The Tissue Veil by Brenda Bannister #BlogTour @rararesources #Excerpt

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Today I am delighted to be sharing an extract from The Tissue Veil by Brenda Bannister as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. As much as I would love to read all the books that I get an invite to read, there is just not enough time for me to do this. So instead, having an except is one way I can support a tour. The synopsis and the excerpt has definitely intrigued me, and intrigued me enough that I have bought my own copy 🙂

You can buy a copy of The Tissue Veil from Amazon UK or from Hive.co.uk

Synopsis:

What if you discovered a hundred-year-old diary under your floorboards – and then found references in it to yourself? Or if you lived in 1901, yet kept seeing glimpses of a girl from modern times? And what if both of you had problems that only the other could really understand? Emily and Aysha live in the same Stepney house and an inexplicable link develops between them, fuelled by Aysha’s discovery of a journal and Emily’s sightings of a ‘future ghost’. Each takes courage from the other’s predicament – after all, what’s a hundred years between friends?

Excerpt:

Excerpt from Chapter 13 of The Tissue Veil

From time to time Emily has inexplicable glimpses of a strange girl in her room and hears voices address the girl as ‘Aysha’. This first occurs in the days after Emily’s mother’s funeral. When, late one night, it happens again, she recognises that Aysha, like Emily herself, is troubled…

We tie up three puddings in muslin ready to go in the boiler, but it’s already late in the afternoon when they start to cook and we have to wait past bedtime for them to finish steaming. Daisy, who was up at six, is falling asleep, so I offer to watch them for the last hour.

“Mind you don’t let ‘em dry out, miss,” she yawns. She doesn’t trust me to keep awake, but she knows she won’t either. I don’t dare let myself sit down, so I occupy the hour lining up jars and packets in the pantry, writing lists of things we need and polishing the silver teapot. At last, I am able to turn off the boiler, remove the puddings and leave them to cool.

I’m not even thinking about Aysha, but when I go to my room I see her, slumped in a chair by the window. Her outfit is different and much grander than before: a blue tunic with matching pantaloons, embroidered in gold. They are clothes I imagine an Indian princess might wear, but she seems careless of them and looks as if, like me, she’s exhausted.

“Aysha!” I say, but she doesn’t know I exist. I study her face: she will not sleep well. Too much is written there.

She gets up, stretches, and begins to speak. Not to me or, it seems, to anyone else who’s there; rather, I imagine, out of a troubled heart. At first I think I recognise the words, then I am confused.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a young man in possession of a… a chain of fried chicken shops – she curls her lip – must be in need of a wife. Then her mouth twitches into a smile and she glides from side to side across the floor, swaying her arms as if she’s dancing or skating. Then, suddenly, she’s gone.

Miss Morgan showed the class a picture book of India once. There were paintings of forts and temples and elephants carrying maharajahs, and each of the illustrations was overlaid with a leaf of tissue paper. I would ask to see the book and try to remember the order in which each picture came, to guess what was underneath the overlays. The images were there, behind their tissue veils, but you couldn’t quite see them until you turned the leaf. Sometimes I think that’s how it is with Aysha: that she’s here all the time if I could only see. But which of us is behind the tissue, I cannot tell.

About the Author:

The Tissue Veil Brenda Bannister.jpgBrenda studied English at university and later qualified as a librarian, working in various educational settings from schools to higher education. Moving from London to Frome in Somerset in 2010 proved a catalyst for her own writing as she joined local fiction and script writing groups. She has had a number of short stories published, plus short plays produced in local pub theatre, but all the while was incubating a story based in the area of Tower Hamlets where she had worked for eighteen years.  This germ of a story became ‘The Tissue Veil’.

Brenda is a founder member of Frome Writers’ Collective, an organisation which has grown from a handful of members to over a hundred in the past four years, and helped set up its innovative Silver Crow Book Brand. She is also the current organiser of the annual Frome Festival Short Story Competition. A lifelong reader, Brenda rarely follows genres, but enjoys modern literary fiction, historical fiction, classics and the occasional detective novel. The latest Bernard Cornwell might be a guilty pleasure, but she’ll be even more eager to get her hands on Hilary Mantel’s final instalment of Thomas Cromwell’s story.

