Book Review: Cultivating a Fuji by Miriam Drori

The release of Cultivating a Fuji was perfectly timed to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. One of the topics discussed on the news and social media was social anxiety so I was keen to read how Miriam Drori tackled the subject in a fictional novel.

Book Review: Cultivating a Fuji by Miriam by Drori

Cultivating Cover - Front

Cultivating a Fuji by Miriam Drori

Title: Cultivating a Fuji

Author: Miriam Drori

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Release Date: 15th May 2019

Blurb

Convinced that his imperfect, solitary existence is the best it will ever be, Martin unexpectedly finds himself being sent to represent his company in Japan. His colleagues think it’s a joke; his bosses are certain he will fail. What does Martin think? He simply does what he’s told. That’s how he’s survived up to now – by hiding his feelings.

Amazingly, in the land of strange rituals, sweet and juicy apples, and too much saké, Martin flourishes and achieves the impossible. But that’s only the beginning. Keeping up the momentum for change proves futile. So, too, is a return to what he had before. Is there a way forward, or should he put an end to the search now?

Gradually, as you’ll see when Martin looks back from near the end of his journey, life improves. There’s even a woman, Fiona, who brings her own baggage to the relationship, but brightens Martin’s days. And just when you think there can be no more surprises, another one pops up.

Throughout his life, people have laughed at ‘weirdo’ Martin; and you, as you read, will have plenty of opportunity to laugh, too. Go ahead, laugh away, but you’ll find that there’s also a serious side to all this…

Purchase Link – mybook.to/cultivatingafuji

My Thoughts

Within pages, I connected with Martin when he became tongue tied talking to anyone, refused to use the telephone and struggled with all aspects of communication. In the past, I have suffered from anxiety in similar situations and could feel my heartbreaking for him as I remembered the terror of being unable to answer the ringing phone and the crippling fear of talking out loud at school. Luckily, I have mine under control but am aware how easy it is to slip back. This thought provoking novel is told by alternating between his adult life and his childhood and is a clever study of how childhood experiences, peers and bullying can adversely affect adulthood and shows the devastating impact social anxiety can have. It is told in multiple perspectives which gives a rounded view of how people interpret his actions as well as his version of events; this highlights the need for greater understanding and awareness in the general public. I enjoyed seeing how this intelligent man dealt with all the situations he found himself in especially in Japan and how is character grew as the novel progressed. The back stories of the side characters especially Fiona added depth to the story and gave a greater understanding of the events.

The ending was an unexpected emotional twist but one I shall never forget.

Would I recommend?

Yes. Miriam Drori has sensitively exposed the reality of living with social anxiety and the impact it has on all involved while creating a character I love in an uplifting, memorable novel. It has an important place in spreading awareness for this hidden condition.

Author Biography

Cultiveating Author Photo

Miriam Drori

Miriam Drori has decided she’s in the fifth and best stage of her life, and she’s hoping it’ll last for ever. It’s the one in which she’s happiest and most settled and finally free to do what she wants. Miriam lives in a delightful house and garden in Jerusalem with her lovely husband and one of three children. She enjoys frequent trips around the world. She dances, hikes, reads and listens to music. And she’s realised that social anxiety is here to stay, so she might as well make friends with it. On top of that, she has moved away from computer programming and technical writing (although both of those provided interest in previous stages) and now spends her time editing and writing fiction. NEITHER HERE NOR THERE (currently unavailable), a romance with a difference set in Jerusalem, was published in 2014. THE WOMEN FRIENDS, co-written with Emma Rose Millar, is a series of novellas based on the famous painting by Gustav Klimt. SOCIAL ANXIETY REVEALED (non-fiction) provides a comprehensive description of social anxiety from many different viewpoints. CULTIVATING A FUJI takes the social anxiety theme into fiction, using humour to season a poignant story.

Social Media Links – Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, Wattpad, website/blog and social anxiety blog.

Amazon page: Author.to/MiriamDroriAtAmazon

Giveaway to Win copies of Neither Here No There and Social Anxiety Revealed (Open Internationally)

I am delighted to offer the chance for you to win copies of Miriam Drori’s other books.

