Book Review: Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

Today, I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for Invite Me In by Emma Curtis. It’s been a while since I’ve jumped into a psychological thriller so I was excited to be asked to be part of this tour. Scroll down to see whether it was as creepy as the simple but effective cover dictates.

Book Review: Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

Title: Invite Me In

Author: Emma Curtis

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Genre: Psychological thriller

Release Date: 22nd July for ebook and 2nd September 2021 paperback

Blurb

‘Emma Curtis is the queen of the unputdownable thriller’ – Nuala Ellwood

The heart-pounding new domestic thriller from Emma Curtis, the acclaimed author of ebook bestsellers One Little Mistake, The Night You Left and Keep Her Quiet.

To those who think they know her, Eliza Curran has it all: two healthy children, a stunning home and a wealthy, adoring husband. No one would guess the reality of her life: trapped in an unhappy marriage to a controlling man, she longs for a way out. When she takes on a new tenant, her life changes unexpectedly. Dan Jones is charming and perceptive, and quickly becomes a close friend to the whole family. But Dan’s arrival threatens to tip Eliza’s fragile world out of balance. And when someone has as many secrets as Eliza does, the smallest slip could destroy everything . . .

Readers are loving INVITE ME IN:

‘An absolutely captivating read, this is a superbly plotted thriller that will keep you guessing right until the end…highly recommended’

‘A rollercoaster ride to the very end. I can’t imagine how the author plotted it all out, there is so much brilliance in the final chapters’

‘Invite Me In is sensational, gripping with plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading long into the night’ ‘A cut above other thrillers’

My Thoughts

This novel jumped in with a strong start where Eliza met the good looking, empathetic and likeable Dan and it promised to be a thrilling read when tension and questions instantly built along with her nerves of arriving home late. Her husband, Martin, is controlling and a classic villain to hate but with Eliza’s own secrets and unreliable narration, and other manipulative characters this book kept me on edge with the insecurity of not knowing who to trust and where the story was leading.

I connected with Eliza and was emotionally invested in her happiness and longed to rescue her from the grips of her unhappy and abusive marriage to give her the happy ending she deserved. I guessed part of the conclusion early on but there were enough unpredictable twists and turns for this not to interfere much with my enjoyment of the book.

It has many threads and themes, including alcohol and emotional abuse which are dealt with effectively and with accuracy.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this well written psychological thriller with intriguing characters would be enjoyed by fans of Sophie Hannah. I’m thrilled to have Emma Curtis’ back catalogue to explore and add to my to-be-read list.

Author Biography

Author Emma Curtis

Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and now lives in London with her husband. After raising two children and working various jobs, her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write her acclaimed psychological suspense thrillers One Little Mistake, When I Find You, The Night You Left and Keep Her Quiet.

 Find her on Twitter: @emmacurtisbooks

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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: Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey

It’s a new week and I’m excited to share my review for Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey. This novel’s blurb made me jump up and down with excitement as it sounded different and I wondered how the author would tackle a potential complicated premise. Books like these make me feel privileged to be a book blogger and able to discover new authors regularly. Scroll down to see if this novel met my expectations.

Book Review: Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey

Blurb:

Joyful, devastating, and profound, Meet Me in Another Life is a story of love and connection in every possible form

 Thora and Santi have met before…

Under the clocktower in central Cologne, with nothing but the stars above and their futures ahead. They will meet again…

They don’t know it yet, but they’ll meet again: in numerous lives they will become friends, colleagues, lovers, enemies – meeting over and over for the first time, every time; each coming to know every version of the other. But as they’re endlessly drawn together and the lines between their different lives begin to blur, they are faced with one question: why?

They must discover the truth of their strange attachment before this, and all their lives, are lost forever.

Title: Meet Me in Another Life

Author: Catriona Silvey

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: General fiction, fantasy, sci fi

Release date: 8th July

My Thoughts

This novel wasn’t what I expecting but it was breathtakingly beautiful and exceeded my expectations by miles. With an unimaginable and unforgettable ending, this has to be one of the most original reads I’ve read for a long time. I think I’d have to go back to Barbara Erskine’s Lady of Hay for its uniqueness when time slip novels weren’t a genre of its own thirty years ago.

