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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Promo post: Mirror Man by Lars Keplar

On the last day of May I’m excited to share info on the newest novel by Lars Keplar, Mirror Man.

Lars Keplar is a duo of writers specialising in crime thrillers with the protagonist, Joona Lina.

Mirror Man by Lars Keplar

The Mirror Man by Lars Keplar

Title: The Mirror Man

Author: Lars Keplar

Publisher: Zaffre

Genre: Crime, thriller

Release Date: 23rd June 2022

Blurb

IF YOU SEE HIS REFLECTION IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE . . .


Seventeen-year-old Jenny is abducted in broad daylight and taken to a dilapidated, isolated house where she is chained and caged along with several other girls. Their captor is unpredictable, and as wily as he is cruel: he foils every one of their desperate attempts to escape . . . and once caught they rarely survive their punishment.

Five years later, Jenny is found dead in a public park, and the police are scrambling to find a lead among the scant evidence. But Detective Joona Linna realizes that this murder has an eerie connection to a death that was declared a suicide years before. And now when Mia, a seventeen-year-old orphan, goes missing, it becomes clear to Joona that they are dealing with a serial killer-and the murderous rampage has just begun.

As the police close in on the killer, Mia and her fellow captives are plunged into ever greater danger, and Joona finds himself in a seemingly impossible race against time to save their young lives.

Author Biography

Photo of the writing duo behind Lars Keplar
Lars Keplar

Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril (b. 1966) and Alexander Ahndoril (b. 1967), authors of the No. 1 internationally bestselling Joona Linna series.

With seven instalments to date, the series has sold 15 million copies in 40 languages. The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler, and have each published several acclaimed novels.

More information can be found in a past Q and A post The Minds behind Lars Keplar

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and giving me a sneaky look at this book

Love

Book review: The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox

Today I’m excited to share my review for The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox. The gorgeous cover of a partially hidden door promises a book of secrets, scroll down to see if it achieved this.

Book review: The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox

Book cover for The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox.

A blue door covered with ivy and the image of a young girl walking away through a keyhole.
The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox

Title: The Shadow Child

Author: Rachel Hancox

Publisher: Century

Genre: Fiction

Release Date: 14th April 2022

Blurb

Eighteen-year-old Emma has loving parents and a promising future ahead of her. So why, one morning, does she leave home without a trace?

Her parents, Cath and Jim, are devastated. They have no idea why Emma left, where she is – or even whether she is still alive. A year later, Cath and Jim are still tormented by the unanswered questions Emma left behind and clinging desperately to the hope of finding her.

Meanwhile, tantalisingly close to home, Emma is also struggling with her new existence – and with the trauma that shattered her life. For all of them, reconciliation seems an impossible dream. Does the way forward lie in facing up to the secrets of the past – secrets that have been hidden for years?

Secrets that have the power to heal them, or to destroy their family forever …

The Shadow Child is a book of hope and reconciliation, of coming to terms with trauma and learning to love again. Most of all, it’s about how you can never quite escape from the shadows of your past – especially when one of those shadows is a child …

My Thoughts

The first chapter with young Emma hooked me into the story and though it isn’t a fast paced read, I couldn’t put it down because I connected to all but one of the characters. The beginning focused on the parents’ distress of having a missing child, their coping strategies, the mystery behind Emma’s disappearance and the relationship with their new tenants. Everyone had secrets and I kept turning the page to discover how they would all be revealed and whether reconciliation would be possible.

The arrival of Emma’s voice lured me in further. Her turmoil and reasons for disappearing surprised me and made this novel different to others I’ve read.  All the characters including those on the fringes had depth and believable backstories making it an emotional and engaging read. It is told with empathy and sensitivity which is crucial as it delved into the affects of grief, disability and the impact they have on families and individuals.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it’s an engaging and emotional read with well-developed characters thrown into an unimaginable situation. With some heart-breaking moments tissues maybe required but these are also balanced with moments of hope.

I look forward to reading more from the author in the future.

Author Biography

Photo of author Rachel Hancox
Rachel Hancox

RACHEL HANCOX read Medicine and Social and Political Science at Cambridge, qualified as a doctor three months after getting married, and has juggled her family, her career and a passion for writing ever since. She worked in Paediatrics and Public Health for twenty years, writing short stories alongside NHS policy reports, and drafting novels during successive bouts of maternity leave. Rachel has five children, three dogs and a cat. She lives in Oxford with her husband and youngest children.