Click here to enter.

Good luck!

Thanks to @rararesources for inviting me to this tour and the opportunity to read an ARC of Cultivating as Fuji so I could give an honest, unbiased review.

Have you read any books by Miriam Drori? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy reading!

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then 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.

Blog Tour: The Whisperers of Evernow by Heidi Catherine

A couple of years ago, I read the beautiful novel The Soulweaver by Heidi Catherine  so I was excited to hear she has written a new series. The cover has drawn me in and I can’t wait to read it. Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for bringing this book to my attention.

The Whisperers of Evernow by Heidi Catherine

The Whisperers Cover.jpeg

The Whisperers of Evernow book cover

Blurb

When the King owns your words, who will own your heart?

Manipulated by a vicious King, Jeremiah is stripped of his identity and forced into a life of silent submission as a Whisperer. Allowed only to speak at the command of the King, one thousand Whisperers must line up in rows and chant their sadistic ruler’s darkest desires. As each evil wish comes true, the King’s power over his impoverished kingdom grows.

When Jeremiah’s fears for the family he left behind are confirmed, he turns in desperation to the most unlikely person for help—the King’s eldest daughter. But is Princess Rose as kind as she is beautiful, or will she lure him into a trap?

To save those dearest to him, Jeremiah has no choice but to put his trust in Rose, whose own life is threatened as her father prepares to clear the path to the throne for his newborn son. Together they embark on a bold plan to overthrow the King and set the Whisperers free.

As love blossoms in this most unlikely place, Jeremiah and Rose must discover how to use the power of the spoken word to conquer more than just the kingdom. They will need to conquer their hearts.

The first book in the spellbinding The Kingdoms of Evernow series, this is a must-read by award-winning author, Heidi Catherine.

Purchase Links:

US –  https://www.amazon.com/Whisperers-Evernow-Book-Kingdoms-ebook/dp/B07PJ88Q7W

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whisperers-Evernow-Book-Kingdoms-ebook/dp/B07PJ88Q7W

Author Biography

The Whisperers - Heidi Catherine

Heidi Catherine

Heidi Catherine is an award-winning fantasy author and hopeless romantic.

Her debut novel, The Soulweaver, won Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award and was published by Crooked Cat Books as the first book of a trilogy. After being named as a highly commended author in The Hope Prize, Heidi’s story, The Extra Piece, was published by Simon & Schuster in a collection of stories about disadvantage in our community. She was also a finalist in Romance Writers of Australia’s Little Gems competition four times.

She lives in Australia, not able to decide if she prefers Melbourne or the Mornington Peninsula, so shares her time between both places. She is similarly pulled in opposing directions by her two sons and two dogs, remaining thankful she only has one husband.

Social Media Links –

www.heidicatherine.com

www.facebook.com/heidicatherineauthor

www.twitter.com/heidicatherine

www.instagram.com/heidicatherine

www.amazon.com/author/heidicatherine

Have you read this yet or Heidi Catherine’s other books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. For reviews and more information on The Whisperers of Evernow why not visit the other blogs on this tour as detailed below.

Happy reading!

Love

The Whisperers of Evernow Full Tour Banner

Other blogs to visit

 

Blog Tour: Thread of Hope by Rachel J Bonner @rararesources

I enjoy paranormal romances so I was excited to be invited by @rararesources to join this blog tour. Unfortunately, it has been a difficult few weeks and I have been battling brain fog so reading has been put on hold. Instead of the review I was hoping to post I am pleased to share with you the information of the book waiting patiently on my TBR and an exciting giveaway. Thread of Hope is the second book of the Choices and Consequences series by Rachel J Bonner. When  my reading mojo returns, I  will share my review so watch this space.

During this blog tour the first book of the series Strand of Faith is available for the promotional price of 99p but if you would like a chance to win both books, read on.

Thread of Hope by Rachel J Bonner

Thread Front Cover

Thread of Hope by Rachel J Bonner

Title: Thread of Hope

Author: Rachel J Bonner

Publisher: Isbin Publishers

Release Date: 2nd May 2019

Blurb for Thread Of Hope

The enthralling sequel to the compelling Strand of Faith.

