The Chalk Man by C.J.Tudor @cjtudor #BookReview

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I have my thoughts on The Chalk Man by C.J.Tudor on my blog today. I had heard so many good things about this book from loads of fellow Book Bloggers that I really needed to read it myself. It is available in various formats and a paperback version is due out August 23rd and published by Penguin Books.

Synopsis:

You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you.

It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran – the Chalk Man.

He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.

Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.

Is history going to repeat itself?

Was it ever really over?

Will this game only end in the same way?

My Thoughts:

This is told from the perspective of Eddie in a dual timeline format, it flickers back and forth between 2016 and 1986. A mysterious letter brings back a host of memories of the summer 30 years ago. A summer of friends and friendship, family, a body and the Chalk Man.

This is a story that gradually gets under your skin in a creepy and eerie way as the past events unfold. I think it has more of an effect as it is from the characters as children as they are caught within the story. I loved this gang of kids, Eddie, Fat Gav, Hoppo, Metal Mickey and Nicky, they are your typical kids growing up in the 80’s, my era. A time of long hot summers, dens, mischief, finding their own fun, out playing for hours with no worries. Something I could identify with.

There are various threads running through the story and so you get to know more of the kids, their families and the dynamics between them. There is a saying that goes along the lies of “you never know what goes on behind closed doors”, it is very apt for this story.

The thing that really stood out for me about this story was the real sense of time and place for the kids. The language, the activities and games they played and secret coded messages, going round to call on friends. Then as I was reminiscing with my own childhood the author began to weave a sense of danger and apprehension in such a way that I could sense something coming. I love this sense of hairs raising, spine tingling and I have to make a real effort to slow my reading down a little as I am so eager to see what is coming.

The part of the story of 2016 is just as unsettling in the respect that as an adult there are things we like to know, for example if you got sent a letter regarding something from your past you would want to know why it had been sent and by who, and also why would the past be dragged back up again. Unless of course the past hadn’t actually been dealt with properly.

That is all I am giving you, I’m not going to go into details about the plot it would be wrong to spoil anything.Just take my word for it when I say that it most definitely worth reading, especially if you are a fan of psychological thrillers.

I loved this book, it had not only a great story line but was so well described, captivating and gave a sense of unease and suspense. An absolutely cracking, spine-tingler of a book and one I would highly, highly recommend.

If you are unsure about buying this then have a look at how other authors describe it.

‘If you like my stuff, you’ll like this’ STEPHEN KING

‘Wonderfully creepy – like a cold blade on the back of your neck’ LEE CHILD
‘[I] haven’t had a sleepless night due to a book in a long time. The Chalk Man changed that’ Fiona Barton, bestselling author of The Widow and The Child

‘Completely engrossing. Reminiscent of those unsettling Stephen King stories of childhood’ John Boyne author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

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The Cornish Dressmaker by Nicola Pryce @NPryce_Author @CorvusBooks #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on The Cornish Dressmaker by Nicola Pryce. I would like to thank Sophie Walker at Atlantic Books for bringing this book to my attention, when Sophie asked if I would like a copy my response was a definite yes please, how could I not want one? I do live in Cornwall after all!

Synopsis:

The third sweeping novel in a stunning series of family sagas set in eighteenth-century Cornwall, following the trials of seamstress Elowyn Liddicot as she attempts to forge her own destiny.

Cornwall, 1796.

Seamstress Elowyn Liddicot’s family believe they’ve secured the perfect future for her, in the arms of Nathan Cardew. But then one evening, Elowyn helps to rescue a dying man from the sea, and everything changes. William Cotterell, wild and self-assured, refuses to leave her thoughts or her side – but surely she can’t love someone so unlike herself?

With Elowyn’s dressmaking business suddenly under threat, her family’s pressure to marry Nathan increasing, and her heart decidedly at odds with her head, Elowyn doesn’t know who to trust any more. And when William uncovers a sinister conspiracy that affects her whole world, can Elowyn find the courage to support the people she loves in the face of all opposition?

My Thoughts:

Cornwall in 1796. Think smuggling, mining, fishing, a time of new ventures and risks. This is where Elowyn Liddicot (Elly) lives. She has a loyal shadow in the form of Billy, a young lad who is inquisitive as he is loyal and trustworthy. Elly is torn between a marriage to Nathan who can provide her with a good stable home and life, but then there is William Cotterel, a washed up man who has nothing to apart from a passion for right and wrong.