Social Media Links – Facebook – Website – Silver Crow Books

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Malignant by Anita Waller #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook

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I am delighted to be one of the Book Blogger opening the Blog Blitz today for Malignant by Anita Waller. This is a fantastic book that I read in one sitting and is one I would highly recommend. It is published by Bloodhound Books.

Synopsis:

What if someone set you limits?

Claudia and Heather have been friends and neighbours for many years and both women decide it is the right time for them to leave their husbands. Together they get a flat but their peace is short lived when Claudia is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Being a good friend, Heather takes on caring for Claudia but a lethal meeting with James, Claudia’s ex-husband, results in someone dying.

As life for Claudia and Heather begins to unravel, the answer to their problems becomes clear… it’s murder.

My Thoughts:

Claudia and Heather have been friends and neighbours for years. They are each others support system and shoulder to cry on when life with their husbands gets too much. After one particular nasty event, both women decide that they have had enough and come to realise it is time to get out of their relationships. They rent a flat and finally they are free… but at what price…

Straight off I am going to say as much as I loved the crime element to this story, it takes a second place to they story of the women. Their friendship is one that has been their sanity over the years as they have listened and cried with each other. When they finally break away from the abusive husbands they have the chance to start again.

Claudia and Heather I absolutely adored, their tenacity, grit and determination is to be applauded, I am not going to applaud everything they have done, but I can see the reasoning… that’s all I’m saying!

The emotions run high with this book, from an emotional prologue right the way through the story to the moving Author Notes. This for me is where this author really excelled, the tone and feeling felt just right. When a terminal illness diagnosis made its appearance into the story, I was so angry as by this point I cared about the characters, I wanted to them to have a happy life. The author did such an amazing job of creating characters I could empathise with. By the end of the book the term “blown away” springs to mind for the journey that I had been taken on.

I suppose I should say a little something about the crime element of the book… the crimes work well and do feel plausible for those involved and that’s all I’m giving you! It does have a very real presence in this book and one that threw up some unexpected turns of events.

This is a fabulously brilliant book that deals with many emotions in various forms. It is a heartbreaking book in so many ways taking me from elation to despair as the characters take risks, form stronger bonds and deal with betrayal and loss and so many other things. If you are after a book that deals with family, relationships and friendship that takes dark turns and twists that will hook you from the very beginning then you really do need to read this. It is a book that falls into so many categories such as crime, thriller, suspense, family drama, family life, relationships, abuse…Oh and MURDER!!!

This is a book I would highly recommend for so many reasons, and as I read Malignant, the film Thelma and Louise came to mind… two women setting out to make a new start in their lives xx

About the Author:

Anita Waller.jpgAnita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.
She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters. She wrote several novels in the romance genre and then realised she wanted to add murders to the romances, so she morphed into a psychological thriller author. Beautiful was her first completed novel in this genre.
The manuscript was submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 it was released as an ebook, to be followed a couple of days later by the paperback version.
Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.
Her third novel, 34 Days, followed Angel and was launched on 3 October 2016 to outstanding success; at its highest level, it was #26 in Amazon charts. It is selling equally as well in the US and Australia and has sold over 15,000 copies in the first eight weeks following publication.
She then took time out to temporarily change genre; Winterscroft, a supernatural novel, was launched on 7 February 2017. While she was writing Winterscroft it became clear that fans of 34 Days wanted a sequel, and on 10 August 2017, Strategy was launched.
She is now working on her sixth novel, A Legal Issue, once again set in Sheffield, and once again a psychological thriller.
In addition to writing, she also teaches patchwork and quilting – a little reference to this is likely to surface in every book!
She is a lifelong Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! More than a little reference to this is likely to surface – see 34 Days!

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Magic O’Clock & Magical Memories by L.S. Fellows #BookReview @rararesources

Today I have two reviews to share with you, Magic O’Clock and also Magical Memories by L.S. Fellows as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. These quite short stories and you can purchase your copy of :-

Magic O’Clock using a Universal Amazon Link Here OR Other eretailers (Kobo, B&N, Apple) HERE

Magical Memories using a Universal Link HERE

Synopsis:

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Magic O’Clock:

Archie Royle is a kind, funny, gentle man. He’s also my dad. My storyteller. My hero. Except he doesn’t remember my face any more. His world, these days, doesn’t include me or his family. Life may have changed for him, but he hasn’t given up on life. Not at all. It’s just different. Dad still tells his stories, albeit for a new audience. He makes people smile and chuckle. As he always did.

