Divided We Stand by Rachel McLean @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Divided We Stand by Rachel Mclean as part of the blog tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. This is the third and final installment in The Division Bell Trilogy. My thanks to Rachel for the invite onto all three tours and also the author fo re-copies of her books.

Synopsis:

Britain is a country under surveillance. Neighbours spy on neighbours. Schools enforce loyalty to the state. And children are encouraged to inform on their parents.

Disgraced MP Jennifer Sinclair has earned her freedom but returns home to find everything changed.

Rita Gurumurthy has been sent to a high security prison. When a sympathetic guard helps her escape she becomes a fugitive, forced to go into hiding.

To reunite her family and win freedom for her son and her friend, Jennifer must challenge her old colleague and rival, the new Prime Minister Catherine Moore.

Will Catherine listen to reason and remove the country from its yoke of fear and suspicion? Or will Jennifer have to reveal the secret only she knows about Catherine, and risk plunging the country into turmoil?

Purchase Link:-  Amazon UK –  Amazon US

My Thoughts:

This is the final book in The Division Bell Trilogy. This is also a trilogy that really should be read in order.  The Trilogy itself is set a few years in the future and the government has been active in segregating people, turning them against each other. Racism is rife and sets people of all races against each other in a big brother, whistleblower style surveillance system. The author has created a series that is quite chilling in some of its realism.

Jennifer is a disgraced Mp, she has finally been released from the British Values Centre, a place where its “patients” are brainwashed into the correct and more acceptable way of thinking. For Jennifer however, there are those that are aware of corruption and the many miscarriages of justice and are willing to help.

The culmination of this trilogy shows a country that has been held by fear gradually coming to its own realisation. The initial herding mentality that has gone on has now passed and people are starting to make little steps towards making a stand. The fear that authorities can come into your home and remove what and who they want, whenever they want is realism that many feel and don’t like. It is this and the sense of mis-justice that drives people for a change. This final book is like a political game of chess or cat and mouse.

I have enjoyed all the books in this trilogy. I like the dystopian, Big Brother, Orwellian style to it. This trilogy worked well for me, and I think it was due to it only just being set in the future, we have Brexit as an ever-present theme in all media outlets, racism and segregation are things that do still happen, peoples values and ideals are changing. I think it is the present climate that adds to this book.

If you are reader who likes political, big brother style dystopia, or a reader of general fiction then this is a trilogy I would recommend.

About the Author:

rachel mclean

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 at rachelmclean.com/bookclub.

Social Media Links –  Twitter –  Facebook –  Instagram

 

 

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

 

 

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

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I am absolutely over the moon to be sharing Christmas at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe with you today. This is the final installment in The Cafe at the End of the Pier series that I have reading through the year. It may come as no surprise to those that read my blog that I absolutely adore this series. I usually read the books within a couple of days of them being released, but I have a couple of reasons for holding back for 11days… yes a whole 11 days until I read this one.

Reason 1… I didn’t want to make a final visit to the cafe for the first time.

Reason 2… I realised I was coming close to reaching my Goodreads target for the year, I couldn’t think of a better book to reach my target with and after reading the book this morning I knew I had made the perfect decision. This is the 200th book I have read this year 🙂

Oh and the Danish pastries were for research purposes only…(she says,gently brushing crumbs off her face)… honestly they were 🙂 🙂

Synopsis:

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

With her grandparents taking a long-awaited holiday, Jo finds herself completely in charge of the Cafe over the festive season. Salthaven-on-Sea is brimming with Christmas cheer – the pier is decked with tinsel and twinkling with lights, and the Cafe is full of the delicious aromas of Jo’s mulled wine and freshly-baked cinnamon rolls.

Love is in the air, too, and when another mystery postcard arrives, it’s finally Jo’s turn for a blind date… But who will be waiting underneath the mistletoe?

As the whole community is brought together on the sands of Salthaven for a frosty Christmas Day swim, will Jo finally find her own happy ever after?

