Monday, 9 October 2017

The hygge holiday

The Hygge Holiday: The warmest, funniest, cosiest romantic comedy of 2017 by [Blake, Rosie]




















The perfect recipe for hygge this autumn: make a hot chocolate, draw the curtains, snuggle under a blanket and read your way to happiness!

It's autumn in Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It's cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The last shop on the high street - an adorable little toy shop - has just shut its doors. Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives.
Clara is on holiday but she can see the potential in the pretty town, so she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Things are looking up until Joe comes to Yulethorpe to find out exactly what is going on with his mother's shop. Joe is Very Busy and Important in the City and very sure that Clara is up to no good. Surely no one would work this hard just for the fun of it?
Can a man who answers emails at 3 a. m. learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge things in life - naps, candles, good friends and maybe even falling in love?


About the author

Rosie Blake 

Rosie is an author of comic commercial fiction. She spent her university years writing pantomimes based on old classics and has written features for Cosmopolitan, The Lady, The Sunday People, Reveal and Best Magazine. Her first rom com HOW TO GET A (LOVE) LIFE was published in 2014 and Corvus Books signed her for two more: HOW TO STUFF UP CHRISTMAS and HOW TO FIND YOUR (FIRST) HUSBAND.

Rosie likes baked items, taking long walks by the river and speaking about herself in the third person.


My Review

In the past I used to dread winter but thanks to this book it has changed the way I think. I am now going to embrace it with warm blankets, soft cushions, scented candles and hot chocolate. Of course, the story is just as heart-warming as you might imagine as it reaffirms what is important in life. If you read nothing else this winter, then make sure that this book is at the top of your list - I absolutely loved it. It will suck you in, wrap you up and leave you with a happy feeling of contentment, exactly like a good book should.

5/5

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Losing myself




Since Kat made her decision, everything around her seems to be falling apart. Not only is she dealing with family’s secrets, lies and deceit but the salon, which is opening around the corner, threatens her livelihood.
To make matters worse her relationship with Max is on the rocks. Although her relationships with Max’s mother, her step-mother and her sister have grown stronger, are they strong enough?
Working tirelessly to save her salon and save her relationship with Max, she is battling everyday to stay focused on her future. But what will the future bring?

Author Bio:


Victoria J.Brown has always had a passion for writing. When asked at the age of 9 years old, what she wanted to be when she grew up, her reply ‘an author’ was met with a disheartened response, ‘that jobs like that, don’t happen to people like us!’

Luckily, Victoria didn’t listen to this advice and never gave up on her passion.  She continued to write while perusing a career in Marketing after gaining a BA (Hons) in Business and Marketing.

In 2006 her eldest daughter was born and then two years later her 2nd daughter came along. Victoria realised in the midst of the mummy madness, that she’d let her writing dwindle and that nappy-changing, sleepless nights and not being able to go to the toilet in peace could not stop her fulfilling her writing dreams. So when her girls were 3 years old and 18 months old, she decided that sleep was over-rated and enrolled at Teesside University. A year later she proudly left with a MA in Creative Writing, some wonderful friendships and a passion for therapeutic writing. While studying for her MA she was also delighted to win a short-story competition judged by Adele Parks, to which she received publication and mentoring from Adele.

After her MA, Victoria concentrated on writing women’s fiction. She loves writing stories that women can relate to. The Chaos Series grew from her own experience of pregnancy, motherhood and life.

Victoria is also passionate about mental health and likes to write of such issues in her stories. Her dedication to mental health and living life to the full has led her down a spiritual path. Through her learning of spirituality she qualified as a Law of Attraction and NLP Practitioner, which she integrates into her writing. Her inspirational blog includes an A-Z motivational journey with weekly therapeutic creative writing exercises. She has developed this further and will soon launch her inspirational shop. The shop has been created to pass on positivity and love to others … you never know when someone may need to see those messages.