What if your secrets are so dangerous they could destroy the one you love?

Is honesty always the best policy?

Leonie may have run away but Prospero will find her. He loves her and he wants a future with her by his side whatever the consequences. Only when he does find her, he ought to tell her who he really is, outside the monastery. That’ll make her run again. Dare he risk it? But if he doesn’t tell her, someone else may…

Marriage to Prospero is what Leonie wants most and the one thing she knows she can’t have. If he found out what she was really like, what she’d been, what she’d done, he’d despise her and she couldn’t bear that. Better to leave now than live a lie – but it’s harder than she expected. If only…

Gabriel is starting to discover the secrets inherent in Leonie, secrets that not even she knows, secrets that will tear the world apart. And the secrets he is keeping are tearing him apart. How can sacrificing those he loves possibly achieve peace when everything he discovers risks the death of millions?

Purchase Links:

 Amazon Kindle – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NBH7J2T

Google Play –
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_J_Bonner_Thread_of_Hope?id=bMCSDwAAQBAJ

Other ebook retailers – https://books2read.com/threadofhope

Need to know more about the first book? Here is the blurb.

Strand of Faith by Rachel J Bonner

Blurb

A girl. A monk. An unthinkable sacrifice.
When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?

In a post-apocalyptic future, a girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love. But their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.

After the troubles of his youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery. Then he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. How can it possibly be right to leave a life of worship and service for human desire? And if he does leave, will the pressures from his past destroy him?

Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the Abbey. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything spirals out of her control. Everyone she’s ever loved has died. She can’t do that to him. But how can she walk away from the first place she’s truly belonged?

Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice. He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war. Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for. Is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?

 Strand of Faith Purchase Links

Strand of Faith Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GKZT8LF/

Strand of Faith Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_J_Bonner_Strand_of_Faith?id=bQyBDwAAQBAJ

Strand of Faith Other retailers    https://www.books2read.com/strandoffaith

Author Biography

Rachel J Bonner

Rachel J Bonner

Rachel J Bonner is the author of the four book Choices and Consequences series, the first of which, Strand of Faith, was released in November 2018.

Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in paranormal romance.  Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun.  When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club.  Target shooting only, honest.  Nothing to worry about.

She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary.  It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.

Website                               http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/

Blog                                       http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/blogofweek.html

Twitter                                 https://www.twitter.com/racheljbonner1

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

Newsletter sign up          http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/newsletter.html or https://www.subscribepage.com/o8x8t3

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Thread of Hope you have a chance  to win a signed copy of both Strand of Faith and Thread of Hope, plus bookmarks and business cards that match each book, and one of the Holding Crosses that the monks and nuns have.  (Open INT)

Thread of Hope Giveaway Prize

Bundle of goodies to win

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494222/?

Good luck!

Have you read the series? I would love to know your views in the comments below.

Love

 

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then 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: Two Little Girls by Frances Vick

It seems ages since I reviewed a book that was not women’s fiction so I am happy to be part of the blog tour for Two Little Girls by Frances Vick.

Book Review: Two Little Girls by Frances Vick

Two-Little-Girls-Kindle

Two Little Girls Book Cover

Title:  Two Little Girls

Author: Frances Vick

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Bookouture

Release Date: 17th April

Purchase Links: 

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07MW3ZSDYSocial

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2CrlQ9I

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/yb5m7j6r

Googleplay: https://tinyurl.com/ybdgj2kg

Blurb:

An innocent girl is taken. The killer confesses.
But that’s not the whole story. That’s not even the beginning…

It’s 1985 and the disappearance of ten-year-old Lisa Cook shocks the nation. Her best friend, Kirsty, traumatised and fearful, gives evidence that helps to put the Cook family’s lodger behind bars.

…But what if Kirsty made a mistake?