The perfect feel-good festive read for fans of Cathy Bramley and Holly Hepburn

*******

Readers love The Café at the End of the Pier series:

‘Brings a smile to your face and a tear to your eye’ – Goodreads reviewer

‘Heartwarming and made me smile… I can’t wait to read more’ – Goodreads reviewer

‘Perfectly charming and totally yummy’ – Amazon reviewer

My Thoughts:

From its outset, in February I have followed Jo as she decides to make the trip back to Salthaven. Initially helping her Grandparents running the Cafe at the End of the Pier and then the mammoth task of running it. Over the months Jo has taken everything in and added her own twist while still keeping the essence of what makes the Cafe the place it is.

It is a place for friends, families, visitors, and residents and all are made welcome. One of the twists Jo has is her night of love where she picks two people and invites them to a meal for two. For some it is the start of a relationship, for others, it is a friendship. For Jo it is a way to bring people together, but what about Jo herself? I had a couple of possibles that I would love to see her with but she has never had the time or the nerve to ask. Someone, however, has been playing Jo at her own game, sending her little cards and leaving messages. Finally, the who is revealed and I am not going to lie, I was delighted.

This series is not just romance, though there is that to it as well. It is about a community and discovering who you are. Jo takes a risk in taking on the cafe, she is unsure of herself at first, but with the help of her friends, customers and grandparents she gradually accepts and fits into her role.

The recipes and mentions of cakes, shakes, soups, coffee, and hot chocolate have littered these stories throughout the year, bringing a seasonal deliciousness to the story. If you have not read this series yet you are in for a real taste bud tantalising treat.

This is a book that brings the year to an end and what a year it has been. Each time I pick up a new episode I feel like I am going back to join friends and catch up on the gossip and chit-chat. By the time I got to the end of this book, I had happy tears running down my face as I read the updates from Jo’s friends as they go about their lives and then Jo’s postcard…OMG I was then a sobbing wreck …

A series that is a perfect read for romance, contemporary and general fiction readers. One that I would absolutely, highly and definitely recommend 🙂

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WebsiteFacebook
TwitterInstagram

The Cafe Series, follow the links to buy your own copies and to read my reviews

Amazon UK Links

Valentine’s Day( This novella is FREE on kindle)

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Christmas

Pre-order the book The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier it has all the stories. I have had my copy on pre-order since June… 🙂

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My Reviews

Valentine’s Day at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Spring at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Summer at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Autumn at The Cafe at the End of The Pier

Many thanks for reading my rather long post today,

a like or a share would be magical 🙂 xx

The Boardwalk by the Sea – Autumn Antics by Georgina Troy @GeorginaTroy #BookReview @rararesources #Giveaway (Open Int’ly)

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Boardwalk by the Sea – Autumn Antics by Georgina Troy as part of the Blog Tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I just love the cover for this book, very reminiscent of the older style holiday and travel posters, and the colours really do pop out. Many thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Georgina for my e-copy of the book. You can get your own copy of this book from Amazon.uk or Amazon.com

Synopsis:

Being a part-time hand model can be tricky, especially when you have to deal with prima donnas like Megan Knight, a reality star whose meteoric rise has surprised everyone. Bella is happiest running her tiny antique business from the front room of her cottage on the boardwalk. To ensure she has enough income coming in, she also rents out two of her bedrooms and is hiding a secret crush on one of her lodgers. His name is Jack and he also happens to be her best friend Sacha’s brother.

If life wasn’t complicated enough, her world-travelling mother appears on her doorstep on the same evening that Jack’s ex-fiancée arrives on the boardwalk determined to win him back. Bella has a lot of thinking to do and soon discovers that not all gems sparkle.

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Bella and her friends set in Jersey. Bella is a hand model and is definitely glad when her latest assignment is over. Being a hand model can sometimes mean working with celebrities and Divas…Megan falls into the diva category. Bella finally gets home and settles into her normal routine when suddenly a call to ask if Megan can come and hideout on the island is made and Bella is tasked with looking after Megan… Add to this a hunky lodger, antiques, cafe, friends and family and you get a wonderful read.

This story is about Bella and those around her and I have to say this woman never stops. She is busy with her own antique business, keeping up with her friends, her hand model work and on top of that, she now has to “babysit” a reality star diva/celebrity. Megan’s arrival does cause some animosity when she first arrives but actually, she does show her true colours and turns out to be quite different from the persona she portrays. Bella’s mum also makes a surprise appearance and, although I have not read the previous book in this series, I managed to understand and get enough information that it didn’t cause any problems for me.