The novel offers snapshots of Thora’s and Santi’s lifes; each one set in Cologne where a broken clock tower watches over them. Sometimes they’re lovers, other times they are friends or child and teacher; the novel shows endless relationship possibilities but both characters know things they shouldn’t, and see constellations that are out of sync with the ones they see in the sky. Each lifetime reveals something more about the characters and are captivating with the emotions conveyed. The small cast of characters were cleverly weaved into each life and though different, they never lost the true personality and essence of themselves. They made me keep turning the page as did the mystery connecting the Thora and Santi together. Was it fate as gentle Santi believed? Or all about choice as spiky Thora believed? When I finished the last page, I longed to begin the story again to hunt for all the clues leading to the ending I never anticipated but found so satisfying.

The limited location of Cologne worked well and as I got to know Thora and Santi through their lives, I also felt connected to the place. It has made me add Cologne to the places I want to visit. 

Would I recommend?

Yes. Read a copy, absorb it and then find some fellow bookworms to chat to about it because it’s too great to keep to yourself, and the themes and plot needs unpicking and discussing. It’s a highly imaginative, captivating and emotional read with many threads to discuss making it perfect for book clubs or balmy summer days when you need a novel with depth, and uniqueness that gets your neurons zinging with joy and intrigue.

Author Biography

Author: Catriona Silvey

Catriona Silvey was born in Glasgow and grew up in Perthshire and Derbyshire, which left her with a strange accent and a distrust of flat places. She overcame the latter to do a BA in English at Cambridge, and spent the next few years there working in scientific publishing. After that she did a PhD in language evolution, in the hope of finding out where all these words came from in the first place. Following stints in Edinburgh and Chicago, she returned to Cambridge, where she lives with her husband and a very peculiar cat. When she’s not working as a researcher studying meaning in language, she writes. Her short stories have been performed at the Edinburgh Literary Festival and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.

Thank you Random Things Tour for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy for read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: Small on Motherhoods by Claire Lynch

I’m excited to share my review for this unique book, Small on Motherhoods by Claire Lynch. Sometimes as a blogger a book is offered that grabs you for its subtle cover, and blurb. These are books you may not notice in a bookshop unless you were looking for them, but once seen they pull you closer urging you to read them. Scroll down to see if this book met my expectations.

Book Review: Small on Motherhoods by Claire Lynch

Small on Motherhoods by Claire Lynch

Title: Small on Motherhoods

Author: Claire Lynch

Publisher: Octopus books

Genre: Memoir, LGBQT, pregnancy

Release date: 24th June 2021

Blurb

Babies who are this small, he says, have a good chance of survival. Small is not good for babies. It is not whimsical or cute or the cause of admiration. It is the first time it occurs to us that they might not survive. Babies die from smallness.”

Claire Lynch knew that having children with her wife would be complicated, but she could never have
anticipated the extent to which her life would be redrawn by the process. Female same-sex couples and single women are said to be disproportionately impacted by these policies, which require that they self-finance costly, and less effective, artificial insemination (in some cases for at least two years) before becoming eligible for funded IVF.
A dazzling literary debut exploring female loss, fertility and queer motherhood.
small begins with the smallest of life’s substances: the microscopic cells subdividing in a petri dish in a fertility
treatment centre. Claire moves through her story in incremental yet ever growing steps, from the finger nail sized pregnancy test result screen which bears two affirmative lines to the premature arrival of her children who have to wear scale-model oxygen masks in their life-saving incubators. small explores what it means to be seen and simultaneously ‘unseen’ as parents in a same-sex relationship. It creates space for parents that don’t feel represented in forms, antenatal classes or in bookshelves. Devastatingly poignant, profoundly observant, and funny against the odds, Claire considers whether it is our smallness that makes our lives so big.

“ORIGINAL, IMPORTANT, MOVING, FUNNY – QUITE A FEAT.” BERNARDINE EVARISTO

My Thoughts

Oh, my! How do I explain my adoration for this quiet book that speaks volumes, tugs at the heart and made me reflect my own experiences of motherhood adding to the emotional journey? Its beauty is in the observations of the miniscule details of the moments in motherhood that can pass in a blink of an eye told in a stunning, poetic style. Claire Lynch tells the story of her experiences of parenting from the moment she discussed the idea with her wife, to conception, and beyond with honesty, humour and warmth. Her ability to capture and describe the snapshots of the early years so well, made me recall the dreaded ante-natal lessons, the bewildering moments of holding a newborn and the endless questions of a toddler. It added an new dimension to the reading experience. Not only was I reading their story, I was reconnecting with mine.

