#BlogTour MAKE IT UP TO YOU by LUCY KEELING #bookreview @rararesources @Lucy_K_Author @ChocLituk

A huge delight to be taking part in this Blog Tour for MAKE IT UP TO YOU by LUCY KEELING. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

Make It Up To You

What do mascara wands and gardening shears have in common? 

Absolutely nothing! At least that’s what wannabe beauty influencer Sophie Timney thinks when her friend Polly suggests involving her brother Marcus in Sophie’s make-up tutorials. She needs more views, Marcus needs promotion for his gardening business – in Polly’s mind joining forces will help them both. Sophie isn’t so sure. 

Because Marcus Bowman has a habit of getting under her skin in a way that no exfoliating face scrub ever could. But, as the views and comments on her videos begin creeping up, it becomes increasingly obvious that Sophie’s subscribers like Marcus, and what’s even worse is that Sophie might be starting to feel the same way …

Purchase Links 

Kindle UK

Kindle US

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lucy Keeling is an author writing fun, sexy, stories with all of the happily ever afters. When she’s not typing at the kitchen table, she’s arranging and then re-arranging to see her friends for the occasional spot of day drinking. Lucy is currently writing the third book in a Contemporary Romance series, the first of which has been Shortlisted by Choc-Lit ‘Search for a Star’ Competition. 


Facebook Page: @lucykeelingbooks

 Twitter: @Lucy_K_Author

Instagram: @lucy_k_author

MY REVIEW


Wow!!  This was one sizzling read and I’m still a little hot under the collar after the chemistry between Sophie and Marcus!!  Where do I go to find a gardener like Marcus!!?Serious book boyfriend crush!!

Sophie and Marcus have known each other for years. Marcus’ sister Polly is her friend and he’s always seen Sophie as high maintenance! With a blossoming career on YouTube as  a make- up vlogger, she is totally focussed on raising her profile and reaping the rewards.  You just wish sometimes she’d step away from the camera sometimes and have a bit of fun back in her life!When the idea of using Marcus in the videos, it’s hoped to raise the profile of his gardening business and when he appears on camera her numbers shoot up!! Could this be the start of big things … for both of them!!


I just loved how much fun this story was! Using the vlogging aspect really made it feel up to date, and any mention of gardening gets a big tick from me so it was great to read things from such different business and career viewpoints. Marcus was kind of stuck in his ways on how to advertise his business, so having Sophie there to advise him on the benefits of using social media was an eye opener for him.Sophie gets a little too obsessive at times over the numbers watching her channel, and even her parents want her to get a ‘proper’ job! But she’s very determined to make things work – I just loved how Marcus makes her see that there’s more to life than getting videos uploaded and watching subscriber numbers!

The chemistry between them is there for all to see – even more so when there’s a camera rolling and filming their time together!! I loved every single page!!  Really excited to read more from this author in the future!! More hot gardeners please!!

★★★★★

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#BookReview The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

ABOUT THE BOOK

It is twenty years since the events of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One unfolded and saw the baby Lyra Belacqua begin her life-changing journey.

It is almost ten years since readers left Lyra and the love of her young life, Will Parry, on a park bench in Oxford’s Botanic Gardens at the end of the ground-breaking, bestselling His Dark Materials sequence.

Now, in The Secret Commonwealth, we meet Lyra Silvertongue. And she is no longer a child . . .

The second volume of Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now twenty years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed. Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm; once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right.

Theirs is a world at once familiar and extraordinary, and they must travel far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search for what is lost – a city haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of a desert, and the mystery of the elusive Dust.

The Secret Commonwealth is truly a book for our times; a powerful adventure and a thought-provoking look at what it is to understand yourself, to grow up and make sense of the world around you. This is storytelling at its very best from one of our greatest writers.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £12.26

hive.co.uk  £13.59

whsmith  £12.50

foyles – with exclusive pin badge £20.00

MY REVIEW

Oh how wonderful it is to be reunited with Lyra! I really enjoyed La Belle Sauvage, but we’re now back with Lyra as an adult! She’s in her second year at Oxford and things aren’t going well, especially between her and Pan! It was often so heartbreaking to read them squabbling and doing things on their own.

