#BookReview THE BOOKSHOP ON PRIMROSE HILL by SARAH JIO #TheBookshopOnPrimroseHill

ABOUT THE BOOK

Valentina Baker was only eleven years old when her mother, Eloise, suddenly fled to London, leaving Val and her father on their own in California. Now a librarian in her thirties, Val is fresh out of a failed marriage and utterly disenchanted with life.

One day, Val receives word that Eloise has died, leaving Val the deed to both her mother’s Primrose Hill apartment and the bookshop she opened twenty years ago. As Val jets across the Atlantic, she wonders – could this be her chance at a new beginning?

In London, Val finds herself falling in love with the pastel-coloured flat and the cosy, treasure-filled bookshop. When she stumbles across a series of intriguing notes left in a beloved old novel, it’s the start of a scavenger hunt that will take her all over London and back in time… but most of all, bring her closer to the mother she lost twice.

Bittersweet and uplifting, The Bookshop on Primrose Hill will steal your heart. Perfect for fans of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and How to Find Love in a Bookshop. Published in the US as With Love from London.

PUBLISHED BY ORION DASH

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

A book centred around a bookshop?! Full of characters who love books?! YES PLEASE!!! And it hasn’t disappointed as I found myself swept along with all the feels in this wonderful new book that sees a woman gaining a connection to her late mother, through the world of books and community she had left behind. I Loved it!!

Valentina has been living in America for years, her mother walked out on her and her dad when she was 12, and had no contact with her since, but now she has passed and has left her daughter a property in Primrose Hill, which also contains a bookshop! Her initial thought is to go to England and put the property up for sale and move on with her life. But life has a funny way of throwing a spanner in the works, and a scavenger hunt left behind by her mother adds to the intrigue and Valentina finds herself wanting to know more about this woman who had left them so abruptly all those years ago.

The characters are so easy to connect with, and being set around a bookshop always helps! The scavenger hunt clues are a great little invention and allowed Valentina to really connect with her mother in a different way, allowing her to meet people who had become so special to her in the years before she passed. I was totally in love with the setting and the emotional journey you were taken on. Allowing her mother to share her story through the different characters in the community allowed Valentina to see the story from her mums’ point of view and as the reader you also get to hear Eloise’s story from her point of view, allowing us to travel back in time to see what she went through in finding love and becoming a mother. A wonderful read!!

★★★★★

#GuestPost MEET ME ON THE BUDDY BENCH by HANNAH PEARL @ChocLituk @HannahPearl_1

Delighted to be with you today to hand over the blog to the lovely HANNAH PEARL  as she shares some thoughts on her wonderful new book MEET ME ON THE BUDDY BENCH, which was released yesterday.  It’s a book very close to my heart as I have M.E too, so it really struck a chord with me and it’s a book I cannot recommend highly enough… go get your copy NOW!!

Over to you Hannah….

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Guest Post: Meet Me on the Buddy Bench by Hannah Pearl

My inspiration for writing Meet Me on the Buddy Bench was to explore what happens when life takes an unexpected turn. It’s all about finding happiness even when life isn’t easy or straightforward. This happened to me when I got ill just over seven years ago and didn’t fully recover. I wanted to write about a character who develops ME as this condition continues to really limit what I can do. It means so much to me to have this opportunity to raise awareness of the condition, but to hopefully do this within a book that reaches past our community and is read more widely too.

Meet Me on the Buddy Bench is a romance, and I hope that people will enjoy watching Ava and Sam fall in love as much as I enjoyed writing their story. Romance books are so powerful, and I needed them when I, like Ava in this book, could suddenly no longer do all of the simple things I once took for granted. I needed their uplift, their positivity, their support, their encouragement. Their reassurance that people do find happiness even when they’ve experienced unexpectedly difficult times. Romance books kept me company when I was suddenly alone for hours at a time. They offered hope and made me laugh and cry in turn.

I hope that this book can entertain people, but if it can also bring comfort or companionship to anyone who needs it, that would make me very happy indeed.

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About the Book:

When an ordinary park bench becomes a lifeline …

As a primary school teacher, Ava Lam is familiar with the ‘buddy bench’: a rainbow painted bench where sad or lonely children can sit to show they need a friend.

But are buddy benches just for kids? Ava might have assumed so – until she finds herself sobbing her heart out on a park bench and a kind stranger sits down next to her.

The stranger, Dr Sam Stone, has a house, an impressive job and he’s even training for a marathon – all things that seem painfully out of Ava’s reach in her new and scary circumstances. But, whilst Sam appears to have everything figured out, it turns out he needs a sympathetic ear just as much as she does.

