My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing. The title for this book is fabulous and is such a deceptive title for what lies in wait fo rthe reader!

I read this before Christmas last year and I am still catching up with a few stray Book Reviews from my own reading pile so…

Let me show you what it is all about…

Every marriage has secrets. Everyone has flaws. Your wife isn’t perfect – you know that – but then again nor are you.

But now a serial killer is on the loose in your small town, preying on young women. Fear is driving your well-behaved young daughter off the rails, and you find yourself in bed late at night, looking at the woman who lies asleep beside you.

Because you thought you knew the worst about her. The truth is you know nothing at all.

This is a thriller like nothing you’ve read before…

OK, so when I saw a quote by author CJ. Tudor referring to this book being “Dexter meets Gone Girl” I thought to myself that if done well it should be a twisted read! And bloomin’ ‘eck it certainly was!

So, what to tell you about this story…hmmm! It is about a family of Mum, Dad and two kids: one of each, nice house, both work and they all seem to muddle along quite nicely. Will that do? No! Oh, okay…

There is a killer at large and he is targeting women, to all intents and purposes this is the re-emergence of a serial killer that had been at large years ago. There is a certain amount of tension as the killer has got in touch with the media, as is the way of things nowadays everything is analysed under a microscope. This attention adds fuel to the psychological firestorm that is brewing. It’s effects are felt very close to home.

The author has used quick chapters and a back and forth style to create a fabulous domestic thriller, there are tensions from many aspects. The teenage children are exposed to an limitlessness torrent of news and media reports that have some unsettling consequences for the parents in this family.

The family from the outside look like your normal suburban family, but it is what goes on behind closed doors that counts, that’s when you get to see the real them! The mother seems a little too controlled and ordered and this gives her a slightly cold trait, but given her history it wasn’t that surprising. The dad, is a tennis coach and has a steady stream of clients, but he is not the main earner, that is the wife.

I feel I must apologise at this point for the really, really randomness of this review. There are so many things I want to tell you about this book and each time I start I have to stop as it would give away too many things.

This book is a psychological thriller of the domestic variety, it is a book that centre around one particular family. It delves into their daily lives and tiptoes briefly back in time. It has quite a few surprises along the way and at one point in the story I did have an inkling and then thought nah, and brushed it aside and it lay forgotten about until I had that eureka moment of “OMG I was right” and I have o say I was still shocked!

This is a clever and viciously twisted book, it had a certain amount of intrigue from the outset that just increased as the story unfolded. I did take a little longer to read this, I think three or four sittings, due to work and other boring but necessary stuff, but it is one of those books that kept niggling at me to pick it up and read it.

If you like a good domestic, psychological thriller then get a copy of this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.

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

My Week In Books (w/e 19th Jan) #BookNews #BookUpdates #MeAndMyBooks

WooHoo we are now over half way through January 🙂 sorry but it is a month that really does drag on and on and on! Roll on the spring, that’s what I say 🙂 I did manage an hour out in the garden finally, a couple of dry days helped, cold but dry so it was good.

I have also hit double figures on my books this week, it is always a nice milestone to reach. I have just finished my 11th book of the year and it was a brilliant read.

Let me show you what I have read and what I am going to read next…

A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone

Oh what a brilliant read this was. A family coming to terms with the loss of a family member means the rest of the family picking up the pieces of the Funeral business and also the Private Investigating business. A great read from start to finish with many surprises along the way. Keep an eye out for my review as part of the Blog Tour.


No Mercy by Robert Crouch

I love this series and it feels like it has been far to long since I last caught up with Kent Fisher. This is another fantastic read that I was so glad to get my paws on. Kent is an Environmental Health Officer who finds himself in the wrong places, just as well for this reader! He is once again in the thick of things, but not in a good way as he is the one that is the frame for murder! Keep an eye out for the Blog Tour and my review.


Going Dark by Neil Lancaster

This is the first book in the Tom Novak Thriller series, I decided to grab a copy as I am on the Blog Tour for the 2nd book in a few weeks. Check me out reading a series in order… I wonder if it will last!!! Well anyway, this book was brilliant, action and fast paced all the way. A brilliant introduction to a series and I cannot wait to grab the next book and see what thrills, spills and adventures the author comes up with next. I will post this review for Going Dark in a few days.