The love for her wife and children leaps off the page, making me feel privileged to have a glimpse into their lives. It was a pleasure to read and the wonderful use of language means the story glides effortlessly into your mind and heart. It is a book that will be hard to forget and I’d love to read what happens next when the children grow.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a book on the pain, joy and wonder of early motherhood until school age and is one to be treasured and kept on a forever shelf; I wish it had been there when I was at the beginning of my journey of being a mum. Its unique structure and format suits the lyrical style perfectly. It is an evocative, wise and poignant read that lifts the spirits and shows that with motherhood, small things do matter.

Author Biography

Claire Lynch

Claire Lynch works as a university lecturer and is author of two academic books and numerous scholarly articles and chapters. Small is her first book for a general audience. Claire’s Four Thought talk ‘The Other Mother’ was first broadcast on BBC Radio Four in 2020 and her first piece of narrative non-fiction took second place in the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize in 2017. She was a shortlisted writer for the Penguin Random House WriteNow scheme in 2018 and a longlisted writer for the Hinterland non-fiction Prize in 2019. small is her first book for a general audience.

Thank you Random Things Tour for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy for read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: Someone I used to Know by Paige Toon

Today, I’m excited to share my review for Someone I used to know by Paige Toon on its publication day. Though I have seen many books by this author, I have never read one but this blurb drew me in as did the simple but beautiful cover. Scroll down to see what I thought.

Book Review: Someone I used to Know by Paige Toon

Book Cover Someone I used to Know by Paige Toon

Title: Someone I used to Know

Author: Paige Toon

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: Women’s fiction, romance

Release date: 24th June 2021

Blurb

So much can change in half a lifetime…

 Then

 At fifteen, George is the foster brother Leah never asked for. As the angry, troubled boy struggles to come to terms with his circumstances, Leah finds herself getting drawn closer to him. Theo’s wealthy family have mysteriously pulled him out of boarding school and he’s now enrolled at the local state school with Leah and George. When their worlds collide that summer, the three teenagers form a bond they believe will be unbreakable. But life doesn’t always go to plan…

 Now

Shocking news brings Leah back to Yorkshire, baby daughter in tow. But Emilie’s father Theo isn’t with them, and George has unexpectedly returned. After half a lifetime, have they healed the scars of their pasts? Will coming back home set their hearts in a different direction?

My Thoughts

This is my first Paige Toon novel but it will not be the last; I loved it. Not only do I love her style and voice, she has the ability to bring the characters to life and delves deep into their emotions. The beginning chapter grabbed me and I knew it would be a fantastic read. The story follows Leah, who has a large family despite none of them being her blood except her parents, as she returns home and has to face her past before she can move on. I grew up on a staple diet of Home and Away when Pippa and Tom, with their ever-changing foster kids, were the stars of the show. The chapters set in the past where troubled children were growing up on an alpaca farm reminded me of this and kept me turning the pages. Not only did I fall in love with the characters, I also fell in love with animals and the many intriguing facts I discovered about them were a bonus to the story.

The dual timeline of the novel works well and allowed me to understand the dynamics of the unlikely friendship between Leah, Theo and George. Each have their own issues to deal with as teenagers which have a big effect on their adulthoods. I connected with them deeply, making this a heart-breaking, emotional but also uplifting unputdownable read with unexpected twists and turns.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a lovely, emotional and uplifting novel and a delight to read. It shows all sides of the fostering system and how people can make a huge difference to other people’s lives. I will not forget the characters, or farm and is one for my forever shelf. I’m so glad I discovered a new author to catch up with and will look forward to more in the future.

Author Biography

Paige Toon

Sunday Times bestseller Paige Toon was born in 1975 and grew up between England, Australia and America. A philosophy graduate, she worked at teen, film and women’s magazines, before ending up at Heat magazine as Reviews Editor. Paige is married, has two small children and lives in Cambridge. She is the author of eighteen novels which have sold 1.5million copies worldwide. In 2016, The One We Fell in Love With, was selected for the WH Smith Zoella Book Club. Follow Paige at @PaigeToonAuthor and sign up to the Hidden Paige at www.paigetoon.com.

