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!
A fabulous new story from Kirsty Ferry set in Cornwall. Perfect summer reading!
“Wherever you go, I will follow …” Merryn Burton is excited to travel down to Cornwall to start her first big job for the London art dealers she works for. But as soon as she arrives at Pencradoc, a beautiful old mansion, she realises this will be no ordinary commission.
Not only is Pencradoc filled with fascinating, and possibly valuable artwork, it is also owned by the Penhaligon brothers – and Merryn’s instant connection with Kit Penhaligon could be another reason why her trip suddenly becomes a whole lot more interesting.
But the longer Merryn stays at Pencradoc the more obvious it is that the house has a secret, and a long-forgotten Rose might just hold the key …
An old mansion in Cornwall full of secrets – a dual timeline – romance – family history… yes, yes, yes!! Hopefully this is the start of another lovely series to be set in this idyllic setting.
It’s fair to say I loved spending time in the company of Merryn Burton as she travels to Cornwall and the Pencradoc home recently inherited by the Penhaligon brothers and they are eager to have the art collection appraised by her, and the moment she arrives the deja-vu feelings start and she feels an incredible connection with both the house and Kit Penhaligon – it’s as if they already know one another.
I really do love the dual timelines that Kirsty seems to write with ease – the now timeline works so seamlessly with the jaunts back to the past and the characters of Alys , Jago and Zennor also have an intriguing and thrilling story to tell – can lessons be learnt from the past or will history be repeating itself once more?
There’s so much to be uncovered at Pencradoc that Merryn finds herself unable to leave and move on and it was so atmospheric and easy to follow that I didn’t want to leave either! Loved the sibling rivalry, the ghosts, the drama and the love stories – it made for the perfect mix for a fabulous read!
The good vibes for reading continues and I’ve now managed to read Book 4 for my #20booksofsummer challenge – and it’s another one from my actual original list! And one from the ‘large’ list too! And it wasn’t as scary or daunting as I feared it would be! I just hope they’re all going to be as good as this one!!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Those Who Are Loved is set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece, the subsequent civil war and a military dictatorship, all of which left deep scars.
Themis is part of a family bitterly divided by politics and, as a young woman, her fury with those who have collaborated with the Nazis, drives her to fight for the communists. She is eventually imprisoned on the notorious islands of exile, Makronisos and Trikeri, and has to make a life or death decision. She is proud of having fought, but for the rest of her life is haunted by some of her actions. Forty years after the end of the civil war, she finally achieves catharsis.
Victoria Hislop sheds light on the complexity of Greece’s traumatic past and weaves it into the dynamic tale of a woman who is both hero and villain, and her lifelong fight for justice.
An epic historical story that had me totally captivated and in awe of the family and the stories they had to tell of their time in Greece during and after World War II. I was totally unaware of the Greek history before, during and after the war and it was a powerful way to tell the story through the eyes of a family who were living through it.
At the centre of the story is Themis who was a normal woman but lived an extraordinary life. She is looking back on her life and relaying the years that took their toll on all of them. She came from a large Greek family and circumstances meant her grandmother brought her and her siblings up and she allowed them to be their own people but that tore them apart as they all had different political views, much like the country who were torn between support for the Germans or the Allies.
Her life saw her live through the devastation when famine ravaged her homeland, and how desperate times led to desperate measures. She witnessed such devastation close to home that it inpsired her to be very proactive in trying to do whatever she could to help, even to the point of joining the communist army to fight for her people.
She witnesses and is subjected to such horrific treatment when her unit is captured that your heart just goes out to all of them women who were imprisoned, but her faith never faltered and she sets out to right wrongs when she is eventually freed as her only wish is to do the right thing.
I loved how quickly I became caught up in the lives of these people due to the wonderful way that the story is told. Despite being a large book it never felt that way when reading and there was always something going on to keep you fully engaged and often horrified by what people were having to endure. The spirit of people, especially Themis, never fails to amaze and I was in awe of her and the story she had to tell her relatives. Wonderful book!
Guess what?! I’ve just read a book for 20 Books of Summer that was on my original list!! It can be done!! And book #3 was another ‘little’ stunner and one I’m very glad to have finally picked up and read!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the Emperor, Kazu’s life is tied by a series of coincidences to Japan’s Imperial family and to one particular spot in Tokyo; the park near Ueno Station – the same place his unquiet spirit now haunts in death. It is here that Kazu’s life in Tokyo began, as a labourer in the run up to the 1964 Olympics, and later where he ended his days, living in the park’s vast homeless ‘villages’, traumatised by the destruction of the 2011 tsunami and enraged by the announcement of the 2020 Olympics.