This is an absolute cracker of a read as I got to travel along the lanes and shores of rugged Cornwall. An area I know well from living here for 18 years, so it was very easy for me to use the authors words to imagine the scenery. This book has a mix of things I like from a historical fiction read, history, facts, references and also some good old fashioned romance.

Elly has to make a decision, it should be her own but her family are pushing her towards Nathan. It is the ideal way for her family to take a step up the status ladder, not nice but it’s something that happened more often than not. If it wasn’t for Willaim washing up then there would be no decision, so he is the proverbial spanner in the works.

The story itself is one that had some interesting asides to it as the author used things that happened at the time with mining, advances in technology as well the judicial system to give a great depth to the story, making it more that just a historical romance.

There are several character sin this book that covers various roles and it didn’t take me long to get a grasp as to who was who. The story started off at an amble that gradually picked up a little speed as I got comfortable in its pages.

So this is a book I would definitely recommend, if you like Cornwall, historical fiction, Romance and also  Poldark then you should definitely choose this.

About the Author:

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Nicola Pryce trained as a nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. She has always loved literature and completed an Open University degree in Humanities. She is a qualified adult literacy support volunteer and lives with her husband in the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. She and her husband love sailing and together they sail the south coast of Cornwall in search of adventure.

‘Pengelly’s Daughter’ is the first novel in her new Cornish saga. Her second novel, ‘The Captain’s Girl’ was published this July and ‘The Cornish Dressmaker’ in May 2018.

Nicola is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Historical Writers Association.

She can be found on : Twitter – Goodreads – Facebook – Website

Many thanks for reading my review, a like or share would be fab 🙂 xx

The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan @evgaughan @urbanebooks #Bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan. My huge thanks to Urbane Publications for gifting me a copy of this book. You can buy a copy of The Story Collector from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris.

Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English.

But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life…..

Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve.

The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, Evie Gaughan’s latest novel is full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell. Perfect for fans of Jess Kidd and Eowyn Ivey.

My Thoughts:

This is a fabulous and fantastic story that encompasses mythological and legendary tales from the Good People or Fairy Folk of Ireland. The Story Collector is Harold, who is researching and writing a thesis on the folklore and of the belief people have of the Fairies. He enlists the help of local girl Anna and they travel around her homeland collecting tales and stories, she keeps her own diary of these stories. A hundred years later and the diary is found by Sarah when she makes a spontaneous trip to Ireland, was it spontaneous or was it fate, or maybe it was something more.

This story is such a good mix of things; folklore, myth, legend, love, life and death. The author has created a wonderful story that combines all of theses within a beautifully described area of the world. I love the way I was transported into the community that Anna lived in and walked or cycled along the lanes visiting people and listening to their tales.

I should add that there is a dual timeline to this story. The story of Sarah is one that also struck a chord as she comes to terms with things in her life. As much as I also loved Sarah’s story I have to say Harold and Anna were the characters that really did it for me.

This book is fabulously written and I was able to imagine the various scenes and images from the words. A story of love and loss that has a span of a hundred years so I was transported back and forth across the years as they alternated in their telling.

Yes I loved this book and read it in one sitting as I was captivated and enchanted. A book I would highly recommend to those who love a little romance, a little history and a little folk-lore. Go buy yourself a copy right this moment xx

About the Author:

91hSfiej5XL._SY200_.jpgEvie Gaughan is the bestselling author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris.

Living on the West Coast of Ireland, which is not renowned for its sunny climate, Evie escapes from the inclement weather into a converted attic to write stories and dream about underfloor heating. Growing up in a walled medieval city, she developed her love of storytelling and all things historical. Her books tread the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly – but always with an Irish woman’s wit. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, her stories are full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell.

When not writing, she also works as an artist, creating stories on canvas. Evie is currently working on her third novel, The Story Collector, which will be published by Urbane in 2018.

Follow Evie on Twitter  – Amazon Author Page

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

A Flicker Of Steel by Steve McHugh @StevejMcHugh #RandomThingsTours @annecater #AFlickerOfSteel #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be bringing you my thoughts on A Flicker Of Steel by Steve McHugh the second in The Avalon Chronicles as part of the blog tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My thanks to Steve for my signed copy of his book and also to Anne for the invite to take part in the tour. You can purchase a copy HERE 

Synopsis:

Avalon stands revealed, but the war is far from over. For Layla Cassidy, it has only just begun.