And when Pan is out one night alone, he sees someone being murdered and is asked by the victims’ daemon to help and hide a wallet. The significance of what is inside this wallet leads Pan and Lyra to set off on different quests to figure out what dark forces are at work, and to work out what has happened to Lyra and Pan in their relationship.

There is tension between them from the start and it makes it difficult to understand what could have gone so wrong between them. Pan has his thoughts on the change in Lyra and won’t settle until he tracks down who he thinks is responsible for making her think differently. Lyra does feel lost without him and when he disappears she has no doubt that she needs to find him. Her life at Oxford isn’t being made to be a pleasant one either by those in charge and there is definitely a plot to uncover what she knows

Malcolm, who we were introduced to in La Belle Sauvage, also makes a welcome reappearance and I love how his role has evolved and the sense of duty he feels towards Lyra. His family are always there to help out along the way and the journey they all take was one that left me breathless! There’s always danger close by and I loved the tension and different plot lines that all seemed to link effortlessly – why are so many so interested in seeing where Lyra ends up?

She relies on the hospitality of many good people along the way, despite the efforts of those wanting to stop her. You can just feel her desperation of trying to make sense of everything that is happening around her, alongside trying to work out what has gone wrong between her and Pan. And she’s also there to help others as well. The further she travels the more troubling sights she sees.

At nearly 700 pages long, this never feels like a slog of a read. There’s always a new piece of information to be devoured, an old friend to help her out and I’m already eagerly awaiting the next installment!! Absolutely blooming brilliant!!

★★★★★

#BookReview Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella #ChristmasShopaholic

ABOUT THE BOOK

Celebrate Christmas with the ultimate Shopaholic!

The brilliant laugh-out-loud festive novel from the Number One bestselling author.

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) adores Christmas. It’s always the same – Mum and Dad hosting, carols playing, Mum pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the next-door neighbours coming round for sherry in their terrible festive jumpers.

And now it’s even easier with online bargain-shopping sites – if you spend enough you even get free delivery. Sorted!

But this year looks set to be different. Unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocado, Becky’s parents are moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch and have asked Becky if she’ll host Christmas this year. What could possibly go wrong?

With sister Jess demanding a vegan turkey, husband Luke determined that he just wants aftershave again, and little Minnie insisting on a very specific picnic hamper – surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear . . .

Will chaos ensue, or will Becky manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas?

Publication Date – 17th October 2019

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon UK  £14.00

hive.co.uk  £12.69

whsmith  – signed edition £12.00

MY REVIEW

Becky Bloomwood is back!! And this time Christmas is on her shopping list – surely a doddle for a shopping queen such as herself?! Wrong! The chaos, fun, disasters and dilemmas that Becky has faced so often in her life are present once more and it was an absolute blast to have these characters back in my life with the latest installment in the Shopaholic series!

Christmas has always been the same in the Bloomwood family – her mum and dad hosting the festivities, neighbours visiting and jolly japes all around! But this year it’s all changing as her mum and dad are moving so they are passing on the festive duties to Becky! And there are many requests for Becky to have to accommodate – her sister is a vegan, her husband only wants his normal aftershave and their daughter Minnie has put in her present demands…. in the Becky bubble world this sounds like the perfect excuse to go shopping for new stationery to make notes! So she does!!

I loved how his story is told through different means – the day to day, the emails, the texts, even glimpses of search histories! – and this helps make it flow so well and adds to the hilarity! Not that Becky ever needs an excuse to go shopping, but even she’s finding the quest for the perfect Christmas a challenge this year! She shares the stress of online shopping, the bargains you find but have sold out by the time you get to check out and I found myself nodding and chuckling along in agreement with her on so many occasions! She’s at her crazy but lovable best throughout this story and never likes to do things the easy way! Who knew a llama bauble would make someone go so crazy!!!

