Harpers Heroes by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to once again feature my review for author Rosie Clarke latest book Harpers Heroes. This is the latest book in the Harpers Emporium series and what a wonderful next instalment it was.

My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for arranging my e-copy of hte book and also for my spot on the Blog Tour.

Here is what it’s about…

Synopsis…

From the bestselling author of the Welcome to Harpers Emporium and The Mulberry Lane Series.
The Harpers Girls come face to face with the harsh reality of the cruelty of war.


Oxford Street, London 1915

Sally Harper quietly battles to keep Harpers afloat in the difficult days of the war, whilst husband Ben is working all hours for the War Office.

Beth Burrow is fighting concern for her husband Jack, now at sea with the Merchant Navy, and the fear she may never see him again and be blessed with a child.

Driven to exhaustion, Maggie Gibbs, is now working as a nursing assistant on the battlefields in France. With the everyday horrors of the casualties of war to contend with she suffers her own personal tragedy when her fiancé’s plane ditches in the sea.

Can the Harpers Girls and their loved ones survive the perils of war and find a path to future happiness?

A heart-warming saga following the lives, loves and losses of the Harpers Girls. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Pam Howes and Dilly Court.

Purchase Link – Amazon UK

My Review…

What an absolute joy to catch up with the folks at Harpers. This is a department store that has amazing bosses, colleagues and friends. They are more of an extended family rather than a work force and this is what makes this series so special.

There are some characters that are focused on more than others, these key characters are facing worrying and uncertain times. Some of the workforce have signed up to do their duty and fight in The First World War. The War has far reaching effects not only for those who are in the midst of the fighting, but also for those left at home worrying about loved ones. Also with rations and shortages other suppliers need to be found.

As I mentioned the story and characters are based around those that work ot or know people at Harpers, it gives it a family saga feel and really does draw you into t the lives, worries and uncertainties during this period in our history.

The author portrays so many aspects of war life. The women who volunteer close to the front helping the wounded, those involved in logistics, in freight and supplies, undercover work and many other aspects. While the horror of wounds is mentioned the story does ot focus so much on the front line fighting, though it is always an ever-present feature. In some ways it is more about everyday people doing the best they can no matter where they are and what they are doing.

Harpers Heroes is part of a series and even though I have not read this from the beginning I did read the previous book. So, yes you can read them as a stand alone, but I do wish I had read them in order as the two books I have read so far have been so engaging.

If you are a fan of historical fiction and romance, of family sagas and engrossing stories then you really want to have the Harpers series on your list, Harpers Heroes is a wonderful read and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

– Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series.  She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner.  She lives in Cambridgeshire.

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Blackpool Lass by Maggie Mason @Authormary #Giveaway #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Blackpool Lass by Maggie Mason. Maggie Mason is the pseudonym for Mary Wood and is being published by Sphere Publishers. The Blackpool Lass is available in various formats from AMAZON UK and good book shops.

I have read The Street Orphans by Mary Wood and you can find my review HERE

Synopsis:

Orphaned and destitute, will Grace find her own way in the world?

When Grace’s Ma passes away and her Da’s ship sinks with all hands, Grace is utterly alone in the world. She’s sent to an orphanage in Blackpool, but the master has an eye for a pretty young lass. Grace won’t be his victim, so she runs, destitute, into the night.

In Blackpool, she finds a home with the kindly Sheila and Peggy – and meets a lovely airman. But it’s 1938, and war is on the horizon. Will Grace ever find the happiness and home she deserves?

My Thoughts:

Starting in 1924 near Blackpool and then continuing through the 30’s, then World War II you get to meet Gracie (Grace) who looses not only her parents, but also her home and is forced to move away as there is no family willing to take her in. She is instead taken to an orphanage, a place that is far from the safe haven it should be. After leaving the home she returns to Blackpool, can she overcome her past ordeals and start a new life?

Oh my goodness this author knows how to write her characters. Gracie is as tough as old boots and has had to be to just get through life. She is a wonderful character who knows how tough living can be, yet she is warm, generous , fun and supportive. She deals with what life throws at her with a certain dignity even when things look really bad.

This is an era of change, women are more outspoken but often are still unheard. This is a time when men still rule the roost, their women are expected to behave in a certain way because that it the way it has always been. But since the end of Worlds War I women have found a foothold. They were needed to help while the men were away at war. This foothold gave women something to hope for and as World War II approaches they are needed once again and their courage to be treated fairly gains in volume.

This story touches on many of the things that girls and women had to deal with and while it is never pleasant to read about some of these aspects of life at that time, I think it is important that they are still acknowledged as being something that happened and I think the author has done a great job telling the story and without being graphic.