Is the encounter a one-off, or could the ‘buddy bench’ begin to represent a source of comfort and support that will become precious to them both?

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Buying Links:

 Kindle: https://amzn.to/36YZOxI

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3EuHaKc 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3uYgaQk

 Nook: http://bit.ly/3I0HlOt

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About the Author:

Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.

She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2015 she was struck down by Labyrinthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning eReader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.

Follow Hannah on Twitter here: @HannahPearl_1

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#BookReview MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS by ERICA JAMES

ABOUT THE BOOK


Even happy families have their secrets…

Since the sudden death of her husband, Naomi has steadily rebuilt the life they shared in the village of Tilsham by the sea.

Her eldest daughter, Martha, is sensible and determined – just like her father was – and very much in control of where her life is going. If she could just get pregnant with her husband, life would be perfect.

Willow, the youngest, was always more sunny and easy-going, yet drifted through life, much to her father’s frustration. But now, with charming new boyfriend, Rick, she has a very good reason to settle down.

The three women are as close as can be. But there are things Naomi has kept from her daughters. Like the arrival of Ellis, a long-lost friend from way back, now bringing the fun and spark back into her life. And she’s certainly never told them that her marriage to their father wasn’t quite what it seemed…

The Sunday Times bestselling author Erica James returns with this gloriously compelling tale of mothers and daughters, secrets and love.

PUBLISHED BY HQ

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

I loved this!! One of those stories when you’re sad to leave the characters as you immediately feel at ease with them and want to carry on watching over them as they come to terms with the loss in their lives, but begin to move on.

It’s a story about family relationships, mostly those between mother and daughters and the different personalities they have. Naomi is the mum, recently widowed, so trying to begin a new life for herself now that her main priority is herself. Martha and Willow are her 2 daughters, both very different in character but dealing with their own issues along with the grief of losing their father.

So the story revolves around the different positions they find themselves in – Martha, happily married and in control of her life, but unable to fall pregnant, and Willow who is really easy going and drifts through life, much to the horror of her big sister! Martha is a very strong character who likes to take control of every aspect, and she thinks it would be best for her mum to sell up and move nearer them. Not so easy for Naomi who has happy memories in her home, along with the fact that she’s now making a life for herself, and it’s fascinating to see how that relationship with her daughters plays out.

These are changing times for all of them and the author has done a wonderful job of capturing the different emotions that each family member goes through, and the impact on the other people in their life. I just adored the interaction between the family and the discovery of things that happened in the past that the mother kept from the girls really added to the drama.

This was one of those books that you totally lose yourself in. The main characters are really well crafted and the dilemmas they face never go OTT and it just gripped me as the drama played out, especially towards the end when they’re faced with some challenging times. Wonderful!

★★★★★

#BookReview IT STARTED WITH A WEDDING by KIRSTY FERRY @ChocLituk

ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s one thing to be asked to plan your sister’s wedding; it’s quite another when your sister is Nessa McCreadie …


Alfie McCreadie wants his twin sister Nessa to have the best wedding ever, but he’s not happy at being roped in as wedding planner – especially as, unbelievably, his main assistant seems to be Nessa’s cat, Schubert. Anyway, Alfie is a scientist. He might know his protons from his neutrons, but what does he know about weddings?


It’s Nessa who points him in the direction of Bea’s Garden, just outside Edinburgh, where he’s tasked with picking a “very-relevant-bouquet”. It’s there he meets Fae Brimham, who might be prettier than any bouquet bloom but doesn’t seem impressed by Alfie’s sensible, scientific side.


But when Nessa and Schubert are involved, surprises are bound to happen and, despite less-than-perfect first impressions, perhaps something new and beautiful can still blossom for Alfie and Fae …

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon


MY REVIEW

Schubert is back and this time he’s helping to plan a wedding!! Maybe cats should always be involved with wedding planning if this book is anything to go by! This is part of a series but is easily read as a standalone – once you’ve read about Schubert you’ll want to read more!

This time we get to hear the story of Alfie, who is charged with planning the wedding of his twin sister, Nessa. Way out of his comfort zone, he’s more scientific than romantic, but gets a helping hand from Fae who he meets when he’s helping to choose flowers from Bea’s Garden. Fae is an apothecarist so places huge importance of the meanings and senses behind each flower – very different from Alfie’s approach to life and medicine.

Sparks fly between them instantly and there’s so many co-incidences and moments of deja-vu that you get the sense that the universe is working its’ magic on these two and wants their paths to cross! But will they take the signs and see things through?! Or are there darker arts at work to change their destiny?!

