The July Girls by Pheobe Locke #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you today on The July Girls by Pheobe Locke. This is a chilling psychological thriller that made for compelling reading indeed.

Let me show you what it’s all about…

Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost. 

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.

Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives . . .

The title for this book “The July Girls” sounds like such a nice title for a book. Then you read what the book is about and you realise that “nice” is not what this story is about! It is a chilling thriller about murder, a murder every July. But the story is not about the murders or the investigation, it is about Addie her sister Jessie and their father.

The story is told from the perspective of Addie. The date is July 7th 2005 and it’s Addies 10th birthday. It’s also the day her father comes home covered in blood. It’s also the day of the London bombing. It’s the day that Addie finds something that doesn’t belong to their family.

Starting in 2005, the story follows Addie and Jessica’s lives. Addie stells of growing up in Brixton, of her friend and also Jessica’s boyfriend. Homelife is hard and Jessica is the one who looks after Addies as their father works long hours. Addie shares her thoughts and feelings about her doubts and insecurities as she struggles to understand things going on around her.

Using the voice of a 10-year-old gives a very basic yet quite addictive start to a story. You could almost say it’s a simplistic start but it then gathers momentum as Addie gets older. It leapfrogs through the years, stopping when important things and revelations happen. It is a way to fill the reader in on developments and all the times adds more intrigue and mystery to the story. This made it very compelling for me and also adds a good pace to the story.

This is a very clever and also very creepy and chilling thriller that differs from a lot of the murder/ crime books I read. It is one that is intriguing and has a tension to it that gradually builds.

It’s one I would definitely recommend.

It also leaves me wanting to read her first book “The Tall Man”!

The Hat Shop on the Corner by Marita Conlon-McKenna #AudioReview #20booksofsummer (4/20)

I am delighted to welcome you all to my review for the Audio version of The Hat Shop on the Corner by Marita Conlon-McKenna.

Let’s see what it is all about…

A gloriously warm-hearted novel about wonderful hats, the people who buy them – and their remarkable stories.

Hats! Hats! Hats! Upbrims, sidesweeps, silks, ribbons and trims all become part of Ellie’s life when she inherits the little hat shop on Dublin’s South Anne Street. But the city is changing, and Ellie must decide if she wants to follow the hat-making tradition of her mother or accept a generous offer to sell the shop.

Encouraged by her friends, Ellie takes on the hat shop, and her quirky designs and tempting millinery confections soon attract a rich assortment of customers all in search of the perfect hat.

Creating hats for weddings, shows, fashion and fun, and falling for the charms of Rory Doyle along the way, Ellie is happier than she has ever been before. But as her fingers work their magic she discovers a lot can happen in the heart of a city like Dublin….

Ellie inherits a hat shop on the corner of South Anne Street in Dublin. After some thought, she decides that she will take on the running of the shop and continue in her mothers’ footsteps. Using her own experience and knowledge to create millinery masterpieces fit for any occasion.

This is a lovely story to listen to and the narrator Caroline Lennon has the perfect tone to her voice to make the story come alive.

This is obviously a story about hats, the making of them, the different materials used and all manner of other things. The author has the balance of the millinery world just right. Giving enough information to keep my interest without overburdening me. It compliments the story of Ellie and her customers. There are also other different things going on this this story. The street where the hat shop is situated is underthreat, not just Ellie’s shop, but also other retailers, from a large development.

I am going to go back to the hats again, well the customers actually. Each customer that comes into the shop wants a bespoke hat. This involves Ellie finding out what the occasion is and then also a little bit about each customer. This means I got to know more characters and their own stories, some are sad, some happy, some nervous, some shy but all want a hat. I got to know their likes, dislike and preferences. Whether they were willing to take a chance on something they wouldn’t normally pick or knew exactly what they wanted.

This was such a lovely story to sit and listen to. It’s one I would recommend to those that like a gentle, heartwarming story about people in their everyday lives. It has also left me wanting to now go and read the book as well.


This is book 4 out of 20 in my #20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge.

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Amazing Grace by Kim Nash @KimTheBookworm @rararesources #review

I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my review today for Amazing Grace by Kim Nash. I had my eye on this book for a while, I had seen so much love and praise for it I knew it was one I definitely wanted to read. When I saw it was available on NetGalley I immediately downloaded it and read it very same day. I am delighted to be joining the Blog Tour for this book with Rachel’s Random Resources.