Now, decades later, Kirsty leaves a life she loves to move back to the hometown she hates – tortured by her memories, she’s determined to finally uncover the truth about what happened to Lisa that day. But someone is waiting for her there, someone close to her family. Someone who is hoping to finish off a job that was started years ago…

An absolutely gripping emotional drama for fans of The Couple Next Door, Whisper Me This and Laura Elliot

 My Thoughts:

This is the first book I have read from this author but it will not be the last. It began in 1985 with two best friends Lisa and Kirsty pushing the boundaries and rules of childhood. I was a similar age at the time; I could visualise their lives easily with the mention of Grange Hill, Care bears and Smash Hits but it took me a while to get into the book and relate to both girls. It became easier to form the connection to Kirsty as the harsh consequences of Lisa’s disappearance were revealed. There were times I thought I knew what had happened as she began to uncover the truth but the introduction of two psychics turned my assumptions around. I love books with a potential supernatural element so I became gripped as the tension increased and the pace escalated to the surprising finale.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this a strong psychological thriller with an interesting premise and many twists making it a good book to snuggle down under the duvet with at a weekend. I am looking forward to adding more of Frances Vick book on my TBR list.

Author Biography:

GREG8485

Frances Vick

The only child of parents who worked at a top security psychiatric hospital, Frances Vick grew up receiving disquieting notes and presents from the patients. Expelled from school, she spent the next few years on the dole, augmenting her income by providing security and crewing for gigs, and being a medical experiment guinea pig. Later jobs included working in a theatre in Manhattan, teaching English in Japanese Junior High Schools, and being a life model in Italy, before coming back to London and working with young offenders and refugees. 

Author Social Media Links:

TWITTER: @franvicksays

WEBSITE: www.francesvick.co.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/FrancesVickAuthor/

GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9843604.Frances_Vick

Thank you Bookouture, NetGalley and Frances Vick for the opportunity to be part of this tour and an advanced copy of the book so I could give an honest, unbiased review.

Happy reading!

Love

Blog Tour and Book Review: Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella

The blurb of this book sounded different to many I have read recently and I loved the unique cover so when I was offered a place on this blog tour by Rachel Random Resources I had to accept.

Book Review: Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella

Dyed Souls Cover

Dyed Souls Book Cover

Title: Dyed Souls

Author: Gary Santorella

Publisher: Matador

Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, General fiction

Release Date: 6th February 2018

Blurb

Described by John Lloyd of The Bookbag as “Catcher in the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Dyed Souls is a gritty coming-of-age literary novel, set in a residential treatment center in 1980’s California.
Charlie Lyle loves science, natural history, and the world of the mind, and it is his refuge and salvation as he copes with his drug-addicted mother and a world of circumstances well-beyond his grasp. More a work of philosophy than psychology, “For the teen it has a galling coming-of-age, redemption quest. For the adult it has that, as well as a literary look at a singular fictional life.”

Purchase Links

Troubadour – https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/contemporary/dyed-souls/

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dyed-Souls-Gary-Santorella/dp/1788038096

UShttps://www.amazon.com/Dyed-Souls-Gary-Santorella/dp/1788038096

 

My Thoughts

From the moment my stomach lurched with Charlie’s and I felt every swerve of the car as he is driven to the residential treatment centre I knew this author had written one of those books that stays with you for a lifetime. I was not wrong. I loved this hard-hitting, gritty sometimes disturbing novel. All the kids have troubled backgrounds, and it does not shy away from the consequences of these. For those who look for trigger warnings this may not be the book for you but the depth of all the characters and use of language is wonderful and gives an eye opening insight into their lives. It was refreshing to read a male perspective of a screwed up childhood and Charlie’s voice leapt off the page giving the emotional connection a book needs. He is intelligent, and he uses his love of Darwin to make sense of his chaotic world as he discovers love for the first time and who he is. Usually I would say “grab a box of tissues”  but this novel is too intense for that, I was gripped to the end and I could not help feeling I was a different person after closing the book. It is hard to believe this is a debut fiction novel and look forward to discovering what Gary Santorella writes next.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. It is one of those books for my forever shelf that just looking at the cover will transport me back to Hawthorne. It is a powerful book that I can see as being seen as a classic in the future and I feel privileged to have it on my shelf.

