Book Review: The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

Today I am excited to share another festive book review, The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker. The blurb grabbed my attention because I am a great fan of the festive film, The Holiday starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet where they swapped houses for the Christmas period (Iris’ cottage is the ideal writer’s home) and I always wanted to know more about Australian traditions at Christmas; something I have never come across in UK fiction.

Read on to find out more.

Trailer for The Holiday

Book Review: The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

Title: The Christmas Swap

Author: Sandy Barber

Publisher: One More Chapter, HarperCollins UK

Genre: Romance, festive

Release date: 16th October 2020

Blurb:

Christmas is coming and best friends ChloeJules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!

Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.

The only thing better than one Christmas romance is three, and this wonderful festive novel is perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Holly Martin and Karen Swan.

Purchase Links

Amazon

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-christmas-swap

https://books.apple.com/gb/book/the-christmas-swap/id1522992097

https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-christmas-swap,sandy-barker-9780008390044

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-christmas-swap/sandy-barker/9780008390044

My Thoughts

The first chapter is a Beachesesque introduction to three young girls from different places in the world, forming a friendship that will span a lifetime and shape who they are. Strong female friendships in novels are a joy to read, and this was no exception. From the start, I was connected to them, making me turn the page.

The idea of the swap was sown when Australian Chloe’s parents abandon her over Christmas and she reveals her longing for traditional family celebrations as seen in the movies. I loved the premise of experiencing three distinctly different Christmases, especially the one in Australia. I always struggled to comprehend the notion Christmas day was in the middle of summer and celebrated without a turkey and all the trimmings. My sister lives there, and reading this novel made me feel closer to her.

These friends experience snapshots of each other’s lives and it highlights even the best friends do not share everything and there are aspects of your life you keep to yourself. There is a character for every reader to connect with and love, and I enjoyed watching them grapple the different traditions, slot into the different ways of living, and discover the closest friendships have boundaries. With stunning locations, festive atmosphere, chemistry between love interests and swoonsome embraces, it was a tonic for grey, drizzly Autumn days and perfect escapism.

Would I recommend?

Yes! This is my first experience of this author, but I loved her style. This book is an entertaining, refreshing read, and with three Christmas stories in one, how could I not love it? It is on for my forever shelf for a reread in the future.

Author Biography

Sandy Barker

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. She loves exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when she travels, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, film buff, wine lover and coffee snob.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/sandybarker

https://www.facebook.com/sandybarkerauthor

https://www.instagram.com/sandybarkerauthor

https://sandybarker.com/

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and One More Chapter for my advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

If you would like to find out more about this book and Sandy Barker, why not visit other blogs on this tour.

Have you had your own Christmas swap and experienced a different festive day? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review: To Catch the Witch by Sharon Booth

October is here, making it the perfect time to celebrate Halloween and have a witch and ghost takeover.

My first witchy book review is To Catch a Witch by one of my favourite Yorkshire author’s Sharon Booth, who we met last year. You can find her interview here. It is the last novel in the Castle Clair trilogy. Read on to discover more.

Book Review: To Catch the Witch by Sharon Booth

To Catch a Witch by Sharon Booth

Title: To Catch a Witch

Author: Sharon Booth

Publisher: Green Ginger Publishing

Genre: Romance, uplifting fiction, witchlit

Release Date: 28th April 2020

Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sharonbooth.writer

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sharon_Booth1

Instagram: www.instagram.com/sharonboothwriter

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Booth/e/B00PP5S1X8

Website: www.sharonboothwriter.com

Blurb

Return to Castle Clair for the final chapter of the St Clair story.

It’s three hundred and fifty years since the famous witch’s leap happened in the North Yorkshire town. Riverside Walk is swarming with eager tourists, wanting to pay tribute to the legendary Blaise St Clair. It’s also Christmas Eve, and the family has gathered to celebrate an eventful year, and to look forward to even better times ahead.

But a shock event changes everything, bringing a whole lot of trouble to the door of Castle Lodge.

For something big is happening in Castle Clair. Strangers are arriving, a prophecy is unfolding, a mystery is deepening, a reckoning is coming … and someone’s getting rather too fond of Mrs Greenwood’s baking.

