Book Review: Surviving Me by Jo Johnson

Book Review: Surviving Me by Jo Johnson

 

Surviving Me Cover

Surviving Me by Jo Johnson

Title: Surviving Me

Author: Jo Johnson

Publisher: Unbound Digital

Release date: 14th Nov 2019

Genre: Fiction

Blurb:

Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal of what it means to be a modern man.

Tom’s lost his job and now he’s been labelled ‘spermless’. He doesn’t exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.

All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family’s future out of the water.

If they can’t be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.

This book tackles hard issues such as male depression, dysfunctional families and degenerative diseases in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.

Purchase Links

https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/48660416-surviving-me

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Surviving-Me-Jo-Johnson/dp/1789650615

https://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Me-Jo-Johnson/dp/1789650615

My Thoughts

I loved this book but it became a difficult book to read. Not because of the writing style or plot but because I connected with Tom so deeply it made me sob and feel his despair. Only a good book can do that. Tom has his flaws but it became easy to understand how one delay in telling the truth could snowball into the nightmare of depression. This often humorous story unfolds slowly  giving you time to know the characters and care for them. The scenes in the cafe are an in-depth study of personalities and interesting to read but even though Adam and others play a role in this novel, this is predominantly Tom’s story.

It discusses many difficult topics such as fertility, depression, suicide and illness in a sensitive manner which makes it emotional and harrowing in places but it is an important read in a time when male suicide is high. It gave me an insight into the mind as it declines into mental illness and a greater understanding. This was helped by reading the male perspective rather than the usual female protagonist I have read in the past.

 Would I recommend?

Yes, it is an insightful, deep and important novel which left me emotionally drained. Tom’s voice and actions will stay with me for a long time. Have tissues with you and mentally prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster.

Author Biography

Surviving Me - Jo Johnson PHOTO 2

Jo Johnson

I’m very excited that my debut novel ‘Surviving Me’ is due to be published on the 14 November. The novel is about male minds and what pushes a regular man to the edge. The novel combines all the themes I can write about with authenticity.

I qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1992 and initially worked with people with learning disabilities before moving into the field of neurology in 1996. I worked in the NHS until 2008 when i left to write and explore new projects.

I now work as an independent clinical psychologist in West Sussex.

Jo speaks and writes for several national neurology charities including Headway and the MS Trust. Client and family related publications include, “Talking to your kids about MS”, “My mum makes the best cakes” and “Shrinking the Smirch”.

In the last few years Jo has been offering psychological intervention using the acceptance and commitment therapeutic model (ACT) which is the most up to date version of CBT. She is now using THE ACT model in a range of organisations such as the police to help employees protect their minds in order to avoid symptoms of stress and work related burnout.

Social Media Links 

https://en-gb.facebook.com/shrinkingthesmirch/

Giveaway to Win two signed copies of Surviving Me &  five Surviving Me fridge magnets  (Open INT)*

1st Prize – 2 winners each winning a signed copy of Surviving Me

5 Runners Up – each winning a Surviving Me Fridge Magnet

Click here to enter and good luck!

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for bringing this book to my attention and giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy to review.

Stay at home if you can and stay safe.

Happy reading!

Love

Katie signature pink

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*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.

 

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: The Charm Bracelet by Ella Allbright

Cover Reveal: The Charm Bracelet by Ella Allbright

 

The Charm Bracelet

Book Title: The Charm Bracelet

Author: Ella Allbright

Publisher: One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins UK

Release dates:
Ebook:
21 August 2020

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charm-Bracelet-Ella-Allbright-ebook/dp/B0843NJXJQ
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Ella_Allbright_The_Charm_Bracelet?id=N3zLDwAAQBAJ

Paperback: 12 November 2020

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charm-Bracelet-Ella-Allbright/dp/0008386579
https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-charm-bracelet/ella-allbright/9780008386573

Blurb

A moving and heartwarming love story perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day in December…
Leila’s charm bracelet tells a story of love, a story of loss, a story of hope.
This is the story of her … and the story of Jake.
When Leila Jones loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and every one is a precious memory of her life with Jake.
So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…

Author Biography

IMG_8983

Ella Allbright

A self-confessed reading addict, Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Her first novel in this genre, The Charm Bracelet will be published in August 2020 by One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins, and she’s currently hard at work on her next book. Ella is represented by agent Hattie Grünewald at The Blair Partnership, who represent J.K. Rowling.