There were many things in this story that really stood out for me, but I am going to briefly focus on the sense of community as this was the one that shined through and complimented Gracie’s story so well. When things look so bad that you have nowhere to turn it is the kindness of strangers that can often show more support than you can imagine. Being accepted into a community is something that Gracie found and it allowed her to heal. People pulling together and letting differences aside was essential during the war and the author again instils the sense of pride that people had, giving love, time and resources when they were thin on the ground. But as Grace was to find out, not everyone has shares the same sense of community mindedness.

I loved Gracie and her friends and felt that even though they worked hard and some had been dealt “a bad lot” they still found warmth, love and comfort in their friendship, and also I bet they would have been a noisy bunch as well…

If you are after a historical saga then you will not be disappointed in The Blackpool lass, it is about family, friends, community, life, loss, love, despair and hope, dealing with many aspects of social history relevant to the time. This is a story that would definitely appeal to readers of historical fiction, family saga, and general fiction and one that I would definitely recommend xx

About the Author:

MM Maggie Mason is a pseudonym for saga author Mary Wood. Mary was born the thirteenth child of fifteen and throughout her life had various factory, office and home-based jobs, finally becoming a Probation Service Officer before she retired.

Mary married in 1963 and with her husband Roy has four children, eight grandchildren, and five step-grandchildren. She got her first book deal in 2013 and has not looked back since.

You can follow Mary on Twitter – Website Facebook

There is a giveaway being run by the author.

Follow her Facebook Page to get all the details.

*Please note I am not responsible for this giveaway, this giveaway is the responsibility of the author.*

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What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean @CarrieKablean @RedDoorBooks #LoveBooksGroupTours #BookReview

 

9781910453612I am sharing my thoughts on “What Kitty Did Next” by Carrie Kablean, this is available to purchase from Amazon UK in paperback or ebook format. My thanks to Red Door Books and Kelly at Love Books Group Tours for my ebook and also my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

England, 1813 – Nineteen-year-old Catherine Bennet lives in the shadow of her two eldest sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, who have both made excellent marriages. No one expects Kitty to amount to anything. Left at home in rural Hertfordshire with her neurotic and nagging mother, and a father who derides her as ‘silly and ignorant’, Kitty is lonely, diffident and at a loss as to how to improve her situation. When her world unexpectedly expands to London and the Darcy’s magnificent country estate in Derbyshire, she is overjoyed. Keen to impress this new society, and to change her family’s prejudice, Kitty does everything she can to improve her mind and manners – and for the first time feels liked and respected. However, one fateful night at Pemberley, a series of events and misunderstandings conspire to ruin Kitty’s reputation. Accused of theft – a crime worse almost worse than murder among the Georgian aristocracy – she is sent back home in disgrace. But Kitty has learnt from her new experiences and what she does next does next will not only surprise herself, but everyone else too.
Based on Jane Austen’s much-loved characters, this is the story of one young woman’s struggle to overcome the obstacles of her time and place and truly find herself.

My Thoughts:

As is the norm for me, I tucked into this book without reading the synopsis and I couldn’t help thinking I had heard of these characters somewhere before, I also had a voice of some of them in my head, it was strange so I read the synopsis and realised that this was a book about Kitty Bennett, one of the Bennett sisters from Pride and Prejudice. I love Jane Austen’s classic book and love the film.

So a new to me author writes a book about characters I am already familiar with, this is quite bazaar. I remember Kitty and Lydia being the really silly annoying girls, who were fixated with “Officers”, getting noticed and married. The author has taken over the story of Kitty and I really loved the way she has done this. The often left out one, ignored one or in the way and stupid one, my heart really did go out to her. It was great to see a change in this character grow and develop. Once out of the shadow of Lydia, Kitty comes to the realisation that she is indeed very childish and in order to be more readily listened to she must learn to grow up.

As the story progresses the author has not made it easy for Kitty, there are some obstacles that have been added and it is interesting to see how Kitty approaches these and acts to them. I really found myself warming to her as the story continued and it wasn’t long before I was willing her onward to find what she wanted in her life.

The whole feeling of the story from start to finish oozed the sense of fashion, social gatherings, etiquette as along with the setting I felt as if I had been transported back into the early 1800’s and a great continuation to a story I adore.

I would absolutely recommend this to readers of historical fiction, romance and general fiction. It is a story that continues on from a classic and reads well as a stand alone. If you are not a reader of classics then do not be put off, this is a fabulous and well paced book that will appeal to many readers.

About the Author:

Carrie Kablean began her career in London, where she was born, and now lives in Australia. Arriving in Sydney in 1990 (via eight years in Papua New Guinea, during which time she edited the local newspaper on Bougainville), she was with The Australian newspaper for more than 20 years, and was, concurrently, a theatre critic for the Sunday Telegraph.

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What Kitty Did next

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#BookReview of Proof Positive by Lucy V Hay @LucyVHayAuthor @rararesources

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Proof Positive” by Lucy V Hay as part of the blog tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. This book was originally released as “Lizzie’s Story” you can get a copy HERE My thanks to Rachel and Lucy for my spot on the tour and my e-copy of the book.

