Book review: Wrapped up for Christmas by Katlyn Duncan

The festive reads continue with a new author for me, Katlyn Duncan.

Book Review: Wrapped Up for Christmas by Katlyn Duncan

Wrapped Up for Christmas_FINAL

Title: Wrapped Up for Christmas

Author: Katlyn Duncan

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Festive, Romance

Release Date: 1st October 2019

Blurb

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but not for Angie Martinelli…

Having lost her boyfriend, job, and apartment all in the space of a week, Angie has no choice but to leave California and return to her family in New England.

Determined not to let life weigh her down, Angie finds work at the local mall where she worked as a teenager. After an embarrassing run-in with a handsome stranger, Nick, she’s convinced her luck is about to change.

But Nick has secrets of his own… and as the first flakes of snow begin to fall, Angie can’t help but wonder if she’ll ever find love.

Purchase Links

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NGuQyc
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2HBoxs2
B&N: http://bit.ly/32fCF1R
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2NGvUlG
iBooks: https://apple.co/2LmsotI
Kobo: http://bit.ly/32jrSUl
Books2read universal link: http://bit.ly/34deOBH

My Thoughts

I loved the overall Christmas feel of this novel with the decorations, trees and festive food leaping off the page but it was the shopping mall which resonated with me most. In my student days, my first job was working in a mall at Christmas and I loved it – the atmosphere, people watching and helping shoppers with their retail experience. Katlyn Duncan has captured the essence of that perfectly as Angie returns to the mall she once worked. She is a character I could relate too and Nick along with his dog, Charlie makes a good love interest. Their chemistry meant I was more than happy to have a duvet day to continue reading to discover how family feuds and trust issues played out.

It is heart-warming, reminded me of the important things about the festive season – love, charity and goodwill – and more importantly, gave me the tingle of anticipation that soon it will be time to decorate my own tree.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. It is entertaining, heart-warming and pure escapism allowing you time away from soggy days and gear up for the Christmas period which is on its way.

Author Biography

Wrapped UP Author Photo

Author Katlyn Duncan

Coming from a small town in Western Massachusetts, Katlyn Duncan always had her head in the clouds. Working as a scientist for most of her adult life, she enjoyed breaking down the hows and whys of life. This translated into her love of stories and getting into the minds of her characters.

Currently, she’s a full-time author and freelance writer. When she’s not writing, she’s obsessing over many (many) television series’.

She currently resides in Southern New England with her family. Check out more about her writing and current TV addiction in her newsletter, and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

SCBWI & RWA Member.

Social Media Links –

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorkatlynduncan/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katlyn_duncan

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/duncankatlyn/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7060690.Katlyn_Duncan

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katlyn-duncan

Newsletter sign up: https://www.subscribepage.com/q6i5n1

 

Thank you Rachel Random Resources, and HQ Digital for an advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion. It was a pleasure to read.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: Writing Fiction by James Essinger

Book Review: Writing Fiction by James Essinger

Today I am reviewing something slightly different to the usual books found on this blog. When I am not reading, blogging or sleeping I write fiction. Like many readers, I dream of seeing my book in a book shop surrounded by authors I love so when I was offered a chance to review this book on writing fiction I knew I had to take it.  My writing journey can be found here.

Book Review: Writing Fiction A User-friendly Guide by James Essinger

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (1)

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide

Title: Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide

Author: James Essinger

Genre: Non-fiction, Writing

Publisher: The Conrad Press

Release Date: 1st August 2019

Blurb

‘Writing Fiction is a little pot of gold… Screenplay by Syd Field for film, Writing Fiction by James Essinger for fiction. It’s that simple.’

William Osborne, novelist and screenwriter

Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a must-read if you want to write stories to a professional standard.

It draws on the author’s more than thirty years of experience as a professional writer, and on the work and ideas of writers including:

  • Anthony Burgess
  • Joseph Conrad
  • George Eliot
  • Ken Follett
  • Frederick Forsyth
  • Dan Harmon
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • David Lodge
  • Norman Mailer
  • John Milton
  • Ben Parker
  • K. Rowling
  • William Shakespeare
  • Martin Cruz Smith
  • R.R. Tolkien

The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including: devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.

Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Future movies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster  Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Writing-Fiction-user-friendly-James-Essinger-ebook/dp/B07VYY9XH9/

https://www.amazon.com/Writing-Fiction-user-friendly-James-Essinger-ebook/dp/B07VYY9XH9/

My Thoughts

James Essinger is a novelist, non-fiction writer and publisher so he has the experience to write a writing guide. This is a concise, useful and easy-to-read book for beginners and breaks down the important elements of fiction writing. Examples are given to illustrate the advice with links to Back to the Future, Titanic and The Day of the Jackal.

I enjoyed learning about how the oral tradition of telling stories around the campfire has evolved through time to Dickens, Conrad and more modern novelists like Ken Follett and the importance of picking a role model suitable for today’s readers. He gives a good overview of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey which gives a story a solid structure. There are several tips that will help my writing but as a writer of women’s fiction and magical realism some suggestions were not applicable. If I had read this before learning the expectations of readers from those genres, I think I would have come away disheartened after trying to fit my manuscript to all the points given and failing. The bias to male authors made the book less relatable to what it could have been.

Would I recommend?

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide is useful and the length makes it ideal to read  between writing your own chapters. It is worth reading for writers of crime and thrillers.


Author Biography

Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide (2)

James Essinger

James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019). His novels include The Mating Game (2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project (2019).

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/james.essinger  

https://twitter.com/jamesessinger

 Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and The Conrad Press for the copy of Writing Fiction a user-friendly guide to review and give my honest opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

 

 

Book Review: Dead & Talking by Des Burkinshaw

I am pleased to share my review for Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation as part of a blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources.

Book Review: Dead & Talking by Des Burkinshaw

Dead & Talking Kindle sleeve FINAL DES

Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation

Title: Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation

Author: Des Burkinshaw

Genre: Supernatural  historical thriller

Publisher: magnificent!

Release Date: 10 Mar. 2019

Blurb

If a ghost appeared from nowhere, rescued you from suicide and then ordered you to start solving crimes to help dead people, what would you do? When it happens to Porter Norton, he just wants to put his head in his hands and have nothing to do with it. But now he has to atone for the family curse that has seen all the men die at their own hands for five generations. The Gliss, the sarcastic spirit that rescues him, says he can now and see and hear the Dead – if he’s close to their remains. Porter has to use his unwelcome gift to clear up past injustices. Or else. Forced to investigate the murder of a WW1 British Tommy executed for spying in 1917, he begins to suspect the case has links to his own family history. Along the way, Porter enlists the help of a bickering group of misfits, who struggle to stay involved – because only fools believe in the supernatural, don’t they? Full of pop culture references, banter and twists, the story takes us from present-day London and Flanders to scenes from World War 1. As Porter, The Gliss, and friends, get deeper into the explosive case, they discover their own lives and sanity are at stake. An evil from WW1 pursues them all.

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PLLNB4M

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PLLNB4M

My Thoughts

I’m not sure what I was expecting but this novel exceeded my expectations. It wasn’t a book I wanted to rush but longed to savour each scene. This is unusual for me as I am a reader who likes to gallop to the end if I am immersed in the story. I enjoyed the style, pace and Torchwood-like content – full of distinctive characters, supernatural battles, suspense and danger. The pose was a good balance of description, dialogue with banter and action creating vivid, highly visual scenes. It is easy to imagine the story on the screen.

There are many memorable characters to love. Despite descriptions to the contrary, I visualised and heard The Gliss as the Max, the robotic commander in The Flight of the Navigator which added an extra surreal element to this wonderful book. The dynamics between the characters move the plot forward because of their different personalities  particularly Porter and his sister Cherry. It highlights the contrast between how siblings can react to a common upbringing which affects their adult life.  My favourite person has to be Feng for his unique, unhinged view of the world which is needed to add lightness because the book delves into the dark subjects of depression, suicide and horrors of World War One. Some readers may find some scenes distressing.

Would I recommend?

