#BlogTour The Power of Dog by Andrew Marshall #BookReview

                                          ‘Wonderfully comforting’ Guardian

On the eve of the millennium, the life of therapist and best-selling self-help author Andrew Marshall was in a dark place. Despite trying three different therapists, counselling had not shifted the grief from the death of his much-loved partner, his career as journalist had reached a dead end and he was struggling with low-level depression. So Andrew sought an alternative solution in the form of Flash the puppy.

In this funny and moving memoir, he chronicles not only the ups and downs of training an excitable puppy, but how Flash helped Andrew to laugh again and finally heal old wounds.

 

Published 12th July 2018

Publisher Red Door Publishing

 

About the Author

Andrew Marshall has written seventeen self-help books – as Andrew G. Marshall – including the international best-seller I love you but I’m not in love with you. His work has been translated into twenty different languages and he still writes for the Mail on SundayDaily Mail and Daily Telegraph. This is the first time he’s written about himself.

 

MY REVIEW

As a pet owner myself, I know of the huge impact that even the smallest animal can have on your life. And in this book the author shows only too well of how they can heal a broken heart.  After the devastating death of his partner, Andrew was feeling very lost and lonely and wasn’t coping well coming home to an empty home.  As a child he’d always dreamed of owing a dog, but his parents never felt it was the ‘right time’ and after spending some time dog sitting for a friend he decided to take the plunge and get a puppy – meet Flash! He then writes a diary of his life as a pet owner!

I loved the honesty of his writing and also he writes with such affection that you feel you are going through the early days of puppy training with him! It is clear that he adores Flash and cherishes all their time together, but he also isn’t afraid of sharing the  moments when it doesn’t all go to plan – house training is a particular issue that takes a while to get right!

It also looks back on his time with his partner and how he’s dealing with the grief he still feels.  Having also read My Mourning Year, which chronicles his life with Thom, dealing with his illness and death and how he deals – or doesn’t! – with the grieving process – this follow up gives a great insight into his life and how he’s moving on.

This was such an easy book to read and so easy to relate to.  It explores that bond between owners and their pets, how it opens up new avenues and opportunities for meeting new people and even helps bring people back into your life.  He learns so much from his life as a dog owner and I think as a pet owner in general you tend to see things from a different perspective.

I had tears in my eyes by the end as it sensitively deals with the time that every pet owner dreads of doing what is right for the pet, even if you aren’t ready yourself and I found reading this book to be a very positive and rewarding experience!

🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶

Please check out the other stops on the Blog Tour for more reviews, excerpts and information about this memorable book!

Advertisement

#BlogTour Summer at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green #BookReview

summerduck

A huge delight for me today to be able to share my thoughts and love for this fantastic book, so my thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachels Random Resources for letting me be part of it all!

Here’s some more information about the book for you all to enjoy!

summercover

Jaz Winters stuck a pin in a map and fled to the village of Sunnybrook, looking for a brand new life – and after a rocky start, it’s beginning to look as if she made the right decision. Her blossoming friendship with Ellie and Fen has seen her through some dark times, and she’s managed to land two jobs – waitress at The Little Duck Pond Café and working as a weekend tour guide at Brambleberry Manor, the country house that’s been in Fen’s family for generations. 

Sure, life isn’t totally perfect. There’s the irritating know-it-all guy who keeps popping up on her manor tours, for a start. He seems determined to get under Jaz’s skin whether she likes it or not. But she supposes it’s a small price to pay for the relative peace she’s found, living in Sunnybrook. 

But just as Jaz is beginning to think rosier times are on the horizon, a shock encounter looks set to shatter her fragile happiness. 

Will she be forced to flee from Sunnybrook and everyone she’s grown so fond of? Or will she find the strength to stand her ground and finally face up to the nightmares of the past? 

This novella is part of a trilogy: 

Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café 

Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café 

Winter at The Little Duck Pond Café 

Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-Little-Duck-Pond-Cafe-ebook/dp/B07C5CL9XF/ 

About the Author

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love. 

Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café, published on 18th June 2018, follows the first in the series, Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café. 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green1988 

MY REVIEW

This is the 2nd in the series of 3 short stories that centres around the lives of those around the Little Duck Pond Cafe – if you haven’t read the first Spring at the Little Duck Pond Cafe – then worry not as this can be read as a standalone, but I have to say my enjoyment of this was increased by having read the first as it was just so wonderful to reconnect with the characters we were introduced to in that book.

This story features Jaz and her story of how she came to work at the cafe, and it isn’t a pleasant story as she’s had to leave those she loved behind so it’s very easy to connect with her as a character as she’s so torn about her decision. She knows it was the right thing to do, but the past won’t let her go so she’s looking for a way to make things right on that front too.

Her life with Grant and his 8 year old daughter was far from perfect, but she’d built up a huge bond with Titch so it was such a wrench when she had to leave especially as Grant was not in a great state of mind due to his addictions.  But Jaz knew she made the right decision and is doing her best to make a new life for herself in Sunnybrook.

It was so nice to see the story of the cafe from another perspective and she is embraced into the community really quickly and that helps her settle in, despite missing Titch terribly.  She also begins to form a very cute friendship with Harry, a local photographer, who is such a cheeky chappy and is always around to tease Jaz when she keeps refusing to have her photo taken at various community events.

I really enjoyed the mix of the funny and more serious issues that this book features.  It is difficult to get that mix right, but the author managed it in a clever way and added a touch of realism by trying to deal with issues that face many people each day.  In Jaz she has a great character who isn’t afraid of hard work and of making tough decisions.

Really loved my time in Sunnybrook and I can’t wait for the next installment!!

                                                                    ☀☀☀☀☀

summerbanner

#Unboxing Ninja Book Box Summer Edition

Hello all!!  Time for another unboxing!! And this is a goodie!! The fabulous people at Ninja Book Box recently announced they were releasing a SUMMER READING EDITION themed around the idea of journeys!!  All the books chosen – 3 of them! – are from indie publishers and that’s always a big bonus for me! I love discovering new authors and publishers and this is a great way to get someone else to do the choosing for you – I have been known to be a  little indecisive at times in picking books, so any excuse for me to get someone else to do that for me and then I’m happy!!

So my parcel arrived this week and now I get to share with you the books that I’ve got to look forward to reading over the summer!  There are still a few boxes left on the website too at bargain prices I think so head there to order yours now if you like the look of the books too!!  Ninja Book Box Summer Edition

 

Signed bits too! Wahoo!!

Dust by Mark Thompson

Published by Red Door Publishing

“Early in life, my grandfather told me that only three things were certain: birth, death and time. And time only ticked one way; it went forward and never back. It came to be a recurring wish with me, the desire to turn back the clock, to undo what I had done. Always wishing for the impossible, my feet stuck firm in the molasses of the present, unable to shrug off decisions I had made and their unforeseen or disregarded consequences.”

J.J. Walsh and Tony ‘El Greco’ Papadakis are inseparable. Smoking Kents out on an abandoned cannery dock, and watching gulls sway on rusting buoys in the sea, they dream of adventure…a time when they can act as adults. The day they’ll see the mighty Pacific Ocean.

Set in small-town New Jersey in the 1960s, against the backdrop of the Vietnam war, Dust follows the boys through the dry heat of a formative summer. They face religious piety and its murderous consequences, alcohol, girls, sex, loss, tragedy and ultimately the tiny things that combine to make life what it is for the two friends – a great adventure.

But it’s a road trip through the heart of southern America with J.J.’s father that truly reveals a darker side to life – the two halves of a divided nation, where wealth, poverty and racial bigotry collide. This beautifully written debut novel would not be out of place alongside the work of Steinbeck and Philipp Meyer’s American Rust.

At turns funny, and at others heart-achingly sad, their story unfolds around the honest and frequently irreverent observations of two young people trying to grow up fast in a world that is at times confusing, and at others seen with a clarity only the young may possess.

