Book Review

The Cleansing – Anton Eine

When Anton Eine approached me to ask if I would be interested in reviewing his book, I was a little unsure. Although I dabble in sci-fi, this sounded like a fairly full on space adventure, and I tend to lean away from aliens. It was also a short story, which is another area that I shy away from. However, when Anton told me a little more about it, the story really caught my interest, so I thought I would give it a shot. Many thanks Anton for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Will beauty save the world? Not this time…
This sci-fi short story gives us a view of our world from perspective of alien invaders that just arrived to destroy any life on Earth. Can we do anything to save our fragile peace, to protect our home and the very existence of the humankind?

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PURCHASE LINK:

Amazon UK

REVIEW:

I know the blurb sounds like standard end of the world, alien invasion fare, but what really struck me about this short story was the style in which it was written. Told entirely through the dialogue between the mysterious occupants of a space craft that is travelling the universe cleansing it of all life forms, the total absence of narrative or description allowed my imagination to run wild. Even without knowing anything about any of the characters other than their rank or job title, I found that each of them had a distinctive voice and personality – something that is not easy to achieve in just eighteen pages! Just through the way they communicated with each other, and through their observations of Earth,  I was able to build my own image of the appearance of the characters and their space craft, and I even started imagining the back story to their mission. I am not sure that a story told purely through dialogue would work in a full length novel, but I really enjoyed it in this short story.

I will leave you to discover the finer details yourself, but I must tell you that there were a few observations made by the characters that, when they clicked in my head what it was they were seeing, really made me chuckle.

If you are looking for a fun, quick read between heavier novels, fancy dabbling in sci-fi, or want to try a writing style that I know I haven’t come across before, this book is definitely worth a read.

You can find out more about the author and his other work here.

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Extracts

Gap Years – Dave Holwill – Extract from Chapter One

I am so excited to have a second stop on the Gap Years blog tour, and absolutely thrilled to be able to share an extract from the start of chapter one of the book with you all. Thank you so much to Dave Holwill for allowing me to share this.

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Shit, Dad was right.

Why does Dad have to be right?

Why am I so annoyed that I am wrong?

That’s not what’s important here.

Priorities Sean, that car just came out of nowhere, and your twelve year old stepsister is in a hedge.

Not on her bike, in the hedge, upside down and not screaming anymore. It’s been less than a month since we met, and I’ve killed her.

Brilliant.

Why didn’t they stop? The car should have stopped, pulled over and checked we’re alright before apologising – and helping. It didn’t, it swerved round me, the dog’s lead went completely taut and my bike stopped (I didn’t, I am soaring over the car in a slow, graceless arc). Dad told me not to tie the dog to the bike, and not to take Melody on the road. He loves all three of us – I assume, he hasn’t mentioned it to me – but he will probably love them a little more than me when he hears about this.

I look down at the flattened dog, and Melody’s legs poking from the hedge. With a twitch of toes and squeal of joy she leaps out in a single bound.

‘Come on Whizzy, get up.’ A crackle of green light streaks from her finger. The blood pooling in the road regroups and streams back into the dog, who re-inflates, runs a few circles around Melody then sits next to her with his best good boy bark, tail thumping against the pot-holed lane.

‘Sean, come down from there and let’s carry on,’ Melody groans, as another flash from her fingers turns our bikes from mangled wrecks to two new, perfect specimens. I try to land but am unable, I am soaring ever higher, floating on a gentle summer thermal towards the sun, the sun has a face, it is smiling at me, beckoning me closer with short stubby yellow arms. I feel its warmth across my face, it smells like hot tarmac.

Tarmac, I remember now.

I am unconscious.

Melody is not a wizard.

The dog is almost certainly dead.

I landed on my head.

The balance of my life is now dependant on whether or not the helmet I hope I am still wearing was worth the extra twenty quid it cost. I suppose this flying towards the sun is some kind of rubbish visualisation of me clinging to/escaping from life. After all these contactless years I finally get to spend some time with Dad and his family and I’ve killed most of them/us. Well played Sean, well played.

I am metaphorically dragged back down to the road and reality. I open my eyes to a wheel flashing past. It’s a big wheel and very close. This is a truck, I am still lying in the road, why is nobody stopping? I pull myself to my feet, and check my limbs. All moving, a bit achy, probably just bruises. Good news, I walk towards the dog, at least I try, before my right leg gives way and I cascade to the ground.

