Book Review: Snowflakes Over Moondance Cottage by Rosie Green

This is the first book I have read from Rosie Green and I am pleased to share my review for her festive novel Snowflakes Over Moondance Cottage.

Book Review: Snowflakes Over Moondance Cottage by Rosie Green

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Snowflakes Over Moondance Cottage

Title: Snowflakes Over Moondance Cottage

Author: Rosie Green

Genre: Festive Romance

Blurb:

When Jess Thornton’s dad was lost at sea, the family coped in different ways, alone in their grief. Now, her mum seems to be going off the rails and her sister, Isla, who moved to France, is now back and determined to get their old family home on the market. But the last thing Jess wants this Christmas is for renovations to start on the house. It’s sure to stir up all sorts of memories she’s desperate to avoid. And to make things worse, Isla appears to have hired the most obnoxious builder in the world to do the work. Jess could ignore the fact that women seem to be putty in his hands. But what she finds harder to ignore is the frisson she gets every time she squeezes past him in the mess that is now their beloved old home! Can the family finally start talking and find a way to move on from the past this Christmas?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Snowflakes-over-Moondance-Cottage-sparkling-ebook/dp/B07XGDZ4Z2

US – https://www.amazon.com/Snowflakes-over-Moondance-Cottage-sparkling-ebook/dp/B07XGDZ4Z2

My Thoughts

This novel follows grieving Jess, whose father is assumed dead after a boating accident. She was easy to connect to so I slipped into the story early on. Her quiet, settled life is turned upside down with the arrival of Seb,the hunky builder and the bombshell her sister wants to sell the family home. His description and personality made it easy to see why Jess would be attracted to him. The chemistry between them made me want to continue reading after bedtime.

Isla is the opposite to Jess in many ways making the dynamics between the siblings interesting and adds to the tension as her mum’s struggle with her mental health after losing her husband. The marital relationship is slightly complicated because they both have new partners but it works well with the plot. It is an enjoyable and emotional read with the right balance of Christmas traditions to make you feel warm and Christmassy.

The descriptions of glass blowing the baubles makes me appreciate those on my tree more than usual. It was fascinating to read about.

Would I recommend?

Yes. It is a lovely story with a satisfying conclusion, ideal to read in the run up to Christmas. I love the authors style and characters so I look forward to reading more of hers in the future.

Author Biography

Rosie Green Author Pic

Rosie Green

Rosie 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 around life in a village cafe. The latest, ‘Bonfires & Hot Chocolate at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’, is out now.

Watch out for ‘A Winter Wedding at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’, which will be published Christmas 2019.

Follow Rosie on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green1988

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to the tour and giving me an advanced copy so I could give an honest and unbiased review. If you would like to know more about this book and author, why not visit other blogs on this tour.

Love

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Book Review: Eve’s Christmas by Julie Butterfield

Several Advent calendar windows have been opened and I have already eaten the chocolate oranges I had put away for Christmas day. I haven’t written my Christmas cards and I am not organised for the big day which fits nicely with today’s book, Eve’s Christmas by Julie Butterfield. Scroll down to see my review for a novel about searching for the perfect Christmas.

Book Review: Eve’s Christmas by Julie Butterfield

ECFront

Eve’s Christmas

Blurb

Working for a department store where Christmas arrives in August, Eve prefers her own festivities to be low key with nothing more complicated than an oven ready turkey and frozen peas while she spends the day in her pyjamas. Unfortunately, this year her husband has invited his best friend to visit, the glamorous and sophisticated Abby, and Eve reluctantly decides that she needs to inject a little sparkle into their laid back and slightly shabby Christmas. So the celebrations are upgraded to include champagne and canapes along with homemade gravy and organic turkey and plans are made for a Christmas that looks as though it has emerged from the pages of a glossy magazine.