Akutagawa-award-winning author Yū Miri uses her outsider’s perspective as a Zainichi (Korean-Japanese) writer to craft a novel of utmost importance to this moment, a powerful rebuke to the Imperial system and a sensitive, deeply felt depiction of the lives of Japan’s most vulnerable people
Beautifully tragic! I think that’s the best way I can sum up this stunning little book that tells the haunting story of Kazu as he looks back over his tough life, his family that he rarely saw because he was always away working to try and get money to live day to day, and how certain events affected their lives and shaped the way he lived.
Set around Ueno park he comments on the sights and sounds he witnesses, the way that the homeless around him are treated, often not seen as humans and just ‘vermin’ to be moved away anytime the Emperor of Japan and his family were in the vicinity. You’re also made well aware of the division between his lifestyle as a homeless person, and those of the visitors to the park with snippets of their snatched conversations and it really makes you sit up and take notice of just how unfair life can be.
He’d been working away from his family from a very young age, his children only saw him twice a year but that bond to his family never faltered and tragedy hit the family which was heartbreaking and the portrayal of grief that hangs over him was captured so eloquently.
This is a book that speaks of the struggles in life, the poverty, the grief, memories, death but in that despair it is the little things he remembers – those lasting moments that brought him some joy albeit fleetingly – and those are forever treasured in his memory.
It’s a beautifully descriptive book – the sights and sounds of Tokyo and surrounding areas are brought so vividly to life – and I think it’s going to be one of those books that will stay with me for a long time.
Hello!! Another week whizzes by and I have good news! This week the books I finished outweighed the books coming in!!! Yay me!! I think I need to celebrate the fact with a book buying spree……
Managed to finish 6 books this week (one of which was an audiobook) which was brilliant, and then just one newbie appeared on my Netgalley shelf when I had a little nose over there recently! I also treated myself to 2 books, and was lucky to receive 2 books in the post for reviewing!
Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green – 5 stars
Another lovely installment – full review on blog tour coming soon!
Starting over at Netgalley…
THE VIOLIN MAKER’S DAUGHTER by SHARON MAAS
published by Bookouture – out July 2019
When the Nazis march onto the cobbled streets of Colmar on November 1st 1940, Josef, a Jewish violin maker, gathers his wife and daughters closely to him and tells them everything will be alright.
But one year later, three sharp knocks on the door at midnight turn his seventeen year old daughter Sarah’s world upside down. As the oldest child, Sarah must be the first to leave her family, to make her escape in a perilous journey across France via Paris to Poitiers. And she must hide who she is and take a new name for her own safety. For now, bilingual Sarah is no longer a French Jew but a German girl.
As she bids farewell to her beloved father and family, Sarah has hope, against all odds, that she will see them again when the war is over. But, travelling through the mountains she finds herself in terrible danger and meets Ralf, a German deserter, who risks his own life to save her.
Ralf and Sarah continue their journey together, keeping their identities secret at all cost. But when Ralf is captured, will Sarah pay the ultimate price for sharing who she really is?
A gripping and heart-breaking account of love, bravery and sacrifice during the terror of war. A story of standing up for what you believe in; even if it’s going to break your heart. Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Ragged Edge of Night.
Present day: Anna is focused on growing her new gardening business and renovating her late grandmother’s house. But when she discovers a box hidden in a wall cavity, containing water colours of exotic plants, an old diary and a handful of seeds, she finds herself thrust into a centuries-old mystery. One that will send her halfway across the world to Kew Gardens and then onto Cornwall in search of the truth.
A lady adventurer…
1886: Elizabeth Trebithick is determined to fulfil her father’s dying wish and continue his life’s work as an adventurer and plant-hunter. So when she embarks on a perilous journey to discover a rare and miraculous flower, she will discover that the ultimate betrayal can be found even across the seas…
Two women, separated by centuries. Can one mysterious flower bring them together?
THE NASEBY HORSES by DOMINIC BROWNLOW – copy for review
Seventeen-year-old Simon’s sister Charlotte is missing. The lonely Fenland village the family recently moved to from London is odd, silent, and mysterious. Simon is epileptic and his seizures are increasing in severity, but when he is told of the local curse of the Naseby Horses, he is convinced it has something to do with Charlotte’s disappearance. Despite resistance from the villagers, the police, and his own family, Simon is determined to uncover the truth, and save his sister.
Under the oppressive Fenland skies and in the heat of a relentless June, Simon’s bond with Charlotte is fierce, all-consuming, and unbreakable; but can he find her? And does she even want to be found?
Drawing on philosophy, science, and the natural world, The Naseby Horses is a moving exploration of the bond between a brother and his sister; of love; and of the meaning of life itself.
THE WAY TO THE SEA by CAROLINE CRAMPTON
treated myself to this as I’ve lived along the Thames Estuary my whole life!
Caroline Crampton was born on the Thames Estuary to parents who had sailed there from South Africa in the early 1980s. Having grown up with seafaring legs and a desire to explore, Caroline is both a knowledgeable guide to the most hidden-away parts of this overlooked and unfashionable part of the country, and a persuasive advocate for its significance, both historically and culturally. As one of the key entrances and exits to England, the estuary has been pivotal to London’s economic fortunes and in defining its place in the world. It has also been the entry point for immigrants for generations, yet it has an ambivalent relationship with newcomers, and UKIP’s popularity in the area is on the rise.
As Caroline navigates the waters of the estuary, she also seeks out its stories: empty warehouses and arsenals; the Thames barrier, which guards the safety of Londoners more precariously than we might; ship wrecks still inhabited by the ghosts of the drowned; vast Victorian pumping stations which continue to carry away the capital’s sewage; the river banks, layered with archaeological Anglo-Saxon treasures; literature inspired by its landscape; beacons used for centuries to guide boats through the dark and murky waterways of the estuary; the eerie Maunsell army forts – 24 metre high towers of concrete and steel which were built on concealed sandbanks at the far reaches of the estuary during the Second World War and designed to spot (and shoot) at incoming enemy planes; and the estuary’s wildlife and shifting tidal moods.
My time doing the Persephone Readathon seems to be a big success this time round! Have found myself finishing the 2 books I’d set out to read – who knows, I might even find time to fit one more in before the end! My thanks to Jessie at Dwell In Possibility for hosting another fabulous readathon, and making me want to keep adding to my Persephone collection!
Here’s my thoughts on the 2 wonderful books that I’ve managed to read – so far! – for this readathon!
I think the brilliance of this book is its’ simplicity! There are no gimmicks, there’s not a lot that really happens! Other than you get to follow a family in the build up, and then on, their yearly 2 week holiday to the seaside.
They go to the same place every year and have perfected the art of the routine of preparing to leave and then following the ‘same proceedure as every year’ (my nod to The Dinner For One sketch!) and how the years have gone by that small changes are beginning to appear in what happens and what each person gets from their break.
The preparation is meticulous, especially by the father. It’s like a military operation with him organising everyone to sort the ‘to do list’ – who to leave pets with, what food to leave in the fridge, which neighbour to leave the keys with – and we get to see this build up from his point of view and then from his wife’s which is slightly different. She is a quiet woman who pretends she enjoys this time, but underneath she’s very anxious and seems to just go through the motions for the sake of her family.
The boarding house they go to has seen a number of changes, not for the best, over the years but they feel duty bound to go there as the owner has become like family to them – their sense of loyalty is overwhelming.
With the children getting older, they all seem to have different thoughts on how their holiday should be spent – the father enjoys time alone walking, the eldest of the children are beginning to enjoy a little bit of freedom – and seeing the changes in their characters as they experience different things on the holiday allows them all to breathe a little bit more when they’re around one another.
It gives them all time to dwell on achievements and disappointments they’ve all faced in the past, and seeing how they can become different people entirely when they’re around others. It also makes them appreciate the simple pleasures, especially when they encounter their fathers’ boss whose aim in life seems to be showing off his wealth with no regard for others – his vulgarity makes the family appreciate all that their father does for them.
And just as they settle into their ‘holiday mode’ their fortnight is up – a feeling we’ve all gone through and I think that’s what makes this book so appealing! It captures the feelings and the escape that a holiday can bring for a family and all those little details that make or break a day in that fortnight and the family dynamic.
An enchanting ‘dog biog’ that allows you to see the world from the perspective of Flush and all he encounters in his life, starting in the country and then late in the city as the pet of Elizabeth Barrett Browning who is often confined to her room with a mystery sickness and Flush keeps her company 24/7.
His early life is one of freedom in the countryside, so when he starts his new life in the city it is completely alien to him – the noise, the smells, the lack of freedom and he spends many years in a life of rigid routine and you sense his frustration but he accepts the restrictions as he’s devoted to his owner.
As her health improves, he finds that she’s not entirely devoted to him as her attention is taken by the dashing Mr Browning, who Flush takes an instant dislike to. Flush soon finds himself living in very difficult circumstances and it makes Elizabeth realise how important he is to her.
I found this to be a touching portrait of a dog living different lives over the years in different places and loved the way he was portrayed – the things he noticed about what was going on at the time with many touches of humour that added so much to the story and made it feel very ‘human’. Thoroughly enjoyable!
I’m on a roll! And that roll appears to be completely ignoring my original list and being swayed by things I find in the library for this reading challenge!!! I think I need to avoid the library for a while and get back to my original plan!! But it’s another one off the ‘little’ side of my challenge – this one is 192 pages long – and was a totally absorbing read!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Lewis Sullivan, an RE teacher at a secondary school, is approaching retirement when he wonders for the first time whether he ought to have chosen a more dramatic career. He lives in a village in the Midlands, less than a mile from the house in which he grew up. He always imagined living by the sea. His grown-up daughter visits every day, bringing soup. He does not want soup. He frequents his second-favourite pub, where he can get half a shandy, a speciality sausage and a bit of company. When an old friend appears on the scene, Lewis finds his routine and comfortable life shaken up
This book went where I didn’t expect it to go, and that’s what made reading it so memorable and an enthralling reading experience.
It’s a fairly simple story centred around Lewis, a retired RE teacher who has lived his life doing the opposite of how he imagined things would turn out. Since he’s been a widower he still feels bound by routine and unable to live the life he dreamed of.
His daughter lives nearby and brings him soup everyday, despite the fact he never eats it, and she brings her own complexities to the relationship with her father.
He spends many hours looking back, at the things he regrets, the missed opportunities and it’s only when an old school friend appears back in his life, that his rebellious streak shows itself and he starts to live life a little dangerously and throws caution to the wind to see if the life he had always dreamed of would bring him the joy he craved.
The attention to the little details throughout really make this short novel sparkle and I found it to be so touching and enchanting.
First book has been read! And was it one on my original list?! NO, of course it wasn’t!! I went browsing in the library and spotted this one and couldn’t resist it for the ‘little’ side of my reading challenge! So here’s more about the book, and my thoughts!
ABOUT THE BOOK
When James proposes, it seems like an opportunity for Jane to leave her lonely past behind and become part of a family. But the presence of a woman in the cottage near their remote farmhouse threatens Jane’s new-found happiness.
This compelling novel by one of Ireland’s finest writers won a Somerset Maugham Award.
‘Madden’s achievement is to make partial revelations about obscure lives as gripping as a thriller. Her style is passionate, emotional, but never obvious and does not admit a single cliche or badly written sentence.’ Observer (less)
Published by Faber & Faber
For a little book (only 148 pages), there is so much going on in this story that I found it totally absorbing, atmospheric, dark and dramatic and really enjoyed every single page, even if it was often very depressing! I found the way that the author split the story worked brilliantly and allowed you to take on board the way that the actions of others impacted on those closest to them. The exploration of family, loneliness and dealing with loss was superbly dealt with and allowed you to feel the pain of each of the characters.
The story starts with Jane who was an only child and very poorly, and while she was in hospital she tragically lost both parents. When well enough to leave hospital she goes to live with her aunt who isn’t interested in the young girl in the slightest and packs er off to a convent boarding school at the age of 5. She settles into this way of life quite quickly and developes a very strong faith which is shaken as the years go by. She then settles into a routine life working in an office where she meets James – two lonely souls brought together by desperation to escape their lives.
We then hear from Sarah and Catherine, 2 sisters who we learn are Jane’s daughters, and their stories of how their lives turned out after their mother’s dies. It’s clear that they have both been affected by how they grew up and it is fascinating to see their different personalities emerge and how the loss of others seems to hang over them all.