The Choice by Claire Wade

This was a recent purchase and it is a brilliant read. A dystopian that is an absolute page-turner from start to finish. A government that is concerned about health, diet, exercise sounds good, but when it is taken to the extreme and the government doesn’t advice but makes its wishes law you have a scared society. The author has done a blooming brilliant job with the themes in this book. See my full review later this week.


The Southern Belles by Katie Simpkins

I am due to start this later today (its Sunday as I type this post up) and I am looking forward to reading this ready for the Blog Tour. Here is the synopsis for it…

Not Just Any Old Riches to Rags Story.

Heiresses, Evelyn, Georgia and Olivia Belle, nicknamed The Southern Belles by the tabloid press, have everything they’ve ever wanted. Then, suddenly, on Evelyn’s 30th birthday, their father dies in a tragic road traffic accident, leaving a massive hole in his business’ finances. With the world’s media, and the National Crime Agency looking on, their family home, cars and all other assets are sold at auction, leaving the sisters penniless, homeless and jobless.

Shunned by their celebrity friends, the Belle sisters must learn to fend for themselves for the first time in their lives. Evelyn, the eldest, knows how dire their situation is, and asks their father’s solicitor, who has kindly paid for their first two months’ rent on a rat-infested bedsit in Brighton, to look into their Father’s case, while they hunt for jobs to make ends meet, which inadvertently leads to them meeting new guys, falling in love, and learning along the way that the world doesn’t owe them a favour, and that money doesn’t buy you happiness. 


I don’t post about anything I have watched very often, mainly because I don’t watch that much, but this week I have been found a wonderful TV series that you can find on Amazon Prime Video. If you like your history then you may be interested in The Silk Road, it is a 15 part series that is in 26 minute episodes that make for great bite sized viewing. It is really interesting as Alfred de Montesquiou takes you along the Silk Road stopping at all the major stops on this historic route.

Here is the link if you are interested – The Silk Road

A war correspondent for the AP news agency and a journalist for Paris Match will be our guides. Take an extended trip through six countries and cultures. Journey through time, encountering specialists, historians, or just everyday people with a passion who will help you grasp the past and present identities of those countries. From Bursa in Turkey to Xi’an in China.


Well that’s me done for the week, another good reading week and I hadn’t realised that I had read this many books in one week!

All that’s left is to wish you all a fantastic week

Yvonne xx

Archie and the Enchanter by Alexander Weir @weir_norman #childrensfiction #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for Archie and the Enchanter by Alexander Weir. My thanks to Publishing Push and Alexander for getting in touch and sending me an e-copy of this fabulous childrens book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

This is for 8 – 12 year olds.

It takes place on Scotland’s wild West Coast where Archie discovers an ancient and supernatural set of bagpipes.

The magical bagpipes do impossible things. The music it makes is powerful.

Through its music, history begins to change.

It’s not the bagpipes but the chanter that is supernatural (the chanter is the part of the bagpipe that the piper uses to make music).

The chanter is probably more than 1,500 years old and yet looks brand new.

The name ‘chanter’ comes from the word ‘enchanter’ – and ‘enchant’ is what it does. The origins of the enchanter are shrouded in mystery. It disappeared before the Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745. Perhaps the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, would have won through if the Enchanter had been around.

Then our hero, a scruffy little boy called Archie, found it, and this book is about what happened next.

Let me also share the introduction to this magical story…

Archie and the Enchanter – Introduction

‘No one knows where it came from. It was found in a heathery glen by a shepherd tending his sheep. The shepherd was keeping a wary eye on the horizon for Viking raiders and for a moment looked down. And there it was shining silvery at his feet.

What it could and would do was a constant source of amazement. It didn’t seem to age, and despite the passage of the centuries it always looked as shiny and new as it had been when it was found. It became a treasured possession of one of the Highland clans. Its ownership was kept a closely guarded secret although the Royal Stuarts knew about it and called upon it to be used in their quest for power.