The past is colliding with the present, and the future is in jeopardy. No wonder the High Council of Witches is a bit miffed.

Will the St Clairs have enough strength, courage ~ and chocolate fudge cake ~ to see them through?

Or is this the end of the world as they know it?

My Thoughts

I was mesmerised by the other two novels based in Castle Clair which tell the stories of Sky and Star St Clair and pre-ordered this one, eager for its release but delayed reading it until now. Why? I did not want the series and the magic to end. Mistake. Big mistake, I could have reread the entire series by now. What was not a mistake was the timing. Celeste’s story begins on Christmas Eve, the 350th anniversary of Blaise St Clair’s death at Witches Leap, making it an ideal book for October with the preparations of both Halloween and Christmas. Witches and Christmas, my favourite things make it a winning combination.

Sharon Booth’s wonderful storytelling invoked the Christmas spirit and drew me into the St Clair’s world. The opening chapters are upbeat, quirky, and full of laughter as well as trepidation of what is to come. The many references to Dr Who to describe the situation made me smile and added to the festive atmosphere. Like the Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Dr Who specials make Christmas.

Celeste fast became my favourite witch with her innocent, romantic view of love, believing she will meet the one. Her gentle and kind nature makes her the ideal match for Blaise, the 17th century witch. I enjoyed watching him grapple with the steep learning curve of fitting in to the 21st century, including the changing roles of women and zippers. That scene is one I cannot get out of my head.

Would I recommend?

To Catch A Witch is witchy escapism wrapped up in an uplifting romance that also revisits the other St Clair sisters. With many twists and turns, it was a joy to read and is firmly one of my forever shelf with the rest of the series. This has become my favourite, but it would be wrong to read it again without the others. I can feel a Halloween tradition brewing.

Author Biography

Sharon Booth

Sharon Booth is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes uplifting women’s fiction — “love, laughter, and happy ever after”. Although a happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed, she makes them work for it!

Sharon grew up in the East Yorkshire town of Hessle, where her enduring love for all things Yorkshire was born. She now lives in Kingston-upon-Hull with her husband and their much-loved German Shepherd dog.

Since giving up her admin job at a medical practice, she spends a lot of time assuring her family of five children, assorted in-laws and hordes of grandchildren – not to mention a sceptical mother and a contrary hairdresser – that writing full-time IS a “proper” job and she HASN’T taken early retirement.

She has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, adores Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies, and admits to being shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.

You can sign up to Sharon’s newsletter at smarturl.it/sharonsnewsletter

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review: Not Myself Today by Muriel Ellis Pritchett

I am excited to share a review for something different, a YA novel by Muriel Ellis Pritchett called Not Myself Today. As soon as I read the blurb, my inner teenager demanded I read it so thank you Rachel Gibley for inviting me to this blog tour. Scroll down to see if it matched my expectations.

Not Myself Today by Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Not Myself Today by Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Title: Not Myself Today

Author: Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Genre: YA fantasy, paranormal

Release date: 24th September 2020

Blurb

High school soccer star Lindsey Anderson was at the top of her game with graduation approaching and a full-ride soccer scholarship offer in her hand. Then she dropped dead on the soccer field, only to wake up in the body of a teenage sex-trafficking victim. No one believes who she really is. Not even her dad. Chased by her new body’s drug-dealing pimp and rabid parapsychologists out to dissect her, Lindsey searches to get her body and her life back before graduation day. Can her BFF and the high school nerdy boy she detests help save her life?

