanted to write feel-good romance. As well as being an author, Julie also writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. Julie admits to having an obsession with stationery and handbags. She is married, has two sons and a Romanian rescue pup, who she named Cooper. A Scottish Highland Surprise is Julie’s sixth novel.

Social Media Links – Twitter Facebook Instagram

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Welcome to Your Life by Bethany Rutter @bethanyrutter @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam #debut #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Welcome to Your Life by Bethany Rutter. This is the first time I have read a book by this debut author and it was a fabulous one to read.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for squeezing me on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

52 weeks.
52 dates.
52 chances to find love.

Serena Mills should be at her wedding.


Instead, she’s eating an ice cream sundae and drinking an obscenely large glass of wine in a
Harvester off the M25.


Everyone thinks she’s gone mad. She’s jilted the man everyone told her she was ‘so lucky’ to find.
But Serena wants to find love. A love she deserves – not one she should just feel grateful for.
So, she escapes to the big city and sets herself a challenge: 52 weeks. 52 dates. 52 chances to find
love.

It should be easy, right?

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and that is because Bethany is a Debut Author, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really liked the sound of the synopsis. The story is of Serena, and she has just left her wedding and is eating ice cream in a chain restaurant. Oh, and she is by herself!

This is the start of a wonderful story about how Serena tries to decide who she is and what she actually wants from her life. Not being the most confident of people and not willing to go out on a limb means she settles for what she knows. Thank goodness she realised in time that what she thought she wanted in life isn’t actually what she was willing to settle for.

This is a very modern feeling romance, that does have some chuckles but also has a more serious side to it. That serious side is one that many of us have had issues with and that is weight. I love how the author has created characters that are happy in their own skins, but still show how hurtful people can be. It doesn’t matter how confident you come across, the comments do still hurt.

So, for Serena changing not only her future but by taking a look at how she perceives what she should settle for is a huge eye-opener for her. It is hard to see herself as others see her and take compliments that are seriously meant. Serena is 28 and is starting to take steps out of her comfort zone. Living in London has opened up a different world to her, giving her some amazing and tantalising new experiences.

This was such a wonderful read. It is light and fun but also deals with some serious issues and the balance was great. This is a romance with a good amount of humour and there are some rather interesting scenes!!

I was definitely interested in how Serena was changing her attitude and also for those around her to support her when she needed it. I really enjoyed this and it is one I would definitely recommend. I am really looking forward to reading more from this author.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Rutter is a writer, podcaster and plus-sized influencer. Her adult
debut, Welcome To Your Life, came to life through conversations with her
friends over drinks in London. Swapping stories of toe-curling online dates,
workplace harassment, new crushes, fashion discoveries and workout
classes, she wanted to write a heroine who turns her life upside-down just
ahead of her thirtieth birthday and is plunged into the wonderful chaos of
contemporary urban life.


In her words: ‘My heroine Serena Mills makes huge decisions. She wants
things for herself, she has Big Feelings, she desires people and is desired in
return. And… she’s fat. Of course, so much about her story has little or nothing to do with her body,
and I hope Welcome To Your Life resonates with you, whatever your body looks like and whatever
you feel towards it. This is just one story that I wanted to tell, where a fat girl gets to be the
protagonist of her own story, rather than a silly footnote in someone else’s.


Welcome To Your Life is dedicated to ‘anyone who’s ever held themselves back’ and encourages
us all to shake off our insecurities and wholeheartedly embrace everything that life has to offer.

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Orphans of the Storm by Celia Imrie #historicalfiction #NetGalley @BloomsburyBooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Orphans of the Storm by Celia Imrie. This is a fabulous historical fiction that has been wonderfully researched and offers a glimpse into those on the Titanic.

My huge thanks to Bloomsbury Books for granting my request to read this book via NetGalley. I do wish I had read it sooner as it was a wonderful read.

From internationally bestselling author and celebrated actress Celia Imrie, an epic novel set against the backdrop of the sinking of the Titanic.

Nice, France, 1911: After three years of marriage, Marcella Navratil has finally had enough. Her husband, Michael, an ambitious tailor, may have charmed her during their courtship, but their few years of marriage have revealed a cruel and controlling streak. The 21-year-old mother of two is determined to get a divorce.

But while awaiting the Judges’ decision on the custody of their children, Michael receives news that changes everything.

Meanwhile, fun-loving New York socialite Margaret Hays is touring Europe with some friends. Restless, she resolves to head home aboard the most celebrated steamer in the world.

But as the ship sets sail for America, carrying two infants bearing false names, the paths of Marcella, Michael and Margaret cross and nothing will ever be the same again.

Orphans of the Storm dives into the waters of the past to unearth a sweeping, epic tale of the sinking of the Titanic that radiates with humanity and hums with life.

MY REVIEW

I know I am not the only reader who sees a book and thinks “I really want to read that” and then it gets lost in the mountain of other books. Orphans of the Storm was one of those books and I am so glad I finally got to read it. If you have this on your TBR then I suggest bumping it up and reading it.