Thrust into a new world full of magic and monsters, Layla has finally come to terms with her supernatural powers—and left her old life behind. But her enemies are relentless.

Sixteen months after her life changed forever, Layla and her team are besieged during a rescue attempt gone awry and must fight their way through to freedom. It turns out that Avalon has only grown since their last encounter, adding fresh villains to its horde. Meanwhile, revelations abound as Layla confronts twists and betrayals in her own life, with each new detail adding to the shadow that looms over her.

As Layla fights against the forces of evil, her powers begin to increase—and she discovers more about the darkness that lies in her past. As this same darkness threatens her future, will she be ready to fight for everything she holds dear?

My Thoughts:

As I have mentioned this is the second in The Avalon Chronicles and I would advise reading this series in order, you can purchase the first book A Glimmer Of Hope HERE . I really enjoyed the first book and it was a great introduction to this series, it laid the basis of things to come, you can read my thoughts on it HERE.

This is an urban fantasy with so much action in it than the previous book, this really does kick off from where the previous book left off. Layla has not only come to terms with but actually seems to relish her new-found powers. She is still wary abut completely letting go to them but is forming bonds with her spirits and embracing her lifestyle as the game players in the battles are becoming more known.

I love the way the author has used mythological characters, gods and deities, legendary figures dwarves, elves and a whole range of others to wrap them into an urban fantasy setting. I really like this meld of old and new to create a really addictive read.

It was great to be able to catch up with these characters once more and it didn’t take me long to get back up to speed with who was who, and I got to learn more about the key players. I do have a couple of favourites like Remy, Chloe and Harry as well as the main focus character Layla. They have a certain bond and ease with each other as they deal with what lies in their path.

The book is based around the age-old battle of good and evil and not everyone fits where you expect adding to the intrigue, though you do become aware of who the evil side is. The battle scenes and skirmishes have been wonderfully described to a point where I could visualise as I was reading. They are creative as the characters have some very particular skill sets, choices of weaponry and there is of course an element of magic, it always adds a bit of spice.

I would recommend reading the first book as there is a lot of information as to the how, why and who of the characters and it does do a great job of building a foundation for what is following.

I think this is a very accessible book as the names of characters can be pronounced at a glance, it has a setting that people would be familiar with and an ease with which it is read. I would highly recommend A Flicker Of Steel to readers who love Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Battles, Mythological and Legendary Figures, Battles between Good and Evil with some great characters and a very addictive read. It is a brilliant story and I cannot wait for the next one.

About the Author:

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AUTHOR BIO:  Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Follow Steve on – Twitter –  Website

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan @EvaJordanWriter #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be sharing my thoughts on 183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan I have had this book on my TBR for quite a while now (shame on me) and I am delighted to have finally read this fabulous book. You can purchase a copy in either e-book or paperback from AMAZON UK. My huge thanks to Eva for my e-copy of the book that agreed to read for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Mothers and daughters alike will never look at each other in quite the same way after reading this book—a brilliantly funny observation of contemporary family life. 

Lizzie—exasperated Mother of Cassie, Connor and Stepdaughter Maisy—is the frustrated voice of reason to her daughters’ teenage angst. She gets by with good friends, cheap wine and talking to herself—out loud. 

16-year-old Cassie—the Facebook-Tweeting, Selfie-Taking, Music and Mobile Phone obsessed teen—hates everything about her life. She longs for the perfect world of Chelsea Divine and her ‘undivorced’ parents—and Joe, of course. 

However, the discovery of a terrible betrayal and a brutal attack throws the whole household into disarray. Lizzie and Cassie are forced to reassess the important things in life as they embark upon separate journeys of self-discovery—accepting some less than flattering home truths along the way. 

Although tragic at times this is a delightfully funny exploration of domestic love, hate, strength and ultimately friendship. A poignant, heartfelt look at that complex and diverse relationship between a Mother and daughter set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families.

My Thoughts:

There are times when I agree to a book and it just sits on my TBR shelf on my kindle, then when I do eventually get around to reading it I could kick myself for not getting to it sooner 183 Times A Year is such a book.

