Guest Post: Shh… It’s Our Secret, by Lizzie Chantree

I am thrilled to hand over my blog to international best-selling author, Lizzie Chantree, on her publication day of Shh… It’s Our Secret. She is an author I love to read and follow on social media because she is actively supportive of writers and readers which is always good to see and I recommend following her. If you are a writer, you can read my review of her networking book here.

So a huge congratulations on the release of your new book and over to you, Lizzie.

Shh… It’s Our Secret, by Lizzie Chantree

Shh… It’s Our Secret, by Lizzie Chantree Book Cover

Thank you for inviting me onto your blog today and for the amazing support of the launch of my latest book!

It’s possible that we all might have kept a secret or two at one point. It could be yours, your partners or a friends. It may be harmless, or life changing. For Violet, in Shh… It’s our secret, the secret she is keeping could destroy everything about the quiet life she has built up, managing a rundown café bar at the centre of a small town in Kent.

With many job losses and shops shutting down locally, Violet’s secret could bring immense wealth into the community, push her out of the shadows that she has been hiding in since the death of her parents and into the limelight. She has to find the self-confidence to stand up for herself, when all around her people seem to miss how special she really is.

Blurb

Violet has a secret that could change the lives of everyone she knows and loves, especially the regulars at the run-down café bar where she works. After losing her parents at a young age, they are the closest thing she has to a family and she feels responsible for them.

Kai is a jaded music producer who has just moved outside of town. Seeking solitude from the stress of his job, he’s looking for seclusion. The only problem is he can’t seem to escape the band members and songwriters who keep showing up at his house.

When Kai wanders into the bar and Violet’s life, he accidentally discovers her closely guarded secret. Can Kai help her rediscover her self-confidence or should some secrets remain undiscovered?

Universal Purchase link: mybook.to/ItsOurSecret

Author Biography

Lizzie Chantree

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Social media links:

Website: www.lizziechantree.com

Author page: https://www.viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LizzieChantree/pins/

FB Groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lizzie-chantree

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/lizziechantreeauthor

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnCop-RlAcGqggZG3JfE-Mw

Other books by Lizzie Chantree

Thank you so much for popping by Lizzie Chantree and I can’t wait to read this secretive book. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

signature of Katie

Cover Reveal: The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild

I’m so excited to be involved in a cover reveal for The Secret Notebook by Julia Wilde.

So first here is the blurb to tempt you.

Blurb:

When Izzie Dean’s beloved nan, Molly Blackshaw, passes away, Izzie returns to the Blackpool bungalow where she grew up, to say goodbye once and for all. When Izzie’s homecoming reunites her with her first love, Justin Swift, every emotion that Izzie has repressed since the day he broke her heart comes rushing to the surface. But then an unexpected discovery changes everything.

Between the pages of the battered secret diary Molly kept during WWII, Izzie discovers a story of love, heartbreak, and the incomparable hardship of life in a world at war. Reading her grandmother’s words soon puts her own story into perspective, and suddenly Izzie realises that the only thing holding her back from happiness, might be herself. Now she just has to convince Justin that they deserve a second chance at forever…

Pre-Order Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RS6JBRJ/

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RS6JBRJ/

Publisher: One More Chapter

Genre: Romance, woman’s fiction

Publication Date: 8th July

So are you ready? Here is the cover for The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild.

The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild Book Cover

It looks beautiful, intriguing and I’m adding it to my TBR list.

Author Biography

Julia Wild

Lancashire born, I moved to Bedfordshire in the late seventies, married and started a family. I’m a past Hon Sec of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, have been a member since 1993 when I joined their New Writers’ Scheme as a probationer. That came about after winning a week’s historical writing course on the strength of the first chapter of my third Poldark-era romance. The tutor on the last day loved the story and handed me details of the Romantic Novelists’ Association – she said I absolutely must join as they would be able to help me towards publication.

Some four years later my first published book, Dark Canvas, won the RNA’s New Writer’s Award in 1997, the sixth, Illusions, won the RNA’s Romance Prize in 2003.

After working in the local library service for 18 years, during library cut-backs I took the leap to become self-employed as a writer and worked on releasing my backlist as eBooks for Kindle.

Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing Charlotte Ledger when she pulled me from the writing wilderness and have now signed a three-book deal with One More Chapter.