Thank you Random Things Tour for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy for read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: Midsummer Magic at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium

Yesterday was Solstice and what better time to release a book titled Midsummer Magic at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium by the Authors on the Edge. This is an anthology of stories based around a magical shop and equally magical proprietor, Miss Moonshine. Scroll down to see if it was as enchanting as it promised.

Book Cover Midsummer Magic at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium

Title: Midsummer Magic at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium

Authors: Mary Jayne Baker, Sophie Claire, Jacqui Cooper, Helena Fairfax, Kate Field, Melinda Hammond, Marie Laval, Helen Pollard and Angela Wren

Publisher: Authors on the Edge

Genre: Romance, Short Stories

Release date: 21st September 2021

Blurb:

Are you ready to meet Miss Moonshine? Life may never be the same again…

It’s summer in Haven Bridge and Miss Moonshine is getting ready for a busy season. From the window of her Wonderful Emporium, at the heart of the pretty Yorkshire town, she watches and waits, weaving plans to bring happiness to all who step through her door. For Miss Moonshine is no ordinary shopkeeper. She may not have what you want, but she will always have what you need…

Nine romantic novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have joined together to create this anthology of uplifting stories guaranteed to warm your heart. This magical collection of contemporary romances will make you laugh, cry and wish for a Miss Moonshine in your own life.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Midsummer-Magic-Miss-Moonshines-Emporium-ebook/dp/B094W5FVWF/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Midsummer-Magic-Miss-Moonshines-Emporium-ebook/dp/B094W5FVWF/

My Thoughts

This is the first time I have ventured to Haven Bridge, but what a joy it was. I love the idea of a collection of short stories based on a magical shop and eccentric lady who is hard to pin down. This book showcases the talents of several romance authors, and I now need to investigate each one’s back catalogue some more.

Miss Moonshine is a delightful character that a reader could never bore of with her indiscriminate age, eccentric fashion sense I admire and unique personality. She made me chuckle. It was interesting to see how each author would tackle her without losing the consistency, which they never do. From car mechanics to time travel, this book kept me entertained for hours and I found it impossible to just read one story. The Emporium has a personality of its own, like all magical shops should, and I would love to walk under the roses to explore it myself and see where it takes me.

This is the third collection of Miss Moonshine books, so I will be looking at the others too.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a delightful collection of magical stories set in a delightful Yorkshire village. Short stories are great to fit in between novels or when you your to-do list means you can’t commit to one but be warned these stories are addictive and will lead you to read another then another. It delivered several happy ever afters and characters I will never forget.

Map of Haven Bridge

Author Biography

The nine Miss Moonshine authors – Mary Jayne Baker, Sophie Claire, Jacqui Cooper, Helena Fairfax, Kate Field, Melinda Hammond, Marie Laval, Helen Pollard and Angela Wren – meet up regularly in the little mill town of Hebden Bridge, on the border between the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire – hence their group name, Authors on the Edge. This picturesque town, home to many writers, artists and musicians, was the inspiration for their magical character Miss Moonshine, and their uplifting series of anthologies featuring romance and happy endings.

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

Love

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Book Review: Things You Can’t Ask Yer Mum by Lizzie Hadfield and Lindsey Holland

It’s Solstice so I hope you all have a wonderful, sunny day. Today, I’m excited to share my review for a different type of book to my usual genre, Things You Can’t Ask Yer Mum by Lizzie Hadfield and Lindsay Holland.

Book Review: Things You Can’t Ask Yer Mum by Lizzie Hadfield and Lindsey Holland

Book Cover: Things You Can’t Ask Yer Mum by Lizzie Hadfield and Lindsey Holland

Title: Things You Can’t Ask Yer Mum

Author: Lizzie Hadfield and Lindsey Holland

Publisher: Kyle Books

Genre: Non-fiction, Self-help

Release date: 27th May 2021

Blurb

Things You Can’t Ask Yer Mum embodies what Lindsey and Lizzy have had throughout their
friendship: the ability to honestly pass on their own experiences in life in order to help the other.
This book is the non-judgmental, no-conversation-is-off-limits, supportive best friend we all need
in our lives, covering everything from surviving loss, to toxic friendships, to dating in
a social media world.

Heartbreak.
Grief.
Falling in love.
Falling out of love.
Friendships.
Confidence.
Disastrous sex anecdotes.


It is filled with everything you don’t want to ask your mum.