The chapters chop and change from different timelines as we go back to look at Jane’s life, alongside events that are troubling her daughters and I loved being shocked by the misery that kept befalling them in various guises.
It’s definitely not a cheery read but there’s so much going on that packs a punch and I’m fascinated to read more from this author as I’d not heard about her before and intrigued to see how she approaches different subjects!
Hello! I have another stunner of a cover to share with you all today thanks to the lovely bods at Ruby Fiction, this time on behalf of the lovely Wendy Dranfield for her forthcoming thriller WHERE THE SNOW BLEEDS.
Time to share the blurb before the big snowy reveal!!
“You want to know what I’ve learnt after living in Lone Creek all my life? I know the snow bleeds here …”
Former police officer Dean Matheson has been playing it safe since the case that cost him almost everything. But working as a PI doesn’t quite cut it, that is until a British woman walks into his office with a job that Dean can’t resist.
The woman’s daughter, Hannah Walker, and her friend Jodie have gone missing whilst working at a ski resort in Colorado. It’s clear there’s something sinister about the girls’ disappearance, but then why are the local police department being so unhelpful?
So begins Dean’s journey to Lone Creek on the trail of the missing girls – and he’ll soon find out that in Lone Creek, everyone has something to hide …
Where the Snow Bleeds is published on 30th July by Ruby Fiction and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms, as well as in audio.
Without further ado, here is your first look at a cover that looks enticing and chilling in equal measures!!
Intrigued?! I know I am and can’t wait for July to come round to get my hands on this!! hope you’ll be doing the same!
Delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for THE BEST OF CRIMES by K.C.MAHER – my thanks to Anna at Red Door Publishing for putting this all together and letting me be part of it!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Walter, a child prodigy who now works on Wall Street, considers himself a father figure to Amanda, his daughter’s best friend and only child of a neglectful single mother. But when he loses his job after the 2008 financial crisis and his materialistic wife leaves him, taking their daughter, his relationship with Amanda enters a precarious new stage.
Walter struggles to give her the affection and guidance she needs, without succumbing to her budding sexuality. In the year before she enters high school, these two lonely souls will transform each other as Walter breaks out of his emotional shell, and Amanda blossoms into adolescence.
In a world that has always failed to protect its most vulnerable, The Best of Crimes is a new narrative and an unconventional love story that will challenge your perception of right and wrong.
K.C. Maher’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals including Ascent, Black Warrior Review, Confrontation, Cottonwood, Gargoyle, and The View From Here. Her work has reached short-list status in various contests, including the Iowa School of Letters Award and Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The is her debut novel. She is mother to two children and lives in New York City with her husband
K.C. Maher on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kcmaher3
The author has taken on a very difficult subject in this book and allows you to decide for yourself as to when certain behaviour is inappropriate and seeing how it can be perceived alright in some eyes, but completely wrong in others. She approaches it sensitively and calmly without going over the top, and I’m left wondering if maybe she could have pushed the boundaries a little further to see how that would have affected the story!
It’s the story of Walter who hands himself into police at the start, admitting his guilt in kidnapping a young girl but they aren’t interested! As we look back at how is life has gone and what has happened over the years we get the background we need to make our own judgements on his behaviour.
He seems to live life fast – started working at 18 where he was a ‘boy wonder’ for Lehman Brothers, marries young and has a daughter Olivia so they move to the suburbs. He’s a devoted father and traumatic events he goes through has him questioning his life and pushes him to enjoy it more – there’s more to life than work.
When a single mother and young girl move to the neighbour, his daughter spends time with Amanda as her mother never seems to be around and that is when Walter starts finding himself drawn to this young girl – is he trying to play the part of surrogate father? or is there something darker behind his motives to spend time with her?
Despite Amanda’s youth, she is extremely astute and knows she has Walter wrapped around her little finger – she’s getting the attention she has always craved and plays on that. As a reader you know that the adult should be more responsible and aware of his action, but you are also left to wonder that maybe it is all innocent on his part – there’s that fine line between a harmless friendship and the intent for something more sinister.
You can’t help feel for Walter when things go wrong for him personally and you just feel like he and Amanda are lost souls just looking out for one another, but still with that underlying feeling that he needs to stop spending so much time with her.
A really intriguing and thought provoking book that pushes you as a reader to see things from both sides!