Social Media Links –                       www.facebook.com/authorjuliawild

Twitter:                                                @juliawildauthor

Instagram:                                          juliawildauthor

Website:                                             www.juliawildauthor.co.uk

The Secret Notebook will be released on 8th July 2021, why not check out the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources around that date.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book cover of Pter Cratchit's Christmas Carol and a cup of tea

Book Review: Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne

Christmas Eve is nearly here making it an ideal time to share my review for Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne. I adore A Christmas Carol in both literature and film so was excited to discover what this book had to offer and whether it lived up to the original tale. Scroll down to see if it met my expectations.

Book Review: Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne

Book Review: Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin Frayne

Title: Cratchit’s Christmas Carol

Author: Drew Marvin Frayne

Publisher: NineStar Press, LLC

Genre: festive romance, LGBTQIA

Release date: 18th November 2019

Blurb

Peter Cratchit, a young lad preparing to make his way in the world, is the eldest son of Scrooge’s lowly clerk Bob Cratchit. Peter flourishes under the tutelage of his “Uncle” Scrooge and seeks to make his mark as a man of business, like his uncle before him.

One Christmas Eve, as Scrooge lays dying, Peter embarks on a risky ocean voyage that he believes will secure the future for his family. Onboard, Peter finds love, happiness, and success, only to lose it all by the voyage’s end.

Returning to London, Peter shuns his family and instead finds himself living on the streets, haunted by his failures and his dead lover, selling his body just to survive while he waits for the winter cold to claim him once and for all. But winter snows also mean Christmas is coming, and for the Cratchit family, Christmas is a time of miracles. Can a visit from three familiar spirits change Peter’s life again? Is there one more miracle in store for the lost son of one of Dickens’ most enduring families?

A Note From the Publisher

WARNING: Death of a prominent character, suicidal ideation, suicide

My Thoughts

Peter Cratchit has a lot to live up to; he admires his Uncle Scrooge and what he stood for after the ghosts’ visitation and appreciates the protection and happiness the old man gave. When Scrooge dies, Peter vows to take over the role as protector and make sure the Cratchits are well provided for but nothing is easy. The novel begins with him living on the streets and selling himself in exchange for food in Victorian England. As Christmas approaches, he is ready to give up and die but the ghosts return. Peter’s story of love, lost chances, and determination are revealed in unexpected ways.

Like the original, this book is dark, gritty and highlights poverty and the values of the era when life is cheap but the spirit of Christmas shines through when Peter faces the ghosts Scrooge told him about as a child for himself. Peter and the relationships he has with his family and his partner have depth and the love between them leap from the page. It is an emotional journey but the conclusion left me feeling uplifted, and warm. It will stay with me for a long time.

Elements of this novel are darker and more graphic than the original and it does not hold back in the sex scenes so this is not suitable for children.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if are a lover of A Christmas Carol. Beautifully written, it captures the Dickensian atmosphere and it complements the other Christmas Carol books on my forever shelf well. These include Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye, and an illustrated version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Like them, I will revisit this novel again for its warmth, festive message and characters.

Thank you Ninestar Press via NetGalley for a copy to read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

What are you reading this Christmas? Do you love A Christmas Carol too? Let me know in the comments below or on social media.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins

I am pleased to share a book I am currently reading, An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins.

An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins

An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins

Title: An Unusual Boy

Author: Fiona Higgins

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Boldwood books

Release Date: 20th October 2020

Blurb

Meet Jackson – a very unusual boy in a world that prefers ‘normal’…

Julia Curtis is a busy mother of three, with a husband often away for work, an ever-present mother-in-law, a career, and a house that needs doing up. Her fourteen-year-old daughter, Milla, has fallen in love for the first time, and her youngest, Ruby, is a nine-year-old fashionista who can out-negotiate anyone.

But Julia’s eleven-year-old son, Jackson, is different. Different to his sisters. Different to his classmates. In fact, Jackson is different from everyone. And bringing up a child who is different isn’t always easy.

Then, one Monday morning, Jackson follows his new friend Digby into the school toilets. What happens inside changes everything; not only for Jackson, but for every member of his family. Julia faces the fight of her life to save her unusual boy from a world set up for ‘normal’.

An extraordinary boy. The mother who loves him. The fight of their lives.

Bestselling novelist Fiona Higgins returns with a heart-stopping, devastating, but ultimately uplifting story about loyalty, love and forgiveness.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2Xu0bsa

Author Biography

Fiona Higgins is the Australian writer of several bestselling contemporary novels including The Mothers’ Group and Wife on the Run. Her work has been widely reviewed, translated internationally, and described as ‘page-turning domestic melodrama for the social media age’. She lives with her family in Sydney and her first book for Boldwood will be published in October 2020.

