Book Review: The Empire by Michael Ball

I adore books about the glitzy 1920s so I was thrilled to be on the tour for The Empire by Michael Ball. With her experience and knowledge of the theatre I’ve high expectations of this novel and can’t wait to jump in.

The Empire by Michael Ball

The Empire by Michael Ball

Title: The Empire

Author: Michael Ball

Publisher: Zaffre

Genre: Women’s fiction, historical fiction

Release Date: 13th October 2022

Purchase Links – http://unbouncepages.com/Michael-ball/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Empire-charming-romantic-Cameron-Mackintosh-ebook/dp/B09X1725SP

https://www.amazon.com/Empire-charming-romantic-Cameron-Mackintosh-ebook/dp/B09X1725SP

Blurb

Welcome to The Empire theatre

1922. When Jack Treadwell arrives at The Empire, in the middle of a rehearsal, he is instantly mesmerised. But amid the glitz and glamour, he soon learns that the true magic of the theatre lies in its cast of characters – both on stage and behind the scenes.

There’s stunning starlet Stella Stanmore and Hollywood heartthrob Lancelot Drake; and Ruby Rowntree, who keeps the music playing, while Lady Lillian Lassiter, theatre owner and former showgirl, is determined to take on a bigger role. And then there’s cool, competent Grace Hawkins, without whom the show would never go on . . . could she be the leading lady Jack is looking for?

When long-held rivalries threaten The Empire’s future, tensions rise along with the curtain. There is treachery at the heart of the company and a shocking secret waiting in the wings. Can Jack discover the truth before it’s too late, and the theatre he loves goes dark?

Musical theatre legend Michael Ball brings his trademark warmth, wit and glamour to this, his debut novel.

Enjoy the show!

My Thoughts

This novel showcases Michael Ball’s passion and knowledge of the theatre giving it depth and soul that wouldn’t have been replicated without his theatrical background.

By following Jack Treadwell’s discovery of the Empire, I saw the atmospheric building through his eyes and as his love for the theatre and the larger than life cast grew so did mine. There were many characters to love and hate who drove story forward while I was immersed in the atmospheric setting and era. 

Behind the glamour of showbiz, lingered the shadows cast from the first world war and the murkier aspects of the time. These rose the tension and making me turn the page to discover how all the subplots concluded.

Would I recommend?

Yes, I’m currently in hospital and The Empire provided an entertaining, escape into my favourite era.  The strong sense of place immersed me into the characters’ lives which was quite a feat when battling with the distraction of a busy ward. With a full cast of characters and glamorous location it could easily be adapted into a tv series. 

Author Biography

Michael Ball OBE is a singer, actor, presenter and now author. He’s been a star of musical theatre for over three decades, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical twice, he’s also won two BRIT awards and been nominated for a Grammy. Michael regularly sells out both his solo tours and his Ball & Boe shows with Alfie Boe and has multiple platinum albums. The Empire is his first novel.

Social Media Links 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mrmichaelball/   //  https://twitter.com/ZaffreBooks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mrmichaelball/?hl=en // https://www.instagram.com/zaffrebooks/

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Other blogs on the tour

Book Spotlight and giveaway: One Last Dream for December by Lottie Cardew

It may only be October but it never too early for a Christmas books so I’m excited to share with you a book on my TBR pile One Last Dream for December by Lottie Cardew

One Last Dream for December by Lottie Cardew

Book cover for One Last Dream for December by Lottie Cardew
Pink background with an umbrella hanging on a traditional lamppost on the street while a view through a window to a festive  bedroom. A woman reading and nutcracker in the window.
One Last Dream for December by Lottie Cardew

Title: One Last Dream for December

Author: Lottie Cardew

Publisher: Cloverdilli House Press

Genre: festive romance

Release Date: 3rd October 2022

Purchase Linkhttps://viewbook.at/LastDreamForDecember

Blurb

Sometimes, the dream we think we don’t deserve is the one that’s trying to come true…

Esme Blythe has led a nomadic existence for the last ten years, never thinking she fits anywhere, and never feeling she’s earned the right to. But when she moves in above Percival’s, the charming old toy shop in Market Square, Pebblestow, it seems the village is about to weave its signature fairy-tale magic.

Surrounded by wooden toy soldiers, rocking horses, and vintage doll’s houses, not to mention the locals who seem determined to be part of her life – from her endearing grumpy uncle, to warm-hearted co-worker Blodwyn, and smouldering single dad Seth – Esme has to face up to everything she’s been missing, or turn her back on an incredible opportunity.