My Thoughts

I loved this book for many reasons. The main one is the warmth of the duo’s friendship leaps off the page and it’s like having good friends over for a chat. The advice they give is solid, and it reminded me how important female friendships are, whatever your age. I’m lucky to have found some wonderful friends that keep me going, but I was impressed with the chapter devoted to friendship, including how to find and keep them. Friendships are a minefield that can be harder to deal with the older you get. After a couple of chapters, I listened to an episode of their podcast; the humour and naturalness is the same, and it made me laugh out loud, which was much needed. They have captured their personalities and love within these pages well.

The format works well, with a mixture of memories, flowcharts, questionnaires and tips on different topics and then each author offering separate advice. This gives a rounded view, and I loved seeing the differences in their answers. The chapter titled grief dealt with the topic head on and was much needed with the recent Father’s day. With sensitive advice and just knowing others still feel loss years later, made the day easier to cope with.

Would I recommend?

Yes. Beneath the unassuming cover is an honest, humorous, but sometimes raw book that makes you feel you have two sisters near you, whatever your age. I’m probably closer to the authors’ Mum’s age, yet there is still plenty I could take away from reading this. I would love to buy a copy for those in their early twenties so they have a copy on their bookcase for whenever they need some big sister advice.

As a child, I had an advice book, Dear Judy by Judy Blume, which I often referred to in times of strife. This is the same; it is a welcome, comforting addition to my bookshelf to be looked at again and again. I would love to see an updated one in a few years’ time, after they have tackled other life experiences.

Author Biography

Lizzie Hadfield and Lindsey Holland

Lindsey Holland and Lizzy Hadfield, friends for over eight years, founded Things You Can’t Ask Yer Mum in 2018, the chart topping podcast offering real life experience and anecdotes on heartbreak, grief, falling in love, friendships and sex.


Originally from Stockport, Lindsey Holland (right) relocated to London in 2015 to pursue a career as an elderly care physiotherapist within the NHS, curating content for her ‘Ropes of Holland/Lindsey Holland’ channels as a creative outlet. Now a full time focus, Lindsey’s natural Northern warmth and honest humour translate into her carefully curated content, adding personality and engaging her loyal following, contributing to her popularity and success in such a competitive landscape. An incredible eye for an outfit, Lindsey documents her daily sartorial choices through beautifully shot, authentic imagery. Whilst fashion is a primary focus, she is also passionate about travel, interiors, beauty and more profound topics such as mental health and relationships.

Lizzy Hadfield, of Shot From The Street, is one of the fashion industry’s leading influencers, known for her cool, effortless style. Named one of The Sunday Times Style’s Top 100 Influencers and in FARFETCH’s ‘ten most influential people in Europe’, what sets Lizzy apart from her peers is the community spirit she evokes amongst her followers, encouraging conversation and transparency. As such Lizzy has garnered a devoted following. With a combined reach of over 1 million, Lizzy and Lindsey have fostered a global audience who look to them for advice on fashion to friendship and beauty to breakups.

Social Media

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

https://www.instagram.com/lindseyholland_/

Twitter: @lindseydholland

@lizzyhadfield

Website: https://www.shotfromthestreet.com/

https://www.lindseyholland.co.uk/

Podcast: Spotify

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Thank you Random Things Tour for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy for read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: The Summer Island Festival by Rachel Burton

Summer has arrived in Yorkshire and I’m excited to share my review for a summery read, The Summer Island Festival by Rachel Burton. I have read a few books by this author and was attracted by the promise of

Book review: The Summer Island Festival by Rachel Burton

The Summer Island Festival by Rachel Burton

Title: The Summer Island Festival

Author: Rachel Burton

Publisher: Aria

Genre: romance

Release date: 4th March 2021

Blurb

When Willow walks out on her own wedding, there’s only one place she can go…

Growing up in the island village of Seaview, Willow always dreamed of a bigger life. Then her childhood sweetheart Luc betrayed her and she ran, resolving never to look back. Now, twelve years on, her glamorous London life is a mess and the island is her only option.

But she’s not the only one back for the summer. Luc is now a world-famous heartthrob musician, and he’s finally come home to headline the Isle of Wight’s annual music festival.

