Book Review: Don’t Ask by Paul Carroll

Researching the family tree is another addiction of mine but I have never succumbed to the temptation to take a DNA test to make this easier for fear of the unknown. The blurb of Don’t Ask by Paul Carroll tapped into this fear so I was excited when invited to the tour by Random Things Tours.

Book Review: Don’t Ask by Paul Carroll

Don’t Ask by Paul Carroll book Cover

Title: Don’t Ask

Author: Paul Carroll

Publisher: Matador books

Genre: Adult fiction

Release date: 24th March 2021

Blurb

A DNA ancestry test opens up a Pandora’s Box of secrets.

When Elsa Watson takes a DNA ancestry test out of idle curiosity she little imagines the devastating consequences she is about to unleash.

Two families become reluctantly entwined as inconvenient truths and long suppressed memories resurface.

A #whodunnit with a difference, Don’t Ask visits the glam rock Seventies, Britpop, Operation Yewtree and #metoo within its alternating past and present chapter structure.

My Thoughts

This novel is a warning to those embarking on taking a DNA test, you never know what you may find and it studies the implications on multiple generations when new relatives are discovered. Elsa takes the test on a whim and finds she is connected to the family of Chaz, an ex pop star. She is a complex character and is the driving force of the novel but it is more Chaz’s tale and how his music career affected his life and family. It hops through time which confused me at the start and chapter titles may have helped but the clever prompts using music and fashion showed the way. The music scene chapters were riveting and were brought to life with egotistical characters and description.

I enjoyed this well written book and needed to know how the facts and character’s history threaded together when Chaz’s personality clashed with the possibility being shown. It covers many issues sensitively and includes mental health, drug abuse and the Yewtree investigations into historical sexual abuse.

I never would have imagined the ending which is always good.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it’s refreshingly different novel on a topic I’ve not read before. The issues it covers are on trend and gave me plenty to think about. It would work well as a book club read because there is much to discuss and debate over a glass of wine. It would also work well on screen.

Author Biography

Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll has been drawn to ink and the written word since launching a rock fanzine in his late teens.

Born and bred in Leeds, Paul crossed the Pennines in the mid-70s to study English Language and English Literature at the University of Manchester. 

Chasing a job in journalism he stumbled into the world of PR and ten years after starting his career set up his own PR consultancy, Communique PR, in Manchester.

There he worked on many well-known brands including Boddingtons, Heineken, Thorntons Chocolate, Chicago Town Pizza, Big D peanuts, Co-op Funerals and Manchester Airport.

These days, Paul concentrates on his writing.

Paul’s books are full of dark humour and satirical takes.  His writing has been compared to that of Ben Elton, Nick Hornby and Jonathan Coe in tackling serious contemporary issues in a highly engaging and entertaining way.

Don’t Ask (Matador 2021) is Paul Carroll’s fourth novel, following A Matter of Life and Death (Matador, 2012), Written Off (Matador, 2016), and Trouble Brewing (Matador, 2017).

Why not visit other blogs on this tour?

Thank you Random Things Tours and Matador books for providing an advanced copy to review and give my honest opinion.

Hope you all have a lovely bank holiday!

Stay safe and happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: Resourceful Living by Lisa Dawson

This is a completely different book for me to review but after a year shielding, my home is itching for an update. I’m conscious of my tight budget and need to consider the environment when I do. With this in mind, I jumped at the chance to read and review this book for ideas so thank you Random Things Tours and Kyle Books for an advanced copy. Scroll down to see what I thought.

Book Review: Resourceful Living by Lisa Dawson

Book Cover for Resourceful Living by Lisa Dawson

Title: Resourceful Living

Author: Lisa Dawson

Publisher: Kyle Books

Genre: non-fiction, interior design, environment

Release date: 15th April 2021

Blurb

It’s often thought that restyling your space comes with a hefty price tag and unavoidable waste. But in Resourceful Living, award-winning interiors blogger Lisa Dawson shows how, with a little creativity, you can revamp your home with existing pieces, vintage finds and key purchases.