New friends, formidable foes, and the thrill of a budding romance, conspire to make this the most bittersweet December ever. But when she finally learns the truth about the toy shop’s owner, her elusive benefactor, the mysterious Mr Percival, is it already too late for Esme to change her mind… and heal her heart?

Author Biography

Lottie Cardew writes uplifting, contemporary romcoms set around the picturesque village of Pebblestow, and is an advocate for diversity in fiction.

Regarded as the bossy one at Novelistas Ink, Lottie often subdues the other members if they misbehave (they don’t really) including the popular authors Trisha Ashley and Sophie Claire. She is a longstanding member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, scooping their New Writer’s Award in her twenties under a different pen-name. More recently, Lottie also joined the Society of Authors where as an active participant in the ADCI group (Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses) she interviewed bestselling author Holly Smale in 2021 for the first ever Disability Issue of The Bookseller.

Lottie is diagnosed autistic with suspected ADHD. Her home in North Wales is overrun by husband, not-very-small children, and a ball of fluff masquerading as a Pomeranian, so Lottie frequently takes refuge at her desk.

Social Media Links – Twitter: https://twitter.com/MsLottieCardew

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bossynovelista

Newsletter sign up form: Subscribe to my Newsletter

Website: www.lottiecardew.co.uk/

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/LottieCardew.Books

Giveaway to Win a Festive Bundle of goodies (Open to UK Only)

Giveaway prize

Prize includes:

A handy winter-themed reusable shopping bag with pouch; a notebook to organise Christmas gifts and to-do lists; and a Scandi-style Christmas stocking. 

Enter here

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour .

Good luck everyone and happy reading!

Love

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Other blogs on the tour
7th Oct
iheartbooks.blog
Being Anne
A Little Book Problem

8th Oct
Bookish Dreamer
inspiredbypmdd
b for bookreview

9th Oct
Tizi's Book Review
Herding cats
hodophile-z

10th Oct
Eatwell2015
Bookish Dreams
mrsgibbs on instagram

11th Oct
Martha Dunlop, The Story Cave
Kirsty_Reviews_Books
Comfychairandabook

12th Oct
Wall-to-wall books
Books, life and everything
seduced with literature

13th Oct
Splashes into books
Ginger Book Geek
Jenny Lou's Book reviews

14th Oct
Lisa's reading
Sharon's beyond the books
Sapphyria's books

15th Oct
From under the duvet
Staceywh_17
Just 4 my books

16th Oct
htdk2002.reads
@candygirl73reads
Tea Party Princess
Other blogs on this tour

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Book Review: Simply Vegan Baking by Freya Cox

I’ve always been a fan of the Great British Bake Off. There is nothing like curling up on the sofa, with a slice of cake and a cuppa watching the year’s group of bakers tackle the challenges. There are highs and lows but they are always a supportive and friendly group. One baker, I enjoyed watching was Freya Cox. I may not be vegan but family members are lactose-intolerant so always on the look out for new recipes suitable for them. When the invitation for this blog tour came up, it was a wish come true.

Scroll down to see if this book was all I longed it to be.

Simply Vegan Baking by Freya Cox

Book cover for Simply Vegan Baking by Freya Cox
Pale blue cover with Freya Cox holding a three layered chocolate cake decorated with cream and cherries. She's wearing a pastel granny squared crochet top
Simply Vegan Baking by Freya Cox

Title: Simply Vegan Baking

Author: Freya Cox

Publisher: Murdoch books

Genre: Cookery Non-fiction

Release Date: 29th September 2022

Blurb

70 fun and accessible recipes for all your favourite classic bakes made vegan – from Great British Bake Off’s young vegan star, Freya Cox.

Vegan baking needn’t be difficult or boring – it can be simple and delicious! Freya’s mission is to show that it’s just as delicious if not more so than ‘regular’ baking and, when all the ingredients are available from your local supermarket, there’s no reason not to give it a try. Anyone who’s new to baking or to veganism will find these recipes reassuringly familiar and be amazed that they’re so effortlessly vegan.

From simple cakes, traybakes, pastry and bread to special desserts and showstopping cakes, there’s something for every occasion. Try Salted Caramel Cupcakes, Triple Chocolate Cookies, Cinnamon Rolls, Banoffee Pie Slices, Lemon Meringue Pie and the most incredible Black Forest Gateau!

With veganism on the rise and the range of mainstream plant-based products growing all the time, there’s never been a better time for a classic vegan baking book from a rising vegan star with a fast-growing profile.