This is a story of a family, well two families actually that through circumstances come together to live as one, they are step families. Teenage daughters, a younger son and two parents trying to support each other in this family unit, oh and grand parents. Drama and hysterics from the teenage girls, drama from friends and lack of drama from an absent father add an interesting cocktail of emotions into this story.

As I have already mentioned, I could so kick myself for not reading this sooner, the only time I stopped reading this book was to make another cup of coffee, only to let it go cold again…. It is a beautiful, heartbreaking, emotional, realistic and wonderfully written story of Lizzie and her family, Lizzie is the mum by the way.

The author has broken the story down into chapters with sub chapters and tells the story from the perspectives of mainly Lizzie and her daughter Cassie, though other family member do have the odd spotlight moment, each of these sub chapters had their own title of the character who was telling the story, but to be honest I soon got to know the characters so didn’t actually look at these headings. This for me was the moment I realised how well the author had allowed me to get to know the characters, she had given each one their own individuality, style and their own voice.

The story itself is about angst, rebellion, pushing the boundaries and the teenage world of “my life is so unfair”. But it is also about a mum working, running a home and the children to various events as well as keeping home. It portrays life for many families who have to juggle many balls, with a dad who is caught up in the middle of trying to keep the peace and support everyone.

What made this story so special for me was how the author had created an addictive read from what is essentially an everyday life for many families. She has accurately captured the emotions and struggles and managed to blend in a certain amount of humour.

There are elements from three generations that work so well, they have been balanced to create a realistic and very believable story that had me knowingly nodding my head at some of the scenarios, grinning and smirking at others as life, school, work and boyfriends are explored.

I absolutely loved this book from the very start to the last pages, I didn’t want to leave and was gutted when I finished the book. It had me grinning one moment, frowning the next and at one point absolutely crying ugly. This is a story that I would absolutely highly recommend to readers of women’s fiction, contemporary and literary fiction with a focus on family life.

A beautiful story and to quote Grandad, from the book , “it’s not life, it’s an adventure” sums it up xx

 

About the Author:

B1YE2zI6lhS._SY200_Eva Jordan, born in Kent but living most of her life in a small Cambridgeshire town, describes herself as a lover of words, books, travel and chocolate. She is also partial to the odd glass or two of wine. Providing her with some of the inspiration for her novel, Eva is both a mum and step mum to four children. Her career has been varied including working within the library service and at a women’s refuge. She writes a monthly column for a local magazine and currently works as a volunteer for a charity based organisation that teaches adults to read. However, storytelling through the art of writing is her passion. 183 Times A Year is Eva’s debut novel.

You can find Eva on Twitter Instagram Website – or join her each morning on Facebook for a cup of coffee or later in the day for a glass of wine xx

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Remember: A Unique Love Story by Shervin Jamali @ShervinJamali @CarolineBookBit #BookReview

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Today I am sharing my thoughts on Remember: A Unique Love Story by Shervin Jamali as part of the blog tour by Caroline at Bits About Books. This is the second book I have read by this author and I am delighted to have been part of the tour for this one. You can get a copy of your own HERE. My huge thanks to Shervin and Caroline for my ebook and my spot on the tour xx

Synopsis:

As Daniel watches the life ebb from Grace’s body, he wishes they had more time, knew each other when they were young. His wife surprises him by insisting that they did. And then she’s gone. Daniel knows this can’t be true. Can it? They only met later in life, so why would Grace’s departing words hint at a shared youth? Haunted by this notion, Daniel journeys into the past to discover the truth. ‘Remember’ is a unique love story. Find out how it really began… ‘Remember’ is dedicated to the brilliant Scottish author Brendan Gisby and his late wife, Alison. Here’s what Brendan Gisby says: “Well, you bugger, ‘Remember’ made me cry. The one word I’ll use to describe it is: Magnificent!” 

My Thoughts:

This is definitely not your typical love story, it’s not your usual boy meets girl, fall in love and live happily ever after. It is instead the story of Daniel and Grace. Grace is dying and her last words to Daniel are that they had met before.

This is an absolutely beautiful story that is heartbreaking and stunning. Daniel is the main focus as I got to learn about his life, the ups, the downs, the good and the bad. If you believe in love at first sight at, that you have a soul mate or that fate can play a part in two people meeting then this is a story for you. If you don’t believe in these things then this is still the story for you as it will challenge your belief.