Then it was lost. Everyone in the clan searched, but no one found it. The chanter entirely disappeared during Scotland’s troubled times at the close of the seventeenth century.

Who knows how the conflict at Culloden would have turned out if it had been there.’

This is a wonderful story to read and I can see it being a real hit with the age group it is aimed at.

Archie is a wonderful character and one that seems to get himself into mischief without trying, I say mischief but what I actually mean is gets dirty, ruins his clothes and just seems to attract dirt from wherever he goes, much to his mums annoyance. Archie goes to visit his Grandfather and while Grandfather is asleep Archie goes exploring and comes across a very old set of bagpipes, as Archie already plays this instrument he is immediately interested.

Archie finding the old bagpipes is just the start of the story really, as the story then changes tempo as Archie discovers what the pipes can do. What follows is a wonderful tale that not only delves into a little Scottish history, but also gives some facts about bagpipes and of course what Archie gets up to.

The bagpipes have a wonderful magical quality that has quite an impact on the small Scottish Community where Archie lives. The story also has a moral.

Archie is a wonderful character who I really liked, along with a few of the other people who I briefly met. The author has done a really good job of creating an exciting story and at the same time adding little snippets of information that help me learn something as I read.

The setting descriptions were good, enough to get a sense of place but not too much to take away from the story for a younger reader. It has excitement, magic and quite a few chuckle moments in it to keep you entertained, well it did me!

This is the first in a planned series and it is a great introduction, I got to meet Archie, his family and some of the local community. This is a really good start to the series and I think the age group of 8-12 years feels about right, though I think 8-10 is more appropriate.

It is a story that has a older feel to it, by this I mean it is not full of modern technology so maybe I mean more of a whimsical classic children’s’ style to it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I think children will enjoy it, I did and I would recommend it.

For Further Reading

If you head over to the Publishing Push Blog Site there is a great article that gives you a chance to read an excerpt of Archie and the Enchanter, there are also some really interesting facts and info there as well. You can follow the link HERE

You can order a copy of the book from Amazon

Alexander Weir is married, with two children together with his wife, and three dynamic go-ahead grandchildren. He lives in a small community in a remote part of Scotland’s Argyll Coast. As part of the community, he teaches art to the children in the community home school and, come evening time, they join him in the family room for ‘story time’. The imagination of the children has been captured in this tale, and author Alexander and his family, are keen to see Archie’s escapades being enjoyed by other children of similar ages too.

He has serialised both books and have been read on Argyll FM radio and covering Ulster, with an outreach across Kintyre, Knapdale, and Northern Ireland. In addition, he has introduced the books to children in Canada and Ireland – and received an enthusiastic response. Alexander is also the Editor of a quarterly Scottish Fellowship of Christian Writers literary magazine, called ‘WordWise’.

Alexander gained his MSc from London South Bank University, and has worked a varied career from Railway Manager, to Missionary, Vice Chairman of Savanne Winery in Tbilisi (Georgia), and Company Secretary, General Manager and Director for two London-based companies. He retired from Business Life in London in 2012.

His writing has not only focused on children’s historical fantasy. Alexander is also author of a peer reviewed medical research paper, and of two theological books, ‘A Question of Time’ and ‘A Question of Identity’.

For more information visit Alexander’s Website or visit him on Twitter Facebook

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

Black Summer (Washington Poe Series #2) by M.W. Craven#Bookreview

I am so delighted to share my thoughts on Black Summer by M.W. Craven. This is #2 in the Washington Poe series. I adored the first book The Puppet Show, and had the second on pre-order for so long, so it will come as no surprise that I also have the 3rd book The Curator on pre-order and it is going to be an agonising wait until it is released on June 4th!

So with out further ado, let me show you what Black Summer is all about…

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

When I started to read the first few sentences of Black Summer I thought to myself how nice they were… a few sentences later I thought Wow, that was a brutal intro! Within the matter of one page the author took me from sweet and charming to brutal yes in one single page. This is an author who knows exactly how to capture this reader from the very first page, and he held me in his literary grip right to the very last page. This was a one-sitting read!