Ella also writes as Nikki Moore, the author of the popular #LoveLondon romance series. A number of the novellas featured in the Top 100 short story charts on Kobo and the Top 20 in the Amazon UK bestsellers Holiday chart, and in 2018 the collection was released in Italy. Her first published work was the short story A Night to Remember in the best selling Mills & Boon / RNA anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply. Her debut romance Crazy, Undercover, Love was shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2015.
When not writing or reading, she can be found working in her HR day job, walking the family’s cute beagle puppy or watching a Netflix series!

 
You can connect with Ella/Nikki on:

Twitter:

@NikkiMoore_Auth

Facebook:

facebook.com/NikkiMooreWrites

Amazon:

amazon.co.uk/Nikki-Moore

WordPress:

nikkimooreauthor.wordpress.com

She also vlogs about how to get published as ‘Author By The Sea’ on her YouTube channel.

I can’t wait to read this.

Happy reading!

Love

Katie signature pink

A belated welcome to 2020 and best books of 2019.

How come it is the middle of February already? It feels as if it should still be October last year. As time is galloping on, I am late sharing with you my favourite reads from 2019. I always enjoy looking back at my Goodreads challenge to see what I read in the past because it gives a warm feeling similar to meeting old friends in the street and likewise, you promise you will catch up with them soon but never have time to.  It was a year for some gems which I would not have discovered if it wasn’t for Rachel’s Random Resources and social media, so thank you Rachel Gilbey, other bloggers and NetGalley for their recommendations. These are the my favourites.

Favourites Reads from 2019

The Woman in the Photograph

By far, for it’s characters, passion and eye opening subject matter my book of the year has to be The Woman in the Photograph by Stephanie Butland. My review can be read here but it blew me away and one book, I recommend to many people. Feminism and its history was a topic I thought I had some knowledge about – I was so wrong.

 

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

The Boy, the Mole and the Fox by Charlie Mackesy was a surprise gift from fellow blogger, Julie Morris from A Little Book Problem blog. Its sweet, honest and full of wisdom reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh. It made me cry and give everyone a big hug.

 

The Lost Ones

 

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank. A delightful Gothic ghost story; it is perfect for a winter’s night.

 

 

Dead & Talking Kindle sleeve FINAL DES

 

Dead and Talking: A Porter and The Gliss Investigation by Des Burkinshaw was an unexpected gem with a thrilling story and characters I enjoyed getting to know. It has the potential to be a series I will eagerly follow. Click here for the review

 

Tell ne your secret

Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson. Her books never fail to impress but this one has a darker edge I didn’t anticipate but wow what a read.

 

 

 

Dyed Souls Cover

Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella was another book that surprised me by its intensity and deep characterisation. It wasn’t the easiest topic to read but Charlie wormed himself in my heart and  I will never forget him or the life he led. The review is here.

 

 

the passage

 

The Passage by Justin Cronin. This was a reread after I watched the TV adaptation on Sky and I constantly kept saying “Well I’m sure that wasn’t in the book”. My enjoyment of the series grew but the epic novel is out of this world. It’s dystopian horrors kept me enthralled and petrified as I could see how a similar scenario could unfold and devastate the world.

 

Closer than you think

 

Closer than You think by Darren O’Sullivan for it’s ability to keep me awake at night with the horror potentially following me into my dreams.

 

 

Songs of UsThe Songs of Us by Emma Cooper was one of the first books I read in 2019 but it still holds a special place in my heart. Music is threaded into the story with a playlist available on Spotify. It is impossible to listen to The Beatles  Can’t Buy Me Love and not think of Melody, the main character in the opening chapters. The audio version of this book is perfect too. Get your tissues ready.

 

An author I discovered last year was Jenni Keer. I fell in love with her books as they have magic threaded through them and her characters have a knack of staying with you  If you haven’t read them yet do as they uplift these grey, winter days. The review for The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is here.