Synopsis:

(Intersection Series Book 1)

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Lizzie finds herself pregnant: she’s literally days away from her exam results and university beckons around the corner. The bright Lizzie has big plans, but can she have the life she wanted, with a baby in tow? What will her family and friends say? And what will the baby’s father choose to do: stay out of it, or stand by her?

An exciting “What if…” journey in the style of “Run Lola Run” and “Sliding Doors”.

My Thoughts:

Lizzie finds she is pregnant just as she is due to turn 18 and go off to University, her future hangs in the balance as she has a decision to make. It is a decision that could change her life and plans, what will she decide?

This is a really interesting read and not quite what I was expecting. Told from from Lizzie’s perspective I was taken through various scenarios from when she learns the test is positive. It is almost like reading a series of short stories all with the same starting point. She is pregnant what are her options? Well there are various options that spring to mind and the author goes through each one and how it affects Lucy and her future. Some of the scenarios are straight forward and some caught me unawares with their outcomes.

During these scenarios you get to learn about Lucy, her family and her friends and also their actions or I should say reactions to Lizzie’s news. These scenarios are quite addictive and the author has provided quite a few interesting and thought-provoking scenes. The decisions that are put forward in this story are not about what is right or wrong, the decision to be made is for Lizzie and what is right for her.

This is a relatively quick read at only 200 Kindle pages and I found that I moved through this quite quickly. There are various aspects I liked about this story and at times I found it to be enjoyable and also emotional and the odd moment that really pulled on the heartstrings. It is a book that looks at teen pregnancy and the dilemma that accompany decision and its effects on all involved. It is a book I would recommend to other readers.

About the Author:

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts.  Lucy’s also the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS. Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN, is now out with Orenda Books and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine. Check out all her books, HERE.

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#BlogTour : Tall Chimneys by Allie Cresswell @Alliescribbler : @rararesources : #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be taking part in the tour for this stunning book, “Tall Chimneys” by Allies Cresswell.  It is available to purchase in paperback and eBook, published via Createspace.  My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and Allie for my copy of this book.


Book Details: 

Tall Chimneys - Cover image

Paperback: 416 pages

 Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (5 Dec. 2017)

 Language: English

 ISBN-10: 1978036914

 ISBN-13: 978-1978036918

Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon.Com


Synopsis:

Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time – abandonment or demolition. Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater – the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard – little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up – until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder. Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself. A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever. One woman, one house, one hundred years.

My Thoughts:

This is stunningly beautiful book.  Tall Chimneys is a Jacobean house set in a dip alongside the Yorkshire Moors. The story that unfolds is one that shows the relationship the Talbot family have with the house over a hundred years. It is told from the perspective of Evelyn, the youngest family member at the time. As she tells her story she also includes things going on in the world, providing reference dates through history. The house has a hold over Evelyn, it has always been there for her, it has been her home as she has watched it pass through the family.  It has been a place that at witnessed and seen many things along with Evelyn.  It has hosted parties and soiree’s, held secret wartime meetings, met famous people and also American servicemen, seen births and deaths and has remained just a little out of time, not really modernised properly at any point.  It holds a whisper of times gone past.

This is such a beautiful story to read.  It dips into family dynamics and social class structure of the times, looking at the differences and expectations of those “above stairs” and also those “below stairs”.  There is a wonderful array of characters, some you will love, other despise, odd one will probably infuriate and then there are the loathsome, they share different personalities, outlooks, opinions and expectations on life, love, death and loss.

As Evelyn led me through her story I could not help but feel for her, she has stayed true to Tall Chimneys, has been caught up in the time bubble that has surrounded it, in doing this she has used the house as a security blanket, it is her home, safe haven and refuge. The detailing that Allie has added to this book regarding the house, the interior, gardens and surrounding area built up a wonderful image for me.  All this was given as Evelyn made her way through the story.  Then at the end of the book we are brought up to present day as a distant relative shows an interest in discovering his roots, it is a very good way to bring an end to the story, this I found quite emotional as I knew I was also coming towards the end of this book.

For me the pacing is perfect for this book, from the first few lines of the prologue to the final line in the epilogue.  As I read of the pull that the house had over Evelyn, I found a similar pull keeping me held with in the story, so much so that I stayed up to finish this book until 2:45am, that was how much of a hold it had on me.

I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book, stunning, beautiful, wonderfully written and totally captivating.  Ideal for readers of Literary Historical Fiction, General Fiction and Women’s Fiction.

Thank you so much Allie and Rachel for a copy of this book. My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.

Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.