I adored the characters of Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw when I was introduced to them in The Puppet Show and picking up Black Summer was like meeting up with friends. As much as I like Poe and his tenacity, I have to say that the social awkward Tilly is a readers dream. The author uses this character to inject perfect little comments that are occasionally not mentioned at the best moments, they inject a quick sense of humour.

The case that Poe finds himself in is one of an old crime. It calls into question the investigation and also Poe’s professionalism. Poe is a character who is hard-headed, uses his gut instincts and is confident. The possibility that he has messed up does cause a brief wobble in his armour and it is good to see him reach out and ask for help. Enter Tilly, the techno-genius, maths genius and profiler. What she lacks in people skills she more than makes up for in knowledge.

The case of a murdered girl turning up alive is a great basis for a story. But what comes after is where this author really does work some very devious and complex literary magic. He has created a story that is mesmerising and completely addictive. All the way through the story I discovered random facts that are connected with the investigation. These are woven into the story in such a way that they are part of the story.

The author uses the scenery of Cumbria to wonderful effect, his descriptions of the area are vivid and show an obvious knowledge, once again little facts are included adding another dimension to the story. For me, the characters of Poe & Tilly show a dynamic that has been developed since the last book, it feels like a natural progression. The story-line though is just Wow!

If you like crime thrillers, then if you have not already got this book on your shelf, then you really should. It is a fabulous 2nd in the series read that is just brilliant and I Absolutely Recommend it.

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

Violya by Rosalyn Kelly @RosalynKAuthor #Fantasy #Bookreview

I am so delighted to share my thoughts on Violya by Rosalyn Kelly. This is the second book in the fantasy saga trilogy In The Heart of the Mountains, the first book was the amazing Melokai and you cane read my review of that HERE

Let me show you what Violya is all about…

A gifted warrior consumed by revenge. An unstoppable enemy rampaging ever closer. A ravaged country in desperate need of a ruler.

After a brutal and bloody invasion, a once powerful matriarchal nation is in chaos.

Only the shy warrior Violya can pick up the pieces and save her broken country. But an old threat – for one thousand years suppressed – has awoken. Now unleashed, it’s hell-bent on destruction.

To protect her people, Violya must cast aside her desire for vengeance, master her rare magic and find the courage to rule – and fast.

Time is running out as a prophecy is coming true. A formidable enemy is closing in to crush them all. Can Violya unite friend and foe to face the looming catastrophe before it’s too late?

She’s out for blood, but first she must master her own…

VIOLYA is a grimdark epic fantasy packed with unique creatures and beings, blood-soaked action and brutal battles. It’s a sweeping tale of power and betrayal, sex and survival, love and family ties, powerful magic and hardened warriors.

Gritty adult fantasy with intricate worldbuilding, a diverse cast of complex characters, and a richly detailed plot told from multiple narratives.

VIOLYA is the second book in the In the Heart of the Mountains trilogy, the first is MELOKAI.

Violya is the second book in the In The Heart of the Mountains Trilogy, the first one being Melokai which I read a couple of years ago.

This is an epic fantasy saga and the second book delivers just as much action and adventure as the first. In this second instalment the author has drawn me once again back into the world she has created. This book see’s the different races of people being drawn into something more dangerous and it is a threat to the survival of their races.

The author has pitted family members against each other, with traitorous and bloody feudal consequences. For one family power is all-encompassing, it is all they have ever wanted so when it is threatened there are no holds barred. Trusted friends show their true colours and put lives at risk.

This story has a backstory that is interwoven throughout, it explains traditions and customs. As the different races are having to deal with many changes it is a really good way of bringing the past to the front as tradition is challenged.

Violya is the main protagonist and she has been chosen to become the new Melokai, leader of her race of people. Violya is stronger than most as she has the gift of magic. As she is a warrior she is used to being in the thick of the action and so she is her own envoy travelling through lands to try to form alliances.

The author has an amazing way with her descriptions. She has made it so easy to imagine the different races from her descriptions. She goes even further by developing each race so as they have their own histories, explanations about their troubles and also what threatens them. Not every race is innocent though, a way is needed to start to put the past in the past and by doing that a new future and alliances can be formed.