Also, the lovely Sharon Booth who has a back catalogue I have added to my TBR. With my love of witch books, how can I not fall in love with the witches of Castle Clair.  My Favourite Witch tingled with a delightful magic that made me smile. The last of the series, To Catch A Witch is out in April so watch this space for a review.

Which were your favourite books from last year?

Love

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

IMG-0224

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: 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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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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Book Review for Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage

Book Review: Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage by Katie Ginger

It is another festive book today. I am pleased to share you my review for Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage by Katie Ginger. This is a new author for me but I am looking forward to reading some other stories by her.

Book Review: Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage by Katie Ginger

Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage

Title: Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage

Author: Katie Ginger

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Christmas Romance

Release Date: 11th October 2019

Blurb

On a grey, London day, Esme’s world crumbles around her when she loses her glitzy job on a top TV programme, her gorgeous, city-slicker boyfriend and her stunning apartment, all in one fell swoop just before Christmas.

Esme is forced suddenly to move back to her sleepy hometown of Sandchester, and despite the snow blanketing the roof and the fairy lights that twinkle in her rustic little cottage, everything is looking bleak. That is until she reconnects with an old crush and finds herself unexpectedly getting swept away.

But Joe, handsome and charming as he is, is not all he seems. Esme soon realises that he has a tragic past which he just might not be able to overcome…

Surrounded by her loving, if harebrained, family and with the support of her hilarious friends, Esme is determined to have a go at forging her own path, even if it all comes to nothing. But one question still lingers in her mind: will she find someone to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?

Purchase Links

Amazon UK ebook: https://amzn.to/2NL7fhq

Amazon UK paperbook: https://amzn.to/2Y51uPP

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2LP8Ujm

Amazon US ebook: https://amzn.to/2XHxFR1

My Thoughts

Oh my! This is the best Christmas book I have read this year (and I have read quite a few now). I began reading at bedtime and found myself staying awake until the last page. I could not put it down. It made me chuckle out loud waking my husband and sob too. It had everything a festive book needs – characters you love, scrumptious food to make you hungry, a magical setting, a plot you are immersed in and sprinkling of festive moments that make you wish you could experience them yourself.

I am a fan of the Great British Bake Off so I was drawn in by the first scenes where I was introduced to Esme on the set of a cooking programme. Food plays a large part of the story and Katie Ginger’s writing makes the food come alive on the page, I could see, smell and taste the flavours as Esme baked. I am going to have to search for some orange tea bread. It sounds divine. The promised aroma of the bakes conjured up the spirit of Christmas.

Esme is a wonderful character who I would love to meet in reality. She tackles problems head on, is natural and funny so complements Joe, an estate agent who is the reluctant love interest with a heart breaking past. Their relationship is an emotional roller coaster as obstacles are put in the way of love and fresh beginnings. Esme’s friends add an extra element to the novel as they are always there for each other and add humorous moments not that Esme needs help in that department.

Would I recommend?

This book will be on my forever shelf so I can read it again and again. It is a festive treat that makes you ready for Christmas and tantalises the taste buds. It is heart warming, funny and emotional making it perfect for fans of the Great British Bake off, Bridget Jones and Christmas.

Author Biography

Snowflakes - author pic

Katie Ginger

KATIE GINGER lives in the South East of England, by the sea, and apart from holidays to very hot places where you can sit by a pool and drink cocktails as big your head, she wouldn’t really want to be anywhere else. Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage is her third novel. She is also author of the Seafront series – The Little Theatre on the Seafront, shortlisted for the Katie Fforde Debut Novel of the Year award, and Summer Season on the Seafront.

When she’s not writing, Katie spends her time drinking gin, or with her husband, trying to keep alive her two children: Ellie, who believes everything in life should be performed like a musical number from a West End show; and Sam, who is basically a monkey with a boy’s face. And there’s also their adorable King Charles Spaniel, Wotsit (yes, he is named after the crisps!).

For more about Katie you can visit her website: www.keginger.com, find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KatieGAuthor, or follow her on Twitter: @KatieGAuthor.

Thank you Rachel Random Resources and HQ Digital for an advanced copy to review and allowing me to discover a new author to follow.

Happy reading!

Love

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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