So let us have a look see what its all about…

She’s taking her life back, one step at a time… Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted.

Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary – and her perfect life fell apart.

Now she’s a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks…

Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up on her doorstep, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves.

So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness?

A funny, feel good romance about finding your own path and changing your life for the better – readers of Cathy Bramley, Jill Mansell and Josie Silver will love this uplifting read.

Oh My Goodness this book is superb and my poor emotions have gone through the wringer, crying and laughing to myself one moment to anger within the turn of a page. This author has a story that is so very realistic and one that can be related to.

Grace has gradually got stuck in a rut after the breakdown of her marriage. Her son Archie spends the odd evening and weekend at his Dad’s house. During these times loneliness creeps in for Grace, weight goes on, clothes are black and shapeless…then the intervention by her friend Monica.

It seems that things after this intervention start to fall into place, or is it because Grace starts to feel confident? A phone call to landscape gardener Vinnie sees a spark of interest flicker back to life in Grace again. Mark, her ex, however, is not going to make things easy.

The characters in this book are just brilliant, the dilemmas are very real and the scenarios they find themselves in are also ones that I found it very easy to relate to. The uncertainties of new relationships combined with the guilt of old add tension.

There are so many thought-provoking moments in this book. They start from the dedication at the very beginning of the book, yep even before I even got to the start of the story I knew I was going to like this book. In fact, I didn’t just like it, I bloody loved it, every single word.

I did mention emotions, anger yes that was there and also a surprising little comment from a young boy, and there are some very special moments in italics, these you will discover for yourself. But these had me reaching for the tissues time and again.

It was one of those books that just wrapped me up immediately and held me in its embrace. It is a stunning, beautifully written story about Grace and life, she discovers she needs to love herself more, occasionally put herself first, to take a chance on life, start to live and to stand up for herself.

This is a book I would absolutely and most definitely recommend.

Kim Nash lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture and is a book blogger at http://www.kimthebookworm.co.uk. Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA. When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs. Amazing Grace is her debut novel with Hera Books and will be out on 10th April 2019

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Fox Halt Farm by Celia Moore @CeliaMooreBooks @rararesources #review #Giveaway (open Int)

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for Fox Halt Farm by Celia Moore. My huge thanks to Rachel for the invite and also to Celia for my e-copy of the book. Have a look at the end of my post, to enter the Giveaway to stand a chance to win a Gift Voucher.

Opening on a cliff edge, Billy finds herself alone and betrayed. She believes everyone and everything she loves is threatened. Richard’s world is aglow with wealth, love and unswerving family loyalty but then his perfect life crosses Billy’s. He could save Billy, her beloved dairy cows and Fox Halt Farm but this young woman isn’t in the mood to be rescued.

Nothing will stay the same. Should they trust each other? Will their secrets tear their lives apart?

Fox Halt Farm is hard to put down. The story cracks along and you are caught up in Celia Moore’s vivid storytelling from the start.  If you love novels by Jill Mansell, Fiona Valpy, Lucinda Riley, Maeve Binchy and Danielle Steel you will love this novel too!

Purchase Link

Fox Halt on a £1.99 promotion until 12th April 2019

Thi story took me a few chapters to get into, but once I got to understand the timeline and to recognise characters I suddenly found myslef hooked. This was a book that I read over a couple of evenings, the second evening involved me telling myself “just one more chapter”, well this continued until I had finished the book just before 1am.

THe story is of Billy and just to clarify, Billy is a female with the masculine spelling of her name and an explanation is given in the story as to why. So Billy makes quite a shocking and startling introduction to the story. The story unfolds over several years, and over the course of the book I got to know Billy, her family, especially her Mum and her friends.

The story revolves around Fox Halt Farm, its visitors and the journeys made to and from the farm by various people, for various reason over the years. These people are part of Billy’s life in different ways. Troubles, disasters and heartbreak make up part of the story, also other aspects of hopes, the future and also family and friends brought many other things that I really enjoyed

The book also has a few other tricks up it’s sleeve, a story about life never being simple or straight forward, with many twists and turns and unexpected dramas unfolding. It shows that despite many knock downs, it is possible to get back up even though sometimes it can take a lot longer to get up and that sometimes you need help.

This was a wonderful read that, once I got to grips with, I just flew through. A nicely paced story with some really interesting characters. It is one I would recommend to other readers and I am looking forward to the next book by this author.