I love everything about this trilogy, the characters, the stories, the settings and the descriptions. The author has woven quite a complex story but it has been created in such a way as to make it understandable. The reading then becomes effortless and this makes it such a brilliant read.

If you are a fan of grim-dark, fantasy saga genres then both Melokai and Violya should be on your list to pick up and read. They are fabulous and I cannot wait for the final book in this epic trilogy, though it will also tinged with sadness as it will mean the end of a fabulous trilogy. Violya is a book I would Definitely Recommend.

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

In Plain Sight by Adam Croft @adamcroft #Bookreview

I am so delighted to share my thoughts on In Plain Sight by Adam Croft. I have several books by this author and have not read one yet! This has now changed and I am kicking myself for allowing this series to slip down my kindle reading list. My huge thanks to Lucy Croft for getting in touch and providing an e-copy of Adam’s latest book in the Knight & Culverhouse series.

Let me show you what it is all about…

A trail of death. A web of corruption. The ultimate betrayal.

A series of armed robberies on local petrol stations leaves Mildenheath CID chasing their tails. But things are about to get a whole lot worse.

When an elderly woman is killed during an armed raid on her jewellery shop, Knight and Culverhouse realise one of their own is involved — a police officer.

With the future of Mildenheath CID at stake and the lives of their loved ones under threat, time is running out — fast.

As they begin to investigate the web of corruption, they discover just how deep it runs — and how close to home. But are they prepared for the truth?

When I read the synopsis for this latest in the Knight & Culverhouse series I knew I wanted to read it. To be fair the synopsis for all the books in this series have been good, which is why I have bought several of them. In Plain Sight however, is the first I have read from the series and it is book #9! So I can honestly say that yes it does work well as a stand alone, and if like me you can’t seem to read in order, it is also a great way of sparking a definite interest to read the series from the beginning.

So, the synopsis does give the basic details for the story line of this book and it has a gritty feel to it, this is definitely continued into and throughout the story. As the case weaves it’s way through the streets of Mildenheath, I was introduced to various characters. There are those in the CID team, the odd local criminal as well as a few business owners and employees. Along with these, there are also those closest to Knight and Culnerhouse themselves.

The story deals with the police work and investigation dealing with the robberies of three petrol stations and also the death of a business owner. But it also combines the family and outside work lives of the two lead detectives. These personal stories add a good human interest aspect as it deals with things that go on at home, that do cause additional tension that does have a slight overflow into the work life.

There are various things I really enjoyed about the story. The crimes are realistic and well laid out with details and plots that are logical but not straight-forward. The personal stories have really interested me as even though I could easily follow them, there is obviously more that has previously happened that make me want to read the earlier books to catch up. This is especially the case with Culverhouse and his daughter Emily, and also with Knight and her new relationship.

I also liked how the author uses the recent PCC (Police and Crime Comissioner) aspect within his stroy. The use of an overseer with political leanings adds for really good reading and explosive interactions between the Commissioner and Culverhouse.

AS this is a well established series, the dynamics between the various member of the CID team is obvious. The author uses well developed characters and uses them to to good effect. Culverhouse is an old school copper who occassionally strays into the greyer aspects of policing and Knight is the one who tries to rein him in and steer him in the right direction with her voice of reason, not always succesfully either!

This was a fabulous read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a gritty, relevant police procedural with wonderful characters and a great story lines. An ideal read for crime fans and one I would definitely recommend.

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

When Stars Will Shine: Helping Our Heroes, One Page At A Time #WhenStarsWillShine @emmamitchellfpr #Bookreview

I am so delighted and honoured to share my thoughts on When Stars Will Shine. This book is very special for many reasons, the main one however is that every penny from the sale goes to helping our troops. Every part of this book from the stories to the final edited product has been done on a voluntary basis. I thank you all for your hard work in creating a fabulous read.

Before I get carried away with how amazing this book is let me show you what it is all about…

When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas read with a twist.

With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time.

From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride!

When Stars Will Shine is the perfect Christmas gift for the bookworms in your life!
 