If you love supernatural thrillers with unforgettable and quirky characters, yes. This is one of my favourite supernatural books, on par with the early  Peter James books so I will be following this series and author closely. I would be pleased to have this book on my forever shelf as I suspect it is one which will improve with each rereading.

Author Biography

Dead and Talking - DES DARK

Des Burkinshaw

Born in the middle of the Summer of Love on a pre-fab council estate in Luton, teenage bitterness and a chance viewing of the Watergate movie, All the President’s Men, made him vow to become a journalist and bring down the government.

First he had to pay for his journalism course, so he became a civil servant. Literally the day he had enough for his fees, he packed it in.
Twelve years on from watching the film, he was a journalist at The Times and had a big hand in bringing down John Major’s government. News ambitions sated, he packed that in too.

Several years of working for Channel 4, ITV and the BBC as a senior producer saw him working across the world, but he eventually got fed up with asking bands how the new album was coming along, and packed it in.

He set up his own production company magnificent! in 2002 and simultaneously worked on the BBC Live Events team for another 10 years. But then six years of work on the Olympics came along, so he packed the BBC in. Again.

Des has jammed with many of his heroes from Paul McCartney to Brian Wilson, Queen to Nancy Sinatra. He has interviewed many A-listers, including David Bowie, Michael Caine, John Cleese and even Noam Chomsky.

He has directed/produced a fairly long list of people – Muse, Coldplay, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, produced BBC3’s Glastonbury coverage for a couple of years, made films about leprosy in India, comedy shorts with Miranda Hart and Lenny Henry and played guitar for Chas and Dave at the Hackney Empire.

He has made 300+ short films for the Queen, MI5, the BBC, Sky, Discovery, EMI, the British Academy and dozens of authorities, charities and private sector firms. His most recent publication was a series of interviews with leading academics like Mary Beard on the state of the humanities which was published as a standalone magazine by the British Academy.

Fed up with travelling and determined to be a half-decent dad, he now works in London as often as he can. He runs the Young Directors Film School making movies with young people and is about to head up the Digital Film and Video MA at Tileyard. An avid musician and producer, he releases his third album as Romano Chorizo (he plays drums, bass, piano, guitar and really bad sax).

He hates to be pigeon-holed, thinks creativity is a learned state of mind and wishes they would teach people memory and learning techniques at school.

Dead & Talking is his debut novel, the first in a series of Porter & The Gliss investigations.

 

Social Media Links

Website www.desburkinshaw.com

Twitter twitter.com/DesBurkinshaw,

Facebook facebook as Des Burkinshaw

Giveaway to Win 3 x Signed Copies of Dead & Talking (Open INT)*

I am pleased to offer you the chance to read this book.

Click here to enter

Reading this book reminded me of why I love book blogging; it gives the opportunity to discover an author and series which may have slipped under my radar otherwise. I loved the hours I spent immersed in Norton and Gliss’ investigation so thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to the tour and free ARC to read.

Good luck and happy reading!

Love

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Other blogs on this tour

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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: The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

I am pleased to start this week with a review for The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas. As many of you know I love books about the supernatural so I was excited to be given the chance to be on this blog tour organised by @rararesources

Book Review: The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

The House of Secrets_FINAL (1)

The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

Title: The House of Secrets (The Sarah Bennett Mysteries, Book 2)

Author: Terry Lynn Thomas

Genre: paranormal crime

Publisher: HQ Digital

Release Date: 11th April 2019

Blurb

Sarah Bennett has two secrets: she sees ghosts, and she is in love with a spy.

When Sarah takes a job with occult expert Dr Matthew Geisler, he promises to help her understand the sorrowful spirit that seems to have attached itself to her.

As Sarah struggles to cope with the ghostly presence, she runs into Zeke, the man who left her six months earlier and is recovering from injuries suffered in an alleged accident. But Zeke has secrets of his own, and when an attempt is made on Geisler’s life, Sarah finds herself caught in a struggle between the living and the dead.

Unsure who she can trust, Sarah must solve the mystery of the soul determined to haunt her, and save Dr Geisler and herself from an unknown threat.

This book was previously published as WEEPING IN THE WINGS

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

Purchase News: The House of Secrets is 99p throughout June as part of the June Kindle Monthly deal. The Spirit of Grace, book 1 in the series is also 99p throughout June.

My Thoughts

The opening scene grabbed my attention but the verdict of Sarah’s father murder trial clinched it, I knew I would like this book . The House of Secrets is the second in the Sarah Bennett series but it can be read as a standalone. It does make you curious about Sarah Bennett’s and Zeke’s back story which is why the previous one The Spirit of Grace is on my TBR list . The premise of a psychic protagonist investigating crime is not unique but set in the 1940s  the threat of being admitted to an asylum is ever present adding to the overall tension. Sarah is haunted by the past but determined not to sucked under by the spirits she hears or the gossip that follows her.

The prose and imagery made it a relaxing read and reminded me of the Agatha Christie Mysteries but with ghosts which I think is a wonderful combination. I was immersed in the working of the Geisler household and its occupants. It has been converted into an institute for psychiatric patients but with Dr Geisler’s interest in the occult some are also believed to have psychic abilities. Minna is a classic damsel in distress from a Gothic novel and was fun to read but my favourite character was sophisticated Cynthia. I would love to read about her and hope she plays apart in any future books. All the characters including Dr Gleiser have an air of secrecy about them and I felt any of them could prove to be Sarah’s undoing. Like Sarah I was unsure who to trust and where the story would go.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this a refreshing, cosy read for lazy days on the beach, Sunday mornings or hiding under the duvet. I am looking forward to reading more of the series and other books by Terry Lynn Thomas.

Author Biography

The House of Secrets Headshot

Author Terry Lynn Thomas

Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.

Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/TLThomasBooks

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources, and HQ Digital for allowing me to read this book for an honest review. For more information and reviews on The House Of Secret why not visit the other blogs on the tour.

I love ghostly reads so feel free to share your recommendations below and if you have read this series please let me know your thoughts.

Happy Reading !

Love

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Blog Tour: Thread of Hope by Rachel J Bonner @rararesources

I enjoy paranormal romances so I was excited to be invited by @rararesources to join this blog tour. Unfortunately, it has been a difficult few weeks and I have been battling brain fog so reading has been put on hold. Instead of the review I was hoping to post I am pleased to share with you the information of the book waiting patiently on my TBR and an exciting giveaway. Thread of Hope is the second book of the Choices and Consequences series by Rachel J Bonner. When  my reading mojo returns, I  will share my review so watch this space.

During this blog tour the first book of the series Strand of Faith is available for the promotional price of 99p but if you would like a chance to win both books, read on.

Thread of Hope by Rachel J Bonner

Thread Front Cover

Thread of Hope by Rachel J Bonner

Title: Thread of Hope

Author: Rachel J Bonner

Publisher: Isbin Publishers

Release Date: 2nd May 2019

Blurb for Thread Of Hope

The enthralling sequel to the compelling Strand of Faith.

What if your secrets are so dangerous they could destroy the one you love?

Is honesty always the best policy?

Leonie may have run away but Prospero will find her. He loves her and he wants a future with her by his side whatever the consequences. Only when he does find her, he ought to tell her who he really is, outside the monastery. That’ll make her run again. Dare he risk it? But if he doesn’t tell her, someone else may…

Marriage to Prospero is what Leonie wants most and the one thing she knows she can’t have. If he found out what she was really like, what she’d been, what she’d done, he’d despise her and she couldn’t bear that. Better to leave now than live a lie – but it’s harder than she expected. If only…

Gabriel is starting to discover the secrets inherent in Leonie, secrets that not even she knows, secrets that will tear the world apart. And the secrets he is keeping are tearing him apart. How can sacrificing those he loves possibly achieve peace when everything he discovers risks the death of millions?

Purchase Links:

 Amazon Kindle – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NBH7J2T

Google Play –
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_J_Bonner_Thread_of_Hope?id=bMCSDwAAQBAJ

Other ebook retailers – https://books2read.com/threadofhope

Need to know more about the first book? Here is the blurb.

Strand of Faith by Rachel J Bonner

Blurb

A girl. A monk. An unthinkable sacrifice.
When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?

In a post-apocalyptic future, a girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love. But their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.