With all the issues that Becky faces it wouldn’t be fun if they all worked out swimmingly, so there’s always a spanner in the works as she makes life more difficult for herself – her family and friends are seemingly oblivious to the stress she’s putting herself under. She even decides to take on the local Billiards club just for a way to get her husband the most amazing present! The pressures of having a job and competing with the other school mums who try and outdo one another also adds to her stress – why is modern life so complicated?!

It was so lovely to be back in the world of Becky! Yes she’s overboard, often tactless and slightly out of control but her heart is always in the right place and she means well so I’m just hoping that this won’t be the last we see of this super shopaholic as I just had so much fun reading this book!

★★★★★

My thanks to Becky Short and Bantam Press for the advance reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview A Walk in Wildflower Park by Bella Osborne

A Walk in Wildflower Park was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.

Life’s not always a walk in the park…
Anna thought she’d found The One – until he broke off their engagement exactly a year before their wedding day. Hoping new surroundings will do her the world of good, she moves in to a place of her own on the edge of gorgeous Wildflower Park.

With the help and friendship of her neighbour Sophie, Anna quickly settles in and pledges to focus on her career, but a handsome new colleague seems determined to thwart her attempts at every turn. And when she receives a text from a mystery man, it looks as though an unlikely romance is on the horizon…

Is Anna about to be swept off her feet by someone she really shouldn’t be falling for? Or could this be the new start she needs and deserves?

Published by Avon

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

This was a really engaging and fun read, which also ended up taking a darker turn which really added to the story, and in Anna featured a character that you could really relate to and understand the dilemmas that were facing her as she tried to move on with her life after breaking up with Liam.

As always she throws herself into her work, but that becomes complicated too with changes and a new face on the scene which threaten to change her outlook and focus. Add to the mix the arrival of some mysterious text messages, and Anna finds herself severely distracted from her main aim of enjoying being single!

Her best friend Sophie is also dealing with her own problems – married with children, and another one on the way, the cracks are beginning to appear in her relationship with Dave so it was interesting to see how she faced up to things, whilst trying to dish out advice to Anna on what to do in her life!

I also loved the touching friendship between Anna and Bert, whom she gets to know when she rescues a cat called Maurice! It was so sweet when they spent time together and brought a little tear to my eye when she went out of her way to make him smile again – and he was very good at listening and giving her advice too!!

The character of Hudson, at work, was a real interesting mix as you often wondered if he is just too good to be true! He always seemed to know the right thing to say and was brilliant at getting her to face her fears over flying.

As things from the past begin to reveal themselves, the whole story takes on a much darker tinge and I really enjoyed that as it reflects real life perfectly – it’s not all rainbows and mushy stuff! Life throws you plenty of curveballs and it’s how you, and those around you, deal with the consequences that show your real character, and that is exactly what we got to see by the end of the book. A really entertaining read!

★★★★

#BlogTour FOXFIRE, WOLFSKIN & other stories of shapeshifting women by Sharon Blackie #BookReview #RandomThingsTours #FoxfireWolfskin @septemberbooks

Hugely excited to be taking part in this Blog Tour so thank you for stopping by today! My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book and letting me be part of the Tour!

ABOUT THE BOOK

‘Part rally cry, part warning, part manifesto and all parts enchanting, Sharon Blackie’s Foxfire, Wolfskin is a deeply evocative and haunting collection. Humming with the strength of our immutable voices, each story sings with the transformation that is possible when women take agency of our lives. I want to press this powerful book into the hands of everyone I know and say, listen.’ Holly Ringland, author, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

‘Sharon Blackie has wrought a new-old magic for our times: glorious, beautiful, passionate myths written for this critical moment in time. They show who we could have been, and they give us a glimpse of a world-that-could-be. There’s still time to make it happen.’ Manda Scott, author of the Boudicca series, and A Treachery of Spies

Charged with drama and beauty, this memorable collection by a master storyteller weaves a magical world of possibility and power from female myths of physical renewal, creation and change. It is an extraordinary immersion into the bodies and voices, mindscapes and landscapes, of the shape-shifting women of our native folklore. We meet the Water Horse of the Isle of Lewis, the huldra, the Scandinavian supernatural forest-dweller, and Baba Yaga of Slavic folklore (but will she help you or kill you?) Here too is the Snow Queen; the wild bird-woman of the Sliabh Mis Mountains; Blodeuedd, the Welsh ‘flower-faced’ woman.