I loved watching the story play out and also loved hearing about the different folklore and meanings about different flowers! It was a lovely, magical and sweet story and Schubert has a wonderful starring role!! As, of course, he rightly deserves!! Brilliant!

★★★★★

#BookReview KEEPING UP WITH THE KERSHAWS by HELEN BUCKLEY @ChocLituk


ABOUT THE BOOK

What do you do when your life becomes more dramatic than reality TV?


As the devoted carer for famous antique expert Harold Kershaw, Karrie Morgan was always happy to keep a professional distance from his four spoilt grown-up children, who rarely made time for their father. But then a surprise involving Harold’s Will means Karrie is flung headlong into a press scandal, and into the chaotic world of the surviving Kershaws.
With the support of her trusted childhood friend Andrew, mild-mannered Karrie must face down ruthless ice queen Portia, master manipulator Gabriel, Botox fanatic Arabella, and ladies’ man Rafe, star of reality TV show Raised in Richmond … although perhaps not as fake and flashy as he initially seems?


As vicious rumours circulate and Karrie’s past comes back to haunt her, she struggles to know who to trust. Can she keep up with the Kershaws’ schemes?

Book 4 in Spotlight series but they can all be read as standalone stories.

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINKS

Kindle: Keeping Up with the Kershaws: This contemporary has twists, turns & plenty of drama, but also a wonderful slow-burn romance at the heart. (Spotlight Book 4) eBook : Buckley, Helen: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Apple: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/keeping-up-with-the-kershaws/id1606964264?

Kobo: Keeping Up with the Kershaws eBook by Helen Buckley – 9781781895115 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

Google: Keeping Up with the Kershaws by Helen Buckley – Books on Google Play

Nook: Keeping Up with the Kershaws by Helen Buckley | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

MY REVIEW

This was such a fabulous read! Featuring characters that you only wish good things for, against those that make you tremble with rage at just how awful they are!!

Karrie has spent 7 years devoted to Harold Kershaw as his carer, whilst his adult children got on with their lives and didn’t want much to do with the old man….. that is until he dies, and there’s money to be had! Karrie is devastated when he passes as he’s family to her and she’s wondering what to do with her life next but it appears that Harold had her future in his thoughts when writing his will, and that upsets the Kershaw children!

So what transpires is Karrie and her best friend Andrew, doing all they can to survive the mudslinging and dirty tricks of the children – Portia, Gabriel, Arabella and Rafe. They look down on Karrie and think she must have tricked him into leaving her everything and want it stopped. The fact that they’re all well off and living comfortably doesn’t even seem to enter their heads! Greed rears its’ ugly head!

I loved the portrayal of the different character types in this novel! In Karrie you had someone who has had a genuinely tough life, but find happiness in caring for others, always putting them first over her own needs. And the characteristics of the Kershaw children showed what’s wrong with some in society – the ‘me first’ attitude and entitlement is staggering! And they’re not even afraid to badmouth members of their own family to get their own way!!

The more time Rafe spends with Karrie, he begins to see a different side to people that he normally hangs round with, and how there are ‘normal’ people out there genuinely interested in others and having no malice in their bones! It was great to see his eyes being opened to decent human behaviour, other than the fakeness he’d seen in the Reality TV show world he found himself living in.

I loved this story. It’s one of those that you totally lose yourself in and seeing how money brings out the worst in people just makes you cringe! The shock twists along the way add to the drama as well, but no spoilers from me!! A cracking read!!

★★★★★

#BookReview DEATH AT FRIAR’S INN by ROB KEELEY

ABOUT THE BOOK

Dinner at an Inn of Court takes an unusual turn when a corpse falls onto the Benchers’ Table. A battleaxe and a rubber glove are found at the scene. A trophy has been stolen. But who could have wanted the Porter dead – and why?

Aspiring barristers Tom and Becca set out to investigate. But another murder isn’t far away…

Rob Keeley is an established award-winning author of children’s novels, short stories and picture books, including the Spirits series. Other credits include the award-listed stage play Mr. Everyone, and Chain Gang and Newsjack for BBC Radio. Death At Friar’s Inn is his first novel for adults and draws on his own experiences training as a barrister

PUBLISHED BY TROUBADOR PUBLISHING

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

AUTHOR WEBSITE –

 https://www.robkeeley.co.uk/

MY REVIEW

Considering this is only 107 pages long, I’m shocked at just how much was packed into this gripping little crime mystery! It was one of those stories that I found to be immediately appealing with the action and mystery happening from the get go!

Tom is an aspiring barrister, eager to please and a little unsure of his own abilities. He wants to do things the right way and his introduction to early lawyer life is a lot to live up to with traditions to follow and expectations to live up to. He and his fellow lawyers are thrown in at the deep end with a mock trial which introduces you to a lot of lawyer talk and banter but doesn’t overwhelm and seems easy to pick up and assimilate you to the world of the law!

Things start to heat up when a death occurs at a big gathering of lawyers attending a meal – you’d have thought things would have been safe amongst your ‘own kind’! But that sets Tom on a mission to try and solve the case – it feels like Cluedo at some points as he collects clues and tries to make sense of them all!

There are enough red herrings and twists to throw you off track as a reader as to the identity of the killer and I really loved how well that worked as the more that evidence was piled up, the more you began to doubt even your own conclusions! The reveal shocked me that’s for sure!!

The pace of the story was really well worked, and the characters were people I found myself interested in while following them on their journey into a new career… just not quite the start to their career that I’m sure they expected!! Great stuff!!

★★★★★

#GuestPost KEEPING UP WITH THE KERSHAWS by HELEN BUCKLEY #Extract @ChocLituk @HelenCBuckley

So happy to be with you today to share an exclusive extract from the rather fabulous KEEPING UP WITH THE KERSHAWS by HELEN BUCKLEY, which was released yesterday. If you’ve not got your copy, WHY NOT?!!!  Go grab yours now! You will not be disappointed!! I promise!! 

Over to Helen with the exclusive extract for you to enjoy!!

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Exclusive Extract: Keeping Up with the Kershaws by Helen Buckley

Yesterday Helen Buckley celebrated the release of her fourth book with Choc Lit, Keeping up with the Kershaws – the Kershaws being a family with so much drama they could give the Kardashians a run for their money! Are you ready to meet ruthless ice queen Portia, master manipulator Gabriel, Botox fanatic Arabella, and ladies’ man Rafe, as well as poor Karrie Morgan, the devoted carer to the Kershaws’ father, who has to put up with them all? Read this extract and see if you can resist finding out what happens next …

From: Keeping Up with the Kershaws by Helen Buckley

Karrie

Karrie knocked gently on the heavy oak door. She traced the whorls of the wood with her fingertips as she waited for a reply. It often took Harold a moment to respond when he was taking his afternoon rest, and she didn’t want to rush him.

The balmy summer air breezed in from the open windows where the hallway overlooked the gardens. Karrie breathed in the scent of the grass, freshly mown that morning by the gardener. The birds were in fine voice as they serenaded the sky, an endless cornflower blue without a cloud in sight. It was the most beautiful July day and Karrie hoped Harold might like to go for a stroll in the gardens that afternoon.

Karrie rested her fingers on the door and nudged it open a little way.

‘Harold?’ she called softly. ‘It’s 4 p.m. I’ve got your tea.’

The room remained silent and dark. Karrie pushed the door open further, feeling invasive, but knowing Harold prized his routine and would need his medication soon.

She could make out a rumpled figure on the bed, seemingly undisturbed by her entrance. She went to the window and opened the heavy curtains halfway to allow the sunshine to permeate the dark cool air, and turned to Harold. The world-renowned antiquities expert lay still and quiet, curled up on top of the covers.

Karrie paused, her eyes tracing his features, taking in the slack jaw and the waxy skin, a wan pallor unusual even for a man who hated the sun. Her chest tightened and her breathing became shallow as she knew instinctively that something was very wrong. She put a hand to her mouth and tried to will herself to move forwards, but her feet wouldn’t budge.

She wanted to cry out and she opened her mouth, but she couldn’t make any sound. Instead she heaved a ragged gasp, dropping onto her knees, knowing that there was nothing to be done, knowing that from this moment on her world would be very different.

It was quite clear to Karrie that Harold Kershaw was dead.

Rafe

Rafe scowled with annoyance as his phone rang. The jarring ringtone, which he kept meaning to change, completely disrupted his focus on his eyebrows, which needed some work before his club appearance that evening. He needed to finish getting ready and he wasn’t in the mood for chit-chat.

He glanced over at the phone to see his sister’s name flashing at him, the persistent shrill ringing as irritating as seeing her name on the screen. Rafe carried on tweezing. Portia could wait.

He sighed with relief when the phone fell silent, only for it to start ringing again almost immediately. He frowned at it and set down his tweezers with a groan of frustration. He checked his appearance in the mirror, neatened a stray hair or two, and swiped the phone off the table, stabbing at the answer button.

‘Portia, I’m just in the middle of something …’ he began, but his eldest sister’s voice cut him off before he could make an excuse for dodging her calls.

‘Daddy’s dead,’ Portia announced. Though the words she said were far from ordinary, she spoke in her usual icy tone, devoid of emotion, and entirely brusque. Despite her voice being instantly recognisable, Rafe still wondered if this was a prank call, so unbelievable were the words she had just said.

‘Wait, what?’ he said. He must have heard her wrong.

Portia sighed and he could imagine her tapping her immaculate nails impatiently on the nearest hard surface.

‘Daddy’s dead,’ she repeated.

‘He’s dead,’ Rafe repeated dully.

‘Yes, that’s what I said. Dead.’

‘How? When?’ Rafe sat down on the bed, the energy draining from his legs as the news began to sink in. His chest felt heavy as he tried to take a deep breath, but all he could manage was a shallow gasp.

‘He passed away this afternoon, while he was taking his nap,’ Portia said. ‘Apparently it wasn’t painful.’

Rafe detected a slight softening in her voice as she said it. Even Portia wasn’t made entirely of stone, he thought, despite being known for her flinty nature.

‘That’s good,’ he said. The words sounded flat and odd to him, the lack of emotion in his voice not reflecting the turmoil in his head where all his thoughts were suddenly entangled with so many memories. He put a hand to his mouth as a powerful wave of sadness crashed over him, and he swallowed hard against the lump in his throat.

‘What happens now?’ he asked, knowing Portia and Gabriel would sort everything. Although he had suffered under their authoritative and manipulative dominion when he was younger, in some ways it was a relief knowing that his two eldest siblings would have everything under control at a time like this. He didn’t need, and wasn’t expected, to take responsibility. They would never have let him anyway.

‘We’re going to start making funeral arrangements. I’ll text you the details of when to come to the house to meet,’ Portia said, as if she were discussing a business meeting and this were merely a work call rather than a family tragedy. She hung up before Rafe could reply.

He sat for a moment, his hands twisting in the sheets, trying to remember the last time he had seen his dad. He felt a chill shiver of shame run through him when he realised it had been over six months ago, at Christmas. Since then he had been too busy wrapping up filming the latest series of Raised in Richmond and trying to find other projects, to visit his elderly father.

He flopped backwards onto the bed and lay down with a heavy sigh. He would have to cancel his club appearance tonight, he thought; a shame as he was really desperate for a drink right now. He reached out to the bedside table, where a glass stood with a double Scotch he had poured sometime last night and fallen asleep before drinking. It would do for this moment when he didn’t want to move off the bed. He extended his arm and grabbed the glass, tipping the tepid amber liquid down his throat with a single flick of his wrist.

He closed his eyes for a moment and thought back to Christmas, remembering how his dad’s hazel eyes, misty with cataracts, had been brightened by the candles and the Christmas lights. Rafe scrolled through the photos on his phone, looking for photos of them together, but there weren’t any recent ones. The last one he had was from two years ago at a garden party, when Raised in Richmond had the best ratings it had ever had, and his engagement to Megara was all over the magazines. He and his dad were standing side by side, clinking a glass. His dad’s usual solemn expression was lightened, a real pleasure sparkling in his eyes. Rafe would have liked to think that his dad’s joyful look was to do with the success of Raised in Richmond, but he knew that was unlikely. His dad’s happiness that day was caused by the success of his fundraiser, and not anything that Rafe had achieved.

He clicked on the photo and uploaded it to Instagram to share with his 900,000 followers, carefully choosing the best filter, cropping out a little of the background so he and his dad were framed exactly in the centre of the image.

#RIPdad. He typed the caption, and pressed Share. He waited for the inevitable slew of likes and comments and buried his face in his pillow to allow his grief to finally take hold.

© Helen Buckley

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About the Book:

What do you do when your life becomes more dramatic than reality TV?

As the devoted carer for famous antique expert Harold Kershaw, Karrie Morgan was always happy to keep a professional distance from his four spoilt grown-up children, who rarely made time for their father. But then a surprise involving Harold’s Will means Karrie is flung headlong into a press scandal, and into the chaotic world of the surviving Kershaws.

With the support of her trusted childhood friend Andrew, mild-mannered Karrie must face down ruthless ice queen Portia, master manipulator Gabriel, Botox fanatic Arabella, and ladies’ man Rafe, star of reality TV show Raised in Richmond … although perhaps not as fake and flashy as he initially seems?

As vicious rumours circulate and Karrie’s past comes back to haunt her, she struggles to know who to trust. Can she keep up with the Kershaws’ schemes?