THE RED BEACH HUT BY LYNN MICHELL

Published by Linen Press

“Their eyes met and locked. Pulling his hand from his pocket, Neville waved. Once.”

Eight year old Neville is the first to notice that the red beach hut is occupied again.

Abbott, panicked by what he believes is a homophobic cyber attack, is on the run. The hut is his refuge and shelter.

Inevitably man and boy collide. Their fleeting friendship is poignant, honest and healing. But Abbot’s past threatens to tear him away, as others watch and self-interpret what they see.

An evocative portrayal of two outsiders who find companionship on a lonely beach, Lynn Michell’s novel is about the labels we give people who are different, and the harm that ensues. 

THE LAST PILOT BY BENJAMIN JOHNCOCK

Published by Myriad

“Harrison sat very still. On the screen was the surface of the moon.”

Jim Harrison is a test pilot in the United States Air Force, one of the exalted few. He spends his days cheating death in the skies above the Mojave Desert and his nights at his friend Pancho’s bar, often with his wife, Grace. She and Harrison are secretly desperate for a child-and when, against all odds, Grace learns that she is pregnant, the two are overcome with joy.

While America becomes swept up in the fervor of the Space Race, Harrison turns his attention home, passing up the chance to become an astronaut to welcome his daughter, Florence, into the world. Together, he and Grace confront the thrills and challenges of raising a child head-on. Fatherhood is different than flying planes-less controlled, more anxious-however the pleasures of watching Florence grow are incomparable. But when his family is faced with a sudden and inexplicable tragedy, Harrison’s instincts as a father and a pilot are put to test. As a pilot, he feels compelled to lead them through it-and as a father, he fears that he has fallen short.

The aftermath will haunt the Harrisons and strain their marriage as Jim struggles under the weight of his decisions. Beginning when the dust of the Second World War has only just begun to settle and rushing onward into the Sixties, Benjamin Johncock traces the path of this young couple as they are uprooted by events much larger than themselves. The turns the Harrisons take together are at once astonishing and recognizable; their journey, both frightening and full of hope. Set against the backdrop of one of the most emotionally charged periods in American history, The Last Pilot is a mesmerizing debut novel of loss and finding courage in the face of it from an extraordinary new talent.

☀☼☀☼☀

so 3 very different books for me to look forward to – have you read any of these? Looking for help in choosing which one to pick up first!

My bookish weekly wrap up – week 26 2018

Hello all!!  We have made it to the halfway point in 2018 – how scary is that??!!  And another week of hot and sunny weather here in the UK! This should be a good thing  but when it’s TOO hot to do anything what is the point?!!  At least the heat seems to have brought the butterflies to life in the garden so I’m pleased to see those! If only they’d all sit nicely on my flowers and pose for me more often!!

On the book front I have big news to share……..7 days into July and ZERO books have been purchased!!!!!!!! That is right … ZERO!!!! Maybe this is a consequence of the heat?!  Or maybe I’ve just been extremely well behaved and realistic whilst looking at piles of unread books and realised I needed to show more control!!!  I’m sure this book buying blip won’t last very long but it’s a good start for the month!

On the reading front things are going well too! 5 books read this week! Falling a little behind on the reviews front though so need to sort that! The heat has scrambled my brain!!

There has been bookpost as I’ve been lucky to have won a few books – yay for the internet! – as well as a proof arriving and a subscription box too! So here’s a look back at my week!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Madonna of Bolton by Matt Cain  – 4 stars

Loved this fun and touching story of a boy who doesn’t fit in and his love affair with Madonna! Lots of fab retro mentions!

Old Baggage by Lissa Evans  – 5 stars

A fabulous story of Mattie and her fight to find meaning to life after being a suffragete.

The Light Between Us by Katie Khan  –  4 stars

Another enjoyable book with a sci-fi /time travel twist!

The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap  –  5 stars

Publication date – 6th August 2018

Loved this! The story of Nova who was blind but now can see after an operation and it’s made her life more complicated than ever!