Drawing on myth and fairy tales found across Europe – from Croatia to Sweden, Ireland to Russia – Sharon Blackie brings to life women’s remarkable ability to transform themselves in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances. These stories are about coming to terms with our animal natures, exploring the ways in which we might renegotiate our fractured relationship with the natural world, and uncovering the wildness – and wilderness – within.

Published by September Publishing

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon   

hive.co.uk

whsmith

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr Sharon Blackie is a writer, mythologist and psychologist, and an internationally recognised teacher of the mythic imagination. Her bestselling book, If Women Rose Rooted, won a 2016 Nautilus award, and laid out a haunting heroine’s journey for every woman who finds power, inspiration and solace in the natural world. She has an international following through her online communities, and the courses and workshops she offers through ‘The Hedge School’. Her first novel, The Long Delirious Blue, was described by the Independent on Sunday as ‘hugely potent’. She lives in Connemara, Ireland.

 www.sharonblackie.net.

The Enchanted Life

If Women Rose Rooted

MY REVIEW

This is a stunning collection of magical stories that are based on myth and fairy tales across Europe, and I was totally captivated by the messages portrayed and the style of writing.  I’ve often found with short story collections that they can be a little hit and miss with the impact each story has on me, but with this collection I found something positive to say about all of them – some are short and sweet, others are a little more complex and involved but they all had the effect of just making me want to read more of the lesser known fairy tales and folklore from different places,  and that’s exactly what I will be doing!

Accompanied by many striking illustrations, each story features a theme – growing old, changes in the world we live in, grief, temptation – from the point of view of the women involved and I loved how that made you look at each story so differently.  The role of a woman and how that changes over time and how others see her, and it really gives you so much to think about. 

There are also notes at the back of the book which give the outline of the original folklore story which helps give extra meaning to the story if you’ve not heard of it before, and that was invaluable! I think fairy stories have a special place in all our hearts and as we get older we end up discovering the different layers to each story that we may have missed while reading as a child which helps give them that longevity, along with the memories they also bring back and that is always a wonderful part of reading – to rediscover and learn!  Having stories re-written like these brings about a new audience and new meaning to stories, and I’m glad to have spent time reading this and look forward to reading more from this author!

★★★★★

#BookReview Three Days in Florence by Chrissie Manby

When a mini-break becomes make or break…

Kathy Courage has never visited the famous Italian city of Florence before, so she’s thrilled when she and her boyfriend Neil are invited there for a wedding. Unfortunately, with Neil’s constant complaining and his teenage children in tow, it’s not exactly the romantic break Kathy was hoping for.

But when a mix-up with her flights leaves Kathy stranded in the city, she decides to embrace the unexpected and stay on alone.

What follows is a life-changing few days in the Tuscan sun, as Kathy begins to question the choices that have led her here. With the help of the colourful Innocenti family, who offer Kathy a place to stay, she gradually begins to realise that there’s a much bigger world out there, if only she can be brave enough to explore it.

Could Italy hold the answers to her future happiness? Or is Kathy destined to return to her old life?
 

published by Hodder & Stoughton

MY REVIEW

This was a really fun and charming read, as we get to spend time in the company of Kathy and, unfortunately, her long term boyfriend and his kids (all of them are brats!!), as they are in Florence for his brothers’ wedding. It’s been a dream of Kathys for years to spend time in Italy and she’s hoping to make the most of her time there – shame Neil and his children seem to just want to make her life hell, and I found myself shouting at Kathy so many times to dump them and have fun on her own! The woman was a bloody saint for being so nice to them!!

