Meet me at the Lighthouse by Mary Jayne Baker – Blog Tour – book review

THE BLURB

‘One of my top books of 2017… side-splittingly hilarious’ The Writing Garnet

’The day I turned 28, I bought a lighthouse and met the love of my life’

Bobbie Hannigan’s life in a cottage by the sea with her dog and her twin sister is perfectly fine … until she decides the logical thing is to buy a lighthouse and open a music venue with Ross Mason, the first boy she ever kissed.

Bobbie tries to be professional with Ross, but the happily-ever-after they’re working toward is too good to resist. That is until someone from his past crawls back to cause trouble. Can Bobbie look past the secrets Ross has been keeping from her? Or will the boy, the lighthouse and the dream all slip away?

Escape to the Yorkshire coast this summer with this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Mary Jayne Baker!

Publishers – Harper Impulse

Publication Date – 30th June 2017

Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

Where to begin with this book?! Other than I am now considering buying my own Lighthouse in the hope that it comes with a Ross of its’ own!!  All the love for this book  that has kept me so entertained while reading it, and I even kept the neighbours entertained with my giggling as I sat in the sunshine chortling along with the exploits and thoughts of Bobbie, her twin sister Jess and the lovely Ross!

Everything seems to happen at once for Bobbi and none of it planned too – who else ends up buying a Lighthouse on their 28th birthday for £1 and meeting up with an old flame from school!  But this sets her on a path slightly different from her life as a teacher and it just feels right!  The chance to go into business with Ross to restore the once glorious Cragport Victorian Lighthouse, proves too good a chance to turn down – although in the cold light of day their doubts do start to sink in!! When are drunken decisions ever the right ones?!

But they both have an inner drive brought on my previous experiences and that helps them focus, along with the help of the community and it is a blast to see everyone come together to try and see their dreams through, although the road isn’t always a smooth one!

The characters in this book were all so charming and they were also hilarious!  The collective noun for a group of seagulls is now forever ingrained in my brain…..and it will be in yours too when you read it!!

It isn’t all fun and games as there are many times they are left to deal with jealousy and trust issues due to things that have happened in their pasts and this adds an intriguing element to the story.

I adored the setting, the various plot lines played along so nicely and at a great pace, and it was just a total delight of a read and I’m just hoping that there might be more to come from the Lighthouse in future!!

Thank you to Harper Impulse for the ARC of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!

Welcome to another Friday!! Hope we are all in one piece still and looking forward to another, hopefully, sunny weekend with lots of bookish adventures in store!

Been a mixed week for me personally with some ups and downs on the health front, but I’ve thankfully had other things going on to distract me – ooh and I’ve just taken delivery of a new (mini) bookcase so who can be sad with the prospect of new shelves to fill! Just hoping putting it together won’t have me swearing too much and that I’ve measured correctly and it fits where I hope to put it!  Will hopefully do a shelfie post soon once I’ve re-jigged all the shelves around the house – is it only me that has  bookcases in various rooms?! – and try and get myself a little more organised!  But then how does one sort their shelves nowadays?! By colour? By Author? Genre? Publishers?! aarrggghhhh the possibilities are endless!!

On to how my week has been on the bookish front! And, as suspected, my pace slackened a little this week and I only managed to finish 2 books this week – I was also reading a Choc Lit manuscript as part of the Taste Testing Panel I’m on of theirs! – but am halfway through another book so hoping to finish that off very soon!  As always, click on the book title if you’d like to see my GoodReads review!

Books Read

Every Secret Thing by Rachel Crowther    –   3 stars

secretthing

My Neighbour Totoro by Tsugiko Kubo   –   5 stars

Book Post and Books requested!

Can i keep away from NetGalley at the moment?! No I blooming well can’t!!  So there have been a few additions to my overloaded Kindle….

31 Days of Wonder by Tom Winter

‘And in that instant, he knows in his heart that today is a momentous day; come what may, he and Alice will meet again, and life will never be the same.’

Alice is stuck in an internship she loathes and a body she is forever trying to change.

Ben, also in his early twenties, is still trying to find his place in the world.

By chance they meet one day in a London park.

Day 1
Ben spots Alice sitting on a bench and feels compelled to speak to her. To his surprise, their connection is instant. But before numbers are exchanged, Alice is whisked off by her demanding boss.

20 minutes later
Alone in her office toilets, Alice looks at herself in the mirror and desperately searches for the beauty Ben could see in her.

Meanwhile, having misunderstood a parting remark, Ben is already planning a trip to Glasgow where he believes Alice lives, not realising that they actually live barely ten miles apart.

Over the next 31 days, Alice and Ben will discover that even if they never manage to find each other again, they have sparked a change in each other that will last a lifetime. In 31 Days of Wonder, Tom Winter shows us the magic of chance encounters and how one brief moment on a Thursday afternoon can change the rest of your life

 True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling

.It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good job, four bossy sisters and a needy cat must also have want of her one true love. Or is it?