As for the story line, I am saying nothing much about it. But you will discover that Daniel’s life has been hard, leaving him with having to try to deal with past issues and trauma and Grace has been the force behind him coming to terms and dealing with them.

It is a well thought out story that the author really has executed so well. There is a balance that felt right about it, giving it a realistic feel to it as in everyday life, and it felt very personal. It has elements of dark and light as the journey with Daniel progresses, but above all it is a story of love and life.

This is a novella that really packs a punch with the emotions, it is beautifully written and I think that people will take different things from this book. It makes you think about life and death, loved ones and family. This is a book I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

15272210.jpgI’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until recently that it just seemed to click. I’ve had stories locked away, but suddenly, and unexpectedly, they now need to get out. I completed the first draft of “The Devil’s Lieutenant” in just two months, and that was as a result of writing when I had the opportunity to do so. My 8-5 job and family still came first. I look forward to the day when I can be a full time writer who can take my children to school, pick them up and chauffeur them to various activities, with a healthy dose of writing in between. I believe that day might be right around the corner.

Also, my favorite punctuation mark is the semi-colon; it’s often used incorrectly, but it’s always winking at you!

Find the author at : Website Twitter 

See what other readers think of the book by following the tour

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Mary Rosie’s War by Catherine M Byrne @Katrine66 @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway (UK only)

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I am delighted to be sharing Mary Rosie’s War by Catherine M Byrne with you today as part of the blog tour by Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources. You can buy a copy of this fabulous book HERE. This is my first time with this author and this series. Each book is written so it can be read as a stand alone and I am immensely grateful for this. There is also a fabulous GIVEAWAY running to be in with a chance to win Catherine’s books, check it out below xx

Synopsis:

WW2 has been declared. A strange find on the beach gives Mary Rosie the chance to fulfil her dreams and contribute to her country, but all is not what she imagined.

After witnessing the first bomb to be dropped on mainland Britain, Mary watches her friends leave to join the forces and longs to be with them, but is held back by loyalty to her widowed mother.

France has capitulated. Johnny Allan’s regiment has been annihilated by German troops north of Paris. Johnny has to find a way to get home and to the girl who no longer waits for him.

Leisel is a German Jew who lost her family to the Nazis and has to make her way in Britain, a strange new country, while harbouring a desire for revenge.

Their lives become entangled in a way that no one could have envisaged.

A story about war, family ties, love, loyalty and loss.

My Thoughts:

Mary Rosie is the daughter of Chrissie and sister to Peter. Chrissie, a single parent after the death of her husband, has brought up her children between wars. It is where the story starts as the impeding WWII is still only rumour, how could there be another war after the end of WWI, it was supposed to be the war to end all war.

As WWII is declared it is Peter that is the first to enrol and leave home, followed by some of Mary’s friends. Mary felt quite put out that many others were going off “to do their bit” and she had to stay at home with mum. It is one night when Mary is out on the beach that she discovers Liesel and it sets the start of various events that will change the life of not only Mary, but many, many others.

This story is set in Scotland and uses some local dialect and also terms. Some readers like this inclusion some loathe it, me I love it, it really helps to imagine the voices of the characters and helps make them more memorable at times. I think this is because I tend to pay more attention to the dialogue as I read. In my head I have the perfect accent, what happens when I try to actually speak is a different matter entirely.

The beautifully written story took me into the life of Mary and the Rosie family and their friends within their small community. While I did understand Chrissie wanting to keep her daughter safe at home, I also really understood the need for Mary to want to help. She was a character I could understand, though some of her naivety did make me chuckle, that however was soon rectified as she met new friends. I have to admit to liking this naive Mary, it added a charm and honesty to her character that I did find quite endearing.

The author took me through the more traditional early 1900’s lifestyle and way of life, incorporating family values and expectations. Along with this is the worry of the turmoil occurring in Europe and the settings proximity to Scapa Flow, I was allowed a glimpse into the life of the Rosie’s. I got a real feeling of pride not only in the family but also of their friends and community. The setting was brilliantly described and even though I have not been to this area of Scotland, I was able to build up a good image from the authors descriptions.