A Note from Emma Mitchell:

As the blurb tells us, When Stars Will Shine is a multi-genre collection of Christmas-themed short stories compiled to raise money for our armed forces and every penny made from the sales of both the digital and paperback copies will be donated to the charity.

Working closely with Kate Noble at Noble Owl Proofreading and Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s Get Booked, I’ve been able to pick the best of the submissions to bring you a thrilling book which is perfect for dipping into at lunchtime or snuggling up with on a cold winter’s night. I have been completely blown away by the support we’ve received from the writing and blogging community, especially the authors who submitted stories and Shell Baker from Baker’s Not So Secret Blog, who has organised the cover reveal and blog tour.

There isn’t a person in the country who hasn’t benefited from the sacrifices our troops, past and present, have made for us and they all deserve our thanks.

It has been an honour working on these stories, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.

So when you hear people say ” There is something for everyone” this is where I go “Oh OK!” but I have to say… This collection of stories REALLY DOES “have something for everyone!”!

This is an amazing book, and I admit that I really enjoyed every single one of them, though there are some that really did stand-out for me.

I did expect to see some stories that would be about troops and war, as well as some with a Christmas theme, and yes there were several that did indeed cover these topics. But also there were some that didn’t. Each author has their own style and their own story to tell.

This book is fabulous for introducing several authors who I had not read as well as including some that I already know and who’s books I have enjoyed. This actually makes this book very special for the less obvious reason of discovering new authors.

I sat and read the first story in the book and by the end of it I was in tears. Rob Ashman shared a story called Frederick Snellgrove, Private 23208, a short story that really did pack a punch. I will admit here and now this is my favourite story of the whole collection, so much so that once I had finished and had wiped my tears away, I immediately read it again. Yes, even though I knew how it ended I still cried.

I made a brief note for every story and I will share them with you…

Four Seasons by Robert Scragg is a powerful and beautifully written story and had such an unexpected ending. Fabulous story.

The Close Encounter by Gordon Bickerstaff Oh Wow! This story was a mind twister and was excellent, what a cracking ending.

Believe by Mark Brownless Oh the lies parents tell their children about Father Christmas, this is a a dark twisted read and is fabulously devious and made me very glad I my fire was in!

What Can Possibly Go Wrong by Lucy Coleman I gradually warmed to the main character in this story and by the time I read the last sentence I had a smirk on my face. Poor chap!

Mountain Dew by Paul T Campbell an amazing read that blew me away, great twist.

The Art of War and Peace by John Carson was a little different from the other stories I had read to this point. This was a detective style story and was a dark twisted read. Fabulous!

A Gift for Christmas by Kris Egleton oh this was heartwarming story and an absolutely lovely short story.

Free Time by Stewart Giles Wow this was a hard hitting and emotional read. This gives such a different aspect of the phrase “free time”!

Died of Wounds by Malcolm Hollingdrake starting in 1915, this is a story that mixes fact with fiction. An emotional read to say the least and very poignant a slightly longer story than some, and it made an impact.

The Christmas Killer by Louise Jensen Oooh what a sneaky story this one was, a mini thriller that was fabulous.

The Village Hotel by Alex Kane another thriller of a different kind, it was very atmospheric and a great read.

A Present of Presence by HR Kemp fabulous descriptions and a story of family and loss, an emotional read that I loved.

The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin a wonderful heartwarming story that had a surprise tucked up it’s sleeve. Get the tissues for this one.

Brothers Forever by Paul Moore Wow! What to say about this one! Brilliantly written and a fabulous story.

Girl in a Red Shirt by Owen Mullen Very different to the other stories, but at the same time it did have some similarities. Very moving and poignant.

Pivotal Moments by Anna Osborne This is a wonderful story about life, living and family and a wonderful read.

Uncle Christmas by Val Portelli Oh I did enjoy this. There is a line that starts the third paragraph “Count your blessings,” it is a line that is very poignant for this story.

Time For A Barbecue by Carmen Radtke Oh I did feel for poor James, but I also did smirk as things became clear in the story.

Christmas Present by Lexi Rees A story of pressure, from family, work and your own expectations that was very moving.