He’s a fighter, a survivor and maybe sometimes too clever for his own good! He’ll surprise you. I can assure you of that.

Welcome to Magic O’Clock, where time is irrelevant and hope is unlimited.

My Thoughts on Magic O’Clock:

Archie is a resident in a care home, he has dementia and doesn’t recognise people. But at 3 pm Archie comes into his own relating tales and stories that has everyone in rapture, a chance to get a glimpse of the man he was.

This is a fictional story that gives a momentary glimpse into the emotions when a family member doesn’t know who you are. This is only a few pages long and in it are such a range of emotions as you would expect. This is from the perspective of a family member, the pain and grief of still being able to see the physical person but not recognising the inner personality was done so well. It carried the feeling and also some humour.

This story shows two sides to dementia; the forgetful side but also the lucid side. A quick enjoyable read that is sad but in a way that shows love and honesty. A wonderful read and a perfect introduction to the next book; Magical Memories.

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Magical Memories:

As Archie Royle takes his final breath, three sisters race to say their goodbyes. Two don’t make it in time. I do. And now, it’s all my fault they’re too late. Despite him having dementia. Despite them not visiting in over a month. But I won’t let anger win. After all, we’re all grieving, aren’t we?

Surely, as a family, we can let bygones be bygones. It’s what Dad would want. Expect. It’s what he deserves. We have so much to be grateful for. So many fond and magical memories to share.

Magical Memories is a fictional tale of loss, grief and moving on.

My Thoughts on Magical Memories:

Coming to the second book sees Archie in his final hours as his youngest daughter sits with him. She has the job of telling her two older sisters of his passing as they did not get to him in time to be there. Now the arrangements can start.

The sisters have to agree to the funeral arrangements for Archie. Not an easy thing as they have quite strong personalities and to a point a sense of hierarchy, but something that is very common. Sometimes it takes one person to intervene and for the others to see sense.

The sisters gradually come together and start to deal with their grief not only individually but also together. A time for reminiscing and retelling tales about the man they all called Dad.

This story is emotional and beautifully told, I had to get the tissues out on a couple of occasions. Again a quick read but my goodness did it pack a punch on the heartstrings. A story of loss, grief, happy times, and moving on with life.

These are two books that are ideal for readers of family, life, love, loss and grief. They are beautifully told, emotional and they also have moments of joy and hope. Two books I would definitely recommend.

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About the Author:

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Despite being born in England, my heart now lies in Spain. Many moons ago, I was a student in Granada, Spain. I loved it so much and swore I would return one day on a more permanent basis. In 2003, I did just that.

Now, as a fur-mum to two adorable but mischievous mutts, in my free time I can usually be spotted with my nose in a book, armed with just the teeniest chunk of chocolate and a zillion pomegranates!

Follow the Author on: FacebookTwitterBlogSubscribeAmazon Author Page

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Mrs Bates of Highbury by Allie Cresswell @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Mrs Bates of Highbury by Allie Cresswell as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My huge thanks to Rachel for the invite and also to Allie for my ecopy of the book, my thoughts are my own. You can get your own copy of this book from AMAZON UK.

Synopsis:

The new novel from Readers’ Favourite silver medalist Allie Cresswell.

Thirty years before the beginning of ‘Emma’ Mrs Bates is entirely different from the elderly, silent figure familiar to fans of Jane Austen’s fourth novel. She is comparatively young and beautiful, widowed – but ready to love again. She is the lynch-pin of Highbury society until the appalling Mrs Winwood arrives, very determined to hold sway over that ordered little town.

Miss Bates is as talkative aged twenty nine as she is in her later iteration, with a ghoulish fancy, seeing disaster in every cloud. When young Mr Woodhouse arrives looking for a plot for his new house, the two strike up a relationship characterised by their shared hypochondria, personal chariness and horror of draughts.

Jane, the other Miss Bates, is just seventeen and eager to leave the parochialism of Highbury behind her until handsome Lieutenant Weston comes home on furlough from the militia and sweeps her – quite literally – off her feet.