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#BookReview : Into The Valley by Chris Clement-Green : http://bit.ly/YvonneBlog : @TheMirrorBooks @BookMachine : #BonusBlogTourExtra

 

I am delighted to share my thoughts on “Into The Valley” by Chris Clement-Green.  I was not able to read in time for the blog tour dates, but thanks to the generosity of  @laurasummersnow  at Book Machine  I have a bonus slot.  This book is available as a paperback and eBook and is published by Mirror Books.

Synopsis:

Encouraged by the sizeable pay increase and high divorce rate, Chris decided that answering a recruitment ad for the Thames Valley Police was just the thing for a much-needed overhaul of her life. It was 1984, a time before political correctness, at the height of the miner s strike and in the middle of five years of race riots. Perfect timing. Expanding her police knowledge, and her love life, undeterred by sexist remarks and chauvinists she decided to make her mark, kissing goodbye to her previous dull and conventional existence. Chris captures the colourful characters and humour in the situations she found herself in, but the job had its serious side, too. She was at the centre of a riot in Oxford, during which her life was saved by a young black man she had previously stopped and questioned, and was attacked by a man with mental-health problems a consequence of the decision to move care into the community . Consistently coming up against the effects of Margaret Thatcher s politics; from miner s picket-lines, covering (poorly) for striking paramedics during the ambulance dispute to everyday drunken disturbances caused by the haves (Yuppies and Oxford students) and the have-nots (alcoholic homeless and unemployed youth), Chris also tackled sex crimes and abuse. An often humorous, always candid and no-holds-barred reflection of the life of a policewoman in the 80s, this book offers a personal account of a life in uniform, while touching on the Newbury Bypass demos, the effects of Scarman, the Hungerford Massacre, the bombing of Libya, the AIDS epidemic and working under the notorious Ali Dizaei.

My Thoughts:

When the opportunity came through my email in box to read this book.  I was definitely interested in reading this, it was a book that was set during the 80’s.  For me I can remember seeing things on the news at this time, in 1984 I was 13 years old.  In 1984 Chris made the choice to join the Thames Valley Police Force.  This book covers the 16 years she spent in the force, telling of experiences, training and how things have changed over the time, both in a procedural sense as well as from a female police officer and the prejudices that were shown towards her.

Chris has had to deal with many things over the years in the force, but her dogged perseverance has served her well.  She gives a very candid account of things she has witnessed and  experienced, with stories that are a mix of various crimes she has been called to attend. Some are serious in nature, some are humorous.  It has been laid out in a very readable style, and charts her rise and her reasons for some of her decisions.  As she tells this account, she also adds what was happening in other police forces, especially notable things that made national news headlines.  It adds a good timeline perspective and helps to jog memories of where you were at the time, or what you were doing.  The book is set out in various chapters, and reads like short stories as well as continuing Chris’s story.

I really enjoyed this book, I found it quite educational at times, and it was nice to see what changes have been made within the force.  A book that I think will appeal to readers of Biography, True Crime, Politics and Society.

I would like to thank Book Machine Works and Mirror Books for my copy of this book.  My views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

 

About the Author:

Chris Clement-Green_smChris Clement-Green recently retired from Thames Valley Police after sixteen years as a uniform sergeant followed by five as a civilian investigator on serious and organised crime teams – which included working on several murder incident rooms. Her last job involved the management of sixty registered sex-offenders. She has now moved to rural Wales and set up The Welsh Writing Shed, from where Chris runs tutored and untutored writing retreats – thewelshwritingshed.co.uk

Her serious writing started in 2007 when she was encouraged to enter the National Association of Writer’s Groups annual short story competition. It was Chris’ first ever competition so she was astonished to win with Pebbles. The win encouraged her to undertake the Open University Creative Writing course in 2010 and Advanced Creative Writing in 2011, and she completed both courses with distinction. In 2013 she was accepted onto the prestigious Bath Spa University Creative Writing MA, where she completed a life-writing manuscript Into The Valley: Policing Thatcher’s Britain. Mirror Books has recently signed Chris and her memoir is due for publication in August 2017.

Chris has had several articles and letters published in national UK magazines, most notably Writing Magazine, and in September 2016 she was published in The New Guard Volume V a literary journal based in New York. Chris has also been short listed in the Literature Works First Page Writing Prize and Writing Magazine’s Jane Eyre competition; she was also Highly Commended in the Penro Literary Festival’s memoir competition and most recently her fantasy short story, Layla, was published in Divinity Fantasia Magazine. Chris won the Oriel Davis Prose Competition in 2016 and she was also a finalist in the Women in Comedy Festival 2016 writing competition with her monologue Queenie.

Chris has just completed work on her debut novel The Soft Tread of Vengeance; a procedural crime novel which has at its heart, animal rights versus human welfare, what money can and cannot buy and the nature of terrorism and redemption. Chris is now working on the first in a series of crime novels – Come Join the Murder – which is set against the backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Mirror Books (21 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907324720
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907324727
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

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Better still go and buy the book.