Book Review

Till It Stops Beating – Hannah R Goodman

Today I am joining the blog tour for Till It Stops Beating by Hannah R Goodman.

15

BLURB:

Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman’s senior year begins with the good (the reemergence of The One That Got Away), the bad (a cancer diagnosis, not hers, but it might as well be) and the WTF (an anxiety attack that renders her writhing on the floor like an upside down crab). 

Adding to her spiraling anxiety is Senior Project, in the form of I’ve Decided To Write A Book about The Other One That Got Away (And Crushed My Heart). Compounding it all is applying to college and keeping up with her friends. The ever mounting stress eventually rips her tight grip on all that she holds dear. 

Her break down leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers she must risk everything in order to really live.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon.com

Amazon UK

fullsizeoutput_f21b

REVIEW:

Till It Stops Beating is the type of book I wish had been around when I was thinking about heading off to university. I found Maddie’s fear of leaving behind the familiarity of school, friends and family entirely relatable, and feel this would be a good book for anyone who has doubts about going to university to read. No one ever speaks about the anxiety that this huge step causes for some people, but this book would definitely have made me feel less alone in my thoughts and doubts.

I loved the characters of Peter and Susan – everyone needs friends like this pair in their lives to stand by their side through thick and thin, to make them laugh when things get too much. I am pretty lucky and have my own versions of Peter and Susan to lean on when I need them.

Because of the themes in this book, I perhaps wouldn’t recommend it to younger teenagers, but certainly for those approaching the end of their school life, and going through the same experiences and emotions that Maddie faces, I feel it would be a enjoyable read. It might sound strange to call a book with such difficult themes enjoyable, but they are handled in such a way as to never feel too heavy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

9 Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreenOC87 Recovery Diaries,  Zencare.co, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, the last was released in 2009 and all were self-published. This time around, indie publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating this summer.

Hannah’s  first YA novel, My Sister’s Wedding, won the first place award for The Writer’s Digest International Self-Publishing Contest, 2004, children’s book division. She published the follow-up, My Summer Vacation, in May 2006, which went on to win a bronze IPPY in 2007. The third Maddie book, Fear of Falling, was released in the fall of 2009 and was praised by teachers and readers for tackling subjects like homophobia and coming out. She’s published young adult short stories on Amazon’s Shorts, in an anthology entitled Bound Is The Bewitching Lilith, and in the journal Balancing The Tides. She also has written columns for The Jewish Voice & Herald. Recent, previous projects include Sucker Literary, which features emerging YA authors and All The Way YA, a group blog of writers telling the real deal about writing and publishing YA fiction.

Hannah is a member of  ARIA  (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn

Amazon

Many thanks to Hannah, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, and for providing me with my copy of the book. Don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part in the tour.

Till It Stops Beating Full Tour Banner

Advertisements
Book Review

The Poppy Field – Deborah Carr

As we approach the centenary of the end of the First World War, and I find myself surrounded by the fabric poppies that I am making for a remembrance event, I am honoured to be able to talk to you today about The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr.

BLURB:

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Young nurse, Gemma, is struggling with the traumas she has witnessed through her job in the NHS. Needing to escape from it all, Gemma agrees to help renovate a rundown farmhouse in Doullens, France, a town near the Somme. There, in a boarded-up cupboard, wrapped in old newspapers, is a tin that reveals the secret letters and heartache of Alice Le Breton, a young volunteer nurse who worked in a casualty clearing station near the front line.

Set in the present day and during the horrifying years of the war, both woman discover deep down the strength and courage to carry on in even the most difficult of times. Through Alice’s words and her unfailing love for her sweetheart at the front, Gemma learns to truly live again.

This is a beautifully written epic historical novel that will take your breath away.

You can purchase your copy of The Poppy Field here.

The Poppy Field Cover

REVIEW:

The Poppy Field is a poignant story of the parallels between two women living 100 years apart, who find themselves drawn to the same building in France. The book shifts between the present day and the latter half of the First World War, as Gemma, our modern day nurse, unravels the tale of Alice’s war, whilst searching for her own sense of peace.

World War One, the Great War, was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but the world we live in today sometimes seems to be headed full circle, as reflected by Tom’s experiences in Kabul, and even by the injuries witnessed by Gemma working in a UK trauma centre.

Whilst I enjoyed Gemma’s part of the story as she tried to settle her personal demons whilst renovating the old farmhouse, it was Alice’s story that really got under my skin, and lit a fire under my inner war historian. Whilst the true horrors of the casualty clearing stations where VADs like Alice spent their war are just unthinkable, Deborah Carr’s writing brought them to life through her sensitive characterisation of the varied patients that passed through them. I was intrigued to see mention of the “casualty dogs” as this was not something that I had come across before, but have since read up on further. I had no idea that dogs were used in this way during the war.