But even the best laid plans can go wrong and as Eve struggles with her mini Yorkshire puddings and an interfering cat, she is suddenly faced with an unexpected guest and an explosive secret that threatens to put her vision of a perfect Christmas in jeopardy.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eves-Christmas-delightful-following-perfection-ebook/dp/B07ZMHMFBR

US – https://www.amazon.com/Eves-Christmas-delightful-following-perfection-ebook/dp/B07ZMHMFBR

My Thoughts

Eve is determined to have a perfect Christmas when her husband’s best friend announces she is coming for twelve days. Project Christmas begins with detailed planners,umpteen magazines promising the method to achieve the ideal one. From experience, I know it is easy to get swept up with the tips, ideas and dreams leading to exhaustion and disappointment when attempts at cooking resemble something from the disaster photos on Great British Bake Off Extra Slice rather than the winning showpiece. I could relate to Eve’s ambition and she does not hold back. Retail therapy is taken to its limits which made me gulp and her passion can only be admired as she creates complex recipes designed to impress. Her enthusiasm for the preparation was exhausting to read, never mind do and I was relieved to have a more relaxed approach nowadays. It highlights the juggle between family life, work, chores and relationships in the festive period. Once I met Abby, I wanted to shake Eve to get a grip and yell at her husband to open his eyes about the truth of his best friend. It is an enjoyable and entertaining read as well as a reminder to enjoy the time of year with people you love rather than chasing the illusion.

Author Biography

Julie Butterfield belongs to the rather large group of ‘always wanted to write’ authors who finally found the time to sit down and put pen to paper – or rather fingers to keyboard.
She wrote her first book purely for pleasure and was very surprised to discover that so many people enjoyed the story and wanted more, so she decided to carry on writing.
It has to be pointed out that her first novel, ‘Did I Mention I Won The Lottery’ is a complete work of fiction and she did not, in fact, receive millions in her bank account and forget to mention it to her husband – even though he still asks her every day if she has anything to tell him!

Social Media Links

@juliebeewriter

www.Juliebutterfield.co.uk

Giveaway to Win a Paperback copy of Eve’s Christmas (UK Only)

Click here to enter this giveaway

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this book blitz and allowing me to read an advanced copy to give an honest and unbiased review.

Love

*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Book Review: Awa and the Dreamrealm – Dreamweavers Book 1

Today I am pleased to share a review for something different – the first book in the Dreamweaver series, Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. It is a novel for children and young teens.

Book Review: Awa and the Dreamrealm.

Awa and the Dreamrealm Cover

Title: Awa and the Dreamrealm ( Dreamweavers Book 1)

Author: Isa Pearl Ritchie
Publisher: Te Ra Aroha Press

Genre: Children and young teen fiction

Release date: 23rd Oct 2019

Blurb

What if dreams are more real than waking life?

Life is already complicated enough for Awa Bryant when she starts having weird dreams – waking dreams – and strange coincidences start appearing in her real life.

She meets dreamcharmer, Veila, a quirky glowing creature who helps to guide Awa through the mysterious Dreamrealm.

At first the Dreamrealm is a glorious escape from Awa’s daily struggles but something is not right… Soon Awa discovers she has a bigger quest, and everything she cares about is at stake. Will she be brave enough to face her fears and save her friends?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XFHSB9R

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XFHSB9R

My Thoughts

The blurb caught my attention because I have always had lucid dreams and I was intrigued how the author would entwine this idea into fiction. As the title suggests the novel has a surreal dream like quality to it in many places making it an unusual read.

Awa arrives at a new school following parents divorce and a run in with the school bully adds to her anxiety, triggering nightmares. Reality and her dreams collide but she is guided by the dreamcharmer, Veila on a journey which reminded me of guided meditation and relaxation techniques. As anxiety is increasing in young people, I feel this  story could be a good way to introduce the ideas to them. The theme running through the novel is to trust your intuition and self when facing adversity.

It deals with many issues facing young readers including racism, bullying, divorce, moving and friendship changes in a sensitive and imaginative manner. The interesting concept and character kept me reading and I am curious to see how the story will unfold in the next book in the series.

Would I recommend?

As a mum, I would have given this book to my daughter to read in her preparation to go to secondary school. The topics are age appropriate and much needed but more than that it is a lovely read.