The story moves through several years quite quickly from the build up to the War, during and also after. It gave me a chance to see the change in Mary, not only in her personally but also of her character. There are some scenes described that involve the war from various perspectives, but Mary is really the main character. The author has kept a continuation to the story even as the character point of view changes.

This is a story of family, war, hope, despair and love. It has been written in such a way as to keep me avidly turning the pages as I was transported into Mary’s life. A book that I would highly recommend to readers who enjoy historical, family saga, WWII setting and general fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking to read more books by Catherine Byrne.

About the Author:

Mary Rsies War - Author.jpg Catherine Byrne always wanted to be a writer. She began at the age of eight by drawing comic strips with added dialogue and later, as a teenager, graduated to poetry.  Her professional life however, took a very different path.  She first studied glass engraving with Caithness Glass where she worked for fourteen years. During that time she also worked as a foster parent.  After the birth of her youngest child she changed direction, studying and becoming a chiropodist with her own private practice.  At the same time she did all the administration work for her husband’s two businesses, and this continued until the death of her husband in 2005.  However she still maintained her love of writing, and has had several short stories published in women’s magazines.  Her main ambition was to write novels and she has now retired in order to write full time.

Born and brought up until the age of nine on the Island of Stroma, she heard many stories from her grandparents about the island life of a different generation. Her family moved to the mainland at a time when the island was being depopulated, although it took another ten years before the last family left.

An interest in geology, history and her strong ties to island life have influenced her choice of genre for her novels.

Since first attending the AGM of the Scottish Association of Writers in 1999, Catherine has won several  prizes, commendations and has been short-listed both for short stories and chapters of her novels. In 2009, she won second prize in the general novel category for ‘Follow The Dove’

In 2016 The Road to Nowhere  won second prize in the Barbara Hammond competition for Best Self Published novel. The follow up, Isa’s Daughter won 1st prize in the same competition the following year.

Although the books follow the fortunes of the same family, they are all stand-alone.

The fifth book in the Raumsey series is  Mary Rosie’s War.

Catherine Byrne lives in Wick, Caithness.

Follow Catherine on – Facebook – Website – Twitter – Blog

∗∗∗∗∗GIVEAWAY∗∗∗∗∗

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Giveaway – 1st Prize – all 4 of Catherine Byrne’s previous books in paperback .
6 x Runners Up Prizes – PB copy of Broken Horizon  (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries only.  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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

∗∗∗∗∗ENTER HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN, GOOD LUCK 🙂 XX∗∗∗∗∗

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Summer at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe @hjrolfe #BookReview

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I am absolutely over the moon to be sharing my thoughts on “Summer at The Cafe at the End of the Pier” by Helen Rolfe. Get your copy here at Amazon UK. I am not going to lie I love this series a huge amount, so much so that I have already got the rest of the series pre-ordered 🙂 If you have read this series have you noticed what is being published on 27th December (lots of happy dancing and whooping 🙂 🙂 🙂 !!!)

If you have not started this series…. Why Not ! 😦 Make amends and get a copy of the first book HERE it’s free by the way and it is a great little novella that marks the start of this fabulous series.

Synopsis:

Searching for love this summer? You’ll find it at The Café at the End of the Pier…

Since moving to Salthaven-on-Sea to help her beloved grandparents run their charming little café at the end of the pier, Jo has blossomed.

The café is at the heart of the community, and Jo is determined to serve up a little romance to her customers alongside her delicious cooking. As summer sizzles, her plans to bring the town’s lonely hearts together on blind dates, each with a specially designed menu, are finally getting into full swing…

Spring in Salthaven brought new friendships, lost loves, and a little flirtation… But as a fresh opportunity threatens to tempt Jo away from the town, will she find where she belongs – and her own love story – at The Café at the End of the Pier?

A perfect feel-good summer read, for fans of Debbie Johnson and Cathy Bramley

*****

Readers love The Cafe at the End of the Pier:

A beautifully written feel-good story that will make you smile’

‘Loved the characters and couldn’t wait to turn the page’

‘What an absolute delight!’

My Thoughts:

Each new instalment is like catching up with old friends. With the cafe being the centre of the series, I like to think of myself as sitting at a corner table listening in to the local gossip and seeing new people whilst drinking a mug of black coffee and eating one of Jo or Molly’s scrumptious culinary creations.