Mrs Bates of Highbury is the first of three novels by the Amazon #1 best-selling Allie Cresswell, which trace the pre-history of Emma and then run in parallel to it.

My Thoughts:

Mrs Bates is widowed and with her daughters Hettie and Jane they find their circumstances have changed. Instead of the Vicarage, they now live above a shop in Highbury. This story is set 30 years before Jane Austen’s Emma and is written as a prequel.

I am a little bit of a Classic Literature fan and I am a little nervous about approaching a book that involves the well-known Classics, but I always have an open mind. Well I have to say Allie Cresswell had me hooked with this story from the very first pages. The general feel of the those first pages just felt right, the words, the descriptions, society at the time… yes everything felt as it should be.

The Bates family were well thought of through the community of Highbury, mixing in many different social circles and never seemed to pay any heed to wealth or status. This however could not be said for the incoming Winwood family at the Vicarage.

Mrs Winwood and her daughters made their feelings about their class and status felt very early on. They are not there to be part of the community but instead to show off and drag their fellow residents up to their own standards.

With the shenanigans of the Mrs Winwood and the more reserved Mrs Bates I got to see a brilliant comparison between two very different women, and also how other people were to see them as well.

No story of this style would be complete without a local landowner, dinner parties, rogue characters, a love interest and grand estates and this story does include them. I loved the gentle flow as I was taken around the streets, grounds and lanes meeting the locals along the way.

This story is about Mrs Bates but also about many other things that make up the community in which she resides. The stories intertwine and meander giving a great read.

If you like a gentle story set in days gone past then you really do need to read this one. It was an absolute joy and pleasure to read and left me eagerly awaiting the next in the planned series. Mrs Bates of Highbury is a book I would absolutely recommend.

About the Author:

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Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.

You can contact her via her website at www.allie-cresswell.com or find her on Facebook

Social Media Links – FacebookTwitter

For the duration of the blog tour, Allie Cresswell has five hard copies of Game Show and five hard copies of Tiger in a Cage, all signed, available for £5 plus p & p to UK addresses. If you are interested then please get in touch.

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Blackpool Lass by Maggie Mason @Authormary #Giveaway #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Blackpool Lass by Maggie Mason. Maggie Mason is the pseudonym for Mary Wood and is being published by Sphere Publishers. The Blackpool Lass is available in various formats from AMAZON UK and good book shops.

I have read The Street Orphans by Mary Wood and you can find my review HERE

Synopsis:

Orphaned and destitute, will Grace find her own way in the world?

When Grace’s Ma passes away and her Da’s ship sinks with all hands, Grace is utterly alone in the world. She’s sent to an orphanage in Blackpool, but the master has an eye for a pretty young lass. Grace won’t be his victim, so she runs, destitute, into the night.

In Blackpool, she finds a home with the kindly Sheila and Peggy – and meets a lovely airman. But it’s 1938, and war is on the horizon. Will Grace ever find the happiness and home she deserves?

My Thoughts:

Starting in 1924 near Blackpool and then continuing through the 30’s, then World War II you get to meet Gracie (Grace) who looses not only her parents, but also her home and is forced to move away as there is no family willing to take her in. She is instead taken to an orphanage, a place that is far from the safe haven it should be. After leaving the home she returns to Blackpool, can she overcome her past ordeals and start a new life?

Oh my goodness this author knows how to write her characters. Gracie is as tough as old boots and has had to be to just get through life. She is a wonderful character who knows how tough living can be, yet she is warm, generous , fun and supportive. She deals with what life throws at her with a certain dignity even when things look really bad.

This is an era of change, women are more outspoken but often are still unheard. This is a time when men still rule the roost, their women are expected to behave in a certain way because that it the way it has always been. But since the end of Worlds War I women have found a foothold. They were needed to help while the men were away at war. This foothold gave women something to hope for and as World War II approaches they are needed once again and their courage to be treated fairly gains in volume.

This story touches on many of the things that girls and women had to deal with and while it is never pleasant to read about some of these aspects of life at that time, I think it is important that they are still acknowledged as being something that happened and I think the author has done a great job telling the story and without being graphic.