Celia Moore (1967-now) grew up on a small farm near Exeter. She had a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor working in the City of London before working her way back to Devon. In 2000, she left the office to start a new adventure as an outdoor instructor, teaching rock climbing and mountaineering. Today she gardens for a few lovely customers, runs and writes (accompanied at all times by a border terrier x jack russell called Tizzy). She is running the London Marathon in April 2019 for three cancer charities.

Social Media Links – Facebook Instagram Website Twitter Pintrest

Giveaway to Win a £15 / $15 Amazon Gift Card)

*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Whisper To Me by Sherrie Lowe @SherrieLowe2 #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review of Whisper To Me by Sherrie Lowe. I saw this book during a recent Blog Tour and entered a giveaway, I was lucky to be one of the fortunate recipients of an e-copy. To be honest, the synopsis for this book caught my eye so I would have brought it even if I hadn’t won a copy.

I must also mention the fabulous cover, I love fuschias and when I visit my mum I seem to bring back more cuttings of them. The cover ties very nicely to the story inside.

So let’s have a look and see what it all about…

A new wife and a vengeful ghost. Not a good mix. 

Letitia – Tish – Stanyer makes husband Theo promise never to remarry if she dies and he complies just to pacify her. She isn’t going to die. 

She does – and he does remarry. Tish isn’t happy. Her spirit cannot rest with another woman in her domain, sampling the delights of her husband. Theo belongs to her – Sheena will have to go. 

Letitia and Theo are celebrating their 14th Wedding Anniversary when she makes the comment about how they are supposed to be together forever, she means not only in life but also as and when they die as well. She does not want him to meet anyone else or move on, and so he makes the promise never to remarry…

I think this is a conversation many couples may have had. I for one believe that if I go before my husband then he should move on, find happiness and live his life, that’s if anyone will put up with lol… and he shares the same sentiment. Everyone, however, is different and I don’t believe there is a right or wrong in whatever anyone believes or chooses because at the end of the day it is the choice of the couple and the individual.

So this book definitely has an interesting base to work from and for a 151-page story, I found myself caught up in it. It is an easy to read story as I got to know Theo and his immediate family and the spirit of the dead Letitia. I discovered how after many years Theo has indeed moved on and forgotten about his promise, Letitia, however, has not. She begins to make her feelings known in some very dark ways.

Love, life, and death are the main focuses in this story and I thought the author did a great job in such a quick read. It moved along at a gentle, easy flowing pace and it was perfect to read in one sitting.

There is a proverb that states “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and this is so appropriate for Letitia.

This is a book that I think would go down well for discussion for Book Reading Groups and it is one I would definitely recommend.

Sherrie Lowe
Image taken from Author’s Goodreads Page

I am a divorced mother of two adult sons and I have three lovely grandchildren. I was working as a learning support assistant in a mainstream high school when I became ill with ME (also called chronic fatigue syndrome) in 1995. I have since written ten novels and two memoirs and Song of the Phoenix although the fourth to be written is the first to be published, mainly because the first three are more or less a trilogy.

Writing has kept me sane through what is an extremely debilitating and isolating illness and my aim is to earn my living from it.

Visit Sherrie’s website Twitter

Purchase link for her paperback books HERE and Kindle editions HERE

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The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I am sharing my review for a fabulous book, The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul. I would like to thank the publisher Headline for accepting my request to read an e-copy of this book.

A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret….

From the number one best-selling author of The Secret Wife, The Lost Daughter is a sweeping, moving story of the tenacity of love and the power of forgiveness. Spectacular, enthralling and romantic, Gill Paul’s latest novel will stay with you forever.

1918. With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of the Romanov family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria captures the attention of two of the guards, it will lead to the ultimate choice between right and wrong….

Fifty-five years later…

‘I didn’t want to kill her’. With these cryptic words Val’s father dies, leaving her to unravel a mystery which unites two families who have faced unspeakable tragedy and perhaps to finally offer an explanation which has been long overdue. 

I am going to start by saying that this is a stunning historical fiction read that has been sat on my digital TBR for far too long. I really wish I had picked it up sooner.

It has two timelines, one in 1918 and the other in the 1970s. I was curious how these two would eventually link up as they also span two different continents. A story of tragedy, love, betrayal, and heartbreak amongst the turmoil of 1918 Russia, and in the 70s a daughter trying to discover the meaning behind her fathers’ mysterious ramblings.