As Willow untangles her messy past, she stumbles on a secret that could destroy her family, the island’s fragile community – and her second chance at love…

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-Island-Festival-Burton/dp/1800246064

US – https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Island-Festival-Burton/dp/1800246064

My Thoughts

There is nothing like a runaway bride to draw me into a story because it leads to many questions which  I need to know the answer to. Once I connected to Willow, I was hooked. I needed to know her story. It was the same with Luc and Cathy. There were many secrets and threads in this summery nostalgic read which kept me turning the page.

The characters all have intriguing backstories to explain their actions but it was Cathy’s past which captivated me most and it was cleverly blended in with Willow’s and Luc’s present. This novel may appear to be a light, romantic read but it has a deeper thread of how people change themselves to fit in, the effects of childhood on adult decisions and mental health issues.

The Isle of Wight seaside location was perfect, as was Cathy’s mandolin workshop. My father-in-law is a luthier and has made mandolins. Rachel Burton captured the unique smell of the workshop with its varnish, stains and woodchips and the magic of this instrument. I was there, and it made me homesick. It was a complete contrast to the darker side of the music industry described in Cathy’s story.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it has all the elements you need for a summer read whether you’re on a sun lounger on a sunny day or curled up watching the rain on a soggy one. It’s pure escapism with the seaside location, the characters to love bundled up with folk music and secrets. I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Author Biography

Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton has been making up stories for as long as she can remember and always dreamed of being a writer until life somehow got in the way. After reading for a degree in Classics and another in English Literature she accidentally fell into a career in law, but eventually managed to write her first book on her lunch breaks.

She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and their three cats. She loves yoga, ice hockey, tea, The Beatles, dresses with pockets and very tall romantic heroes.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @RachelBWriter 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: @rachelbwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rachelburton74/

Website: rachelburtonwrites.com

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

Love

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Book Review: The House in the Clouds by Victoria Connelly

Today I’m excited to share my review for the first in a new series by Victoria Connelly, The House in the Clouds. I first became aware of this author during a blog tour last year, for the delicious The Book Lovers series and I fell in love with her world building. This title and blurb offered a beautiful and whimsical read. Scroll down to see if this novel matches my high expectations.

Book Review: The House in the Clouds by Victoria Connelly

The House in the Clouds by Victoria Connelly

Title: The House in the Clouds

Author: Victoria Connelly

Publisher: Cuthland Press

Genre: Women’s fiction

Release date: 8th June 2021

Blurb

Artist Abigail Carey has always dreamed of a life in the country and, when Winfield Hall comes up at auction, she’s desperate to make the place her home. The only trouble is that businessman, Edward Townsend, has exactly the same idea.

With its position high on the Sussex Downs, Winfield is a stunning house, but it hasn’t been a home for a long time and there’s a lot of work to do to restore it to its former glory. It’s going to take a lot of time and money, so Edward and Abi decide to take a risk and share the house, each living in their own wing.

But can these two strangers agree on a vision that suits them both? And will free-spirited Abi ever get the rather reserved Edward to reveal the secret he’s been hiding for so long?

The House in the Clouds is the first novel in a brand new trilogy from the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0947KVVNS

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0947KVVNS

My Thoughts

What a lovely welcome to Winfield House; it was a beautiful pleasure to read and a strong start to this new series. Victoria Connelly has a talent for painting locations, characters and scenes with her words and brings them to life as showcased in this novel. She uses all the senses in her descriptions, making reading her work a very holistic experience. I could taste the food, breathe in the refreshing air of the Sussex Downs and visualise the stunning house through Abigail’s eyes, making me fall in love with it, too. As an artist and designer akin to Emma Bridgewater, Abigail’s point of view is amass of texture, light and hue. Her bohemian relaxed nature is a contrast to Edward’s view of the world where his emotions are held close, but when snippets of his true nature slip through, the chemistry between the two main characters is a joy to read.

The plot is emotional, heart-warming, and it deals with mental health issues sensitively. I wasn’t sure how sharing a house with strangers would work but it does and Winfield Hall provides a stunning location that grows in the imagination. The walled garden is somewhere I would love to own myself.  I kept reading to discover the reasons behind both the character’s actions and the revealing of secrets but also for the enjoyment of the prose, setting and company. I was disappointed to reach the end because I needed to know more. With several threads left open and the introduction of side characters who I need to get to know better such as Abigail’s sister, Ellen, I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Would I recommend?