Author Biography

Gary Santorella

Gary Santorella, Owner, Interactive Consulting is a Lean implementation, organizational development, conflict resolution, and team-building specialist. He has a BA in Behavioural Psychology from Providence College, Providence, RI (1980), a Master’s Degree in Occupational Social Welfare from UC Berkeley (1990), and is a licensed cognitive-behavioural therapist in the State of California. His book: Lean Culture for the Construction Industry: Building Responsible & Committed Project Teams 2nd Edition was published by Productivity Press (a division of Taylor & Francis) in 2017. His first novel, Dyed Souls, was published by Matador Publishing in 2018.

Social Media Links 

https://www.facebook.com/Dyed-Souls-577806782579433/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://twitter.com/dyedsouls

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38451700-dyed-souls

Dyed Souls has won two awards:

Silver in the 2018 Global eBook Awards – Young Adult Fiction Category

Chill With a Book Readers Award.

Thank you Rachel Gibley and Matador and Gary Santorella for the copy of this novel to read to give an honest, unbiased review.

Love

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Pelican by M. Naidoo

pelicans-446864_1920

Unique beautiful birds

Books grab my attention for many reasons, sometimes it is a classic case of judging its potential by the cover, other times it is the blurb but this time I was attracted by the title. The prehistoric looking pelican has fascinated me ever since I read about its antics in Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me as a child and a visit to Paphos in Cyprus where a friendly one would walk along the harbour cemented my love for them. The blurb and the mystery of the bird intrigued me further so I am grateful to Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and opportunity to read a complimentary copy so I could give my honest review.

Book Review: The Pelican by M.Naidoo

The Pelican cover

The Pelican by M.Naidoo Book Cover

Title: The Pelican

Author: M. Naidoo

Publisher: Kaedin Press

Release Date: 29 July 2017

Blurb

“Because life is about living…”

Julia has never been one to surrender without a fight, but when she receives a devastating diagnosis, she has a decision to make.
Even after thirty years, she can still see her mother slowly fading away with every dose of chemo, every round of radiation, and every lost shred of hope. No, she won’t do it… not to her family… and not to herself!
Without warning, she packs up her belongings and disappears, leaving behind a life that, by all accounts, had been as perfect as they come, and a distraught family full of questions.
Finding peace in a beach house in Northern California turns out to have its complications though. While only a handful of other residents share the tiny beach community, each one has brought their own baggage and developed their own way of dealing with it. All Julia wants is to be left alone, but that simply does not seem to be an option, especially when there’s a persistent bird that declares her to be his new best friend.
Haunted by the shadows of the past, Julia is struggling to cope with the present. Will she have the strength to do this alone and eventually follow through with her plan? Will her family, divided by mixed reactions to being abandoned, come together to try and track her down? And what is the deal with that pelican of hers?
Only time will tell – and time is the one thing Julia does not have…

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.com/Pelican-M-Naidoo-ebook/dp/B074DTBMZQ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pelican-M-Naidoo-ebook/dp/B074DTBMZQ/

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-pelican-4

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-pelican-m-naidoo/1129330070?ean=2940161877258

For duration of tour – The Pelican will be £1.99 on Amazon UK (and US)

My Thoughts

The Pelican is a beautifully written novel which pulled at the emotions as you would expect from the subject matter. Tissues are required but it is not a maudlin story but one of love, taking control of your own death but how life always brings you the unexpected. Julia had always planned to live by the sea so when she was told she has cancer this was where she retreated to. The descriptions of the stunning scenery made it is easy for me to imagine being on the coast, watching the sunset with the meditative sound of the waves lapping on the shore and a lone pelican waddling towards me. He was a wonderful, captivating character and helped immerse me in the story. As I got to know Julia and her past I could understand her reasoning for dying alone but found it difficult at times when other perspectives were told. It made me consider what I would do in the same position.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a memorable thought-provoking story which would be ideal for book club discussions and the pelican has a special place in my heart.