Here comes the Best Man by Angela Britnell – 5 stars

Swoonsome story that I was lucky enough to read as a manuscript as part of the Choc Lit taste panel, and it’s full of all the feels!!

BOOK HAUL

Was a very happy bunny when I won this set via a Twitter giveaway last week! I have read the first in this series – Strange Magic – and loved that so am excited to read more of the Essex Witch Mysteries!

Strange Magic by Syd Moore

Strange Sight by Syd Moore

Strange Fascination by Syd Moore

And another win was this e-book via a Blog giveaway!

Just by Jenny Morton Potts

On golden Mediterranean sands, maverick doctor Scott Langbrook falls wrecklessly in love with his team leader, Fiyori Maziq. If only that was the extent of his falling, but Scott descends into the hellish clutches of someone much more sinister.

‘Just’ is a story of love and loss, of terror and triumph. Set in idyllic Cambridge and on the shores of the Med and Cornwall, our characters fight for their very lives on land and at sea.

An unforgettable novel which goes to the heart of our catastrophic times, and seeks salvation.

And this proof arrived ahead of a future blog tour!

The Unlikely Heroics of Sam Holloway by Rhys Thomas

Publication Date – 9th August 2018

A feel-good novel that will make you laugh and cry. The perfect book club read for fans of The Rosie Project, A Man Called Ove, and The Keeper of Lost Things . Charming, quirky, and bursting with heart.

Sam Holloway has survived the worst that life can throw at you. But he’s not really living. His meticulous routines keep everything nice and safe – with just one exception . . .

Three nights a week, Sam dons his superhero costume and patrols the streets. It makes him feel invincible – but his unlikely heroics are getting him into some sticky situations.

Then a girl comes along and starts to shatter the walls Sam has built around himself. Now, he needs to decide if he’s brave enough to take off the mask, and to confront the grief he’s been avoiding for so long . . .

Hilarious and heart-warming, this is a story about grief, loneliness, and the life-changing power of kindness.

CURRENTLY READING

THE POSSIBLE WORLD by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz

Reading this courtesy of The Pigeonhole app and I’m already in love!!! A stunning story so far!

Ben is the sole survivor of a crime that claims his mother and countless others. He is just six years old, and already he must find a new place for himself in the world.

Lucy, the doctor who tends to Ben, is grappling with a personal upheaval of her own. She feels a profound connection to the little boy who has lived through the unthinkable. Will recovering his memory heal him, or damage him further?

Clare has long believed that the lifetime of secrets she’s been keeping don’t matter to anyone anymore, until an unexpected encounter prompts her to tell her story.

As they each struggle to confront the events – past and present – that have defined their lives, something stronger than fate is working to bring them together…

The Summer Seaside Kitchen by Jenny Colgan

🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻

And how has your reading week been? Would love to hear about it in the comments below! Have you been good and not bought any books either?!

happy reading!!!

#BlogTour Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks #BookReview

Extremely delighted to be able to share my thoughts on this stunner of a book today as part of the Blog Tour. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for allowing me to be involved.

About the book

 Call of the Curlew is an exploration of loss, guilt and how the unresolved past can haunt you for a lifetime… Perfect for readers who enjoyed The Silent Companions, The Loney and The Essex Serpent

Virginia Wrathmell has always known she will meet her death on the marsh in reparation for the mistakes of her childhood.

On New Year’s Eve, at the age of eighty-six, Virginia feels the time has finally come.

In 1939, Virginia is ten, an orphan arriving to meet her new adoptive parents, Clem and Lorna Wrathmell, at their mysterious house, Salt Winds. The house sits right on the edge of a vast marsh, a beautiful but dangerous place. It’s the start of a new life for Virginia, but she quickly senses that all is not right between Clem and Lorna – in particular, the presence of their wealthy neighbour Max Deering, who takes an unhealthy interest in the family. When a German fighter plane crashes into the marsh, Clem ventures onto the deadly sands to rescue the airman. And that is when things really begin to go wrong…

Publisher   – Doubleday

Publication Date –       28th June 2018

FROM THE AUTHOR: “The location, Tollbury Marsh, came to me first, the story second. The marsh is a place on the edge of normal life, which seems flat and accessible to the uninitiated, but is actually full of dangers. I wanted to capture the strong and pervasive sense of place that I felt when reading The Woman in Black and Great Expectations.