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: Date of Betrayal by Julia Chapman

I discovered this detective series thanks to a discussion on Miranda Dickinson’s Fab Night in Chatty Thing on Facebook. The buzz around it made me try the first book, Date with and I was hooked. They make ideal binge reading material. When the arc for arrived I was eager to read thanks to the cliff-hanger of book six. Scroll down, to see if it reached my high expectations.

Book Review: Date of Betrayal by Julia Chapman

Book cover for Date with Betrayal by Julia Chapman
Date of Betrayal by Julia Chapman

Title: Date with betrayal

Author: Julia Chapman

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Genre: Crime and mystery

Release Date: 31st March 2022

Blurb

The seventh novel in international bestseller Julia Chapman’s Dales Detective series, perfect for fans of Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club and M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series.

In the seventh novel in Julia Chapman’s Dales Detective series, Date with Betrayal, betrayal is rife in the idyllic Yorkshire Dales as Samson O’Brien, owner of the Dales Detective Agency, is targeted by a hitman. Can Bruncliffe save him?

A brilliantly engaging and witty mystery, perfect for fans of Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club and M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series.

 Death is coming to Bruncliffe: its target is Samson O’Brien.

Oblivious to his impending date with fate, Samson is busy juggling a number of cases at the Dales Detective Agency. Too busy, in fact, to notice his partner behaving oddly.

 Because Delilah Metcalfe knows what is coming. A hitman. Sent from London with one objective: to finally silence the troublesome O’Brien before his corruption case can make it to court. With Samson’s life in peril, and betrayal around every corner, Delilah has no choice but to call in favours from all of her Bruncliffe connections in order to counteract the menace threatening to engulf the Dales town.

The only trouble is the townsfolk have long memories and deep grievances when it comes to Samson O’Brien. Trust must be earned and they will take some convincing before they put themselves in danger in order to save him. And even then, it might not prove enough . . .

Full of charm, wit and characters that will capture your heart, the series begins with Date With Death. Have you read them all? ‘As village murder mysteries go, this clever, witty and realistic series is quite out of the ordinary and strongly recommended’ – Crime Review

My Thoughts

It’s been a while since I’ve followed a crime series and am always worried that they will lose their charm the longer they go on but not here. This is the best book yet.

Delilah was always a great and complex personality, but she comes into her own in this novel when she has to manipulate circumstance to protect Samson. When her plan is revealed and saw it in action, it provided chuckles alongside fearful moments which made this a perfect book to escape in.

Tolpuddle is my favourite literary canine and his antics continue to make me love him in this novel.

The Dale Detective series is a clever blend of crime and a hug in a book. Bruncliffe is full of quirky personalities you’d love to have as neighbours, and reading about them makes you feel like you’re coming home, but the crime element is well paced, twisty and as thrilling as more graphic and gory novels. Death with Betrayal steps the tension and thrill up a notch when the evil of London collides with the genius of Yorkshire folk. Seeped with humour, friendship and community secrets with the undercurrent of romance, it was a joy to read and I didn’t want it to end.

Throughout the series, I’ve connected to many of the side characters and this book showcases them all as threads laid in earlier books start to come together, for this reason I’d recommend you start with book one, Date with Death to get the full enjoyment. You won’t be disappointed. They tap into the love communities have for their own and the prejudices, the wealth of personalities and unique knowledge of their location.

The wait for the next instalment is going to be too long.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes, like the others in this series, it was an addictive book as I was sucked into the life of Bruncliffe and the plan to keep Samson alive. Full of Yorkshire humour and quirkiness, it was a gripping, tense and clever read.

If you are a fan of Richard Osman’s novels, you’ll love these and maybe you’ll even agree with me, that these are miles better, with more character depth in a wealth of endearing personalities, and fuller plot with a visual, atmospheric backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales.