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3NkarLM

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3wyer5n 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3LjiQ0d 

Nook: https://bit.ly/3DasoYi

About the Author: 

Helen Buckley lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and two sons. After working in the charity sector in the UK and abroad, she turned her hand to writing and her first novel, Star in the Shadows, was published in 2019. She writes any moment that she can, enthralled by stories of fame, romance and happy ever afters. Apart from being addicted to writing and enjoying soft play with her sons, she’s an avid reader, action-movie fan and chocolate addict.

Find out more about Helen here:

https://www.facebook.com/Helenbuckleyauthor

https://www.instagram.com/helencatherinebuckley/

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#BlogTour THE GREEN INDIAN PROBLEM by JADE LEAF WILLETTS #BookReview @renardpress @jade_leaf_w

Delighted to be with you today for my turn on the Blog Tour for the wonderful THE GREEN INDIAN PROBLEM by JADE LEAF WILLETTS.

My thanks to the author, and publisher for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Green Indian Problem by Jade Leaf Willetts

ISBN: 9781913724528

Paperback • 208pp • £10

30th March 2022

Set in the valleys of South Wales at the tail end of Thatcher’s Britain, The Green Indian Problem is the story of Green, a seven year-old with intelligence beyond his years – an ordinary boy with an extraordinary problem: everyone thinks he’s a girl.

Green sets out to try and solve the mystery of his identity, but other issues keep cropping up – God, Father Christmas, cancer – and one day his best friend goes missing, leaving a rift in the community and even more unanswered questions. Dealing with deep themes of friendship, identity, child abuse and grief, The Green Indian Problem is, at heart, an all-too-real story of a young boy trying to find out why he’s not like the other boys in his class.

Longlisted for the Bridport Prize (in the Peggy Chapman-Andrews category)

Jade Leaf Willetts is a writer from Llanbradach, a strange, beautiful village in South Wales. He writes about extraordinary characters in ordinary worlds and has a penchant for unreliable narrators. The Green Indian Problem, his first novel, was longlisted for the 2020 Bridport Prize in the Peggy Chapman-Andrews category. Jade’s poetry has been published by Empty Mirror, PoV Magazine and Unknown Press. His short story, ‘An Aversion to Popular Amusements’ was shortlisted for the inaugural Janus Literary Prize. He is currently working on a coming of age follow-up to The Green Indian Problem.

Resource links:

Author’s website: https://jadeleafwilletts.com 

Purchase links:

Renard Press: https://renardpress.com/books/the-green-indian-problem/

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-green-indian-problem/j-l-willetts/9781913724528 

Bookshop.org: https://uk.bookshop.org/books/the-green-indian-problem/9781913724528 


Blackwells: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/The-Green-Indian-Problem-by-J-L-Willetts-author/9781913724528

MY REVIEW

Don’t you just love it when you discover a character that you take to your heart immediately?! That is what happened when I started reading the story of Green – a 7 year old boy who is very very smart, but disappointed by those around him who think he’s a girl!  He just wants to discover who he is and that isn’t easy when society keeps pushing you in a direction where you don’t feel comfortable.

Green is a switched on little boy, and  a typical kid who questions everything. He wants answers and he isn’t afraid to ask questions.  His parents live apart and he has a strong dislike for Dennis, the boyfriend of  his mum as he sees the way he treats her and knows it is very wrong. 

While Green is dealing with home issues, he’s also dealing with pressures at school and all that society throws his way expecting him to be someone he isn’t.  Set amongst the backdrop of the 80’s, I loved all the retro references and it really sets the scene perfectly.   And anyone who loves Ghostbusters is fine by me!!

When his best friend from school goes missing, Green is plunged into a dark time in his life where he just wants to find out the truth of what happened and uses his inquisitive mind to good use to get some answers and you just can’t help but be swept along with the gusto of this gutsy little boy who just wants to be himself and be accepted.

This was just an utter delight to read and really made you feel so protective towards Green.  He sees the world in very simple terms and makes you wish that more people could see things his way!!  Wonderful!

★★★★★

#GuestPost IT’S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL by BERNI STEVENS #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @Berni_Stevens1

Hello and welcome!! Happy Tuesday and also Happy Publication Day to the fabulous BERNI STEVENS for the release of IT’S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL!!!

And to celebrate that fact, I’m handing over the blog to her today so she can share an excerpt from the book with you… and then you can rush out and buy yourself a copy as it’s another wonderful book from her!!

Over to you Berni….

Exclusive Release Day Extract: It’s Only Rock and Roll by Berni Stevens

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in a relationship with an internationally famous rock star? Would you travel with him? Or would you stay at home, following your own career path? Can you even imagine what it must be like going to every social occasion alone, because your man’s away on the other side of the world?

