#BookReview THE LAST HOUSE ON NEEDLESS STREET by CATRIONA WARD @ViperBooks


ABOUT THE BOOK


This is the story of a serial killer. A stolen child. Revenge. Death. And an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet they are all lies…

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve read this story before. That’s where you’re wrong.

In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, lies something buried. But it’s not what you think…

PUBLISHED BY VIPER BOOKS


PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon

blackwell’s – signed edition

hive.co.uk


MY REVIEW


If, like me, you like your books dark, twisted and unpredictable then this is the book for you! It’s billed as a gothic thriller, but I’d add psychological horror to the mix as well – it’s a real mind f*** in all the best possible ways!!

And that of course makes it very difficult to review without giving anything away! It centres around a house that is next to the woods. There’s a man, Ted, who lives there with his daughter and a talking cat Olivia – genius move adding a voice to the cat by the way!! – and very little is known about him. He keeps himself to himself – he was a suspect in a horrific crime years ago and that has left him wary of everybody. His pleasure in life is to feed the birds. And one day, these birds are poisoned in his garden…. his nightmares begin again and he feels like he is being watched.

Dee moves into the area, desperate to find news of her sister who went missing many years ago. She is convinced Ted knows something about it and will do all she can to find out the truth.

What follows is a fascinating and disturbing story that flits between now and then, as the past sets the tone for the present and the fates of characters play out in chilling fashion – a real stuff of nightmares!!

It’s one of those books that I can’t wait to go back and read all over again! Brilliant!!


★★★★★

My thanks to Viper Books for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS by HAZEL PRIOR

ABOU THE BOOK


Veronica McCreedy is about to have the journey of a lifetime . . .

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.

Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting
instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).

Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.

PUBLISHED BY TRANSWORLD DIGITAL

MY REVIEW

Stick a penguin in a book or on the cover, and I want to read it! And this was a little charmer of a book, complete with prickly main character who you grow to love and understand and share her obsession with penguins and their welfare!


Veronica is very set in her ways! She’s in her eighties and finds human company a bother, barely tolerating her cleaner, Eileen, when she visits – she’s someone who finds plenty to complain about in the world and keeps people at arms length! But her heart shows its’ softer side when she starts watching a documentary about Penguins and starts looking back over old diaries… something spurs her on to live a little differently!


And there is nothing more different than heading out to the research facility in the Antarctic to watch the penguins close at hand! The research team are very against the plan to begin with, but when money is added to the mix, who are they to say no!


Before she leaves, she gets Eileen – she does have her uses! – to help her on the internet and start searching for family she’d long forgotten about. And the first meeting with Patrick does not go well! He’s down on his luck, so closed off to the positives in the world and wonders just what this old lady wants with him – and why now!


What I enjoyed about this story was how just a change of outlook can start things moving in a different direction. She’d been stuck for so many years in the same mindset that many opportunities had flown by. But she seems determined to do right by penguins and watching them close up really gives her new perspective.


We see the story through the eyes of Patrick, as well as the research team she joins, and they all really add something a little extra to the story. AS Patrick reads her old diaries, we get to understand why she is the way she is and sees that it’s best to know the whole story about someone before judging them.


A real easy read, that is full of emotion and warmth… 

★★★★

#GuestPost SPRING ON RENDEVOUZ LANE by ANGELA BRITNELL #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @AngelaBritnell

A huge delight today to be able to welcome ANGELA BRITNELL to my blog today to help celebrate publication day for SPRING ON RENDEVOUZ LANE!
Over to you Angela…….

 Spring on Rendezvous Lane by Angela Britnell

Thank you so much for inviting me over to say hello on publication day! I’m known for my trans-Atlantic romances and although Spring on Rendezvous Lane can loosely be called one, this time my main characters would struggle to say where they were ‘from’ in the traditional sense. Sandy and Taran both have something in common with President Obama – they’re all what’s known as ‘Third Culture Kids’, or TCK’s. Here is how Sandy describes a TCK:

‘The simple definition is having parents from two different cultures but being raised in another, or multiple others in most cases. President Obama is the most famous one. American mother. Kenyan father. Grew up primarily in Indonesia and Hawaii.’