The clever ideas in this beautiful book cover:

– The most important ways we use our homes, from eating to sleeping, living and working.

– The Basics of steering clear of interiors ‘fast fashion’, multi-purposing furniture and making the most of what you have.

– Styling Your Home with simple solutions for re-imagining each room, from gallery walls to home bars, repainted storage to retro accessories. Including her top ten key vintage buys and tips for in-store and online thrifting, Lisa’s inspiring advice shares the fun of creative sourcing as a more sustainable way to keep your home feeling fresh.

‘Resourceful Living feels like reading a recipe book, not only because of the delicious interiors images, but because of the simple ingredients and easy methods that are shared to achieve beautiful living spaces for yourself.’ Melanie Sykes

My Thoughts

The premise of this book fits with my desire to revamp my home on a budget, and my love for all things quirky and unusual.  The book is broken down into rooms where it to give an overview of what can be achieved, mood boards to inspire and checklists of what to consider when approaching the project. It gave me a much to think about. With lots of tips, I can not wait to resume charity shop browsing but instead of buying things haphazardly I will have a plan of the aesthetic I’m after. Quality matters and I will only be buying items that will add something to the house. No more tat.

Even without access to the shops at the moment, it has made a difference by making me consider where to place my plants to make a feature of them rather than just being in a cluster on the sideboard, how to display my teacups and things I love, and take pride in my homemade blankets and furniture I have inherited.

Resourceful Living is easy to read, and with stunning photographs and a clear layout, it is a book I love and will tap into in the future. It inspired me to look at my space with fresh eyes and rekindled my love for it, so I’ve become excited at the possibilities it has which had dwindled since we moved in a few years ago.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a delightful and accessible book that inspires you to revamp your home to showcase your personality and gives clear instruction on how to do it by reusing things you already own or locating in charity shops etc. It is one for my forever shelf to be revisited so I can make my house a home.

Author biography

Author Lisa Dawson

Lisa Dawson is a multi-award-winning interiors blogger, writer, workshop presenter and social media influencer. She writes a popular weekly blog, is a regular contributor to Frank magazine and creates professional social media content for brands such as John Lewis and Loaf Home. She is co-founder of the popular Instagram hashtag #myhomevibe which has over 1.5 million posts and was the first UK-based interiors community hashtag when it was launched in 2016. She lives in York with her husband, three children and a badly behaved Lhasa Apso called Buddy. Lisa shares her home inspiration on her Instagram @_lisa_dawson_.

Website: www.lisadawsonstyling.com

Do you love finding a bargain in a charity shop? Which has been your best find? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas

It has been glorious sunshine here the last couple of days but cold and even snowing at the weekend which was made bearable by a visit to Southern Italy in Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas. I am pleased to share my review for this romantic read.

Book Review: Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas

Book Cover: Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas

Title: Chasing the Italian Dream

Author: Jo Thomas

Publisher: Corgi

Genre: Romance

Release date: 8th April 2021 ebook 10th June 2021 paperback

Blurb

A feel-good story of new beginnings, love and family
set in the sun kissed atmosphere of a southern Italian town and its much-loved pizzeria.

A summer escape she’ll never forget . . .

Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents’ house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her nonna’s mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home. But she’s shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can’t bear the thought of the place changing hands – especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over! Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams? From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse comes a deliciously feel-good story about making your dreams come true.

My Thoughts

Lucia is a strong, independent lawyer working hard for promotion, and is on a much needed holiday in Italy when Nonna, her grandfather, drops the bombshell he is retiring and selling the business to her ex, Giac. With a stunning location, beautiful scenery and atmosphere brought to life with Jo Thomas’s writing, I was immersed into the story quickly. I could smell the fragrance of the citrus trees,  the aroma of the food cooking in the bustling kitchen and my mouth watered for the majority of the novel; I longed for pizza or a large bowl of pasta.

I cared for Lucia, the business and for her family. Full of warmth and love, this book made me homesick for somewhere I’d never been and would love to have someone like Nonna in my life. It explored the clash of the traditional and new ways of cooking and living, with a superb cast of characters. The chemistry between the women in the Nonna network and in the kitchen was heart-warming and I would love to know more about Veronica. She is a character I imagine could have her own novel that would be emotional but ultimately uplifting read. A romantic novel cannot exist without a romance and the tension between Giac and Lucia kept me reading. I wanted to know more about their past relationship and keen to see a way forward for them so they could have their happy ever after.

Ultimately, this is a novel about finding your place in the world and having the courage to shake off other people’s expectations and follow your heart and dreams, which is something we all would love to do.  

Would I recommend?

Yes, it was a holiday in the sun without leaving home. It’s a beautiful, emotional, and uplifting novel  which was a joy to read and one for my forever shelf for a reread when I need some much needed sunshine and food inspiration. It is wonderful to read about the power of women, even those who some consider living in the background. The setting has also meant rural Italy is added to my list of places I long to visit.

Once I can, I’m booking a table at my local Italian to indulge in a  homemade pizza and imagine it was made by Lucia, Nonno and Nonna.  

Author Biography

Jo Thomas

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel,
The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award.
Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Social Media:

Website – https://jothomasauthor.com/

Twitter – @jo_thomas01

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

Other blogs on the tour

Thank you Random Things Tours for the advanced copy so I could review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and take care!

Love

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Book Review: Witches of Barcelona by Caedis Knight

The writers who call themselves Caedis Knight are back with the next instalment in the Blood Web Chronicles, Witches of Barcelona. I had high expectations for this book because I adored the previous two books and longed to see how Saskia dealt with witches. My previous review for Vampires of Moscow can be found here. Scroll down to see if it reached my expectations.

I was also intrigued by their awesome trailer: https://youtu.be/yyWSZvHTlNU

Book Review: Witches of Barcelona by Caedis Knight

Witches of Barcelona by Caedis Knight book cover

Title: Witches of Barcelona

Author: Caedis Knight

Publisher:

Genre: urban fantasy, adult fiction

Release date: 31st March 2021


Purchase details:
Universal purchase ebook link:  mybook.to/WitchesOfBarcelona

Blurb

Saskia de la Cruz is a Verity Witch and investigative reporter for The Blood Web Chronicle, the biggest news outlet on the paranormal Blood Web.

After escaping murderous Vampires in snowy Moscow, Saskia can’t imagine a more difficult or more dangerous mission. That is until her editor sends her to Barcelona to investigate a high profile disappearance at the Mage Association, which just happens to be run by her evil mother Solina.

Saskia’s plan is to spend as little time in Barcelona as possible, until she meets three junior members of the MA who know more than they let on – including information on Saskia’s missing sister, Mikayla. Among her new leads is Catalan bruixa Luisa, who has a hold over Saskia stronger than any magic.

It doesn’t take long until Saskia finds herself under the glittering spell of MA high society, where morals are few and magic is law. Can Saskia escape the clutches of a world that’s always been dangerous for her, before it turns deadly?

With vibrant characters, page-turning suspense and steamy romance, this second book in the Blood Web Chronicles series has been dubbed by early readers as ‘devilishly addictive’ and ‘a dark, magical world of power and passion.’ Co-authored by two established fantasy authors Jacqueline Silvester and N.J Simmonds, the second book in the Blood Web Chronicles series is perfect for fans of Crescent City, True Blood, The Elite, and The Craft.

My Thoughts

From Russia and vampiric ballet dancers to sunny Barcelona, Caedis Knight knows how to immerse the reader into a location by painting the stunning scenery, architecture and atmosphere of a place with their words. I’ve added Barcelona to the places I want to visit and can imagine going on a global Caedis Knight inspired holiday visiting all the places Saskia visits by the end of this series. 

Still searching for sister, Saskia goes home to her mother who is acting as First Witch of the Mage. The prologue highlights the murky world Saskia is entering and immediately I knew this book would not let me down. It shows a more vulnerable side of Saskia as she is introduced to different types of witches who are more powerful than herself, makes new friends and meets a new love while she battles with the trauma of the past and her mother. It is full of magic and imaginative imagery – the descriptions of the enchanted food and the witches’ ballgowns are stunning and would translate well to film. As would the scenes with Luisa. While not for readers under the age of 18, they are the most romantic and sensual scenes I’ve read and are in keeping with the character and plot. Like their other books, there is nothing gratuitous about the sex scenes, unlike some novels. With many unpredictable twists and turns as Saskia investigates the crimes, this multilayered novel is a thrill to read.

Would I recommend?

Hell yes! This is a strong book in the genre and my favourite so far in this series. With highly visual and imaginative imagery, a thrilling plot and sensuous sex scenes, it is one to read if you love powerful female characters, travel, spectacular magic and a rollercoaster ride of a read. Like the others, they belong on my forever shelf and can’t wait to find out what happens next

Author Biography

Photo of Author duo Caedis Knight

Caedis Knight is the pen name of two established fantasy authors, Jacqueline Silvester and N J Simmonds. Silvester began her career in screenwriting and lived all over the world before going on to pen her highly successful YA series Wunderkids. Spanish Londoner Simmonds’ background was originally in marketing before writing her fantasy series The Indigo Chronicles, along with various Manga stories and writing collaborations. Together they created Blood Web Chronicles – their first paranormal romance series set in Europe. Great friends and avid travelers, you can find them whizzing between one another’s homes in Germany and the Netherlands, or having Zoom calls to excitedly plot Saskia’s next humorous sexy adventure.

Social media:

Website: caedisknight.com
Twitter: @CaedisKnight
FB: facebook.com/AuthorCaedisKnight
IG: instagram.com/caedis_knight

Have you read any books by Caedis Knight? What do you think?Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Book Review: Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett

The weather in Yorkshire has been glorious the last few days, giving it a holiday feel on the run up to this Easter weekend. The sunny days suited a summer read so I’m pleased to share my review for Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett. This is the first novel I have read from this author but it won’t be the last. Scroll down to see why.

Book Review: Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett

Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett

Title: Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point

Author: Sarah Bennett

Publisher: Boldwood books

Release date: 25th March 2021

Genre: Romance

‘Delightfully romantic and touching.’ Phillipa Ashley

Laurie Morgan runs a café in the small seaside community of Mermaids Point, named after the beauties rumoured to live in the waters a few miles off the top of the point. When a hazy image is posted online of what appears to be a mermaid, the café and the village are soon full to bursting with curious sightseers. 

The most eye-catching of the new arrivals is handsome author, Jake Smith, who has rented a cottage for the summer while he works on his new book. Or so he says. In fact, he is a journalist, burned out and disillusioned with life, whose editor has sent him on a crack-pot hunt for mermaids…

Jake quickly finds himself drawn to village life, and to the gorgeous woman who runs the local café. But he soon suspects there’s trouble lurking beneath the idyllic façade, and when it looks like Laurie’s family might be involved, Jake faces a difficult choice. Pursue the truth, or protect the woman he’s beginning to fall in love with…

Warm, escapist, feel-good and altogether brilliant story-telling from bestselling author Sarah Bennett. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley and Milly Johnson.

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

My Thoughts

This is a beautifully written romantic novel that takes you to Mermaids Point, a small coastal town that is suffering from the lack of tourists visiting. It is a stunning location. The detailed descriptions capture the atmosphere of the town perfectly and drew me into the story. I fell in love with the setting and all the characters especially Laurie and her family. Jake was rather swoonsome too. The mention of cake and other tantalising food made my tastebuds zing, and I felt homesick for the family Sunday dinners from my childhood. 

With a relative simple plot about an investigative reporter searching for mermaid, it shows you don’t need complex story to give you hours of pleasure and pure escapism, just wonderful imagery, well written prose and delightful characters blended with romantic chemistry.

Would I recommend?

Yes. It is an uplifting, and emotional novel which is full of warmth. It was like going on holiday while curled up under the duvet. I didn’t want to leave Mermaid Point behind and am happy to see another is on the way in October.

Author Biography

Sarah Bennett

Sarah Bennett is the bestselling author of several romantic fiction trilogies including those set in Butterfly Cove and Lavender Bay. Born and raised in a military family she is happily married to her own Officer and when not reading or writing enjoys sailing the high seas. The first book in her new Mermaids Point trilogy for Boldwood will be published in Spring 2021.

Social Media Links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sarahlou_writes

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

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sarah-bennett-b4a48ebb-a5c3-4c39-b59a-09aa91dc7cfa

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

Hope you all have a lovely Easter. Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Book Review: Miniskirts are Murder by Des Burkinshaw

I’m pleased to share my review for Miniskirts are Murder by Des Burkinshaw. This is the second investigation with Porter and The Gliss who I discovered during the Dead and Talking blog tour a couple of years ago. It is an investigative series with a difference so I was thrilled to be asked to catch up with the characters again by Rachel’s Random Resources.

Miniskirts are Murder by Des Burkinshaw

Title: Miniskirts are Murder: A Porter & The Gliss investigation: Book 2

Author: Des Burkinshaw

Publisher: magnificent!

Genre: General fiction, paranormal

Release date: 14th March 2021

Blurb

Porter Norton, his friends and his sarcastic spirit guide, The Gliss, are on the trail of a young actress who went missing in Soho, London, in the Swinging Sixties. Still recovering from their last adventure in the battlefields of WW1, the gang are confronted by a transatlantic conspiracy.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miniskirts-are-Murder-investigation-Investigations-ebook/dp/B08THXTBGB  

US – https://www.amazon.com/Miniskirts-are-Murder-investigation-Investigations-ebook/dp/B08THXTBGB

My Thoughts

I fell in love with the Porter, The Gliss and others in Dead and Talking so it was a joy to catch up with them again. This book had a different feel to the previous one as it leapt from bringing justice for soldiers from the First World War to digging into a missing person’s case from the 1960s. The Gliss took a back seat as the talents of the other four characters stepped forward to solve the case and I missed him. He is there with his sarcastic humour but there is less supernatural this time for him to get his teeth into (if he had any). That said, this case allowed the friendships between the members of the unlikely team to grow and the reader to discover more about them. Each one has their own issues to contend with and by coincidence, these themes fit with the recent events trying to make streets safer for women, the #MeToo and the Black Lives Matter protests. The people who the team meet highlight the racism and misogyny rampant in the 60s and how it is still seen today.

There is humour throughout the narrative and banter between the character’s which breaks up the complex storyline that twists and turns. This global investigation deals with the era of spies, the Cold War, gangsters and the film industry, so there are many threads to keep the reader guessing.

This novel could be read as a standalone because there is a comprehensive recap at the beginning, but I would recommend you read the first one for the joy of it.

Would I recommend?

It is a highly enjoyable, topical read from a talented author with memorable characters. Like Dead and Talking, I can imagine it would translate well to the screen.

Author Biography

Des Burkinshaw

Des, 52, is a former Times journalist/BBC TV producer. Miniskirts are Murder is the second in the Porter and The Gliss Investigations series, following Dead & Talking in 2019.
Des likes to live out as much of the stories as possible and spent 3 months in the US researching this novel. He runs a film school in London and has just been commissioned to write a limited season TV series intended for Netflix. He is also a keen musician and through work has jammed with people like Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson and Jeff Lynne. He is married with 1 daughter.

Social Media Links

www.desburkinshaw.com  

twitter.com/DesBurkinshaw,

facebook as Des Burkinshaw 

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

Happy reading and take care!

Love

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Other blog’s on this tour

Book Review: All You Need is Love by Jessica Redland

I’m happy to share my review for All You Need is Love by Jessica Redland which combines my favourite things bears and the sea. Scroll down to see what I thought of this romantic novel set in an unique place a shop specialising in bears.