There are several storylines that run through the book, some are a continuation from the previous book as I have already mentioned, and again I didn’t feel I was missing anything. But I am now curious and looking to read the other books.

This is a fun read with some brilliant descriptions of Jersey and some wonderful sounding food. I did have a google at some of the mentions and found some interesting recipes to try… sorry I did slightly digress there. The author did a good job with the descriptions and I found it easy to imagine the area and also the weather.

This is an author that is new to me and based on my experience with this story I can honestly say I will be buying more of her books.

This is a wonderful autumnal read with many things that are so appropriate to this time of year. Perfect for snuggling under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate close by as you settle into the story.

Ideal for readers who are after a relaxing read with some drama, a few laughs, a good touch of romance and a wonderful sense of community and belonging. An absolute pleasure to read. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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Georgina Troy is a pseudonym of author Deborah Carr. She recently signed with HarperCollins’ romance imprint HarperImpulse to write an historical romance to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War. The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr will be published in e-book format on 12 October 2018 and in paperback on 27 December 2018.

Georgina was a finalist in the Contemporary Romance Category of the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2016 (RoNAs) with A Jersey Kiss and a finalist in the Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2015. Her first four-book series, The Jersey Scene and books 1 and 2 of her second series, The Boardwalk by the Sea are available.

She also writes thrillers as Ella Drummond and lives on the island of Jersey with her husband and three rescue dogs and is 1/3 of The Blonde Plotters.

Sign up to Georgina’s Newsletter at: deborahcarr.org/contact

Social Media Links – WebsiteFacebookTwitterPintrest

Giveaway

How do you fancy winning a Boardwalk by the Sea tote bag and a necklace? Enter the competition below to stand a chance 🙂 xx

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Giveaway – Win an Autumn Antics Locket and Tote 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 *****

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

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

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

Magical Memories using a Universal Link HERE

Synopsis:

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Magic O’Clock:

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

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

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

My Thoughts on Magic O’Clock:

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

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

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

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Magical Memories:

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

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

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

My Thoughts on Magical Memories:

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Author:

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

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

Follow the Author on: FacebookTwitterBlogSubscribeAmazon Author Page

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Bear With Me Jessica Redland #BookReview @rararesources

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I am sharing my thoughts today on Bear With Me by Jessica Redland as part of the tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and also to Jessica for my e-copy of the book.

You can purchase a copy of your own HERE 

Synopsis:

Jemma has the job of her dreams as curator for the children’s section of a museum in London. She spends each day surrounded by the one thing she’s absolutely passionate about: teddy bears. When boyfriend, Scott, shows a genuine interest in her passion instead of laughing at her for “playing with teddies all day”, she knows he’s a keeper.

Returning home to the North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitsborough Bay to celebrate her birthday, Jemma thinks she’s heading for her happy-ever-after when Scott unexpectedly proposes. So, a few days later, why isn’t he retuning her calls or responding to her texts?

Julie has always been a wonderful single mother to Jemma and her little brother, Sean. As owner of specialist teddy bear shop, Bear With Me, and the creative genius behind the successful range of Ju-Sea Bears, she inspires Jemma with her ability to balance a demanding career with home life. So why is the shop now in disarray and why is Sean so upset?

Sam thought he had his future all worked out. With a promising neurology career, a home, and a devoted fiancée, life was looking good. But now he’s all alone in a strange city, far from everyone and everything he cares about, struggling to rebuild the tatters of his life. Did he do the right thing by running away? What does the future hold and is he strong enough to face it?

Sometimes love finds us when we least expect it. But sometimes love leaves us, just as unexpectedly. When you’ve loved and lost, can you bear to let love in again?

Bear With Me, as all will be revealed …

 

My Thoughts:

Jemma works with Teddy Bears, her whole life has been surrounded by them and is a passion she shares with her mum. Jemma has a boyfriend Scott, they have been together several months, after their engagement he suddenly stops calling her. While Jemma goes through the upset of being abandoned and not knowing why, her Mum starts acting out of character. Then there is Sam, lonely, avoiding the past and trying to ignore the pain of past memories.

This story is told from the perspective of the main characters. I like this view as it gives me an added insight into the way a character works and also feels. The emotions run high with Jemma and Sam as they both try to deal with the emotional wrecking ball that is [art of their lives. They are strangers and as their stories are told you get an idea of what they are going through, the pressure of past and current problems that they are trying to avoid or deal with.

