Posted in books, review

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 7 2018

Howdy!!  Hoping the past 7 days have treated you well! My cold germs are slowly on their way out so that’s a big bonus! And the weather seems to be improving too! Yay for sunshine and slightly milder days! I’ve jinxed it now haven’t I?!  I’ll report back next week and we’ll be under 6 foot of snow!

On to the books!! And it has been another rather productive bookish kind of week!  Been not so productive on the reviewing side though so I need to up my game on that front!  And that’s why I started all this reviewing/blogging malarkey in the first place – to help me remember why I loved / hated certain books in the first place! I recently found an old notebook where I used to jot down the books I’d read but all I’d put by the side of each book was either ‘good’, ‘not so good’, ‘loved it’ …etc  but looking back on those titles I have absolutely no recollection of the story!!  Very helpful! Maybe I’d just made the list up to make it look like I’d been reading lots…..

So this past week I’ve managed to read 4 books, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed so that is always a good thing!  And there has also been some lovely bookpost in the form of real books (we had a different postman this week so I think our normal one has quit over my bookpost!) and courtesy of NetGalley – the more I try and stay away, the more I fail! oops!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor  –  5 stars

Adored this magical story!

THE PERSEPHONE BOOK OF SHORT STORIES  – 4 stars

A great collection of 30 stories from women authors about a wide range of subjects that was great to dip in and out of.

THE SEVEN DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE by STUART TURTON –  5 stars

LOVED IT!!  A stunning and mad read that has you guessing from start to finish!

SUNSHINE AND SECRETS by DAISY JAMES –  4 stars

Perfect escapism in a stunning location

BOOKPOST

The Girl In The Photography by Kirsty Ferry

As a member of the Choc Lit Tasting Panel, it’s fun to receive a manuscript and give it the thumbs up and then get to see that story make it to ‘real life book’ status and so I received this in the post today to enjoy all over again and a lovely little mention too! The chocolate may have already gone…

                                       

What if the past was trying to teach you a lesson?

Staying alone in the shadow of an abandoned manor house in Yorkshire would be madness to some, but art enthusiast Lissy de Luca can’t wait. Lissy has her reasons for seeking isolation, and she wants to study the Staithes Group – an artists’ commune active at the turn of the twentieth century.
Lissy is fascinated by the imposing Sea Scarr Hall – but the deeper she delves, the stranger things get. A lonely figure patrols the cove at night, whilst a hidden painting leads to a chilling realisation. And then there’s the photograph of the girl; so beautiful she could be a mermaid … and so familiar.
As Lissy further immerses herself, she comes to an eerie conclusion: The occupants of Sea Scarr Hall are long gone, but they have a message for her – and they’re going to make sure she gets it.

The Kindness of Strangers by Julie Newman

Published by Urbane Publications

Publication Date  19th April 2018

Deception abounds in Julie Newman’s breath-taking new novel. Widow Helen is desperate for a perfect family life, and will do everything she can to get what she wants. A veteran of the Afghanistan conflict Martin is adrift and seemingly without hope – can he ever win back his estranged family? Pregnant teenager Charley is striking out on her own to create a new life for her unborn child, but her mother Lizzie has other ideas. When three seemingly disparate lives connect, the past and the present collide to reveal secrets, lies and how far people are willing to go to hide the truth. Following the gripping and controversial Beware the Cuckoo, Julie Newman’s thrilling new novel lifts the lid on the dark past that haunts a seemingly happy household.

Twin Truths by Shelan Rodger 

Published by The Dome Press

Publication Date 15th March 2018

What is the truth? And how do you recognise it when you hear it? Jenny and Pippa are twins. Like many twins they often know what the other is thinking. They complete each other. When Pippa disappears Jenny is left to face the world alone, as she tries to find out what happened to her other half. But the truth, for Jenny, can be a slippery thing.

Bookishly Monthly Tea & Book Club

Another month, and another fab set of goodies from the Bookishly club!  I’d never heard of Elephant Bill before but it sounds like a fascinating read and am looking forward to giving the tea a try very soon!

Drift Stumble Fall by M.Jonathon Lee

Published by Hideaway Fall Ltd

Publication Date 12th April 2018

The author of five novels, M Jonathan Lee is a tireless mental health awareness campaigner, working closely with organisations including Mind, Time to Change and Rethink and blogs regularly for Huffington Post. Having personally experienced anxiety and depression during his life, Jonathan draws on his experiences to inform his writing.

Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richards existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.

Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From the outside, Bills world appears filled with comfort and peace. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on. As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richards bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other peoples lives are not always what they seem. 