What an absolutely fabulous read, full of emotion and completely addictive. From the start, I noticed the details that showed the evidence of a well-researched book. I was immediately transported with the authors take on the story of the Romanov family. Maria is one of Tsar Nicholas II daughters. At 19 Maria is taken from the opulent lifestyle. Russia is in a period of transition, a period of turmoil and suffering that many experienced for many years to come.

In the 70s I met Val, she is confused with her father. He has dementia and is dying, but she wonders if his mysterious conversations have anything to do with his past. They are troubled words and she finds herself unable to leave them alone. She sets out to discover the truth and also finds herself making decisions about her own future.

There is something about the history of the Romanovs and Russian history of this era that really does pique my interest. It may seem a morbid thing to be interested in, but my interest lies in the social class and structure of the time. A time in history that is tragic as people of all classes are persecuted, depending on who is in power. But it is the human resilience and inventiveness of trying to stay alive, rather than bowing down to an authority that would rather you were dead than oppose them. The Author has done an amazing job of mixing fact with fiction to give a glimpse into Russian life at the time.

The story between the two times was one that had me hooked. I found the characters were very easy to follow and recognisable. The alternating timelines were again very easy to keep up with. I found a story that was heartbreaking and hopeful. Heartbreaking because of what had happened, but hopeful towards the possibility of a better future. It had a dramatic and at times tense atmosphere to the reading, I found myself constantly wondering and worrying about the fate of some of the characters. I was totally caught up and mesmerised by the whole story.

The story of Val is a gradual one, she slowly starts to unravel a decades-old mystery that has kept its grip on her father. Her story really did compliment that of Maria. I was unsure how they would link, but when I started to see little things coming together I was even more compelled to read. By the end of the story I was a bit of an emotional wreck… enter the box of tissues…I found the concluding chapters brought everything together beautifully and completely, although I was gutted to have finished the story.

This was an absolutely wonderful read, it has an amazing balance of human endurance to overcome heartwrenching odds. In case you have not guessed it yet, I absolutely adored this story and it is one I would Highly Recommend. Also, it has left me wanting to read more by this author.

Image and Bio taken from the Author’s Page at Amazon UK

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, The Lost Daughter, is about Maria, the third of the Romanov daughters, who befriended the guards in Ekaterinburg, and a Sydney woman called Val Scott, who is trapped in an abusive marriage. 

Gill’s other novels include Another Woman’s Husband, about links between Wallis Simpson and Princess Diana, and The Secret Wife, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second Romanov daughter, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.

Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.

Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.

Purchase Link – Amazon UK

Visit the Author on – TwitterWebsiteFacebook

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The Talisman – Molly’s Story by Eliza J. Scott @ElizaJScott1 @rararesources #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Talisman – Molly’s Story by Eliza J. Scott as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. Many thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Eliza for my e-copy.

Synopsis:

Molly’s dream of taking over her childhood home at Withrin Hill Farm with husband Pip and their three children has finally come true. And, as they settle into the stunning Georgian farmhouse, with their plans to diversify into glamping nicely taking shape, the family couldn’t be happier.

But tragedy suddenly strikes, and Molly’s world is turned upside down.

Heartbroken and devastated, she struggles to face each day. True to form, her fiercely loyal best friends, Kitty and Violet, rally round offering love and support, but Molly doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to smile again. Until the day a tall, dark stranger with twinkly eyes arrives…

 Follow Molly’s story in book 2 of the Life on the Moors Series set in Lytell Stangdale, a picture-perfect village in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors, where life is anything but quiet.

A heart-warming story of love, friendship and hope.

Pre-order Links – Amazon UK – Amazon.com

My Thoughts:

When Molly was a teenager she helped out Camm, a young gypsy boy, in return he gives her half of a talisman. He tells her they will meet again in the future. Years go by and she forgets about this encounter, Molly marries and has children, she has a wonderful life and is definitely part of the community that lives and works on the Yorkshire Moors. A hard life but full of love and happiness, a life that is complete.

I have to say that Molly is a brilliant character, fiesty to say the least, able to lower the tone of most conversations at the drop of a hat and someone I think I would definitely get along with. She has a great group of friends and family around her, a tight-knit group that are an absolute hoot. This closeness is something she will need and rely on to get her through and will keep her going when her world comes crashing so unexpectedly down around her.

