The Map of Us by Jules Preston book review

the map of us

The Map of Us written by Jules Preston, publisher HarperImpulse, is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link: https://amzn.to/2jKDQSI

Product Details (as per amazon page)

 Violet North is wonderfully inconvenient. Abandoned by her family and lost in an imagined world of moors and adventure, her life changes in the space of just 37 words exchanged with a stranger at her front door.
Decades later, Daniel Bearing has inherited his father’s multi-million pound business, and is utterly lost. He has no idea who he is or where his life is headed.
When Violet’s granddaughter’s marriage falls apart, Tilly, always adept with numbers, compiles a detailed statistical report to pinpoint why. But the Compatibility Index Tilly creates has unforeseen consequences for everyone in her world.
Tilly and Daniel share a secret too. 10.37am, April 22nd.
Soon, a complex web of secrets and lies is exposed and an adventure begins with a blue typewriter…

sand sculpture clipart

The Map of Us is the debut novel by Jules Preston.  The storyline is quite a clever mix of family drama, grief, betrayal, bullying, diversity, courage and love.

The author’s writing style is full of wit and wisdom and had a multitude of short chapters.  At times, for me, I did find the storyline a little repetitive but by the end of the story all these character idiosyncrasies with their quirks and insecurities all made complete sense.  Now and again the author would throw a little line and it would completely melt my heart and would leave me feeling joyous.

Violet North was a very ill child and her parents treated her badly, once she reached adulthood they abandoned her and left her to her own devices.  This unbeknown to her family was the best thing that could have happened to her.  To while away her time Violet decided to write herself a companion and she wanted this companion to travel on the paths and roads, hills and mountains that she couldn’t.  Violet’s imagination was just wonderful and for a while this was all she needed in her life.

Matilda (Tilly) North is the youngest of three grandchildren to Violet North.  Tilly is a statistician and when her marriage broke down she decided to analysis it’s downfall with pages and pages of research and compatibility equations.  Tilly loved the simplicity of numbers, her brother Jack loved colour and her sister loved handbags.  Their father, who I adored, loved sand and sculpting amazing shapes and creations out of the sand.

These little quirks that each member of the family held was their own way of dealing with life and they were accepted for all that they were, as a family unit they blended perfectly.

A very fresh, imaginative approach to a love story.  A love story that has spanned decades and has weathered time.  I look forward to more from this promising new author Jules Preston.

About the Author

Jules Preston was born in London, and has had lots of jobs. Some good. Some bad. The best was cutting up national newspapers with a huge pair of scissors. He now lives in Devon, surrounded by piles of paper held together with bulldog clips. One day they might get turned into books too. Hopefully.

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jules_preston_

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

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A Little of Chantelle Rose by Cristina Hodgson book review

a little of chantelle rose

A Little of Chantelle Rose written and self-published by Cristina Hodgson is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/XtJvMP

Product Details (as per amazon page)

A role to play that may strip her of everything. Except her name…

At the age of twenty-four, Chantelle Rose has all a city girl can expect: a tiny bed-sit in South London, a lousy poorly-paid job, a tyrannical boss, and quite a few exes added to an ever-growing list.

Desperate for change, she becomes an extra in a seedy crime film. When that leads to the opportunity of a lifetime – a role to play with a million dollars to win and seemingly nothing to lose – she accepts without thinking twice. After all, what could possibly go wrong? In any event, she´ll earn enough to buy her dream home, set up her own business and never worry about money again.

And what about love? Two men have won her heart: Robbie – sultry, silent, mysterious; and Lionel – Hollywood heart-throb, charm, wealth, adventure.

But who can she trust? Who is bent on scaring her away, and why?

There seems to be more at stake than just her heart. Will a million dollars be worth it?

red and black rose border

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

A Little of Chantelle Rose is the debut novel from author Cristina Hodgson and what a fabulously fun read it was.  Cristina Hodgson has made a debut novel that is full of romcom attributes that we readers love, an author that I am now desperately looking forward to more from.