Yes! It’s beautiful and is a wonderful escape from the hassles of life. Like the The Book Lovers series, this novel will be on my forever shelf so I can return to Winfield Hall again for companionship and contentment. It’s perfect for a sunny day lying in the garden or cuddled up under the duvet when the seasons change.

Author Biography

Author Victoria Connelly

Victoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

 Social Media Links

www.victoriaconnelly.com

Instagram: @victoriaconnellyauthor

Facebook: @victoriaconnellyauthor

Twitter: @VictoriaDarcy

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

Love

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Book Review: Matilda Windsor is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin

Happy bank holiday Monday! I hope the sun is shining where you are and you can take the exxtra time to relax and read. Today I am pleased to share my review for Matilda Windsor is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin. The blurb intrigued me because I remember overhearing a conversation as a child about a friend of the family discovering they had an aunt in an asylum after being forced there because of an out of wedlock pregnancy. It horrified me this could happen. I wanted to know how the topic would be discussed.

Book Review: Matilda Windsor is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin

Matilda Windsor is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin

Title: Matilda Windsor is Coming Home

Author: Anne Goodwin

Publisher: Inspired Quill

Genre: Saga, historical fiction

Release date: 29th May 2021

Blurb

In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect.

Henry was only a boy when he waved goodbye to his glamorous grown-up sister; approaching sixty, his life is still on hold as he awaits her return.

As a high-society hostess renowned for her recitals, Matty’s burden weighs heavily upon her, but she bears it with fortitude and grace.

Janice, a young social worker, wants to set the world to rights, but she needs to tackle challenges closer to home.

A brother and sister separated by decades of deceit. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart?

In this, her third novel, Anne Goodwin has drawn on the language and landscapes of her native Cumbria and on the culture of long-stay psychiatric hospitals where she began her clinical psychology career.

Find out more on Matilda Windsor’s webpage

My Thoughts

There are three main voices in this novel, Matilda/Matty, Henry and Janice but it is Matilda who shines and made me keep turning the page. She is an unreliable protagonist because the years in the asylum has affected her mental health making her confused, and living in the past but I adored her. She is honest to herself, eccentric and adds humour to this emotional novel. Her confusion is shown in those chapters effectively by making the reader see things through her eyes. It took a while for me to realise who was who because she does muddle names up. She made me care and want her to have the happy ending she deserved.

Henry also came across as an unreliable protagonist but I struggled to connect with him despite his obvious love for his sister. Janice is the thread linking them together and I admired her integrity and ideological way of thinking which is important to make things happen and fight against nimbyism and bureaucracy.

This majority of the novel is set in the late 1980s and early 90s. I grew up in the 80s and it highlighted how much opinions on mental health and events have changed, even in my lifetime. Never mind the stigma attached to mental health in the war years.  The past stories are heart breaking but the topics are dealt with sensitively and highlight the cruelty of the past and the control men had over women’s mental health.

Would I recommend?

Stories like Matilda’s need a voice so we can learn. The topic and range of characters makes this an ideal book to read in a book club setting. There are plenty of characters to love and hate and much to discuss. I imagine they could be some lively conversations triggered by the story.

Author Biography

Author Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin grew up in the non-touristy part of Cumbria, where this novel is set. When she went to university ninety miles away, no-one could understand her accent. After nine years of studying, her first post on qualifying as a clinical psychologist was in a long-stay psychiatric hospital in the process of closing.

Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, was published in 2017. Her short story collection, Becoming Someone, on the theme of identity, was published in November 2018. Subscribers to her newsletter can download a free e-book of prize-winning short stories.

Author links

Website: annegoodwin.weebly.com

Twitter @Annecdotist.

Link tree https://linktr.ee/annecdotist

YouTube: Anne Goodwin’s YouTube channel

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

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anne-Goodwin/e/B0156O8PMO/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Goodwin/e/B0156O8PMO/

Inspired Quill: https://www.inspired-quill.com/blog/anne-goodwin/

Newsletter signup https://bit.ly/daughtershorts

Book links

Matilda Windsor webpage https://annegoodwin.weebly.com/matilda-windsor.html

Matilda Windsor link tree https://linktr.ee/matildawindsor

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57764021-matilda-windsor-is-coming-home

Matilda Windsor’s Twitter @MWiscominghome

Matilda Windsor at Inspired Quill: https://www.inspired-quill.com/product/matilda-windsor-is-coming-home/

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1913117057/

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/1913117057/

Thank you Random Things Tour for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy for read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday by Kiley Dunbar

If you ask a roomful of book lovers what their dream would be, the majority would admit to longing for a bookshop of their own. The blurb for The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday by Kiley Dunbar, promised to ignite this dream and I couldn’t wait to read.