Inside Out by KA Richardson a story that has an important message about PTSD, a great story that shows someone struggling and has a hidden strength not to fall further. Amazing read.

Penance by Jane Risdon Oh I didn’t expect that! Great story.

New Year’s Resolution by Robert Scragg A helping hand has consequences, this story was wonderful.

Family time by Graham Smith Oh what a wonderful finale. This was one that surprised me and left me as I started this collection… yep in tears!

This was a fabulous collection of stories. I was so surprised at the range of different styles. I have discovered new authors and some of the stories I would love to know more about. I was going to try and pick out just a few that I really liked, but in all honesty I liked them all.

When Stars Will Shine is a fabulous collection of short stories that I would Highly Recommend indeed.

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Tour…

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

Heidi by Johanna Spyri – retold by Jeanne Willis and Illustrated by Briony May Smith #Bookreview #ChildrensFiction

I am delighted to share my thoughts on a retelling of one of my childhood favoutires – Heidi by Johanna Spyri. This version is retold by Jeanne Willis and Illustrated by Briony May Smith.

When five-year-old orphan Heidi is sent to live in the Swiss Alps with grumpy Grandpa, the rest of the village take pity on her. But Heidi soon discovers that her grandpa is gentle and kind behind his scowl, and she loves her new life running wild in the mountains with the goats, the flowers and her best friend Peter. That is, until Heidi is forced to move far away to the soot and smoke of Frankfurt to be the companion to an unwell girl. Will she ever return to her true home in the mountains?

I absolutely adore the story of Heidi by Johanna Spyri, I still have my own childhood copy. I admit I was a little apprehensive about reading this retelling of a childhood favourite.

The book itself is gorgeous and the dust cover illustrations are just a taste of the pictures inside. I removed the dust jacket to find gorgeous embossed pink hardcover that matches the pink detailing on the outer cover and there is also a ribbon book mark attached. The photo really doesn’t do the cover justice. And in case you are wondering, yes they are my fluffy pink PJ’s 😁❤

The illustrator Briony May Smith has done such a wonderful job and there are so many details in each picture that represent each page of the story.

Now the story itself has been retold by Jeanne Willis. It is a simplified version of the classic story of Heidi. A young girl who is taken to the Swiss Alps to live with her grumbly and rather moody Grandfather. Heidi meets Peter the goat-herder and they become friends. Grandfather gradually softens to Heidi and when the day comes that Heidi is to leave, everyone is sad. Heidi is to become a companion t a sick child, Clara and moves to Frankfurt.

The story is one that brought back many memories for me, not only from the full version book I read as a child but also the TV series. Even though the story has been shortened and is a simplified version of the original, it still holds the magic. It is a story that has a heart, is about friendships and family as well as the challenges of life.

I love the way this book has been presented and the way the story retains some of the essences of the original one. This is a book that would suit being read to a child and also for a child to read to themselves. The illustrations complement the story and the story is enchanting. A fabulous book that I would definitely recommend.

If you are on the look out for a fabulous fiction read for children then you really can’t go wrong with this one it would make a lovely Christmas stocking filler. I know I would have loved this book as a younger reader, in fact I love that I have this copy as an adult reader!

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

Revolution by Piet Hein Wokke #histfic #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on Revolution by Piet Hein Wokke today with you. This is a book that I chose to review, let me show you what it is all about…

Do we ever really fight over religion?

Or do we use religion to fight?

Escape to the Middle East in this thrilling tale about Khalid, Abdullah and Jalal – young men who try to shape the kingdom of Beledar.

While the nearest battlefields of WWII are hundreds of miles of away, on the streets of Mayasin, the capital of Beledar, Abdullah struggles to survive. In a remote village, Khalid sets out in search of his father, and must face the brutal laws of the desert.

Jalal, the young king, wants to break through nepotism and corruption, but in a conservative, Islamic country, change doesn’t come easy. That the western world preys on his country’s oil fields, doesn’t make his life any easier either.

In this exciting book, Wokke expertly and poignantly shows the roots of modern conflicts in the Middle East, through the people and ideas that inhabit it.