About the Author

Isa Pearl Ritchie

Isa Pearl Ritchie

Isa Pearl Ritchie is a New Zealand writer. As a child, she loved creating imaginary worlds. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. Her second novel, Fishing for Māui, was selected as one of the top books of 2018 in the New Zealand Listener and was a finalist in the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Adult Fiction Book 2019. Awa and the Dreamrealm is her first book for young people.

www.isaritchie.com

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/isapearlritchie/

https://twitter.com/isapearlritchie

https://www.instagram.com/isapearlritchie/

Giveaway to Win 1 x kindle copy of Awa and the Dreamrealm (INT)

Click here to enter the giveaway

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and the opportunity to read an advanced copy to review.

Love

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Book Review:A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

December is here and I begin the month with a review for A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan. It has become my tradition to indulge in a Sarah Morgan book in the the run up to Christmas because they are usually guaranteed to be a wonderful treat. Scroll down to see if this year’s tale follows the same trend.

Book Review:A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

Sarah Morgan Wedding in Decenber

Wedding in December

Title: A Wedding in December

Author: Sarah Morgan

Publisher: HQ

Genre: Christmas Romance

Release Date: 31st October 2019

Blurb

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding.

First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived – how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget.

My Thoughts

This festive romance follows Rosie as she prepares to marry Dan after a whirlwind romance, her workaholic sister, Katie, and her mum, Maggie. It is told in 3 points of view which works well as all the characters have different personalities, are believable and have different conflicts to deal with. Rosie has her wedding doubts, Katie has problems at work while Maggie is preparing for her divorce. I felt there was a bias towards it being Maggie’s story rather than Rosie’s but this suited me because she was the character I could most relate to. It is a study of the different stages of love and relationships as well as family bonds.

The stunning setting gives you everything you need in a Christmas novel – snow, mountains and trees  making it an ideal festive read. It is easy to visualise and imagine you are there. If Snowfall Lodge in Aspen was a real place it would be on my wish list of places to visit with the idyllic tree houses, sleigh rides and roaring fires.

It’s fun and emotional in places which is perfect to read in the light of the Christmas tree drinking hot chocolate.

Would I recommend?

Yes. Sarah Morgan has the knack of producing a book that always gives the reader characters to love and a journey to entertain. This novel sends you to the winter wonderland to relax in without leaving your duvet. It is happily sitting on my forever shelf to read next year.

Thank you HQ for inviting me to this tour and the opportunity to read an advanced copy for an honest and unbiased review.

Love

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Book Review: Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

After falling in love with Lucy Coleman’s previous book Summer on the Italian Lakes, I was excited to be invited to the blog tour for Magic Under the Mistletoe. Carry on reading for my thoughts and the chance to enter a wonderful giveaway.

Book Review: Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

ARIA_Coleman_MAGIC UNDER THE MISTLETOE_E

Magic Under the Mistletoe

Title: Magic Under the Mistletoe

Author: Lucy Coleman

Publisher: Aria

Genre: Festive, Romance

Release Date: 30th September 2019

Blurb

Christmas and romance are in the air…

It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.

So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?

Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!

Purchase Link – http://smarturl.it/MagicUnderMistletoe

My Thoughts

This is another Christmas themed book with an unusual premise which makes it memorable against the others. While most books have the premise of boy meets girl and fall in love under the mistletoe, the relationship between Leesa and Nate is one of convenience and allows them to have a partner when needed without commitments to prevent meddling from family and friends. This adds to the tension between them as they become closer and makes you keep turning the page.

Leesa is intelligent, driven and independent and despite his workaholic and aloof tendencies I was instantly attracted to Nate. As with her other book, Lucy Coleman adds depth to the characters and plot which increases the connection with the characters and makes you love them more as their backstories are revealed. Tissues are required as unexpected secrets are told which are handled sensitively.

The descriptions of Nate’s Grandmother’s home is detailed which immersed me in the festive spirit as it is everything I long my house to be. Within the first few chapters, I was hooked. Lucy Coleman has a talent for creating characters who feel real and Cressida is no exception. She came across as a warm, friendly, driven Danielle Steele like personality. As the queen of romance novels she dreams of seeing her grandson, Nate settled. Her intentions are good and is someone I would love to have a cup of tea with.

I felt the ending was rushed compared to the pace of the rest of the novel. It was suddenly over leaving some minor threads unresolved. The strength of writing, characters and plot means this does not affect Magic Under the Mistletoe being a wonderful book.

Would I recommend?

Yes! I love the author’s style and ability to transport the reader into the setting which is ideal for a festive read. You can see the decor, smell the festive aromas and taste the food. Despite my misgivings about the end it is a strong, enjoyable book which I will reread next year. I have already read it twice so definitely has a spot on my forever shelf.

Author Biography

Magic Author Photo

Lucy Coleman

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. She writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Social Media Links –

Website: https://linnbhalton.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth https://twitter.com/LinnBHalton

Giveaway to Win a Signed paperback copy of Snowflakes over Holly Cove and Christmas Pamper Pack. (UK only)

Mistletoe prize Rachel

Prizes to be won

For a chance to win these wonderful goodies Enter here

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and Aria for the chance to read an advanced copy of this festive treat to review.

What are you reading? Let me know below.

Happy Reading!

Love

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*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Book Review: Daisy’s Christmas Gift Shop by Hannah Pearl

December is only days away; are you ready? I am eager to get our decorations up and celebrate the season thanks to the pile of festive novels I have read recently. Today’s book, Daisy’s Christmas Gift Shop by Hannah Pearl  has a festive theme but is different to my expectations. Read on to find out more.

Book Review: Daisy’s Christmas Gift Shop by Hannah Pearl

Daisys Cover

Daisy’s Christmas Gift Shop

Title: Daisy’s Christmas Gift Shop

Author: Hannah Pearl

Genre: Festive Romance, Woman’s fiction

Publisher: Ruby Fiction

Release Date: 29th October 2019

Blurb

Struggling to find the perfect Christmas gift? Step into Romantic Daze …

Daisy Kirk is a sucker for a love story, which is why she opened up her gift shop – because there’s nothing that makes Daisy happier than when she’s helped a customer achieve their own ‘happily ever after’ by finding the perfect Christmas gift for their loved one. And she absolutely does not just sell ‘soppy presents and frilly pants’ as her brother’s infuriating best friend, Eli, is so fond of suggesting.

The sad fact is that whilst Daisy is helping others with their love lives, hers is non-existent. But when unusual circumstances take Daisy and Eli on a road trip from London to rural Wales, will she finally get the happily ever after to her own Christmas love story?

Buying Links:

Kindle UK: https://amzn.to/2kdCgNf
Kindle US: https://amzn.to/2lNhpR0
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2kdtGOu
Nook: https://bit.ly/2jUJghL

My Thoughts

I thought I knew what I was about to read when I read the blurb but I was wrong. It is an entertaining  novel based around Daisy’s shop, Romantic Daze, in the run up to Christmas like I expected but it is also so much more. An unexpected twist sends the usual romance of “will the main characters get together?” into a different direction adding  thrill, suspense and adventure into the mix making this a quirky book to remember.

Daisy’s shop is adorable and I love the idea of a unique shop sourcing specialised and bespoke gifts to show someone you care. The description brings it alive and I long to visit. Daisy is relatable but the characters around her to steal the show especially Lily and Ben. Lily is vibrant, fun and adventurous and in contrast to Daisy’s shop of romance hers sells sexy lingerie and sex toys. They complement each other well.  Ben, Daisy’s brother,  is a likeable genius whose quirks and outlook suggests he is on the autistic spectrum. As the plot unfolds he becomes more than a side character and I enjoyed that he was integral to the story.

It is a tale about family, romance, complex reactions to grief and, of course, Christmas.

Would I recommend?

Yes. I have previously read Hannah Pearl’s debut novel It’s My Birthday and I was impressed by her writing style. This book is a refreshing Christmas read and is perfect for curling up under the duvet with a hot chocolate.

Author Biography

Hannah Pearl Author Photo

Hannah Pearl

  

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

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

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

Hannah is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

Blog – dizzygirlwrites.wordpress.com 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/HannahPearl_1

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this blog tour and the advanced copy to review.

Happy reading!

Love

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Frankie: The Woman Who Saved Millions from Thalidomide by James Essinger and Sandra Koutzenco

I am pleased to be part of a blog tour and share with you a book that is on my TBR list Frankie: The Woman Who Saved Millions from Thalidomide by James Essinger and Sandra Koutzenco. Thalidomide caused havoc to many lives and I always assumed it affected many countries so to read a blurb saying this wasn’t the case is fascinating.

Frankie: The Woman Who Saved Millions from Thalidomide by James Essinger and Sandra Koutzenco

Frankie Cover

Title: Frankie: The Woman Who Saved Millions from Thalidomide

Author: James Essinger and Sandra Koutzenco

Genre: History, Medicine, Non-fiction

Publisher: The History Press

Release Date: 28 Jun. 2019

Blurb

Thalidomide: patented in Germany as a non-toxic cure-all for sleeplessness and morning sickness. A wonder drug with no side-effects.

We know differently now.

Today, thalidomide is a byword for tragedy and drug reform – a sign of what happens when things aren’t done ‘the right way’. But when it was released in the 1950s, it was the best thing since penicillin – something that doctors were encouraged to prescribe to all of their patients. Nobody could anticipate what it actually did: induce sleeping, prevent morning sickness, and drastically harm unborn children.

But, whilst thalidomide rampaged and ravaged throughout most of the West, it never reached the United States. It landed on the desk of Dr Frances Kelsey, and there it stayed as she battled hierarchy, patriarchy, and the Establishment in an effort to prove that it was dangerous. Frankie is her story.

Purchase Links

https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/publication/frankie/9780750991919/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frankie-Woman-Saved-Millions-Thalidomide-ebook/dp/B07PQV547Y

https://www.amazon.com/Frankie-Woman-Saved-Millions-Thalidomide-ebook/dp/B07PQV547Y

Author Biography

JAMES ESSINGER is the author of non-fiction books that focus on STEM subjects and personalities, including Charles and Ada (The History Press) and Ada’s Algorithm (Gibson Square), the latter of which has been optioned for a film. He lives in Canterbury.

SANDRA KOUTZENKO is a bilingual writer whose work spans a variety of categories and topics, ranging from French poetry to English non-fiction, focusing on human nature and the conflict between its potential for greatness and its propensity for destruction.

Social Media Links

Twitter @TheHistoryPress

Instagram @TheHistoryPressUK

https://www.facebook.com/james.essinger

https://twitter.com/jamesessinger

Have you read this? Let me know your thoughts below. When I have caught up with my TBR pile I will share my review.

Happy reading!

Love

Book Review: The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

Book Review: The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

With Halloween and the spookiness of October just passed, and discovering the next book in the trilogy is out at the end of the next year, I decided to revisit The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton.

Book Review: The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

The Craftsman

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

Title: The Craftsman

Author: Sharon Bolton

Publisher: Trapeze

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Release Date: 3rd May 2018

Blurb

He makes his living from death. But is he capable of murder? Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Grassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago. Like something from our worst nightmares, the victims were buried, but while they were still alive. Larry confessed the crimes; it was an open and shut case. But now he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves. Did she get it wrong all those years ago? Or is there something much darker at play?

My Thoughts

Since I first read The Craftsman last year, I have visited Lancaster and seeing the  its stunning mountains and dramatic landscape of the Lancashire countryside in reality added to the creepy atmosphere of this novel. Set in the footholds of the hills of Pendle, famous for the Pendle witch trials, there is an air of menace throughout made worse by the horrific murders. Being buried alive is a fear I have after reading Peter James’ Twilight.* The death of  serial killer, The Craftsman, draws Detective Florence Lovelady back to Lancashire where she began her career and the discovery of an effigy makes her question whether he was really guilty or a victim of miscarriage of justice. With a blend of murder investigations and supernatural it drew me in and kept me turning the page even though this was a reread. I have discovered she is one crime writer you can read over and over because even if you know the truth, you always learn something new and the tension of the chase still remains. Watching the George Gently TV series helped me visualise Flossie and her working environment in the 1960’s where she faces not only the danger of a killer on the loose, but the patriarchy attitude and discrimination at that time. She is independent, brave and has self-belief I wish I had at her age.

Would I recommend?

Yes. Sharon Bolton has a talent for sending chills down your spine with her creepy psychological thrillers and this is no exception. It’s dark, disturbing and makes you leave the light on.  It is the beginning of a series, though there is a prequel short story on Kindle, Alive. It is perfect for the dark evenings and curling up in front of the fire when you want the thrill of being spooked and discovering who did it.  I can’t wait for the next book.

What are you reading this weekend?

Happy reading!

Love

*An excellent horror book which I may have to read again.

Meet the Author: Sharon Booth

Meet the Author: Sharon Booth

Halloween is days away and I have been catching up on spooky or witch related books. I am excited to introduce Sharon Booth, author of the wonderful Witches of Castle Clair series to my blog to talk about her books, writing and other things.

Meet the Witches of Castle Clair ...

Meet the Author: Sharon Booth

Sharon author pic for blog

Author Sharon Booth

  • You have written two books from the Witches of Castle Clair series, what gave you the inspiration for this trilogy?

Probably the town of Castle Clair itself – or Knaresborough as the rest of the world know it! In North Yorkshire, not far from Harrogate, it’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever visited, but there’s also something really different and special about it. Maybe it’s the legend of prophetess, Old Mother Shipton; or the petrifying well that turns everyday objects to stone; or the ruins of the magnificent castle, complete with ravens; or the River Nidd; or the shrine set into the cliffside … or maybe it’s all these factors combined, along with the atmosphere in the town itself, the cobbled streets, the delightful charms of Ye Oldest Chemist Shoppe in England. Every time I visit Knaresborough my imagination goes into overdrive! Plus, I’m a huge fan of Bewitched so put those two things together and there you have it.

  • It follows three sisters who are also witches. Who is your favourite sister?

Oh no, what a cruel question! I absolutely love them all, and my favourite is probably the one I’m featuring at the time. They’re all very different, after all. Right now, I’m beginning to learn more about the middle sister, Celeste, as she’s the star of the third and final book which I’m currently plotting. Ask me again at the end of the series!

  • I have a bookcase full of books I will keep forever and regularly reread them. Do you reread books or do you only read them one?

I have so many books that were childhood favourites, particularly pony books and Enid Blyton books. I’ve been known to reread those many times. They’re like chicken soup when I’m feeling low or unwell. I’ve also reread the Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend more times than I care to remember. I don’t reread many books these days, as I have so many new ones to get through, but I have plenty that I’ll never part with.

  • Do you have a favourite spooky book for Halloween?

Anything by Phil Rickman! I thought that Curfew was especially creepy, and I have a soft spot for The Chalice, which was the first Phil Rickman book I ever read. Unlike just about every Phil Rickman fan I know, it’s his standalone books that I love. I’ve only read one Merrily Watkins novel, although I own them all. When I have time, I will start making my way through the rest.

  • What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished Christmas at Wynter House by Emily Harvale, which is a lovely, cosy Christmas romance. So, for a complete change of pace I’m going to read some Golden Age crime — maybe Whose Body? by Dorothy L Sayers, or Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party.

  • If you could perform one spell, what would it be?

A Never-Get-Fat spell! Too shallow?

  • What is your favourite book?

Jane Eyre

  • Who is your favourite author?

Aarrgghh! I’ll say Enid Blyton because she was the one who gave me my love of reading and made me want to write stories of my own

  • Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?

Probably, in the sense of learning from other writers, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and why. It’s all a learning experience, isn’t it? I used to worry that I’d copy the voice or tone of an author whose book I was enjoying, but I never worry about that now, as I’ve realised I have my own voice and I can’t help but use it!

  • Where is your favourite place to read or write?

Writing, in my own little office. Reading, downstairs on a reclining armchair, with a cup of tea to hand.

  • When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?

I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember but took it up seriously in 2011. I suppose being published came about thanks to the Romantic Novelists’ Association and my Write Romantics’ friends, who took me seriously and made me think that, actually, maybe it would be okay if other people read my stories.

  • If you have a genre you write, how did you begin writing in this style?

It just came naturally. I always thought I’d write sagas or historical fiction, but somehow my stories were always contemporary with lots of humour. I’m quite happy with that. If I put a smile on someone’s face, I’ve done my job.

Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sharonbooth.writer

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sharon_Booth1

Instagram: www.instagram.com/sharonboothwriter

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Booth/e/B00PP5S1X8

Website: www.sharonboothwriter.com

Biography

Sharon Booth is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes uplifting women’s fiction — “love, laughter, and happy ever after”. Although a happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed, she makes them work for it!

Sharon grew up in the East Yorkshire town of Hessle, where her enduring love for all things Yorkshire was born. She now lives in Kingston-upon-Hull with her husband and their much-loved German Shepherd dog.

Since giving up her admin job at a medical practice, she spends a lot of time assuring her family of five children, assorted in-laws and hordes of grandchildren – not to mention a sceptical mother and a contrary hairdresser – that writing full-time IS a “proper” job and she HASN’T taken early retirement.

She has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, adores Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies, and admits to being shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.

You can sign up to Sharon’s newsletter at smarturl.it/sharonsnewsletter

Thank you, Sharon for visiting the blog. I now have even more books added on my TBR pile and I look forward to reading Celeste’s story in the future.

Happy Halloween and reading!

Love

 

 

Book Review: Hallowed Ground: They Mystery of the African Fairy Circles by Paul Twivy

Book Review: Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles by Paul Twivy

There have been downpours of rain outside for days here in Yorkshire so I was more than pleased to be transported to the hot sun in Namibia in the YA novel Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles by Paul Twivy

Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles by Paul Twivy

 

Hallowed Ground Front Cover

Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles by Paul Twivy

Title: Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles

Author: Paul Twivy

Publisher: The Conrad Press

Genre: YA

Release Date: 1st October 2019

Blurb:

This magical story is inspired by the most haunting and least explored country in the world – Namibia – with its foggy Skeleton Coast, buried goldmines, shocking secrets and awe-inspiring sand dunes.

Spread across the face of its deserts are hundreds of miles of ‘fairy circles’ : vast enough to be seen from space.  They grow and die with the same lifespan as humans, yet no-one has been able to explain why or how they appear.

Then one day, three teenagers and their families arrive from different parts of the globe. Helped by bushmen, the buried possessions of a Victorian explorer, and a golden leopard, they solve the mystery of the African Circles. What will be discovered beneath the hallowed ground? And how will it change the future of the planet above it?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hallowed-Ground-mystery-African-Circles-ebook/dp/B07YDY9LF2/

Com – https://www.amazon.com/Hallowed-Ground-mystery-African-Circles-ebook/dp/B07YDY9LF2/

My Thoughts

This is one of those books where the cover matches the story perfectly; it’s vibrant, atmospheric and the desert in Namibia arrives in your living room, bed or wherever you are when you begin to read. It captured my imagination with the visual descriptions and the mystery of the fairy circles.

The four teenagers are distinct from each other with different personalities, backgrounds, cultures and unique talents but their shared curiosity and determination make them work together to solve the puzzle of the circles. Unlike many YA books, the teenagers are not alone on their adventure but have help from their parents who were not just blurry characters on the edges of the story. Theyhad their own fully formed stories and roles to play. It is a format that worked well and made it more believable. Paul Twivy has blended history, folklore, legends and stunning settings to produce a beautiful and unique novel which does not shy away from the horrors of the genocide which affects the country or other sensitive topics. I learnt things I was unaware of reading this.

There are many climate change references and a few older teenagers and adults could view it as didactic but most will nod and agree with the underlying message of protecting and nurturing the environment and our planet now rather than later.

Would I recommend?

This is one of those books which make me happy to be a book blogger. If I hadn’t been invited on to this tour and shown the blurb, this novel would have gone under my radar and I am so glad it didn’t. It reminded me of the books that sat on my twelve year old’s forever shelf and it would have slotted in perfectly.

Author Biography

Paul Twivy

Paul Twivy

Paul Twivy studied English at Oxford University and became one of the most famous British admen. He has written comedy and drama for the stage and radio.  He edited the bestseller Change the World for a Fiver. He is married with five children. He was inspired to write Hallowed Ground by his first-hand experiences of the extraordinary landscapes and culture of Namibia.

Social Media

www.thefairycircles.com

https://hallowedground.co.uk

https://twitter.com/paultwivy

A big thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources and The Conrad Press for the chance to read this delightful book and give my honest, unbiased opinion.

Love

Katie signature pink

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