There were many things in this story that really stood out for me, but I am going to briefly focus on the sense of community as this was the one that shined through and complimented Gracie’s story so well. When things look so bad that you have nowhere to turn it is the kindness of strangers that can often show more support than you can imagine. Being accepted into a community is something that Gracie found and it allowed her to heal. People pulling together and letting differences aside was essential during the war and the author again instils the sense of pride that people had, giving love, time and resources when they were thin on the ground. But as Grace was to find out, not everyone has shares the same sense of community mindedness.

I loved Gracie and her friends and felt that even though they worked hard and some had been dealt “a bad lot” they still found warmth, love and comfort in their friendship, and also I bet they would have been a noisy bunch as well…

If you are after a historical saga then you will not be disappointed in The Blackpool lass, it is about family, friends, community, life, loss, love, despair and hope, dealing with many aspects of social history relevant to the time. This is a story that would definitely appeal to readers of historical fiction, family saga, and general fiction and one that I would definitely recommend xx

About the Author:

MM Maggie Mason is a pseudonym for saga author Mary Wood. Mary was born the thirteenth child of fifteen and throughout her life had various factory, office and home-based jobs, finally becoming a Probation Service Officer before she retired.

Mary married in 1963 and with her husband Roy has four children, eight grandchildren, and five step-grandchildren. She got her first book deal in 2013 and has not looked back since.

You can follow Mary on Twitter – Website Facebook

There is a giveaway being run by the author.

Follow her Facebook Page to get all the details.

*Please note I am not responsible for this giveaway, this giveaway is the responsibility of the author.*

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

Autumn at The Cafe at the End of The Pier by Helen Rolfe @HJRolfe #BookReview

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Today I am sharing my thoughts on Autumn at The Cafe at the End of The Pier by Helen Rolfe. This is part of a series that I absolutely love and have eagerly anticipated each instalment. You can get a copy of this one from AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

Looking for love this autumn? You’ll find it at The Café at the End of the Pier… A feelgood novella and the continuation of the Café at the End of the Pier series.

Autumn brings golden leaves and crisp days to Salthaven-on-Sea – but inside the Cafe the lights are glowing, the hot chocolate is warming, and romantic sparks are flying…

Jo has found her place at the heart of the seaside community, her blind dates are fizzing with chemistry, and this season she plans to bring young and old together with her pumpkin-carving event. But Jo must also find a way to heal the rifts in her own family, even if it means facing up to some home truths.

With the mystery of Jo’s own secret admirer to unravel, there are bound to be fireworks this bonfire night at The Cafe at the End of the Pier…

My Thoughts:

Autumn has arrived at The Cafe at the End of The Pier as the busy summer rush of visitors finally starts to slow. It gives Jo a chance to catch her breath a little before thinking about Halloween and her special themed evenings.

This series is a bit special as I have followed Jo through the seasons. She is an asset to the community and is revelling in her business. It is hard work and she is still upbeat. From originally helping her Grandparents run their cafe, Jo now runs it herself and her grandparents pop in to give her a hand. Even though Jo has her own take on the cafe it still has the charm and love that her grandparents instilled.

There are a few things in this book that start to answer some of the questions that arose in the very first book, and yes you really need to read the previous stories to completely get what going on. There is a family rift, a secret admirer and not all is revealed and there are still questions to be answered… this author does like to keep her readers wondering and speculating. So as one secret is revealed another is continuing to keep me in the dark. I have my suspicions about a who… well actually I have a couple of choices but I do have a favourite… I think!!

This is very much a warm, heartwarming series and this book keeps that sense of returning to see old friends feeling as I began the story. The cafe is welcoming and full of warmth and as its autumn, hot chocolate in abundance. Sumptuous sounding cakes, lashings of soups and savouries still tantalize the taste-buds and all mixed in with friends and family to add the icing on the cake. All I need now is the cherry to top it off, roll on Christmas at The Cafe at the End of The Pier…

This is perfect for escaping into and is ideal for readers who like women’s fiction, general fiction with a hint of romance and a big slice of family and friendship, one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Helen writes some books in series as listed below, but all can be read as standalone books:

Magnolia Creek Series
1. What Rosie Found Next
2. The Chocolatier’s Secret
3. The Magnolia Girls

New York Ever After Series
1. Christmas at the Little Knitting Box
2. Snowflakes and Mistletoe at the Inglenook Inn
3. Wedding Bells on Madison Avenue
4. Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin – coming December 2018!