When Chantelle Rose was offered a million dollar deal she couldn’t quite believe it and would have been a fool to turn it down.  Whisked away to the States with first class treatment will stardom be all that Chantelle’s dreamed of?  Or will Chantelle get mixed up in her own real-life movie drama?

I loved Chantelle’s character she had a vulnerability about her that made her very real and honest.  She was a little crazy and chaotic at times resulting in some very funny scenes.  One minute Chantelle would be all shy and unassuming and the next she’d be Wonder Woman and conveying strong female powers and vibes.  I enjoyed the glitz, glamour and Hollywood gossip part of the storyline, I’m sure we all have a secret wish to live in the shoes of our favourite stars.  Most of all though I loved the  romance interwoven within the storyline.

Such a brilliant debut novel from Cristina Hodgson and what an ending!  I’m channelling all positive vibes for Team …?  Well, you’ll just have to read the book to decide who your allegiances lie with! 😉

To learn more about Cristina Hodgson and her work please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://cristinahodgson.com/

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

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

 

Among the Branded by Linda Smolkin blogtour book review

Among The Branded

Among the Branded written and self-published by Linda Smolkin, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/e4r87r

Product Details (as per amazon page)

What if a 70-year-old letter from World War II changed the course of your life?

While attending Valor of the ’40s, art director Stephanie Britain stumbles upon a flea market selling letters from the war. She buys a handful, hoping they’ll inspire the redesign for a client’s website at her branding and design firm. At first, she’s drawn by the lost art of penmanship, but soon discovers a hidden treasure nestled inside declarations of love from homesick soldiers.

Stephanie enlists a coworker to translate one and realizes it’s not a love letter after all. When a shocking discovery about a client causes Stephanie to question her principles and dedication to her firm’s business, she’s forced to make a difficult decision—one that could give her peace of mind, yet ruin her career in the process.

among the branded poster

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating Linda Smolkin’s debut novel, Among the Branded.

I honestly wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting with this novel.  The story starts off with an American family starting a new venture in their life packing their eldest son off to college.  I recognised the emotions in this part of the storyline as I have experienced them myself and this scene evoked many emotions in me and felt very real and honest.  Stephanie with her husband and youngest son were keen to learn more about WWII and visited Valor which held many 1940’s re-enactment scenarios of servicemen and women from all regiments around the world.  During their visit Stephanie purchased a bundle of love letters dating back to the era and was intrigued by the stories behind these letters.  One letter in particular sparked an interest in Stephanie and she was keen to learn more about the recipient and the members of the family mentioned in the letter.

This letter was to ignite a journey of discovering for Stephanie and her extended family and friends.  A very thought provoking discovery that would lead to Stephanie making serious decisions about her work and the clients she was representing at the Advertising Agency.

I too soon became intrigued with the letters Stephanie had found and was eager to learn about the past lives she had discovered.  My heart was aching for the lost lives and families from a very traumatic couple of years.  A time which would stay with the families involved for the rest of their lives.  A very emotive, thought provoking read that also had a wonderful warmth within the storyline that left you feeling hopeful.  A storyline with words that will never be forgotten and need to be said.  I look forward to more work from Linda Smolkin.

About the Author

Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer—ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an ad agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She’s currently working on her second novel, which will be released in Spring 2018. When not in front of the computer, she’s behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog.

Website:  http://www.lindasmolkin.com

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/@lindasmolkin

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

 

 

Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says) by Colette Kebell book review

blue and green should never be seen

Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says) written and self-published by Colette Kebell is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/uekhXz