My Thoughts

Oh how I longed not to be in the middle of a flare, so I could get in the kitchen to try some of these recipes. With a clear layout, and stunning photographs to illustrate the bakes, this book is full of inspiration from adaptations to classic bakes like stollen, gingerbread cookies and carrot cake to more original ideas. I’ve bookmarked many, particularly those that are also gluten-free. Who can resist the lure of Lemon and Almond cupcakes?

Being in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Rascal recipe leapt from the page. I can’t wait to see if the taste as good as they sound.

The instructions are clear and well explained – unlike some of the technical challenges set on the GBBO – as seen in the illustrations below

Recipes to tempt

Would I recommend?

Yes, with an abundance of delicious recipes to try there is plenty of inspiration in this well presented and easy to understand cookbook. Though aimed at the vegan market, it is versatile and ideal for those who need a dairy-free option for allergy reasons too.

Author Biography

Photo of Freya Cox holding a stack of multi-coloured cake tins. She is a young white woman with long brown hair in a single plait
Freya Cox

Freya is a 20-year-old psychology student who has taken a year out to pursue baking. From Scarborough, she was a breath of fresh air on GBBO in 2021 with her North Yorkshire accent and her status as the first vegan baker on the show. She’s passionate about simple vegan baking and about showing everyone how effortless and delicious it is.

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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29th Sept Bookish Belfast (IG) @bookish_belfast
30 Sept Bend it like Bartrum (IG) @benditlikebartrum
3rd Oct Lisa Loves Literature (IG) @lisa.loves.literature
Courteney in a book (IG) @courteney_in_a_book
4th Oct Rutherford Reads @Katerutherford6
5th Oct Penfold Layla (IG) @penfoldlayla
6th Oct Green Reads Books (IG) @greenreadsbooks
7th Oct The BookCosy @Book_cosy
Stacey Hammond (IG) @staceywh_17
10th Oct Baratheon Books (IG) @baratheonbooks
11th Oct Book after book @Siliva_reads
From under the duvet @DuvetDwellers
12th Oct Kate Bubs Books (IG) @karebubsbooks
Other blogs on this tour

Book Review: Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane

I’m a fan of Christmas Carol and I’m always intrigued by Charles Dickens’ life so the blurb of Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane drew me in.

Scroll down to see if the novel lived up to my expectations

Book Review: Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane

Book cover for Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane. A dark brooding sky, abare tree and stark landscape with a woman in a red coat. She's looking away from the reader.
Folly Ditch by Anna Sayburn Lane

Title: Folly Ditch

Author: Anna Sayburn Lane

Genre: Crime history

Release Date: 23rd August 2022

Blurb

A Dickensian murder mystery. A brutal modern-day gang. Can Helen Oddfellow outwit an old enemy – or will she be his next victim?

When literary researcher Helen Oddfellow finds an old newspaper cutting in an antiquarian bookshop, she uncovers a mystery dating back 200 years. Her quest to find the real woman behind one of Charles Dickens’ best-loved characters takes an unexpected turn, when the bookshop owner goes missing.

Helen befriends his distraught teenage daughter as they try to find the missing man. But the marshes of north Kent are home to a criminal gang more brutal than anything Dickens imagined. Murky money, royal connections and desperate people link the past with the present. But it’s the unexpected return of an old enemy that puts Helen herself in mortal peril.

FOLLY DITCH is latest in the series of mysteries featuring literary sleuth and London tour guide Helen Oddfellow.

Long-listed for the Stockholm Writers’ Festival 2022 First 5 Pages prize.

My Thoughts

The tone of this novel was set at the start with the raw scenes depicting people trafficking. They made my heart stop despite not being over graphic, so I knew I was in for a tense look into organised crime and the vulnerability of illegal immigrants. Luckily for my nerves, this was well balanced with the mystery surrounding a book which was potentially the key to Charles Dickens’ inspiration for Oliver Twist.

Despite Folly Ditch being my first introduction to amateur sleuth, Helen Oddfellow, she was easy to connect to. As her research placed her and others in danger and the tension increased, I was heavily invested in the characters and kept turning the page.

Would I recommend?

This is a series for fans of crime with historical threads. Folly Ditch can easily be read as a standalone but like all crime series, reading them as a whole adds to the reading experience. Well paced, with an intriguing plot and determined characters made this an ideal read for these cooler evenings. Tapping into my love of crime mysteries, novels about books and my fascination with Charles Dickens’ life made me wish to go on Helen Oddfellows’ Charles Dickens literary tour visiting all his haunts and inspiration.