Purchase Links

https://www.blackrosewriting.com/teenya/notmyselftoday

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Not-Myself-Today-Paranormal-Thriller-ebook/dp/B08F5GFDNX/

Amazon UShttps://www.amazon.com/Not-Myself-Today-Paranormal-Thriller-ebook/dp/B08F5GFDNX/

 From October 8-12 (5 days) anyone in the US and the UK will be able to purchase an eBook copy of Not Myself Today for $0.99

My Thoughts

Lindsay is the perfect American athletic student with a bright career ahead of her. With a privileged background and friends, life can not get any better, but in an instant her role is changed when she wakes up in the body of a 14-year-old prostitute and addict. Body swapping has been used as a plot device before in many films to show different views and encourage character growth in both protagonists, such as Freaky Friday, Visa Versa and one of my favourite film, Heaven can Wait (1978) but this change is darker and more extreme. There could have been a risk this was too much, but it works. The stark contrast between the girls’ lives allows the reader to discover with Lindsay, the dark, murky world of child sex trafficking, and abuse in an accessible, non-graphic way. There is danger from the Annabeth’s pimp making it quick paced and page turning. Lindsay is a strong character and I doubt I would have been so calm in those circumstances, but I enjoyed watching her judgement change as she discovers more about Annabeth’s life.

It is a topical, action-packed novel about the importance of friendship, and identity highlighting the hidden and devastating world of child trafficking in the US. This is not a US problem, but worldwide.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a refreshing YA read that ticked all the boxes my younger self wanted in a book; paranormal, reincarnation, gritty subject matter, and strong characters. It is a thrilling, fast-paced, paranormal YA read I would loved to have had on my forever bookshelf as a teenager.

Author Biography

Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Muriel Ellis Pritchett graduated from the University of Georgia and began her journalism career while living in Japan and Germany. Her journalism career included playwriting, editing and writing for magazines and newspapers, and working in public relations, university relations, and media relations.

After retiring, Muriel’s family doctor recommended she get a hobby.  So, she began writing fun fiction about feisty older women who had been wronged and had to pull themselves up out of the muck. But her award-winning fourth book, Not Myself Today, is a change in genres—a YA paranormal thriller. It is scheduled for release September 24, 2020. Her first three “fruity” books, fun romance for older women, are Making Lemonade, Like Peaches and Pickles, and Rotten Bananas and the Emerald Dream. She is currently working on another “fruity” book, titled Sour Grapes and Balmy Knight.

When not writing, Muriel loves cruising all over the world, eating good Belgian chocolate, and spending time in any Disney park. Her favorite Disney attractions are SOARING at Disney World’s EPCOT in Florida, Alice’s Curious Labyrinth at Disneyland Paris, Journey to the Center of the Earth at DisneySeas in Tokyo, and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland in California.

Social Media Links – 

Facebook: Muriel’s Fiction for Women @murielellispritchett https://www.facebook.com/murielellispritchett/

Twitter: @PritchettMuriel

Website: https://www.murielpritchett.com/

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

Giveaway to Win a Signed copy of Not Myself Today (Open Internationally)*

To win a signed copy of Not Myself Today, click here

Good Luck

If you want to discover more about this book, why not visit other blogs on this tour.

Thanks Rachel’s Random Resources for supplying an advanced copy to review and give my honest, and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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

Book Review: The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson

Autumn is here and we are on the way to Halloween, one of my favourite days of the year and a perfect time for spooky reads. I am pleased to share my review for The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson which lends itself to be read on chilly, dark evenings while waiting for things to go bump.

Book Review: The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson

The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson

Title: The Unquiet Spirit

Author: Penny Hampson

Publisher: Darkstroke/Crooked Cat

Genre: Paranormal, suspense

Release date: 21st August 2020

Purchase Links – getbook.at/theunquietspirit

Blurb

A new beginning. A house with a past. A man with secrets.

It was a dream come true…that turned into a nightmare.

Kate Wilson thinks moving back to Cornwall might be the answer to her prayers. But it isn’t long before she begins to have doubts. Is the house she inherited from her godmother haunted? Or is she going out of her mind? With a stalker, threats, and attempted break-ins, Kate’s troubles multiply.

Then there’s her enigmatic neighbour, the brooding Tom Carbis; a man with secrets he doesn’t wish to share. Can she trust him when he says he wants to help?

In her quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding her, will Kate uncover more than she bargains for?

Set in beautiful Cornwall, The Unquiet Spirit is a gripping suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Fans of Barbara Erskine will enjoy this tale.

My Thoughts

I was attracted to this novel for its setting, promise of spookiness and reference to Barbara Erskine, one of my favourite authors. I am always on the look out for authors similar in her style. The Cornish location for this novel and house offers the ideal set up for a ghost story and after an explosive start where I was thrown into action as Kate is pursued by a man, the hauntings begin with the smell of rosemary and classic spookiness. The authentic ghostly experiences were perfectly balanced with the developing relationship between Kate and Tom. The tension and chemistry between them kept me intrigued as did the discovery of a diary revealing the houses secrets.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a lovely, enjoyable ghost story for these colder nights with atmospheric setting and intriguing characters parcelled up with an historical mystery waiting to be solved. It sent shivers down my spine. I would love to read more from this author especially if she writes more paranormal.

Author Biography

Penny Hampson

Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and  three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a  historical mystery/romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.

But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

For more on Penny’s writing, visit her blog: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/blog/

Twitter: @penny_hampson

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pennyhampsonauthor

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour, introducing me to a new author to watch and giving me an ARC so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review: 365 Days of Gratitude Journal by Mariëlle S. Smith @rararesources

Today I am pleased to share with you something different –  365 Days of Gratitude Journal by Mariëlle S. Smith

Book Review: 365 Days of Gratitude Journal by Mariëlle S. Smith

365 Days of Gratitude cover

Book Title: 365 Days of Gratitude Journal

Author: Mariëlle S. Smith

Publisher: Independent

Release date: 1st September 2020

Genre: Self-help

 

Blurb:

‘Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.’ Rumi

Being grateful is easy…

…when everything goes according to plan.

But how do you keep at it no matter what life throws at you?

Enter 365 Days of Gratitude, the undated daily journal that will help you stay on track.

After years of barely surviving her own emotional minefield, writing coach Mariëlle S. Smith discovered the transformative power of practising gratitude. But, like no one else, she knows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done.

Complete with inspiring quotes, daily prompts, and recurring check-ins, the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal encourages you to create a sustainable gratitude practice too.

Ready to commit to the life-changing power of gratitude? Order your copy of the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal now.

 

Purchase Links

https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysofgratitude/

Get 50% off the printable PDF until 6 September 2020 with the following discount code: HAPPYLAUNCH. Go to https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysofgratitude or https://payhip.com/b/Hld2 to claim your copy.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FV15CJN

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FV15CJN

My Thoughts

I am a great believer in the power of feeling grateful,  I rarely write my blessings down. This is where this journal was invaluable and made the difference. The daily record meant I could review the previous days as instructed to see what had been consistent, what had changed, and remember the fleeting moments I had forgotten about. For example, a dragonfly has visited our garden twice last month. In the past, I would have been grateful for seeing it but it would have been lost in my memories over time. With the journal’s help, I could recall tits arrival and the finer details of the day such as the blue sky, the summer heat and the joy of sitting in the garden drinking tea on a rare visit with my aunt. The journal became a record of small moments, but together the collection gave me more general sense of wellbeing.
With covid and the unrest in many parts of the world, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all and I have had times when cabin fever has set in because I am still spending shielding, thanks to my low immune system and dystonia.  This journal helped ground and remind me I have so much to be grateful for – friends I can chat to online, a writing tribe, technology to write and connect with people, my dogs, and a garden, I could go on. It made me concentrate on what I have rather than not, which was uplifting.

 

Things to be grateful for:

dragonfly visit

new dragon leggings

butterflies in the garden

and a man in the moon appearance in a cup of tea.

Contennt For 27 Book Street - 365 Worksheet Day 1

A sample page of the journal

 

Would I recommend?

Yes, I found it cathartic to use and helpful in these turbulent times but it does require a daily commitment to write in it for the full effect. The format is simple, clear an easily personalised with stickers and coloured pens. The quotes are beautiful and uplifting.

Author Biography

 

365 Days Author

Mariëlle S. Smith

 

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a (ghost) writer. Early 2019, she moved to Cyprus, and island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.

Social Media Links –

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

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

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtnYOpjmj83mvMM2L348F1w

 

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

Do you keep a gratitude journal? Do you find it helpful?

Happy reading and keep safe!

Love

 

 

 

Book Review: The Last Charm by Ella Allbright

Book Review: Snowflakes Over Bay Tree Terraces by Fay Keenan

I know it is only August and the sun is shining but it is never too early to add Christmas books on to your TBR pile for the darker, colder nights. The first festive novel of the year is Snowflakes over Bay Tree Terrace by Fay Keenan.

Book Review: Snowflakes Over Bay Tree Terraces by Fay Keenan

Snowflakes Over Bay Tree Terrace HI RES

Snowflakes over Bay Tree Terrace by Fay Keenan

Title: Snowflakes Over Bay Tree Terraces

Author: Fay Keenan

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Release Date: 20th August 2020

Genre: Festive Romance, Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

As the snowflakes fall, new love blossoms…

When teacher Florence Ashton receives a surprise inheritance, she decides to make the life-changing decision to up sticks to the charming town of Willowbury in Somerset. With a new house and a new job, she’s too busy putting down roots to think about love.

Air Ambulance pilot Sam Ellis is definitely not looking for romance either, especially not on his doorstep. When Florence, his new neighbour, complains about his noisy housemate, he feels more cross than star-crossed.

But as the nights draw in and both find themselves thrown together in Willowbury’s seasonal drama production, will they overcome their differences and allow a little bit of winter magic to fall along with the snow? And what secrets will be revealed by the box of memories Florence finds in the attic at Bay Tree Terrace?

Let Fay Keenan transport you to the perfect country winter wonderland, with roaring fires, spectacular scenery, and unforgettable characters. Perfect for all fans of Cathy Bramley, Fern Britton and Katie Fforde.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3d1DPTC

My Thoughts

This is my first book I have read from this author and I wasn’t disappointed. It is always nice to have another author to look forward to reading on your TBR pile. The novel follows the lives of Florence and Sam in a will they/won’t they scenario set in a delightful country village. The setting adds to the warmth and festive feel of the story but it is the characters that shine especially Aiden, Sam’s brother. He is the reason the two protagonists meet and is the glue throughout the novel. His story about the trauma of leaving the forces is sensitively told and it was lovely to see an important subject threaded into commercial novel without it being the focus. His relationship with Sam and the realistic emotional interactions they had touched me.

Florence is a school teacher and it shows in her personality while ex-Navy Sam has taught himself to protect himself emotionally. I enjoyed the build up of the sizzling chemistry between them and following their trials and tribulations you need in a good romantic novel.

Would I recommend?

Yes. This is more than a quick uplifting festive read; the well developed characters, topics of discussion and beautiful prose make it one that you do not leave behind when the final page is closed.

Author Biography

F Keenan headshot

Fay Keenan

Fay Keenan is the author of the bestselling Little Somerby series of novels. She has led writing workshops with Bristol University and has been a visiting speaker in schools. She is a full-time teacher and lives in Somerset.

Social Media Links –

Twitter Profile: @faykeenan

Facebook Profile: www.facebook.com/faykeenanauthor

Instagram Profile: faykeenan

YouTube Channel: faykeenan

Pinterest Profile: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/faykeenanauthor/

Bookbub Profile: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/fay-keenan

Blog / website URL: http://www.faykeenan.com

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for an advanced copy of this book so I could give my honest review.

Happy reading!

Love

Snowflakes Over Bay Tree Terract Full Tour Banner

Book Review: The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

Today I am pleased to share my review for Taryn Leigh’s new release The Secret Letters, a romantic suspense novel set in the beautiful setting of South Africa.

 

Book Review: The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

 

The Secret Letters Cover

The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

Title: The Secret Letters

Author: Taryn Leigh

Publisher: Kingsley Publishers

Release date: 9th August 2020

Genre: Women’s fiction, suspense romance

 

Blurb:

RACHEL, saved from an attack twelve years before by a faceless stranger, never got to thank him, never knew his name.

Despite the devastation she chose to rise above it to help others from their pain by becoming a psychologist…. Her only issue now is that she’s an expert at fixing everyone else’s problems, and blind to her own.

After a long relationship with her boyfriend WILL starts to go south, she turns to her best friend AMELIA for guidance.

Suddenly her world is turned upside down when tragedy strikes and she’s left with no one to comfort her but Will’s rude older brother RUARI.

Paralyzed by fear, she struggles to take grip of her life, until the day when anonymous letters begin to appear from the stranger who saved her twelve years before.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Letters-Taryn-Leigh-ebook/dp/B089GM73RS

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Letters-Taryn-Leigh-ebook/dp/B089GM73RS

My Thoughts

This is the second novel I have read from Taryn Leigh. The first one, Perfect Imperfections, stayed with me long after I finished it and I can not look at a toy giraffe without thinking about the principal character, Sarah. This shows the impact it had. When the opportunity arose for a place on this blog tour run by Rachel’s Random Resources, I grabbed it and I was not disappointed.

This romantic suspense novel is unusual and took me on an emotional roller coaster with dark moments, followed by lighter, joyous scenes before being hurtled back into despair. It gripped me from the first chapter when Rachel was introduced to the last page as it follows her recovery from traumatic events and the romantic possibilities threaded throughout.  It covers some harrowing topics with haunting realism including assault and mental health issues, but Taryn Leigh approaches them sensitively. I felt Rachel’s pain as she dealt with several events life sends her way and her dependency on the mysterious letters to gain strength and move forward.  I guessed where some of the story was going, but this did not distract from my enjoyment or desire to know more.

Mr Lemon provides welcome relief with a tale of his own and he was a delightful, memorable character.

The settings described in the novel are stunning including the jacaranda trees in Pretoria, South Africa portrayed on the book cover. The tea garden was calming and somewhere I would love to experience in reality. The inclusion of a visit to Nelson Mandela’s house was enlightening and the quote of his speech resonated with me during these uneasy times. I have all the places in this book to my dream globetrotting itinerary.

Would I recommend?

Yes. It is an emotional, beautiful read and like her debut novel will stay with me.

Author Biography

Taryn Leigh

Taryn Leigh

 

Taryn Leigh is a South African Author, who spent her childhood with her nose buried in books. Her love for reading transpired into her ambition to become an Author.

Taryn Leigh’s first book, Perfect Imperfections, is available in Paperback, eBook and AudioBook. She lives in Pretoria with her husband and son.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.tarynleighauthor.com

Instagram: @tarynleighbooks

Twitter: @tarynleighbook

Facebook: Taryn Leigh Author

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the tour and the advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

If you want to know more about this book, why not visit others on the tour.

Happy reading and stay safe.

Love

The Secret Letters Full Tour Banner

 

 

 

Book Review: Crossing the Line by Isabella Muir

I am pleased to share my review for Crossing the Line by Isabella Muir. This is my second book I have read by this author. The review for The Forgotten Children can be found here

Book Review: Crossing the Line by Isabella Muir

Crossing the Line

Crossing the Line by Isabella Muir

 

Title: Crossing the Line (A Giuseppe Bianchi mystery Book 1)

Author: Isabella Muir

Publisher: Outset Publishing for Sussex Crime and Mysteries

Genre: Crime

Release Date: 1st July 2020

Purchase: Amazon

 

Blurb:

 

Tragic accident or cold-blooded murder?

Retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi, travels to England to escape one tragic death, when he comes face-to-face with another. When the body of a teenager is found on a Sussex beach, Giuseppe is drawn to the case – a case with no witnesses, and a case about which no one is prepared to talk.
 
National news reports of a missing twelve-year-old in Manchester spark fear across the nation. The phrase ‘stranger-danger’ filters into public consciousness. Local reporter, Christina Rossi, already has concerns about her local community. Families are not as close-knit as they first appear.
 
As the sea mist drifts in and darkness descends, can Giuseppe and Christina discover the truth and prevent another tragedy?
 

My Thoughts

There is something nice about curling up with a crime novel which is on the gentle side, they are compelling and urge you to solve the crime without providing the horror and grit which can leave you uneasy. This novel filled that expectation with an Agatha Christie/Heartbeat type crime and conclusion. 