So through the previous stories I have got to know a little about the cafe and its owner Jo, how her life has changed since running the cafe. A few months in and the work is hard, the days are long but the rewards are definitely worth it. There is a downside however as she realises that things break, things need replacing, these are the standard run of the mill problems and give her pause for thought.

The old characters are still here and I gradually get to know a little more about them and their lives. New characters are introduced to me, though they are regulars to Jo and the cafe. A nice amount of romance is in the air as she tries her hand at match making again, and who is on the horizon for Jo? There are a few contenders and I know who I would like to see her matched up with!

There are ongoing themes from the previous stories regarding a rift, the match making, Jo’s personal life and also that of her grandparents and mum. This is where I advise reading this series in order as you build up a relationship with the characters and discover the things that make them who they are and discover how the community of Salthaven clicks.

These are wonderful stories set in an idyllic seaside cafe and it’s surrounding area. I work in a cafe/ restaurant/ice cream parlour and so know the ins and outs of working in this environment and the author really does have several aspects of the business down to a tea (pun intended 😉).

The author has built a fabulous community around the cafe and it is a hub for grandparents, parents, teenagers, couples and those who are alone. They have been incorporated into a story that has some realistic scenarios and by the end of this book there was a definite Oooohhh moment, a sneaky ending and roll on the next one.

If you are after an escape for an hour then you really must pay a visit to the Cafe at the End of the Pier series, it is charming and delightful with a warm welcome, some fabulous food and company with a side order of romance. An Absolutely Highly Recommended from me.

About the Author:

2krhc8k2oi7ko3vv94v986teti._SY200_Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Characters often face challenges and must fight to overcome them, but above all, Helen’s stories always have a happy ending.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Helen also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe. Her new series, Cafe at the End of the Pier, is out in 2018 and begins with a Valentine’s short story.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

To learn more about Helen and her writing, find her at:

Website – FacebookTwitter

The Pier Books:

The next one “Autumn at The Cafe at the End of the Pier” is available for preorder at Amazon UK

Many thanks for reading my post, a share or a like would be amazing 🙂 xx

Island Life Sentence by Carrie Jo Howe @CarrieJoHowe : @unbounders #IslandLifeSentence : @annecater #RandomThingsTours : #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Island Life Sentence” by Carrie Jo Howe as part of the blog tour by Anne Cater of #RandomThingsTours My huge thanks to the author for my copy and also Anne for my spot on the tour. You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon UK and it is available in eBook and paperback format.

Synopsis:

Peg Savage has contractually agreed to move to Key West, Florida. The smudged signatures on the damp cocktail napkin are irrefutable proof. “An adventure…” her husband Clark says. Peg can’t swim; she’s afraid of bridges (there are 42 of them); and she doesn’t want to leave her friends. However, after a bottle of Cabernet, a move from Chicago to the southernmost city in the United States seems like the best decision ever. But now Clark has taken a long term job in Cuba and she’s on her own. Neither her dog Nipper, nor the ghosts in the attic, offer up any good advice. But how hard can it be living in paradise? Peg dives into island life but the more effort she makes, the wider her wake of catastrophes. 

My Thoughts:

Peg and Clark live in Chicago, when Clark suggests they move to one of the Key West islands Peg is a little reticent to say the least, not only to leave her friend, her home but also the thought of crossing the 42 bridges leaves her in a cold sweat.

Oh Peg! What a character she is. Funny without meaning to be, dramatic, easily swayed and an ability to attract trouble without even trying. Once in Key West she has to get used to the unfamiliar climate,people, language and local wildlife. She is left to unpack and find her feet while Clark has to go to Cuba to set up an important business opportunity. During this time mishap and misadventure are her close friends.She has little confidence and finds the whole experience stressful.

Peg is the narrator of her own story and I admit to getting hooked straight away. The chapters are quick and quirky, with humorous little tales of her experiences. There are also some terrifying moments, some are definitely justified and some are just Peg being Peg.

This book for me was pure escapism and an absolute joy to read, a simple story with observations told in a fun and at times hilarious way. I can honestly say I really did not want this to end. I would love to think the author is considering a follow-up to this book as I would buy it in a heartbeat. As a character Peg is brilliant with her own style and way of approaching life.

