The Sanctuary by Andrew Hunter Murray #mystery #20booksofsummer #NetGalley #PenguinUKBooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Sanctuary by Andrew Hunter Murray. I had requested this book from Penguin Books via NetGalley as the title and synopsis interested me.

This is the 9th book I have read in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

In a disintegrating and increasingly lawless land, a young man is travelling north.

Ben is a young painter from the crowded, turbulent city. For six months his fiancée Cara has been living on the remote island of Sanctuary Rock, the property of millionaire philanthropist Sir John Pemberley. Now she has decided to break off their engagement and stay there for good.

Ben resolves to travel to the island to win Cara back. But the journey there is a harsh and challenging one, and when he does arrive, a terrible shock awaits him.

As Ben begins to find his way around Pemberley’s perfect island, he knows he must also discover – what has made Cara so determined to throw her old life away? And is Sanctuary Rock truly a second Eden, as the mysterious Sir John claims – or a prospect of hell?

MY REVIEW

When Ben’s fiance Cara doesn’t return from her work trip, Ben gets worried. She works on an island with no phone signal and communication is by letter. Cara likes her job a lot and she likes the importance that it offers her.

This story is set around a two-tier society, those that can afford to live in Villages, and those that can. The Villages are a new way of living. The main island is known as Sanctuary Rock, a remote island that has a strict and limited access system.

For Ben, this is a society or system that doesn’t quite sit well with him. He has visited Villages to paint portraits for the wealthier residents. He however is happier in the city in his small flat. There are benefits to these hubs as those who cannot afford to live in them can work in them. Travel and work are via permits.

Ben finally has enough of waiting for Cara so decides to make his way to The Sanctuary. A dangerous journey to undertake with no idea what he will find when he gets there.

Once there he is surprisingly welcomed as it seems that Cara is respected there. While he still waits for her to return from another job he is shown and welcomed to the island. It has a good feel, almost like a utopian society where everyone works together. There is however an underlying ominous feel, is everything as good as it seems or is it too good to be true?

This is quite an addictive story and it does have a dystopian feel to it, but not overly so and this makes it more accessible. THere are ethical questions raised within the story and this is a great way of interacting with the reader and made me think about options, dilemmas and principles.

The story unfolds further and you start to notice the cracks, things are not as they seem but quite what they are I wasn’t able to put my finger on, following Ben in this story finally led me to a truth that I didn’t expect.

This is a mystery novel that has a sci-fi or dystopian twist to it. The plot was a slower one but it gave all the information and explanations to set the reader up for the revelations to follow. I really enjoyed this one and I would be happy to recommend it.

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The Retreat by Sarah Pearse @TransworldBooks #thriller #policeprocedural #NetGalley #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Retreat by Sarah Pearse. This is the second book I have read by this author, the first one The Sanitorium (full review HERE) was a tense and very addictive read.

My huge thanks to Bantam Books and Transworld Books for accepting my review request for this title via NetGalley.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Sanatorium, a Reese’s Book Club Pick, detective Elin Warner’s second outing, as she uncovers the truth behind the suspicious deaths on a stunning island getaway.

Most are here to recharge and refresh. But someone’s here for revenge. . .


An eco-wellness retreat has opened on an island off the English coast, promising rest and relaxation—but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumoured to be cursed.

Detective Elin Warner is called to the retreat when a young woman’s body is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a tragic fall. But the victim wasn’t a guest—she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all.

When a guest drowns in a diving incident the following day, Elin starts to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the guests, and who else is in danger?

Elin must find the killer—before the island’s history starts to repeat itself . . . 

MY REVIEW

This is the 2nd book in the Detective Elin Warner series, the first one being The Sanitorium that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The Retreat took me a few chapters to get into as there were several characters to get used to and also different timelines. Once I started to recognise these I found it a much more coherent story. With the different characters there are back stories that the author has also given, these didn’t make much sense until I started to realise who was who and what their relationships are.

If you read the previous book you may remember that Elin has struggled and she still doubts if she is up to the job. When she gets sent to an island off the Devon coast to look into a suspicious death she really has to get her act together. The island has a mysterious past that has been fueled by hearsay, local legend and also murders in the past. Hoping to change the local and public image of the island by turning it into a luxury retreat.

This is a story that takes a while to get settled, but once I got to grips with things I found it really hard to put down. It has a tense air to it given its isolated location, the tales and also the overall general feel of the place. While some are there literally to unwind in the spas, pool and yoga lounges others can take advantage of the watersports. This is a rugged island that the owners have tried to tame for the benefit of its paying guests. This again is something that doesn’t altogether well with some.

This does get more complex as the story progresses, but it is easier to follow. There is more to this than a mysterious death and I do like the atmospherics that the author has brought into the book using the island itself almost as its own character. The island gives it a “locked room” feel and you can feel the danger looming.

As well as the crime and police procedural side of this story, there are also some personal stories, those of the main characters for this story and for the returning ones. AS this is the second book in the series the author is still fleshing out Elin and I am looking forward to getting to know her as the series progresses.

This is one for those who like tense crime, thriller, procedural murder and mystery novels. After the first few chapters it becomes very addictive and it is one that could be read as a stand-alone, but to be honest, this is only the 2nd book so why not read them in order. This is a book I would happily recommend.

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The Caretakers Amanda Bestor-Siegal #NetGalley #LittleBrownUK #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today from The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Siegal. I had requested this one from Net Galley. My thanks to Little Brown UK for granting my request.

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Set in a wealthy Parisian suburb, an emotionally riveting debut told from the point of view of six women, and centered around a group of au pairs, one of whom is arrested after a sudden and suspicious tragedy strikes her host family–a dramatic exploration of identity, class, and caregiving from a profoundly talented new writer.

Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family’s American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault–the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children.

The truth lies with six women: Geraldine, a heartbroken French teacher struggling to support her vulnerable young students; Lou, an incompetent au pair who was recently fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and reluctant mother; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother’s attention; Holly, a socially anxious au pair yearning to belong in her adopted country; and finally, Alena, the one accused of the crime, who has gone to great lengths to avoid emotional connection, and now finds herself caught in the turbulent power dynamics of her host family’s household.

Set during the weeks leading up to the event, The Caretakers is a poignant and suspenseful drama featuring complicated women. It’s a sensitive exploration of the weight of secrets, the pressures of country, community, and family–and miscommunications and misunderstandings that can have fatal consequences.

MY REVIEW

Every now and again I come across a book that leaves me a little unsure. The Caretakers is one such book. It is a mystery of sorts, but the mystery is more a way to a means. By this, I mean that the mystery gave the author a chance to create storylines around her characters so that the focus was more on the characters than the mystery.

The story focus on Au pairs who live and work in France, they are The Caretakers. The caretakers of the children, the house and the secrets. The author takes various characters and gives each of them a story, about the family they work for, where they have come from and also their thoughts and opinions. This means there is a lot of back and forth between characters and also timelines. I did find this easy enough to follow and keep up with who was who.

While there are several sub-stories in this book they do eventually intertwine, some more than others. The au-pairs of foreigners to France and so they are alone, it is natural that they navigate towards one another and this is done via a French Speaking school for au-pairs and also when they meet up socially. They form tentative bonds and some friendships are more of a way of feeling not so alone in a foreign country.

The time of the story when the girls are working is around the time of the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo, the author uses this to add a touch of friction, and unease and it gives a chance for opinions to surface from differing perspectives. It was a way of discovering more about living in France and being French, very interesting.

This is very much a character-driven story, at times I did actually forget that there was a mystery that started my journey with this book. This is a book where I kind of want to say not huge amounts happened, but actually, there was. It has a subtle dramatic feel and for me, I got a sense of nervousness, trepidation at living in a new country, trying to start a new chapter in life, or just trying to prove people wrong. There are several different voices in this book and each one brings their own story, thoughts, personality, history, hopes for the future or just to escape something from their past.

This is a slow burner, but it was also very captivating. There was something about this book that didn’t allow me to put it to one side. As I mentioned earlier, it is a subtle book because it isn’t always immediately obvious where the author is going as she flits from character and time.

This was a really interesting read, it is one for those who like character-driven novels, contemporary and literary fiction. I would happily recommend this one as it did keep me hooked.

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How to Spot a Psychopath by M.Q. Webb @marswebb1 @RandomTTours #psycological #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for How to Spot a Psychopath by M.Q. Webb. This is a very good psychological thriller, the title does kind of give this away 🙂

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

We’ve all wondered about someone… are they… how do I know?

How to Spot a Psychopath is a thoughtful, intelligent, psychological thriller full of conflicting accounts and sharp turns. How to Spot a Psychopath will keep you questioning who is hiding what, and why.

When four-year-old Mia Edwards goes missing on a play date, everyone suspects that Jessica Green knows what happened to her, especially Mia’s mother, Holly, but Jessica isn’t talking.

Psychiatrist, Dr Oscar de la Nuit, is determined to save Jess from the same mistakes he’s living with.

Will Jess lead to his redemption, or will she be his downfall?

Is Mia safe, and will Jess be able to return to the life she had before?

MY REVIEW


What a great introduction to Oscar de la Nuit the author has created with this first book in the series. It is a series I am looking forward to reading more of.

Oscar is a psychiatrist and he transfers a high profile person into his care as he believes he can help her. The person is Jess, she is accused of killing the missing child Mia, but won’t talk about it. Public opinion and the police have already decided on her guilt, but what exactly is she guilty of, or is she guilty of nothing at all?

This is a wonderfully intriguing and twisted psychological thriller. It is one that is told in a now and then format and I do like this method of storytelling. Information is given from the past when it is relevant to what is happening in the now.

As well as this being a story about Jess, this is also a story of what happened in Oscar’s life. This becomes relevant as he tries to help Jess.

There are several characters in this book and some have a larger part to play than others. There are a couple that felt a little clunky in being there but were needed for part of the story development. On the whole, the characters bring their own traits and agendas, but not everyone plays the role they are supposed to. Not all professionals act professionally.

There is a strong sense of mistrust for many of the characters and I do think this is what really helps the story move along at a good pace. The constant doubting and second-guessing yourself as a reader is brilliant. By the end of the book, I didn’t know who I could completely believe or trust, but I had hoped for a certain outcome.

I really liked this book, it felt full of suspicion quite early on and this carried on through the story. It is a good pace and I did feel it quickened over the latter half. This is one for those who like suspense riddled psychological thrillers and one that I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MQ Webb enjoys writing thrillers, suspense, mysteries and horror. They once worked in an office in a building that was actually an old goal.


How to Spot a Psychopath is the first book in the Oscar de la Nuit series.

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Crow Court by Andy Charman @AndyCWriter @unbounders @RandomTTours #historicalfictoin #mystery #paperbackrelease #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Crow Court by Andy Charman. This is a mysterious historical fiction story that I very much enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy via the publisher Unbound.

Spring, 1840. In the Dorset market town of Wimborne Minster, a young choirboy drowns
himself. Soon after, the choirmaster—a belligerent man with a vicious reputation—is found
murdered, in a discovery tainted as much by relief as it is by suspicion. The gaze of the
magistrates falls on four local men, whose decisions will reverberate through the community
for years to come.


So begins the chronicle of Crow Court, unravelling over fourteen delicately interwoven
episodes, the town of Wimborne their backdrop: a young gentleman and his groom run off to
join the army; a sleepwalking cordwainer wakes on his wife’s grave; desperate farmhands
emigrate. We meet the composer with writer’s block; the smuggler; a troupe of actors down
from London; and old Art Pugh, whose impoverished life has made him hard to amuse.
Meanwhile, justice waits…

MY REVIEW

This is a fabulous debut by the author and it was one that I really enjoyed. It is historical fiction with a mystery surrounding events between 1840 – 1863 set in Wimborne, Dorset. A young choirboy drowns himself and the choirmaster disappears. Rumours about the horrible and vile way the master treats the boys are all around the community. No one knows for sure what happened to the master, but several others have left the country. This adds fuel to fire about who was involved in the disappearance.

This is a slower-paced mystery and a historical fiction story. It deals with some awful actions from the choirmaster. There are some in denial, some think justice may have been served but over the course of the next 23 years, there is always a suspicion hanging over people.

The author has done a great job with this story and I did enjoy the local dialect, a list of these words can be found at the end of the book, but most of them can be worked out from the context they are set in.

This is a story that really involves many people from the local community, you get an insight into certain people’s lives and how they have carried on over the years. The chapters are laid out as the year’s change, so a quick glance will show you how many years have lapsed with each new chapter.

There is a wonderful simmering speculative suspicion throughout this tale and it does have an impact of differing degrees over the various people. The author uses social class and culture to show how the disappearance affects or implicates. The story started with a suicide and a disappearance, it raised its head again towards the end, but, in the middle, it did get lost a bit. While at the time I did wonder about this, now as I write this review up it seems to me that the story just lay dormant for a few years. It is only when other things come to pass that it is reignited.

There are many characters in this story, only a few of them I can honestly say made an impact for me. Others were there and while they did have their roles I didn’t feel any connection to them. There are, however, some good descriptions of the characters and I did like the use of the dialect for the more manual workers, and this was something that I enjoyed a lot.

This is one for those who like a slower-paced more literary style of historical fiction. It has a strong leaning towards the feel of a classic as well. It is a story of a community and of a mystery that spans over two decades. It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Charman was born in Dorset and grew up near Wimborne Minster,
where Crow Court is set. His short stories have appeared in various
anthologies and magazines, including Pangea and Cadenza. Crow Court
is his first novel, which he worked on at the Arvon course at The Hurst in
Shropshire in 2018. Andy lives in Surrey and is available for interview,
comment and events

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Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook @LizziePook @RandomTTours @MantleBooks #historicalfiction #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter by Lizzie Pook. This is a wonderful historical fiction set in 1886 in Western Australia.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my copy of this book from Mantle Books.

Fortune favours the brave . . .
It is 1886 and the Brightwell family has sailed from England to make their new home in
Western Australia. Ten-year-old Eliza knows little of what awaits them in Bannin Bay beyond
stories of shimmering pearls and shells the size of soup plates – the very things her father has
promised will make their fortune.


Ten years later, as the pearling ships return after months at sea, Eliza waits impatiently for
her father to return with them. When his lugger finally arrives, however, Charles Brightwell,
master pearler, is declared missing. Whispers from the townsfolk point to mutiny or murder,
but Eliza knows her father and, convinced there is more to the story, sets out to uncover
the truth. She soon learns that in a town teeming with corruption, prejudice and blackmail,
answers can cost more than pearls, and must decide just how much she is willing to pay, and
how far she is willing to go, to find them.


A gloriously rich and wonderfully assured debut, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter is set
in a mesmerising yet unforgiving land, where both profit and peril lie deep beneath the
ocean surface rendered with astonishing clarity, it is a novel that marks Lizzie Pook
as a name to watch.

MY REVIEW

Eliza Brightwell starts a new life with her parents and siblings in Bannin Bay, N.W region of Australia. Her father is hoping to make his fortune from pearl diving. The voyage from the UK to Australia has been long and arduous. It is 1866.

This is a historical fiction that tells of Eliza and her arrival in Bannin Bay at the age of 10 and back and forth to her life in her 20s. The earlier years tell of sadness, filling in the details of how her father has successfully made a living as a Pearler. It also tells of the hardships of those in the Bay. A mix of cultures, classes and backgrounds. The author builds a wonderful image of this desolate, dusty and dry region, and it is easy to see how quickly one could fall into poverty.

Eliza is a little bit of an enigma, she isn’t interested in the frivolity and frippery as some women are. She is more interested in the natural world, in plants, animals and about what she sees around her. Life is very different from where she first began.

When the boats return from their latest trips her father’s boat is the last one in. It is without her father, her brother is dismissive as are the rest of the crew. She is bewildered, confused and concerned. Not one for being fobbed off she decides to discover what happened herself.

Well now, there is no doubt that this is a headstrong and determined character who knows her own mind. She will take advice but she is also willing to follow what she believes is right. When she senses that there is more to her father’s disappearance she just has to go with her gut.

In this era of history, slavery is common, a time of British Colonialism and of discovery. The pearling industry is something I don’t think I have read about before so this was a really interesting read. There was enough of the basics to make me more curious for further reading.

Eliza was a character I wasn’t sure about at the beginning, but the more I read the more I started to understand her. She would be seen as a feminist and therefore not really accepted into certain circles. In fact, she is her own circle and the author has done a brilliant job with her.

This is a story that ebbs and flows at its own pace. Sometimes it is faster like the storm in the ocean, other times it is slower more languorous and this slower pace gives a chance for the literary side to tease itself out. This at times has a really lovely literary fiction flow, as well as being a mystery and historical fiction in genres. It didn’t take me long to get into this story and I did find the book nagging for me to be picked back up when I had put it down. A fabulous debut from this author and one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lizzie Pook is an award-winning journalist and travel writer contributing to The Sunday
Times, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Condé Nast Traveller and more. Her assignments have
taken her to some of the most remote parts of the planet, from the uninhabited east coast of
Greenland in search of roaming polar bears, to the foothills of the Himalayas to track
endangered snow leopards.


She was inspired to write Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter, her debut novel, after
spending time in north-western Australia researching the dangerous and
fascinating pearl-diving industry. She lives in London.
You can find Lizzie on Twitter and Instagram.

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The Hemlock Cure by Joanne Burn @LittleBrownUK #historicalfiction #NetGalley #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Hemlock Cure by Joanne Burn. This is set in 1665 in and around the village of Eyam, a wonderful historical fiction read.

My huge thanks to Little Brown UK for granting my request to read and review an e-copy of this book.

It is 1665 and the women of Eyam keep many secrets.

Isabel Frith, the village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide. So she tells nobody her fears about Wulfric, the pious, reclusive apothecary.

Mae, Wulfric’s youngest daughter, dreads her father’s rage if he discovers what she keeps from him. Like her feelings for Rafe, Isabel’s ward, or the fact that she studies from Wulfric’s books at night.

But others have secrets too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagined.

When Mae makes a horrifying discovery, Isabel is the only person she can turn to. But helping Mae will place them both in unimaginable peril.

And meanwhile, another danger is on its way from London. One that threatens to engulf them all . . .

Based on the real history of an English village during the Great Plague, The Hemlock Cure is an utterly beguiling tale of fear and ambition, betrayal, self-sacrifice and the unbreakable bond between two women. 

MY REVIEW

The village of Eyam is a village I know from history lessons at school. Also known as “The Plague Village”, it is in Derbyshire and pronounced “eem”. It is nestled in the gorgeous Peak District National Park. The village is known as the Plague Village due to the Plague or Black Death that swept through Europe in 1665/66. If you are not aware of how the village tried to manage the plague in their village please have an internet search.

Eyam is such a village that is hearing of the plague that is starting to sweep through the country. Wulfric is the village apothecary and with the help of his daughter, they make the medicines to help those who are ailing. This is a time when it is a male dispensing cure is a respected profession, not so much if you are a female though. Wulfric’s daughter Mae knows she has to be careful when she starts to prepare her own recipes, her father would never have such a thing happen under his roof.

This story is one of a daughter trying to do the very best she can, but her father will never praise her, look proudly at her. In fact, he is just downright awful to her, he has no respect for women and thinks they are all evil. Mae’s mother is dead, and it is a close friend that keeps an eye out for Mae, something that makes Wulfric angry.

The story is set around the village of Eyam and the author has used actual events woven into her fictional story. The story wanders around Mae’s home and surrounding area and also in London. It shows the different ways people are trying to void the plague and also how devastating its reach is.

This is a slower-paced story and one that I did find engaging. It also flits between different characters and times, this threw me initially. I don’t always read headings and this was a bit of a downfall for me as not only are there several characters voices, they are also in slightly different years. Doing this means that the author adds nuggets of information from a few previous years to her current timeline.

This is a historical fiction story that does have mentions of real people and a brief mention after the story does go into more detail about this. There is also a good bibliography for further reading. I did enjoy this story as there is a mystery to it as well as the dynamics within Mae’s family and the village. I would happily recommend this one.

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The Garden by the Sea by Amanda James @amandajames61 @OneMoreChapter_ #publicationday #NetGalley #contemporaryfiction #

I am delighted to share my review today for The Garden by the Sea by Amanda James. This is one of my “go-to authors”, so whenever I see a new book I am there!

Happy Publication Day Amanda xx

My thanks to the Publisher – One More Chapter for approving my request to read this via NetGalley.

A heartwarming novel of new beginnings, community and finding your tribe when you need them the most…

A precious heirloom passed down from mother to daughter…

Lowena Rowe’s beloved mum always claimed her family seedbox was special. Said to contain soil from Tintagel, the mysterious seat of the legendary King Arthur, whomever made a wish upon the box would have a beautiful garden, bountiful crops and love of their fellow man’. Lowena isn’t inclined to believe the myth but can’t part with the box, knowing how much it meant to her mum.

Starting over with a new home and a new job in the Cornish village of St Merryn, Lowena can’t help feeling lost and alone… but she isn’t the only one. Now, as a community of misfits finds solace and friendship in the shade of her growing garden, she realises there might have been truth to the mythical box after all, and she may just be growing the life and love she’s always wanted…

MY REVIEW

This is the second book in The Cornish Escapes, the books can be read as stand-alone as they are individual stories in their own right. This is an author that I will automatically read and I always enjoy her stories.

Lowena Rowe has just moved into a gorgeously sounding cottage with a wild garden that overlooks the sea. Her move also means a new job. It is a fresh start for her as she has sold her Mums home, there are certain things that Lowena brings with her to her new home, one of which is a little box that her Mum had told her was special.

This is a story that is captivating, enchanting and so wonderfully described. The author has brought together a mixed bunch of characters who have their own quirks and foibles. Zelah is fab and I do think she is one of my favourites. The thing with this story is that it felt right, by this I mean that there are some of the characters who I thought “that could be so and so from my village”. Having characters that could so easily be from your community makes for really great reading.

The story is about bringing people together, making new friendships and helping others out. Stepping out of your comfort zone is something that is tough, but there are several characters that do actually need to make this journey to realise that there is more to life.

There is a romantic element to this story and not just for one set of characters. While I do think that these were really good, it did feel a little bit too convenient, this is not a bad thing as they all fitted in within the context of the story. I just think that there is the potential for being a lot more to several of the characters and a couple of them I was really intrigued to know more about.

This is a lovely and wonderful story, it is about new starts, looking towards the future and believing. It is a heartwarming story and one that I adored. It is one I would happily recommend.

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Rachel Ryan’s Resolutions by Laura Starkey @LauraStarkey @emblabooks #contemporaryfiction #publicationday #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Rachel Ryan’s Resolutions by Laura Starkey. This is the first digital publication from Embla Books.

I would also like to wish Laura a very Happy Publication Day xx

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In January, Rachel Ryan’s New Year’s Resolutions are fairly predictable. Exercise more, put money into savings before spaffing it all on clothes, remember ridiculous rule that potatoes don’t count towards your 5-a-day…

Before long, though, the year ahead of her is very much not going to plan. When the creative agency Rachel works for is taken over, one of the new suits in the office is very familiar. And very handsome. Surely it can’t be… Jack Harper. The man she has spent years trying to forget. Not only is Rachel now working with him, she has regular sightings of the gorgeous woman Jack cheated on her with – who happens to be plastered to the side of every London bus.

Thank goodness for Tom, who is always there to listen (and pour wine). But when work stirs up her most painful memories, her best friend makes a major announcement and Jack dials up the charm, Rachel starts to question everything.

As life throws her a world of crazy, will Rachel have to make some very different resolutions?

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MY REVIEW…

Rachel Ryan works as a copywriter and lives with her best friend, Anna. Anna and Will are an item and have been a few years, Will shares a house with Tom. The four are great friends, and have regular drinks, nights out and are like family.

When there is a re-shuffle at work, Rachel is surprised when her ex from years ago arrives. He is one of the team members who is part of merging and creating new and exciting accounts. This is almost like a make or break time for Rachel.

The story is based on Rachel and her plan for her future. Like most, she does set her resolutions for the start of the new year. Like most, she also doesn’t necessarily get started on them, to she alters them.

This did feel like a light-hearted sort of a story. It did take me a while to get to understand Rachel, and actually, not all the characters n the book know much about her or her past, so it does kind of make sense. I did find as the author revealed more about Rachel, that she did start to come out of her shell. It really didn’t help with her ex coming back on the scene. I did find that the further I got into the story the more I grew to like her.

This is a story of hiding, of trying to be quiet and not seen. Happy within a small group of close and trusted friends where it’s safe. Unplanned events throw Rachel’s life into turmoil, she believes her actions are right but she seemed to be just treading water. It takes a bit of a blowout and for things to crash before she can see clearly once again.

This is a story that I really enjoyed, it got better the further I read and I found myself getting quite involved with how things were going to play out. This is one for those who like a more modern contemporary fiction story and it is one I would happily recommend.

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The Map Maker’s Daughter by Caroline Dunford @verdandiweaves @SpellBoundBks @zooloo2008 #yafiction #fantasy #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Map Maker’s Daughter by Caroline Dunford. This is a Young Adult fantasy read that I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-cop of the book.

Sharra’s world is a terrifying place.

Violent seismic ‘Shifts’ and outbreaks of an all-consuming black fire radically alter landscapes on an increasingly frequent basis. Only the Map Makers can predict where the Shift will fall, and Sharra, daughter to one of the most famous Map Makers, yearns to join their ranks and break a cultural taboo which forbids female cartographers. Sharra’s father, Lord Milton, is one of the few to challenge the current order, but his shadowy past limits his political reach and his second wife, Lady Ivory, is determined to manipulate him to ensure a privileged future for herself and her daughter, Jayne.

The main obstacle standing in Ivory’s way is Sharra.

MY REVIEW…

This is a wonderful Young Adult Fantasy book that follows the adventures of Sharra, she is the daughter of a mapmaker. Their role is to warn the world when the earth shift. When shifts happen danger and death follow.

Sharra is not like most girls her age, she’s a bit of a tom-boy, gets into trouble and is interested in the skill of map-making. This skill isn’t just your average map-making, it is a skill that literally can move mountains. Girls and women do not possess this skill, but then Sharra’s mother had the skill so it can happen.

This is a really enjoyable fantasy story, it has some magical intrigue to it and it is easy to follow. I would say that this is more a lighter fantasy book and it would work very well for younger readers. There is enough description to keep the plotline flowing and plenty of mystery and intrigue to keep the attention. I soon found myself caught up in this book and quite unable to leave it until I had finished it.

The character of Shanna is an interesting one, she has a stepmother who is always on at her, a father who is trying his best and also the stereotype of what society expects of a young woman of her position. This gives several elements that make for interesting reading. Add into this the danger that Shanna is in from those who want to have more of a hold over the map-making skills and it makes for a good action-adventure story.

I really enjoyed this, it is a good Young Adult Fantasy that I read in one sitting, I did find it wrapped up a little quick for me, and I could have quite easily read another 50 pages or so. I also think there is the potential here for another follow on book and if that is the case I would definitely be picking that one up. This is a fantasy, coming of age type story and one I would happily recommend. 

About the Author…

Caroline lives for stories. Reading them. Telling them, Watching them. She can’t get enough of them. She can hypnotise people and she sings well in the shower. She enjoys cooking, but hates housework, and has managed to convince everyone who knows her that she doesn’t understand washing up. So much so that when friends visit some of them do it for her. Fortunately she also has a dishwasher. She always feels she didn’t make enough of her teenage years, and hopes that at least the teenagers in her books do!

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Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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