Author Biography

Photo of Anna Sayburn Lane. White woman, dark hair with a fringe,dark eyes and smiling with lipstick on.
Anna Sayburn Lane

Anna Sayburn Lane is a writer, editor and journalist. She lives on the Kent coast, at Deal.

Anna has published award-winning short stories and was picked as a Crime in the Spotlight new author at the 2019 Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival. Her 2018 debut novel Unlawful Things was shortlisted for the Virago New Crime Writer award.

Contact hello@annasayburnlane.com

Find out more at www.annasayburnlane.com

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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A list of other blogs on the tour

12th Sep Ramblingmads @Ramblingmads
13th Sep Penfold Layla (IG) @Penfoldlayla
14th Sep Random Things Through My Letterbox @AnneCater
15th Sep The Shelf of Unread Books @Shelfofunread
16th Sep Little Miss Book Lover 87 @LittleMissBooks6
19th Sep From under the duvet
@Duvetdwellers
20th Sep Dr Alice Violett @Alicetheunique
21 Sept What Janey Reads (IG) @whatjaneyreads
22 Sep Books by Bindu @Booksbybindu
23 Sep Chaos Happiness Book Mama (IG) @Chaoshappinessbookmama
Other Blogs on the tour

Book Review: Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop by Kiley Dunbar

It’s never to early for festive reads and I’m excited to be on the blog tour for Kiley Dunbar’s Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop. This is a follow on from one of my favourite romances, The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday – review is here – so I couldn’t wait to revisit the idyllic village of Clove Lore.

Book cover for Christmas at the Borrow the Bookshop.  A traditional bookshop in the snow with a Christmas wreath on the door and decorated with lights. A woman in a bobbly hate and jumper walking towards it. Christmas trees are in the foreground
Christmas at the Borrow the Bookshop by Kiley Dunbar

Title: Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop

Author: Kiley Dunbar

Publisher: Hera

Genre: festive romance

Release Date: 1st September 2022

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/39v0coN

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3QpSgpj

Apple: https://apple.co/3Oewbs0

Hive: https://bit.ly/3HI1olz

Blurb

‘Tis the season for finding love… and the perfect book

With just two weeks until Christmas, everything in Clove Lore should be perfect. But the latest holidaymaker to the Borrow a Bookshop is feeling far from festive…

Icelandic ex-bookseller Magnús Sturluson might be surrounded by love stories in the Bookshop, but he’s nursing a sadness that not even fiction can fix.

When Alexandra Robinson finds herself stranded in Clove Lore, she finds a safe place to hide from heartbreak. After all, all that’s waiting for her at home is a cheater boyfriend and the memories of her parents. As Alex finds herself embraced by the quirky village community, she finds her tough exterior thawing – and as she grows closer to Magnús, she finds an equally soft heart under his gruff shell.

It seems that Clove Lore is working its magic once again – until a great flood on Christmas Eve brings devastation in its wake. It’s up to Magnús and Alex to batten down the hatches and help bring the village back together again, while also introducing the locals to the Icelandic tradition of the jólabókaflóð – Yule book flood – where families and friends gather on Christmas Eve to exchange books and read together.

But can Magnús and Alex truly rescue the ruins of the village, and salvage their Christmas spirit? Or is there another complication lurking even closer than they thought?

My Thoughts

Kiley Dunbar is an author I know I can turn to for a comfort read with quirky characters to love and a location I can immerse myself in. This book was no exception. Clove Lore and the bookshop welcomed me back like a hug and it was a joy to catch up with old favourite characters like Minty, Jude and Eliot, and of course, Aldous the dog.

The bookshop and its café is a perfect location for a Christmas story as it oozes cosiness and warmth especially when the characters sink into chairs in front of the fire surrounded by books. With the village decorated with Christmas decorations it made me feel festive even in September.

Magnus and Alex provided a fresh story and when their pasts were revealed, I was cheering them both on hoping they would both get the happy ending they deserved. Unlike many romances, Magnus and Alex get on so it was lovely to see the friendship flourish but then it meant the heartache cuts deeper when trials come their way.

The flood highlighted the devasting wide ranging effects disasters like this have but also showed the strength communities and people have when pushed to the brink.

Would I recommend?

Yes, with bookshops, the Christmas tradition of jólabókaflóð, a strong community and romance in the air, it’s an ideal match for a heart-warming festive read. It deserves to be read while huddled under your duvet with a hot chocolate or favourite drink.

It can be read as a standalone, but like all novels set in a village location, reading the first novel will give added depth to the reading experience as you have a connection with the secondary characters too.