It’s Always The Husband by Michele Campbell  – via NetGalley

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband? 

The Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke  – via NetGalley

Publication Date 15th March 2018

Welcome to the Café at Seashell Cove, where you’ll find irresistible home-baked cakes, smiling friendly faces – and maybe even a second chance at love…

When Cassie Maitland needs a holiday from her glamorous but stressful job in event management, she escapes home to gorgeous Seashell Cove, where her family’s cosy café sits perched on the cliffs above sparkling waves and golden sand.

But a lot has changed while Cassie’s been away: her parents have transformed their tired café into a welcoming haven, her friends Meg and Tilly have whole new lives, and old flame Danny’s twinkling eyes and winning smile make Cassie feel even more flustered than they used to.

Keen to throw herself back into local life, Cassie starts to run themed events – including a not entirely successful cat-café day, complete with dozens of felines. Luckily Danny is always around to lend a helping hand, and Cassie soon begins to wonder if her life in London was really all she made it out to be…

Could a new start in Seashell Cove be exactly what Cassie needs? 

CURRENTLY READING

Two on my reading pile at the moment but need to pick up the pace ahead of some Blog Tours coming up over the coming weeks!

THE LAST WILDERNESS by Neil Ansell

Loving this so far! A beautifully written memoir that just makes you want to go out walking and soak up nature!

Neil Ansell’s The Last Wilderness is a mesmerising book on nature and solitude by a writer who has spent his lifetime taking solitary ventures into the wild. For any readers of the author’s previous book, Deep Country, Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways or William Atkins The Moor.

The experience of being in nature alone is here set within the context of a series of walks that Neil Ansell takes into the most remote parts of Britain, the rough bounds in the Scottish Highlands. He illustrates the impact of being alone as part of nature, rather than outside it.

As a counterpoint, Neil Ansell also writes of the changes in the landscape, and how his hearing loss affects his relationship with nature as the calls of the birds he knows so well become silent to him.

Operation Heartbreak by Duff Cooper

Continuing my year of Persephone reading challenge, this is the latest little grey book I’ve plucked off my bookshelves!

HEARTBREAK

Willie Maryngton always wanted to go to war. But he was born just too late to see action in the first world war, and it was a long wait until the second. Would he ever have his chance to be a hero?

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And we are done! You may now all go and get on with you own reading pile – or review catch ups as I’ll be doing!! Hope your week ahead is full of bookish loveliness!!

HAPPY READING!!

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Posted in books, review

Dangerous Score by Michael Bearcroft #BlogTour #Extract #Giveaway #BookReview

On the Blog today it’s time for some football!!  And some thrilling action off the pitch too!!

Dangerous Score 

 

Football hero Jason Clooney is riding high….until a date with a beautiful woman lands him in trouble with the media, and into battle with the criminal underworld.

Now against a backdrop of an uncertain professional future, Jason has to confront disturbing revelations surrounding his new girlfriend’s family. From football action on the pitch to behind the scenes plotting. To battles with a criminal gang and constant media attention, all adding to the toughest challenges he has ever faced in life, love, as a player and as a man.

Purchase from Amazon: http://amzn.to/2BAaf6j

About Michael Bearcroft

Ex Sheffield United Junior, former Chairman Corby Town FC Actor and stage director, former British Red Cross Regional Director

Website: http://dangerousscore.co.uk/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mikebearcroft1

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Today on the Blog I have the pleasure of sharing a little extract from DANGEROUS SCORE with you all – so sit back and enjoy!!

 

Still there was nothing Blister could probably say or do could make things worse.  

The Charter was quiet, after work drinkers having gone home for dinner, those out for the night were yet to arrive. Blister was sat in the lounge, back to the fire. The weather was still more winter than spring. Jason was surprised to see that the older man was in the company of two similar aged blokes who looked pretty fit, possibly ex-military. They each had full pints of beer in front of them, so declined Clooney’s offer of a drink when he joined them clutching his Apple & Cranberry J20. The two managed to look both serious but friendly, unlike some of the other patrons, whose glances told Jason he wouldn’t be winning any personality contests. 

 Blister made the introductions. First up was John ‘call me Doors’ Dawson, a fifty-seven-year-old former paratrooper. The other, taller of the pair was Paul Scowcroft, a fifty-eight-year-old ex-Royal Marine. The three had met through various kinds of active service, in many locations. Now in retirement all were settled in the area.   

Blister was the spokesperson for the group.  

‘Son, we all want to help you if we can. We can see you’ve been wronged and we all have our own reasons for not liking Mr bloody Thresham.’   

There was strength and determination in Blister’s voice that Jason hadn’t heard before from this gentle giant. He felt obliged to reply in the same vein.  

‘I just cannot thank you guys enough for your belief and support in me.’  

He felt it only right to bring them bang up to date on what he’d done since the story broke. There was a moment’s quiet when he finished, his emotions getting the better of him.  

Doors gave Jason a minute or two to compose himself, then launched into his experience with the evil world of Martin Thresham.  

‘My wife had fallen behind on HP payments for a carpet she had bought from a Thresham owned company. Next thing, she gets a visit from a thug, who swears at her, threatens her, then had the nerve to give her a good grope as he left. I was beside myself and got around to his mansion double quick. Raging I can tell you. ‘Course, Thresham denied all knowledge of the incident and refused to apologise. So I warned him there’d be some nasty consequences if he didn’t clean up his act. A week later when my wife was walking home from her keep-fit class, two men grabbed her, snatched her bag and knocked her about. Scared her witless. Now she never leaves the house, has to have ongoing counselling, takes Valium. Our lives have been shattered. ‘Course I could never prove it, but I’m sure it was all Thresham’s work.’   

Doors lapsed into silence, tears in his eyes.  

Scowcroft took up the litany of sorrows.  

 ‘I worked for a local transport company when I left the Marines. The business was owned by a farmer, Tom Rawlins. One night I was late getting back with the lorry. Tom was sat at his desk, pissed and crying. Seemed he owed money to Thresham’s casino. If he didn’t pay up soon he would lose the business and the farm, which had been in the family for centuries. I offered to help him with a small loan and I knew most of the other workers would chip in as he was well liked, and we were all aware that we needed the work to make ends meet. So, during the weeks ahead we all rallied round to save the business, but before we could do anything positive Thresham called in the debt.’  

Scowcroft was sure if he had got a good solicitor, perhaps gone to court, he might have got a different result, but it was too late and faced with the shame, possible homelessness, in sheer despair, Tom killed himself with his old shotgun. As far as Scowcroft was concerned it was Thresham who had been one hundred per cent responsible for Tom pulling the trigger.  

Blister didn’t go into the reasons he hated Thresham, just stating it was to do with his late wife. So they sat there, four men united in sheer hatred for the same individual.   

Looking around Jason saw the place was beginning to fill up; he felt hostile eyes on him and was sure he was the subject of many a conversation. He suggested they adjourn to his place. He bought bottles of beer from the bar. Blister indicated that he’d like to have a private word with him, so it was decided that Jason and Blister would take the Saab, while Doors and Scowcroft climbed into a battered Land Rover painted, unsurprisingly, in camouflage colours.  

On the short journey back Blister told his story about Mr Martin Thresham. 

 ‘The wife bought an old banger on credit for our daughter without telling me she’d paid for it. The car packed up, she couldn’t pay the loan or the repair bill, so she panicked ‘cause she was terrified of what I would say.   

‘To think that she didn’t know me better than that, haunts me every day. When the debt collectors started putting pressure on her she never let on, managed to keep her fears to herself. I never detected there was anything wrong. Then one day she suddenly ran out of the house into the road, under a lorry. 

 ‘Oh, the insurance company called it an unfortunate accident and paid out, which cleared the debts. But it still left me without a wife, and my daughter without her mum.’ Blister broke down, head in hands. Jason gave him a few moments to compose himself, both alone with their thoughts. 

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And I also have a Giveaway!!!  Today the Blog just keeps on giving!!  So if you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a SIGNED  copy of this thrilling new book, then please click on the link below!  Good Luck!!!

Giveaway – Win 3 x Signed Copies of Dangerous Score by Michael Bearcroft (Open Internationally)a Rafflecopter giveaway



MY  REVIEW

As a big football fan – Southend United supporter for more years than I care to remember! – I am always fascinated to read books that are set in the football world! And this one does a great job of portraying the highs and lows of life as a footballer!  Jason Clooney is the star of the show, but his life on the pitch begins to get a little complicated due to his life off the pitch!

There’s a lot of mystery and intrigue involved with this book – I would have liked to read more of the off the field goings on as the story sometimes felt a little bogged down in the football side, but the darker elements of life surrounding a football club were an interesting mix.  If you loved the Sky TV show Dream Team as I did, then this book feels like it could have been an episode of that show!

As Jason begins to settle in his new role in life, there is always the threat from outside forces that begin to play a part and I found that to be fascinating to read about.  Would definitely have loved more tension around the Thresham family storyline and all his dodgy dealings but the day to day life of life in the football world was still fun to read about.
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Posted in books, review

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton #BookReview

THE BLURB

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

Published by Bloomsbury Raven

Publisher Website

Author on Twitter

BUYING LINKS

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support a local bookstore

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

Wow!  After finishing reading this book I was reminded just why I love reading so much! It’s about discovering books like this!  Such an original, intriguing, captivating, pulsating read!!

Very difficult to sum this up in simple terms! It’s a little bit Agatha Christie, mixed with Cluedo,  Groundhog Day, and a sprinkle of Inception thrown in for good measure!!  How can you not want to pick up a book with those ingredients in the mix?!!

Evelyn Hardcastle is the murder victim – but she doesn’t just die once! She dies daily until her murderer can be found! And if Aiden Bishop doesn’t solve the murder that day, then he wakes up in another guests body and has to start the clue solving process all over again!  You will end up a little confused at times but it’s worth it for the ride you are taken on as you watch over the story unfolding!

The variety of guises he finds himself in are a clever way of watching things from a number of viewpoints.  And the time he spends as these other people begin to cloud his judgement as he starts to deal with their issues on top of trying to get to the bottom of what is happening at Blackheath.  He’s also guided by the  rather strange Plague Doctor who appears at numerous points in the story to try and keep him on track.

Random clues are littered throughout the story and new rules seem to appear as Aiden goes along too – even if a character falls asleep during one day he finds himself going back to that character at another point to finish that day off. And there is no escape from Blackheath until the injustice is rectified.

This book worked well on so many levels for me as a reader! There’s just so much to get your head round that you become immersed in that world and I often found myself thinking most of the guests at one point being the guilty party! Some of the hosts of Aiden are more focused than others and the little sub plots of previous misdemeanours coming back to haunt them at crucial points just adds to the tension and struggle that Aiden finds himself facing.

This book has something for everyone in terms of genre so if you are looking for something completely original, mad and enthralling then look no further! Brilliant!!

Posted in books, review

The Homecoming by Rosie Howard #BookReview

THE BLURB

Maddy fled the idyllic market town of Havenbury Magna three years ago, the scene of a traumatic incident she revisits most clearly in her dreams. Even so, when she is called back to help at the Havenbury Arms when her godfather Patrick suffers a heart attack, she is unprepared for the welter of emotions her return provokes. Psychologist and ex-army officer Ben is sure he can help Maddy to resolve her fears, until he finds himself falling for her, and struggling with a recently uncovered family secret of which Maddy is blissfully unaware. Then Maddy’s mother, Helen, arrives and Patrick himself must confront a few uncomfortable truths about his history and the pub’s future.

  • Publisher: Allison & Busby  Publication Date –  15 Feb. 2018
 
Buying Links
 

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore

Book Depository

 

MY REVIEW

This is the book that is launching the Havenbury series by Rosie Howard, and after reading The Homecoming just have one question… when is book 2 of the series out?! I need more!!

I enjoyed this from start to finish!  Maddy is returning to the village that forced her to flee a number of years ago because of a traumatic incident that still plays on her mind now and causes anxiety, and as she returns so does the panic attacks and she’s forced to try and confront her fears once more.   She has returned under duress to help out a close friend of the family, Patrick, who has taken ill, and she is back to help run the local pub  – a pub complete with a friendly but sweary parrot called Pirate no less!

She finds herself helping out on many fronts now she finds herself back in amongst friends and helping to fight the landlord who has different plans for the pub, the hub of the community.  I loved how everyone pulled together, as they often do when their way of life is threatened and it really showed what can be achieved when everyone works for the same result.  Maddy is still suffering flashbacks though and the appeal of going back to London to the new life she created for herself there still plays heavy on her mind.

Ben is a lecturer at the local college and also a good friend of Patrick and he’s on hand as well to help Maddy in keeping things ticking over while Patrick recovers.  He finds himself drawn to Maddy  in a couple of ways, often noticing her feeling ill at ease in certain situations  and wants to try and help her get to the root of her problem, without causing her too much distress. It is clear that there is a spark between them and I loved seeing this evolve, but Ben is also a little reluctant and you find yourself wondering what he is hiding and what he is scared of. 

There is a great humour throughout this book, alongside the more serious elements, and it had me chuckling away many times, and we get to learn about a wide range of interesting characters who each have a fascinating story to tell, and this is why I can’t wait for more in this series as there are so many new stories to discover!

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thank you to the publishers and author for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Posted in books, review

Top Ten Tuesday; Books I love with the word Love in the title!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl.

And the topic this week, ahead of Valentine’s Day, is a love freebie so I’ve decided to list 10 books that I’ve read fairly recently that contain the word LOVE in the title!  Click on the book title if you’d like to read my GoodReads review!

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford  –  4 stars

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Charlotte Butterfield  –  4 stars

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling  –  5 stars

The Proof of Love by Catherine Hall  –  4 stars

Can’t Buy Me Love by Jane Lovering  – 5 stars

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce  –  5 stars

The One We Fell in Love With by Paige Toon  –  4 stars

How To Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry  –  5 stars

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild  –  5 stars

Everything Love Is by Claire King

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  I can highly recommend any of these if you’ve not already read them! What’s your favourite ‘love’ book title?!

Posted in books, review

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah #bookreview

THE BLURB

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature

Published by; St Martin’s Press

BUYING LINKS

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore

Book Depository

 

MY REVIEW

I was extremely delighted to read an early copy of this via the Jellybooks app so I am forever grateful to them for letting me lose myself in another epic story from Kristin Hannah!  I ADORE The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and it is one of my most favourite books EVER – if you’ve not picked it up yet then please do!! – so I had high expectations for The Great Alone and was hoping it would tug at my heartstrings as The Nightingale did.  And I did enjoy it but found it not quite living up to previous work and that’s probably down to me expecting way too much! I still found it to be a totally absorbing read, full of emotion, full of tragedy and hope but just found the ending a little rushed which did disappoint.

It’s a story of Leni growing up in the 1970’s and having to move to Alaska with her family as they try and start a new life together after her father returns from the Vietnam War a much changed man.  It is hard not to feel so much sympathy for Leni, as she’s forced to move to the middle of nowhere with parents who are extremely toxic – to each other and Leni.  There’s a lot of violence in the relationship and a lot of drink too and you understand why Leni often detaches herself from that environment.  When they first move they think that the new lifestyle has changed Ernt, but as the darker days draw in then his personality switches back again and Leni and her mother are left living in fear again, and unable to find an escape from him.

The wider community which they find themselves in do offer some hope to Leni and her mother though, and through them they start to see a glimmer of hope and strength in learning to stand on their own two feet. Never easy though with a character as dominant as Ernt in the background.

We then follow Leni and her story over a number of years and it was good to see her try and follow her dreams in some ways, although tragedy is always never too far away from her as she tries to better herself and find a way out and to have a ‘normal’ life.

This wasn’t as emotionally charged for me to read as The Nightingale, but it still made for a captivating read.

Posted in books, review

The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor #bookreview

THE BLURB

The author of The Girl Who Came Home turns the clock back one hundred years to a time when two young girls from Cottingley, Yorkshire, convinced the world that they had done the impossible and photographed fairies in their garden. Now, in her newest novel, international bestseller Hazel Gaynor reimagines their story.

1917… It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true—didn’t it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told.

One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls’ lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself?

Shopping Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore

Book Depository

 

 

MY REVIEW

I believe!!

I found this to be a magical, charming and wonderful story that mixes fact with fiction in a delightful story that kept me enthralled from start to finish!

It mixes the ‘then’ storyline of 1917 when 2 girls, Frances and Elsie, fooled the world with their photographs of the fairies they saw playing at the beck in Cottingley, and how it consumed their lives and often left them feeling they hadn’t let the world know of their secret!

And in the present day we follow Olivia who is struggling to connect with her life as she loses close relatives, is struggling to keep her beloved bookshop open and is facing her wedding day with major doubts over her relationship with the odious Jack. As she is decluttering she stumbles across a manuscript written by Frances and details her life and she is enthralled by what she finds and sets about trying to find the truth behind the story she reads and how it connects to her family.

The characters were a major strength in this book. The young girls and their story was fascinating as their lives weren’t easy, but they found comfort in spending time with each other and the garden visitors and it helped them make sense of the world. And Olivia was delightful in her devotion to her family, especially her grandparents, after her tragic youth and her inquisitive mind was perfect to let the story develop while she discovered more about herself – both of her past and for her own personal decisions she needed to make. The fairy magic begins to creep into the bookshop too and maybe life is about to be transformed for Olivia!

I found this really easy to read and can highly recommend it to those who love history and a story full of magic!


Posted in books, review

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 6 2018

Hello!!  Sympathy required today! I have succumbed to the cold germs that I thought I’d done so well to avoid all Winter!!  Started yesterday so I’m suffering today and am already sick of the pills, potions and lemsips diet that I’m now on!  Hopefully you are safe from my germs though reading this, so than you for stopping by!

It has been a good bookish week though so that’s always a bonus!!  Seem to still be suffering from the inability to say no to a Blog Tour, so watch out for lots coming your way over the next couple of months!!

Managed to read 5 books this week and have been very good on the book buying/acquiring front and only added 2 to my real bookshelves and 2 to my NetGalley shelf!  So my postman has forgiven me this week….. I fear this feeling won’t be lasting long!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Optickal Illusion by Rachel Halliburton  –  4 stars

Loved this historical book that adds colour to a real life scandal that rocked the art world in Georgian Britain.

The Homecoming by Rosie Howard  –  4 stars

Loved this!  The start of a new series and it had all the feels for a community coming together as a woman goes back to face her fears.

Still Missing by Beth Gutcheon  –  4 stars

This was a fascinating read and so different to many Persephone books as it is a much later release than many of their books.

One Hundred Names by Cecilia Ahern  –  2 stars

I normally adore books from this author, but this one just didn’t make my heart sing! Felt very forced and I couldn’t wait to finish it!

Before We Say Goodbye by Madeleine Reiss  –  4 stars

Another read that I raced through this week as I couldn’t put it down! Pulls at the heartstrings and made me shed a tear or two!

BOOKPOST

One book in ahead of a Blog Tour this week, and then one was a treat from me to me as I’ve been reading so many wonderful reviews! I didn’t want to miss out!  And then there was 2 books on NetGalley that I couldn’t say no to!

We Were The Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard  ahead of Blog Tour

Publication Date  April 2018

As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters. It’s enough to make DS Morales reach straight for a large whisky.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by  Stuart Turton

 

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

THE GLOAMING by KIRSTY LOGAN  (NetGalley)

Publication Date April 2018

Mara’s island is one of stories and magic. She knows she’ll eventually end her days atop the cliff, turned to stone and gazing out at the horizon like all the villagers that went before her, drawn by the otherworldly call of the sea. Her whole family will be there too, even her brother Bee and her sister Islay.

But the island and the sea do what they want, and when they claim a price from her family, Mara’s world changes forever.

As years pass and Mara grows into herself and her scars, a chance meeting with the magnetic Pearl brings magic to life once more in ways that Mara never thought possible, in a story that she never would have dreamed for herself before.

The enchanting spiritual prequel to The Gracekeepers, Kirsty Logan’s The Gloaming is a present-day fable that brims over with dazzling imagination and captivating language.

THE ILLUMINATION OF URSULA FLIGHT by ANNA-MARIE CROWHURST

Publication Date May 2018

Born on the night of an ill-auguring comet just before Charles II’s Restoration, Ursula Flight has a difficult future written in the stars.


Against the custom of the age she begins an education with her father, who fosters in her a love of reading, writing and astrology.

Following a surprise meeting with an actress, Ursula yearns for the theatre and thus begins her quest to become a playwright despite scoundrels, bounders, bad luck and heartbreak.

Also have to share another bookish purchase this week – to try and keep my bedside table all organised on the reading front!  How could I not treat myself to this one!  bluebellrow is where I got this from!

CURRENTLY READING

Two on the go at the mo…..ooh poetry as well for you to enjoy  today! I do spoil you!!

The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

Started this yesterday and loving it so far! Hope to finish it later today!

The author of The Girl Who Came Home turns the clock back one hundred years to a time when two young girls from Cottingley, Yorkshire, convinced the world that they had done the impossible and photographed fairies in their garden. Now, in her newest novel, international bestseller Hazel Gaynor reimagines their story.

The Persephone Book of Short Stories by Various

Continuing my Persephone Readathon/Year of Persephone, this is my latest read and full of a variety of different short stories from 30 different authors.

💖💖💖💖💖💖

And there we have it!  Hope you’ve all had a successful week with no germs!!

HAPPY READING!!

Posted in books, review

Tell Me No Secrets by Lynda Stacey #BlogTour #GuestPost #BookExtract #BookReview

BOOK BLURB – Tell me no Secrets 

Can a secret be worse than a lie?

Every time Kate Duggan looks in a mirror she is confronted by her guilt; a long, red scar reminding her that she was ‘the one to walk away’ from the car accident. Not everyone was so lucky …

On the surface her fiancé Rob is supportive – but the reality is different. He’s controlling, manipulative and, if the phone call Kate overhears is anything to go by, he has a secret. But just how dangerous is that secret?

When Kate begins work at a firm of private investigators, she meets Ben Parker. His strong and silent persona is intriguing but it’s also a cover – because something devastating happened to Ben, something he can’t get over. 

As Kate and Ben begin their first assignment, they become close. But, what they don’t realise is how close to home the investigation will bring them, or who will be hurt in the process …

Buying Link

Amazon UK

Author Bio

Lynda grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire,

Her own chaotic life story, along with varied career choices helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.

Lynda joined the Romantic Novelist Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme and in 2015, her debut novel House of Secrets won the Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition.

She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her husband, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.

Choc Lit

Author on Facebook

Author on Twitter

Author Website

The Heroine – all about Kate Duggan 

On the 6th February my novel Tell me no Secrets will be turned into a paperback and I couldn’t be prouder, because even though this is the second book that I’ve had published, it was actually the first book I ever wrote.

And, with the release of the paperback, I felt that it was time that I got to look back at how I created Kate Duggan, the heroine of Tell Me No Secrets…!

 

What happened to Kate before the story began?

Kate is a young woman, with a painful past. We meet Kate at a time in her life when she’s already overcome many obstacles, most of which would have been her worst nightmare. Little did she know that our story begins at a point in her life when times are about to get worse.

Shortly after moving back to Yorkshire, Kate is involved in a car crash. A car crash that she will always feel forever guilty for, because everyone said that she was the one to walk away. Her twin sister, Eve was crippled and her brother, James was killed. And even though people were right, she did walk away, she was left with a bright red, puckered facial scar that now affected everything she did in her whole life.

During the time after the accident, Kate spent every moment she could at the hospital with her sister, Eve trying to do everything she could to help. It was at this time that Kate meets, Rob, a personal trainer. 

Rob is good looking. He’s enigmatic, self-assured and fell into Kate’s life in a way that became all encompassing. But, following late night suspicious phone calls, Kate soon realises that things are not quite what she’d thought and it suddenly occurs that she’s made a big mistake in allowing Rob into her life, quite so easily… and this is where our story begins…!

What makes a good heroine?

A good heroine is always someone the reader can relate to and identify with. I always give my heroine a history, a life and a family, after all, we all have parents, siblings and distant aunties, don’t we? So, the characters within a novel need to have that too.

I feel that by doing this, it gives them depth of character and a personality that can’t be ignored. They don’t necessarily have to be sexy, they don’t all have to be tall, blonde and straight out of a magazine. But, I do feel that they need to be a good person with dreams, hopes and wishes. They need to have a goal in life, something to achieve, something to aspire to and the novel needs to take them on a journey to achieve this. 

But most importantly, the reader needs to feel that they are taking the journey with our heroine, no matter how perilous that might be and that by the end of the novel, they’ve reached a good and satisfactory conclusion to the story.


And now it is my honour to let you read a short extract from TELL ME NO SECRETS – enjoy!!

Chapter One

‘How many times do I have to tell you, don’t phone me here.’ Rob’s voice echoed up the stairs, making Kate jump out of bed. He sounded angry and Kate didn’t like it. She crept onto the landing, where she stood and waited, not knowing whether to go down, stay put or go back to bed. ‘Not a chance. I’m not doing it. Now, you stick to your plan, and I’ll stick to mine.’ Kate held her breath as she heard the kitchen door quietly close and the mumbled voice continued.

‘Rob,’ she shouted. She inched her way down the stairs. ‘Rob, is everything okay?’ Her feet were cold and she hopped from foot to foot, wishing for just a moment that she’d thought to put her slippers on as she’d jumped out of bed. ‘Rob?’

The door handle snapped down and the kitchen door jerked open. ‘What?’ he bellowed, making her jump backwards.

‘I … I heard you on the phone, is all okay?’ she questioned, and nervously pulled at her pyjama top. She’d heard whispered conversations like this before. Each one had been in a hushed voice. Each one as secretive as the one before and each one had showed her a side to Rob that she didn’t like.

‘It’s just work. Go to bed, I’ll be up soon.’

‘Okay.’ He was lying to her. That was obvious. ‘Come on, Rob, how long will you be? It’s just … I start my new job tomorrow …’ She tried to play on his conscience. ‘… You have remembered that, Rob, haven’t you? I could do with an early night, and I hoped you might join me.’ She pushed for an answer knowing that the phone was still in his hand, hidden behind the door.

‘Kate, stop nagging and go to bed.’

The kitchen door slammed shut in her face and Kate pouted. She wasn’t nagging and what’s more, she wasn’t stupid; she’d heard his words and knew that he was up to something, but once again, she didn’t know what.

Sighing she went back upstairs, climbed into bed, and picked up her unfinished glass of wine. She took a sip and looked over at the impeccably positioned photo. It stood on her bedside table, silver framed, perfectly polished. The photo had been taken the year before, at their engagement party in September, a time when they’d both been happy. Rob was hugging her so close and looked so good. But then, Rob always looked good. Why wouldn’t he? He always seemed to have the perfect tan, an amazing body, figure-hugging shorts and a smile that could be seen for miles. Unlike her, who in comparison was far too scrawny, with long auburn hair and pale freckly skin that burnt far too easily.