Book Review: All You Need is Love by Jessica Redland

All You Need is Love by Jessica Redland

Title: All You Need is Love previously published as Bear with Me

Author: Jessica Redland

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Romance, Women’s fiction

Release date: 11th March 2021

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

Blurb

When you’ve loved and lost, how do you find the strength to let love in again?


Jemma thinks she’s found the love of her life. Scott is everything she ever dreamed of and she can’t wait to begin the next stage of their life together. But just as she is heading for her happy ever after, a shock revelation shatters Jemma’s life as she knows it. Left to pick up the pieces, Jemma’s friends and family rally round to help her find the courage to move on.

Sam think he has his future all worked out. A thriving career, lovely home and an amazing fiancée. But when tragedy strikes, he finds himself alone, far from everyone he cares about. Did he do the right thing by running away and trying to rebuild the tatters of his life alone?

This is the story of Jemma and Sam. Two lost souls, desperately trying to find closure and happiness. When a chance meeting brings them together a friendship is formed, but the guards are up. 

Will it finally be their turn for a happy ever after? Or will the secrets from their pasts prevent them from moving on?

Escape to Whitsborough Bay for an emotional, uplifting story of love and friendship from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland. 

This book was previously published as Bear With Me.

My Thoughts

As you know I have read and reviewed several books by Jessica Redland but this is my favourite one yet. Not only does it have Jessica Redland’s classic warmth and depth, it has bears. Lots of bears and as a fellow actophile I enjoyed Jemma’s enthusiasm for them and longed to spend time with the hugs in the museum and shop. Besides books, they are one of my favourite things. Before dystonia hit, I used to make miniature bears and began selling them with dreams of becoming a famous bear maker like Julie, so this story was always going to have an extra special place in my heart. The Bear Pad is the ideal setting for a love story.

This novel deals with heart-breaking subjects of death, relationship breakups and the life-changing illness, Parkinson’s disease in a sensitive manner. As a spoonie, it was refreshing to read about chronic illness in a way that is part of the grander plot and seen as part of life rather than inspiration porn. The more we see disability in books like these, the better because it raises awareness and normalises things. It also helps readers see the character’s daily challenges behind the ‘I’m fine’ facade many spoonie present to the world.

Jemma is someone I could spend hours talking to about bears and life. She is honest, friendly and well-rounded. Like all Jessica Redland’s books, I slipped into a friendship group where I felt I belonged. There was chemistry and warmth between Sam and Jemma who both want a relationship, but the obstacles mean the risk is high.

Would I recommend?

Definitely. It is one for my forever shelf, and when I get a physical copy, it will be well thumbed with rereads. This emotional romance deals with grief and heartbreak surrounded by bears and is a joy to read. It provided a wonderful relief from lockdown’s loneliness, is highly visual with plenty going on to keep you turning the page. It would make a great film. So, grab your favourite bear to cuddle, a cup of tea and escape to the coast. Just keep your tissues handy.

Author Biography

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:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaRedland

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

Newsletter Sign Up Link: http://bit.ly/JessicaRedlandNewsletterBookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessica-redland

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

Other blogs on this tour

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood books for an advanced copy of this book so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and take care!

Love

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Book Review: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II by Mariëlle S. Smith

Last year, I reviewed Mariëlle S. Smith gratitude journal here so was thrilled to be asked by Rachel’s Random Resources to review her latest journal, 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II

Book Review: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II by Mariëlle S. Smith

52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II by Mariëlle S. Smith

Title: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II

Author: Mariëlle S. Smith

Publisher: Indie

Genre: Writing Self-help

Release date: 21st Nov 2021

Blurb

‘With this book by your side, anything feels possible.’ Jacqueline Brown

Tired of not having a sustainable writing practice? You, too, can get out of your own way and become the writer you’re meant to be!

52 Weeks of Writing:

  • makes you plan, track, reflect on, and improve your progress and goals for an entire year;
  • helps you unravel the truth about why you aren’t where you want to be; and
  • keeps you writing through weekly thought-provoking quotes and prompts.