Another delightful novel from the author of The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan

Verity Love – Jane Austen fangirl, manager of London’s first romance-only bookshop Happy Ever, and an introvert in a world of extroverts – is perfectly happy on her own (thank you very much), and quite happy hiding in the office and lying to her friends about her fictional boyfriend Peter, whose presence is very useful for getting her out of social events.

But when a case of mistaken identity forces her to introduce a perfect stranger as her boyfriend, Verity’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.

Because ‘Peter’ is actually Johnny, and he too could use a fictional girlfriend. So against her better judgement and because she can’t stand sitting on the sad singles table, Verity and Johnny decide to partner up for a summer season of weddings, big number birthdays and garden parties, culminating in her sister’s Big Fat Wedding.

And by the end of the summer, there’s a bad case of heartache that even Verity’s beloved Pride And Prejudice might not be able to cure…

 Flutter by Olivia Evans

Dylan Walker has spent six years trying to move on from the loss of his girlfriend, Presley Cooper. Motivated by grief and the desire to do for others what he couldn’t do for her, he burns the candle at both ends to make it through medical school. After graduation he moves west, putting as much distance as possible between his past and his present.
Or so he thought.
Unknowingly, Dylan has been set on a path that will destroy everything he thought he knew. All the pain, all the grief, was all for nothing. With the help of an unexpected ally, Dylan must find the answers and save the girl he loves before it’s too late.

Deceit.

Betrayal.

Revenge.

A second chance at love.
But first, he must find a way to make her remember her past. Remember him. Remember everything.

 The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

This voyage is special. It will change everything…

One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid.

As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on… and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.

What will be the cost of their ambitions? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?

In this spell-binding story of curiosity and obsession, Imogen Hermes Gowar has created an unforgettable jewel of a novel, filled to the brim with intelligence, heart and wit.

I’m STILL being extremely good/sensible/boring and haven’t been on any decent book buying sprees for what feels like forever but I did receive another Persephone book to add to my collection …

Greengates by R.C Sheriff

A man retires from his job but finds that never were truer words said than ‘for better, for worse but not for lunch’. His boredom, his wife’s (suppressed and confused) dismay at the quiet orderliness of her life being destroyed, their growing tension with each other, is beautifully and kindly described.

Then one day they do something they used to do more often – leave St John’s Wood and go out into the countryside for the day. And that walk changes their lives forever: they see a house for sale, decide to move there, and the nub of the book is a description of their leaving London, the move, and the new life they create for themselves.

And then the lovely folk at Choc Lit sent me a little parcel  today as I made them smile on Twitter – so they made me smile by sending me a couple of their fabulous pocket Choc Lit books and some chocolate! What more does a girl need?!… the chocolate didn’t last very long by the way but was very, very yummy!!

You’re the one that I Want by Angela Britnell

What if you didn’t want to fake it any more?

When Sarah, a teacher from Cornwall, and Matt, a businessman from Nashville, meet on a European coach tour, they soon find themselves in a relationship …

Except it’s a fake relationship. Because Matt is too busy for romance, and Sarah is only trying to make her cheating ex-husband jealous … isn’t she?

As Matt and Sarah complete their tour of Europe, they do all the things real couples are supposed to do – from visiting fairy-tale castles in Germany to recreating the scene from Romeo and Juliet in Verona. And, of course, for every picturesque destination there’s a loved-up selfie and Facebook post to match.

But as their holiday comes to an end, Sarah and Matt realise that they’re not happy with their pretend relationship. Perhaps, they want the real thing.

Only True in Fairy Tales by Christine Stovell

It’s never too late to believe in fairy tales …
Eloise Blake has been fascinated by Prospect House, the shadowy romantic Gothic house opposite, ever since she moved to the village of Hookfield.

When its new owner turns out to be best-selling crime author, Ross Farrell, whose work is grounded in gritty reality rather than happy endings, Eloise is determined to concentrate on her tapestry design business and her rescue dog, Gracie.

She’s already given up on knights in shining armour and happy ever afters. Love, she thinks, is only true in fairy tales – even when Ross keeps appearing just when she needs help most. But is he the Prince Charming she thought didn’t exist – or is he a beast in disguise?

CURRENTLY READING

MARGARET THE FIRST BY DANIELLE DUTTON

Margaret the First dramatizes the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional 17th-century Duchess. The eccentric Margaret wrote and published volumes of poems, philosophy, feminist plays, and utopian science fiction at a time when “being a writer” was not an option open to women. As one of the Queen’s attendants and the daughter of prominent Royalists, she was exiled to France when King Charles I was overthrown. As the English Civil War raged on, Margaret met and married William Cavendish, who encouraged her writing and her desire for a career. After the War, her work earned her both fame and infamy in England: at the dawn of daily newspapers, she was “Mad Madge,” an original tabloid celebrity. Yet Margaret was also the first woman to be invited to the Royal Society of London—a mainstay of the Scientific Revolution—and the last for another two hundred years.

Margaret the First is very much a contemporary novel set in the past, rather than “historical fiction.” Written with lucid precision and sharp cuts through narrative time, it is a gorgeous and wholly new narrative approach to imagining the life of a historical woman.

And there we have it! Hope your week has been a good one! Happy weekend!!

Happy Reading!!