Everyone had said that opposites attract, but Kate still wasn’t sure. Of course, she’d thought so at first. Things had moved quickly, Rob had bombarded her with romance, love and affection and all at a time when she’d needed it the most. But recently, he’d changed. He’d become distant, cold and, dare she admit, just a little on the aggressive side. It was as though from the moment she’d agreed to him moving in with her, he’d become far too comfortable and seemed to do or say whatever he wanted, in whatever tone he liked. And the normal politeness of a new relationship had disappeared overnight.

A million questions ran through her mind. Who had been on the phone? Was it a girlfriend? Had he met someone else? Did he regret meeting her, or was it that he’d simply stopped loving her? She wouldn’t have been suspicious if there had only ever been one call, but there hadn’t and now her mind was working overtime.

Kate shook her head. She wouldn’t blame him if he’d found someone else. After all, what man in their right mind would want to love someone who looked like her? A single tear dropped down Kate’s face as she closed her eyes and tried to decide what to do. Did she go down, confront him, ask him the questions that were spiralling around her mind, or did she go to sleep, curl up in the duvet and once again pretend that she didn’t care?

***

MY REVIEW

This is  book with a little bit of everything in it! Romance, grief, new starts, secrets, lies, romance, danger …… think every base is covered in this new release from Lynda Stacey!

There’s an edgy feeling from the start in this book and as you follow Kate in her new role in life, trying to deal with her past which isn’t easy when she’s reminded of it everytime she looks in a mirror. Her work as a Private Investigator soon helps to give her new focus, and she becomes intrigued by her new boss, Ben Parker, who also seems to be hiding something. He’s quite a complicated character and the more time she spends  with him, the more she wants to know.  You just get the feeling he might not quite be ready to move on just yet because of his past.

Really enjoyed how their relationship evolves and also loved how the case they are working on turns out to be a whole lot darker than they first thought! I loved it! 

Thank you to Choc Lit for an early e-copy in return for a fair and honest review

Posted in books, review

Ivon by Michael Aylwin #BlogTour #BookReview

 Brilliantly original concept. Never read a book like it   Guardian

Wonderfully dark satire about the future of sport Will Greenwood

You think sport is bonkers now… this could be the futureSunday Mirror

 

The year is 2144, and the world is powered by sport – politically and practically. Each community owes its prosperity or otherwise to the success of its teams and athletes. A person’s class is determined by their aptitude for sport. Once their useful life as an athlete has expired, they are placed in stasis at an age predetermined by that class.

But not in Wales.

Separated from the rest of the world by a huge wall, the Welsh still play games for joy. They play, they carouse, they love, they die. They have fun.

Of all the Welsh, the greatest sportsman is an unreconstructed genius called Ivon. When the chance arises to become the first Welshman to cross the great divide into England, he cannot resist. His parents, exiled from England before he was born, know what London will do to him. They are desperate to have him back. But London will not give up an asset like Ivon so easily.

Ivon is a celebration of where sport has come from and a satire on where it is going.

Published  15th February 2018

Publisher  link    https://reddoorpublishing.com/

Author twitter  link     https://twitter.com/mdmaylwin

Book buying links;

MY REVIEW

I love sport so my intrigue was high when starting this book.  Just when you think sport is beginning to go one way in the world nowadays, then something comes along to change the direction and a whole new can of worms is opened and our perception of sports is changed again.   And this is exactly what this book is about!  It’s a whole different level of sport and quite a scary and bleak look into how our love for sport – either watching or playing – can be changed forever!

Thankfully this is written in a bitingly funny way and I loved how it matches the way we know sport now over the borders in Wales where spectators are free to make noise in the stadiums, and the players are free to make their own choices on the field, to how the world of sport has evolved in England where it is all about productivity and taking away the players’ choice of how a game is going! They must follow orders for the best of the team!  To Ivon playing sport is his life! He can think of nothing better!! So he dreams of playing in England but the moment he arrives there he soon finds out the dream isn’t quite what he imagined!  The whole of english life is so different – even sex is scheduled in to daily life to help with the productivity, along with making calls by telepathy and people being chipped so they are fully compliant!

It did take me a while to get into this book while trying to understand the concept and terminology – i am very easily confused! – but once my mind had come to terms with it all I found this to be a fascinating, funny  but dark look at a world that could soon be here!  

Many thanks to the publisher and author for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review.