This is a wonderful story that pulls together ideals, politics and culture to create a story that is set in the Middle East. It charts the stories of Abdullah and Khalid two boys from different parts of the region who grow up to have very different roles and also of a man who is to become King.

This was such an interesting read and one that I found quite addictive. It has quite a lot going on and so I took a little more time with it. It covers many different aspects of life in the Middle East and uses politics and religion quite a lot to add intrigue and suspense to the story.

The lives of the two boys are really interesting as well. One is a a boy who is struggling to make enough money so that his family can eat. The other decides to follow his brother and leave school. While the man who becomes King has ideas to help the people of his country.

I loved the way the author made me feel completely immersed within this story and while I do not have a great knowledge of the Middle East I did understand all the things that were going on. Life in the royal palace was like a game, a very dangerous game. Distrust, spies, backstabbing and conspiracy were very evident. I liked this notion of not really knowing who could be trusted.

The cultural aspects were interesting and I liked the author showed the differences from where the boys started to where they ended up. Also the differences in how men and women where expected to behave and how some where trying to bring changes to a male dominant society.

The story is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Abdullah and Khalid. I liked how I was able to follow their own journeys and how they changed and reacted to various situations as the story gradually unfolded. Jalal also has a few chapters and seeing how he coped with power was really interesting.

The story delves into other aspects of human nature such as trust, loyalty, truth, expectation and a matter of faith. These become tested in various ways through the story and it is interesting to see how the characters deal with the challenges they face.

This is a book that I read over three days and was one of those books that I found I better grasped with the extra time I spent reading it. There are various plots and conspiracies going on through the story that I needed time to digest so I didn’t get myself confused. The author has a background in politics and also Middle Eastern History and I think this has definitely helped with the story-lines.

By the end of the book I found that many things had been answered and felt complete but, there were also some new questions that I had and I hope that there will be another book to follow on from this one. The ending of this one has an ending that just begs for another book and the story to continue.

This is a book that I think readers of historical fiction would enjoy and it is one I would recommend.

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

The Reunion by Guillaume Musso #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Reunion by Guillaume Musso. I read this book a month or so ago and though it was about time I shared my review. I seem to have a few book reviews laying in the drafts section of my blog awaiting release!

Let me show you what The Reunion is all about…

WELCOME TO A SCHOOL REUNION YOU WON’T FORGET

FRENCH RIVIERA, WINTER 1992
On a freezing night, as her high school campus is engulfed by a snowstorm, 19-year-old Vinca Rockwell runs away with Alexis, her philosophy teacher.

No one will ever see them again.

FRENCH RIVIERA, SPRING 2017
Formerly inseparable, Thomas, Maxime and Fanny – Vinca’s best friends – have not spoken in twenty-five years. But when they receive an invitation to their school reunion, they know they must go back one final time.

Because there is a body buried in that school…

…and they’re the ones who put it there.

This is the first time I have read a book by this author. The premise of a school reunion has been turned into a dark and intriguing read. I have never been to a reunion and, while I do get the idea of catching up with old friends, it is not something I would enjoy. Yes, they would be old friends but also they would also be strangers to me.

The main character is Thomas, he is an author who is attending the reunion and while there he meets his own small group that he was friendly with at school. This group all have a secret and it is not the same secret. Gradually as the story unfolds the true depth of the past in unravelled. SOmethings that had been alluded to or guessed are finally unveiled in their true light. There are several things that have happened and, while they are connected they are also separate.

This book moves along at a good pace and flits between different times. I did find it initially confusing as the first couple of chapters where quite quick so I didn’t have time to find my feet with the story. Then the chapters gradually lengthen and I felt more interested in the story. I can’t say I liked any of the characters, they all seem to have a secret and this led to a general feeling of distrust towards them.

The book has a dark and devious feel to it, I would say it is a thriller as such due to the present day things going on. There are lies, secrets and an air of suspense though at times I did find it confusing and found that occasionally my attention was drifting from the story.

As I mentioned this is the first time I have read a book by this author and even though it did not fully have me enthralled and at times I got a bit confused, though I did enjoy it and I would definitely buy another book by this author.

The Reunion is a book that would suit readers who like a dark and twisted thriller story. I would recommend it.

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