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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Blog Tour & Book Review: Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman (@LucyColemanAuth) @Aria_Fiction @RaRaResources

It is a miserable grey day outside and I am reluctant to move from under my duvet. I am pleased to share my review of Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman which brightened up these recent wintery days. Thank you to Rachel Random Resources for my free book and inviting me to this tour.

Book Review for Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman

Lakes yellow

Title: Summer on the Italian Lakes

Author: Lucy Coleman

Publisher: Aria

Genre: Romance, General fiction

Release date: 5th February 2019

Blurb

Bestselling Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping – and steamy – love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling… Not only does she have writer’s block, but she’s a world-famous romance author with zero romance in her own life.

So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer’s retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda – owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson – could this be just the thing to fire up Brie’s writing – and romantic – mojo?

Brie’s sun-drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer’s very own happy-ever-after…

Escape the January blues with this sun-drenched, heart-warming story from the bestselling author of Snowflakes Over Holly Cove.

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-Italian-Lakes-bestselling-feel-good-ebook/dp/B07HPD2KNV

US – https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Italian-Lakes-bestselling-feel-good-ebook/dp/B07HPD2KNV

My Thoughts

As soon as I met the main character of this book, Brie surrounded by snotty tissues while she dealt with her heartbreak I knew I was in for a treat. I love this book for three reasons.

1.The characters – Brie is an open-hearted, old-fashioned romantic and is usually a strong woman who is a defender of romance novels against those who look down at them. She comes across as balanced and despite her confidence plummeting at the beginning, current doubts and loneliness, she has a certainty about herself which makes this a refreshing read. Handsome Arran is aloof, and comes with a back story that drew me in, making me care for him. Along with Brie’s editor and best friend the characters leapt from the page making it easy to see the story like a good rom-com in my imagination.

2.The scenery – oh my! Lucy Coleman paints a picture with her words and I was there in the sunshine enjoying Lake Garda with Brie and strolling through the streets of the Italian towns. The landscapes are stunning making them the perfect location for some literary escapism.

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Lake Garda, Italy

3.The writing tips – as an aspiring writer the tips and insights Brie offers her students at the writing retreat and the reader are invaluable. They are cleverly blended into the story but cover topics such as characterisation, writer’s block, doubts and joy of romance novels. It is a romance writing companion in disguise. I only wish I could be at the retreat in reality to soak up the tranquillity and expertise while learning how to write 3000 words before breakfast.

Would I recommend?

Summer on the Italian Lakes is uplifting and entertaining making it a perfect summer read or a pick me up on a grey, miserable day. With the characters, landscape, sun and chemistry I was reluctant to come out of the book into reality. It will be a story I will return to again and again.

Author Biography

LBH

Lucy Coleman

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Social Media Links –

Website: http://linnbhalton.co.uk/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth

Giveaway – Win a Chocolate dipping set (UK only)*

Writing Retreat Prize

Chocolate Dipping Set

Enter here

If you want to know more about the book and author why not pop along to the other blogs on the tour, details below.

Thank you again to Rachel at raresourses for inviting me to this tour and NetGalley for the chance to read it for free.

Happy reading and good luck.

Love

Summer on the Italian Lakes Full Tour Banner

Other bloggers on this tour.

 

 

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

 

Blog Tour and book review: A Hollow Sky by M.Sean Coleman

Book Review: A Hollow Sky by M.Sean Coleman

 

A_Hollow_Sky_eBookCover_NEW

Title: A Hollow Sky

Author: M.Sean Coleman

Publisher: Red Dog Press

Genre: Mystery and suspense

Release Date: 21st November 2018

Blurb

A SUSPENSEFUL, ATMOSPHERIC THRILLER.

Jane Hewitt had been miraculously healed—cured of a terminal cancer that had been eating away at her body for months. After one meeting with an incredible young woman, Jane rose from her wheelchair and walked out, believing that her lifetime of devoted faith had been rewarded.

The next day, Jane died in her husband’s arms, devastated that her God had deserted her. Her husband, Ian, blames her hastened death on the faith healer she visited. But that faith healer is a teenage girl called Megan, who has been in a coma for five years, and has no say over how her gift is used.

When Ian is arrested after being accused of breaking in to Megan’s house and trying to tamper with her life support, he turns to the only person he knows can help clear his name, and stop this family deceiving any other victims—Dr Alex Ripley, the so called Miracle Detective.

Fascinated by Megan’s case, and needing a distraction, Ripley finds herself on Holy Island, off the coast of North Wales, caught up in an investigation that will prove more sinister and dangerous than she could have imagined. Ian is not the first person to complain about Megan and her supporters, but he seems to be the only one left alive. For now.

A Hollow Sky is the second Alex Ripley Mystery

Purchase Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hollow-Alex-Ripley-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07H9DTFM8

US – https://www.amazon.com/Hollow-Alex-Ripley-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07H9DTFM8

Direct from Red Dog Presshttps://www.reddogpress.co.uk/shop

My Thoughts

The first book in the series, The Cuckoo Wood was an ideal spooky story for Halloween and this book begins soon after on 1st December so reading it now was perfect timing. When it is grey and gloomy in the book, it matches the weather outside.

Dr Alex Ripley is still living with the aftermath of the previous case when another case arises and she is drawn to investigate. She travels to North Wales where a teenager is known to be performing miracles but all may not be as it seems. The premise of investigating miracles is a different take on a crime, suspense novel and the balance of Dr Alex Ripley cynicism is perfect — she wants the truth and does not readily accept a miracle has happened but she does not disregard the possibility either. She wants the truth and answers. The more I learn about her the more I love her strength, focus and stubbornness even when she is faced with danger or barriers. In this case, more of her backstory is revealed and the relationship with her husband, enticing me to read more of the series when published. I need to know what happens next.

M. Sean Coleman’s talent for creating an eerie atmosphere shines through again in the description of the bleak setting of the coastal village. I enjoy the quick pace of his books, there is no waffle. This immediately immersed me into the story making it easy read in one sitting because I kept reading just one more chapter. The menace he portrayed led me to be unsure who to trust  as the story unfolds; the possibility of danger lurks on every page and I would never have guessed the climax at the end.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a highly enjoyable, thrilling read for a cold winter’s night. This series is one to watch.

Author Biography

A Hollow Sky MSeanColeman_AuthorPhoto_HiRes

M.Sean Coleman

Born in the UK and raised in South Africa, M. Sean Coleman developed a love for reading and writing novels in his early teens, thanks to two incredibly passionate English teachers who infected him with their love of words and stories. Over the intervening years, he has written film and television drama, cross-platform series, an interactive children’s storybook and a graphic novel series.
He finally found his niche as a thriller writer when he was asked to write a novel as part of the cross-platform project, Netwars. His first book, The Code, was published six months later, with the sequel, Down Time, hot on its heels. There was no going back.
He is obsessed with crime, mystery and thriller stories, especially those with a fresh or surprising angle. He writes novels from his home in The Cotswolds, where he lives with his husband and their three red dogs.

Social Media Links 

www.facebook.com/mseancoleman.author

www.twitter.com/mseancoleman

Giveaway

Giveaway Prize.jpg

I am pleased to share an opportunity to win paperback copies of The Cuckoo Wood and A Hollow Sky, a cool tote bag with book quote from the publisher, a branded bookmark and some chocolates (Open INT)

Enter here

If you would like to find out more about M.Sean Coleman, why not visit the other blogs on his tour? The details are below.

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and the opportunity to read an advanced copy of A Hollow Sky.

Happy reading and good luck.

 

*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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

A Hollow Sky Full Tour Banner

 

Book Review and Giveaway: Angelica Stone by Susi Osbourne

Today I am pleased to share my book review for Angelica Stone as part of a blog tour. Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and Susi Osborne for inviting me.

Book Review for Angelica Stone

Book Review for Angelica Stone

Angelica Stone by Susi Osborne

Title: Angelica Stone

Author: Susi Osborne

Genre: Fiction

Release Date: 26th July 2017

Purchase Details: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angelica-Stone-Susi-Osborne/dp/1911320947/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Blurb

Following years of sexual abuse, Angelica is brought up in care. As a teenager she absconds, living on the streets, before eventually being forced into prostitution to survive. She learns to rely solely on herself and is reluctant to allow anyone to get close to her, until she forms an unlikely bond with Lola. In contrast, Lola is from what appears to be a happy middle-class background – but all is not what it seems…
Slowly, as their friendship grows, cracks start to appear in Lola’s life, and a series of events leave her on the verge of ruin. Can these women break the cycle of their lives? Or will they succumb to the path laid out before them? Angelica Stone is an emotional rollercoaster of laughter and tears as the women embark on a journey of self-discovery, with the support of one another.

My thoughts

Beneath the gorgeous cover of purple and stars is an heart-rending novel about abuse, homelessness and poverty but ultimately it is a story of the strength of the human spirit and survival.

This book is an emotional ride through the harsh realities of abuse and the ongoing consequences for everyone who is touched by it. It is gritty, heartbreaking and hard hitting; it makes you cling to the thread of hope woven throughout. At times the story is difficult to read but Angelica’s voice is an important one to hear especially in light of the recent scandals such as those affecting the girls in Rotherham.

When Lola and Angel meet, they are opposites in every way with different characters, life experiences and problems but they are both strong. It was wonderful see their friendship develop and their relationship highlights the importance of support and having someone reach out in troubled times. There were moments when my heart stopped and I wanted to scream ‘Please no’ due to the attachment I felt for to both characters. They’ll stay with me for a long time.

Would I recommend?

Grab your hankies and read this book.

Author Bio

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Susi Osborne

Susi Osborne is the author of The Ripples of Life, Grace & Disgrace, Secrets, Lies & Butterflies and Angelica Stone. She lives in Cheshire with her Scottish husband, her actress daughter and their two mischievous little dogs. Susi also has an adult son and a grandson who live nearby. Amongst friends their house is known affectionately (she hopes!) as the Osborne madhouse, for obvious reasons.
Before she became a writer, Susi worked in libraries for many years. She also worked as a classroom assistant in a junior school. In addition to her writing Susi organises Northwich LitFest, which she has been running for the past seven years. Alongside the writing of her latest book, Angelica Stone, Susi has been raising money for Centrepoint, the charity for youth homelessness, and has set up a Just Giving Page for the charity in her name.
Susi is a firm believer in the fact that it’s never too late to do anything. ‘You only have one life – go out and grab it with both hands!’

Social Media Links

Facebook Susi Osborne – Author https://www.facebook.com/susiwritesbooks
Twitter https://twitter.com/susiosborne
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/susi.osborne/

Purchase details for her back catalogue

Secrets, Lies & Butterflies – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Lies-Butterflies-Susi-Osborne/dp/1846248914/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Grace & Disgrace – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Grace-Disgrace-Susi-Osborne/dp/1846244633/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
The Ripples of Life – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ripples-Life-Susi-Osborne/dp/1846241804/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Giveaway

I am pleased to announce a chance to win a copy of all 4 of Susi Osborne’s Books (Open to UK Only)*

Giveaway Prize books


Giveaway Prizes

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494123/

Good Luck and happy reading.

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. 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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Thank you again Rachel Random Resources for the opportunity to read Angelica Stone in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: While I was sleeping by Dani Atkins

Book review: While I was sleeping by Dani Atkins

It is sweltering here so all I want to do is read in front of a fan with a good book. I was grateful to have Dani Atkin’s new release on my Kindle. I have read many of her previous novels but will this one be up to her high standard?

While I was sleeping by Dani Atkins

While I was sleeping

Title: While I Was Sleeping

Author: Dani Atkins

Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK Fiction

Release date: 26th July 2018

Blurb

A brand new and brilliant emotional family drama for fans of Jojo Moyes and Dorothy Koomson, from the bestselling author of Fractured.

I don’t remember what happened or what has changed.

I can still hear your voices but you can’t seem to hear me.

I was about to be married and had everything to look forward to.

Now I have to find a way back – to you, to our family, to us.

My Thoughts

To be honest, the first words I thought when I reached the end was ‘Bloody Hell!’ swiftly followed by ‘how am I going to review this without revealing any spoilers’. The answer is to keep it short and simple with no detail at all.

Dani Atkins’ strong talent drew me into all the characters lives and thoughts.  She made me care for both Maddie and Chloe before delivering the emotional journey she is known for. Readers of her other work will know you need to switch your phone off to avoid distractions when reading her novels and a big box of tissues has to be close by. For newbies  to her work, take heed once start you don’t want to be bothered by reality until end of the last page. I was grateful my body declared a duvet day so I could read it in a day.

I have read several of Dani Atkins’ novels and they just keep getting better. I loved the premise and characters even when I shouted at a couple of them. It shows a lot can happen while you are sleeping.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. Buy or borrow the book and arrange a duvet day or time at the beach with plenty of hankies because you will be in for an emotional treat.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster UK for allowing me to read an advanced copy in exchange for an honest and impartial review.

Have you read this or any other books by Dani Atkins? Which is your favourite and why?

Happy reading!

Book Review for the Quaker

Book Review: The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney

This book was not the typical crime novel I would chose to read  but the title spiked my interest and the blurb lured me in to read. Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for giving me an advanced copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

Book review for The Quaker

The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney

 

Title: The Quaker

Author: Liam McIlvanney

Publisher: HarperCollins UK

Genre: Crime

Release Date: 28th June 2018

Blurb

His name fills the streets with fear…

In the chilling new crime novel from award-winning author Liam McIlvanney, a serial killer stalks the streets of Glasgow and DI McCormack follows a trail of devastating secrets to uncover the truth…

A city torn apart.
Glasgow, 1969. In the grip of the worst winter for years, the city is brought to its knees by a killer whose name fills the streets with fear: the Quaker. He takes his next victim – the third woman from the same nightclub – and dumps her in the street like rubbish.

A detective with everything to prove.
The police are left chasing a ghost, with no new leads and no hope of catching their prey. DI McCormack, a talented young detective from the Highlands, is ordered to join the investigation. But his arrival is met with anger from a group of officers on the brink of despair. Soon he learns just how difficult life can be for an outsider.

A killer who hunts in the shadows.
When another woman is found murdered in a tenement flat, it’s clear the case is by no means over. From ruined backstreets to the dark heart of Glasgow, McCormack follows a trail of secrets that will change the city – and his life – forever…

 

My Thoughts

Set in 1960’s Glasgow the author descriptions took me into the heart of city and East End. I have no knowledge of Glasgow and my knowledge of the 1960’s and the police is a mish mash of the television programmes Call a Midwife, Heartbeat and vague recollections of Inspector George Gently and a hint of Life on Mars but Liam McIlvanney made it real. I could taste the whisky,  smell the cigarette smoke and hear the music of the dancing halls as he took me into the slums and condemned buildings and murky criminal underworld.

The story follows DI McCormack as he deals with the backlash and resentment from murder team after he arrives because they have been unable to crack the case. He is deep, thoughtful and has is own secrets. I enjoyed the tension and relationship between him and Goldie who takes the role of his antagonist.

Liam McIlvanney wove the threads murders, backstories and gangsters together to produce a novel I struggled to put down. It may not be fast paced like some crime novels where action follows action but the strength of character and plot made me want to read one more chapter. He produced twists I did not see coming which left me wanting to read more of his work and I truly hope this book will not be the only time I meet DI McCormack.

Would I recommend?

Definitely if you enjoy a crime whodunit novel with strong characters and powerful imagery.

Book Review: The Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson

I have been a fan of Dorothy Koomson ever since I read My Best Friend’s Girl so I was excited to receive an ARC from NetGalley and in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

The Brighton Mermaid book cover

The Brighton Mermaid

 

Title: The Brighton Mermaid

Author: Dorothy Koomson

Release Date: 17th May 2018

Publisher: Random House UK

 

Blurb

Brighton Beach, 1993

Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears.

Twenty-five years on, Nell is forced to quit her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer.

But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen. Someone seems to be watching her every move, and soon she starts to wonder who in her life she can actually trust…

Fast-paced and thrilling, The Brighton Mermaid explores the deadly secrets of those closest to you.

My Thoughts

Dorothy Koomson’s books have become darker, deeper and more emotional books than her earlier ones The Chocolate Run and Best Friend’s Girl.  I love her style, ability to weave a story and her capability of making you feel the character’s emotions. With the location of Brighton, her books have always guaranteed a good read. The Brighton’s Mermaid does not disappoint.

I have only read one book that has touched me as deeply as this one. It is a story of secrets, fear and the complex relationships between sisters. The unexpected conclusion slammed my emotions and left me sobbing.

Would I recommend?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Throughout it was a strong 5-star rating but the depth of emotion and drama as it raced to the end will leave me reeling for days.

A physical copy will definitely be on my bookshelf to revisit.

 

Happy Reading!

Book review: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland.

Duvet days are continuing so I was appreciative to receive a copy of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland to read. I loved her previous book Lost for Words so I settled down with a cuppa, jelly beans — my new favourite thing thanks to Sunflowers in February,  and Nigel snuggled next to me hoping to be equally impressed.

Book review for The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

 

Title The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

Author Stephanie Butland

Publisher Bonnier Zaffre

Release date 19th April 2018

Blurb

Loveday Cardew won everyone’s heart in Lost for Words, now it’s time for Ailsa Rae to live, love and be loved . . .

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.

She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point and she wants to find her father.

Have her friends left her behind?

And she’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her.

She barely knows where to start on her own.

Then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.
But her new heart is a bold heart. 

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

My Thoughts

As a duvet dweller AKA Spoonie or someone with a chronic illness I  relate much to Ailsa thoughts and the emotions she expresses in her blog before her transplant and after as her health improves. She uses her blog to connect with people outside hospital bed as many do, raise awareness of the ability of transplants to change someone’s life and help make decisions with her life. I enjoyed the pleasant mixture of blog posts, email, and narration.

It follows Ailsa as she ventures into the new world of wellness, which means negotiating her close relationship with her mum and discover her well self. The book comes across as well researched and makes you connect with Ailsa. It is uplifting and made me want to get my dancing shoes on and dance. Or at least put the music on loud and sway imagining I was on strictly come dancing. As with her previous book Lost for Words Stephanie Butland has given me another character to love and remember.

Would I recommend?

Yes, for its humour, insight into the life of someone dealing with chronic illness and beyond as well as its delightful characters. This is one of those books I want a physical copy of for my bookshelf so I can indulge again in the future.

Thank you Netgalley and for sending me an advanced copy of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae in exchange for an honest review.

 

Happy reading!

The Joy of Robert Dinsdale's The Toymakers

Book Review: The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale caught my eye before it was published because the blurb instantly reminding me of my favourite film,  Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.
I had high expectations as I placed a reservation on it at the library and that was before my friends who were lucky to receive an ARC raved about it including Mai Musings. A copy is now in my hands and the last page has been turned — blimely what a book!
The Toymakers

The Toymakers

 

Title: The Toymakers

Author: Robert Dinsdale

Publisher: Del Ray

Release date: 8th Feb 2018

Blurb:

Do you remember when you believed in magic?

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open! 

It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.

For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

My thoughts

This book was magical, stunning, and beyond my high expectations. The premise of a magical toyshop where toys are brought to life is one of childhood stories and movies but Robert Dinsdale with his superb imagination, writing style and the backdrop of the first World War has turned it into an amazing work of adult fantasy fiction.

From the moment I entered the shop with Cathy Wray, I was enchanted and captivated by the store, toys, and the relationship that evolves between herself and the two brothers, Kaspar and Emil. It is hard to say anything about the book without giving any of the magic away because discovering it for yourself part of the joy of this book but it takes you on a journey of emotions from childish delight and wonder to heartbreaking sobs. The main characters and toys will stay with me forever.

Would I recommend?

Yes! This is a book that I could get passionate about, demanding all my friends read so I can talk about it for hours. It is on my Kindle and will soon be on my forever shelf so I can dip into it at any time. Buy it (no excuse as this month it is 99p on Kindle Monthly), borrow it and delve into its magic then let me know what you think.

Kindle version available now: https://amzn.to/2GJBzoG

Happy reading!

 

Book Review: The Coven by Lissy

For those who know me and read my other blog, it is no surprise I was excited to receive this in my NetGalley shelf. I love books about witches and the blurb for this first installment sounded ideal.

 

The Coven book cover

The Coven book cover

 

Title: The Coven

Author: Chrissy Lessey

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

Release date: 27th June 2017

Blurb

The future queen awakens…

Newly single mother Stevie Lewis divides her time between raising Charlie, running a store with her best friend, and avoiding the meetings of her mother’s Beaufort Historic Society. Although her life has its challenges, it’s altogether average. Just the way she likes it.

When Vanessa, a ruthless dark witch, launches an attack against young Charlie, Stevie’s simple life derails, and her long-dormant powers awaken. A 300-year-old secret is exposed, revealing her destiny to one day rule the clandestine community of witches who hide in plain sight.

Now she must master her own magical powers before it’s too late. Because Vanessa’s on the warpath, and only Stevie can stop her.

My Thoughts

This was an enjoyable, easy read which delivered a sprinkle of magic on a dreary day. I love the illustration on the cover which would attract me instantly if I saw it on a shelf.

The town of Beaufort is full of magical secrets, known only to a select few.  When a stranger arrives Stevie’s life is turned upside down. She is a likable protagonist and I instantly felt a connection as she struggled to bring up son with autism. The book is littered with quirky characters with imaginative gifts that I loved.  It is part of a trilogy but it could easily become a bigger series by delving into the other older members of the coven. They must all have their own tales to tell. I am looking forward to reading the second installment of The Crystal Coast Series.

Would I recommend?

Yes. it is perfect for light, magical escapism.

 

Happy reading!