Being accepted by Bombshell Books is a dream come true for Victoria, she hopes that her mantra for giving love always and never giving up will inspire others to follow their dreams and passion.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Victoria, her inspirational blog and shop you can visit www.victoria-brown.com, plus you can follow her on:
Pintrest: https://uk.pinterest.com/victoriajbrown/

My Review

It was lovely to catch up with Kat in the second book of the series but my, what a rollercoaster of a ride ahead she has. I can't believe what is happening at the salon and on top of that Kat is expecting twins! Surely her boyfriend Max will rise to the challenge? All I can say is that it didn't pan out the way I expected so I'm now hanging on for Book 3 to see how Kat's life turns out. A really enjoyable if unexpected read.
5/5

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Summer Sundaes

SUMMER SUNDAES
BY
GEORGINA TROY

Series: The Boardwalk by the Sea, Book 1
Author name: Georgina Troy
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Release Date: 15 July 2017
Publisher: Green Shutter Books
Wipe off your flip flops, it’s going to be a bumpy ride...
When Sacha Collins, cafe owner and sundae-maker extraordinaire, meets Italian archaeologist, Alessandro Salvatore in Rome, she's grateful to him for being her tour guide. Now he’s turned up in the seaside village where she lives, known locally as, The Boardwalk by the Sea and is setting up a gelateria in direct competition to her retro Summer Sundaes Café.
She's only been running her café for two years since taking over from her father. Until now the only other shops on the boardwalk have been a wool shop, an antique shop and a second-hand book shop. These have helped rather than hindered her custom. How will her creative sundaes made from fresh Jersey ice cream compete with his delicious Italian gelato?
Sacha is worried. Is there enough custom for both businesses to thrive? Who is behind the strange changes being made on the boardwalk? And when the oldest resident on the boardwalk is threatened with eviction can Sacha and Alessandro come together and find a way of helping her?
For a peaceful little boardwalk overlooking one of the quieter beaches on the island, there's an awful lot going on and some of it is going to lead to big changes.
BUY LINKS

About Georgina Troy

Georgina Troy is the pseudonym of author Deborah Carr. Her first book, A Jersey Kiss was a finalist in the Contemporary Romance Category of the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2016 (RoNAs) and finalist in the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers 2015.

Her WW1 historical romance, Broken Faces, written in her own name, Deborah Carr, was runner-up in the Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition 2012. She lives on the island of Jersey with her husband, two children and three rescue dogs. Her books are published by Accent Press and Green Shutter Books. Georgina is a member of The Blonde Plotters.

Georgina’s new series, The Boardwalk by the Sea, includes four standalone novels about friends, Sacha, Bella, Lexi and Jools. Each book is set in a different season. The girls live on or near a small seaside village known locally as The Boardwalk by the Sea and all of them make an appearance in the books throughout the series but each book will focus on one of the friends.

Summer Sundaes (book 1)
Autumn Antics (book 2) - due Spring 2018



COMPETITION


A character in Autumn Antics (book 2) named after someone the winner nominates, i.e themself/family member.



My Review

As usual Georgina Troy excels in transporting the reader to the sunny climes of Jersey. I loved the Italian influence in this book, in the name of Alessandro. Summer Sundaes sounds like a wonderful series and if the rest are anything like the first book, then the reader is in for an absolute treat. I am looking forward to finding out more about Sacha's friends who appear briefly in this book. There are some wonderful minor characters too. To sum up, stunning location, handsome hero and obstacles to thwart the path of true love. Great summer read.
5/5

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The keeping of secrets

                                                                                   



The keeper of family secrets, Patricia Roberts grows up isolated and lonely. Trust no one and you won't be disappointed is her motto. Three men fall in love with her and she learns to trust, only to find that their agendas are not her own. With secrets concealed from her by the ultimate love of her life, and with her own secret to keep, duplicity and deceit threaten their relationship. In a coming of age story set against the sweeping backdrop of the Second World War - evacuation, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, buzz bombs and secret war work - Patricia ultimately has to decide whether to reveal her deepest held secret for the sake of her future happiness.




About the author: Born and raised in the Home Counties, Alice Graysharp has enjoyed a varied working life from hospitality to office work and retail. She currently lives in Surrey. This is her first novel, and the first title in a two book series, she is also already working on a seventeenth century trilogy. Published in the anniversary month of the outbreak of the Second World War and the Battle of Britain



My Review

I liked the premise of this book and it didn't disappoint. Set against the background of the Second World War, it is intricately researched. I was intrigued by Patricia's secret and the thought the ending was excellent. If you enjoy historical romance then this book is for you as with three suitors, Patricia has to find her own path. I particularly enjoy books where the female protagonist is strong and doesn't always conform to type nor the expectations of the time. Patricia knows her own mind but will the past ruin her future? You'll have to read it to find out. This book felt authentic to the period and was a pleasure to read.