Author Biography

Black and White of Kiley Dunbar. White woman, dark long hair and glasses
Kiley Dunbar

Kiley Dunbar writes heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places, with One Winter’s Night being shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2021.

Kiley’s five novels include: The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday (May 2021), One Winter’s Night (September 2020), Summer at the Highland Coral Beach (2020), Christmas at Frozen Falls (2019) and One Summer’s Night (2019).

Social Media Links


Website and newsletter: http://www.kileydunbar.co.uk

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI8wM4Fmkbyg4S_XGSnfUCA

https://twitter.com/kileydunbar

https://www.facebook.com/KileyDunbarAuthor/

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Blogs also on this tour
1st Sept Jane Hunt Writer - Boos Escapes with BabsW67
Diagnosis Bookaholic
2nd Sept
Being Anne - Bookmadio - Mad about books Books. life and everything
3rd Sept
Satisfaction for insatiable readers
Splashes into books
@theweebookworm
4th Sept
Jen loves reading
Captivated reading
Just4MyBooks
5th Sept
mrsligibbs
iheartbooks.blog
Kirsty_Reviews_Books

6th Sept
Books and Bubbles 
Eatwell2015
BetweenTheLInes
7th Sept
hydk2002.reads
Bookish Dreams
Brewtiful Fiction
8th Sept
Tizi's Book Review 
Bookish Jottings
Between the Pages Book Club
9th Sept
Little Miss Book Lover 87
This Hannah Reads
THe comfy chair
10th Sept
From under the duvet
Love the smell of a book
@more.books.yes.please
11th Sept
Captured on Film
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Book Blogging Bureau
12th Sept
Ceri's Little Blog
Tea Party Princess
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Stacey Hammond
Emma's Things to Read
Ginger book Geek
14th Sept
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A Little Book Problem
Ceri.welshmumof3.reads

Book review: The Little Theatre of Halfpenny Lane by Clodagh Murphy

Today’s review is for an Irish romance called The Little Theatre of Halfpenny Lane by Clodagh Murphy. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book set in Ireland but there is always something special about the location so I couldn’t wait to visit this novel.

The Little Theatre of Halfpenny Lane by Clodagh Murphy

Book cover of The Little Theatre of Halfpenny Lane by Clodagh Murphy.
Predominantly orange cover, 3 women walk on the road on an old fashioned street with bunting looped across shops.
The Little Theatre of Halfpenny Lane by Clodagh Murphy

Title: The Little Theatre of Halfpenny Lane

Author: Clodagh Murphy

Publisher: Balally Books

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 11th August 2022

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Theatre-Halfpenny-Lane-heartwarming-ebook/dp/B0B4KNC9QX

US – https://www.amazon.com/Little-Theatre-Halfpenny-Lane-heartwarming-ebook/dp/B0B4KNC9QX

Blurb

Aoife and her sisters know exactly what to do when they inherit their Great-aunt Detta’s theatre on Halfpenny Lane:

  • Restore the dilapidated building to its former glory.
  • Perform together on its stage to packed houses and rapturous applause.
  • Live happily ever after.

But they didn’t count on Detta leaving a share in the theatre to her godson, Jonathan. Now they’ll have to persuade him to buy into their vision of stardust and magic – or find the money to buy him out.

As they fight to save the theatre, Aoife also battles her growing feelings for Jonathan. Because she can’t let herself fall for the man who’s about to bring the curtain down on their dreams.

My Thoughts

I love going to the theatre, especially those with a history and original features, so I was invested along with the sisters to save this theatre on the delightful Halfpenny Lane. Despite its decrepit state, the detail and atmosphere of the building brought the story to life. The theatre on Halfpenny Lane had a character of its own.

Told in Aoife viewpoint, the close relationship between the sisters, despite their differences in personality, was evident from the start. Their loyalty and love of performing reminded me of the March sisters in Little Women and I was eager for the impossible dream of saving the theatre to become possible for all
of them but especially Aoife. As the elder daughter, her sense of responsibility had meant she put her ambitions on hold for the sake of others. She deserved a break.

The romantic thread with Jonathon worked well. From the start, the reader knows there is something more to Jonathan’s determination to sell his share than the other characters believe, and it was fun to follow the clues and discover why.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this an entertaining read about family, determination and following your dreams and your heart. With many other places on Halfpenny Lane, I’d be interested in reading more.