Helen J Rolfe also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe. Her new series, Cafe at the End of the Pier, is out in 2018 and begins with a free Valentine’s short story. The series can be read in the following order:

Valentine’s Day at the Café at the End of the Pier
Spring at the Café at the End of the Pier
Summer at the Café at the End of the Pier
Autumn at the Café at the End of the Pier
Christmas at the Café at the End of the Pier

The Little Café at the End of the Pier is the bind-up version of all the Café at the End of the Pier stories in one and will be released January 2019.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

To learn more about Helen and her writing, find her at: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram

See the Series so far…

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

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be bringing you The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. This is a beautiful story, and after watching a Twitter video of Louise opening her parcel of finalised copies, I can also say she may be a little excited about the cover being embossed. Yes Louise Beech is embossed! You really need to watch this, its brilliant 🙂

My huge thanks to the fabulous Orenda Books for my copy and also to Anne Cater for my invite to take part in this blog tour. I may have been a little excited in my email back to Anne about joining this tour to help share the book love, this was already a book that was generating fantastic early reviews, there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to take part.

Synopsis:

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

My Thoughts:

Wishes and dreams are part of life, but what happens when the things you wish and dream for are not as you imagined they would be. Dreams are great, but if you follow your dream for an alternative motive then in reality it isn’t what the dream was meant to be. Andrew the wish-maker and Ben with the dream are meant to be together, but why…

This is a story that I just found myself being captivated with from the very start as I met Ben in Zimbabwe at a lion sanctuary. This is his dream and also a fulfilling of a promise , but I realised that instead of being ecstatic and excited about helping lion cubs, Ben was subdued, there but not quite there. Here was a man with something on his mind, and as the story flitted between Zimbabwe and Hull I discovered a story that just blew me away.

In Hull I got to meet Andrew, a chance meeting allows Andrew to meet and get to know Ben. The story tells of their friendship and then their relationship,also of their feelings for what others may think. Family, relationships, misunderstandings and expectations really do come into play and the author deals with this in such a natural and wonderful way.

There is so much that I absolutely loved about this book, as well as the story line itself one thing that really stood out for me was the attention to detail. As a reader I like settings to be described in as much detail as possible but not in great long passages, this author has the ability to describe in detail in a short and vivid way. Not only did I get an image of the sights and sounds but also of taste and smell, from the mud coffee to the aromas the lions. For me it is the additional little details that are just as important.

Now the story line, it flits back and forward in time and also between Hull and Zimbabwe. The main characters are Ben and Andrew and I really did get to them well, there are other characters that also have major parts to play in the story, but Ben and Andrew are the key characters. The story is about many things, but love and relationships are the main ones. The author deals with Ben and Andrews relationship in such a beautiful way, and also on the flip side the way that a person may think that some may not like same-sex relationships.

The story moved along at a nice pace, building up and filling in details and history of the characters and their families and then suddenly took a route that not only caught me unawares, but also had me with my heart in my mouth. It moved into such an emotionally charged story as the author had me on the edge of tears. I tried my hardest to keep them in check for such a long time and just as I started to breathe normally again I came across three words that had me in a total sobbing mess. There are several parts of the story that had me balancing on the emotional see saw, and I think that many others will be the same.

This is a beautiful, emotional, passionate, wonderful story that had me absolutely glued from the first page to the very last.

An absolute must read for readers who want to experience an author who knows how to take a reader on a fantastic literary journey.

About the Author:

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Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Her third book, Maria in the Moon, was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Follow Louise on Twitter Website

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the tour:

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Five To One by Chris Chalmers @CCsw19 #BookReview

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I am absolutely delighted to be sharing Five To One by Chris Chalmers. I have read one of Chris’s books before, Dinner At The Happy Skeleton, and I was definitely interested in reading another book by this author. To purchase your own copy of these books follow the Amazon Link to Chris’s Author Page HERE.

Synopsis:

EVERY MOMENT STARTS SOMEWHERE

A care assistant with a secret. A gardener with an eye for more than greenfly. An estate agent and an advertising man, each facing a relationship crisis. And a pilot with nowhere to land.

At twelve fifty-five on a sunny afternoon, five lives converge in a moment of terror as a helicopter crashes on Clapham Common. It’s a day that will change them all forever — and for some, will be their last.

Winner of the Wink Publishing Debut Novel Competition Nominated for the Polari First Book Award

‘A funny, often painfully honest and moving story about the absurdity of modern life and the concerns that propel us. Chalmers writes with a sensitivity and wit that recalls Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City’ – Penny Hancock, bestselling author of Tideline

‘A charming novel that’s cleverly structured and consistently engaging’ — Matt Cain, Editor-in-Chief, Attitude magazine

’A poignant study of genuine love in a big and fantastically diverse city’ – BytetheBook.com

My Thoughts:

The prologue for this book is set in the present when a helicopter crashes on Clapham Common. It is there to pick up someone as part of an ongoing publicity stunt when things go wrong. At five to one several strangers are caught up in some form at this crash. Why they were there on that day and at that time is what then follows as the story drops back in time.

First, I love the cover of this book, now as I look at it properly I can see how well it fits in relation to the story.

The author introduced me to a series of characters individually so there are quite a few names to remember, especially as also included are family and friends. As I got to learn about the people and their partners, family, friends I started to build up a recognition as their stories are told. I gradually started to empathise and care about the main characters, about how they lived and some of the things that happen in their everyday lives, their frustrations, anger, sometimes they feel helpless and out of the loop with decisions, or just plodding along in life as everyone else does. While this is about ordinary and everyday people, the author has managed to create characters with substance, at times I disagreed with some actions but could also understand the reasoning behind them.

This is one of those stories that is quiet and subtle as it explores human nature. It looks at various people with diverse lifestyles, with varied backgrounds. All the way through the story they have one thing in common; the crash, it is the way they are led to that time and date that is what this story is about. It is a story about people. What makes them tick. What their dreams are.

I absolutely fell in love with this story, from a slow start getting to know everyone, and then it just transformed. The author has captured the essence of his characters, given them a voice, and given them a chance to change.

This is a story I would absolutely recommend to readers of contemporary fiction and literary fiction. It was an absolute joy and pleasure to read xx

About the Author:

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Chris Chalmers was born in Lancashire and lives in south-west London. He’s been the understudy on Mastermind, visited 40 countries and swum with marine iguanas. His first novel, ‘Five To One’, was winner of a debut novel competition and nominated for the Polari First Book Prize. He has written a diary for 42 years and never missed a night.

Click on a Five-To-ONE-MINUTE-MOVIE for a 60-second intro to the main characters and themes of ‘Five To One’. Or search ‘chris chalmers novelist’ on YouTube, for clips of Chris reading from his other books, poems about Christmas Eve and butcher’s shops, and fox cubs dancing to ABBA. (Yep, it’s as high-brow as that.)

Blog, news and more about his books at Website or follow on Twitter.

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

Sirens by Joseph Knox #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Sirens by Joseph Knox. This is the first book in the Aiden Waits series and my first time with this author. You can get a copy of Sirens from all good bookshops and also Amazon UK.

Synopsis:

I stopped going to work. I went missing. We still live in a world where you can disappear if you want to. Or even if you don’t.

Detective Aidan Waits is in trouble 

After a career-ending mistake, he’s forced into a nightmare undercover operation that his superiors don’t expect him to survive.

Isabelle Rossiter has run away again

When the teenage daughter of a prominent MP joins Zain Carver, the enigmatic criminal who Waits is investigating, everything changes.

A single mother, missing for a decade

Carver is a mesmerising figure who lures young women into his orbit – young women who have a bad habit of disappearing. Soon Waits is cut loose by the police, stalked by an unseen killer and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman.

How can he save the girl, when he can’t even save himself?

My Thoughts:

The disgraced detective Aiden Waits is the right man for the job of tracking down a missing girl, especially when that girl is the daughter of an MP, and he wants the news of her disappearance kept quiet.

This is a story that I found a little slow to get going but in this slowness the author, managed to convey the scene, the characters and the basics ready for the story to evolve. I got to learn the story behind Waits and the way and why he was offered the job that I think many would have turned down. His record for being a dirty cop allowed him the space to work into the world of drugs, gangs and the whole heap of stuff that you expect to find along with this lifestyle.

I got a good idea of the people and the gangs that operate within the drugs world and also the methods of dealing with trouble or potential trouble makers. I felt that once all the basics were covered, the story then kicked into gear, this actually worked quite for me.  There are a couple of characters that I liked, but then I wouldn’t really want to like some of them, due to the nature of their characters, as they are pretty unpleasant. Even though there are quite a few characters and it took me a little while to get used to them, they are memorable.

I did enjoy this book and even though the slower beginning to this story, it gave a good foundation for the story that followed. It gave a lot of detail that I think will stand me in good stead for the next book The Smiling Man, and I am looking forward to reading that as well.

This book is definitely gritty and is detailed in some of its descriptions with a plot that explores things I would associate with a gang/drug theme. It deals with social and law disorder, drug abuse, gangs and crime in an atmospheric and noirish way. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who enjoy Northern Noir, Crime, Thriller with an undercover/ disgraced detective.

About the Author:

81f6ZqDnaKL._SY200_Joseph Knox was born and raised in and around Stoke-On-Trent and Manchester, where he worked in bars and bookshops before moving to London. He runs, writes and reads compulsively.

Sirens is his debut novel. His second, The Smiling Man, is available now.

 

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

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck #BookReview

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Today I have my thoughts on Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. It was a chance for me to take a dip into one of the classics, I had read quite a few of the classics a couple of years and never did quite get round to this one. I have read Grapes of Wrath and also Cannery Row and enjoyed them and gave me a chance to get a feel for the authors grim and gritty style. You can get a copy of Of Mice and Men from most good bookshops and online at Amazon UK, my copy is the Penguin Red Classics edition.

Synopsis:

Drifters in search of work, George and his childlike friend Lennie, have nothing in the world except the clothes on their back – and a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are dashed as Lennie – struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy – becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes of friendship and shared vision, and giving a voice to America’s lonely and dispossessed, Of Mice and Men remains Steinbeck’s most popular work, achieving success as a novel, Broadway play and three acclaimed films.

My Thoughts:

Of Mice and Men is the story of George and Lennie. They work various jobs and travel around looking for new work as one job runs out or they run out. The story begins as they head towards their next job. George has a dream to one day own his own plot of land and Lennie is happily caught up in this vision of the future. Lennie is a gentle giant of a man and is referred to as being not very bright but will work hard and do as he is told.

George looks out for Lennie and knows that many would not want a man like Lennie working for them, prejudice at this point in history is ripe so anyone being slightly different is not acceptable to many. Even though George is often frustrated by the simple nature of Lennie, he is a friend and will support him. They are each other has.

This is a simple tale of friendship between two men travelling for work. Rather than being loners as many travelling labourers are, they have a bond in their friendship, they are able to talk about their dreams for the future and it gives them hope. George tries his best to keep Lennie out of trouble, but this is not always possible and  misunderstandings do happen.

This is a quick read at only 121 pages and is easy to read in one sitting. It’s style is one I like, a slow meandering yet descriptive and emotional one. It explores various inequalities and prejudices that were relevant at the time. A wonderful read that slowly rolls along until it picks up speed as a sense of tension begins to build.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who enjoy American Social History, Literary Fiction and  Classic Fiction.

About the Author:

41Hta3i6uDL._UX250_ John Steinbeck is perhaps best known for Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, which led to his Nobel Prize for Literature award in 1962. Born in Salinas, California in 1902, Steinbeck grew up in a fertile agricultural valley about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast: both valley and coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a labourer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929). After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933) and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938).

Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California labouring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939).

Being partly based on his own experiences as a travelling worker, Steinbeck originally wanted Of Mice and Men to be titled ‘Something That Happened’. The book explores themes of powerlessness, loneliness and empathy and received the greatest positive critical response of any of his works up to that point. It has achieved success as a novel, a Broadway play and three acclaimed films.

Steinbeck’s compassionate depiction of the poor in The Grapes of Wrath helped the book become an immediate publishing phenomenon, discussed on a national scale and becoming an instant bestseller. The book was described by the Nobel Prize committee as a “great work” and stated that it was one of the main reasons for granting Steinbeck the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942). Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright (1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952)East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.

The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include: Sweet Thursday (1954)The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966) and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969),Viva Zapata! (1975,The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).

He died in 1968, having won a Nobel Prize in 1962.
Photo by Nobel Foundation [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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