I loved M.Naidoo’s writing style, pace and ability to bring the setting alive so I am grateful to have another author to follow and explore.

Author Biography

The Pelican Author highres

M. Naidoo

Born and raised in Germany, M.Naidoo lives in Northern California with her husband, two daughters, and three dogs. One of them, Dusty, a spunky terrier mix, found its way into her debut novel.
When she is not in front of her computer, pounding out story lines and characters, she enjoys reading, movies, spending time with her family, and long walks on the beach – her proverbial ‘happy place’. M’s love for the beach and ocean shine through in the vivid descriptions of the coast in The Pelican.

“Juggling my life as a writer and a full-time ‘real’ job has its challenges. I don’t get to spend half as much time as I’d like doing what I love, and there are never enough hours in the day. Still, I feel extremely lucky to be following my passion, and I am enjoying every minute of it. Getting here has been one heck of a ride!”

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMNaidoo/

https://www.instagram.com/authormnaidoo/

https://twitter.com/authormnaidoo

Thanks again to Rachel Random Resources and M. Naidoo for the tour invitation and sharing this lovely book.

Have you read The Pelican? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love

Blog Tour and Book Review: It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl

As soon as I read the blurb for this book the song It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to by the Nolan Sisters looped in my mind and it compelled me to add it to my TBR list. I was thrilled to be invited to this tour by Rachel’s Random Resources and receive a copy to read.

Book Review: It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl

It's My Birthday book cover

It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl Book Cover

Title: It’s My Birthday

Author: Hannah Pearl

Genre: Fiction, romance

Publisher: Ruby Fiction

Release date: 19th March 2019

Blurb:

It’s My Birthday

… I’ll cry if I want to.
Oh boy, another birthday …
Karen could be excused for crying on her birthday, especially as it’s the first one since her husband got on a plane to the States and never came back. Then there’s the fact that her workmates were practically bribed to attend her birthday meal. But when a restaurant double booking leads to her sharing a table with single dad Elliot and his daughter, things start looking up.

As Karen gets to know Elliot she experiences feelings she thought she’d never have again. But is it enough? Or will the thing that destroyed Karen’s previous relationship also ruin things with Elliot?

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-My-Birthday-heartwarming-romance-ebook/dp/B07N5LXS93

US – https://www.amazon.com/Its-My-Birthday-heartwarming-romance-ebook/dp/B07N5LXS93

My Thoughts

As someone who has had their 40th birthday I loved the idea of the novel beginning on Karen’s birthday at her party which she is reluctantly attending. In the first few pages Hannah Pearl painted a birthday scene I instantly related to, and I was immersed in this honest, heartwarming novel until the end. It was just what I needed on a weekend of duvet dwelling with back pain. Karen was easy to connect to, and it was refreshing to read grounded characters discovering they may have a second chance of love by accident rather than actively searching for a date. Karen has the security of a job and house and despite being heartbroken from her failed marriage she is not a damsel in distress. Any relationship she wants is to complement her life rather than making her whole. Besides Karen, I loved Sophie who unlike many teenagers in fiction shows no angst about the possibility of her father, Elliot going out with another woman. It was lovely to see the friendship between Karen and her develop. The emotive topics of infertility and IVF are dealt with sensitively and pulled at my emotions as Karen struggles with the idea she may never be a mother. 

Would I recommend?

This is an ideal weekend or holiday read. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Author Biography

hannah pearl

Hannah Pearl

Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.

She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2015 she was struck down by Labrynthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning eReader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.

Hannah is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

Blogdizzygirlwrites.wordpress.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/HannahPearl_1

Thanks again Rachel Random Resources for allowing me to read an ARC so I could give an honest review.

Hope you have a happy weekend and reading.

Love

It's My Birthday banner

Other blogs to visit on this tour

Book Review and Tour: The Pieces of Me and You by Rachel Burton

Last year I was lucky enough to read Rachel Burton’s previous novel, The Things We Need to Say, which I loved. The review can be found here. When I saw the news she was releasing a new book I was eager to read it and was excited to be invited to this blog tour.