‘Hey, are you alright man?’ A voice, finally somebody has stopped.

‘Apparently not, how many fingers am I holding up?’ I ask, waving my hand.

‘Three, but that’s not how it works, how many am I holding up?’ He thrusts his hand in my face.

‘Oh yeah, that’s true, three?’ I venture, I can see three, I hope I’m right.

‘Three it is,’ he laughs. ‘You’ll be fine, come on then.’ He picks me up off the road and helps me over to the verge. I recognise him now. I’ve seen him around. He looks like he came straight from a Grateful Dead concert, all long hair, beard and tie-dyed shirts. I see him quite a lot when I’m cycling about, he goes everywhere on a big old heavy dutch bike – which in Devon is madness, these hills are hard enough work on my super-lightweight road bike – usually with a basket full of cider, in a big floppy straw hat and flip flops. I don’t think he’s a serious cyclist, but I do think he can’t afford a car.

‘My sister,’ I say, ‘she’s… she’s…’

‘Already seen to her,’ he says, ‘in the recovery position and breathing, you got a phone I can use? Or you want to call it in yourself?’

‘You haven’t called an ambulance?’

‘Hey man, I needed to check you were both breathing.’ He looks offended, I feel bad now. ‘And anyway, I don’t have a telephone, no need for one, happier without.’

‘Okay, I can do it,’ I say, fumbling in my back pouch for my phone. I make the 999 call, my companion proving invaluable in pinpointing our location.

‘And the dog?’ I ask, once I know the ambulance is coming, I don’t think I want to hear the answer.

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If that has grabbed your attention, you can find out more about Gap Years, and Dave Holwill over on my review from 15th February here. Don’t forget to have a look at the other blogs taking part.

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A Little Hotel in Cornwall – Cover Reveal

It’s been a while since I took part in a cover reveal, but I have a lovely one for you all today, for A Little Hotel in Cornwall by Laura Briggs. Thanks so much to Laura and to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this exciting reveal. Before we get to the cover, here’s the all important blurb:

BLURB:

Struggling American waitress and aspiring novelist Maisie Clark dreams of becoming a full-time writer — even though in real life she’s just lost her chance at an exclusive writer’s mentorship program that would give her novel its big break. Desperate, she decides to take a chance and ask her favourite writer, a celebrated but reclusive English novelist, to help her find a second chance. 

When she receives the author’s reply in an envelope with a Cornish postmark, Maisie decides not to take the writer’s half-hearted ‘no’ for an answer. With nothing to lose, she takes off for the author’s last known location, a beautiful hotel on Cornwall’s western coast. But when the hotel mistakes her for the latest applicant for a maid’s position, Maisie finds herself given an opportunity too good to lose … and a chance for a summer adventure far bigger than she ever imagined.

Surrounded by breathtaking Cornwall and working in an elegant hotel, Maisie’s world becomes one of secret identities, quirky friends, and unintentional mishaps — and despite reminders of past relationship disasters, a certain handsome, charming local resident Sidney Daniels has her conflicted about her heart’s desires, too. 

Will Maisie find the chance she’s been waiting for — and a possible new romance — in her perfect Cornish summer?

Are you all ready for a sneaky peek at the cover? Here it comes…

Cover Reveal-A Little Hotel in Cornwall

Obviously we would never judge a book by it’s cover, but doesn’t this one just grab you? If you are tempted, the book is released on 30th April 2019, and you can pre-order your copy right here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Briggs Author Pic

Laura Briggs is the author of several chick lit and romance stories, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

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Book Review

The Migraine Relief Plan – Stephanie Weaver

How about something completely different today. It’s the birthday blitz for The Migraine Relief Plan by Stephanie Weaver. Thanks so much to Stephanie and to Rachel at Rache’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the celebration and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

In The Migraine Relief Plan, certified health and wellness coach Stephanie Weaver outlines a new, step-by-step lifestyle approach to reducing migraine frequency and severity.

Using the latest research, her own migraine diagnosis, and extensive testing, Weaver has designed an accessible plan to help those living with migraine, headaches, or Meniere’s disease. Over the course of eight weeks, the plan gradually transitions readers into a healthier lifestyle, including key behaviors such as regular sleep, trigger-free eating, gentle exercise, and relaxation techniques. The book also collects resources—shopping lists, meal plans, symptom tracking charts, and kitchen-tested recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—to provide readers with the tools they need to be successful.

The Migraine Relief Plan encourages readers to eat within the guidelines while still helping them follow personal dietary choices, like vegan or Paleo, and navigate challenges, such as parties, work, and travel. A must-have resource for anyone who lives with head pain, this book will inspire you to rethink your attitude toward health and wellness.

You can purchase your copy of The Migraine Relief Plan here.

The Migraine Relief Plan 9781572842090

REVIEW:

The Migraine Relief Plan is an easy to read, well set out book that makes a lot of sense. All too often books of this nature are overly complicated, science heavy, and just plain dull. The Migraine Relief Plan is none of these things, and I think this is largely due to the fact that the author is a migraine sufferer herself, and has developed the plan based on her experiences. It is full of assignments and challenges to help you stick to the plan, and contains really detailed information around possible trigger foods. It even comes with ideas for bulk cooking which is invaluable if you are a chronic illness sufferer, as it means you always have a healthy meal on hand in the freezer when you are feeling to rotten to cook. It is also a whole life plan covering areas such as meditation, sleep, and even tips for eating out. All in all, it is such a comprehensive plan, it has great potential to help migraine sufferers everywhere.

I had two issues with this diet plan, and to be perfectly honest, they are more problems with myself than the plan itself. First of all, I totally lack the willpower to cut out everything that it suggests cutting out (which in itself suggests that perhaps the migraines I suffer either aren’t severe enough or frequent enough to give me the push I need). Secondly, it turns out that I am a significantly fussier eater than I thought I was! I picked up the book full of optimism for discovering loads of new recipes, but actually there were only a handful that I would eat. As I say, this is nothing against the recipes themselves, just my own tastes. One definite hit though was the Smokey Butternut Squash Soup. This was so simple to make and really tasty. As it was just for me, I made the full recipe, then broke it down into separate servings to freeze, and it freezes just fine. When you first defrost it and start to reheat it, it looks a bit like it has split, but just give it a stir, and it is as good as when you first made it. It has been a fantastic, warming lunch on these cold days we have been having.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

The Migraine - VerticalBlueDoor

 

 

Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC, is an author, blogger, and certified wellness and health coach. Her recipes have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Parade, and more. She lives in San Diego, CA.

 

 

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Book Review

The Reading Journal – S.L. Grigg

I’ve got something a little different for you all today. Instead of reviewing a novel, I am reviewing a journal that is perfect for book reviewers everywhere. Many thanks to S.L. Grigg, and The Fiction Cafe for providing me with my copy of this amazing tool.

BLURB:

The author of Coffee Break Companion brings you the next instalment in the collection – your very own reading journal. The perfect place to record and review all your favourite books, with a few bonus extras of colouring pages, puzzles, short stories and Top 10 book lists.

cof

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

The Reading Journal is a great book, whether you are a serious book blogger, casual reviewer, or simply someone who likes to keep track of their thoughts about the books they have read. It is well presented, with oodles of space for notes on books that you have read, and lists of the books that you want to read.

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I would show you the pages that I have filled in, but no one needs to see my spider scrawl.

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As well as these smartly laid out, easy to use pages, The Reading Journal is filled with pages to colour in, puzzles to do, flash fiction pieces, and just what every book addict needs, lists of amazing books as recommended by the members of the amazing Fiction Cafe.

I have only just got started on filling my journal in as I make my way through my blog tour commitments and TBR list, but I already know that as soon as this one is full, I will be hurrying off to buy another one!

If you haven’t already discovered S.L. Grigg’s previous book, Coffee Break Companion, you can find out more about it and the author here.

Book Review

Gap Years – Dave Holwill

I am hopping on board the blog tour for Gap Years by Dave Holwill today. Many thanks to Dave, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

19 year old Sean hasn’t seen his father since he was twelve. His mother has never really explained why. An argument with her leads to his moving to the other side of the country.

Martin, his father, has his life thrown into turmoil when the son he hasn’t seen in nearly eight years strolls back into his life immediately killing his dog and hospitalising his step-daughter.

The one thing they have in common is the friendship of a girl called Rhiannon.

Over the course of one summer Sean experiences sexual awakenings from all angles, discovers the fleeting nature of friendship and learns to cope with rejection.

Martin, meanwhile, struggles to reconnect with Sean while trying to delicately turn down the increasingly inappropriate advances of a girl he sees as a surrogate daughter and keep a struggling marriage alive.

Gap Years is an exploration of what it means to be a man in the 21st Century seen from two very different perspectives – neatly hidden inside a funny story about bicycles, guitars and unrequited love.

Gap_Years_Front

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

Let me start by saying that Gap Years has one of the strangest starts to a book that I have read in a long time. After just the first page, I was completely drawn in to Dave Holwill’s unique writing style. Come back on 21st to find out what I mean.

Gap Years covers a lot of subject matter that has the potential to be quite heavy – estranged families, confusion over sexuality, a struggling marriage, unwanted advances. However, it is filled with a dry wit that, at times, had me laughing out loud as Sean and Martin stumble through the minefield of modern life and emotional relationships in a way that only us Brits can. Honestly, I think 12 year old Melody is the most emotionally mature character in the book and I love her for that.

Gap Years is told from the alternating perspectives of Martin and Sean, and although they each have a very distinctive voice, it is easy to see that they are much more alike than either realises, or is prepared to admit. It is a real coming of age story for both characters (even though obviously Martin has been a “grown up” for many years), but without all the sickly sweet niceness that often comes out in books about teenagers turning to adulthood. Instead it is wonderfully awkward and entirely real. I loved every second of it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gap Years - AuthorHeadShotDave Holwill was born in Guildford in 1977 and quickly decided that he preferred the Westcountry – moving to Devon in 1983 (with some input from his parents).
After an expensive (and possibly wasted) education there, he has worked variously as a postman, a framer, and a print department manager (though if you are the only person in the department then can you really be called a manager?) all whilst continuing to play in every kind of band imaginable on most instruments you can think of.
Gap Years is his third novel – following on the heels of Weekend Rockstars and The Craft Room, and he is currently working on the fourth (a folk horror set in his native mid-Devon) and a sequel to Weekend Rockstars.

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Make sure you pay a visit to the other blogs taking part on the tour, and remember to pop back here on 21st February, when I will be sharing an extract from the book.

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Book Review

Summer on the Italian Lakes – Lucy Coleman

It’s my stop on the blog tour for “Summer on the Italian Lakes” by Lucy Coleman today. Many thanks to Lucy, and to Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Bestselling Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping – and steamy – love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling… Not only does she have writer’s block, but she’s a world-famous romance author with zero romance in her own life.

So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer’s retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda – owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson – could this be just the thing to fire up Brie’s writing – and romantic – mojo?

Brie’s sun-drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer’s very own happy-ever-after…

Lakes yellow

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

The thought of heading of to Lake Garda for writing retreat is heaven to me. I have a bit of a love affair with Italy, and having spent a day in Sirmione, during a holiday in Venice, I would love to explore the other towns and villages surrounding the lake. The descriptions of the Villa Monteverdi and the views over the lake took me right back to my various trips to Italy, and had me heading straight to the internet to try and decide where to visit next.

It was impossible not to fall for the charms of Arran Jamieson, and it was easy to see why Brie found herself for falling for him so quickly (no spoilers there, I am sure. It was obviously always going to go this way). I would have liked to have got to know more about the characters attending the retreat, and it was a shame that we really only got to see the guests for one week.

Despite the beautiful descriptions of the location, and the adorable hero, I’m afraid I did struggle a little with this book. Although I loved the premise and the story itself, the writing style was just not for me, and at times I felt like there was too much information being delivered that detracted from the story.  Obviously, writing style is very subjective, and I know other people who have read this and haven’t had a problem with it, but sadly it wasn’t for me. That said, I did appreciate the nod to the readers who write reviews.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

LBHFrom interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

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GIVEAWAY:

Win a Chocolate dipping set (UK only)

Writing Retreat Prize

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494194/

Don’t forget to stop by the other blogs taking part in the tour.

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