Product Details (as per amazon page)
GiGi (well, Griselda Griswald actually, but everybody calls her GiGi) is a woman with a mission: to help people improve the way they look, increase their self-esteem, and eventually, make them happier. Being a personal shopper is a dark art, with few tangible rewards. Spread by word of mouth, her clients would never admit they needed her assistance. Not even if they were put under torture. Let us be honest, who would admit to being in need of a style consultant?
It is like being an alcoholic: the first step is to admit you need help, and acknowledge that that pair of leggings, now that you are in your mid-fifties, do not suit you anymore. When you have recognized it, you are on the path to recovery, and GiGi’s services will help you, despite her mother nagging that what she is doing is not a “real” job.
People need advice and often a fresh point of view helps in rejuvenating a wardrobe that, with time, has become boring. Would they admit it? Not a chance!
So, it is just a matter of going around and helping people buying clothes and shoes?
Not quite so. Money is tight; GiGi has to work with rich and very eccentric people, who often do not have any idea about what they want. She and her business partner Ritchie are in a constant struggle to keep the business afloat, but as they say in Dragon’s Den, she is very investable. But, with success comes the difficulties, the Battersea Fashion Center is going to open soon, just opposite of her office, and they claim they will be fierce competitors.
A powerful enemy is lining up ready to make a meal out of her, knowing very well that GiGi’s approach, eventually, will make her a force to be reckon with. Whilst she invents new ways to make her consultancy firm successful, she finds who could be the love of her life, thanks to some of her best friends.
The business is eventually expanding and they take onboard new partners along the way, making them one of the most influential fashion consultancy firms in London. But, with a very demanding job, hours and hours spent working, will she be able to balance her career and her private life?
Will she reach a point where she loses focus on what is important in life?
Do not worry; mother is there to remind her, with her nagging.

shopping bags clipart

Review
This was such a fabulously, fun read from debut novelist Colette Kebell. Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen was published in 2014 and has deservedly received many 4 and 5 star reviews on amazon.

I loved Gigi’s character even though she hit a few hurdles in her pursuit of following her dream she never gave up and was committed to put in the hours and often sold her own belongings to help her reach her goal. Gigi’s dream at first sounded like she would cater for the rich and privileged but when you read further in to her story and see the in-depth consultations she has with each individual customer you can understand that she is doing more than updating a person’s wardrobe, she is giving that individual the strength and courage to shine.

I also enjoyed reading about the sub-characters in the storyline, especially her mother and Ritchie her business partner) they were as fun and fabulous as our main character Gigi and I hope that the author will return to these characters in future stories.

This was a great debut novel full of chicklit sparkle and had a gorgeous romance interwoven within the storyline.  I can’t wait for more from Colette Kebell.

About the Author
Colette Kebell is an author of Chicklit, though a relatively new one and thus far has self-published her books. Her books are light-hearted, fun and quirky and even considered by some to be inspirational. She has also found avenues to translate both into Italian (thanks to her husband), and one, thus far, into French, Spanish and Portuguese via Babelcube.

As a career, Colette spent her later years as a legal secretary. After a first attempt at writing many years ago (a book that still remains in her drawer) she resumed this passion a few years back, after being made redundant. After few book signing events and a book talk, which almost caused her to collapse with nerves, Colette now spends her time between her home in the UK and her home in France.

Colette has two adorable dogs and spends some time, when not writing and marketing her books, cooking for herself and her husband, gardening or designing various items for their home. Amongst her other hobbies, she has also experimented with furniture upholstery, and she might, from time to time, have a paintbrush in her hand.

She can be found on twitter @ColetteKebell though doesn’t tweet a vast amount.

Author website: http://www.colettekebell.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ColetteKebell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColetteKebellAuthor/

The Start of Something Wonderful by Jane Lambert blogtour book review

the start of something wonderful

The Start of Something Wonderful written by Jane Lambert, publisher HQ Digital, is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/Z55NGi

Product Details (as per amazon page)

It’s never too late to follow your dreams…

Forty-year-old air stewardess, Emily Forsyth, thought she had everything a woman could wish for: a glamorous, jet-set lifestyle, a designer wardrobe and a dishy pilot boyfriend. Until he breaks up with her…

Catapulted into a mid-life crisis she wishes she’d had earlier, she decides to turn her life upside-down, quitting her job and instead beginning to chase her long-held dreams of becoming an actress!

Leaving the skies behind her, Emily heads for the bright lights of London’s West End – but is it too late to reach for the stars?