This story has several themes running through it, I am not going to say anything much about these as that would spoil it for other readers. I found that the author worked these in and around very well as she incorporated them into the story.

I read this book in one sitting and didn’t notice the time ticking away. I found myself caught up in an emotional story, but one that was told with sympathy. While I did have a lump in my throat on a few occasions I did manage to hold the tears at bay. This is a story that is more about dealing with emotions to begin the chance of moving forward.

As Jemma and Sam are initially strangers I did wonder how the story would be developed and how things would link together and along the way several things caught me by surprise (in a good way) and then started to come together. I should also mention that tis book is not all sad and emotional, it has some great fun moments and a few bear puns along the way.

This is a really good read that had me wondering and musing as I read. Would things work…and if so how? It is a read that would be ideal for those who like light romance and women’s fiction. This is a new to me author and one I look forward to reading more of. Bear With Me is one that I would recommend.

About the Author:

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Jessica had never considered writing as a career until a former manager kept telling her that her business reports read more like stories and she should write a book. She loved writing but had no plot ideas. Then something happened to her that prompted the premise for her debut novel, Searching for Steven. She put fingers to keyboard and soon realised she had a trilogy and a novella!

She lives on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast – the inspiration for the settings in her books – with her husband, daughter, cat, Sprocker Spaniel, and an ever-growing collection of collectible teddy bears. Although if the dog has her way, the collection will be reduced to a pile of stuffing and chewed limbs!

Jessica tries to balance her time – usually unsuccessfully – between being an HR tutor and writing. 

Social Media Links – Twitter –  Facebook –  Website

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The French Escape by Suzie Tullett @SuzieTullett @bombshellpub #BookReview

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I am delighted today to be sharing my thoughts on The French Escape by Suzie Tullett as part of the blog blitzby Bombshell Books. My thanks to Emma Welton for the invite to join and Bombshell for my ebook. You can buy a copy from AMAZON UK in either paperback or e-book format.

Synopsis:

It’s fair to say that Flick has had a terrible year. Her beloved father died, she had the wedding of her dreams and only hours after the ceremony her husband ran out on her.

Brenda, fed up with her daughter living like a hermit, decides to drag Flick off to France to stay in a chateau. What could be better than an idyllic escape?

But when they arrive Flick discovers the chateau is all but abandoned.

The only upside of her French escape is the handsome and mysterious neighbour, Nate.

Nate loves his life living in the cottage on the grounds of the abandoned chateau but that is about to be put in jeopardy…

Can Nate and Flick ever learn to come to terms with the past and find love again?

My Thoughts:

Flick and her Mum Brenda, are on their way to France. Flick has no idea where she is going as Mum has made all the plans, and Flick also has no idea what Mum has planned until they arrive at a slightly run down chateau. Nate is a neighbour who seems to be a little moody, maybe secretive even… Flick has her own problems and Mum thinks this is the break her daughter needs to help her get her life sorted.

I love Brenda, the way she keeps her daughter in the dark about various things is great, I can see she has Flick’s best interests at heart. Brenda is concerned that Flick has lost her spark and is becoming lifeless and lost, as the story unfolds I got to discover why. As much as I had sympathy for Flick, I had to agree with Brenda, Flick needed a kick up the backside to get her life going again.

Now throw into the mysterious neighbour Nate. Well he has some interesting skeletons that he tried to keep hidden, though not hidden from everyone it seems. Yet another character I really liked, he has an interesting story and one that I didn’t quite expect.

As well as these three, there are also some other characters from the surrounding area that have an interest in the chateau and its new visitors, there reasons why soon become obvious. As do various other developments that the author has cleverly woven in.

This is a really great read and I soon found myself caught up in this story, the descriptions of the area were vivid, I could easily imagine the chateau in its surroundings. As much as I liked Flick’s story I found it was Nate’s story that really caught my interest, a little bit different and also sad.

This is a story about starting over, moving on from the past, making the decision to try things and also there is a bit of romance. The story has a great mix of personalities that compliment the main cast and also each other as well. It is an uplifting story that is captivating, idyllic and one that I would definitely recommend xx

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

Spring At Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett @Sarahlou_writes #BookReview

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Today I have Spring At Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett, this is book one of a three book series and I am looking forward to continuing my journey at Lavender Bay. You can buy this book via AMAZON UK and while your at it why not pick up the rest in the series 🙂

Synopsis:

A season for change…?