How fragile the balance within the band must be sometimes, and how easily it can all go horribly wrong. Everything could collapse in a drumbeat if that balance is upset.

There’s the soaring egos amongst the band’s main personnel, the competition and the jealousies, and then there’s the girlfriends and wives …

Here’s a couple of sneaky peeks at the book, firstly when Izzy and Seth arrive in Adelaide for the final leg of the tour before everyone enjoys a few weeks’ holiday, followed by Izzy’s arrival at Seth’s beautiful country pile in Sussex …

I hope you enjoy them.

Berni x

From: It’s Only Rock and Roll by Berni Stevens

Seth cast a cursory look over their cases and nodded.

‘All there,’ he said.

One less thing to worry about. Their luggage had arrived safely with them in Adelaide and not careered off to Bangkok.

Zach was indeed waiting with Anna in Arrivals, standing with a bunch of other drivers all holding up notices. Zach’s said: Mr Rock God and his lovely lady. Seth laughed aloud when he saw it, and Izzy, in spite of the weird feeling that she’d somehow landed on a different planet, joined in.

‘Hey man, how’s it going?’ He shook hands with Zach and dropped a kiss on Anna’s cheek. ‘How’s my second favourite girl?’

‘Good to have you back,’ said Zach. ‘Really.’

‘Sounds ominous.’ Seth shot him a look.

‘Nothing you can’t sort,’ said Zach quickly. ‘The odious Sophie arrived a couple of days ago.’

Seth rolled his eyes. ‘Now I know it’s ominous.’

‘Sophie?’ Izzy looked at Anna, fearing Sophie might be another Gracie, and, to be honest, one of those was enough for any one lifetime. Gracie was one of Seth’s ex-girlfriends – demanding, jealous and verging on stalker-like.

‘The love of Jonno’s life – apparently,’ said Anna. ‘Interfering and really annoying – just like the woman in Spinal Tap.’

‘I’m betting Iz has never seen Spinal Tap,’ said Seth with a grin. He raised his eyebrows at Izzy in question.

‘Sounds like an affliction,’ muttered Izzy.

‘In all the years I’ve worked for the band, I’ve never ever known Gina and Caz to argue. They’re like twin sisters, but the moment she arrived, they’ve been arguing,’ said Anna with a sigh.

Seth frowned. ‘Over what?’

‘Sophie “borrowed” Caz’s personal mic, so she could sing Jonno’s track yesterday. Without asking I might add, and her voice is bloody awful. When challenged, she told Caz that Gina said she could use it, so it was Gina who got yelled at.’

Izzy didn’t know much about band politics, but even she knew personal equipment was just that – personal.

‘What fun she’s having,’ said Seth grimly.

***

The gates clanged shut behind her, and she drove up towards the property. The beautiful red-brick Tudor house came into view after the first bend in the drive. She remembered the first time he’d brought her here, and it did feel strange to just turn up without him. Almost voyeuristic. He must trust me implicitly to allow me to come here, she thought. The London flat was one thing, but this was his special place: his retreat from the mad world of rock and roll. And yet he’d allowed her in without any doubts at all, it appeared.

Unsure where she should park, Izzy followed the sweeping drive round to the back of the house, to the big wooden door she knew opened on to his very impressive kitchen – the kitchen nobody ever cooked in. A gunmetal coloured VW Golf was parked under the trees opposite the back door, so Izzy parked next to it, wondering who it belonged to. She got out of her car and stretched, feeling the need to walk off the hours spent driving.

The back door opened, and a sturdy-looking woman with grey-streaked brown hair pulled back in a severe bun stepped out.

‘You Isabelle?’ she called.

‘That’s me,’ said Izzy.

‘I’m Sarah, Seth’s housekeeper.’

Another housekeeper. Izzy really hoped she didn’t live in.

‘Hello, Sarah,’ she said, hauling her case out of the boot. ‘How’s everything?’

‘Quiet with Seth away,’ Sarah replied with a quick survey of Izzy’s belongings. ‘How long are you here for?’

‘I’m not sure yet.’ Suddenly Izzy didn’t feel very welcome.

‘I don’t cook,’ Sarah continued. ‘You’ll have to fend for yourself. And I don’t clean either. I’m only here now to see you in.’

‘Fair enough,’ said Izzy, wondering what, in fact, she did do. ‘I’ve brought supplies, and I’ll be visiting my family a fair bit too.’

‘Couldn’t stay with them then?’

Izzy hid an inward sigh. This woman would take some winning over, it seemed.