After the troubles of his youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery. Then he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. How can it possibly be right to leave a life of worship and service for human desire? And if he does leave, will the pressures from his past destroy him?

Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the Abbey. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything spirals out of her control. Everyone she’s ever loved has died. She can’t do that to him. But how can she walk away from the first place she’s truly belonged?

Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice. He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war. Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for. Is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?

 Strand of Faith Purchase Links

Strand of Faith Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GKZT8LF/

Strand of Faith Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_J_Bonner_Strand_of_Faith?id=bQyBDwAAQBAJ

Strand of Faith Other retailers    https://www.books2read.com/strandoffaith

Author Biography

Rachel J Bonner

Rachel J Bonner

Rachel J Bonner is the author of the four book Choices and Consequences series, the first of which, Strand of Faith, was released in November 2018.

Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in paranormal romance.  Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun.  When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club.  Target shooting only, honest.  Nothing to worry about.

She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary.  It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.

Website                               http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/

Blog                                       http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/blogofweek.html

Twitter                                 https://www.twitter.com/racheljbonner1

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

Newsletter sign up          http://www.racheljbonner.co.uk/newsletter.html or https://www.subscribepage.com/o8x8t3

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Thread of Hope you have a chance  to win a signed copy of both Strand of Faith and Thread of Hope, plus bookmarks and business cards that match each book, and one of the Holding Crosses that the monks and nuns have.  (Open INT)

Thread of Hope Giveaway Prize

Bundle of goodies to win

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494222/?

Good luck!

Have you read the series? I would love to know your views in the comments below.

Love

 

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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: Two Little Girls by Frances Vick

It seems ages since I reviewed a book that was not women’s fiction so I am happy to be part of the blog tour for Two Little Girls by Frances Vick.

Book Review: Two Little Girls by Frances Vick

Two-Little-Girls-Kindle

Two Little Girls Book Cover

Title:  Two Little Girls

Author: Frances Vick

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Bookouture

Release Date: 17th April

Purchase Links: 

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07MW3ZSDYSocial

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2CrlQ9I

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/yb5m7j6r

Googleplay: https://tinyurl.com/ybdgj2kg

Blurb:

An innocent girl is taken. The killer confesses.
But that’s not the whole story. That’s not even the beginning…

It’s 1985 and the disappearance of ten-year-old Lisa Cook shocks the nation. Her best friend, Kirsty, traumatised and fearful, gives evidence that helps to put the Cook family’s lodger behind bars.

…But what if Kirsty made a mistake?

Now, decades later, Kirsty leaves a life she loves to move back to the hometown she hates – tortured by her memories, she’s determined to finally uncover the truth about what happened to Lisa that day. But someone is waiting for her there, someone close to her family. Someone who is hoping to finish off a job that was started years ago…

An absolutely gripping emotional drama for fans of The Couple Next Door, Whisper Me This and Laura Elliot

 My Thoughts:

This is the first book I have read from this author but it will not be the last. It began in 1985 with two best friends Lisa and Kirsty pushing the boundaries and rules of childhood. I was a similar age at the time; I could visualise their lives easily with the mention of Grange Hill, Care bears and Smash Hits but it took me a while to get into the book and relate to both girls. It became easier to form the connection to Kirsty as the harsh consequences of Lisa’s disappearance were revealed. There were times I thought I knew what had happened as she began to uncover the truth but the introduction of two psychics turned my assumptions around. I love books with a potential supernatural element so I became gripped as the tension increased and the pace escalated to the surprising finale.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this a strong psychological thriller with an interesting premise and many twists making it a good book to snuggle down under the duvet with at a weekend. I am looking forward to adding more of Frances Vick book on my TBR list.

Author Biography:

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Frances Vick

The only child of parents who worked at a top security psychiatric hospital, Frances Vick grew up receiving disquieting notes and presents from the patients. Expelled from school, she spent the next few years on the dole, augmenting her income by providing security and crewing for gigs, and being a medical experiment guinea pig. Later jobs included working in a theatre in Manhattan, teaching English in Japanese Junior High Schools, and being a life model in Italy, before coming back to London and working with young offenders and refugees. 

Author Social Media Links:

TWITTER: @franvicksays

WEBSITE: www.francesvick.co.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/FrancesVickAuthor/

GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9843604.Frances_Vick

Thank you Bookouture, NetGalley and Frances Vick for the opportunity to be part of this tour and an advanced copy of the book so I could give an honest, unbiased review.

Happy reading!

Love

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Pelican by M. Naidoo

pelicans-446864_1920

Unique beautiful birds

Books grab my attention for many reasons, sometimes it is a classic case of judging its potential by the cover, other times it is the blurb but this time I was attracted by the title. The prehistoric looking pelican has fascinated me ever since I read about its antics in Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me as a child and a visit to Paphos in Cyprus where a friendly one would walk along the harbour cemented my love for them. The blurb and the mystery of the bird intrigued me further so I am grateful to Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and opportunity to read a complimentary copy so I could give my honest review.

Book Review: The Pelican by M.Naidoo

The Pelican cover

The Pelican by M.Naidoo Book Cover

Title: The Pelican

Author: M. Naidoo

Publisher: Kaedin Press

Release Date: 29 July 2017

Blurb

“Because life is about living…”

Julia has never been one to surrender without a fight, but when she receives a devastating diagnosis, she has a decision to make.
Even after thirty years, she can still see her mother slowly fading away with every dose of chemo, every round of radiation, and every lost shred of hope. No, she won’t do it… not to her family… and not to herself!
Without warning, she packs up her belongings and disappears, leaving behind a life that, by all accounts, had been as perfect as they come, and a distraught family full of questions.
Finding peace in a beach house in Northern California turns out to have its complications though. While only a handful of other residents share the tiny beach community, each one has brought their own baggage and developed their own way of dealing with it. All Julia wants is to be left alone, but that simply does not seem to be an option, especially when there’s a persistent bird that declares her to be his new best friend.
Haunted by the shadows of the past, Julia is struggling to cope with the present. Will she have the strength to do this alone and eventually follow through with her plan? Will her family, divided by mixed reactions to being abandoned, come together to try and track her down? And what is the deal with that pelican of hers?
Only time will tell – and time is the one thing Julia does not have…

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.com/Pelican-M-Naidoo-ebook/dp/B074DTBMZQ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pelican-M-Naidoo-ebook/dp/B074DTBMZQ/

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-pelican-4

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-pelican-m-naidoo/1129330070?ean=2940161877258

For duration of tour – The Pelican will be £1.99 on Amazon UK (and US)

My Thoughts

The Pelican is a beautifully written novel which pulled at the emotions as you would expect from the subject matter. Tissues are required but it is not a maudlin story but one of love, taking control of your own death but how life always brings you the unexpected. Julia had always planned to live by the sea so when she was told she has cancer this was where she retreated to. The descriptions of the stunning scenery made it is easy for me to imagine being on the coast, watching the sunset with the meditative sound of the waves lapping on the shore and a lone pelican waddling towards me. He was a wonderful, captivating character and helped immerse me in the story. As I got to know Julia and her past I could understand her reasoning for dying alone but found it difficult at times when other perspectives were told. It made me consider what I would do in the same position.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a memorable thought-provoking story which would be ideal for book club discussions and the pelican has a special place in my heart.

I loved M.Naidoo’s writing style, pace and ability to bring the setting alive so I am grateful to have another author to follow and explore.

Author Biography

The Pelican Author highres

M. Naidoo

Born and raised in Germany, M.Naidoo lives in Northern California with her husband, two daughters, and three dogs. One of them, Dusty, a spunky terrier mix, found its way into her debut novel.
When she is not in front of her computer, pounding out story lines and characters, she enjoys reading, movies, spending time with her family, and long walks on the beach – her proverbial ‘happy place’. M’s love for the beach and ocean shine through in the vivid descriptions of the coast in The Pelican.

“Juggling my life as a writer and a full-time ‘real’ job has its challenges. I don’t get to spend half as much time as I’d like doing what I love, and there are never enough hours in the day. Still, I feel extremely lucky to be following my passion, and I am enjoying every minute of it. Getting here has been one heck of a ride!”

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMNaidoo/

https://www.instagram.com/authormnaidoo/

https://twitter.com/authormnaidoo

Thanks again to Rachel Random Resources and M. Naidoo for the tour invitation and sharing this lovely book.

Have you read The Pelican? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love

Blog Tour and Book Review: It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl

As soon as I read the blurb for this book the song It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to by the Nolan Sisters looped in my mind and it compelled me to add it to my TBR list. I was thrilled to be invited to this tour by Rachel’s Random Resources and receive a copy to read.

Book Review: It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl

It's My Birthday book cover

It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl Book Cover

Title: It’s My Birthday

Author: Hannah Pearl

Genre: Fiction, romance

Publisher: Ruby Fiction

Release date: 19th March 2019

Blurb:

It’s My Birthday

… I’ll cry if I want to.
Oh boy, another birthday …
Karen could be excused for crying on her birthday, especially as it’s the first one since her husband got on a plane to the States and never came back. Then there’s the fact that her workmates were practically bribed to attend her birthday meal. But when a restaurant double booking leads to her sharing a table with single dad Elliot and his daughter, things start looking up.

As Karen gets to know Elliot she experiences feelings she thought she’d never have again. But is it enough? Or will the thing that destroyed Karen’s previous relationship also ruin things with Elliot?

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-My-Birthday-heartwarming-romance-ebook/dp/B07N5LXS93

US – https://www.amazon.com/Its-My-Birthday-heartwarming-romance-ebook/dp/B07N5LXS93

My Thoughts

As someone who has had their 40th birthday I loved the idea of the novel beginning on Karen’s birthday at her party which she is reluctantly attending. In the first few pages Hannah Pearl painted a birthday scene I instantly related to, and I was immersed in this honest, heartwarming novel until the end. It was just what I needed on a weekend of duvet dwelling with back pain. Karen was easy to connect to, and it was refreshing to read grounded characters discovering they may have a second chance of love by accident rather than actively searching for a date. Karen has the security of a job and house and despite being heartbroken from her failed marriage she is not a damsel in distress. Any relationship she wants is to complement her life rather than making her whole. Besides Karen, I loved Sophie who unlike many teenagers in fiction shows no angst about the possibility of her father, Elliot going out with another woman. It was lovely to see the friendship between Karen and her develop. The emotive topics of infertility and IVF are dealt with sensitively and pulled at my emotions as Karen struggles with the idea she may never be a mother. 

Would I recommend?

This is an ideal weekend or holiday read. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Author Biography

hannah pearl

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.

Blogdizzygirlwrites.wordpress.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/HannahPearl_1

Thanks again Rachel Random Resources for allowing me to read an ARC so I could give an honest review.

Hope you have a happy weekend and reading.

Love

It's My Birthday banner

Other blogs to visit on this tour

Book review and cover for The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

March has arrived with the daffodils, some gorgeous days interspersed with storms. With the rain and wind outside, I have been enjoying snuggling in the warm reading. I am pleased to share my review for The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl. When I am out I love seeing old doors, the quirkier or unusual the better and always wonder about the secrets that lie behind them. The image on this cover with the protagonist standing in the entrance of green weather beaten door caught my imagination making me want to follow her so I was thrilled to be offered a place on this tour with Rachel Random Resources.

Book Review: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

cover from fb

Title: The Forgotten Secret

Author: Kathleen McGurl

Genre: Women’s Fiction, historical

Publisher: HQ Digital

Release date: 1st March 2019

Purchase Links

UK  – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-ebook/dp/B07H2PMPR3

US  – https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-ebook/dp/B07H2PMPR3  

Blurb

A country at war

It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is brewing and before long Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

And a long-buried secret

A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.

For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence.

My Thoughts

I do not know much about Irish history, the formation of Northern Ireland and its complex relationship with Britain except from the odd bits I have picked up from the news and books. In the present day political climate it has never been more important to learn and I’m grateful for the insight this book gave me into the War of Independence and beyond. I appreciated the summary of events at the beginning which helped in the understanding Ellen’s story.