Author Biography

Julia Chapman

Julia Chapman is the pseudonym of Julia Stagg, who has had five novels, the Fogas Chronicles set in the French Pyrenees, published by Hodder. She is also the author of the Dales Detective series which follows the adventures of Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe as they solve cases in the Yorkshire Dales. Born with a wanderlust that keeps her moving, Julia has followed her restless feet to Japan, Australia, the USA and France. She spent the majority of that time as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language but also dabbled in bookselling, pawnbroking, waitressing and was once ‘checkout chick of the month’ at a supermarket in South Australia. She also ran an auberge in the French Pyrenees for six years with her husband. Having spent many years wandering, she is now glad to call the Yorkshire Dales home. Its distinctive landscape and way of life provide the setting for her latest set of novels, the Dales Detective series.

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: After The Rain by Lucy Dillon

Book Review: After The Rain by Lucy Dillon

Book Cover: After The Rain by Lucy Dillon

Yellow cover with a woman sitting at the window looking at blue skies with a cat and a dog
After The Rain by Lucy Dillon

Title: After the Rain

Author: Lucy Dillon

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Genre: Fiction, Women’s fiction

Release Date: 17th March 2022

Blurb

After the storm it’s time for a fresh start . . .

 First, the clouds… Tara Hunter is a therapist on a mission to restore Longhampton’s community spirit after catastrophic flooding. But with her boyfriend AWOL, her family fragmented, and only a cat for company, Tara’s own life is crumbling.

Then the storm… On top of everything, Tara’s father – last seen as he walked out on her when she was ten years old – is suddenly back, with a surprising offer that could change everything.

 And after the rain… Dr David Dalloway is Longhampton Wellness Centre’s new star counsellor. He’s charming, caring and has a knack for reading people’s minds – which is the last thing Tara needs right now. Will having David and her dad around make for a bigger storm on the horizon? Or is this Tara’s chance for a fresh start?

My Thoughts

Behind this cheery book cover is an honest, often heart-breaking story of a woman reaching breaking point while endlessly and selflessly helping others. It looks at the trauma large events have on communities and individuals long after the tv cameras have dispersed with their news coverage of people in their wellies, looking shell shocked at their destroyed homes.

I loved the uniqueness of the wellbeing centre with its collection of characters working and popping in which gave a good foundation for the story. Tara’s job as a counsellor has meant her own grief has been put on hold but life has a way of forcing her to take stock. The novel dug deeper into her emotions than I expected and this led to me have a true connection with Tara; I felt her grief, heartache and fatigue as she battled the aftermath of the storm on a personal level. Her journey took me through a gamut of emotions, with the tough times balanced with a slow burn romance with Dr David Dalloway and the humour of his unique way of helping his patients.

Would I recommend?

Yes, After the Rain is a beautifully told bittersweet story with an empathy and depth that will stay with me for a long time. Tissues are required throughout.

Author Biography

Photo of Lucy Dillon
Lucy Dillon

Sunday Times bestselling author Lucy Dillon grew up in Cumbria and read English at Cambridge, then read a lot of magazines as a press assistant in London, then read other people’s manuscripts as a junior fiction editor. She now lives in a village outside Hereford with a Border terrier, an otterhound and her husband.

Lucy won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Contemporary Romantic Novel prize in 2015 for A HUNDRED PIECES OF ME, and the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for LOST DOGS AND LONELY HEARTS.

Social Media:

Twitter @lucy_dillon

Instagram @lucydillonbooks

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 Library by Bella Osborne

Last month, I was excited to discover my local library delivers books every four weeks to those who are stuck indoors. Ever since the pandemic, lockdown and inability to use my mobility scooter for long distances I’ve been unable to visit my library. How I’ve missed browsing the shelves, discovering new books, finding those that have slipped under the radar and rediscover old ones. The Library by Bella Osborne was in my first library stash and what a joy it was. Scroll down to see why.

Photo of a stack of books form the library including The Library by Bella Osborne, The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Library stash -February

Book Review: The Library by Bella Osborne

The Library by Bella Osborne cover - a colourful stack of books
The Library by Bella Osborne

Title: The Library

Author: Bella Osborne

Publisher: Aria

Genre: Fiction, Women’s fiction

Release Date: 2nd Sept 2021

Purchase: Amazon

Blurb

Two lonely bookworms. An unexpected friendship. A library that needs their help

‘A touching story of a friendship between a troubled teenager, a yoga-practising farming woman in her seventies and a local library. A delight!’ – Sunday Times bestselling author Katie Fforde

Teenager Tom has always blended into the background of life. After a row with his dad and facing an unhappy future at the dog food factory, he escapes to the library.