Colt Harper: Esteemed Vampire Cat by Tyrolin Puxty – book review

THE BLURB

Colt Harper hates it when you pat a cat the wrong way, or when you upload their faux pas to YouTube. In fact, he’ll probably kill you for it.

As a self-proclaimed master vampire cat, Colt never imagined he’d be sent to community service at a revolting community theater. And for what? Killing humans who don’t buy the expensive brand of cat food? Talk about unfair.

Still, working with a nervous werewolf and a monster addicted to tickling wasn’t on his to-do list.

What’s worse, is he’s falling for a human. Sure, she has green eyes. Sure, she fosters stray cats. But she’s still a disgusting human.

So why is he risking his own life to save her from the chasers?

Publisher – Curiousity Quills Press

Publication Date – 27th June 2017

Amazon UK

Author Website

MY REVIEW

This is a story about a cat who possesses humans and then kills those who are mean to cats…..and those who just annoy him… what more do I need to say?! You NEED to read this story for this fact alone! I also loved the extremely funny quotes at the start of each chapter – Colt Harper is one very opinionated kitty!!

Colt Harper is a very funny, rude, witty, sarcastic but lovable Vampire Cat! And for his crimes against humans he is sent on community service to community theatre!! The perfect punishment but not in his eyes and he’s not best pleased when he finds out what awaits him. Along the way he meets up with a werewolf, a tickle monster (yes they exist!), and other weird and wonderful monsters from his walk of life who are living amongst us! But as he spends more time in his human form, could he be going soft and falling for Saffy at the Theatre – and why is he even drawn to her in the first place?!

I have loved the previous Broken Dolls series by Tyrolin Puxty, and this is just as quirky and wonderful as those stories so can highly recommend that if you are looking for a hilarious new character to embrace, then Colt Harper is your cat!! And I was very pleased to find out that there will be another story about Colt to follow!!

Thank you to Curiousity Quills for the advance copy in return for a fair and honest review

My bookish weekly wrap up!

Hello!! We meet again!!  I hope everyone is well and if you’re in the UK that you found a way to cope with ‘the heatwave’!!  My policy was just to eat lots of ice-cream and have a fan stationed by my bedside to help on the sleep front!!  I do like the warmer, sunnier weather BUT there needs to be a breeze otherwise it is just pointless and very little gets done – well, that’s my excuse!

So how has the week been book wise for us all?! Good? Bad?  I’m still powering ahead on the reading front and I feel like I’m just overdosing now on reading ready ahead of a big reading slump which I am sure is just around the corner!! But while my brain is functioning and the TBR piles are still taunting me, then I’ll just keep going and forgetting about housework and real life as much as possible, all to escape into the world of books! Ooh and I may have just purchased a new bookcase – only a little one! – as the storage situation is still a little out of control so now to wait until it arrives and keeping everything crossed that I measured correctly and it will fit in the gap I have available!  I think another book decluttering may be required too – but i’ll save that job for a rainy day!

On to the book thing……

BOOKS ACQUIRED

The book buying slump continues!! This is not healthy I am sure and despite managing to visit a couple of charity shops and a Waterstones this week, I returned with ZERO!  Someone send help!! Is there a recovery program I can attend??!

There may have been a visit – or two – to NetGalley though and I seem to have no problem clicking there despite my Kindle begging for a bit of breathing space so here’s a look at a couple of the titles I have now on my reading shelf…

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

A book about love, love of books, family and belonging.

Lydia, a 30-year-old bookshop worker, finds one of her favourite customers dead, hanging in the shop where she works, The Bright Ideas Bookstore, with a photo of her in his pocket. He has left her all his worldly belongings (which isn’t much), and a series of complex clues for her to uncover the mystery of what has happened to him – and in doing so, she must revisit a trauma from her own past, a brutal murder she witnessed as a young girl, in which the killer was never caught.

Tremarnock Summer by Emma Burstall

Bramble Challoner has had a very normal upbringing. She lives in a semi in the suburbs of London with her parents and works at the call centre down the road. She still goes out with the boy she met at school. At weekends they stay in and watch films on the telly and sometimes hold hands. Bramble is dying for an adventure.

So when her very grand grandfather, Lord Penrose, dies, leaving his huge, rambling house in Cornwall to her, Bramble packs her bags immediately.

With her best friend Katie in tow, the sleepy village of Tremarnock had better be ready for its newest residents…

The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please

The Summer of Second Chances is the perfect feelgood summer read.’ Chrissie Manby, author of What I Did On My Holidays

Lottie is about to discover that even when you think you’ve lost everything, hope and romance can be just around the corner . . .

It takes time to build your life. To get into a long-term (OK, a bit boring) relationship. To find a job (you don’t completely hate). Lottie might not be thrilled with the life she’s put together, but it’s the one she’s got.

So when in the course of one terrible evening, it all comes crashing down around her, Lottie has a choice: give herself over to grief at being broke, single and completely lacking in prospects.

Or, brick by brick, build herself a new life. And this time, with a little help from friends, a crumbling cottage in Devon and a handsome stranger, maybe she can make it the one she always wanted.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine…

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself..