When I first saw this I knew it was one that I would enjoy, historical fiction and one that also includes the Titanic. The book is set in 1911, Nice, France. Marcella is going through the motions of divorcing her husband Michael a tailor. The story then goes back and fills in how the couple met, their life together, their two children and how the Titanic is involved.

This story grabbed me from the first few chapters, more so just before the jump back in time! The first half of the book concerns itself more with Marcella and Michael and how things change for her when her children are born. Michael is not the person she thought she had married, and she lives a very fraught life. He is a tyrant and a manipulator to say the least and not a likeable person at all.

The second half of the book introduces Margaret, a woman who has done the “European Tour” and decides to get an early boat back to America. She boards the Titanic along with around 2,24 other people including the crew. We know from history what happens to this ship.

The author has woven such an amazingly heartbreaking story and I didn’t realise how much research had gone into this until the end of the book. This is so interesting to read and it also gave me the chance to hop on the internet for more information.

The author is not one I have read before, but I was aware of her name as regards being an actor. I think in some ways it was her name that caught my eye first.

The story of Marcella, Michael and her children as well as her family and friends was a wonderful yet very sad story. It gave a glimpse into life for women as wives, employees and mothers. Michael is a person who has charm and you soon see how she was won over.

The section of the story dealing with the going down of the Titanic and then the rescue of some of the 2,224 by the passing ship Carpathia was so well done. It gave an account of what was happening to the main people of the story as well as those around them. When the survivors embarked in America the media frenzy was shocking.

This was such a wonderful story to read, I quickly flew through the pages and was gripped. The historical notes and research information at the end of the book are brilliant and very informative.

If you are a lover of historical fiction that is well researched then you really should look at picking this book. I am so glad I finally got around to reading it and wished I had done so sooner. It is a book I would definitely recommend.

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

The Haven by Amanda Jennings @HQStories #psychologicalthriller #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Haven by Amanda Jennings. This is a fabulously addictive psychological thriller.

My huge thanks to HQ Stories for granting my request to read this book via NetGalley.

Two decades ago, Tara and Kit leave everything behind to join a group living in a tumbledown farm on a glorious expanse of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. For Kit, it’s a chance to break away from his wealthy family and the soulless upbringing he loathes so much; for Tara, the chance to give their young daughter Skye everything she never had – a childhood full of nature and freedom. Breathtakingly beautiful and remote, Winterfall Farm provides them all with an idyllic home, a new family and the opportunity to work and live off the land. At first, it seems too good to be true.

But as the seasons change, the behaviour of Winterfall’s charismatic leader, Jeremy, becomes increasingly erratic. Rules and discipline are imposed. The outside world seems increasingly further away, and as new faces arrive at the farm, tensions rise with devastating consequences…

The Haven is a compelling new novel from Amanda Jennings, author of The Cliff House. 

MY REVIEW

What an addictive read The Haven was. It really didn’t feel like 400 pages! The synopsis lays out the basics very well for the story. A couple leaves the rat race and try to live off-grid. Tara, Kit their 6-year-old daughter Skye and good friend Jeremy buy an old farm on Bodmin Moor. Along with a few others with a similar ethic, they start their own commune of sorts. Trying to create their own utopia in Cornwall.

This was such a fabulous story to disappear into and the beginning of the book introduced me to the characters. Then the author delved into their lives and how they decide to make the move to the tranquil Cornish landscape. Leaving behind luxuries that many of us see as necessities.

While many of us may love the idea of living off-grid, I also know that it would be a very real struggle. Having lived a week without a washing machine or vacuum because they have broken, not having heating in the middle of the winter is tough. I live in Cornwall and I know first-hand how bitter the winds can be, how driving the rain can be and how exposed you are to the elements. Bodmin Moor is definitely exposed and it is also beautiful.

I think the author has done such a wonderful job building up this idyllic sounding community. People with similar views want to create something ethical, environmental and most of all free from politics, bureaucracy and rules. The thing is that when people get together, they bring their own shared beliefs but they also bring opinions. For Tara and Kit, their daughter is the only youngster in the group, they are the only parents. They have their own ideas as to what is best for Skye.

Things seem fine until Jeremy brings in another person to the farm. She is an important character and one that comes with her own past. The decision for her to live at the farm divides opinion. This character along with Tara are two of the narrators of the story. Their voices are used to give their perspective of what is happening and it gives insight into their thoughts and feelings. The is a third voice, Kit’s, but this is told in the third person point of view. Kit keeps his feeling close to his chest and this makes for a good balance of opinions.

I adored how things started so well but then the author gradually started to incorporate cracks. She then widens these cracks and soon things start to turn. Views and opinions become more challenging and there are some serious consequences. I also loved how the ending of this story fell.

This is a fabulous read, it is a thriller that gradually increases the suspicions and doubt. As a reader it is good to see things from a distance, it felt as if I was seeing a larger picture while the characters were more tunnel-visioned. This made for an exciting reading experience. There are some shocks and some twists.

This is one that readers of contemporary fiction, thrillers and psychological thriller genres. I thought it was excellent right from the start to the finish and I would definitely recommend it.

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