The Start of Someting Wonderful Blog_Tour[3] (1)

I’m so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Jane Lambert’s debut novel, The Start of Something Wonderful.  This novel was previously published as Learning to Fly and has a fabulous makeover.

I really enjoyed this debut novel by Jane Lambert and I believe she will be one to watch in the romcom literary world!

Emily Forsyth is in her early 40’s and has been an air stewardess for as long as she can remember.  She loves the lifestyle that this occupation brought with it but following the break-up of her long standing relationship with her pilot boyfriend Emily decides to dry her tear-stained eyes, dust herself down and pursue a dream she’s held for a long time.  A dream of acting.  Moving jobs, moving house, changing her relationship status can be a stressful time but Emily doesn’t hold back now she has the momentum to change.  Enrolling in an acting course is the start but she can’t live off her meagre savings for long.  So Emily needs to find a part-time job to fit it and around her classes.

We follow Emily on her quest to fulfil her dreams but will life run smoothly for her?

Jane Lambert has created such a great character in Emily; she is warm and funny and has a new passion to change her life.  I also loved all the sub-characters that blended in perfectly around Emily’s new lifestyle.  We were treated  to some fabulously funny scenes and also some beautiful tender romantic moments.  But the ending OMG! …  I am chuffed to bits to hear that there will be a sequel to this novel as I can’t wait to read how Emily’s life is fairing now.  A fabulously funny heartwarming romance.

To learn more about Jane Lambert please do visit the following pages:

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/janelambert22

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

 

 

Q & A with author Kate Murdoch #historicalfiction

stone circle

Today I am pleased to welcome author Kate Murdoch to my blog answering a few questions about her work and inspiration.  Her debut novel Stone Circle is available NOW in ebook and paperback format and was published by Fireship Press.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2nPc4ZZ

Hello Kate and welcome …

  • I understand you were a widely recognised artist prior to writing.  Has your love, skill and experience in painting helped at all with the research work for your writing?

In the case of Stone Circle, it helped in that I’d done a lot of study of the Renaissance period at art school, so I had a sense of the aesthetic, the culture and the society. Most importantly, the art history gave me a fascination with the period in Italy. As a result, I enjoyed delving into further research focusing on alchemy, the role of women and the social hierarchy.

  • Where did the inspiration come for Stone Circle?

Originally from a dream I had of two young men and an old man, rowing in a canoe on a calm stretch of water. I knew the old man was imparting knowledge and that the time period was long ago. Then it was a matter of narrowing down the period, which led me to alchemy and the fact that it was practised at the time. 

  • Can you give us a brief overview of Stone Circle?

Stone Circle tells the story of Antonius, a fisherman’s son with psychic abilities, who wins a competition to be apprentice to the town seer. The son of a nobleman also wins, and there is intense rivalry between them for their mentor’s favour and the affection of his daughter as they study alchemy and magic rituals.

  • Do you have a set writing time in your day?  And, do you have a writing room?

Not really. Although my most productive time is the middle of the day and, quite often, the hour before I must pick up my children from school. I don’t have a dedicated writing room – I mainly write in the living room, looking out to the garden. If I have something more challenging, like intensive edits, I sit at the dining table.

  • Do you prefer writing a full length novel or short stories?

I love both. I’ve written many short stories and flash fiction pieces as well as two novels. There is satisfaction in creating a complete narrative in fewer words, but there’s also much enjoyment to be had in long-form, where you can create more detailed descriptions and delve deeper into characterisations. I also like the mystery of long-form – I enter it fairly blindly, never sure where the story will go.

  • If you’ve had time to relax and read this last year, what was your most outstanding book?

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. This was a book that impressed me for many reasons. The luminous prose and the exploration into choices and moral ambiguity. The fact that there is so much we don’t understand about peoples’ actions and the turmoil that can provoke them. Along with the heartbreak of being unable to turn back the clock. I found it deeply moving.

Thank you so much Kate for joining me today.  To learn more about Kate Murdoch and her work please do visit the following pages:

Website:  https://katemurdochauthor.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/@KateMurdoch3/

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