The story itself has a real great feeling of togetherness, that is in the sense of living and working together. A story that had me snorting with laughter at some of the random characters and their antics. For example, the fumble-fingered text messages then there is Reg the Rooster and his determination to name a couple. Mixed in with the friendly characters, there are a couple of undesirables who keep popping their heads up on occasion.

The Yorkshire dialect features in the writing of this author in conversations. It is something I really like in a book and it helps to keep the setting and the characters firmly in the “where they are”. There was the odd word that stumped me but luckily there is a glossary at the end.

From the outset, I knew that something was going to happen. I thought I would be prepared, but Oh my goodness I was so not prepared in the slightest . The author really did pull my emotions and left me with leaky eyes on more than couple of occasions. The sense of loss and grief really did come through and it made its presence felt. The moving forward in life for all concerned was another aspect that again the author did a great job with. She managed to capture the emotions, the changes to daily life and adapting to challenges as they appeared. Dilemmas, decisions, feelings, and family again played a very big part.

This is a story I really did enjoy, a story of family, friendship, life, love, and living. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Eliza lives in a 17th-century cottage on the edge of a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and two mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or working in her garden. Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off by a visit to a teashop where she can indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and cake.

Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heart-warming stories with happy endings.

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Galaxy Girl by Bev Smith @BevSmith612 @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway (UK only)

Today I have my review of Galaxy Girl by Bev Smith to share with you all. My thanks to Rachel at Rachels Random Resources for the invite and to Bev for my e-copy of the book.

Synopsis:

You hate school. Your family is beyond annoying. Your only friend comes from a different planet, and she’s about to leave.

What’s a girl to do?

Fed up with life on Earth, Esme stows away on the spaceship taking Stella back to Planet Kratos.

So begins Esme’s adventure into a world beyond the stars. A world of strange creatures, thrilling journeys, heroic rescues, and instant fame.

Oh, and school. Lots of school.

Along the way, she discovers that friends may be greener on the other side, but they still can’t be trusted.

Millions and billions of light years away from earth, she sets in motion a plan to escape. Unfortunately for her, they aren’t about to let their prize exhibit leave anytime soon…

Purchase Links  Amazon UK  – Amazon US

My Thoughts:

When Esme has the chance to run away with her new alien friend Stella, it isn’t your usual pack your bags and thumb a lift type of runaway plan. Instead she hops onto a spaceship that takes her to a different galaxy and to the planet of Kratos.

Esme feels she is being ignored by her mum, and that her brother and sister get more attention than she does and no-one at school seems to like her much either. This is a story with feelings that a few children will be able to associate with as they grow up. Deciding her life would be better spent elsewhere, she decides to make the most of this offer of a journey. It is a journey that is the proverbial “the grass is greener on the otherside”.

There are various things I liked about this story and at times I felt there were aspects that reminded me of Roald Dahl, the names of teachers is definitely something that would appeal to younger readers. The way the shop names on Kratos were altered made me scratch my head a couple of times until the penny dropped. There are tentative steps into global warming and saving animals from extinction I thought these had been incorporated into the story well. 

Essentially the story of Esma is one of how she feels in her role within her family and also with people around her. As we know the grass is rarely greener on the other side, Esme needs to discover this for herself and experience other things. The story is told through Esma’s blog, updates of her new life, memories of her old life, realisations, and thoughts are all included and each entry is signed off in her unique style.

This is a story that has humour, heart, and morals and comes across very well. A story I think would appeal to younger readers and one I would recommend.

About the Author:

Bev Smith has been a secondary schoolteacher, saleswoman, waitress, wages clerk, youth worker, and holiday park entertainments manager. She has scuba dived the Barrier Reef, lived in a village in Namibia, worked for a charity in Thailand, flown over Victoria Falls and paddled in the sea at Bournemouth. 
Having single-parented her three daughters, she’s been ferociously playing catch up with this writing lark.  She recently completed a Masters in Writing for Children at Winchester University. #galaxygirl is her debut middle-grade book.  
SocialMedia Links – Twitter – Facebook

**Giveaway**

Giveaway –Win 2 x #galaxygirl Mugs and a signed copy of #galaxygirl (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the theRafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random viaRafflecopter 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 be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Love Punked by Nia Lucas @BooksNia @rararesources #BookReview

Love Punked Front cover.jpeg

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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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:

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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

Giveaway – Win A copy of Isolation Junction- eBook

To win an e-copy of Isolation Junction follow the link below.

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