This is a book you can escape into, one that gives a different perspective on the idyllic island lifestyle. A fabulous book to escape into for a few hours and one I would highly recommend. Yep I loved it xx

About the Author:

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After raising three boys in the suburbs of Chicago, Carrie Jo Howe now lives in Key West, Florida with her husband and her dog. Her new book, Island Life Sentence is a fictional account of an American Mid-western woman who feels like an alien in the “one human family” of Key West. Carrie Jo’s first book, Motherhood is NOT for Babies, received raved reviews, and works wonderfully as an alternate form of contraception. Her blog Florida Keys Crime Report, tells of all the goings on in the Keys, where bank robbers get away on bicycles, and perps caught with an undersized, pinched, out-of-season lobster get more jail time than drug runners. She is currently working on her second Key West book.

Follow Carrie on – Twitter –  Website –  Facebook 

Follow the tour and see what other Book Bloggers think

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be brilliant 🙂 xx

The Calico Cat by Amanda James @akjames61 @bombshellpub @sarahhardy681 : #NetGalley #BookReview

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I am delighted to be on the Blog Blitz today for “The Calico Cat” by Amanda James. Published by Bombshell books, this book is available from Amazon UK. My thanks to Sarah for my spot on the tour and an ecopy of the book via NetGalley

Synopsis:

At thirteen, Lottie discovers a huge secret which her parents have kept from her, the impact of which proves to be life changing.

Because of the way Lottie’s mother handles the consequent fall-out, the two become distant. Lottie’s rejected by her mother and deemed troublesome, rude and wilful. Ever since then, Lottie has struggled with fitting in and actively tries to be different from others.

As an adult Lottie decides to quit her teaching job and follow her dreams to become an artist. But will she succeed and can she put her troubled past behind her?

As Lottie embarks on a journey of self-discovery she will come to examine the importance of life, love and friendship.

My Thoughts:

Charlotte has had enough of her job and just walked out. She decides to follow in her grandmothers footsteps and become an artist. Her very vocal and disapproving mother doesn’t approve and believes Charlotte  is making a big mistake.

Oh this is a book that I adored and so very different to the couple of other books I have previously read by this author. Set in beautiful Cornwall I got to meet Charlotte, or Lottie as she prefers to be called, and learn of her story. She tells of her family life from a teenager to present day. There have been changes, teen rebellion but also of a dramatic change in her family that still has a hold over her and her feelings. Lottie is not quiet or timid, she is quite vocal in her beliefs and extremely principled with a very matter of fact way in her conversation and thoughts, with an interesting way of voicing her opinion. I would say she is the sort of person that would be very easy to misunderstand, but that is the way she is and it is quite refreshing.

A chance of a holiday with a friend gives Lottie a chance to meet various people from different walks of life. Their experiences help Lottie to realise that there are different perspectives in all things. That sometimes in life a broader outlook is needed rather than a narrower tunnel version. She has to deal with

This is a gentle amble around the Cornish coastline and also Lotties life, it mixes elements of the dramatic landscape and personal heartache with hope and moving forward, with new starts and beginnings. The plot and story of how Lottie and those in her life has been done in a wonderful way that gradually drew me in. I wanted to know more about her and why she reacts the way she does, it held my attention and I loved being immersed in her world for the few hours it took me to read it. This also has a romantic theme, it is not your lovey-dovey, gushy sort as that wouldn’t fit with Lottie.

A book that was the perfect read for a sunny May day and that I think is perfect for readers of women’s fiction, contemporary fiction and romance. It is a book I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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Amanda has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published, given that she left school with no real qualifications of note apart from an A* in how to be a nuisance in class. Nevertheless, she returned to education when her daughter was five and eventually became a history teacher. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when her first short story was published. Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published.

Amanda grew up in Sheffield but now has realised her lifelong dream of living in Cornwall and her writing is inspired every day by the dramatic coastline near her home. She has sketched out many stories in her head while walking the cliff paths. Three of her mystery/suspense novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel and the Behind the Lie. Rip Current is also set in Cornwall and will be published by Bloodhound Books in April 2018.

Amanda, known to many as Mandy, spends far more time than is good for her on social media and has turned procrastination to a fine art. She can also usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

Follow Amanda on her – Blog –  Twitter –  Facebook

Follow the tour to see what other Book Bloggers think

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx