As you may have noticed, I often get the honour of sharing the Cover Reveals for all the upcoming Choc Lit releases!! And today they are celebrating a very special day as they turn the grand old age of 10!! And I just wanted to thank them for all the wonderful books they produce and for letting me be part of it all!
I signed up to join the Choc Lit Tasting Panel at the end of 2014 – seems like only yesterday! – and it was only via Twitter that I heard about this publishing company who wanted feedback on some of the manuscripts that they were receiving. So I jumped straight in and have had a wonderful 5 years of reading some amazing stories, as well as help to choose book covers and seeing my name in print in the acknowledgements is always such a special feeling!
And in the post for today, I received this wonderful parcel of truly stunning and deliciously yummy (I had to taste test straight away!) cakes and it really made me feel so honoured to be a very small part in this wonderful TEAM CHOC LIT!
If you’ve not read any of their books before then I highly recommend checking them out via their WEBSITE and here’s to the next 10 years of even more fabulous books!!!
Hello! Happy Saturday! Been a mixed week here – health and weather wise! Hopefully both of which are now on the up!!
Rainy days and low energy levels though have meant good things on the book reading front this week though as I’ve managed to read/listen to 6 books! I’ve been trying to be good and get up to date with Blog Tour reads, alongside cracking on with my #20BooksOfSummer challenge and so far so good!
It hasn’t been a fairly restrained week though on the book accumulation front though! 2 from Netgalley and a number of bookish loveliness through the post via various means! I’m sure one week I’ll let the postmen and women have a quiet week!
A house full of history is bound to have secrets…‘Spine-tinglingly beautiful. Prepare to lose your heart’ Lisa Jewell
Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It’s also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from…Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…
Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
out August 2019
“Do you have a list of your books, or do I just have to stare at them?” Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. With more than a mile of shelving, real log fires in the shop and the sea lapping nearby, the shop should be an idyll for bookworms. Unfortunately, Shaun also has to contend with bizarre requests from people who don’t understand what a shop is, home invasions during the Wigtown Book Festival and Granny, his neurotic Italian assistant who likes digging for river mud to make poultices. The Diary of a Bookseller (soon to be a major TV series) introduced us to the joys and frustrations of life lived in books. Sardonic and sympathetic in equal measure, Confessions of a Bookseller will reunite readers with the characters they’ve come to know and love.
The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen
copy for review via Readers First
Augusta Hope has never felt like she fits in.
At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.
And now that she’s an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia.
When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta’s life, she’s propelled headfirst into the unknown. She’s determined to find where she belongs – but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away?
David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
copy ahead of Blog Tour
Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos. Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.
Woman at Sea by Catherine Poulain
copy courtesy of Nudge Books Yearly Subscription package
‘A tale of travel and adventure, the story of a body utterly surrendered to pain and joy. It is mind-blowing, a delight.’ Le Monde Lili is a runaway. She’s left behind her native France to go in search of freedom, of adventure, of life. Her search takes her to Kodiak, Alaska, home to a ragtag community of fishermen, army vets and drifters who man the island’s fishing fleet. Despite her tiny frame, faltering English and lack of experience, Lili lands a job on board the Rebel, the only woman on the boat. Out on the open sea, everything is heightened: colours are more vivid, sounds are louder and the work is harder than anything she’s ever known. The terrifying intensity of the ocean is addictive to the point of danger. But Lili is not alone: in her fellow crewmembers she finds kindred spirits – men living on the edge, drawn to extremes. Based on Catherine Poulain’s own experiences, and written in taut, muscular prose, Woman at Sea cuts through the noise of life and straight to the heart of our innermost longings.
How It Was by Janet Ellis
advance copy won via Twitter competition!
In a 1970s village in rural Kent, lives go on in an unremarkable way. But Marion Deacon, struggling with being a wife and mother, is about to set events in motion that she cannot control in a story of love, motherhood, betrayal, and long-hidden secrets . . . because everyone has at least one secret.
Marion Deacon sits by the hospital bed of her dying husband, Michael. Outwardly she is, as she says, an unremarkable old woman. She has long concealed her history – and her feelings – from the casual observer. And she’s learned to ignore her own past, too.
But as she sits by Michael’s bed, she’s haunted by memories of events from almost forty years ago. She and Michael were recently married; their children, Eddie and Sarah, still young. Theirs was an uneventful life in a small village. But, stiflingly bored in her role as mother and wife, Marion fell for a married man, an affair that sparked a chain of events which re-sets all their lives.
Moving between the voices of Marion, her teenage daughter Sarah and her youngest son, Eddie, How It Was is a story of love, loss and betrayal. Through Marion and Sarah, Janet Ellis explores the tensions at the heart of mother-daughter relationships, the pressure women face to be the perfect wife and mother, and how life rarely turns out the way we imagine it will when we are young.
Across the Void by S.K. Vaughn
signed copy via Goldsboro Books – June Book of the month
A visceral space thriller—perfect for fans of Arrival and The Martian—following the sole survivor of a catastrophic accident in space that leaves her drifting in the void with only the voice of her estranged husband, a NASA scientist, to guide her back to Earth.
Commander Maryann “May” Knox awakes from a medically induced coma alone, adrift in space on a rapidly failing ship, with little to no memory of who she is or why she’s there.
Slowly, she pieces together that she’s the captain of the ship, Hawking II; that she was bound for Europa—one of Jupiter’s moons—on a research mission; and that she’s the only survivor of either an accident—or worse, a deliberate massacre—that has decimated her entire crew. With resources running low, and her physical strength severely compromised, May must rely on someone back home to help her. The problem is: everyone thinks she’s dead.
Back on Earth, it’s been weeks since Hawking II has communicated with NASA, and Dr. Stephen Knox is on bereavement leave to deal with the apparent death of his estranged wife, whose decision to participate in the Europa mission strained their marriage past the point of no return. But when he gets word that NASA has received a transmission from May, Stephen comes rushing to her aid.
What he doesn’t know is that not everyone wants May to make it back alive. Even more terrifying: she might not be alone on that ship. Featuring a twisting and suspenseful plot and compelling characters, Across the Void is a moving and evocative thriller that you won’t be able to put down.
The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami
charity shop buy!
Among the jumble of paperweights, plates, typewriters and general bric-a-brac in Mr Nakano’s thrift store, there are treasures to be found. Each piece carries its own story of love and loss – or so it seems to Hitomi, when she takes a job there working behind the till. Nor are her fellow employees any less curious or weatherworn than the items they sell. There’s the store’s owner, Mr Nakano, an enigmatic ladies’ man with several ex-wives; Sakiko, his sensuous, unreadable lover; his sister, Masayo, an artist whose free-spirited creations mask hidden sorrows. And finally there’s Hitomi’s fellow employee, Takeo, whose abrupt and taciturn manner Hitomi finds, to her consternation, increasingly disarming. A beguiling story of love found amid odds and ends, The Nakano Thrift Shop is a heart-warming and utterly charming novel from one of Japan’s most celebrated contemporary novelist
Extremely delighted to be the latest stop on the fabulous blog tour for THE SERPENT’S MARK by S.W.PERRY – my thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for putting it all together and letting me be part of it all to share my thoughts!
ABOUT THE BOOK
A smart and gripping tale of conspiracy, murder and espionage in Elizabethan London, ideal for fans of CJ Sansom, Rory Clements and SG MacLean.
Treason sleeps for no man…
London, 1591. Nicholas Shelby, physician and reluctant spy, returns to his old haunts on London’s lawless Bankside. But, when the queen’s spymaster Robert Cecil asks him to investigate the dubious practices of a mysterious doctor from Switzerland, Nicholas is soon embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens not just the life of an innocent young patient, but the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth herself.
With fellow healer and mistress of the Jackdaw tavern, Bianca Merton, again at his side, Nicholas is drawn into a dangerous world of zealots, charlatans and fanatics. As their own lives become increasingly at risk, they find themselves confronting the greatest treason of all: the spectre of a bloody war between the faiths…
“No-one is better than S. W. Perry at leading us through the squalid streets of London in the sixteenth century.” – Andrew Swanston
“The writing is of such a quality, the characters so engaging and the setting so persuasive that, only two books in, S.W. Perry’s ingeniously plotted novels have become my favourite historical crime series.” – S G MacLean
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
S. W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. He lives in Worcestershire with his wife.
Nicholas and Bianca are back and I adored spending time with them both again as they’re thrust into the world of espionage, conspiracy and murder once more! Set in the 16th Century, the sights and sounds are brought thrillingly to life by the writing of S.W.Perry and I’m already eager to escape back into their world if this fabulous series continues!
There is a slow start to this book as the scene is being set of the changing times of Elizabethan England – the history, the politics, the religion – and all this against the backdrop of Dr Nicholas dealing with the grief that has consumed him after losing his family. When he is summoned back to London he has to explain his conduct to Robert Cecil , who sets him out to ‘investigate’ an overseas physician and with the distrust of foreigners that was gripping the country at the time, this request doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary for Nicholas, although he is well aware of Cecil and his dodgy background.
Bianca has been continuing to live and work in London while Nicholas had gone to ground, and she’s now a licensed apothecary but the appearance of a cousin from overseas, and a brutal attack on him brings her back into trying to figure out what he might have been involved in and has her in the thick of the action.
The strength of these characters is that they can conduct their own investigations independent to one another, but still combine their inquisitiveness when needed! They trust one another implicitly and that clearly comes through when they’re facing tough and bleak times.
I loved the attention to detail throughout, the look behind the politics of the time and the lengths people would go to get their own way for what they saw as the greater good. It was rather graphic at times too which just added to the reality of the brutal treatments used at the time by those with rather unpleasant intentions.
An intoxicating, gripping, and thrilling piece of historical fiction – more please!!!
When Ellie and her family move into Inchwood Manor, Ellie quickly discovers strange things are happening. Who is the mysterious boy at the window? What secrets lie within the abandoned nursery? Who is the woman who haunts Ellie’s dreams – and why has she returned to the Manor, after more than a century? Ellie finds herself entangled in a Victorian mystery of ghosts and tunnels and secret documents – and discovers that life all those years ago isn’t so different from the world she knows today…Rob Keeley’s first novel for children brings out all the ingredients of the classic ghost story within a recognisable modern world setting.
Readers of his short story collections for children will find in Childish Spirits the elements which made his past books such a success – strong and contemporary characters, inventive twists on traditional themes, and a winning combination of action, suspense and humour.
Having come to this series late – I started with book 3 The Sword of the Spirit – I’ve been thrilled to be able to listen to the audio version of Book 1 to see where it all began and I loved how brilliant it was to hear it all brought to life, and loved the drama, mystery and humour throughout!
Ellie is the star of this series, and we find her moving to Inchwood Manor, along with her mum and older brother, as a new chapter of their life begins and her mum starts a new job helping prepare the old house to be opened to the public. Ellie is quite excited by the mve, the same can’t be said for her brother Charlie!
It doesn’t take Ellie long to notice a young boy watching her, and she’s braver than I would be when she starts exploring the Manor late at night when she starts hearing noises, and comes face to face with a prank pulling young boy called Edward! What follows then is her learning about the history of the house and finding out about the family who lived there, and why Edward seems to be trapped and so scared of his governess who still haunts the rooms too.
Ellie has this boundless enthusiasm that is infectious! She’s willing to throw herself into solving the mysteries of the Manor as well as helping Edward and it’s also a great way to learn about the differences between growing up now, and how Edward grew up in the Victorian years. There are some scary moments alongside quite emotional times when Edward is remembering his family and this was all brilliantly portrayed in the audio version too! It’s a great mix for readers (and listeners!) of all ages!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing how this fabulous series started – I love the mix of history to be learnt and mysteries to be solved, and my thanks go to the author and publisher for letting me have a copy of the audiobook in return for a fair and honest review.
Back on track with my 20 Books of Summer List! And Book 5 has now been read and reviewed!! Can I keep this pace up?! Of course not, but I’m enjoying being so productive while I can!!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Nightingale House, 1919. Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death.
Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home – a gem of design created to inspire happiness – and it was here Ned painted ‘The Garden of Lost and Found’, capturing his children on a perfect day, playing in the rambling Eden he and Liddy made for them.
One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down…
When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers. For who would choose to destroy what they love most? Whether Ned’s masterpiece – or, in Juliet’s case, her own children’s happiness.
Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?
A dramatic opening starts this book off with a bang and I was just totally captivated from the first page to the last with the events set over a dual timeline, relating to the painting of The Garden of Lost and Found, alongside the family history and drama of Nightingale House. The author has a wonderful way of capturing the day to day lives of people in various periods in history, mixed with the added mystery of secrets hidden behind closed doors that just makes you want to read more!!
Set in 1893 and 2014 this story follows the story of 2 families an their not so happy lives! In the 2014 timeline we follow Juliet who is married with children, but her husband seems to have form of playing away from home and she finally reaches breaking point and a legacy from the past leaves her with a way of breaking free from the marriage and starting over – albeit in a crumbling house that had sad memories for her family in the past. Her children aren’t so keen on the move and add to the stress she is under, but she is pretty determined to move on with her life and find the happiness she feels they all deserve.
In 1893 we follow the story of Liddy, who marries Ned (Juliet’s great grandfather), an artist, and find themselves moving to Nightingale House, a home she grew up in and despite the good times they shared together there, their time is soon tinged with sadness and pain. When Ned paints his most famous piece ‘The Garden of Lost and Found’ it should mean an end to all their worries, but just seems to add to the misery and he comes to despise his own work.
Juliet starts to learn more about her own family history when she starts working nearby and the more she uncovers the more devastating the revelations become.
I really loved both timelines in this one – I did find Juliet’s more powerful as she dealt with all that she learned about her past, while dealing with her own family problems – and I raced through the 440+ pages. The characters, the settings, the history, the escapism – perfect combinations for such an enjoyable book!
A huge delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for THE SPACE BETWEEN TIME by CHARLIE LAIDLAW. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for putting this all together and letting me be part of it all!
ABOUT THE BOOK
There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…
Emma Maria Rossini’s perfect life begins to splinter when her celebrity father becomes more distant, and her mother dies suspiciously during a lightning storm. This death has a massive effect on Emma, but after stumbling through university, she settles into work as a journalist in Edinburgh. Her past, however, cannot be escaped. Her mental health becomes unstable. But while recovering in a mental institution, Emma begins to write a memoir to help come to terms with the unravelling of her life. She finds ultimate solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe – which offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.
Charlie Laidlaw was born in Paisley and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He has been a national newspaper journalist and worked in defence intelligence. He now runs his own marketing consultancy in East Lothian. He is married with two grown-up children.
Wow!! I wasn’t quite expecting this book to be the emotional journey that it turned out to take me on, but it was a stunning story of what happens when a seemingly perfect life starts to unravel, showing the highs and lows of family life and that the life we all probably dream of isn’t as it seems.
Emma is the star of this book – she’s the daughter of a loving but neurotic mum, a father who becomes a hugely famous actor and this story charts her life as she deals with an unconventional lifestyle, and how she learns about the world around her and how tragic events shape her life and put on her a different path to what she imagined.
The fame that her father finds turns his head so he’s rarely around for his wife and daughter, and her mother doesn’t cope well with this. He moves the family to a large mansion but they never find happiness there and their lives become defined by him and his actions.
You cannot help but become so attached to Emma as she’s confronted with such sadness in her life – she idolized her grandfather whose own life was met with ridicule for what he believed, but in him she finds a kindred spirit and often shares his beliefs and perspective on the world around them and how you should see yourself. She sees the ‘perfect’ life that her Dad portrays of his family life in the media and knowing the truth it really messes her up, and this outlook causes her to try and find a way to get his attention and to become her own person.
She finds some comfort when she becomes a writer and never plays on her famous name – she wants to write about things that matter and not the superficial celebrity world she has been witness to. She changes her name to try and become ‘herself’ but the mental issues she’s always struggled with are never far away. There is so much I think we can all relate to with this character as she finds herself in different stages of her life trying to figure out who she really is, and how much outside influences have changed her perspective and clouded her judgement.
There was so much to love about this book and the characters portrayed – it’s heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measures and is definitely going to be one of my most treasured reads of 2019!
I hope you are ready for a truly sparkling cover reveal today for A PARIS FAIRY TALE by MARIE LAVAL. My thanks to the team at Choc Lit once again for letting me loose to share another beautiful cover with you
shall we begin….
ABOUT THE BOOK
Is Paris the city of happily ever afters?
Workaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine.
As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antiques dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other.
But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters?
A Paris Fairy Tale is published on 23rd July by Choc Lit and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms, as well as in audio.
Now I shall wave my magic wand and the new cover will appear………
swoon!! I love this watercolour effect on a cover and hope you agree! Very excited to read this one in July!