ELIZABETH BROOKS grew up in Chester, and read Classics at Cambridge. She lives on the Isle of Man with her husband and children. Elizabeth describes herself as a “Brontë nerd”; Call of the Curlew is her homage to the immersive and evocative writing of Charlotte Brontë. @ManxWriter | #CalloftheCurlew

MY REVIEW

Wow! I wasn’t expecting that kind of book when I picked Call of the Curlew up! I knew it was going to be atmospheric and  haunting but I just didn’t expect it to be so chilling and have such a menacing atmosphere throughout – I loved it!  

I loved the way the story goes from now to then – all through the eyes of Virginia, a character you can’t fail to to empathize with.  From her start in life as an orphan who is thrust into a world with new parents, through to the now when she’s 86 and alone and preparing for the end and is haunted by things that have happened throughout her life as she looks back. And even when she thinks she’s seen the last of her past it has a way of showing up to haunt her one last time.

As a child it is clear she idolises her new ‘dad’ Clem, and they bond over the marshes and his life of wildlife.  As the war began to infringe on their quiet lives, it is also apparent that the marriage of Lorna and Clem isn’t as strong as it appeared to be.

I have also now discovered one of the most despicable characters in literature  – Mr Max Deering.  Even typing his name has my skin crawling and that is how I felt when reading about him whenever he was in the life of Virginia, Lorna and Clem – her adoptive parents.  There just seemed no escaping him no matter how hard they tried to rid themselves of him, and he was one of those people who always appeared to be a pillar of society in the company of others – a completely different beast if he happened to catch you alone….. repulsive!!

I was transfixed throughout this story as it was full of so much mystery and intrigue,and I even thought the ending was clever as it could be interpreted in many ways depending on your own assumptions and I really enjoyed that approach.  Some books look to wrap everything up nicely in a neat little package, and I’m glad this author chose a different way to deal with a complex story.  Amazing!!

#BookReview Pretend I’m Dead by Jen Beagin #PublicationDay

About the book

Jen Beagin’s brilliant, off-beat and deeply moving novel introduces an unforgettable character, Mona – almost twenty-four, emotionally adrift and cleaning houses to get by. Volunteering for a needle-exchange programme, she falls for a recipient she calls Mr Disgusting, who proceeds to break her heart in unimaginable ways.

In search of healing, Mona decamps to Taos, New Mexico, for a fresh start, where she finds a community of seekers and cast-offs, all of whom have one or two things to teach her – the pyjama-wearing, blissed-out New Agers, the slightly creepy client with peculiar tastes in controlled substances, the psychic who might really be psychic. But always lurking just beneath the surface are her memories of growing up in a chaotic, destructive family from which she’s trying to disentangle herself, and the crushing legacy of the past she left behind.

The story of Mona’s journey to find her place in the world is at once fearless and wonderfully strange, true to life and boldly human, and introduces a stunning, one-of-a-kind new voice in American fiction.

Published by OneWorld Publications

Publication Date – 5th July 2018

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   £12.99

Hive.co.uk  £9.95

Book Depository  £10.38

My Review

I found this to be a unique and cleverly written book about a young woman who is clearly struggling with finding meaning in her life, and begins to learn lots about herself and the world around her from the weirdly wonderful characters she meets along the way!

Mona is 24 and works as a cleaner. She is a dreamer, and will happily spend the time cleaning fantasizing about the lives of the people whose homes she is in, along with occasionally taking a sneaky peek at their belongings! She also volunteers at a needle exchange so meets a wide variety of people there – and ‘Mr Disgusting’ as she calls him is one such person she feels a connection to although she doesn’t know why. He is a very powerful character and Mona finds herself becoming willingly trapped in his world despite knowing the things she was doing wasn’t good for her.

When things don’t work out with him – thankfully – she finds herself in a new town with very different people around her and they take her under her wing and try and show her there is more to life than the ‘existing’ path she finds herself on. It’s a chance for a new start but isn’t sure how to let go of past behaviours!

Mona is such a fascinating character. She is awkward and emotionally adrift but isn’t backward in coming forward and given the start she had in life, you do understand why she has gone through life not connecting or feeling part of things. This is her discovery and it also gives you as a reader a way of looking at things from different perspectives. And how can you not love a character whose favourite pastime is vacuuming and has a collection of favourite vacuum cleaners that she even names!

I loved the quirky humour throughout – often crude but very funny! It was one of those books that I wasn’t expecting too much from but it surprised me with how much I wanted Mona to find her happy ending – whatever that may be – and how the new experiences she went on helped her grow and move on.

My thanks to the publisher for the copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

                                                  📷📷📷

#Unboxing Reading In Heels July Subscription Box #spoileralert

It’s that time of the  month again! The GOOD time of the month when the book subscription boxes start arriving in the mail once more!!  And one of my new favourites is from Reading In Heels who are wonders at choosing a fabulous new paperback to send your way, along with a few other treats – and all for £10 plus p&p!!!  Who can resist?! Not me!!! 

So if you haven’t signed up already, here’s a little look at the goodies that arrived in the mail for me yesterday!!

Gorgeous colour co-ordinated goodies galore!!! 

Kamila Shamsie – Home Fire

From an internationally acclaimed novelist, the suspenseful and heartbreaking story of a family ripped apart by secrets and driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences.

Practical-minded Isma has spent the years since her mother’s death watching out for her twin brother and sister in their North London home. When an invitation to grad school in America comes through unexpectedly, it brings the irresistible promise of freedom too long deferred. But even an ocean away, Isma can’t stop worrying about her beautiful, headstrong, politically inclined sister, Aneeka, and Parvaiz, their brother, who seems to be adrift—until suddenly he is half a globe away in Raqqa, trying to prove himself to the dark legacy of the father he never knew, with no road back.

Then Eamonn Lone enters the sisters’ lives. Son of a powerful political figure, he has his own birthright to live up to—or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The instrument of Parvaiz’s salvation? Suddenly, two families’ fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined.

Home Fire is a nuanced, searing, and exceedingly timely novel about love and loyalty, ideology and identity, what we choose to sacrifice for and why. With uncanny insight, Kamila Shamsie reflects our world back at us, dramatizing the complicated humanity behind the headlines. 

 Have heard so many amazing things about this book – mainly via YouTube and GoodReads – so delighted to finally have my mitts on a copy!

 Taylors of Harrogate Hot Java Lava

This coffee bag is a powerful, punchy coffee perfect for the mid-morning slump!  Think I’ll be putting this to very good use! 

Sweet Theatre Honeycomb Milk Chocolate

No better combination than books and chocolate and this  is a bar from Sweet Theatre – they make the chocolate bars you see in Theatres – and this is from a range inspired by William Shakespeare’s leading ladies! Yum!! 

 Phase Zero Liquid Lipstick

This is a luxury lipstick at factory prices – I like the sound of that!!  You can find more of the Phase Zero range at @LoveMeBeautyUK

And a rather cute and gorgeous little handbag mirror – the perfect size to take with us at all time!!

👠👠👠👠👠

Good value or not?!  Always like to hear your views on subscription boxes and if you’ve read this book too! Let me know what you think!

#BlogTour Arlette’s Story by Angela Barton #BookReview #Giveaway

ARLETTEBANNER

Hugely excited to be the latest stop on this wonderful Blog Tour.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel at Rachels Random Resources for letting me be part of the tour!  And not only is my review part of the stop today, there’s also a chance for you to win a stunning notebook!! So read on for more details!!

Arlette’s Story 

arlette

One woman’s struggle to fight back against the enemy in order to protect the ones she loves.
When Arlette Blaise sees a German plane fly over the family farm in 1940, she’s comforted by the fact that the occupying forces are far away in the north of the country. Surely the war will not reach her family in the idyllic French countryside near to the small town of Oradour-sur-Glane?

But then Saul Epstein, a young Jewish man driven from his home by the Nazis, arrives at the farm and Arlette begins to realise that her peaceful existence might be gone for good …

 Publisher Website – Ruby Fiction

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Kobo

iBooks

Google Books

About the author…

angela

Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children. Passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction, Angela loves researching for her books and is an avid reader. Having signed publishing contracts for three of her completed novels with Ruby Fiction, Angela is excited to be working alongside such a friendly and supportive publishing team. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Nottingham Writers’ Studio. 

Having recently moved to France, Angela (alongside her husband, Paul) is now a lavender farmer, creating products from the oil that’s distilled. Angela says she’s looking forward to spending more time writing in the company of her two spaniels while sitting on her veranda overlooking the breath-taking countryside of Charente.  

Social Media Links –    

Twitter – https://twitter.com/angebarton  

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/angela.barton3 

Blog – www.fontsandfiction.blogspot.co.uk 

MY REVIEW

A simply stunning cover and a beautifully written story of life in France during World War II for a French family and how their lives were changed by the events, and how they pulled together to survive despite the horrific things they witnessed and were subjected to.

Arlette is the main character and lives on the family farm in the South of the country, far away from where the real action of the War is taking place and they carry on as normal convinced the fighting won’t ever reach them. How wrong they can be.

Soon the effects of War begin to take hold with rationing and food shortages and although they try to provide everything they need on the farm it isn’t always possible, but they are helped by the appearance of a young Jewish man who begins to work on the farm and as Arlette spends more time with Saul, the more she falls for him.

Life gets considerably worse when the Germans arrive in the area and it was often heartbreaking to read the way they treated everyone, their brutality and the whole tragedy of the situation that innocent people found themselves enduring. Arlette went through so much but still found the strength to keep going no matter what and that was inspiring to read.

It was a tough read at times but sensitively dealt with and such a fascinating story that I strongly recommend.

Giveaway – Win a beautiful notebook (UK Only) 

notebook

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize. 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949498/

 

arlettetour

My favourite books of 2018 – so far!!

It’s the halfway point of the year already!!!  How freaking scary is that?!!  And what a year it has been so far especially on the bookish front!!  If the second half of the year is half as good as the first, then we’re in for a treat!  Big love to all the authors, publishers, booksellers etc for bringing so many wonderful stories our way!!  I know I may curse the book industry at times with the constant releases and my issue of wanting ALL THE BOOKS, but it is just wonderful to see the book world hasn’t been torn apart by e-readers, and if anything the sale of ‘real’ books just seems to go from strength to strength!!

I’ve found the first half of the year an amazing reading time for myself – at the start of the year I set myself the target of reading 150 books – I think that may be easily beaten as I’ve just checked my GoodReads stats – what would we do without GoodReads keeping score for us?! – and I’ve hit the 127 books read so far this year mark!! WAHOO!!!   Not sure I’ll be able to keep that pace up, although it would be nice and would help to clear the bookshelves a little, but I’ll give it a good go!

And with 127 books finished comes many that have blown my mind!  Made me cry! Made me laugh!  Had all the feels about! So I thought I’d just pick out 10 – I could easily have picked out many, many more! – of those books that have made an impression on me so far this year so I can share the book love with you all!  I am already dreading coming up with my final list of the year if creating this list was anything to go by!  

So here’s the 10 that made the cut! Click on the title for a link to my GoodReads review! They’re all 5 stars!!

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

The Parentations by Kate Mayfield

 

Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

                                                             

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

The Hoarder by Jess Kidd

Bookworm by Lucy Mangan

💖💖💖💖💖

I could have added so many more, but these ones just stood out a little more to me so far this year!  So what have been some of your favourite reads so far this year?! Would love to hear about them in the comments below!