There were a number of times when reading this book when my emotions got the better of me, but there is one particular scene about a quarter of the way in that really got to me, and which I hope Deborah won’t mind me pinpointing (don’t worry, it doesn’t give anything away). In this particular scene there is a conversation between two of the soldiers at the casualty clearing station who are wondering if anyone would remember the soldiers who fought and all the men who died in a hundred years time. Even writing about this now brings a tear to my eye, because as we approach this hundred year mark, yes, we do remember and we will continue to do so.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The Poppy Field - Deborah Med

Deborah Carr lives on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands with her husband, two children and three rescue dogs. She became interested in books set in WW1 when researching her great-grandfather’s time as a cavalryman in the 17th 21st Lancers.

She is part of ‘The Blonde Plotters’ writing group and was Deputy Editor on the online review site, Novelicious.com for seven years. Her debut historical romance, Broken Faces, is set in WW1 and was runner-up in the 2012 Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition and given a ‘special commendation’ in the Harry Bowling Prize that year. The Poppy Field is her second historical novel.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Many thanks to Deborah and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, and for providing me with my copy of the book. As always, be sure to stop by all the other amazing blogs taking part in the tour.

The Poppy Field Full Tour Banner

Book Review

Oh! What A Pavlova – Isabella May

It’s party time today as we wish a massive “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to Isabella May, and her first novel Oh! What a Pavlova.

Regular readers of my reviews will know by know that I am a massive fan of Isabella May. If you haven’t already seen them, please have a read of my previous reviews of The Cocktail Bar and Costa del Churros. Oh! What a Pavlova was Isabella’s debut and I am so happy to be helping celebrate her book birthday. If you want to find out a little more about Isabella, head on over to my interview with her under the Meet the Author tab.

BLURB:

Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.

Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation. 

Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.

And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…

But will she escape before it’s too late?

Oh Waht A Pavlova Book Cover

You can order your copy of Oh! What A Pavlova here.

REVIEW:

As with all of Isabella’s books, I found myself drawn to Oh! What a Pavlova by the delectable cover. Whenever I hear of a new release, it is a toss up between whether I am more excited to see what culinary masterpiece will be gracing the cover this time or to actually read the book!

Oh! What a Pavlova is a warm, funny tale of a woman who from the outside appears to have it all, the husband, the job, the travelling all over the world. However, it also highlights the important issue that domestic abuse does not only involve violence. Mind games and mental abuse can be just as damaging, and sometimes more so because they leave no marks and so the victim feels less likely to be believed. It also shows that victims are not always obvious. Looking from the outside, no one would ever believe what strong, vibrant Kate goes through behind closed doors. Despite the seriousness of this theme, Oh! What a Pavlova maintains a positive feeling throughout, and I can only imagine that it will serve to give hope to people in Kate’s situation.

I adore the foodie focus of this books, discovering new wonders with each country that Kate visits.  Kate and I also share a dream – doesn’t the idea of incorporating a bookshop and a cafe just sound wonderful!

If you haven’t already discovered the joy that is Isabella May, what are you waiting for? Get yourself to the bookshop!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Oh What a Author Pic

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing. As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One). She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’! Costa del Churros is her third novel with Crooked Cat Books, following on from the hit sensations, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

GIVEAWAY:

Win a signed copy of The Cocktail Bar (Open Internationally)

Oh Giveaway Prize - The Cocktail Bar

*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 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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494147/

Book Review

Magic O’Clock & Magical Memories – L.S. Fellows

I have a double bill now for you, with L.S Fellows heartbreaking stories of dementia and loss.

MAGIC O’CLOCK:

magic ends

Archie Royle is a kind, funny, gentle man. He’s also my dad. My storyteller. My hero. Except he doesn’t remember my face any more. His world, these days, doesn’t include me or his family.

Life may have changed for him, but he hasn’t given up on life. Not at all. It’s just different. Dad still tells his stories, albeit for a new audience. He makes people smile and chuckle. As he always did. He’s a fighter, a survivor and maybe sometimes too clever for his own good! He’ll surprise you. I can assure you of that.

Welcome to Magic O’Clock, where time is irrelevant and hope is unlimited.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon

Other Retailers

MAGICAL MEMORIES:

magic sail

As Archie Royle takes his final breath, three sisters race to say their goodbyes. Two don’t make it in time. I do. And now, it’s all my fault they’re too late. Despite him having dementia. Despite them not visiting in over a month.

But I won’t let anger win. After all, we’re all grieving, aren’t we? Surely, as a family, we can let bygones be bygones. It’s what Dad would want. Expect. It’s what he deserves. We have so much to be grateful for. So many fond and magical memories to share.

Magical Memories is a fictional tale of loss, grief and moving on.

Purchase Link

REVIEW:

Owing to my own recent circumstances, I sobbed my way through both of L.S Fellows books. Somehow, in just a few short pages, L.S. Fellows managed to articulate everything that I was feeling, in ways that I never could.

In Magic O’Clock, L.S. Fellows captures the emotional strain of loving someone with dementia, and the joy of witnessing the rare moments of lucidity. Magical Memories tells the story of the all too familiar dash to say goodbye to a loved one.

These books are a must read for anyone who knows someone with a loved one suffering from dementia, and who wants to understand just how hard it is to watch that person slip away to their own world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Despite being born in England, my heart now lies in Spain. Many moons ago, I was a student in Granada, Spain. I loved it so much and swore I would return one day on a more permanent basis. In 2003, I did just that.

Now, as a fur-mum to two adorable but mischievous mutts, in my free time I can usually be spotted with my nose in a book, armed with just the teeniest chunk of chocolate and a zillion pomegranates!

magic postcard

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook

Twitter

Website/Blog

Subscribe

Amazon Author Page

Many thanks to L.S. Fellows, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for providing me with my copies of the books. Don’t forget to have a look at the other blogs taking part in the tour.

Magic O Clock & Magical Memories Full tour Banner

Book Review

A Stain On The Soul – Elizabeth Davies

I am returning to the Caitlyn trilogy today with the second book in the series by Elizabeth Davies.

BLURB:

Resigned to another lifetime of being a witch’s familiar, Caitlyn has found a degree of peace in her role as the Duke of Normandy’s protector and spy.

But that peace is shattered when she returns to her native land only to come face-to-face with her past, and fall in love with a man who she desperately hopes will become her future.

You can order your copy of A Stain On The Soul here.

A Stain on the Soul eCover

REVIEW:

A Stain on the Soul picks up the action a fair few years after the end of Three Bloody Pieces, when William, Duke of Normandy is a grown man, and Caitlyn remains bound to his mother, Arlette. The attention to historical detail continues in this second book of the trilogy, and I loved Elizabeth’s twist on the events of the mid 11th century. Reading about Edward and William, and the political intrigue of the time has reignited my interest in this period of history.

There is a darker, more sinister feel to this book, with Arlette feeling less in control of her magic and the darkness within it that Herleva was. There was definitely more of a sense of evil in this book, but I also enjoyed the feeling that Caitlyn was fighting back against the magic a little and trying to claim part of her life back as she finds love.

Despite finding small chinks of happiness in this book, Caitlyn continues to wish for death, either her’s or Arlette’s, to come along and give her back her freedom. Does she get her wish? You’ll just have to read the book because I am not saying another word!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Photo Aug 16

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

GIVEAWAY:

Win signed copies of Three Bloody Pieces and A Stain on the Soul plus a magic mug and a coaster. (Open Internationally)

A Stain on the Soul Giveaway

*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 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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494141/?

Many thanks to Elizabeth, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, and for providing my copy of the book. Don’t forget to have a loot at the other blogs taking part in the tour.

A Stain on the Soul Full Tour Banner

Book Review

Joseph Barnarby – Susan Roebuck

I am jumping on board the blog tour for Susan Roebuck’s novel Joseph Barnaby today.

BLURB:

Stand by your beliefs – even if it means going to the end of the Earth

By standing up for his principles to save the life of a prize racehorse, farrier Joseph Barnaby loses everything. Now, a personal vendetta has become too deep to fight and he escapes to the island of Madeira where he finds work on a small farm at the foot of a cliff, only accessible by boat. The balmy climate and never-ending supply of exotic fruit, vegetables and honey make it sound like paradise but, for Joseph, it’s the ideal place to hide from the world. Can the inhabitants of Quinta da Esperança, who have more grit in them than the pebbled beach that fronts the property, help Joseph find his self-worth again? And can he escape the danger that draws ever nearer?

josephbarnaby

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

I have a confession to make. I had never come across Susan Roebuck prior to this book, and for some reason, I was expecting Joseph Barnaby to be a historical novel. Imagine my surprise when I turned to the first page to discover that the action all starts in 2016! Not that this detracted from my enjoyment in any way, it just meant I had to adjust my thinking.

I was a huge Dick Francis fan when I was younger, and as such it felt great to return to the intrigue of the horse racing world as Joe’s story and the reason behind his flight to Madeira unfolded. I have also always wanted to visit Madeira having heard from friends how lovely it was, so all in all Joseph Barnaby had all the makings of a great book for me.

I fell in love with the cast of characters from the mysterious Lua, to the ever helpful fishermen, Carlos and Luis, and teddy bear Doctor Henrique (although not with the dastardly Dario!). There was a simplicity to their lives, and the way the whole community rallied round the inhabitants of the remote, isolated Quinta dos Franceses during times of dificulty was incredibly touching.

Susan’s descriptions of the unusual landscape that formed the location of this novel led to much Googling and time wasted looking at pictures of Madeiran fajãs, and the imposing Cabo Girão. Just looking at the photographs, it feels impossible to imagine anyone making their living on a patch of land that can only be reached by boat, or scaling stomach-turningly steep cliffs. However, Susan’s writing brings the Quinta to life so beautifully that you end up yearning for that simple life yourself, and I could quite see the appeal to Joe.

All in all, Joseph Barnaby has be extremely tempted to head off to the travel agents to discover this stunning island for myself.

rui-magalhaes-498147-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Rui Magalhães on Unsplash

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I was born and educated in the UK (I am British!) but now live in Portugal. I’ve been an English teacher for many years with the British Council and also the Portuguese civil service where I developed e-learning courses.

My first love is, of course, my husband, my second writing, and my third painting. And now I have time to be able to indulge in all three.

My debut novel, “Perfect Score” was published by Mundania Press on Sept 21, 2010 and the paperback launched on May 11 2011. It was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC e-book Awards in the Mainstream Category.

My second novel is a dark thriller/fantasy called “Hewhay Hall”. It won an EPPIE award in the 2013 EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) e-Book Awards in the Horror Category.

Next comes “Rising Tide”, published in 2015. Set in Portugal, published by Mundania Press. It is set in a tiny fishing village that the world, and most of Portugal, has forgotten. Read about the wonders of the ocean and see if Piper from Norfolk UK and Leo from Alaska, USA, can find what they’re searching for in the little village of Luminosa.

“Forest Dancer” was published on 20th February 2018 by CrookedCat Books. This is novel number 2 set in Portugal but this time in the forests outside Lisbon, Portugal. Instead of the sea (as in Rising Tide), now find out about the wonders of the forest and whether classical ballerina, Flora, can find what she’s searching for in the small village of Aurora.

On 5th October 2018 CrookedCat Books published my newest novel, “Joseph Barnaby”, another romance/suspense which is set on the island of Madeira.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website & Blog

Facebook

Facebook Author Page

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

GIVEAWAY:

  1. 1st prize an Amazon book token (£10) ,
  2. 2nd prize – 2 x signed paperbacks of Joseph Barnaby
  3. 3rd prize – 2 x ebooks of Joseph Barnaby

*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 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.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494143/

Many thanks to Susan, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for enabling me to take part in this blog tour, and for providing me with my copy of the book. Make sure you pay a visit to the other blogs on the tour.

Joseph Barnaby Full Tour Banner

Book Review

A House Divided – Rachel McLean

I have a second review for you all today, this time for A House Divided by Rachel McLean. This book is the first in the Divided Bell Trilogy and I am very excited about it. Keep your eyes peeled for more on this brilliant trilogy throughout the rest of the year.

BLURB:

Jennifer Sinclair is many things: loyal government minister, loving wife and devoted mother.

But when a terror attack threatens her family, her world is turned upside down. When the government she has served targets her Muslim husband and sons, her loyalties are tested. And when her family is about to be torn apart, she must take drastic action to protect them.

A House Divided is a tense and timely thriller about political extremism and divided loyalties, and their impact on one woman.

You can read an extract of A House Divided here.

AHD ebook cover (small)

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

Living in rural England, I can’t even begin to comprehend the extent of racial tensions in our cities. Even though you hear about it on the news, it always feels slightly removed from my life. As such, reading this book served as a real eye opener for me. The stark realities presented within it mean that is not always a comfortable read, but it is an important one. Whilst obviously written as a work of fiction, it feels a little scary to read something that seems so close to the reality that we are living in.

I found it particularly interesting to read a book of this nature told from the perspective of a white woman, married to a Muslim man, working within the government. Her personal struggle with loyalty to her country, and her fellow Ministers, conflicting with love for her family felt very real. For me, her actions and reactions felt very relatable, as her life spirals out of control around her, and she is surrounded by betrayal and lies.

A House Divided is a fascinating read, if somewhat unsettling, and I am looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds through the rest of the trilogy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A House Divided - rachel mclean

I’m Rachel McLean and I write thrillers and speculative fiction.

I’m told that the world wants upbeat, cheerful stories – well, I’m sorry but I can’t help. My stories have an uncanny habit of predicting future events (and not the good ones). They’re inspired by my work at the Environment Agency and the Labour Party and explore issues like climate change, Islamophobia, the refugee crisis and sexism in high places. All with a focus on how these impact individual people and families.

You can find out more about my writing, get access to deals and exclusive stories or become part of my advance reader team by joining my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Many thanks to Rachel McLean, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

A House Divided Full Tour Banner