‘I could have, yes,’ was all she said. She continued pulling bags of supermarket shopping out of the boot, and her laptop bag, but decided to leave her wellies where they were. Something told her she shouldn’t appear to be moving in to this territorial woman. Slamming the boot shut, she locked the car and began taking her stuff into the kitchen. Sarah made no attempt to help, just continued standing in the wide doorway with her arms folded, so Izzy had to say ‘excuse me’ every time she wanted to get by.

‘There’s no milk either,’ she said, seemingly as a last ditch attempt to rattle Izzy.

‘I brought some,’ said Izzy abruptly, wishing the woman would just go home.

‘Or tea,’ she continued.

‘Don’t drink it,’ said Izzy, almost beginning to enjoy the exchange now.

‘Or coffee.’

Izzy burst out laughing. She couldn’t help it. What was her problem?

© Berni Stevens

About the Book:

Is the rock and roll lifestyle all it’s cracked up to be?

Being the girlfriend of a rock star isn’t all glitz and glamour – at least that’s what Izzy Grant has found since she started dating Seth Roberts of Scarlet Gryphon fame; it’s actually a lot of waiting and wondering and worrying as Seth travels the world whilst she’s stuck in London. Can she ever rely on Mr Cool to settle down?

But rock gods get insecure too, and whilst Seth is jetting off to far-flung locations to perform sold-out shows, he worries that Izzy will find a “Joe Normal” and opt for a more ordinary life. Plus, he could do with some support when a certain entitled rock star girlfriend gets too big for her Jimmy Choos and threatens to break up the band.

There is a solution, but are either of them willing to take the plunge?

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3q6cE3r 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3taumEU

 Apple Books: https://apple.co/3IfN5Df 

Nook: https://bit.ly/3KMLs1C

About the Author: 

Berni Stevens lives in a four-hundred-year-old cottage in Hertfordshire, England, with her husband, son and black cat. She trained in graphic design and has worked as a book cover designer for more than twenty years.

Books and art remain her passion, and her love of the paranormal began when she first read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, aged fourteen. She is now on both the committee and the book panel of the Dracula Society, a society for fans of gothic literature and film.

Berni writes contemporary and fantasy romance.

Find out more about Berni here:

https://www.instagram.com/berni.stevens.5/

https://www.facebook.com/berni.stevens.5/

#BookReview THE THOUSAND EYES by A.K.LARKWOOD #TheThousandEyes

ABOUT THE BOOK

The sequel to A. K. Larkwood’s stunning debut fantasy, The Unspoken NameThe Thousand Eyes continues The Serpent Gates series–perfect for fans of Jenn Lyons, Joe Abercrombie, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Two years ago, Csorwe and Shuthmili defied the wizard Belthandros Sethennai and stole his gauntlets. The gauntlets have made Shuthmili extraordinarily powerful, but they’re beginning to take a sinister toll on her. She and Csorwe travel to a distant world to discover how to use the gauntlets safely, but when an old enemy arrives on the scene, Shuthmili finds herself torn between clinging to her humanity and embracing eldritch power.

Meanwhile, Tal Charossa returns to Tlaanthothe to find that Sethennai has gone missing. As well as being a wizard of unimaginable power, Sethennai is Tal’s old boss and former lover, and Tal wants nothing to do with him. When a magical catastrophe befalls the city, Tal tries to run rather than face his past, but soon learns that something even worse may lurk in the future. Throughout the worlds of the Echo Maze, fragments of an undead goddess begin to awaken, and not all confrontations can be put off forever…

 PUBLISHED BY TOR BOOKS


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon


Blackwell’s  £12.99


MY REVIEW

This was a fitting end to an exciting duology and what a journey we’ve been on in the 2 books!! Thankfully there was a little refresh at the start of this book to help me get back on track with the characters, so it all came back to me and the story hits the ground running and doesn’t really let up until that final page!It’s 2 years on since the last book and life for Csorwe and Shuthmili still finding ways to earn a living with tomb raiding being their favourite way! but that also throws up a discovery that changes their lives – yet again! – and lets the story take you on a completely different journey to what you were expecting. The twists and turns again are epic and that’s all I can say about them! But they work! They don’t take away from the character dynamics, but allows growth and because you grow so attached to these characters it also becomes quite emotional, especially with all the drama they are to face.

Tal was great again in this book especially the banter with Csorwe and you just felt like you were among friends as the characters have been so well fleshed out over these 2 books.

It flows really well, never lulls in action or snark, and I will miss the world created and the characters that inhabit it!!

★★★★

my thanks to Tor Books and Black Crow PR for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review.