With this second volume of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, writing coach and writer Mariëlle S. Smith brings you the same successful strategies to craft the perfect writing practice as she did in the first journal. The only difference? Fifty-three different writing quotes and prompts and a brand-new look!

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

https://www.amazon.de/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

A printable PDF is available through: https://payhip.com/b/0YgJ Get 50% off until 31 March 2021 by using the coupon code 52WOW during checkout.

My Thoughts

I’m in love with this journal and even though I’m only a few of weeks in, as long as I can keep reminding my grasshopper brain to keep filling it in, I know it will help keep me focused on my long-term goals of being a writer and encouraged to keep going. It will also help me explore and dig deeper into my writing and the reasons for doing it.

The journal’s objectives are clearly explained in the introduction and Mariëlle S. Smith is encouraging and friendly, making it feel you have someone on your side. I was excited to begin. I have the pdf version which can be printed out, but a physical copy is also available. The layout of the journal is clear and being purple, which is my favourite colour, it felt personal even before my stickers and coloured pens came out to personalise it some more.

As the title suggests, it covers 52 weeks and each week begins with a writing quote to motivate you and ends with optional writing prompts and exercises. Recently, I was introduced to general journaling and was amazed at how liberating and revealing it was to free write on topics. This is a superb extension of that. Some prompts will push my boundaries, not only in respects to my writing but my emotions around it. For example, the second week deals with fear. Fear is a large part of why I procrastinate, but exploring this helped put it in perspective, silence my inner critic and move forward even if I will need to be reminded about it again and again.

In the first week long-term goals for ten years, five, down to 3 months are set. This made me focus on where I wanted to be and gave me a boost to get cracking. The journal checks in on these goals every three months for you to reflect on and see if you are on track or need to adapt. The empathise is that these goals are fluid, which helps relieve some pressure I know as a writer I can put on myself which can end up being of being counterproductive. One failure at hitting a goal can snowball into nothing getting done because of guilt and emotion. The aim of this journal is to keep things realistic.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if you want something to keep your goals, thoughts and plans in place while being urged to explore your writing more. It would suit writers who love journaling. It provides a helping hand to keep things grounded and prevents you being overwhelmed.

Author Biography

Mariëlle S. Smith

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a writer. Early 2019, she moved to Cyprus, an 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 this advanced copy to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Have you used a writing journal? How do you find them, let me know below.

Happy reading and writing!

Love

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Book Review: Locks: A Story Based on True Events by Ashleigh Nugent

Today I’m pleased to share my review for Locks: A Story Based on True Events by Ashleigh Nugent. The blurb caught my attention but so did the book cover. It is one of those illustrations where the more you look, the more you see and once you read the book, it takes on a greater meaning. Scroll down to see what I thought of the Locks.

Book Review: Locks by Ashleigh Nugent

Book cover for Locks by Ashleigh Nugent

Title: Locks: A Story Based on True Events

Author: Ashleigh Nugent

Publisher: RiseUp CIC

Release date: 17 Sept. 2020

Genre: fictional biography,

Blurb

LOCKS: A Story Based on True Events

“1993 was the year that Stephen Lawrence got murdered by racists, and I became an angry Black lad with a ‘chip on his shoulder’.”

Aeon is a mixed-race teenager from an English suburb. He is desperate to be understand the Black identity foisted on him by racist police, teachers, and ‘friends’. For want of Black role models, Aeon has immersed himself in gangsta rap, he’s trying to grow dreadlocks, and he’s bought himself some big red boots.

And now he’s in Jamaica.

Within days of being in Jamaica, Aeon has been mugged and stabbed, arrested and banged up.

Aeon has to fight for survival, fight for respect, and fight for his big red boots. And he has to fight for his identity because, here, Aeon is the White boy.

