All the Good Things by Clare Fisher book review

all the good things

All the Good Things written by Clare Fisher, publisher Viking, is available in ebook, hardcover and audio download format from 1st June 2017.

To pre-order/buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve ever to feel good again.
But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.
What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone – even a 100% bad person – deserve a chance to be good?

notepad and pencil

Wow!  This book, this story, was so moving and so profound, it nearly broke me, to think that this could be the life of many, many young vulnerable people that get overlooked in society it’s heart breaking to comprehend.  Society’s initial thoughts are you are bad so there is no good but if you take a closer look in all the nooks and crannies you can see the good trying with all it’s might to break free from the bad; like the sun breaking away from the clouds.

This story of a young woman in prison for, in her words, doing something bad.  She has weekly visits from her counsellor who encourages her to look at her life and write a list of all the good things in her life.  Beth doubts that she had any good times but when she does put pen to paper there were wonderful, poignant times that once Beth remembered they brought a clarity back to her life.  A life that was now looking a little brighter but the longer the list grew the closer Beth got to opening up and reliving her bad thing.

A very moving, insightful story that was full of real life raw emotions, there was no sugar coating around the edges of life’s turbulent at times bumps in the road.  A wonderful, inspiring debut that I feel should be read by all that have any involvement with young people.  The words from this book will stay with me for a long time … 5/5*

I’d like to share a quote from the book that I particularly found moving …

It’s only now, two years and all these words later, that I see: having a difficult story is not necessarily bad.

To find out more about Clare Fisher please visit the following pages:

Website:  https://clarefisherwriter.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/claresitafisher

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ClareFisherWriter/

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts book review

come sundown

Come Sundown written by Nora Roberts, publisher Piatkus, is available in ebook, hardcover, audio download and audio cd format from 30th May 2017.

To pre-order/buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Love. Lies. Murder. A lot can happen… COME SUNDOWN

Bodine Longbow loves to rise with the dawn. As the manager of her family’s resort in Western Montana, there just aren’t enough hours in the day – for life, for work, for loved ones. She certainly doesn’t have time for love, not even in the gorgeous shape of her childhood crush Callen Skinner, all grown up and returned to the ranch. Then again, maybe Callen can change her mind, given time…

But when a young woman’s body is discovered on resort land, everything changes. Callen falls under the suspicion of a deputy sheriff with a grudge. And for Bodine’s family, the murder is a shocking reminder of an old loss. Twenty-five years ago, Bodine’s Aunt Alice vanished, never to be heard of again. Could this new tragedy be connected to Alice’s mysterious disappearance?

As events take a dramatic and deadly turn, Bodine and Callen must race to uncover the truth – before the sun sets on their future together.

horse sunset montana

This was such a gripping story set in two different time frames in Western Montana; in 1991 when a young woman was to experience the darkest night of her life and to the present day to a family holiday resort that is run by generations of the Longbow family.  However, this family are still grieving the loss of one of their own.

The story doesn’t hold back and we are hit straight away with a darkness that everyone fears.  A young woman who had left home to make a new life was on her way back home when she was abducted.  Alice was only miles away from home but her life is now in terrible danger.  Alice has to gain strength from deep insider her to keep her alive.  My heart was in my mouth reading these scenes of gut wrenching evil.

Back in the present day we meet Bodine Longbow, great granddaughter and now manager to the popular family holiday resort.  The resort specialises in all that nature provides in Western Montana, the company embraces the life with horseback trails, authentic food and western music.  It’s a place to relax and embrace nature at it’s best.  The business is proud of supporting the local community and many of their employees are locals and from all generations of the family.  Bodine is very career orientated and has a methodical mind working at the helm of the business.  When a familiar face from the past returns looking for work at the ranch Bodine tries to keep things on a professional level but as Callen Skinner was her childhood crush she is finding it hard to keep her emotions in check.

The resort is rocked by news of the death of one of their workers bringing fear all around and opening up old wounds as it’s been 25 years since the disappearance of Bodine’s Aunt Alice.  Is there a connection between the two cases?  The calm and tranquillity of this idyllic resort is no more …

I loved how the author, Nora Roberts, cleverly told a dark story full of horror and unimaginable events and interspersed it with a family going about their usual routines running a holiday resort.  When love strikes between numerous characters it created a wonderful distraction; a sort of lightness to the horrors hidden around them.

A dramatic family saga that will captivate you with it’s shocking twists and turns and will leave you emotionally wrought.  The international bestseller Nora Roberts has done it again!

To find out more about Nora Roberts and her work please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.noraroberts.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/noraroberts

 

Summer at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn blogtour/book review

summer at conwenna cove

Summer at Conwenna Cove written by Darcie Boleyn, publisher Canelo, is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Eve has a glittering career, a loving husband and a future. But a terrible twist of fate means she loses it all, and with nowhere left to turn she flees to her Aunt Mary’s home in Cornwall. The last thing on her mind is romance – until she meets Jack.

Jack has seen the worst things people can do to each other and realised he is better off alone. He settles in Conwenna Cove, and saves his affections for the rescue dogs he cares for. But when Eve arrives in the village he can’t deny his attraction to her.

Eve and Jack are both scared to trust, but when they come together it’s impossible for either to ignore their feelings. Can they put their fear aside and learn to love again?

Summer at Conwenna Cove blog tour 2

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Darcie Boleyn’s latest novel, Summer at Conwenna Cove.  This was such a delightful read that I devoured and didn’t want to end.  This is my first introduction to the work of Darcie Boleyn and I’m not really sure why I haven’t read her work before now as her blueprint to writing are stories that I just love.

Darcie Boleyn has written a wonderful, romantic novel with lots of depth and character and including a gorgeous four legged friend, a rescue greyhound called Gabe, made the story even more charming and heart warming.  I do believe animals bring out different sides to people’s personalities and also very often the characteristics of an animal can reflect with the personality of a human.

Eve is a young, highly successful headteacher in a secondary school in the city of Bristol.  Ever since graduating Eve has worked hard to achieve her career goals.  But with the demands of a headship and personal heartbreak catching up with Eve her health starts to suffer and when it all comes to a head quite unexpectedly at work Eve is forced to take a step back and let her body and mind heal.  The only place where Eve feels she can truly relax and take stock of her life is at Conwenna Cove, Cornwall where her aunt lives.

Eve is a little hesitant to how her unexpected visit to Cornwall will be accepted as she hasn’t been the best of nieces recently.  Life’s struggles have definitely taken over Eve’s life and keeping in touch with her loved ones haven’t been high up on her agenda.  Eve is welcomed with open arms at the quaint, idyllic sounding cottage residing in the village of Conwenna Cove.  The cottage has a wonderful sea view and the fresh sea air and homemade  food made by her Aunt Mary could be the tonic that Eve needs.

Since the last time Eve was in Cornwall Aunty Mary has acquired a tenant in her adjoining cottage.  A hulk of a man called Jack who doesn’t take too kindly of this niece of Mary’s turning up after so long being away.  Jack has found solitude in Conwenna Cove himself after being injured during a tour of duty in Afghanistan, the ex-Royal Marine has suffered both physically and mentally.  Eve and Jack clash a little at first but with a little match making from Aunty Mary Eve and Jack are forced to find out more about each other.

Will Conwenna Cove be the saving grace for Eve as it has been for Jack?

A wonderful, charming story that was a delight to read.  5/5*

To find out more about Darcie Boleyn and her work please do visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.darcieboleyn.wordpress.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/DarcieBoleyn

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/darcieboleyn/

greyhound heart

“I’m 3” – Blogiversary celebrations with a giveaway

secret to a happy life tea in one hand books in another

Three years ago today I started my blog, I’ve shared my love of reading, crafting, food and tea.  Along the way I’ve tried to celebrate the joys of shopping with independent businesses and reading books by indie authors.

Since 22nd May 2016 to 22nd May 2017 I have read 116 books.  I always struggle choosing which are my favourite books but I have narrowed it down to five that I particularly enjoyed during this 12 month period:

  • Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann – This classic novel celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last summer and it was my first introduction to this read.  “Just as the young stars were drawn to drink and drugs I felt myself as a reader ‘drugged’ by the words on the pages. I couldn’t get enough. I was eager to know what happened next. On the one hand Valley of the Dolls was shocking, tragic and heart breaking BUT on the other it was also glamorous, sexy and very indulgent!”
  • Valentina by S.E. Lynes – “The story takes lots of twists and turns that keep you gripped and guessing to the end.  To read a book in a genre I don’t normally read and to be gripped by the complexities of the characters and storyline is the sign of a great author.  A very promising start for a debut author’s read.  I’m so pleased I stepped out of my comfort zone.”
  • The Wedding Girls by Kate Thompson – “A fabulous story that had me gripped.  I loved how the author, Kate Thompson, incorporated in her story a pivotal moment in East End history.  Fictional books really do bring history to life.  This was a story full of solidarity.  A story that doesn’t hide the ugliness of life.  A story bringing much hope.  A story to warm your heart.  Just brilliant.”
  • The Shogun’s Queen by Lesley Downer – “This was such an epic story that sent my emotions soaring high and dramatically cascading low.  I was enchanted by the author Lesley Downer’s beautiful words describing a colourful world.  I felt instantly transported to a land far, far away to a time were legends and rituals were significant and paramount.  To a time when the unknown were feared.  A time when sacrifices had to be made  for the sake of the country’s survival.”
  • Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt – “This was a very poignant, engaging read that throws no punches and shows the raw side of people trying to survive a war that has shaken the world to it’s core.  Jason Hewitt manages to open your eyes and feel the hidden sights and sounds in a landscape torn apart.  Such a horrific time for all but humanity remained and the tender, heartrending moments felt more intense.  This is a story I won’t forget in a long time.”
  • A Warriner to Protect Her by Virginia Heath – “A gorgeous regency romance with swoon worthy male characters, all four brothers would set your heart a flutter.  A daring, dramatic, historical romance that is deliciously moreish.”

What is interesting about my five picks above is that they are by authors I haven’t read before or I have recently discovered, so go on try a new author today!

To celebrate my blogiversary I’ve purchased a few items from some independent businesses I’ve met along the way (a book buddy from Melvis Makes, a book mark from Bookbandz and some Yorkshire and Peak District inspired loose leaf tea from Birdhouse Tea Company).  To enter my giveaway please comment below and let me know which book has stood out for you this year.  (Please leave your twitter name in brackets after your comment so I can identify and contact you more easily).  I will pick a winner via randomizer Friday evening.  Unfortunately, the giveaway is UK only.

giveaway 3rd blogiversary

Lastly, I’d like to thank the blogging and book community for all the support you continue to give voluntarily, keeping the love of reading alive 🙂

 

Not Your Average Nurse by Maggie Groff book review

not your average nurse

Not Your Average Nurse written by Maggie Groff, publisher Corgi/Transworld Digital is available NOW in ebook, paperback and audio download format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

‘Over time, I nursed victims of war, the posh, the poor, the famous and the infamous… Oh, the stories I can tell!’

To a young girl the life of a nurse sounds exciting, but with long hours and short shrift it’s never easy. So when Maggie Groff embarks on her training at London’s King’s College Hospital she must quickly get to grips with a demanding career. It’s sink or swim.

From the watchful gaze of stern sisters and the trials of nursing on a poor south-east London housing estate, to the explosive dramas of staff health checks at sophisticated Selfridges, Maggie shares warm and witty stories of mistakes and mayhem, tea and sympathy, and the life-affirming moments that make it all worthwhile.

Played out against the march of feminism and fashion, IRA bombings and the iconic music and movies of almost half a century ago, Not Your Average Nurse is a delightful romp through time.

NYAN BlogTour Poster

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Maggie Groff’s Not Your Average Nurse.  I don’t normally like biographies but Not Your Average Nurse was such an insightful, entertaining book that I am so pleased I have had the pleasure to read.

This is a true story based on real life experiences of young Maggie, who at 17 decided she wanted to give up her studying at school and enrol as a Student Nurse.  The year is 1970 and the world was still struggling to cope with women in the workplace but Maggie didn’t have dreams of settling down and finding a husband, she had dreams of becoming a writer but in the meantime nursing would do.  Maggie’s stop-gap nursing career was to span nearly two decades.  The skills Maggie learnt from nursing were to put her in good stead for the new adventures she was to endure in her life.

This remarkable story was written with such honesty by Maggie Groff, she didn’t leave anything out and at times her anecdotes were shocking and uncharacteristically funny.  There were scenes that I couldn’t quite believe and I laughed so hard at them, life’s accidentally funny moments are just priceless!  Pure joy from the wonders of life and all it’s glorious array of people.  Sadly, as in real life Maggie faced many traumatic and gut wrenching moments and when tragedy stuck too close to home Maggie’s skills from nursing were now needed imperatively.  One minute I was crying with laughter, the next my heart was breaking and there were many tears of sadness.  Starting your career at the beginning of  a pivotal time with NHS reforms must have been quite difficult at times but also the hope of new beginnings and the solidarity of the workmanship must have felt very comforting.

A truly remarkable story of a young lady that took life and all it’s spoils and went with it.  An educating, entertaining read that captivated me.  5/5*

About the Author

Maggie Groff is an award-winning novelist, columnist and non-fiction writer living and working in Australia. As a young woman in England she trained as a state registered nurse at King’s College Hospital, London, and worked at several London hospitals before securing a position as an in-house nurse at Selfridges. From there Maggie went on to pursue a richly varied and, at times, unusual nursing career. Aware that her daughter had no knowledge of her working life prior to becoming an author, she was inspired to write this memoir.

The Butlin Girls by Elaine Everest blogtour/book review

butlin girls

The Butlin Girls written by Elaine Everest, publisher Pan, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

‘Molly Missons gazed around in awe. So this was Butlin’s. Whitewashed buildings, bordered by rhododendrons, gave a cheerful feeling to a world still recovering from six years of war. The Skegness holiday camp covered a vast area, much larger than Molly expected to see.

Molly Missons hasn’t had the best of times recently. Having lost her parents, now some dubious long-lost family have darkened her door – attempting to steal her home and livelihood…

After a horrendous ordeal, Molly applies for a job as a Butlin’s Aunty. When she receives news that she has got the job, she immediately leaves her small home town – in search of a new life in Skegness.

Molly finds true friendship in Freda, Bunty and Plum. But the biggest shock is discovering that star of the silver screen, Johnny Johnson, is working at Butlin’s as head of the entertainment team. Johnny takes an instant liking to Molly and she begins to shed the shackles of her recent traumas. Will Johnny be just the distraction Molly needs – or is he too good be to be true?

butlin girls tour poster

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Elaine Everest’s latest novel, The Butlin Girls.

This was a wonderful trip back in time to post war Erith, SE London and to Skegness in Lincolnshire.  A cosy romance novel filled with nostalgic charm, childhood idealisms, family saga, a time of new beginnings and hope for all after a country wreaked with war.  A time of renewed optimism and prosperity, a time when Billy Butlin opened his doors again at his flagship camp in Skegness bringing families and holiday makers together giving them a week of respite and good old fashioned fun and comfort.  This all sounds so cosy and lovely but our leading ladies in this novel escaped to work at Butlins to hide a traumatic time in their past.  However, the past anxieties weren’t too far away and Butlins wasn’t the protected haven for all.

Following the untimely death of her parents Molly was struggling with her grief and now she was facing a possibility of becoming homeless as a distant relative turns up laying claims to the inheritance.  The relatives also bring fear and danger of a different kind to Molly’s life and Butlins was the much needed escape for Molly.

Upon arriving at her new workplace and home Molly makes friends with her new roommates and fellow red coaters Bunty and Plum.  Unbeknown to each of the girls they are all hiding a secret heartache.  As their friendships blossom the girls gain strength within each other and “a problem shared is a problem halved” springs to mind.  Will the girls; Molly, Bunty and Plum cope with their new careers or will the past threaten their futures?

I particularly loved Elaine Everest’s style of writing for this novel it literally felt like I was stepping back in time, the style was very different to modern romcoms and chicklits of today but that particular style of writing wouldn’t work at all for this period saga.  This was a wonderful heart warming in abundance family and friendship saga.  It was my first introduction to Elaine Everest’s work and after enjoying this novel I decided to invest in her debut novel, The Woolworths Girls.

To find out more about Elaine Everest and her books please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.thewriteplace.org.uk/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/ElaineEverest

Spandex and the City by Jenny T. Colgan book review

spandex and the city

Spandex and the City written by Jenny T. Colgan, publisher Orbit (Little Brown UK) is available in ebook, paperback and audio download format from 18th May 2017.

To pre-order/buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

LOCAL GIRL SWEPT OFF HER FEET
Mild-mannered publicist Holly Phillips is unlucky in love. She’s embarrassed beyond belief when the handsome stranger she meets in a bar turns out to be ‘Ultimate Man’ – a superpowered hero whose rescue attempt finds her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day.
But when Holly’s fifteen minutes of fame make her a target for something villainous, she only has one place to turn – and finds the man behind the mask holds a lot more charm than his crime-fighting alter-ego.
Can Holly find love, or is superdating just as complicated as the regular kind?

purple motorbike

I was first drawn to this novel by the author, I love all Jenny Colgan’s stories but I haven’t read any of her sci-fi romances however, the cover it’s purple so that’s a bonus in my eyes and the synopsis drew me in further.

During a night out with her friend Holly get’s caught up in a traumatic event but is rescued in a rather unladylike way by Ultimate Man.  Holly works at the Mayor’s Office in the city in the publicity department and her night out is soon all over the media in full technicolour.  Holly starts to build up a rapport with the masked man and her feelings become very confused.  Holly inadvertently becomes a target and her life becomes in peril again, the only person who can help is Ultimate Man.  Can Ultimate Man reach her in time?

This is unlike any other story I’ve read but I was drawn in by the outstanding wit and humour and the warmth from the characters that Jenny T. Colgan had radiated across the pages.  Also, I was starting to have a crush on a certain man in purple!  The story was like an updated version of Superman and you get to see all sides of the characters; the damsel in distress (aka Holly), the villain (aka Frederick Cecil) and the hero (aka Ultimate Man).  There’s a side to the story that is quite thought-provoking and I could appreciate why certain actions were taken.  My heart at one point was very much divided between good and evil in this story’s sense and I wanted to bang both their heads together to knock some sense into both our leading men.  I loved the action and the crazy, cool gadgets but amongst all this the author had cleverly interspersed these times with some very tender poignant moments leaving me quite emotional.

A fabulous story that was cool, geeky, fun and a little bit sexy.  5/5*

To find out more about Jenny T. Colgan please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.jennycolgan.com/books/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/jennycolganbooks

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/jennycolgan