The Forgotten Secret has a dual timeline. One story is set in 1996 with Clare finding her feet as she claims her independence from her overbearing husband after she inherits a tumbling down cottage in Ireland. The other follows Ellen as she gets a job as a maid in 1919.  Clashes between the Irish volunteers and the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) turn her life turned upside down. Loyalties between family and friends are stretched to the limits. Reading about the past events and people’s lives in Ireland was shocking and left me reeling.  It started many conversations which is always a good by-product of a well researched novel.

Both characters intrigued me; they were both stronger than they thought they could be and working towards independence but it was Ellen and the increased tension building in her life which drove the novel forward. From the beginning, I needed to know what happened to her and her childhood sweetheart. Kathleen McGurl captured the fear of the time with her words. It was only as Clare’s story unfolded and the farmhouse revealed the keys to the mystery in her family I formed a solid connection to her. By the end, I was hooked on both timelines.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is an emotional, thought-provoking read with strong women finding their own way. The blend of history, love and mystery makes it a good book for reading under the duvet or in the garden enjoying the sun. I have never read any of the author’s book before so I am delighted to add some more books to my TBR.

Author Biography

 

Kathleen McGurl author of The Forgotten Secret

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and elderly tabby cat. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

Social Media Links –

Website:  https://kathleenmcgurl.com/

Twitter: @KathMcGurl  https://twitter.com/KathMcGurl

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathleenmcgurl/

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and Kathleen McGurl and HQ Digital for giving me to read an advanced copy so I could give an unbiased, honest review.

Have you read any books based in Ireland about the Troubles? Let me know in the comments below as I would love to know more about this subject.

Happy reading!

Love

Katie signature pink

 

P.S If you would like to know more about the book and author, why not pop over to the other blogs on the tour. Info given below.

The Forgotten Secret Full Tour Banner

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke

Welcome to a birthday post for The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke. Thank you @raresources for inviting me to this celebratory blog tour and the free book to read so I could review. Scroll down for my thoughts on this romance novel and the giveaway.

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Book Review for The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke.

TheSecretToFallingInLove_V2 copy

The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke

Title: The Secret to Falling in Love

Author: Victoria Cooke

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 9th February 2017

Blurb

Lifestyle journalist and thirty-something singleton Melissa hashtags, insta’s and snapchats her supposedly fabulous life on every social media platform there is.

That is until she wakes up on her birthday, another year older and still alone, wondering if for all her internet dates, love really can be found online? The challenge: go technology free for a whole month!

Forced to confront the reality of her life without its perfect filters, Melissa knows she needs to make some changes. But when she bumps into not one, but two gorgeous men, without the use of an app, she believes there could be hope for love offline.

If only there was a way to choose the right guy for her…

Purchase Link – getBook.at/TheSecrettoFallinginLove

My Thoughts

I have a confession I am addicted to my phone. It is my constant companion and I find it difficult not to scroll through the social media apps. The premise of this novel struck a cord and I was intrigued how the story would evolve.

Melissa was instantly likeable as she struggles to find the man of her dreams when everyone around her is settling down and I could relate to her. She doesn’t plan for her sabbatical from technology so with no preparation it instantly shows how reliant we are on it for our social interaction even on the simplest level. The world opened up to her as she saw the activity around her, new relationships formed and she began to live. This thought-provoking novel is humorous and uplifting. It made me remember the time before I had access to the internet. I would be unable to last month without my phone but it made me consider whether I need to use it as much as I do.

Would I recommend?

Yes it is an enjoyable, entertaining read which makes you leave the phone alone and appreciate the world around you. This was her debut; I am pleased there is a back catalogue of her books to catch up on.

 Author Biography

Victoria Cooke Image

Victoria Cooke

 

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016.

 

 

 

 

Social Media Links 

https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaCookeAuthor

https://twitter.com/victoriacooke10

https://www.instagram.com/victoriacookewriter

Giveaway – Win an ARC of The Secret to Falling in Love and a box of Belgian Truffles (UK Only)

I am pleased to share a chance to win your own advanced copy of The Secret to Falling in Love and chocolate. Good luck!

Click here to enter

I hope you have a good weekend with time to read. What is your current book? Feel free to share below.

Happy reading!

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.