Purchase Links

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/LOCKS-Story-Based-True-Events-ebook/dp/B08JCZ9D71/

Orders also available from: www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk

My Thoughts

Some books you read, enjoy and put down to read the next one but others you put down and the story stays with you; the character drags you back to think about it and you long to talk to the author to know more. More about what happens next and the inspiration behind the novel. This book is one of those. I was pleased to see the Q and A with Ashleigh Nugent at the end to satisfy some of this lingering curiosity.

It is based in 1993, a year I remember well because it was a whirlwind of A-level exams, University interviews and flying the nest for the first time. The stark difference of my 1993 versus Aeon’s made this more poignant and eye opening for me when the first page threw me into an unfamiliar world as Aeon arrives in Jamaica. He is struggling to find his identity in England, where he is seen as Black and treated appallingly with racist comments and names thrown at him. He wants to embrace his differences and claim his Jamaican heritage by being more Black. Yet in Jamaica he is seen as White. He struggles with this clash of opinions and finds himself in trouble with stabbings, drugs, and prison where the conditions are horrific. The blurb told me where his attitude was leading him and I found myself wanting to yell at him to walk away and to not get involved. His chip on his shoulder and teenage cocky attitude made him difficult to like straight away but he grew on me and as a Mum, I longed to reach out and rescue him. He was so young to be faced with the decisions he was making and the consequences.

There is a mystical thread running through the story which grows towards the end which was a joy to read and makes me want to reread to see if it alters the reading experience.

The novel is told as the Hero’s Journey, which works well in this important coming of age story.

The book contains offensive language which jarred and made it difficult to read to begin with but appropriate to Aeon world and story. Don’t let that stop you reading this emotional, tension filled and honest story.

Would I recommend?

Yes! It is miles away from the comfortable escapism books I have read recently but it is one that I’m so glad I came across. It has affected me more than I was expecting and hard to put my finger on it but some of it is realising how much I need to learn about Black history and knowing the events were based on a true story. With the events of 2020 and the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, diverse books have become more important than ever and need to be shouted about and read.

I would love to see how this story translate on stage and the impact it has.

Author Biography

Ashleigh Nugent has been published in academic journals, poetry anthologies, and magazines. His latest work, LOCKS, is based on a true story: the time he spent his 17th birthday in a Jamaican detention centre. LOCKS won the 2013 Commonword Memoir Competition and has had excerpts published by Writing on the Wall and in bido lito magazine. Ashleigh’s one-man-show, based on LOCKS, has won support from SLATE / Eclipse Theatre, and won a bursary from Live Theatre, Newcastle. The show has received rave audience reviews following showings in theatres and prisons throughout the UK. Ashleigh is also a director at RiseUp CiC, where he uses his own life experience, writing, and performance to support prisoners and inspire change.

Social Media Links –

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

Twitter – @LocksBook

Instagram – @locksbook

YouTube Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8TVrX7J2j4

Have you read Locks? I would to know your thoughts as well as your recommendations for more own voice novels. Why not pop to other blogs on this tour to learn more about this book and its author?

Other blogs on the blog tour

Thanks again Rachel Random Resources and Ashleigh Nugent for a copy of Locks so I could review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Book Review: An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins

I am pleased to share my book review for 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

My Thoughts

What a beautiful, well written and emotional book. I fell in love with Jackson and his unusual ways as he tries to live in a world where no one quite understands him. It tells the story of a mother struggling to cope while a husband is working and Jackson who is neurodivergent faces his own daily struggles

Told in the perspectives of Julia, his Mum and Jackson himself, it highlights how people can interpret a situation differently from the truth based on their own experiences and perspective. It was heart breaking at times and I longed to jump into the story, grab and hold Jackson tight to take him away from situations especially when it veered in a direction I was not expecting. In contrast, there were moments of fun and uplifting emotions. The topics covered were dealt with sensitively and well researched.

I didn’t want to leave Jackson behind because I felt I knew the family as a friend and wanted to keep in touch.

Would I recommend?

Yes! It is a delightful, gripping and emotional book which will stay with me forever. On my forever shelf to return to and explore more from this talented author.

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/

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood books for an advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading, stay safe!

Love