HAPPY READING!!

#BlogTour The Optimist by Sophie Kipner #BookReview

Hello!  Delighted to be able to share my thoughts with you today on this fabulous new release from Sophie Kipner! My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne Cater of  Random Things Tours for letting me be part of this wonderful blog tour!  Here’s a little bit more info about the book…..

‘Hilarious . . . Kipner writes beautifully, is emotionally intelligent and has a keen eye for detail – the more absurd the better. The result is a different, occasionally deranged and always very clever read. I loved every minute.’ Daily Mail

Meet Tabitha Gray, a delusional girl from Topanga, California, who redefines what it means to be a truly hopeless romantic. Tabby suffers from an aggressive strain of cock-eyed optimism – no amount of failure, embarrassment or humiliation can dent her fierce belief that real, true, lasting love is just around the corner.

Where most people think, fantasize and dream, Tabby says, feels and does. Whether waiting in her lingerie for Harrison Ford to open the door of his hotel room; declaring her love, aged nine, for Ernesto the gardener; encountering Al Pacino in a Russian bathhouse; seeking passion with a blind man on the advice of a wise old woman with dementia at her grandmother’s home for the elderly; or sending intimate photos to a random sexter with an apparently charming dick, Tabby refuses to be crushed by her many misadventures. She has to keep believing, because if she gives up, what then? Ill-advisedly armed with the words of Dorothy Parker, Tabby knows that her own ferocious optimism is the only thing keeping her heart-sore, wine-swilling mother and cynical, single-mum sister from giving up on love altogether. She is their only hope. If Tabby can find love, then they too will believe…

In this warmly witty debut novel, Sophie Kipner takes a satirical look at the extremity of romantic desperation, and pays wry tribute to the deep human need to keep on heroically searching for love despite our manifold absurdities. 

 

Hardcover, 384 pages

Published May 18th 2017 by Unbound

Purchase Links

About the Author

Visual artist and author Sophie Kipner grew up in Topanga, CA. A graduate of the University of Southern California, she writes and illustrates her own stories, which have appeared in Kugelmass: A Journal of Literary Humor, Amy Ephron’s One for the Table, FORTH Magazine and The Big Jewel, and her artwork, most recently her series of blind contour portraits, DONTLIFTUPDONTLOOKDOWN, has been shown and sold internationally. She lives in Los Angeles, and The Optimist is her first novel.

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a book that makes you laugh out loud and  squirm with embarrassment, then this is the book for you! I have adored spending time in the company of Tabitha as she spends her life searching for love and no matter how many frogs she ends up kissing, she is convinced her prince charming is out there – and probably in the guise of a hollywood superstar… they just don’t know it yet!

Tabitha is such a fabulous and quirky character! She is down to earth, with her head in the clouds, living in her bubble world of seeing the positive in almost every situation and this book is her recollection of what she learns about herself from the dating situations she finds herself in on her quest for true love!  She isn’t afraid of negative experiences, and I think that comes from her growing up in a slightly messed up family and she is obsessed with happy endings, and she is just biding her time until she gets the fairytale ending she remembers reading about in her childhood.

There are a lot of uncompromising positions she finds herself in, and often a little crude at times – but very funny crude!  I found myself laughing so much, and often in shock at some of the embarrassing situations she finds herself in. But I just loved her frankness throughout!  She is happy being HER – she doesn’t want to be someone else and I think this book had the great message that life can be fun if you are YOU!  Don’t follow the crowd, don’t comform and do what makes you happy!

All the dating disasters she experiences are a great learning experience for her and helps her to clarify in her mind what she wants from her life and she isn’t afraid to take her time in finding out what is right for her!

I loved this fabulously funny debut from Sophie Kipner and will be eagerly awaiting more from this author as I loved her style of writing and the sense of humour!!

                                                      💋💋💋

optimistblogtour