Author Biography

Photo of Clodagh Murphy with black background.
White woman with long light brown hair, smiling. Crucifix earring
Clodagh Murphy

Clodagh Murphy lives in Dublin, Ireland. She has worked as a bar waitress, cleaner, secretary, editorial assistant, mystery shopper and movie extra. But she always dreamed of being an author, and after more jobs than she cares to (or can) remember, she now writes full-time. For more information about her books or to sign up to her newsletter, visit her website at http://clodaghmurphy.com/.

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clodaghmurphyauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClodaghMMurphy

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clodaghmurphybooks/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/clodagh-murphy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/clodagh

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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List of other blogs on the tour.
11th Aug
Insideoutreviews
It takes a woman
Herding Cats
Misty's Book SPace
Kirtsy_Reviews_Books
ihearbooks.blog
ramblingmaids.com
12th August
Tizi's Book review
Books, Life and everything
Ginger Book Geek
13th August
Captured on Film
Kelly T's Space
Lisa's reading
14th August
Bookish dreams
B for Bookreview
Chicks, rogues and scandals
15th August
Wendyreadsbooks
Jane Hunt Writer
Bookish Jottings
16th August
Twoladiesandabook
Stacey Hammond
Berit Talks Books
17th August
Reading Tonic
Novel Kicks
Satisfaction for Insatiable readers
18th August
From under the duvet
Tealeavesandbooksleaves
BookswithDanSamEnd
Other blogs on the tour

Book Review: The Hive by Scarlett Brade

Book Review: The Hive by Scarlett Brade

Book cover for The Hive by Scarlett Brade
Vibrant purple and black, two women's faces on opposite sides of the title in white. A bee is crawling across the word Hive
The Hive by Scarlett Brade

Title: The Hive  

Author: Scarlett Brade

Publisher: Zaffre

Genre: Thriller, Psychological

Release Date: 21st July 2022

Purchase:

Blurb

SHOULD HE LIVE OR DIE? YOU DECIDE.

Charlotte Goodwin looks directly at the camera and reveals a chilling truth to the thousands watching her Instagram Live broadcast. She has killed her ex-boyfriend’s new partner in cold blood. But she is not finished yet. With bloodied hands she takes a calm sip of tea before continuing. Lincoln Jackson will now make his confession, then the viewers must vote to decide whether he should live or die.

The public display sends shockwaves rippling through the online community and the numbers of viewers skyrockets. But as Lincoln’s past is revealed, how will he be judged?

Bonded by mutual tragedy, Charlotte’s three best friends have supported each other through the soaring highs and devastating lows of their lives. Now, in Charlotte’s hour of need, her friends also face a choice, whether to help her get away with murder.

The Hive explores our darkest fears of the relationship between social media and mental health, but, most importantly, the strength of sisterhood against all the odds.

My Thoughts

This is one of those books that begins with the end and carries the reader into the protagonist’s life to explain why that outcome was inevitable. With a strong beginning where viewers of a live broadcast can choose whether Lincoln lives or dies, I was hooked. Social media has its bonuses but has a dark side which this novel taps into well. As much as I’d like to think the opening scenario was veering to the realms of fantasy, people have been encouraged to suicide so why not murder?

Charlotte is flawed and damaged but has a strong moral code but along with her friends tiptoe on the edge of the law. Her friendship group has strong bonds thanks to past traumas, shared experiences, and they all have issues. This connection and loyalty is pushed to the limits and can only admire the sense of sisterhood that drives them and the plot.

Living the Instagram dream with flash house, clothes, jewellery and meals, Charlotte lives in a different world than I and in reality, we could never be friends, but I needed to know what she’d do next, making me read past bedtime. When horrific events happen leading to the potentially deadly consequences, I had to feel sorry for her.  

With the judgemental and spiteful world of social media at its core, it threw up intriguing thoughts so would be a good book club choice to have in depth discussions especially the unexpected ending.

Would I recommend?

If you love your psychological thrillers, with flawed characters and moral dilemmas, this is a book to try. With an unusual view of the dark side of social media at its core, it is a fast paced and intriguing read.

Scarlett Brade has a strong voice and style so I’m looking forward to seeing what she writes next.

Author Biography

Scarlett Brade is the daughter of parents who migrated from the Caribbean to England in the early 1970s. She was born and educated in London, though as a child she spent her summers in Canada, where she developed her love affair with reading. When not writing Scarlett spends most of her time cooking, drinking fine wines, and entertaining family and friends. The Hive is her first psychological thriller novel, and she is currently writing her second.

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Other blogs on this tour

Book Review: Love from A to Z by Linda Corbett

I’m excited to share my review for a debut romance, Love You From A to Z by Linda Corbett.