BOOKS READ

Yay for sunshine and hot temperatures!! Managed to get through 8 books this week, some of which I had started a while ago and finally got around to finishing! It’s a tactic that doesn’t always work (having so many books on the go!), but when it does it makes you look mighty impressive on the reading front!! A mixed bag again this week of genres and results in enjoyment!  Click on the title for the link to my GoodReads review if you want to find out more about each book!

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips  4 stars

The Forever House by Veronica Henry   5 stars

Girl, Reading by Katie Ward   3 stars

Mist & Whispers by C.M Lucas   3 stars

After I’ve Gone by Linda Green   3 stars

 
Phew!!  Hope you have a cuppa while you’re scrolling through this nonsense today!! I’m on my second cuppa as I’m typing!!  
 
CURRENTLY READING
 
one little blast before I leave you all in peace just to share what I’m currently reading… that’s if you care!
 

 
My Neighbour Totoro – The Novel
 
I love the film so had to start on the book and it is a beauty inside and out!!
 

House. Tree. Person by Catriona McPherson
 
A year ago, she was happily married, running her beauty salon, raising her son, living in her dream house. Now Ali McGovern’s dreams are slipping away and all her old ghosts are rising.

A job at Howell Hall, the private psychiatric facility nearby, seems too good to be true. Why have they employed her? How can they afford her? And what are they hiding? When a body is discovered in a shallow grave on Ali’s first day at work, it feels like one last horror. But it’s just the beginning of her descent into a nightmare world she never imagined existed, far too close to home.

 
Due for release September 2017
 
 
 
 
Hope you’ve managed to stay awake during that ramble! I apologise profusely and wish you all a fabulous weekend ahead full of lots of reading or book buying adventures!!
 
HAPPY READING!!

The Forever House by Veronica Henry – my review

THE BLURB

The house of your dreams. But can this dream last forever?

Hunter’s Moon is the ultimate ‘forever’ house. Nestled by a river in the Peasebrook valley, it has been the Willoughbys’ home for over fifty years, and now estate agent Belinda Baxter is determined to find the perfect family to live there. But the sale of the house unlocks decades of family secrets – and brings Belinda face to face with her own troubled past.

A gorgeous escapist read for anyone needing a hug in a book – perfect for fans of Erica James, Lucy Diamond and Harriet Evans.

Amazon UK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veronica Henry was a television script writer before turning her hand to fiction. She has published sixteen novels which she describes as realistic escapism – her setting are gorgeous, but her characters have problems and dilemmas everyone can identify with.

www.veronicahenry.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Veronica Henry does it again! She has this amazing ability to write the books I NEED to read and fall hopelessly in love with the characters and the setting! In this case, the wonderful home is Hunter’s Moon, the home of the Willoughby clan for more than 50 years, but things could be about to change as the current owners are facing their own personal heartbreak and need to find a solution and fast!

Belinda is the estate agent brought in to handle the sale and she is a total romantic and will only take on properties that she loves! She’s had her heart broken in the past, both personally and house related, so understands their predicament and tries to do all she can to help the situation.

Alongside Belinda’s story, we also go back to 1967 and follow Sally as she makes her way in the world and finds her way to Hunters Moon where she starts work as their housekeeper to help keep Margot Willoughby, the famous author, and her household in check. She soon falls in love with more than just the home and you get to see why it has such a hold on people who visit there.

Belinda is a fascinating character due to the really tough times she has faced, and shows how she became so driven and work obsessed. When her past walks back in the door she is conflicted and has to relive some very tough memories. The Willoughby family soon become very dear to her heart and you are left hoping that they all get the happy ending that they all so richly deserve.

Loved this book and it was the perfect read on a hot, sunny afternoon! I just didn’t want it to end!!

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips – book review

THE BLURB

‘It tore at every maternal fibre in my body. I couldn’t put it down.’ Fiona Barton, author of The Widow

Fierce Kingdom is a bold exploration of the ferocity of a mother’s love. Riveting and beautiful, and all too real, you’ll find yourself asking, what would I do? It’s brilliant.’ Shari Lapena, author of The Couple Next Door

************

Lincoln is a good boy. At the age of four, he is curious, clever and well behaved. He does as his mum says and knows what the rules are.

‘The rules are different today. The rules are that we hide and do not let the man with the gun find us.’

When an ordinary day at the zoo turns into a nightmare, Joan finds herself trapped with her beloved son. She must summon all her strength, find unexpected courage and protect Lincoln at all costs – even if it means crossing the line between right and wrong; between humanity and animal instinct.

It’s a line none of us would ever normally dream of crossing.

But sometimes the rules are different.

************

Unbearably tense and yet beautifully written, Fierce Kingdom demands to be read in one sitting. After finishing, I pulled my loved ones a little closer.’ Paula Daly

Amazon UK

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

Book Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gin Phillips is the celebrated author of The Well and the Mine (winner of the 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction) and Come in and Cover Me (“original and strikingly beautiful” – Elle Magazine). She has also published two middle-grade novels. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her family.