Book Review: The Pieces of You and Me by Rachel Burton

The Pieces of You and Me

Book Cover for The Pieces of You and Me

Title: The Pieces Of You and Me
Author: Rachel Burton
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: HQ Digital
Release Date: 21st February 2019

Purchase Link: mybook.to/PiecesYouMe

Blurb

They say time can heal all wounds…

When Jess and Rupert parted ways, it was the end of a great love story that might have been. Now ten years later, the very different paths they have taken in life will bring them back together for a chance meeting.

But with so much left unsaid about the break up neither ever recovered from and with each keeping their own devastating secrets, will they finally be able to make the fractured pieces of their love for one another whole again?

My Thoughts

I loved this book and related to it on many levels. As someone who spends too much time under the duvet, I instantly connected to Jess who has ME.  Jess has adapted to life with chronic illness, living at home and has carved out a successful career as a writer despite the tendrils of her condition affecting all aspects of her life. There were times it made me cry and say “I know that feeling”. The frustration of watching peers being busy their lives with no need for naps, medication or pacing, the emotions of having to let go of your old life to make way for a new one and the fear the illness will steal more from you in the future. It describes Jess’s dilemma balancing her heart’s desire with the knowledge how much ME affects relationships and it discusses whether being with your soulmate is enough to face a future of uncertainty together. Rupert has his own demons he faces, and it was refreshing to see the other side of the story.

The depth of emotion between the two characters touched me when Jess’ diary told the story of their lives, from best friends to lovers and the circumstance which ripped them apart. It is a tale of deep love, trust and the importance of revealing your true self. The other topics covered include grief, mental health, but they are dealt with sensitively and does not wallow. It left me with feelings of hope and uplifting.

I am grateful to Rachel Burton for writing an honest heart felt depiction of life with a chronic illness, showing its fears hopes and uncertainty but how with the power of love and determination someone can make a new but different life. As an aspiring writer having a character achieve success while pacing her writing time around fatigue gives me hope.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this novel is a love story but it is also so much more.  I would like a physical copy on my forever shelf to read again when I need encouragement but also to share so others can understand the realities of life when it is turned upside down because of illness.

Author Biography

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Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton is the author of the international ebook bestseller The Many Colours of Us.

Rachel spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Yorkshire with her fiance and their three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or follow her blog at rachelburtonwrites.com. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday….
Social Media Links 

Twitter: twitter.com/bookish_yogi
Instagram: Instagram.com/Bookish_yogi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rachel-Burton-353151308524664/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/rachelburton6/pins/

Thank you to Rachel Random Resources and HQ Digital for my advanced copy so I could review.

Happy reading!

Love

 

Book review and cover for The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

March has arrived with the daffodils, some gorgeous days interspersed with storms. With the rain and wind outside, I have been enjoying snuggling in the warm reading. I am pleased to share my review for The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl. When I am out I love seeing old doors, the quirkier or unusual the better and always wonder about the secrets that lie behind them. The image on this cover with the protagonist standing in the entrance of green weather beaten door caught my imagination making me want to follow her so I was thrilled to be offered a place on this tour with Rachel Random Resources.

Book Review: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

cover from fb

Title: The Forgotten Secret

Author: Kathleen McGurl

Genre: Women’s Fiction, historical

Publisher: HQ Digital

Release date: 1st March 2019

Purchase Links

UK  – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-ebook/dp/B07H2PMPR3

US  – https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-ebook/dp/B07H2PMPR3  

Blurb

A country at war

It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is brewing and before long Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

And a long-buried secret

A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.

For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence.

My Thoughts

I do not know much about Irish history, the formation of Northern Ireland and its complex relationship with Britain except from the odd bits I have picked up from the news and books. In the present day political climate it has never been more important to learn and I’m grateful for the insight this book gave me into the War of Independence and beyond. I appreciated the summary of events at the beginning which helped in the understanding Ellen’s story.