Book Review: Love from A to Z by Linda Corbett

Book cover for Love you from A to Z by Linda Corbett. White background with illustrated purple flowers, envelope and camera and gold heart shaped lock.
Love You from A to Z by Linda Corbett

Title: Love You From A to Z

Author: Linda Corbett

Publisher: One More Chapter

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 24th June 2022

Purchase Link –mybook.to/LoveYouFromAToZ

Blurb

Experience has told Jenna Oakhurst that Happy Ever After may happen in all the best stories, but Happy For Now is the best one ought to expect in real life. Yet lately even that isn’t quite enough, so when a strange set of circumstances leads her to discover a mysterious letter in an abandoned storage unit, she takes the chance to embark on a journey into the unknown…just like the heroines from the storybooks.

Reaching out to the letter’s author, Henry Somners, changes Jenna’s world irrevocably and she starts to realise that the magic she believed in as a child might not be such a fanciful notion after all…

My Thoughts

I’ve read novels where a letter is found and the protagonist searches for the sender, but this one has a unique twist. I never knew storage containers contents could be sold if they were effectively abandoned. The tense consequences of a purchase allowed this tender love story to happen.

Jenna was a protagonist I could relate to on many levels, from her desire to have financial security to her dealing with chronic pain and the adaptations she makes on a daily basis. It was refreshing for disability to be represented as part of everyday life rather than inspiration porn, which Jenna, like many disabled people, hate. This is how disabled representation should be and I really need the t-shirt she wears. You’ll have to read this book to find out why. She may think she’s happy settling for a stable life, but she isn’t boring. I enjoyed watching her embrace different things and the relationship between her and Henry grow.

The guinea pig rescue centre was wonderful to read, and I loved the characters portrayed. I used to have them as a child and they are adorable creatures. Jenna’s sister and partner Kat add much to the novel and I’d love to hear more of their story.

Would I recommend?

Yes. Love You From A to Z is a lovely tender romance with oodles of cuddly guinea pigs to love. With a fun premise, it is ideal for a lazy weekend or holiday read and ideal for fans of Jessica Redland. I look forward to reading more books from Linda Corbett in the future.

Author Biography

Photo of author Linda Corbett  holding a dark ginger guinea pig.
Linda Corbett

Linda Corbett lives in Surrey with her husband Andrew and three permanently hungry guinea pigs. As well as being an author, Linda is treasurer for Shine Surrey – a volunteer-led charity that supports individuals and families living with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. For many years she also wrote a regular column for Link, a disability magazine, illustrating the humorous aspects of life with a complex disability and she is a passionate advocate of disability representation in fiction. When not writing, Linda can be found papercrafting, cross stitching, or cuddling guinea pigs. Love You From A-Z is her first published novel.

Social Media Links –

Twitter:                https://twitter.com/lcorbettauthor

Instagram:          @lindacorbettauthor

Facebook www.facebook.com/lindacorbettauthor

Thank you /Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Blogs on this tour: 
28th June Tizi's Book Review, From Under the Duvet, Jenny Lou's Book reviews
29th June
Jera's Jamboree, Krissy's Booked, Sj_bookshelf
30th June
@candygirl73reads, Library_of_lucyg, Meme_and_i_read
1st July
Being Anne, Bookish Jottings, B for bookreview
2nd July
Captured on Film, @biblio.jojo, Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
3rd July
Brewtiful fiction, Novel Kicks, The Comfy Chair
4th July
Stacey Hammond, Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers, Kathrynbooksville
Other blogs on this tour

Book Review: Nothing Else by Louise Beech

Today, I’m thrilled to finally share my review for Nothing Else by Louise Beech. Until now, I’d only read one other of Louise Beech’s backlist, I am Dust but I fell in love with her writing so I had high expectations for this novel. Scroll down to see if it dazzled.

Book Review: Nothing Else by Louise Beech

Book cover Nothing Else by Louise Beech
2 face profiles on different sides of an open book of empty music sheets
Nothing Else by Louise Beech

Title: Nothing Else

Author: Louise Beech

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Fiction, suspense

Release Date: 23rd June 2022

Blurb

The multiple bestselling and award-winning author returns with an exquisitely moving novel about surviving devastating trauma and the unbreakable bond between sisters; a story of courage and love, and the power of music to transcend – and change – everything.

Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.

But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.

When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night … coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

My Thoughts

Oh my, this book pulled me in the first chapter and didn’t let me go until I finished the last page. Who needs sleep when the next chapter demands to be read? Unlike the ghost story I am Dust, this is an exquisite and emotional tale of family, the bond of sisters, music and secrets.