4/5

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Shogun's Queen



“No-one writes about Japan with more mastery of historical and cultural detail than Lesley Downer” Katie Hickman, author of Courtesan
The Shogun’s Queen by Lesley Downer
Published by Bantam Press | Hardback & eBook Thursday 3rd November 2016 | £16.99
“Completely absorbing...”
Lian Hearn, author of Tales of the Otori From one of the finest chroniclers of Japan, its history, society and culture, comes this gripping and
richly detailed historical novel, telling the true story of Princess Atsu and her struggle to save Japan.
Japan, 1853. Growing up among the samurai of the Satsuma clan, in Japan’s deep south, the fiery, beautiful and
headstrong Okatsu has been encouraged to be bold, taught to wield the halberd and to ride a horse.
But when she is just seventeen, four black ships appear. Bristling with cannon and manned by strangers who to the Japanese eyes are barbarians, their appearance threatens Japan’s very existence, turning Okatsu’s world upside down.
Chosen by her feudal lord, she has been given a very special role to play. Given a new name - Princess Atsu - and a new destiny, she is the only one who can save the realm. Her journey to takes her to Edo Palace, a place so secret it cannot be marked on any map. There she seems doomed to live out her days - sequestered in the Women’s Palace, home to three thousand women and where only one man, the shogun, may enter.
But beneath the palace’s immaculate facade, there are whispers of murders and ghosts. It is here that Atsu must complete her mission and discover one last secret: the secret of the man whose fate is irrevocably linked to hers...the shogun himself.


Lesley Downer’s mother was Chinese and her father a professor of Chinese, so she grew up in a house full of books on Asia. But it was Japan, not China, that proved the more alluring and Lesley lived there for some fifteen years. She lives in London with her husband, the author Arthur I. Miller, and travels to Japan yearly.
She has written many books about Japan and its culture, including Geisha: The Secret History of the Vanishing World and the gripping Shogun Quartet; The Last Concubine, The Courtesan and the Samurai and The Samurai’s Daughter. The Shogun’s Queen is the first book in the series.

For further information, please contact Hannah Bright HBright@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk | 020 8231 6743 | @hannahlbright29 


My Review

I first became interested in the Far East, particularly China, Japan and Thailand when in my early twenties. There have been a few books detailing various periods in Japan's history but this book by Lesley Downer, although fiction, paints such a detailed picture of life in the women's palace in the mid 1800s that you feel a sense of loss when you realise you have finished the book. Fortunately, The Shogun's Queen is the first in a series of four so I am hoping to get more of my Japanese fix in the near future. Having lived in Japan for fifteen years, Lesley's love for the country and her attention to detail is evident in every page. I loved the character of princess Atsu and the Shogun, who wasn't at all what I expected. The ending, with a look to what might have been is incredibly poignant but I won't say any more for fear of spoiling it. What I really loved though was the picture of every day life, the little details that transport the reader to another time and place. A wonderful historical account of a period in history that, until now, has not been so well documented in English; informative, entertaining and enlightening!

5/5


Leopard at the door

                                                                                   
Leopard at the Door by [McVeigh, Jennifer]

*The perfect summer read, the novel that Dinah Jefferies has called 'A simply stunning novel that will stay with me: magnificent'*

Stepping off the boat in Mombasa, eighteen-year-old Rachel Fullsmith stands on Kenyan soil for the first time in six years. She has come home.
But when Rachel reaches the family farm at the end of the dusty Rift Valley road, she finds so much has changed. Her beloved father has moved his new partner and her son into the family home. She hears menacing rumours of Mau Mau violence, and witnesses cruel reprisals by British soldiers. Even Michael, the handsome Kikuyu boy from her childhood, has started to look at her differently. 
Isolated and conflicted, Rachel fears for her future. But when home is no longer a place of safety and belonging, where do you go, and who do you turn to?

About the author


Jennifer McVeigh

Jennifer McVeigh graduated from Oxford University in 2002. She went on to work in film and publishing, before leaving her day job to do an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.She has travelled in wilderness areas of East Africa and Southern Africa, often in off-road vehicles, driving and camping along the way. The Fever Tree was a Richard & Judy Bookclub Pick. Leopard at the Door will be published by Penguin on 13th July 2017.

My Review

I love books which take the reader on a journey to another time or place and this book did both. Set during the time of the Mau Mau rebellion in 1950s Kenya, it attempts to show the cause and effects from both sides, mainly through the eyes of Rachel, who returns to her childhood home after an absence to find everything changed.Trying to find the happiness she knew as a child before the death of her mother, I felt a lot of empathy towards her, especially when she is warned not to return by her father; whether this is concern for her safety or for ulterior motives I'll leave you to judge.
As you might expect, the subject matter, though not gruesome, is nevertheless dark and although I enjoyed the book, it did leave me feeling very unsettled.
 


4/5