The Forgotten Secret has a dual timeline. One story is set in 1996 with Clare finding her feet as she claims her independence from her overbearing husband after she inherits a tumbling down cottage in Ireland. The other follows Ellen as she gets a job as a maid in 1919.  Clashes between the Irish volunteers and the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) turn her life turned upside down. Loyalties between family and friends are stretched to the limits. Reading about the past events and people’s lives in Ireland was shocking and left me reeling.  It started many conversations which is always a good by-product of a well researched novel.

Both characters intrigued me; they were both stronger than they thought they could be and working towards independence but it was Ellen and the increased tension building in her life which drove the novel forward. From the beginning, I needed to know what happened to her and her childhood sweetheart. Kathleen McGurl captured the fear of the time with her words. It was only as Clare’s story unfolded and the farmhouse revealed the keys to the mystery in her family I formed a solid connection to her. By the end, I was hooked on both timelines.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is an emotional, thought-provoking read with strong women finding their own way. The blend of history, love and mystery makes it a good book for reading under the duvet or in the garden enjoying the sun. I have never read any of the author’s book before so I am delighted to add some more books to my TBR.

Author Biography

 

Kathleen McGurl author of The Forgotten Secret

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and elderly tabby cat. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

Social Media Links –

Website:  https://kathleenmcgurl.com/

Twitter: @KathMcGurl  https://twitter.com/KathMcGurl

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

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

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and Kathleen McGurl and HQ Digital for giving me to read an advanced copy so I could give an unbiased, honest review.

Have you read any books based in Ireland about the Troubles? Let me know in the comments below as I would love to know more about this subject.

Happy reading!

Love

Katie signature pink

 

P.S If you would like to know more about the book and author, why not pop over to the other blogs on the tour. Info given below.

The Forgotten Secret Full Tour Banner

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke

Welcome to a birthday post for The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke. Thank you @raresources for inviting me to this celebratory blog tour and the free book to read so I could review. Scroll down for my thoughts on this romance novel and the giveaway.

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Book Review for The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke.

TheSecretToFallingInLove_V2 copy

The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke

Title: The Secret to Falling in Love

Author: Victoria Cooke

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 9th February 2017

Blurb

Lifestyle journalist and thirty-something singleton Melissa hashtags, insta’s and snapchats her supposedly fabulous life on every social media platform there is.

That is until she wakes up on her birthday, another year older and still alone, wondering if for all her internet dates, love really can be found online? The challenge: go technology free for a whole month!

Forced to confront the reality of her life without its perfect filters, Melissa knows she needs to make some changes. But when she bumps into not one, but two gorgeous men, without the use of an app, she believes there could be hope for love offline.

If only there was a way to choose the right guy for her…

Purchase Link – getBook.at/TheSecrettoFallinginLove

My Thoughts

I have a confession I am addicted to my phone. It is my constant companion and I find it difficult not to scroll through the social media apps. The premise of this novel struck a cord and I was intrigued how the story would evolve.

Melissa was instantly likeable as she struggles to find the man of her dreams when everyone around her is settling down and I could relate to her. She doesn’t plan for her sabbatical from technology so with no preparation it instantly shows how reliant we are on it for our social interaction even on the simplest level. The world opened up to her as she saw the activity around her, new relationships formed and she began to live. This thought-provoking novel is humorous and uplifting. It made me remember the time before I had access to the internet. I would be unable to last month without my phone but it made me consider whether I need to use it as much as I do.

Would I recommend?

Yes it is an enjoyable, entertaining read which makes you leave the phone alone and appreciate the world around you. This was her debut; I am pleased there is a back catalogue of her books to catch up on.

 Author Biography

Victoria Cooke Image

Victoria Cooke

 

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016.

 

 

 

 

Social Media Links 

https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaCookeAuthor

https://twitter.com/victoriacooke10

https://www.instagram.com/victoriacookewriter

Giveaway – Win an ARC of The Secret to Falling in Love and a box of Belgian Truffles (UK Only)

I am pleased to share a chance to win your own advanced copy of The Secret to Falling in Love and chocolate. Good luck!

Click here to enter

I hope you have a good weekend with time to read. What is your current book? Feel free to share below.

Happy reading!

Love

 

 

*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.