MY REVIEW

This was a book that I couldn’t put down once I had started! It is a book that appeals to every humans’ nature of wanting to protect their loved ones, and how would you do that if you’re trapped!

Joan and her son, the very smart 4 year old Lincoln, often stop by the Zoo to visit the animals as Lincoln loves to learn. There isn’t much he doesn’t know despite his tender years, and he’s currently obsessed with superheroes – aren’t we all!!

But then a normal visit is quickly turned into a terrifying visit by the sound of gunfire – everybody’s worst nightmare is playing out in front of them as  gunmen are on the rampage. Do you run? Do you hide? How do you keep a 4 year old quiet and calm in such a horrifying situation?

The pace of the book is tremendous as you watch the minutes, and hours tick by with Joan and her son, along with some other unfortunate visitors who are also caught up in the carnage. You also hear the POV from one of the gunmen and that adds a fascinating side to the tragedy as it plays out on the pages.

I really enjoyed the tension throughout the book, it was really well paced and how it plays on all our fears of what you would do in such a situation trapped with love ones, and how the instinct to survive takes over! An excellent read!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!

Greetings all! Guess where I’ll be sitting later…. hopefully!! That’s if I can fight my way through the rather luscious greenery that has gone a little rampant over the past week!  I’m going for the ‘natural’ and ‘wild’ look in the garden this season – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!!!!!

Hope we have all had a good week – been a little stressful here  but then watching things that have unfolded on the news this week has helped put my little problems into perspective!   And another good reason to turn to books to make reality disappear for a while.

Been a very good week on the book reading front again for me!  Ill health and Insomnia has its’ benefits!!  7 books finished this week, although 1 was a bit of a cheat as it was only a few pages long – a very short novella! – but I’m counting it so there!!

BOOKS FINISHED

Please click on the book title for a link to my GoodReads reviews if you care to find out a little more about each book!

Invincible Summer by Alice Adams  4 stars

Finding Secrets by Lauren Westwood  – 4 stars

The World of Shadow by Kate Hamer   – 3 stars

Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings by Wendy Holden  – 2 stars

The Good Women of China by Xinran  – 5 stars

Fell by Jenn Ashworth  –  4 stars

A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall   –    5 stars

How’s that for a mix of books this week?! A little bit of everything and hopefully something new for you to discover!  I always used to stick to one genre when I read a few years ago, but can’t imagine doing that now as I’d have missed out on so many wonderful stories!!

BOOK HAUL

And still I haven’t bought any books!!  This has now reached critical stage as it just feels wrong but my sensible head seems to have taken over and is happy for me to work through the TBR mountain I had amassed until some gaps appear and maybe then it will let me loose again in a bookshop or online…. i’m hoping!!

But there has been books arriving for the sake of reviewing and forthcoming blog tours, as well as another fabulous parcel from Bookishly and the Urbane Publications Book Club!  Here’s a peek!

Every Secret Thing by Rachel Crowther – Blog Tour in July

Can you ever bury the past?

She’d recognised in him something of herself: that sense of not belonging, of secrets fiercely kept . . .

Five friends, newly graduated, travel together to the Lake District. Young and ambitious, they little imagine the events that will overtake them that fateful summer, tearing their fragile group apart.

Twenty years later, they return to the same spot, summoned by a mysterious bequest. It’s not long before old friendships – and old romances – are re-kindled. But soon, too, rivalries begin to re-emerge and wounds are painfully reopened . . .

How long does it take for past sins to be forgiven? And can the things they destroy ever really be recovered?

This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh   –  received a copy for review. Paperback out in July

The addictive and emotive new novel from Katie Marsh, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Jodi Picoult.

‘I lived over half my life before I met you both, and I hope with all my heart to live many years more. You two are the reason why. Always, always the reason why.’

Abi Cooper is living her happy ending. She’s in remission and is ready to make the most of her second chance. But during Abi’s illness her family has fallen apart. Her husband John has made decisions that are about to come back to haunt him, while her teenage son Seb is battling with a secret of his own.

Set to the songs on Abi’s survival playlist, This Beautiful Life is the moving and uplifting story of what happens as Abi tries to put her family back together – and of why life, and love, are worth fighting for

Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon –  received a copy from Readers First to review

A gripping novel of psychological suspense centered on two sisters whose lives have taken them apart, and the shocking family secrets that bind them together.

Twin sisters Robin and Sarah haven’t spoken in years.

Robin can’t leave her house. A complete shut-in, she spends her days spying on her neighbors, subtly meddling in their lives. But she can’t keep her demons out forever. Someone from her past has returned, and is desperate to get inside.

Sarah can’t go home. Her husband has kicked her out, forcibly denying her access to their toddler. Sarah will do anything to get her daughter back, but she’s unraveling under the mounting pressure of concealing the dark secrets of her past. And her lies are catching up to her.

The novel takes readers back in time to witness the complex family dynamics that formed Robin and Sarah into the emotionally damaged, estranged young women they’ve become. As the gripping and intricate layers of their shared past are slowly peeled away, the shocks and twists will keep readers breathless long after the final page.

Bookishly

I subscribe to the wonderful Bookishly monthly tea and book club so received another fabulous parcel in the post this week containing some gorgeous goodies – bookmark, notebook, peppermint tea and another fab Penguin book to add to my collection!

 

 

And then there’s another fabulous bundle of books from Urbane Publications as part of their yearly book club of which I am a member!!  Sign up and for £99.99 you get a copy of EVERY book they publish throughout the year!  What bookworm could ever turn that offer down?!  Here’s a look at some of the May releases that I’ve just taken delivery of and looking forward to settling down with! Click on each title for a link to their GoodReads page!

 
 
CURRENTLY READING
 
Girl Reading by Katie Ward

Seven portraits. Seven artists. Seven girls and women reading. Each chapter of this richly textured debut takes us into a perfectly imagined tale of how each portrait came to be, and as the connections accumulate, the narrative leads us into the present and beyond.
 
 
Mist and Whispers by C. M. Lucas
 


Imagine a world in eternal darkness. A world where skeletal beasts lurk in the forest. Where the women are missing, and the men are in need of salvation…

In the West-English town of Little Wolf Green, Scott’s bookshop is about to close down. Convinced the bookshop holds the key to her mother’s identity, sixteen year old Anya Piddling vows to save Scott’s, whatever the cost.
When four books of magic and myth take the world by storm, Anya begins a journey to discover the truth about the author, known only as the Weaver. Followed closely by her friends, and one surly, bitter ex-boyfriend, Anya soon realises a whole new world awaits: a world gone very wrong, with maddening whispers in the forest, magical winged Kings and a dragon-boy that understands her, inside and out. But this world needs a saviour… and everyone is looking at her.

So, there we have it!! Another week done and dusted!  How has your reading week gone? Any goodies to share with me?!  And a sunny weekend is forecast so that should lend itself nicely to more time spent on my garden bench with an ice lolly or two to pass away the time – well, it will be too hot to do anything else so we should spend our time wisely by sitting and reading!! You have my permission!!

HAPPY READING!!

A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall – book review

THE BLURB

An intimate portrait of five inextricably linked lives, spanning one calendar year at Kew Gardens in London.

Nothing is set in stone. A bird can be refolded into a boat, a fish, a kimono, or any other extravagant vision. At other times it aches to return to its original folds. The paper begins to fray. It tires, rebels.

After the sudden death of his wife, Audrey, Jonah sits on a bench in Kew Gardens, trying to reassemble the shattered pieces of his life.

Chloe, shaven-headed and abrasive, finds solace in the origami she meticulously folds. But when she meets Jonah, her carefully constructed defenses threaten to fall.

Milly, a child quick to laugh, freely roams Kew, finding beauty everywhere she goes. But where is her mother and where does she go when the gardens are closed?

Harry’s purpose is to save plants from extinction. Quiet and enigmatic, he longs for something–or someone–who will root him more firmly to the earth.

Audrey links these strangers together. As the mystery of her death unravels, the characters journey through the seasons to learn that stories, like paper, can be refolded and reformed. Haunted by songs and origami birds, this novel is a love letter to a garden and a hymn to lost things. 

Amazon UK

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

Book Depository

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

tor

After studying theatre and film, Tor co-founded a dance-theatre company and spent most of her twenties directing, writing and performing. She taught drama for several years and choreographed an opera for The Royal College of Music. A Thousand Paper Birds is her first novel. She lives in London with her husband and two young children.

 

MY REVIEW

Wow!!  Reading this book has been an unforgettable experience and one that is going to stay with me for quite sometime! Not sure I can do it any justice with a review but I’ll try and put how I’m feeling into words – it won’t be as beautiful as this book that is for sure.  I think I may be a little in love with this book – and I knew it would be ‘for me’ when i first saw the cover!  Absolutely stunning!!

This is the story of Audrey and her sudden, tragic death.  Her death that doesn’t make any sense to Jonah, her husband who she has left behind.  But they shared a love for Kew Gardens and this landmark keeps them close together as Jonah tries to make sense of the world he’s now living in without his wife.  He retraces his steps, his words, his actions but none of this brings her back.  And the author captures this grief in amazing detail and in such beautiful language that your heart just breaks with each description of the void.

As the book is centred around Kew so much it allows other characters who visit the gardens and are connected to Audrey and Jonah to be introduced to the reader, and each character is another piece of the jigsaw that runs throughout the book.  There is Chloe who is an artist, and is haunted by an incident she witnesses at the park,  Harry who is an obsessive Kew gardener and Milly a young girl who is often found at the garden but what is she looking for?  Their paths all cross in one way or another and this is a fascinating aspect of the story.

It cleverly also introduces pages from Audreys’ diary so we get to see her story, much of which Jonah was unaware of and this wonderfully adds depth to the story and lets you see life through the eyes of a lost loved one.  The heartache she was hiding from him and the secrets she kept from him……

 It is quite difficult to review this book too much without spoiling major parts of the book and would highly recommend picking it up to read without knowing too much about the story, as that is how I fell into the book so was unaware of the journey I was about to embark on.

It’s a tale of love, loss, betrayal, hope, grief, lost souls, holding on and letting go  and is definitely a reading experience not to be rushed.  