Pensioner Maggie has been happily alone with her beloved novels for ten years – at least, that’s what she tells herself.

When they meet, they recognise something in each other that will change both their lives for ever.

Then the library comes under threat of closure, and they must join forces to prove that it’s not just about books – it’s the heart of their community.

They are determined to save it – because some things are worth fighting for.

My Thoughts

Some books are meant to be treasured and like the village library depicted in this story, this is one of them. The distinct voices of Tom and Maggie shine on the page as they both battle with not only loneliness but their resistance to connect with other people and change.

The attention to detail and the everyday observations made me feel like I was experiencing their lives alongside them. Tom is a shy teenager with dealing with exams, unrequited love and his father. While Maggie is a feisty pensioner with a strong sense of independence. The novel has funny moments such as when Tom discovers his preferred genre to read and hands on experience at Maggie’s farm but also poignant times when they both reveal their lives to each other cementing their deep friendship.

Maggie’s farm is a delightful escape from the world. If I could stay there in reality, I would especially for the cakes and food she served. Also with a stroppy ram called Colin, how could I not fall in love with this location?  

The community the library serves has a collection of memorable personalities adding to the novel’s warmth and acts as a reminder that most people are sociable beings and need that human connection to help them through bad times and celebrate the good.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a timely read and highlights the fact loneliness can strike all ages but you can find friendships in unlikely places and it can cross the generations. The Library is a warm, honest heart-felt novel sprinkled with humour and leaves you with a sense of hope, calm and a grin.

Author Biography

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel.

In 2016, her debut novel, ‘It Started At Sunset Cottage’, was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year and RNA Joan Hessayon New Writers Award.

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She likes to find the humour in the darker moments of life and weaves these into her stories. Her novels are often serialised in four parts ahead of the full book publication.

Bella believes that writing your own story really is the best fun ever, closely followed by talking, eating chocolate, drinking fizz and planning holidays.

She lives in The Midlands, UK with her lovely husband and wonderful daughter, who thankfully, both accept her as she is (with mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping).

Social Media

Website www.bellaosborne.com

Twitter@osborne_bella

Instagramhttp://www.instagram.com/bellaosborneauthor/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BellaOsborneAuthor/

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Cover reveal: A Scottish Highland Affair by Julie Shackman

It’s Friday and nearly the weekend! I’m thrilled to be one of the first to show the cover of an upcoming novel, A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman.

First the blurb to whet your appetite for a new book:

Blurb

Discover the secrets and surprises that the scenic Scottish town of Briar Glen has to offer…

When wedding planner Sophie Harkness refuses to move a friend’s wedding to accommodate a spoilt bridezilla, she finds herself out of a job. That is until she discovers her late grandma has purchased a local shop for her in the pretty Scottish town of Briar Glen.

Surprised and delighted, Sophie opens her own porcelain shop in honour of her grandmother. But when an unusual tea set is left with Sophie, along with a mysterious letter, she can’t help but be intrigued by the story behind the antique.

And when the handsome but aloof art critic Xander North comes knocking on her door, Sophie is about to find out the true colourful past of her latest treasure.

The perfect feel-good romance for fans of Jo Thomas, Katie Fforde and Trisha Ashley.

So are you ready?

Here it is the beautiful and cheery cover for A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman

A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman

Title: A Scottish Highland Surprise

Author: Julie Shackman

Publisher: One More Chapter

Genre: Romance, women’s fiction

Release Date: 22nd April 2022

Pre-order links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scottish-Highland-Surprise-Julie-Shackman-ebook/dp/B09MMZ75KL

US – https://www.amazon.com/Scottish-Highland-Surprise-Julie-Shackman-ebook/dp/B09MMZ75KL

Author Biography

Photo of author Julie Shackman
Julie Shackman

Julie Shackman is a former journalist from Scotland, who has always wanted to write feel-good romance. As well as being an author, Julie also writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. Julie admits to having an obsession with stationery and handbags. She is married, has two sons and a Romanian rescue pup, who she named Cooper. A Scottish Highland Surprise is Julie’s sixth novel.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/G13Julie

https://www.facebook.com/julie.shackman

https://www.instagram.com/juliegeorginashackman

A photo of the cover A Scottish Surprise cover on a blanket

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this reveal and making my TBR list a little longer.

Happy reading!

Love

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