Beth Reynolds loved growing up close to Eleanor’s Emporium – a bric-a-brac shop full of wonders on Lavender Bay. Devastated to learn that Eleanor has died, she returns home from London immediately and is shocked to discover that the elderly lady has left the shop to her!

Vowing to restore it to its former glory, she only intends to stay until the end of the season. Although the longer she spends in the colourful seaside town, the more she falls back in love with everything she left behind…and quite possibly, with her best friend Eliza’s older brother, local chef Sam Barnes!

Why didn’t she notice he was quite this gorgeous before? And will their spring fling be enough to convince her to stay?

Spring at Lavender Bay, the first book in the enchanting Lavender Bay trilogy! Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Rachael Lucas and Hilary Boyd.

Book 1: Spring at Lavender Bay
Book 2: Summer at Lavender Bay
Book 3: Snowflakes at Lavender Bay

My Thoughts:

Beth is left a bric-a-brac shop by her good friend Eleanor. Beth had left home and made a life for herself in London where she is overworked, and unappreciated until the inheritance. Not sure what to do with the shop she decides to clean up and sort through the various items and then re-open, better to sell as a going concern… or should she stay put…

This is one of those delightful romantic reads about decisions that need to be made. Beth has good neighbours and friends in an area that is popular with holiday makers visiting this seaside town.

Her friends Libby and Eliza are a great help with decisions about what to do with the shop and offer support with the sorting. Next door is the pub and home to another childhood friend Sam. Sam is a chef who has returned home to help out after his fathers failing health made him cut back on the hours he works. Sam and Beth go way back and have always wanted to remain friends but as the two reconnect there is a definite spark.

This is a “will they won’t they” kind of story that has the wonders and memories of the shop mixed in with a good amount of friendship and a great sense of community. The author has done a great job of bringing various elements together giving a deliciously addictive read. I followed Beth through the highs and lows and also the odd funny moments of this story.

This is a picturesque, delicious and wonderful read that would be ideal for readers who like light-hearted romance with some other wonderful story lines threaded through. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others.

Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.

When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants.

You can connect with her via Twitter or on Facebook

Sarah is the author of the Butterfly Cove, Lavender Bay and the forthcoming Bluebell Castle trilogies, published by HQ Digital UK.

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

The Choice by Edith Eger #BookReview @PenguinRHUK

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Today I am delighted to be sharing The Choice by Edith Eger, a holocaust survivor and now an acclaimed psychologist. I would like to thank Bishneen Gurwara at Penguin Random House for inviting me to read a copy of this book.

You can purchase a copy of this book at good bookshops or at AMAZON UK where it is available in various formats.

Synopsis:

‘Little dancer’, Mengele says, ‘dance for me’

In 1944, sixteen-year-old ballerina Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Separated from her parents on arrival, she endures unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.

The horrors of the Holocaust didn’t break Edith. In fact, they helped her learn to live again with a life-affirming strength and a truly remarkable resilience.

The Choice is her unforgettable story. It shows that hope can flower in the most unlikely places.

My Thoughts:

Edith Eger was 16 when she made the journey with her mother and one of her sisters, to join a queue to enter her first concentration camp. This would be the last time she saw her mother. This is Edith’s story. The story of her life. The story of her survival. The story of how she was liberated and then learnt to live.

This is a book of two halves as Edith recounts her experiences of her life. A girl who wanted to dance, her parents, her sisters and first love. Then the how she survived the war in the concentration camps, sharing many thoughts and feelings not from herself but of her sister. Then how to live her life after leaving Europe to live in America.

Sometimes you can move away, but at some point you really do have to deal with the horror of your past.

The Holocaust and Auschwitz are words that evoke so many emotions. Edith Eger tells her story in four parts. The first being about her life, including the camps, up to her liberation, then her liberation, dealing with her freedom and finally how she started to heal herself.

As you would expect I found her time as a prisoner very hard to read. It is something that still brings shock, horror and disgust that any person could be treated in such a horrific and abhorrant way. I did however find that it was the story of her freedom and her healing that caught me by surprise. She then started to piece her life together and learn how to live. This is where the inspiration of this lady really Shines through, even more so than it had previously. To me this sounds slightly wrong but, she trained as a psychologist to help people from various backgrounds. They had many different problems that they struggled to deal with. In meeting and trying to help these people she found that she could also use their experiences to help herself, using her own advice if you like. This took her many years to reach a place where she felt some sort of freedom from her past, but to do that took a huge amount of courage to escape from her own fears and trauma.

This is a stunningly beautiful and candid account from a truly inspirational lady. It is moving and emotional, inspiring and hopeful. The more psychological aspect in the latter half of the book was something that I found very insightful and gave me a different way of looking at things.

This is a moving and important story that I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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A native of Hungary, Edith Eger was a teenager in 1944 when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz during the Second World War. Despite overwhelming odds, Edith survived the Holocaust and moved with her husband to the United States. Having worked in a factory whilst raising her young family, she went on to graduate with a PhD from the University of Texas and became an eminent psychologist. Today, she maintains a busy clinical practice and lectures around the world.

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

You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks #BookReview #NetGalley

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I am sharing my thoughts today on You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks. My thanks to HQ for my e-book I recieved via NetGalley.

Synopsis:

A chilling, gut-wrenching thriller.’ Helen Fields

A bold, sharp, gripping debut about a couple whose perfect life in the Swedish countryside is not what it seems…

A gripping page-turner for fans of The Couple Next Door, Michelle Sacks’s You Were Made For This provocatively explores the darker side of marriage, motherhood and friendship.

Doting wife, devoted husband, cherished child. Merry, Sam and Conor are the perfect family in the perfect place. Merry adores baking, gardening, and caring for her infant son, while Sam pursues a new career in film. In their idyllic house in the Swedish woods, they can hardly believe how lucky they are. What perfect new lives they’ve built for themselves, away from New York and the events that overshadowed their happiness there.

And then Merry’s closest friend Frank comes to stay. All their lives, the two women have been more like sisters than best friends. And that’s why Frank sees things that others might miss. Treacherous things that unfold behind closed doors.

But soon it’s clear that everyone inside the house has something to hide. And as the truth begins to show through the cracks, Merry, Frank, and Sam grow all the more desperate to keep their picture-perfect lives intact.

My Thoughts:

Husband and Wife, Sam and Merry and their son Connor now live in a remote and idyllic area of Sweden. Merry’s best friend Frank comes to stay, the women have been friends since childhood. All seems good, life appears perfect….but is it really?

This story is told from the perspectives of the three main characters, Merry, Sam and Frank in quick alternating chapters. Merry is looking forward to Frank coming to visit, as Merry is now a stay at home Mum, but she is determined to show Frank that she has a wonderful life, baby and home that everything is perfect. Frank however knows Merry from old, knows how she works, and how she make things out to be rosy, so she is trying to see if things are indeed as rosy as they appear. Sam is trying to get his business up and running so is not home all the time.

The author has taken the concept of marriage, happy families and idyllic home-life and thrown a big old spanner in the works by psychologically manipulating her characters. Friendship is not immune to this spanner either, it doesn’t take long for the pretence of perfect to start showing a few little cracks, as the bonds of marriage and friendship are not as they first appear.

One thing I really loved about this story was the lack of dialogue. Yes you read this right, no dialogue. Instead you are given the perspective from whichever characters head you are in. I got to see and hear the thoughts of past events, conversations and it worked so well for this story. It was easy to follow and it didn’t take long for me to recognise which character was which was which. The voices of the characters came out loud and clear for me. It was a way of seeing behind the mask of the character if you like, hearing their real thoughts rather than saying what they think should be said. It was also a great way to build up the suspense and the tension as the story developed even more, but even though I was in their heads there were still quite a few shocks along the way, and the mistrust built up.

Initially I thought I was warming to the characters, but as things progressed I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about them, I didn’t trust what they thought. I did empathise and feel for them but by the end I was shocked.

This is a clever look at marriage, parenthood and friendship and how each aspect of them fit together, or how they can be forced to fit. A great suspense filled psychological, noir that I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Michelle Sacks is the author of the short story collection, Stone Baby (December 2017) and the novel, You Were Made For This (June 2018).

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