One of my favourite books of the year so far!! A must read!!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my arc copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Fell by Jenn Ashworth – book review

THE BLURB 

A haunting and otherworldly tale of the impact on one family of a guest with seemingly magical powers, who alters the course of their lives in ways neither they nor he foresee.
A haunting, mysterious tale imbued with the force of myth, by the award-winning author of A Kind of Intimacy.

When Annette Clifford returns to her childhood home on the edge of Morecambe Bay, she despairs: the long empty house is crumbling, undermined by two voracious sycamores. What she doesn’t realise is that she’s not alone: her arrival has woken the spirits of her parents, who anxiously watch over her, longing to make amends. Because as the past comes back to Jack and Netty, they begin to see the summer of 1963 clearly, when Netty was desperately ill and a stranger moved in. Charismatic, mercurial Timothy Richardson, with his seemingly miraculous powers of healing, who drew all their attention away from Annette… Now, they must try to draw another stranger towards her, one who can rescue her.

Blurring the boundaries between the corporeal and spirit worlds and subtly echoing the myth of Baucis and Philemon, this is an eerily beautiful, evocative and highly original novel, which underlines the eternal potency of hope.


Amazon UK


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


Book Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenn Ashworth is an English writer. She was born in 1982 in Preston, Lancashire. She has graduated from Cambridge University and the Manchester Centre for New Writing. In March 2011 she was featured as one of the BBC Culture Show’s Best 12 New Novelists. She previously worked as a librarian in a men’s prison.

She founded the Preston Writers Network, later renamed as the Central Lancs Writing Hub, and worked as its coordinator until it closed in January 2010. She has also taught creative writing at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester, the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Lancaster.

Her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, won a Betty Trask Award in 2010. An extract from an earlier novel, lost as a result of a computer theft in 2004, was the winner of of the 2003 Quiller-Couch Prize for Creative Writing at Cambridge University.


Author Website

MY REVIEW

I am finding this a very difficult book to review as it’s an extremely quiet story that doesn’t have big shocking moments, but is more powerful in many ways than a story with a big twist due to the subjects it brings to light and the journey that the reader is taken on as they step through the front door of this imposing, decaying house.

Annette Clifford is the daughter who returns home after the death of her parents, to discover their home way past its’ best and with 2 imposing sycamore trees overpowering the outside. When she steps indoors her past is brought back to her, and her return reawakens the spirits of her parents, so we have a fascinating POV as they watch over her and relive her childhood – the happy times, the very sad times, the anguish and the people who came into their lives along the way and the power that these people have over them. During her childhood, her parents ran a home for lodgers and it often felt at times that Annette was pushed out of the way, and with her mothers’ illness consuming them all, it was never a house filled with lots of laughter and fun.

It is a beautifully written book and your heart often breaks for Annette as she is consumed by the past and seems reluctant to move on – or is that the house refusing to let her go? I did find it a little confusing at certain times but plan on re-reading this again very soon and hope now I’ve finished it that all will fall into place.

It is a dark, sad and unassuming book that is a fascinating character study of a dysfunctional family but with good intentions at their core. It combines the fragility of reality with the drama of fantasy and if you are looking for a book that is a little different from the norm then look no further!

Thank you to the publishers and BookBridgr for my review copy in return for a fair and honest review.

RAINBOWS

 

It is my great pleasure to welcome AnneMarie Brear along to my Blog today for a guest post!   I recently had the pleasure of reading this book and adored it – please click on the link to my previous Blog Post where I revealed the cover and reviewed the book My Review on my Blog   – so now I just get an extra shot at letting you discover this fabulous book for yourselves!!

So without further ado, over to AnneMarie for her extract and info!!

Where Rainbows End: Extract Post

 

Blurb

“I’m not a man, but that won’t stop me. Just you wait and see.”

It’s 1850 and the Noble family have arrived in Australia to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Headstrong Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plans for a successful stud farm a reality.

Pippa is immediately spellbound by the untamed outback landscape, although she learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush – sometimes with devastating consequences. When circumstance leads to Pippa tending the new farm alone, it is the steadfast friendship of neighbouring country estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.

Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land and make her mark, even if it means losing everything else …

 

Excerpt:

 

‘Pippa! Come look!’ Davy ran into the stables. ‘There’s a carriage coming with two shiny black horses with white feathers on their heads.’ He grabbed her hand and pulled her outside. ‘A carriage!’

Intrigued, Pippa frowned at Robson as he came to stand at her side. They both stared along the valley track. Indeed a large, shiny black carriage pulled by magnificent horses rumbled beside the creek towards them.

‘Who could it be?’ Pippa glanced at Robson for his input.

‘Nay, miss, I know of no one with such a carriage in this district.’

Davy jumped up and down, clapping his hands. ‘It’s a Prince!’

Pippa gently pushed him towards the house. ‘Go to your mother.’

She and Robson walked away from the stables and waited under the big gum tree near the footbridge. On the other side, Davy and Millie watched the carriage approach.

The driver halted the fine pair and drew the carriage to stop. The door was flung open and Gerald popped his head out. ‘Pippa!’