Social Media Links

Twitter @https://twitter.com/fionahiggins101

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

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

Website https://www.fionahiggins.com.au/

For more information and reviews for this book, why not pop along to the others on this tour. My review will be with you shortly.

Happy reading, stay safe!

Love

Little Eden Book One by KT King

Yesterday, KT King popped over to discuss ME/CSF awareness week. I am pleased to share information and an extract from her first book in the Little Eden series.

Little Eden by KT King

Little Eden Book 1 cover image

Little Eden Book One by KT King

Title: Little Eden

Author: KT King

Publisher: Independent

Release date: 2018

Available here: https://linktr.ee/ktkingbooks

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-9164296-2-8

Kindle ISBN: 978-1-9164296-3-5

Blurb:

2012. Little Eden, London, England.

The beautiful sanctuary town of Little Eden is under threat.

Human greed, selfishness and disregard are about to turn the last 1,000 years to dust.

Robert Bartlett-Hart must make a choice.

With the help his friends (plus plenty of tea and cake), Robert learns that there is more at stake than just Little Eden.

Something lies at the heart of Abbey; something that stands between mankind and Armageddon.

The friends must navigate past lives, other dimensions, and even Heaven itself, to find a way to save Little Eden and themselves.

Will Little Eden survive to usher in a new age, or will humanity perish with it?

Both novels have recipes at the back based on the delectable delicacies served in the No.1 Daisy Place Café-Bookshop such as Strawberry and Cream Shortbreads, Late Night Cheesecake and Over the Rainbow Cake. The E-books have wiki-links and links to YouTube for the soundtrack. You can find everything Little Eden on KT’s Blog www.ktkingbooks.wordpress.co.uk

Look out for…Little Eden, Book Three, Haunted or Not…Available (hopefully) 2021

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

Chapter 1

~ * ~

It was a sad beginning to 2012 for the residents of Little Eden, and as it would turn out, it would not be a good year for the rest of mankind either – but more about that later!

First things first…

New Year’s Day was almost over as Robert Bartlett-Hart sat alone in his library sifting carefully through the mounds of newspapers which were strewn all over a capacious mahogany table. The sombre shadow of dusk began to seep into the clear blue January sky, and all at once multifarious reading lamps, scattered randomly amongst the furniture and piles of books, turned themselves on, in perfect unison. Robert poured another cup of tea from his Kyushu and sighed. He fought, ineffectually, with the oversized, dry, rustling broadsheets, trying to tame them by folding and flattening them the best he could. For posterity, Robert attempted to glue the numerous obituaries into the Little Eden archive (a huge, slightly musty, leather-bound book), but the scissors kept losing themselves amongst the unruly sheets and little scraps of paper kept sticking to his hands; no matter how much he tried to shake them off, they just re-stuck somewhere else!

Robert’s silent contemplation was suddenly shattered by the brusque opening of the library door and his mother’s voice slicing through the peaceful air.

“Did you find the obituary I asked Lancelot to put in the Kolkata Times?” Jennifer Bartlett-Hart asked him. She went straight to the large mirror which hung majestically over the sideboard and began adjusting her black, feather-laden hat. She caught sight of a picture of Lilly on the front page of Tatler magazine which lay amongst many others on the table. The magazine was running an old photograph of the glamorous stage star, Lilly Rose, from 1964. Lilly was posing in a ‘Vivienne Westwood’, wearing white go-go boots, long curling fake eyelashes, and her blond hair was peeking out from beneath a jaunty velvet cap.

The headline read:

“A celebration of the life of a Parisian Diva who became a very English Rose. Lilly Rose D’Or. Her life in pictures: pages 10 – 14.”

Jennifer turned away to look in the mirror again. “Lilly hasn’t been Lilly Rose, star of stage and screen, for decades!” she huffed.  “I doubt she even has any fans left who remember her! All this fuss and for what? She owned a Café for most of her life for goodness sakes and put on far too much weight eating all those afternoon teas. I don’t think that is much of anything to shout about.”

Robert sighed and ran his fingers through his brown tousled hair. “Thousands of people come every year to her charity concerts, Mother, you know that,” he replied. “And she has been a Trustee with us for over twenty-five years, and a friend to us – all my life at least. I don’t know what we would have done without her all these years.”

“I was the most beautiful woman in London once upon a time,” Jennifer replied, tilting the brim of her hat this way and that to make the most of her features. “I don’t suppose I will be on the cover of a magazine when I die. I had to give up any chance of fame to marry your father and have you boys.” Absently, Jennifer picked up a couple of newspaper clippings and added, “I hope you are nearly ready to go? Collins will be here any minute. Did you hear me Robert?” Jennifer looked admiringly at her long, manicured nails. “It’s just one funeral after another these days. It could just have easily have been me.”

“They say only the good die young,” Robert said under his breath, trying, in vain, to get the glue off his hands.

Jennifer took off her hat and rearranged her hair again, scowling into the glass. “I don’t see why your father insisted Lilly be buried with our family. Lillianna Rose D’Or or whatever she wants to be called this season is not family and never will be, and it is embarrassing for me! Your cousin Lancelot insisted on it. He can find a legal loophole when it suits him – but not when it suits me it seems.”

Robert sighed again. “It was in father’s will, Mother; you know there was nothing anyone could do. We have been over and over it.”

Jennifer grimaced, and wiggled her hips to prevent her black skirt from riding up her long, slender legs. “Your father went on about Lilly endlessly whilst he was alive; I never understood it. We always had to do whatever he wanted! What did he ever care about Little Eden? Off he goes to America with that floosy, Christabelle, without as much as a by your leave! Well! I am not going to go to this sham of a ceremony. The whole thing is just to embarrass me!” With that, she launched herself out of the room and slammed the door behind her.

Robert shrugged, and raised a resigned eyebrow as he dolefully drank the rest of his, now cold, cup of tea, and continued to cut and paste. 

After the stomping and the banging of doors had finished, he could hear the sound of his brother, Collins, calling jovially from the hall, “Are you ready?” he called, “Varsity says we’ll be late if you don’t hurry.”

“Varsity can wait!” Jennifer shouted down from the landing. She came tottering back down the stairs wearing a different hat and stiffly kissed her son on both cheeks. “Whoever thought of a memorial service in the evening? I ask you!” she complained.

Jennifer stood on the bottom step of the stairs and started to rearrange her son’s clothing, brushing fluff off his black suit. “This is off the peg!” she said, in disgust. “Where did you get it? The fit is terrible!”

“It’s ‘Lanvin’, Mother,” Collins replied. “Varsity picked it out.”

“I don’t care!” Jennifer replied, straightening his tie. “You have perfectly good bespoke suits. Go upstairs and change. You left an Anderson-Sheppard here last week. Go and put that on. If only Robert had your looks and you had his sense of style – I would be less embarrassed to be seen with you both!”

Collins smiled, and kissed his mother. “The fit is perfect, Mother. Only you would ever notice, no one else will.”

Jennifer snorted. “Well those Lawrence girls certainly won’t notice such details. Lucy dresses dreadfully! They were far too self-confident when they were little girls and I don’t see much improvement over the years.” Jennifer fussed with Collins’ mop of blond hair and he tried to get away from her, afraid she might pull out a hanky and start dabbing his face at any moment! “Robert tells me Sophie isn’t feeling well and is staying at the Café indefinitely. She has some sort of fatigue. I ask you! Tiredness is an illness now, apparently! As if we are not all tired all the time! They are as bad as Lilly and your father with their freedom of speech and their women’s liberation and all that environmental nonsense.  Robert’s in the library. There’s caviar on the sideboard – your favourite.”

Collins nonchalantly kissed his mother again, flung open the large panelled door into the library and headed straight for the champagne and canapés. Collins admired his appearance in the mirror and then, turning to the table, he poked at the papers whilst he munched his aperitifs.

“What’s all this?” he asked, in his usual casual manner.

“The obituaries,” Robert responded, without looking up.

“What all of these? Good god! You would think the woman was a saint.” Collins laughed, nearly choking on a piece of crostini.

“I think she was,” Robert mused. “Or she should be!”

Collins smirked, and looked at Robert in the mirror’s reflection. “I suppose I quite liked the old girl myself,” Collins admitted. “Baked a damn good cake! Shame she’s dead.”

“Shame?” Jennifer retorted, marching through the doorway whilst pinning her third choice of hat on her head. “It’s no shame!” she said, pushing her son aside with her hip. “Move, Collins, I need to look in the mirror! Now, perhaps we can have some of the family money to spend for a change?”

Collins downed another quick glass of champers and said, “Talking of money, Mother, I’m a bit short this month.”

“So am I, my dear. Ask your brother! He holds the purse strings around here. He is the one who won’t let us have our own money! Always spending it on the poor or giving it to a charity. Well! Charity begins at home!”

Wearily, Robert pulled on his long cashmere overcoat and replied soberly, “This is not the time to talk about money.”

“Oh come on Bobby, old boy!” Collins said. “With Lilly out of the picture you can hand out the family fortune a bit more. I promised Varsity she could…” Collins paused and grinned, “F**k! Varsity! I left her in the car. She is probably steaming by now!”

Jennifer surveyed herself in the full-length hall mirror. She smiled at herself again in the looking glass but only until she caught sight of Varsity, who was walking up the front steps wearing a magnificent silver fur coat and looking as if she had just finished a photo shoot for Vogue. Collins rushed out onto the porch, put his arm around his wife’s tiny waist and hastily ushered her back into the car.

Robert escorted his mother to the Bentley. Jennifer slid onto the leather seat and into her best finishing school position. She greeted Varsity with a ‘good evening’ and a ‘you look awfully nice.’ She couldn’t help pouting at Varsity’s youthful beauty. To comfort herself, she checked that her finger nails were still in perfect condition.

As the car passed by the end of Adam Street, the ice on the road was treacherous and Dyson, the chauffeur, was taking it slow. By the time they had reached the old Assembly Rooms, on the corner of Knight’s Walk, Jennifer had run out of things to say, so she began rooting about in her handbag for her hanky, pretending she was unable to find it, whilst Varsity occupied herself by refreshing her lipstick.

Eventually, the car pulled up outside the gates of the graceful gothic Sainte Chappelle. It was a dark winter’s eve, but the street lamps gave a cosy glow to Dovecote Street and softened the harshness of the icy chill in the air. As Jennifer stepped out of the car she cockled over on the curb. Robert caught her just in time before she landed face down on the cobbles! She had expected to see some famous guests outside the Chappelle, but looking anxiously around she was relieved that no one was there. She took Robert’s arm and paraded up the lantern-lined path, to be greeted by the singular Reverend Sprott, who was looking rather chilly, but who had been determined to wait outside, in the high and very ornate porch, to meet and greet the Bartlett-Harts. Robert gladly gave his mother over to the Reverend Sprott’s care.

The Chappelle was full of shadows – peppered with sudden bursts of flickering candle light. The glorious gold leaf of the majestic pillars seemed to be on fire, and the towering cobalt blue windows shimmered in a heavenly dance. The delicate, sweet scent of pale pink roses played amongst the deeper, muskier odour of beautiful bright white lilies. The melange of ancient church odours – a faint dampness of stone, wood polish, and carnal fresh flowers – invoked a shiver of ancient memories in the mourners.

Tonight, this holy and most sacred palace of light played host to the friends and family of Lilly D’Or. Not least, to her two beloved nieces, Lucy and Sophie Lawrence, who were standing by a small table which was covered in flowers, bottles of water and a mound of pink crystals. The sisters had been greeting the many mourners for at least half an hour already.

Author Biography

KT Image

KT King

Many may wonder how I can write novels if I have ME/CFS. I am able to write when I don’t need to do  anything else. The fluctuation of the illness baffles everyone as does the resolve of those with it to battle on trying to make a living. I lost my home, my income and my independence in 2012 coming back to live with my elderly parents on whom I now rely for physical daily help and financial support. By age 40 I had lost the battle with ME.

Writing too much gives me migraines so I can only write a few days a week for about an hour at a time on what is called ‘a good day’. I write through chronic pain and fatigue but it keeps me alive and it keeps me sane.

Mental and emotional health deteriorate for all of us because we can rarely socialise or see friends. We feel we have no purpose or usefulness and many of us are in terrible pain 24/7 with Fibromyalgia which often accompanies ME.

We can either give up or we can try to do something even if it’s just a little thing on ‘a good day’.

Becoming a published writer is a lifelong dream come true and escaping into Little Eden helps keep the suicidal thoughts at bay. I hope it’ll be a beautiful escape place for you too. One of the main things readers say is that they would love to live in Little Eden which makes it all seem worthwhile!

I’m an indie author, using my savings from before 2012 to publish. I can’t meet deadlines of publishers or do the usual sales promotions.

I can spend months, even years unable to get out of bed so I need all the help I can get spreading the word about my books, especially from kind book bloggers like Katie.

I find crafting is good for mental and emotional health so when I can I make handmade jewellery to give to friends and to sell in my Etsy shop where all the gifts inspired by Little Eden. I rarely have the energy to bake but now and again I manage to make a cake or some cookies! Some of my recipes have made their way into the novels.

Come and browse in my little Etsy shop http://bit.ly/KTKingShop

You can follow the global campaign called MillionsMissing and/or KTKing on Twitter.

http://bit.ly/KTKingTwitter

For more information please visit the ME Association website https://www.meassociation.org.uk/about-what-is-mecfs/

For more information on KT and ME why not visit Meet the Author post or yesterday’s raising awareness.

Happy reading!

Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both novels have recipes at the back based on the delectable delicacies served in the No.1 Daisy Place Café-Bookshop such as Strawberry and Cream Shortbreads, Late Night Cheesecake and Over the Rainbow Cake. The Ebooks have wiki-links and links to Utube for the soundtrack. You can find everything Little Eden on KT’s Blog www.ktkingbooks.wordpress.co.uk

 

Look out for…Little Eden, Book Three, Haunted or Not…Available (hopefully) 2021

 

A belated welcome to 2020 and best books of 2019.

How come it is the middle of February already? It feels as if it should still be October last year. As time is galloping on, I am late sharing with you my favourite reads from 2019. I always enjoy looking back at my Goodreads challenge to see what I read in the past because it gives a warm feeling similar to meeting old friends in the street and likewise, you promise you will catch up with them soon but never have time to.  It was a year for some gems which I would not have discovered if it wasn’t for Rachel’s Random Resources and social media, so thank you Rachel Gilbey, other bloggers and NetGalley for their recommendations. These are the my favourites.

Favourites Reads from 2019

The Woman in the Photograph

By far, for it’s characters, passion and eye opening subject matter my book of the year has to be The Woman in the Photograph by Stephanie Butland. My review can be read here but it blew me away and one book, I recommend to many people. Feminism and its history was a topic I thought I had some knowledge about – I was so wrong.

 

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

The Boy, the Mole and the Fox by Charlie Mackesy was a surprise gift from fellow blogger, Julie Morris from A Little Book Problem blog. Its sweet, honest and full of wisdom reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh. It made me cry and give everyone a big hug.

 

The Lost Ones

 

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank. A delightful Gothic ghost story; it is perfect for a winter’s night.

 

 

Dead & Talking Kindle sleeve FINAL DES

 

Dead and Talking: A Porter and The Gliss Investigation by Des Burkinshaw was an unexpected gem with a thrilling story and characters I enjoyed getting to know. It has the potential to be a series I will eagerly follow. Click here for the review

 

Tell ne your secret

Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson. Her books never fail to impress but this one has a darker edge I didn’t anticipate but wow what a read.

 

 

 

Dyed Souls Cover

Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella was another book that surprised me by its intensity and deep characterisation. It wasn’t the easiest topic to read but Charlie wormed himself in my heart and  I will never forget him or the life he led. The review is here.

 

 

the passage

 

The Passage by Justin Cronin. This was a reread after I watched the TV adaptation on Sky and I constantly kept saying “Well I’m sure that wasn’t in the book”. My enjoyment of the series grew but the epic novel is out of this world. It’s dystopian horrors kept me enthralled and petrified as I could see how a similar scenario could unfold and devastate the world.

 

Closer than you think

 

Closer than You think by Darren O’Sullivan for it’s ability to keep me awake at night with the horror potentially following me into my dreams.

 

 

Songs of UsThe Songs of Us by Emma Cooper was one of the first books I read in 2019 but it still holds a special place in my heart. Music is threaded into the story with a playlist available on Spotify. It is impossible to listen to The Beatles  Can’t Buy Me Love and not think of Melody, the main character in the opening chapters. The audio version of this book is perfect too. Get your tissues ready.

 

An author I discovered last year was Jenni Keer. I fell in love with her books as they have magic threaded through them and her characters have a knack of staying with you  If you haven’t read them yet do as they uplift these grey, winter days. The review for The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is here.

Also, the lovely Sharon Booth who has a back catalogue I have added to my TBR. With my love of witch books, how can I not fall in love with the witches of Castle Clair.  My Favourite Witch tingled with a delightful magic that made me smile. The last of the series, To Catch A Witch is out in April so watch this space for a review.

Which were your favourite books from last year?

Love

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Forgotten children by Isabella Muir

Last year I read about the disturbing child migration scheme in The Vanished Child  where children in children homes were sent to Australia and Canada. When I read the blurb of The Forgotten Children I knew I had to read it so I was excited to be invited on this blog tour by Rachel Random Resources and given a copy to read. Scroll down for my review and a giveaway for a signed copy.

Book Review: The Forgotten Children by Isabella Muir

 

the forgotten children paperback front

The Forgotten Children by Isabella Muir

Title: The Forgotten Children

Author: Isabella Muir

Genre: General fiction, historical

Release Date: 29th November 2018

Blurb

A woman’s search to find her son uncovers the shocking truth about one of Britain’s darkest periods

Struggling with the demons of her past, Emily is a children’s author with a dark secret, and a guilt that threatens to consume her.  For twenty years she has lived in Brighton, England, trying to forget the day they took her baby from her, just hours after he was born.  But now, in the summer of 1987, she decides to begin the search for her son. 

Emily takes refuge in a small town on the Isle of Anglesey to plan the search, where she meets Walter, a gentle stranger, who helps her with his words of wisdom and kindness.  But it is when she decides to return home to Hastings, that she really has to face her demons. 

Estranged from her parents when she was just sixteen, Emily is shocked by what her mother has to tell her about events that occurred before Emily was even born.

Beside her, throughout her search, is Emily’s beautiful Irish friend, Geraldine, recovering from her own sad experiences.  Together they uncover a truth that shocks them all.

The Forgotten Children draws the reader into lives affected by narrow-minded beliefs and blinkered thinking at the highest level. Children who weren’t allowed to be born, children who were abandoned, and children who were taken, forced to lead a life thousands of miles away from everyone and everything they knew – leaving scars that may never heal.

At its heart, The Forgotten Children is a story of survival, but the journey that Emily has to take is painful.  Even more so because she knows it was allowed to happen by individuals, religions and governments, who should have known better.

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Children-chilling-inspired-events-ebook/dp/B07GZYHLKV

US – https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Children-chilling-inspired-events-ebook/dp/B07GZYHLKV

My Thoughts

Children’s author, Emily brims with anger and despair as she struggles to come to terms with a recent miscarriage which stirs her memories of her first child who she was forced to give away. I connected to her even when she made decisions I could not understand including the one which leads her to Anglesey. This a place I long to visit and Isabella Muir’s descriptions of the landscape and area increased my desire to visit. The environment and people Emily meets leads her to make the decision to search for her son. Walter, a character I loved, acts as a welcome calming influence for Emily anger and balances out the book. Reading about the heartbreaking act of migrating children to Australia and Canada is still shocking despite reading about it in a few books now and is unbelievable it is in our recent history and not something from a century ago. The focus on the families searching for their children rather than the experience of the adopted child works well because you discover the horrors with the main character. It is a well researched and emotional. The complex feelings of estranged families, high expectations and grief is tackled sympathetically and pulled at my heart-strings. A box of tissues was required.

The story takes place in 1987 so sent me down memory lane with telephone boxes and not being able to do a quick internet search for information. It is amazing how much has changed in the last three decades.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is emotional read which reveals the haunting actions of the British government of that time and highlights the turmoil the regime caused for all involved.

Author Biography

the forgotten isabella muir

Isabella Muir

Isabella Muir has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

As well as her newest title, The Forgotten Children, Isabella is the author of the Sussex Crime Mystery series.  These Agatha Christie style stories are set in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke, who has a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMuirAuthor/

https://twitter.com/SussexMysteries

https://isabellamuir.com/

Giveaway

I am pleased to share the chance to win a signed copy of The Forgotten Children ( UK only -sorry).

Click here to enter

 

Why not visit other blogs on this tour to find out more on this book and author.

Thank you Rachel giving me the chance to read this book.

Happy Reading!

Love

the forgotten children full tour banner

Book Review for The List That Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne

I stumbled upon this book on Twitter. People were raving about the laughs it induced and with recommendations from my favourite authors I needed to give it ago. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was available on NetGalley and thrilled to receive it. Scroll down to read my unbiased, honest opinion.

Book Review: The List That Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne

The List that Changed My Life cover

The List that changed my life by Olivia Beirne

Title: The List That Changed My Life

Author: Olivia Beirne

Publisher: Headline

Genre: Romance

Release date: 22nd November 2018

Blurb

Sometimes all you need is a little push…

‘One of the most hilarious books I have read for a very long time. Olivia writes with great warmth and wit – a fantastically funny debut.’ Emma Cooper, author of The Songs of Us

Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Katie Marsh and Marian Keyes, Olivia Beirne’s The List That Changed My Life takes its readers on an hilarious and heart-warming journey of a lifetime, showing us what it means to really be alive.

Georgia loves wine, reality TV and sitting on the sofa after work. She does not love heights, looking at her bank account, going on dates, or activities that involve a sports bra. And she will never, ever take a risk.

That is, until her braver, bolder, big sister finds out that she won’t be able to tick off the things she wanted to do before turning thirty, and turns to Georgia to help her finish her list.

With the birthday just months away, Georgia suddenly has a deadline to learn to grab life with both hands. Could she be brave enough to take the leap, for her sister?

And how might her own life change if she did?

My thoughts

I started to read this late Christmas Eve and was hooked. Luckily, I had a quiet Christmas and  could read between the pressie openings, munching of mince pies and dinner when everyone was distracted. This is a heart-warming, uplifting book which I needed to read and was the perfect antidote for the overindulgence of festive reading. Believe me, like mince pies with Baileys cream there comes a point when your mind says no more Christmas storylines.

Georgia is an every day 26 year old facing the daily battles with her job, rent and dating until she steps out of her comfort zone to complete her sister’s list. I could relate to her in every way so when faced with the challenges I cringed, laughed and cheered with her. Her observations and inner dialogue are accurate and funny. Though she sees Amy as the more confident, pretty and mature sister their closeness shines through. This is a story about the bond between sisters which gets stretched in difficult times.

I was intrigued to see how M.S would be conveyed but Olivia Beirne tackled Amy’s diagnosis sensitively and it was nice to see how illness affects not only the person with it but those around them. The only other book I have read with M.S central to the plot was The Breakdown Lane by Jacqueline Mitchard which traumatised me when I was facing similar neurological tests. The List That Changed My Life shows the devastation of the disease and how everyone has to adapt but it is full of fun, laughs and warmth so I came away from the book feeling positive and upbeat. It also inspired me to be more involved with charities who work tirelessly to support those in need.

Would I recommend?

Olivia Beirne has written a wonderful strong debut full of emotion and humour.  Now is the perfect time to read it as we hurtle to the end of this year and make our own lists for the upcoming one. I can’t wait to read more of her work.

Thank you NetGalley and Headline for the opportunity to read this book.

Happy reading and wish you a brilliant New Year!

P.S What are you looking forward to reading next year? Let me know in the comments below.

Kindle Sale: Clipped Wings by Jennifer Gilmour

The statistics for domestic abuse are startling with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men affected.  Christmas can be a difficult time of the year for many, heightened risk for domestic abuse victims and calls increasing to the police over the festive period. This is why Jennifer Gilmour is offering her Kindle book Clipped Wings FREE today, bringing awareness to domestic abuse through the 25 survivor stories.

Jennifer works tirelessly as an advocate for domestic abuse survivors and is the author of Isolation Junction. She popped over to this blog  earlier this year and can be found here

 

clipped wings

Title: Clipped Wings

Author: Jennifer Gilmour

Release Date: 30th Oct 2017

Blurb

The silent chorus.

Just imagine you thought that you had met the man or woman of your dreams. This person was charming and you thought they were the one or perhaps that this was fate; it was just meant to be.

But as the months go by things start to change. Their behaviour towards you isn’t the same, they are more critical, more particular about your appearance, what you do, how you do it, who you see. Time goes by and you feel isolated from your friends and family because that behaviour has now changed to threats, maybe violence and you feel that your identity is all but gone. But still you stay. Where would you go? Who would help you? You are not worthy.

But you are.

A group of survivors have spoken about their own experiences. In their own words they show that survivors do have a voice and that it needs to be heard. They show that abuse isn’t unique or strange but that it is, unfortunately, a surprisingly common problem in today’s society.

The message of this book is one of courage, as with courage comes awareness and an ability to understand what has happened to you and take the steps needed to become a survivor yourself.

About the author:

Jennifer GilmourBorn in the north-east, Jennifer is a young, married mum with three children. In addition to being an author, she is an entrepreneur, running a family business from her home-base. Her blog posts have a large readership of other young mums in business.

 From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write her first novel Isolation Junction. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

Since the publication of her debut novel, Jennifer has continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through her blog posts, radio interviews and Twitter feed. Jennifer also gained a qualification in facilitating a recover programme for those who have been in abusive relationships.

 Jennifer continues to publicly support those who are isolated and struggle to have a voice. Jennifer hopes that Clipped Wings give’s a voice to survivor’s experiences and raise’s awareness further of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse.

Check out her blog and other social media:

Website; www.jennifergilmour.com

 Facebook; www.facebook.com/isolationjunctionbook

 Twitter; www.twitter.com/JenLGilmour

 Clipped Wings on Amazon UK; https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Clipped Wings on Amazon USA; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076KNZJZQ

 Goodreads author profile; https://www.goodreads.com/JenniferGilmour

 Clipped Wings on Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36449221-clipped-wings

 Huffington post blogger profile; http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/jennifer-gilmour

Domestic abuse is common and you will know someone affected so please share the offer  and info. You may just make a big difference to someone’s live  as together survivors are stronger.

Love