Book Review: The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday by Kiley Dunbar

Book Cover for The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday by Kiley Dunbar

Title: The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday

Author: Kiley Dunbar

Publisher: Hera

Genre: Women’s fiction, romantic

Release date: 5th May 2021

Blurb

The Fully Booked Bookshop Café invites literature lovers to run their very own bookshop … for a fortnight.

Spend your days talking books with customers in your own charming bookshop and serving up delicious cream teas in the cosy café.

Bookworms, what are you waiting for? Your holiday is going to be LIT(erary).

Apply to: The Fully Booked Bookshop, Down-a-long, Clove Lore, Devon.

Jude Crawley should be on top of the world. She’s just graduated as a mature student, so can finally go public about her relationship with Philosophy professor, Mack.

Until she sees Mack kissing another girl, and her dreams crumble. And worse, their dream holiday – running a tiny bookshop in the harbour village of Clove Lore for two weeks – is non-refundable.

Throwing caution to the winds, Jude heads down to Devon, eager to immerse herself in literature and heal her broken heart.

But there’s one problem – six foot tall, brooding (but gorgeous) Elliot, who’s also reserved the bookshop holiday for two weeks…

As Jude and Elliot put their differences aside to run the bookshop, it seems that Jude might be falling in love with more than just words. Until she discovers what Elliot is running from – and why he’s hiding out in Clove Lore.

Can Jude find her own happy ending in a tiny, tumbledown bookshop? Or is she about to find out that her bookish holiday might have an unexpected twist in the tale…

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/30a8F8w

Kobo: http://bit.ly/308giMP

Apple: http://apple.co/3q8A4Ch

My Thoughts

I read this novel on May’s bank holiday Monday when the windows were rattling in the wind and rain. It was just what I needed and provided a much-needed escape to a delightful Devonshire village. It gave me everything I wished for when reading the blurb and more. 

Jude put her life on hold in her teens to care for her gran, so when the opportunity to have her life back arises, she flounders until the chance to run a bookshop for two weeks. The beginning chapters focused on her life pre-bookshop and offered a good insight into the life of a young carer and the impact it has on their lives. It was refreshing to read a book that highlights this as well as dyscalculia, a form of number dyslexia. Her caring family were a delight to meet. The pace of the book picked up when she arrived at the bookshop and met Elliot, who is not your average bookseller. The chemistry between the two was a joy to read, as were the interactions with the other characters. Aldous, the dog was a wonderful addition to the bookshop.

The characters brought to life by Kiley Dunbar’s words, were quirky, had depth and unique qualities about them, making them very memorable. The location, based on Clovelly, was perfect and I could visualise the cobbled steep hill and the nooks and crannies of the bookshop. I did not want to leave because there was so much to explore. It had everything I needed including a bakery. Elliot was a hero of my dreams, with his tattoos, book nerd tendencies. His secret was well written and though I guessed some of it, it did not detract from the read. The only issue I have is there is no such place called Fully Booked Bookshop. I did not want this book to end and reality to loom over me again.

Like many books that involve a bakery or café, this book made me fancy scones with jam and cream, so be prepared if you can. An afternoon tea would complement this novel perfectly.

Afternoon tea with scones

Would I recommend?

This is a wonderful book and one I know will revisit again and again so once I get a paperback version, it will love on my forever shelf. It has become one of my favourite books in this genre for the plot, setting and style, not only for this year but ever. It’s quirky, has unique characterisations, an idyllic location and a hero like no other to swoon over. Forget Mr Darcy (even Colin Firth’s adaptation) tattooed book loving Elliot is my ideal book man. I will look into Kiley Dunbar’s other novels because I loved her writing style.

Author Biography

Author Kiley Dunbar

Kiley Dunbar writes heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.

Kiley also works as a senior lecturer, teaching creative writing at the Manchester Writing School. One Winter’s Night is shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2021.

Social Media Links –


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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kileydunbar

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

Other blogs on this tour

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for the advanced copy to read so I could give my honest opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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