Fishing For Maui by Isa Pearl Ritchie @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my review for Fishing For Maui by Isa Pearl Ritchie as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Many thanks for the invite and for my e-copy of the book.

Synopsis:

A novel about food, whānau, and mental illness.

Valerie reads George Eliot to get to sleep – just to take her mind off worries over her patients, her children, their father and the next family dinner. Elena is so obsessed with health, traditional food, her pregnancy and her blog she doesn’t notice that her partner, Malcolm the ethicist, is getting himself into a moral dilemma of his own making. Evie wants to save the world one chicken at a time. Meanwhile her boyfriend, Michael is on a quest to reconnect with his Māori heritage and discover his own identity. Rosa is eight years old and lost in her own fantasy world, but she’s the only one who can tell something’s not right. Crisis has the power to bring this family together, but will it be too late?

“An accomplished story of a family in crisis – Ritchie’s great skill is her ability to conjure the inner lives if her characters. Fishing For Maui is a compassionate meditation on what it means to be well”. – Sarah Jane Barnett

Purchase Links

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Fishing-Maui-Isa-Pearl-Ritchie-ebook/dp/B07DZBXSCN/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fishing-Maui-Isa-Pearl-Ritchie-ebook/dp/B07DZBXSCN/

Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/826608

My Thoughts:

The synopsis for this book gives a nice glimpse into this book and its characters, a story of a family living in New Zealand.

Each family member tells their own story and it’s through their words I was able to get a picture of the relationships and emotions between one another and their individual strengths and weaknesses within this family unit.

Each member of the family is very different in what they feel is a priority. For one of the family members, his Maori heritage and ancestry is of utmost importance and here the author did a wonderful job of introducing and explaining the Maori beliefs and traditions. For another family member processed food in any form and eating healthy and clean food is important. Gradually I discovered many things that made this family unique and interesting. With all these differing opinions there is a mix of information given to the reader, and here the author has successfully achieved this passing of information without it being too confusing.

There are several subjects that are involved in the story and they have been woven in a rather quiet and yet dramatic way. What I mean is that this is a story about family, everyday people doing everyday things, with the usual familial drama that is associated with it. There are also several moralistic as well as ethical dilemmas that came out, and the author has found the balance that I didn’t feel I was being preached at, using the characters within the story to tackle, discuss and argue various points gave me a chance to see differing opinions.

As I read, I realised this story was a story of demands that we put on ourselves, that society puts on and that is expected by family. These demands can cause rifts and stress within relationships and the strain of an event causes the family to stop and look at what they have. A gentle story of family, relationships, growing up and self to discovery. One I would recommend.

About the Author:

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Isa Ritchie is a Wellington-based writer. She grew up as a Pākehā child in a bicultural family and Māori was her first written language. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. She is passionate about food, wellbeing and social justice.

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/isapearlritchie/

https://twitter.com/IsaPearlRitchie

https://www.instagram.com/isapearlritchie/

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Christmas Spirit by Nicola May @nicolamay1 #rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway (Open Int’lly)

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I am delighted to be sharing my review of Christmas Spirit by Nicola May as part of the blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. Huge thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Nicola for my e-copy of the book.

Synopsis:

It’s two days before Christmas – and Evie Harris finds herself both manless and jobless. After a chance encounter with handsome Greg (and egged on by her toy-boy-eating friend, Bea) she agrees to work at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day.
Striking up an unlikely friendship with homeless Yves, Evie begins an unwitting journey of spiritual awakening, all set against the sparkling winter backdrop of London landmarks.
A New Year’s Eve revelation is on its way . . . but will it leave Evie with a happy heart, or will she allow the pre-Christmas past to dictate her future?

Purchase Links: – Amazon UKAmazon US

My Thoughts:

When Evie gets dumped by Darren just before Christmas she takes up the rather unconventionally offered alternative. Greg helps out at a local homeless shelter and wants Evie to volunteer her time. While there she meets Yves, a homeless man who is mysterious but gives her some priceless advice. Sometimes gifts cost nothing…

For a little story,76 pages, this is a beauty. It definitely evokes the spirit of Christmas, the feeling of helping others and reaching out is something that comes across very strong. Evie finds that by helping others she, in fact, starts to help herself, she realises that not everything is meant to last and that she can move forward.

The story flows at a lovely pace and is the perfect novella for getting into the fictional festive feeling. Yves is something of an enigma, I wasn’t sure quite what to make of this character initially and thought they had ulterior motives, maybe this is the cynic in me 🙂

By the end of the book, I had definitely been convinced that not everything should be viewed with suspicion, that things can happen for a reason. It is a novella with morals and what lovely morals they were too.

By the last line of the story had me gobsmacked and left me with a huge emotional lump in my throat. It is an emotional festive story that makes a wonderful read snuggled up under a blanket with a mug of something hot.

One I would recommend to readers who are after one of those really nice and uplifting reads, with a wonderful cast of characters and a good dash of hope, love, and romance.

About the Author:

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Nicola May lives near the famous Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks – and, naturally, enjoying a flutter on the horses.

Nicola likes to write about love, life and friendship in a realistic way, describing her novels as ‘chicklit with a kick’.

She has written eight novels, with Christmas Spirit being her first novella.

Follow Nicola May on WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram

Now for a GIVEAWAY

Giveaway – Win 5 x PDF copies of Christmas Spirit (Open Internationally)

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

*****ENTER HERE*****?

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The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James @CarolineJames12 @rararesources #BookReview and #Giveaway

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I am delighted to be one of the opening Book Bloggers to be sharing my review for The Best Boomerville Hotel by Caroline James. This is a book I bought when it was first released in March, I had seen so many good reviews from fellow book readers and it has taken me this long to read it. I am grateful to Rachel for inviting me onto the Blog Tour for this book, it gave me the opportunity to move it up my TBR and now it rests on the HBR (Have Been Read) shelf 🙂 While you are here please enter the Giveaway at the bottom of the post to stand a chance of winning your very own Bertie Bear and Tote Bag.

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Synopsis:

Let the shenanigans begin at the Best Boomerville Hotel …
Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business!

Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than its fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun-loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself.

With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?

Purchase Links – AmazonKoboIBooks/GoogleiTunes

My Thoughts:

A hotel for those of a certain age with opportunities to experience different activities, with a stunning Lake District setting, gorgeous rooms, a fabulous menu and a bar that always seems to be open…

Crazy characters and their escapades are the heart of this story. They are the maddest mixed bunch you could want to read about in a story. Hattie seems to be an accident waiting to happen, that is when she isn’t in the midst of said accident and Jo has the patience of a saint as they run the hotel. A mix of activities that include art, pottery, and creative writing are some of the things on offer. Oh and then there is the Shaman who runs a meditation class that is in a world of its own…

The guests are just as varied as the staff and friendships are formed. It is a chance for some to start healing their grief and wounds and others have a different objective and reason for staying. I soon discovered that an ulterior motive is at play in the rooms and corridors of the hotel.

So along with the characters, there are various underlying stories that are teased out, some are connected to the guests and some with the staff and the hotel. These stories are individual to each character and is a way to help connect with the others.

This story moves along at a pace that suits the story and it is a great read. It had me sniggering at some of the antics and left me with a lighthearted feel it does have a couple of more serious undertones. A book I would definitely recommend to readers of romantic comedy, general fiction and are after a good all-round feel-good book.

About the Author:

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Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications.

Her debut novel, Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy & Me is set in North West England, at the time of a famous gypsy horse fair. The book went straight to number three on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun.

So, You Think You’re A Celebrity…Chef? was runner up the Winchester Writers festival for best TV Drama and takes a light-hearted look at the world of celebrity chefs as they battle it out for fame and fortune. Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean & Me was runner up at The Write Stuff, LBF, 2015 and is an Amazon best-seller and top recommended read by Thomson Holidays. Jungle Rock, a romcom novella set in Australia, revolves around a TV game show.

In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Caroline James Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebook Author Page

NOW FOR A GIVEAWAY

Win Bertie Bear and his travel bag (Open Internationally)

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

*****ENTER HERE***** (Goodluck x)

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The Promise of Tomorrow by Anne Marie Brear @annemariebrear @rararesources #BookReview

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Today I am delighted t be sharing my review of The Promise Of Tomorrow by Anne Marie Brear as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Many thanks to Rachel for the invite and also to Anne Marie for my e-copy of this book.

Synopsis:

Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village. There, they are taken in by the Wheelers, owners of the village shop. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads. 
Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will have the woman he needs. 
However, when McBride finds out where Charlotte lives, his threats begin, and Harry takes it upon himself to keep Charlotte safe. Only, World War I erupts and Harry enlists. 
Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride’s constant harassment and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.

 Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?

Purchase Links: Amazon UK –  Amazon US

My Thoughts:

Charlotte and her younger sister Hannah have been on the road traveling and working. They stumble into a shop and the owners take them in. Life seems to settle and the girls seem to have found somewhere safe. But it is not long before the past starts to catch up to them in the form of McBride.

This is a fabulous story set before and during the First World War. It has some really good elements in it that kept the story moving along nicely as characters and stories were gradually introduced. I really like the way the author used the contrasts in social class, something that always interests me. It has a mix of stereotypical traits as well as some that go against the grain. As the war begins and men start to do their duty, things for those at home obviously change, people begin to adapt and do what they can. As is the way in all things there are always those who are eager to look for the easy route or the free ride.

The plot of the story weaves through the main characters and those they come into contact with, Charlotte is a strong and selfless character, always the one to do the best for others before herself. She was my favourite character in this story and while I did like quite a few others I will let you make your mind up about them when you read the book.

With the story being set partly during the WWI there are mentions of battles as well as conditions for those engaged in the fighting. The author did well to explain these aspects and also with the emotional aspects. She explored the strains for those back home and also those in the field of battle.

This is a story that is detailed and fast-paced, heartbreaking and hopeful. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and after reading this I look forward to reading more.

This is ideal for readers who like historical fiction and romance with a WW One setting and is also one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances and sometimes the odd short story, too. Her passions, apart from writing, are traveling, reading, researching historical eras and looking for inspiration for her next book.

Social Media Links – Website – Blog – Facebook – Twitter

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Cold Winter Sun by Tony J Forder @TonyJForder @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview

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I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my review of Cold Winter Sun by Tony J Forder. I have read all of this authors books and I always love getting an email informing me of a new book. My huge thanks to Emma at Bloodhound Books for the invite and copy of the book.

Synopsis:

A missing man. A determined hunter. A deadly case.

When Mike Lynch is contacted by his ex-wife about the missing nephew of her new husband, he offers to help find the young man with the help of his friend Terry Cochran.

Arriving in LA to try and track down the young man, the pair are immediately torn away when the missing man’s car shows up, abandoned on the side of a deserted road in New Mexico.

When two fake police officers cross their path, Terry and Mike know there is more to the case than meets the eye, and soon they find themselves asking exactly who it is they are really looking for…

A gripping thriller you won’t want to miss.

My Thoughts:

Mike Lynch and his best mate Terry are helping Mike’s ex-wife, well actually his ex-wife’s new husbands family…

So, Mike and Terry, they have a great dynamic and have got each other’s back. They have worked together over several years and the camaraderie and bond become apparent as they now enter a new case. This case has emotional implications for Mike as he sees his daughter settled in a new life, with a stepdad that can provide for her. It is a chance for Mike to explain some of the demons he has personally had to battle.

Now to the plot, yes I don’t give anything about these away. I will say it is very atmospheric and action-packed. It is a plot that had me guessing as there were a couple of directions I could see it potentially going, and yet while I did guess one or two things along the way, I was still hooked. The things I did guess were later on in the story and there were several other pieces of the jigsaw that I didn’t see.

This is an excellent read and one that has a few red herrings and seemingly dead ends as it twisted through the desert landscape. If you are a reader who likes fast-paced, action adventure, crime thriller reads they speed off from the very first pages then this is a book you need to grab. A brilliant read that works well as a stand-alone, but I would recommend Scream Blue Murder and while you’re there get the rest of this authors books… you are guaranteed of riveting reads

Cold Winter Sun is a book I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first three books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, and If Fear Wins, will be followed by The Reach of Shadows, scheduled to be published on 21 January 2019.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone novel, and delves into the mind of a serial-killer.

Scream Blue Murder was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. The sequel, Cold Winter Sun, will be published on 1 November 2018.

Tony is now a full-time writer and lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK.

Follow Tony on Twitter or visit his Website

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Love Punked by Nia Lucas @BooksNia @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my review with you all today for Love Punked by Nia Lucas as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Huge thanks to Rachel for the invite to join the tour and also to Nia for my e-copy of her book.

Synopsis:

When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother’s floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that’s not so much ‘less well trodden’, more ‘perilous descent down sheer cliffs’.

Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.

Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn’t balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.

Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.

Purchase Links:  Amazon UK or   Amazon US

My Thoughts:

Erin Roberts is an average girl growing up. She is feisty, determined and will stand up for herself and her best friends. After falling pregnant at 16 after a one night stand her life is not the one she imagined for herself as she juggles being a mum with studying. With unwavering support from her family and a small group of friends, she does all she can as a mum and as a woman. Her priority in life has changed, being a mum is the most important thing in her life and they always come first, even before her…

This story is so full of highs and lows, inspirational and poignant as well. At times I got angry with Erin as I thought she was passing up opportunities for happiness as she puts her family first. But as it happens she does do the right thing and more importantly the right thing for her family. I can understand her not wanting to have a potential man in her life if they are not serious. For me, Erin grew up very quickly and at times had an old head on young shoulders. Determination has got her through some difficult situations as she gradually makes her way through the story and the early years of being a mum.

Now this story is a little colourful in language and, while it may not appeal to all readers, I think it was so appropriate for the characters, the setting and the time of the story. She says what she thinks and occasionally without a filter. This is a character that does not see the qualities that others see in her, she has doubts, fears and a strength that she is unaware of.

Now I did find I went through quite a few emotions with this book, anger, sniggering and, the odd tear. At times it is beautifully poignant and at others raucous and wild. A real modern feel to this story that tells the story of a young woman growing up that is faced with many challenges and decisions to make.

It is a book I wasn’t sure how I would get on with but I found myself completely immersed with and read in a couple of days a great debut. A story that is modern and gritty but also loving, witty and hopeful, one I would definitely recommend to readers of contemporary and literary fiction.

About the Author:

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I am a UK based author of Contemporary women’s fiction who is passionate about telling the stories of strong, sympathetic, entertaining and engaging female characters and the lives that they lead. My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90’s and an adolescence spent immersed in clubbing culture.

Social Media Links – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Blog

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A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton @JeanFullerton_ @rararesources #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be sharing my review of A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton with you all today. Huge thank you to Rachel for the invite onto this Blog Tour and also to Jean for sending me a copy her book xx

Synopsis:

With Christmas approaching, the Brogan family of London’s East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe’s nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip.

For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?

Follow the link to buy a copy – CLICK HERE

My Thoughts:

Jo Brogan and her younger brother Billy decide they cannot be evacuated any longer and return to their home in London’s East End. Set in 1940 with nightly bombing raids and food rations, the Brogan family are doing their bit like most of the other families. Jo joins the ambulance service and there is a hope that her romance with Tommy could be rekindled.

This is an absolutely wonderful read with so many things that caught my attention. First off, there is Jo, determined if at times stubborn. Tommy who does not have the best of reputations,. The Brogan family themselves with a few skeletons in the family closet. Reggie is Tommy’s brother and is not really someone who you want to get involved with.

The one thing I felt when reading this book is how well researched it felt. I often say that it is the little details that make a huge difference to a story and this book has loads of little details. Sight, sounds, smells, dialects, clothing and food are just some of those “little things”. It meant I was well and truly transported to the time and place of the setting. A chance for me to feel totally engrossed in the story.

Set during the Second World War, there are obvious mentions of those who have been hurt or killed during the blitz. Alongside this is the British resolve and tenacity that people show in trying to make the best out of the situation they find themselves in with a cuppa tea in hand.

The story of Jo and how others felt about her relationship with Tommy before she was evacuated is told, then how misunderstandings can interfere and cloud judgments. Following Jo’s story was wonderful, meeting her family and friends as the war is happening around them. The author created a balance that not only told of the pain and horror of war but also showed that determination and hope that people hold. There are wonderful descriptions throughout the story and along with this, the author has injected some wonderful humorous tones with little phrases from the characters that had me smirking.

This really is a fabulous book and one that I didn’t want to put down. At the end, you will find some recipes and some interesting items in the authors’ notes.

Definitely one for readers of Historical Fiction, Historical Romance with a World War II setting in London’s East End. One I would definitely recommend xx

About the Author:

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Author Bio – Jean Fullerton is the author of eleven novels all set in East London where she was born. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer. She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.

Social Media Links – WebsiteFacebookTwitter

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Aphrodite’s Closet by Suzy Turner @suzy_turner @rararesources #BookReview

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I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my review of Aphrodite’s Closet by Suzy Turner with you all today. Huge thanks to Rachel for the invite onto the Blog Tour for this book and also to Suzy for my e-copy of this book.

Synopsis:

Agatha Trout didn’t even know she had a Great Aunt Petunia, so imagine her surprise when she finds Petunia left her a corner shop in her will. But it’s not just any old corner shop—it’s a corner shop that needs something unique, something the town of Frambleberry has never seen before.

Influenced by her confident best friend, Coco, Agatha is soon convinced that there’s only one way to go: an adults-only sex shop.

While some of the townspeople are clutching their pearls in horror, others are open to the new experiences this shop offers. But not everyone in Frambleberry is convinced. Will the women soldier on in the face of violent threats or will their fears get the best of them—and their new venture—before it even gets off the ground?

Purchase Link – Amazon UKAmazon US

My Thoughts:

Aggie Trout dresses far older than her years, she is a librarian and certainly fits the old, clichéd stereotype. She is left a shop by her mysterious Great Aunt Petunia. When her flamboyant friend Coco suggests going into business with Aggie, I don’t know who was more flabberghasted when Aggie agreed to open a sex shop. Here begins a story of transformation as the shop will test the girls resolve to some opposition.

Oh my goodness, what an absolute corker of a read, it had me laughing and giggling at so many moments throughout. Aggies family and friends really do compliment her and the story so well and the author has done such a great job creating them. Along with various innuendos there is the mysterious Petunia, yes she is dead but her story and why she is a mystery gradually comes out, like a skeleton from a family closet, along with a few other little titbits.

The descriptions of this classic, old style shop were marvelous and soon had me wishing I had a Great Aunt Petunia loitering around somewhere… though I don’t think an adult only shop would be my choice…

This story is about how important family and friends are. There are several secrets and stories that are teased out through the pages. It is also about how Aggie, who was the quiet, invisible one who has been wrapped up in her comfort blanket too long, finally starts emerge. The devious tactics of Aunt Petunia and the energetic Coco soon pull her out into the world and get her to experience life.

It was an absolute pleasure and delight to read this book, it is such a fun, and humorous story and I absolutely loved the lightheartedness as well as the romance and slightly more serious aspects of it. A book that I would definitely recommend to other readers.

About the Author:

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Born in England and raised in Portugal, Suzy lives with her childhood sweetheart Michael, their two crazy dogs and three cats.

Shortly after completing her studies, Suzy worked as a trainee journalist for a local newspaper. Her love of writing developed and a few years later she took the job of assistant editor for the region’s largest English language publisher before becoming editor of a monthly lifestyle magazine. Early in 2010 however, Suzy became a full time author. She has since written several books: Raven, December Moon, The Lost Soul (The Raven Saga), Daisy Madigan’s Paradise, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, The Temporal Stone, Looking for Lucy Jo, We Stand Against Evil (The Morgan Sisters), Forever Fredless, And Then There Was You, Stormy Summer and her latest, Aphrodite’s Closet.

In 2015 she launched her popular 40+ lifestyle blog which continues to go from strength to strength, while just over a year later, she trained to become a yoga instructor. Suzy continues to write, blog and teach yoga in one of Portugal’s loveliest settings – the Algarve.

Social Media Links

Lifestyle BlogInstagramGoodreadsFacebookTwitterPintrest

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Isolation Junction by Jennifer Gilmour @JenLGilmour @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway

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I am delighted to be sharing my review of Isolation Junction by Jennifer Gilmore as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Many thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Jennifer for my e-copy of this book.

Synopsis:

Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’.

She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. But through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business.

It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.

After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t will she be able to do it? Will Tim help her? And will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?

Based on true events.

Purchase Link Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

Rose and Darren met, things were good, he paid attention to her, gave compliments and presents, took her out. Gradually these things start getting less and Darren’s attitude starts to alter. He is mentally and physically abusive, Rose is the object of this abuse and the manipulation that Darren metes out.

Well for a 140-page book this really did grab me. The author had me hooked pretty quick as I learned about Rose, her life and the conditions in which she lives. The author mentions in the introduction that experiences from many women have helped create this story. It shows…

The isolation that Rose felt was progressive and is something that shows the level of manipulation, chipping away at the things that are important socially such as family and friends. The clever way an abuser will leave bruises that do not show is the psychological way that an abuser knows he is doing something wrong and wants to hide it from the outside world. The author manages to capture the downward spiral that Rose personally goes through as Darren gradually dominates their relationship.

Rose does have an online business, it gives her the opportunity to meet Tim. He is someone she begins to trust and shares what is going on at home. She cannot just walk away from Darren and her children, but when Darren throws her out of their home it is Tim that helps her.

This is a superb book that highlights abuse in the home, yes it is difficult reading as you would expect, it is also hopeful and encouraging as it shows that there is life after abuse. The author has done such a great job of creating a fictional story that deals with a hard subject. I hope that anyone that is in the situation that Rose found herself in will read it and take hope and know that things can change. A book that I would definitely recommend.


I am going to share a little something with anyone reading this, it will explain why I thought this book was so realistic. It was because there were so many things I recognised from my life while I was in a mentally and physically abusive relationship, it also reminded me how easy it was for me to accept what was happening when my confidence had been completely shattered and I was being completely isolated. People often say why didn’t you leave? Simple answer … I couldn’t. I didn’t know how. I had not got the courage to. The list of excuses is endless until one particular event made me realise I had to end the cycle and the relationship. Reading this book brought so many things back to me, it also gave me a chance to witness events as an outsider, something I hadn’t done before. The memories that this story evoked made me sad and angry at how long it took me to realise that things had to change. Knowing and acting at a time that was right for me. Now I have confidence, I can laugh, I can listen to what music I want to, watch the films I want to, I can go out and do things that interest me, simple basic things that were denied me for 14 years. I am now in a relationship that allows me to be me. Being myself and doing things I want to do is such a simple thing in life, and simetimes it can be the hardest thing to achieve. But I did it.

About the Author:

IJ - Jennifer Gilmour.jpg

Born in the North East, Jennifer is a young, married mum with three children. In addition to being an author, she is an entrepreneur, running a family business from her home-base. Her blog posts have a large readership of other young mums in business.

From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write this first novel. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

Links: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramAmazonGoodreadsHuffington Post

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Divide and Rule by Rachel Mclean @rachelmcwrites @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my review of the second book in the Division Bell Trilogy.

Divide and Rule by Rachel Mclean takes a darker and more sinister turn and I couldn’t wait to read this one and I am really looking forward to reading the final installment. Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite to the tour and for Rachel Mclean for the e-books.

You can read my review of the first book in the trilogy:- A House Divided

Synopsis:

Jennifer Sinclair’s fight to save her political career, her family and her freedom has failed. Traumatised by prison violence, she agrees to transfer to the mysterious British Values Centre.

Rita Gurumurthy has betrayed her country and failed the children in her care. Unlike Jennifer, she has no choice, but finds herself in the centre against her will.

Both women are expected to conform, to prove their loyalty to the state and to betray everything they hold dear. One attempts to comply, while the other rebels. Will either succeed in regaining her freedom?

Divide and Rule is 1984 for the 21st century – a chilling thriller examining the ruthless measures the state will take to ensure obedience, and the impact on two women.

Purchase Links: Amazon US or  Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

So this is the second book in the Division Bell Trilogy, it takes a decidedly darker and more sinister turn. After her fall from her office and trial Jennifer Sinclair – ex-MP, is sent to prison. She is then given a choice, remain in prison or move to a new center to continue her sentence. In this mysterious center is teacher Rita Gurumurthy, she has been sent there for neglecting the children in her care and thereby failing them.

After reading the first book in this series and, loving it, by the way, I had an inkling of where this next installment was going…HA, yeah right… me and thinking or having an inkling are obviously not on the same page as I was way off the mark. My excuse is I didn’t read the synopsis. This book takes a real 1984 (I love that book) approach, Big Brother is definitely watching. Legislations and laws are laid down by those in power. The center the women are sent to has laws and rules to help them conform, respect and adhere to the British Values that are set out… translation = brainwashing program.

Group therapy and counselor led sessions are supposedly designed to help people see the error of there ways, well this is ok if those people think they are wrong, but what if the truth of your beliefs does not conform the standard that is expected? As I said this book is very different in tone, feeling, and emotion to the first. It is vivid and darkly compelling, the first book held the belief that people can make a difference, this book explores how those freedoms are taken away, rebellion is a no-no, free speech has conditions. “Patients” in the centers are being reformed into what is required by the state.

This is one of those books that gives a terrifyingly realistic glimpse into the possibility of something that could happen in the future, a controlled state, controlled thinking, controlled freedom of speech. It has a convincing storyline that is complimented with characters that have their own traits and beliefs. Some I liked, others I took an instant dislike to along with a definite feeling of mistrust.

A wonderfully addictive and compelling read that continues from the first book really well. I would advise reading this trilogy in order. I am eagerly awaiting the third and final book with anticipation and wondering where and how it will go next, and yep, I’m not going to read the synopsis I am going straight in.

This is a book that will definitely appeal to readers of a dystopian, patriarchal and state-led conforming society. One I would definitely recommend.

 

About the Author:

rachel mclean.jpg I’m Rachel McLean and I write thrillers and speculative fiction.

I’m told that the world wants upbeat, cheerful stories – well, I’m sorry but I can’t help. My stories have an uncanny habit of predicting future events (and not the good ones). They’re inspired by my work at the Environment Agency and the Labour Party and explore issues like climate change, Islamophobia, the refugee crisis and sexism in high places. All with a focus on how these impact individual people and families.

You can find out more about my writing, get access to deals and exclusive stories or become part of my advance reader team by joining my Book Club.

Social Media Links –  Twitter – Facebook –  Instagram 

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