And that’s what happens when there is a mix up over the flights home, and Kathy has to stay behind. Neil is very uncomfortable about leaving her behind as it’s messing his plans up and he even has to deal with his own bratty kids while she’s there – good!! Thankfully Kathy meets a lovely family who invite her into their home/hotel after a bad experience she has, and this time seeing the good in people really helps Kathy see what she is missing and she gets to explore and experience Florence in her own time – and without the constant moaning of Neil who is still trying his best to get her back home ASAP as he finds it a massive inconvenience. The more you read about Neil, the more you wonder what she ever saw in the man!!

I adored the setting, and just loved seeing Kathy get to spread her wings and stand on her own two feet – she’s always been a bit too happy to follow what others wanted but that never made her happy so when she finally starts doing what she likes, she discovers how much happier life can be! This was a real feel good story and I could have happily spent more time with Kathy in Florence!

★★★★

The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal by Horatio Clare #BookReview #Repost @eandtbooks

 

THE LIGHT IN THE DARK: A WINTER JOURNAL

Published by  – Elliot & Thompson

Paperback release – 3rd October 2019

About the book

A moving winter diary that reveals the healing power of the natural world

• An evocative exploration of the season, beautifully designed.

• Horatio Clare is a multiple award-winning memoirist, nature and travel writer.

• Combines scintillating nature writing with a moving personal narrative, touching on issues of winter depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder.

• For readers of The Outrun by Amy Liptrot and the Seasons series by Melissa Harrison.

As November stubs out the glow of autumn and the days tighten into shorter hours, winter’s occupation begins. Preparing for winter has its own rhythms, as old as our exchanges with the land. Of all the seasons, it draws us together. But winter can be tough.

It is a time of introspection, of looking inwards. Seasonal sadness; winter blues; depression – such feelings are widespread in the darker months. But by looking outwards, by being in and observing nature, we can appreciate its rhythms. Mountains make sense in any weather. The voices of a wood always speak consolation. A brush of frost; subtle colours; days as bright as a magpie’s cackle. We can learn to see and celebrate winter in all its shadows and lights.

In this moving and lyrical evocation of a British winter and the feelings it inspires, Horatio Clare raises a torch against the darkness, illuminating the blackest corners of the season, and delving into memory and myth to explore the powerful hold that winter has on us. By learning to see, we can find the magic, the light that burns bright at the heart of winter: spring will come again.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

About the author

Horatio Clare is a critically acclaimed author and journalist. His first book, Running for the Hills: A Family Story, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His second book, Truant is ‘a stunningly-written memoir’, according to the Irish Times. A Single Swallow: Following an Epic Journey from South Africa to South Wales, was shortlisted for the Dolman Travel Book of the Year; Down to the Sea in Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men won the Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year 2015. Horatio’s first book for children, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, won the Branford Boase Award 2016 for best debut children’s book. He lives in West Yorkshire. 

Twitter @HoratioClare

MY REVIEW

It’s that time of year again! The time when we all want to hibernate thanks to the longer, darker evenings and freezing cold mornings, and this book lets you know that you’re not alone in feeling that way! The author has used this book to share his thoughts on how this time of year makes him feel, along with exploring the power that nature has of keeping you looking forward, despite those days when all seems bleak and hopeless.  

It’s a simple concept but the style of writing and honesty that the author shares allows you to see the world through his eyes over the autumn and winter months that he has come to dread so much, and how his attitude to winter has changed over the years.  This is his journal of all that he sees mixed alongside the trivialities of real life and that what makes this a book that you can connect with.  

It’s a beautifully written book that struck a chord with me on many occasions.  The process of seeing the landscape and wildlife change from month to month and seeing how that affects his mood, and how just a simple task of writing a shopping list often became too much when his mind becomes too dark for him to be able to function on a daily basis.

Alongside the sights and sounds of nature, there are also many fascinating facts about S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) and he also explores the strength that his family give him when he’s suffering alongside useful tips that he’s found in ways of distracting his mind, and realising that he can’t do it all by himself and it’s ok to ask for help.  With the topic of mental health so prevalent in society today, this is a book that can help a reader engage with their own feelings and find help if needed – be that by talking to somebody or just taking time to notice the small things in life.  

I found this to be such an insightful and thought provoking book and it is definitely one of those reads that gives you lots to think about and helps to lighten up the darkness of Winter.