 Based in the 1960s in Eastbourne, it was a joy to read the description of the era when life was at a slower pace. Isabella Muir captures the time perfectly, making it easy to slip into the story with the Beatles on the radio and the news of JFK’s assassination still fresh in people’s minds. It follows an intriguing Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi, who I loved. He has a backstory I long to know more of and a calm, knowledgeable personality making him the ideal person to notice things others have missed. Together with his junior reporter, Christina Rossi, they set out to investigate the death of a young boy, George. The suspects all have secrets leading you to question who had done what as the story twisted and turned. I guessed some twists, but it did not stop me enjoying this adventure. 

The dynamics of Giuseppe Bianchi and his cousin’s family, the Rossi’s were complex and made me feel this is much to discover about them in the upcoming series. For these characters alone, I am putting the next books on my TBR list. The death of George was the thread holding the story together, but I felt it was not in the plot’s forefront as I expected but the novel is about the detective himself which made it a delightful read.  

 

Would I recommend?

If you are a fan of gentle crime novels in the vein of Agatha Christie, you are in for a treat. The seaside location makes it an ideal holiday read even if you are stuck at home. I am looking forward to the next ones in the series. 


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/

 

Thank you The Fiction Cafe Book Club for giving me an advanced copy to review. 

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review:Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

I discovered Jessica Redland books last year and I was excited when I heard her new release would be about hedgehogs, a creature I adore. The blurb grabbed me and I could not resist the book cover. As soon as I was invited to the tour I grabbed the opportunity, thrilled I would be able to read the book sooner- thank you Rachel Random Resources. Times like this I love being a book blogger.

 

Book Review: Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

 

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow Cover

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

Title: Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow

Author: Jessica Redland

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Release Date: 2nd July

 

Blurb:

Can love really be found when you stop looking for it…?

As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.

But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.

Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfill Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.

Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it…

Escape to Hedgehog Hollow this summer with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting, feel-good read.

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

 

My Thoughts

My excitement for this books release was more than justified; I lost count on how many times I cried while reading it but do not runaway with the idea that it is a sad book; yes, it has its emotional scenes but it is overwhelmingly warm, funny and uplifting. The characters sneak into your heart especially Thomas Mickleby (I love his name) and Sammie. It is this deep connection that allowed me to experience their feelings, hence the sobs. Tissues are required.

The principal character, Sammie, is lovely and someone I would love to have as a friend even if she is underappreciated by many around her.  I related to Sammie within the first few pages and the more her life was revealed, the more I cared. Many of Sammie’s experiences with toxic relationships hit a nerve and they were dealt with in a sensitive, loving way. It highlights how family members influence our lives for the better and worse and in turn help form our personalities. The depth of characterisation drew me into the story before I met the hedgehogs, and there are many references to them. Hedgehogs are one of my favourite animals, and reading about them made me reminisce about the hoglets we cared for over a harsh Yorkshire winter. It was a special experience, but very pongy at times. The hedgehog storyline has been well researched and a lot of information is dripped into the story so anyone who reads this will come away learning something about these delightful creatures and their plight for survival.

The setting for Hedgehog Hollow is stunning.  I currently live in the Wolds, and the descriptions in this novel capture the essence of the landscape perfectly. I longed to be there and sit with Sammie and Thomas to experience the meadow in its full bloom.

The relationships Sammie forms with the people she meets have a magical quality about them, especially between her and Thomas.  I enjoyed watching them grow and evolve into a family-like bond. This is a story about friendship, hope,  and learning to believe in your ability to shine.

Would I recommend?

Yes, I have read a couple of her previous novels and love her warm style, but this one is special. A paperback will purchased for my forever shelf for future rereads. It is emotional, uplifting and full of spiky lovable creatures to warm the heart further. I did not want the story to end, so I am grateful it is the beginning of a series. Just make sure you have hankies nearby.

 

Author Biography

 

Finding Love - Author

Jessica Redland

 

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

Social Media Links:

 

Instagram –https://www.instagram.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/JessicaRedland

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Own website – https://www.jessicaredland.com/

Blog – https://jessicaredlandwriter.wordpress.com/

Bookbub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessica-redland

Mailing list sign up – http://bit.ly/JessicaRedlandNewsletter

 

Thanks again Rachel for inviting me to this tour and an advanced copy of this delightful book to review and give my honest opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe,

Love

 

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow Full Tour Banner