Pippa’s eyes widened in disbelief. ‘Father?’

Gerald exited the carriage and handed Hilary down and then the maid, Cissie. ‘We’re here at last!’ he shouted, reaching back into the carriage.

Hilary ran up to Pippa and hugged her. ‘It’s good to see you! Have we surprised you? How are you? Mother fainted! As soon as we started the descent into the valley, she screamed that we would all fall to our deaths and then fainted.’

Blinking rapidly to make sure of her vision, Pippa let Hilary’s words wash over her. Her family here! She couldn’t believe it. They’d sent her no word of their impending arrival.

‘Come, come, Esther. Pippa wishes to greet you,’ Gerald cajoled his wife out of the carriage. ‘You’re safe now, so stop your hysterics.’

Pippa stepped forward and kissed her mother’s pale cheek. ‘Welcome, Mother.’

Esther, fanning herself with a white handkerchief, sniffled. ‘What a journey, Philippa, what a journey.’ Slowly she raised her head and gazed about. Her eyes widened, her mouth dropped open.

The heavy weight of guilt sunk Pippa’s happiness at her family’s arrival. Her mother’s rigidness confirmed her fears. She hated the valley. ‘Mother—’

‘You …’ Esther turned to scan the whole valley and all it contained, her eyes filling with tears. ‘Gerald …’ She blinked, her chest heaving as though she struggled to breathe. ‘You brought me here?’

‘Mother—’

‘Esther—’

‘How could you?’ Esther’s voice lowered in anger. ‘I’ll not spend one night in this god-forsaken backwater!’ She spun on her heel, re-entered the carriage, and slammed the door.

Pippa stared at her father, whose cheeks flushed beet red. He stormed to the carriage and jerked open the door. ‘Get out at once!’

Hilary silently came to Pippa’s side and took her hand as, in disbelief and with acute embarrassment, they watched their parents argue and wrestle. At last, Esther emerged from the carriage, dishevelled and indignant.

‘I will stay but one night, then I am returning to Sydney to the Talbots.’ She marched past them all and crossed the footbridge. Hilary hurriedly followed her.

Sighing, Gerald walked away, around the other side of the carriage, and, after a glance at Hilary, Pippa went to join him.

‘I’m sorry, Father. I didn’t expect you. Hilary’s letter said it could be another month as Mother had engagements. Inside the house is not complete yet. I kept the men working on extending the stable block.’

‘I do not blame you in the least, dearest.’ His eyes softened and he slipped his arm around her waist to hug her to him. ‘In fact, I’m so very proud of you.’ He gazed out over the valley, at the cluster of buildings, the horses and sheep grazing. ‘What you’ve achieved here in such a short time is inspirational, my dear. You have the courage of a lion.’

Pippa kissed his thin cheek, aware that his ill health had taken its toll on him. ‘I did it for us all, Father. This is our home now, and we’ll be successful, I know it.’

‘I have no doubt about it, not with you in charge.’

‘Oh, but Father, I’m not in charge now you’re here.’

Gerald shook his head. ‘No, Pippa. This is your dream, your future.’

She stepped back, frowning. ‘But it’s yours, too. We share it together.’

‘Yes, but I don’t have the youth, the energy, the heart that you do.’ He shook his head and sighed. ‘All I wanted to do here was to make money. You wanted to make a home.’

She touched his arm, frightened by how old and defeated he looked. ‘We can do both, Father.’

He remained silent for a long time, staring out over the land.

‘Please don’t be dispirited, Father. We can be successful. The mistakes made in England do not have to be repeated here.’

‘My health is failing, but I tend to think that is a good thing.’

‘No—’

Gerald held up his hand. ‘Hear me out. I insist we have honesty if nothing else after so many years of lies.’ He paused and took a deep breath. ‘If I were hale and hearty and a few years younger, there would be no stopping me, but no doubt that would have led to our ruin as it did back home.’

‘Father—’

‘I’ve had time to think while bedridden and holed up with the Talbots, and I’ve made a decision.’ He took both her hands in his and smiled. ‘I was going to tell you this later, but I might as well do it now and be done with it.’

‘What is it?’ Pippa braced herself for bad news, for his tone was the same he used in England when he would admit failure in some investment or when the bailiffs came to clear the house of their belongings to repay his gambling debts.

He sucked in a deep breath. ‘The valley is yours to do with as you please. I’ll sign it all over to you, with the provision that you support your sister.’

Pippa blinked. ‘But what about you and Mother?’

‘We shall return to England.’

‘No!’

 

Buy links for ebook:

Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Where-Rainbows-End-compelling-inspiring-ebook/dp/B071P7KBH6

Kindle US: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Rainbows-End-compelling-inspiring-ebook/dp/B071P7KBH6/

 

Author Bio:

annemarie

Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances. Her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, genealogy, roaming historical sites, buying books and gardening. She is an author of historical women’s fiction, contemporary romance and several short stories and is currently living in England.
AnneMarie Brear on the web:
http://www.annemariebrear.com
http://annemariebrear.blogspot.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/annemariebrear
Twitter @annemariebrear.