Heather is based in Hull which is my nearest city and there is something refreshing about reading somewhere you recognise in a book, it grounds you into the story even before you truly meet the characters. The underlying mystery of what happened to Harriet added tension throughout and I loved discovering the truth alongside Heather so I won’t delve to deeply into the plot her (you’ll have to read it for yourself) but the issues raised are handled with care and sensitivity without shying away from the emotional upset they bring.

I’ve never been on a cruise but it was easy to imagine walking beside Heather as she explored the ship and sit on a nearby table to listen to her play on the baby grand piano. I could feel the sway of the boat and hear the tunes. This strength of place and connection to Heather meant I couldn’t stop reading when I met the younger version and her sister Harriet. It was a joy to watch them learn to play the piano and their love for music, desire to play was contagious, I had to listen to the playlist. On the flip side, this connection meant my emotions took a hit when times hit hard times for the girls. This rollercoaster is a sign of a splendid read.  

Would I recommend?

Oh yes, it has been so hard not to shout about how much I loved this book until now. Louise Beech has a talent for bringing the music and the emotion it brings to life. It’s superb writing combined with the musicality, strong sense of place and soul makes it a novel to remember. It belongs on my forever shelf and is a clearly in the running for one of my favourite books this year.

I can’t wait to read more of Louise’s books and feel lucky my library has some of her back catalogue.

Author Biography

Photograph of Louise Beech
Louise Beech

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Book Review: The Little Bookshop by the Sea by Eliza J. Scott

Today I’m excited to share my review The Bookshop by the Sea by Eliza J. Scott. Set in North Yorkshire, one of my favourite places, I was eager to visit the Happy Hartes bookshop and discover the residents. Scroll down to see if this book met my high expectations.

Book Review: The Little Bookshop by the Sea by Eliza J. Scott

The Bookshop by the Sea by Eliza J. Scott
The Little Bookshop by the Sea by Eliza J. Scott

Title: The Little Bookshop by the Sea

Author: Eliza J. Scott

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 3rd May 2022

Purchase Links

UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09YMMBQCY US:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09YMMBQCY

Blurb

Welcome to the Happy Hartes Bookshop in Micklewick Bay on the beautiful North Yorkshire Coast!

The Happy Hartes Bookshop has been a part of bookworm Florrie Appleton’s life as far back as she can remember. From the evocative smell of the books, to working alongside her beloved Mr H and his black Labrador, Gerty, there’s no wonder she calls it her happy place.

Living in a town she loves, with her family and group of close-knit friends nearby, life is sweet. Until one dreadful Monday morning, when everything is turned upside down and things are changed forever.

Devastated, Florrie finds herself thrown into an unexpected situation with handsome stranger, Ed Harte, owner of a pair of twinkly navy-blue eyes and a smile that has the knack of making mischief with her insides.

Despite being fresh out of a relationship, Florrie quickly finds herself falling for him, but she’s torn, reluctant to give her heart to someone who seems intent on not sticking around.

While her heart’s doing battle with her head, Florrie soon finds herself privy to a secret with Ed involving a heart-wrenching twist they could never have imagined.

Will love find a way to bring them together, or are they destined to go their separate ways?

My Thoughts

I’m a sucker for novels set in bookshops and add in the location of Yorkshire and romance I’m in heaven. This was no exception, the Happy Harte bookshop was somewhere I wished was real so I could visit. With the descriptions that evoke feelings of belonging, this novel has a strong and distinct sense of place and I kept looking for clues to see if I could recognise the inspirational location behind Micklewick Bay.

 Florrie is a relatable protagonist and I adored her relationship with Mr H. The love he had for Florrie and his grandson Ed, shone throughout the book and for his sake I flicked over the page to see if he had his happy ever after ending he dreamt of for Florrie.

Florrie has a large circle of friends and along with the warm community it is easy to see this as the beginning of a delightful series.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is an enjoyable romance set in the delightful town of Micklewick Bay. The Harte bookshop is a special place that has in my heart. This is an ideal book fro fans of Jenny Colgan.

Author Biography

Eliza lives in the North Yorkshire countryside with her family. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her kindle or working in her garden, fighting a losing battle against the weeds.

Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heartwarming romance stories with relatable female characters. Her books will always have a happy ending.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @ElizaJScott1

Instagram: @elizajscott

Facebook: @elizajscottauthor

Website: www.elizajscott.com/

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/elizaj-scott

Amazon author page UK: amazon.co.uk/~/e/B07DMQWPMH

Amazon author page US: amazon.com/~/e/B07DMQWPMH

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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