Sandy usually calls herself a military brat and lived in various countries growing up with her American serviceman father and German mother. Taran’s mother is American and his father, who worked for oil companies around the world, is half Italian/half Polish.

‘Home’ becomes a four-letter-word in their relationship because she’s working hard to make a settled life for her young son, very different from her own childhood whereas Taran has gone in the completely opposite direction.

‘In his view there was too much world out there to be confined to one spot and the same applied to people.’

Whether they can or even want to find a middle ground is the big question.

Ignoring the present pandemic, and wouldn’t we all like to do that?, our world has become smaller in many ways and so the number of TCK’s is growing. Officially, my oldest son was one for a short time because I’m English and my husband is American and Stephen was born in Naples, Italy and we lived in Sicily until just after his first birthday. It was really

interesting writing this book to explore such a fascinating aspect of how the choices parents make can affect their children, often for a lifetime.

I’ll leave you now and hop you enjoy reading Sandy and Taran’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it!

About the book:

Can even the most seasoned traveller find a home on Rendezvous Lane?

‘Community spirit’ is not a phrase in travel junkie Taran Rossi’s vocabulary. As a former ‘third culture kid’ and now spicy street food connoisseur and social media influencer, he’s never really stayed in one place long enough to feel part of a community. And that’s just the way he likes it.

But a springtime stint house sitting for his grandmother on Rendezvous Lane in East Nashville could lead to a long overdue wake-up call. With the help of single mum Sandy Warner and her young son Chip, can Taran come to understand that sometimes it’s not about the place – it’s about the people?

PURCHASE LINKS

Kindle UK 

Kobo 

Apple Books UK 

 Nook

About the author:


Angela was born in St. Stephen, Cornwall, England. After completing her A-Levels she worked as a Naval Secretary. She met her husband, a US Naval Flight Officer while being based at a small NATO Headquarters on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark. They lived together in

Denmark, Sicily, California, southern Maryland and London before settling in Franklin, Tennessee.

Angela took a creative writing course in 2000 and loved it so much that she has barely put her pen down since. She has had short stories and novels published in the US. Her novel Sugar & Spice, won Choc Lit’s Search for an American Star competition and was her UK debut. 

Follow Angela on Twitter: @AngelaBritnell Like her on Facebook: Angela Britnell

#BookReview I AM DUST by LOUISE BEECH #Audiobook

ABOUT THE BOOK


The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

PUBLISHED BY ORENDA


MY REVIEW

I listened to the audio version of this book… wow!

Intoxicating
Atmospheric
Moving
Dramatic
Unforgettable
Spine Tingling
Triumphant!!

I think that pretty much sums up my thoughts on this book! I always love the stories that Louise creates, and this one just gets under your skin from the get go. With 2 timelines, the past and present, we are based at a theatre and following the story of Chloe who is working there as an usher. She’s always wanted to be an actress but this is the closest she has got to her dream! The show Dust is set to return to the theatre, 20 years after the opening, which went down in infamy due to the murder of the main character. She’s thought to haunt the theatre still….

In Chloe’s past, she and 2 friends mucked around with a ouija board and had some chilling encounters that have played a big part in how their lives panned out. As the past starts to reconnect with the present, Chloe is facing some haunting challenges ahead that makes her think she might be losing her mind.

The 2 timelines worked so well with each other!! Having the backdrop of the Theatre alongside the tragedy of Dust from 20 years ago, it really sets the scene for so many questions and wondering just what happened back then and seeing how messing about with the ouija board had such an impact and why Chloe is key to it all.

I couldn’t stop listening to this once I’d started! I found myself picturing the theatre, imagining the terror and confusion of the characters as things played out, and hearing the voices of the past whispering their truths…….. loved it!!!


★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 27th March 2021

Hello all! Happy Saturday! Hope the world is treating you well.   Been an awful week here as my beloved 13 year old bunny, Archie, passed away last weekend and I’m heartbroken 💔  So my head really hasn’t been in the reading/blogging game – hoping my motivation will return sometime soon…
I have managed to finish 2 books this week, and it’s been a good bookhaul week thanks to netgalley and the postal service so here’s my look back.


BOOKS FINISHED


AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS by HAZEL GAYNOR – 4 STARS

I AM DUST by LOUISE BEECH (audiobook)  – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL


Starting with Netgalley…


ANIMAL by LISA TADDEO

publication date – June 2021

The first novel from the author of Three Women.

Meet Joan.

I drove myself out of New York City where a man shot himself in front of me. He was a gluttonous man and when his blood came out it looked like the blood of a pig. That’s a cruel thing to think, I know. He did it in a restaurant where I was having dinner with another man, another married man. Do you see how this is going? But I wasn’t always that way. I am depraved. I hope you like me.


THE LITTLE BOOK OF SECRETS by TRACY REES

out May 2021

Every page holds a mystery…

When Gwen’s parents die tragically in an accident, she finds herself heartbroken and jobless, living with her tyrannical Aunt Mary in the little village of Hopley. She’s hoping for a new start, but even the sweet smells of the countryside can’t make Gwen forget how alone she is in the world.

Until one day she finds herself wandering up a little lane at the edge of town, and through the doors of a tiny stone church, lost in time and forgotten by nearly everyone. As she breathes in the dusty stillness and idly flicks through the messages in the old church visitors’ book, Gwen feels her heart lift. There are so many unfinished stories inside just waiting to be untangled – it’s the sense purpose she’s been searching for since she lost her parents…

Instantly drawn into the mystery, Gwen is unexpectedly joined by Jarvis – a little lost like her but too cool to admit it. Gwen isn’t sure what to make of him, or that she wants to share her discovery with anyone else. But Jarvis isn’t here to help Gwen – he has a secret of his own. And when they find a tragically beautiful story hidden deep in the old book’s pages, it threatens to bring everything they’ve been hiding from each other to the surface.

THE ISLAND HOME by LIBBY PAGE 

out June 2021

Lorna’s world is small but safe.

She loves her daughter, and the two of them is all that matters. But after nearly twenty years, she and Ella are suddenly leaving London for the Isle of Kip, the tiny remote Scottish island where Lorna grew up.

Alice’s world is tiny but full.

She loves the community on Kip, her yoga classes drawing women across the tiny island together. Now Lorna’s arrival might help their family finally mend itself – even if forgiveness means returning to the past…

So with two decades, hundreds of miles and a lifetime’s worth of secrets between Lorna and the island, can coming home mean starting again?


And in the post….


THE QUEEN’S RIVAL by ANNE O’BRIEN – I won a signed copy online via https://aspectsofhistory.com/

England, 1459: Cecily, Duchess of York, is embroiled in a plot to topple the weak-minded King Henry VI from the throne. But when the Yorkists are defeated at the Battle of Ludford Bridge, Cecily’s family flee and abandon her to face a marauding Lancastrian army on her own.

Cecily can only watch as her lands are torn apart and divided up by the ruthless Queen Marguerite. From the towers of her prison in Tonbridge Castle, the Duchess begins to spin a web of deceit – one that will eventually lead to treason, to the fall of King Henry VI, and to her eldest son being crowned King of England.

This is a story of heartbreak, ambition and treachery, of one woman’s quest to claim the throne during the violence and tragedy of the Wars of the Roses.

TRAP FOR CINDERELLA by SEBASTIEN JAPRISOT – copy for review from Gallic Books

out April 2021

A racy, chilling noir mystery of mistaken identity, deception, and greed by the author of A Very Long Engagement.A suspicious fire consumes a beach house at a southern French resort. Two young women — friends on the surface but deep down foes — are trapped inside. One is rich, the other poor. One is killed and the other survives, burned beyond recognition and in a state of total amnesia. Plastic surgery gives her a new pretty face, but it can not restore her memory of her identity. Who is she? The heiress or her friend? A killer or an intended victim? Only one person knows the truth about the betrayal and hair-raising terror which took place that night. And she is not about to give it away…Winner of France’s most prestigious crime-fiction award, Trap for Cinderella is an engrossing tour de force by a master of mystery and deception.


THE SWEETNESS OF WATER by NATHAN HARRIS – copy via Amazon Vine

out June 2021

In the spirit of The Known World and The Underground Railroad, a profound debut about the unlikely bond between two freedmen who are brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever.

In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry—freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys.

Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community. In the aftermath of so much turmoil, it is Isabelle who emerges as an unlikely leader, proffering a healing vision for the land and for the newly free citizens of Old Ox.

With candor and sympathy, debut novelist Nathan Harris creates an unforgettable cast of characters, depicting Georgia in the violent crucible of Reconstruction. Equal parts beauty and terror, as gripping as it is moving, The Sweetness of Water is an epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances


FANTOMINA by ELIZA HAYWOOD

 copy from Renard Press subscription

Fantomina, or, Love in a Maze is a novella by Eliza Haywood which charts an unnamed female protagonist’s pursuit of the charming, shallow Beauplaisir. Dealing with major themes such as identity, class and sexual desire, and first published in 1725, Fantomina subverts the popular ‘persecuted maiden’ narrative, and reaches a climax which would have shocked its contemporary readership.

Moving to London, a young woman – let’s call her Fantomina – meets a dashing man at the theatre. After a short, but intense, fling, Beauplaisir grows bored of Fantomina, and leaves her. Outraged that she should be so treated, Fantomina discards her disguise in favour of another, and sets off in hot pursuit of her victim, and a game of cat and mouse begins.

This edition features an introduction by Dr Sarah R. Creel, Bethany E. Qualls and Dr Anna K. Sagal of the International Eliza Haywood Society.

 CURRENTLY READING

A HISTORY OF WHAT COMES NEXT by SYLVAIN NEUVEL

📚📚📚

#BlogTour SUMMER AT SANDCASTLE COTTAGE by CHRISTINA JONES #BookReview @AccentPress @ChristinaJ2021

A huge delight to be with you today to share my thoughts on the fabulous new release SUMMER AT SANDCASTLE COTTAGE by CHRISTINA JONES. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rosanna for letting me be part of the tour!!


ABOUT THE BOOK

After trials, tears and a torturous break-up, Kitty Appleby has finally found where she’s meant to be. Tumbledown Sandcastle Cottage, in the delightful seaside village of Firefly Common, is home, and Kitty’s eccentric band of friends and neighbours are enjoying a glorious summer.

There’s just one tiny little problem. Sandcastle Cottage doesn’t belong to them. And Mavis Mullholland, Kitty’s landlord, is on her way home from her round-the-world cruise . . .

Kitty can’t bear to lose the community that’s welcomed her in. But secretly, she can’t bear to leave Sandcastle Cottage without finding out more about the mysterious and enigmatic Vinny . . . Why can’t she stop thinking about him, when she’s faced with losing everything?


PUBLISHED BY HEADLINE ACCENT


Order Link

 Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a read that will brighten up a grey day, then look no further! This book brought sunshine in to my life while I was reading it, and I was sad to stop being around the characters by the last page! I think I need a trip to Firefly Common to visit them all!

This is a follow up to the short story – CHRISTMAS AT SANDCASTLE COTTAGE – but you don’t need to have read that to catch up with the goings on! Kitty has found her happy place at Sandcastle Cottage, along with her friends and the lovely community around them. But that might all be about to change with the news that their landlord is on their way home – and the thought of having to move on again is not filling Kitty with pleasure!

What stands out about this book is how quickly Kitty and her friends became part of the village around them.  She’s always been fearful of change and making mistakes so to have this settled period in her life is lettng her be herself finally.  And there’s also the enigmatic Vinny who is still a mystery to them! He’s often spotted walking along the beach by himself, but nobody knows much more about him and Kitty is intrigued! I don’t blame her! 

As the events play out over the Summer, I found myself really bonding with Kitty and her friends as they try and work out their next moves, and deal with all that life throws their way in their professional and personal lives! You really understand their angst too at maybe having to move on from their happy, safe space and just keep hoping that a compromise can be reached to keep them all together!

A ray of sunshine in book form!!

★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 20th March 2021

hello! Happy Saturday!! March seems to be disappearing fast before our eyes! Or is that just because everyday is blending into the last?! Who knows anymore LOL!!
Book wise, it’s been a fairly steady week for me! 4 books finished and just 1 newbie from Netgalley!  So just a few to share with you today!
Here’s my look back….


BOOKS FINISHED

NOTEBOOK by TOM COX – 5 STARS

THE BEST THINGS by MEL GIEDROYC – 4 STARS

SOLITUDE by MICHAEL HARRIS (AUDIOBOOK) – 3 STARS

THE SECRET LIFE OF ALBERT ENTWISTLE by MATT CAIN – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL


Just the one that caught my eye at Netgalley this week…..

THE ROSE GARDEN by TRACY REES

out September 2021

1895. Hampstead, London.

Olive Westallen lives a privileged life in her family’s West Hampstead home, but a lonely one. At twenty-eight she is now considered far too old to marry, but Olive is determined to count her blessings, not weep over those that have passed her by. She has radical plans for the future of the Westallen family – plans that will shock the high-society world she inhabits.

London is an exciting new playground to explore for twelve-year-old Ottilie Finch. Her family have recently arrived from Durham, under the cloud of a scandal that Otty is blissfully unaware of. She is in love with London Zoo, the stately homes, the heath . . . and the canals, with their horse-drawn barges and busy bustle at all hours. The only shadow over her days is the mysterious illness of her mother, which keeps Mrs Finch to her room, away from all company.

For eighteen-year-old Mabs, life on the canal is far from exotic: it is a daily grind, where she risks life and limb to take home a meagre pay packet to her widowed father, and her little brothers and sisters. So when she is offered the role of housemaid to the Finches in their grand Hampstead house, it seems like the ticket to a better life. Little does she know that not all is all as picture-perfect as it seems. Mabs is about to become tangled in the secrets that chased the Finches from their last home, and stuck in an impossible dilemma . . .

The Rose Garden is an absorbing and moving novel, perfect for fans of Dinah Jefferies, Lucinda Riley and Rachel Hore.



CURRENTLY READING


AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS by HAZEL PRIOR

ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR: THE BEATLES IN TIME by CRAIG BROWN
audiobook

HAPPY READING!

#BlogTour THE SPANISH GIRL by JULES HAYES #BookReview @rararesources

Delighted to be part of the Blog Tour today for THE SPANISH GIRL by JULES HAYES. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

A country torn apart by war.

Two love stories divided by decades.

One chance to discover the truth… 

Feisty journalist Isabella has never known the truth about her family. Escaping from a dangerous assignment in the turbulent Basque country, she finds her world turned upside down, firstly by her irresistible attraction to the mysterious Rafael, and then by a new clue to her own past. 

As she begins to unravel the tangled story of her identity, Isabella uncovers a story of passion, betrayal and loss that reaches back to the dark days of Spain’s civil war – when a passionate Spanish girl risked everything for her country, and for the young British rebel who captured her heart. 

But can Isabella trust the man she’s fallen in love with? Or are some wartime secrets better left undisturbed…? 

Heartbreaking, gripping historical fiction about the tragedy of war, and the redemption of love. Perfect for fans of Angela Petch’s The Tuscan Secret and Kathryn Hughes’ The Letter.

Purchase Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08L7G3M26/ 

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L7G3M26/ 

About the Author

I have a degree in modern history and I’m fascinated with events from the first half of the 20th century, which is the time period my historical fiction is set.

My work has been longlisted in the Mslexia Novel Competition, and shortlisted in the prestigious Bridport Short Story Competition.

I live in Berkshire, UK with my partner, daughter and dog. Before writing stories, I was a physiotherapist.

Jules Hayes is a pseudonym for JA Corrigan who writes contemporary thrillers. Falling Suns by JA Corrigan (Headline Accent) was published in 2016. 

Website: https://www.jules-hayes.com/

Twitter @JulesHayes6  – http://www.twitter.com/JulesHayes6

Facebook Author Page: JulesHayesAuthor – http://www.facebook.com/JulesHayesAuthor

Instagram: JulesHayes6 – http://www.instagram.com/juleshayes6


MY REVIEW


This is a book that features some fascinating times in history, and that alone grabs your attention right away.  Add to the mix, some characters who show extreme determination and fortitude and you find yourself living their lives with them, and sharing their passions and despair about things they uncover, and wondering whether finding out the truth will bring them the resolution they desire.


Set mostly in Spain, we follow the story over 2 time periods that are full of rebellion and conflict.  Isabella has always wondered about her mother  and when she finds someone who knows more about them, she is immediately eager to learn about the history and what her mother was involved with.


I loved the periods of history featured in this story – both of which I knew very little about but it has led me to start reading up to learn more.  In Isabella, we have a character who has a very driven personality and shows no fear when faced with trouble and the more we learn about her, the more we know where she gets that trait from!  


And as we follow the story from 1937, we hear of Sofia and Jack and how their paths crossed in extraordinary circumstances and the devastating and dramatic impact of those fighting the good fight. There are some very harrowing stories retold and it brings home the ugliness of war, of differences of ‘opinion’ and the human cost.


This was an epic tale that I couldn’t put down once I’d started it! You get totally absorbed in the  drama and the extraordinary characters you meet along the way.


★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 13th March 2021

Hello!! Happy Saturday! Hope all is well amidst the madness! Escaping into books is the only thing keeping me sane at the moment!!
And it’s been another lovely bookish week for me  – 4 books finished, some newbies arriving for review and only one sneaky visit to Netgalley!
Here’s my look back!


BOOKS FINISHED

STRICTLY ON ICE by HELEN BUCKLEY – 5 STARS



SWEET PASTRIES & SOURDOUGH by ROSIE GREEN – 5 STARS




SUMMER AT SANDCASTLE COTTAGE by CHRISTINA JONES – 5 STARS


THE FALL OF KOLI by M.R.CAREY – 5 STARS


BOOKHAUL

Starting at Netgalley…

THE FAIR BOTANISTS by SARA SHERIDAN

out August 2021

Could one rare plant hold the key to a thousand riches?

It’s the summer of 1822 and Edinburgh is abuzz with rumours of King George IV’s impending visit. In botanical circles, however, a different kind of excitement has gripped the city. In the newly-installed Botanic Garden, the Agave Americana plant looks set to flower – an event that only occurs once every few decades.

When newly widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband’s aunt Clementina, she’s determined to put her unhappy past in London behind her. As she settles into her new home, she becomes fascinated by the beautiful Botanic Garden which borders the grand house and offers her services as an artist to record the rare plant’s impending bloom. In this pursuit, she meets Belle Brodie, a vivacious young woman with a passion for botany and the lucrative, dark art of perfume creation.

Belle is determined to keep both her real identity and the reason for her interest the Garden secret from her new friend. But as Elizabeth and Belle are about to discover, secrets don’t last long in this Enlightenment city . . .

And when they are revealed, they can carry the greatest of consequences.


And 2 books arrived via Amazon Vine for review…


THE BEST THINGS by MEL GIEDROYC

out April 1st 2021

Warm, funny, life-affirming and true, The Best Things is the joyous debut novel from much-loved comedian, writer, actor and presenter Mel Giedroyc.

It’s the story of a family who lose everything, only to find themselves, and each other, along the way.

Sally and Frank Parker have it all.

Then one day, because of Frank, they don’t.

As the bailiffs move in and the money runs out, Sally realises that she and her children don’t have a clue about how to survive.

Or do they?

The Parkers are about to discover that the best things in life aren’t things at all

THE SECRET LIFE OF ALBERT ENTWISTLE by MATT CAIN

out May 2021

It’s never too late to start your life’s big adventure . . .

Albert Entwistle was a postman. It was one of the few things everyone knew about him. And it was one of the few things he was comfortable with people knowing.

64-year-old Albert Entwistle has been a postie in a quiet town in Northern England for all his life, living alone since the death of his mam 18 years ago. He keeps himself to himself. He always has. But he’s just learned he’ll be forced to retire at his next birthday. With no friends and nothing to look forward to, the lonely future he faces terrifies him. He realises it’s finally time to be honest about who he is. He must learn to ask for what he wants. And he must find the courage to look for George, the man that, many years ago, he lost – but has never forgotten . . .

Join Albert as he sets out to find the long-lost love of his life, and has an unforgettable and completely life-affirming adventure on the way . . . This is a love story the like of which you have never read before!

And then a 99p buy from Amazon….


THE BOY WHO COULD SEE DEMONS by CAROLYN JESS-COOKE

“I first met my demon the morning that Mum said Dad had gone.”

Alex Connolly is ten years old, likes onions on toast, and can balance on the back legs of his chair for fourteen minutes. His best friend is a 9000-year-old demon called Ruen. When his depressive mother attempts suicide yet again, Alex meets child psychiatrist Anya. Still bearing the scars of her own daughter’s battle with schizophrenia, Anya fears for Alex’s mental health and attempts to convince him that Ruen doesn’t exist. But as she runs out of medical proof for many of Alex’s claims, she is faced with a question: does Alex suffer from schizophrenia, or can he really see demons?


CURRENTLY READING

SOLITUDE by MICHAEL HARRIS (audiobook)



AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS by HAZEL PRIOR

#BookReview STRICTLY ON ICE by HELEN BUCKLEY @ChocLituk

ABOUT THE BOOK


When falling in love comes with the risk of falling flat on your face …
Former Olympic skating champion Katie Saunders is well known for her ‘ice queen’ persona in the press. On the face of it, perhaps Katie should have forgiven her former skating partner and ex-boyfriend, Alex Michaelson, for the accident that shattered both her ankle and their Olympic dreams – but she just can’t seem to let it go.
When Katie reluctantly agrees to take part in a new TV skating show, it’s only because she’s desperate for cash. What she didn’t count on is the drama – not only is she partnered up with infamous love rat rugby player Jamie Welsh, but one of the judges is none other than Alex Michaelson himself.
As the show progresses, will Katie be shown the hard way, once again, that romance on the ice should remain strictly off-limits?


PURCHASE LINKS

Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Strictly-Ice-heartwarming-inspirational-romance-ebook/dp/B08T9VL7KG/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/strictly-on-ice

Apple: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/strictly-on-ice/id1549538869?

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/strictly-on-ice-helen-buckley/1138643197?ean=2940162187776

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Helen_Buckley_Strictly_On_Ice?id=3UMZEAAAQBAJ

MY REVIEW

Loved, loved, loved this! When can this be a real show?!  Playing on the reality success of Dancing On Ice, but with a twist, this was a wonderful story that puts 2 former sports stars together for a TV show and waiting to see what happens! Will there be arguments? Romance? And will it help them heal their pasts?

Katie is a former Olympic ice skater, whose career was tragically ended by an awful accident.  She has spent the years since being unable to move on or forget her dreams, and that has led her to this stage in her life where she has to accept an offer from a TV show for the money.  She has already refused previous offers, so it’s a big coup for the TV show when she accepts this one.

And then there is Jamie, a former Rugby international, who has also suffered in the years after his career finished.  They have both experienced major disappointments in the world of sport, so maybe that shared bond will allow them to relate to one another – and not to believe the press perceptions that have been allowed to grow over the years.

What I loved about this story was as well as the experience they both get from this reality show, we also see flashbacks into their previous lives – the training, the dedication, the sacrifices, the mistakes – and that really builds up the connection you have with them as characters.  You can understand their reluctance to open up to one another in the beginning, but the more time they spend together,the more they begin to understand each other and realise there is more to them than they’ve been led to believe from press attention.

This was one of those books that I raced through and was reluctant to put down at all! It has the excitement of a real reality show as you see how they progress from week to week, alongside the human side of their story and some very shocking revelations that just goes to show you shouldn’t believe everything you read about people!

Strictly Superb!!

★★★★★