Book Review

Eternal Seas – Lexi Rees (Audiobook)

It’s another first for me today because I am taking part in my first blog blitz for an audiobook. Thank you to Lexi and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for enabling me to take part and for providing me with my copy of the audio book.

BLURB:

Such a small parcel shouldn’t cause experienced smugglers much trouble. But, as Finn and Aria discover, this is the most dangerous delivery of their lives. Battered by storms and chased across the globe by an evil warlord, they enlist the help of a strange witch-doctor. Together, they struggle to solve the mystery while the fate of an ancient civilisation depends on them, and time is running out …

Eternal Seas is a thrilling adventure for children aged seven to twelve.

If you think that sounds interesting, why not have a look at the trailer.

Eternal Sea Audio Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Audible

REVIEW:

Hopefully some of you will remember that back in October last year, I reviewed Eternal Seas, and that I was a big fan. If you need a reminder, you can read my full review of the book here. When I saw that the audiobook was having a blog blitz, I jumped at the chance to get involved.

I tend to listen to audiobooks at night when I am trying to go to sleep – if I listen during the day, I get distracted and forget to pay attention! The downside to listening at night is when you get a good one, it makes it hard to fall asleep. I always set a sleep timer so that when I do drop off, it isn’t too difficult to find my place the next night. The trouble with this book was that when the sleep timer kicked in, I was still wide awake and ended up just setting another timer so I could keep listening. The audiobook was as hard to turn off as the book was to put down when I read it.

The one thing I sometimes struggle with when listening to audiobooks is the narrator, but in this case Chris Dickins was the perfect choice – he is certainly talented when it comes to different voices. He really injected the full sense of adventure into the story, and I just felt swept along with it.

Although this is a technically a book for pre-teens, I think it would be the perfect audiobook to keep the whole family entertained on a long journey. It is action packed and full of adventure. The enthusiasm and lust for life of the main characters, Finn and Aria, really shines through and brings the book to life in a way that just grabs at your imagination.

If you are headed on a journey this summer, I whole-heartedly recommend this book for your travel entertainment – especially if you are headed off on a boat anywhere!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eteranal Seas - Lorraine-16

Lexi Rees grew up in the north of Scotland but now splits her time between London and West Sussex. She still goes back to Scotland regularly though.

Usually seen clutching a mug of coffee, she spends as much time as possible sailing and horse riding, both of which she does enthusiastically but badly.

Her first book, Eternal Seas was written on a boat; the storm described in it was frighteningly real.

If you want to find out more about Lexi, why not have a read of my interview with her, or check out her guest post where she talks about her own adventures at sea.

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Book Review

One Last Summer – Victoria Connelly

I am taking part in the blog tour for the lovely One Last Summer by Victoria Connelly today. Many thanks to Victoria 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:

They have the whole summer ahead of them. Is it enough to rekindle the friendship they once shared?

Harriet Greenleaf dreams of spending the summer in a beautiful ancient priory on the Somerset coast with her two best friends—but her dream is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a chance to reconnect three lives that have drifted apart; on the other, she has a devastating secret to share that will change everything between them forever.

First to arrive is Audrey—the workaholic who’s heading for a heart attack unless she slows down and makes time for herself. Then Lisa, the happy-go-lucky flirt who’s always struggled to commit to anyone—or anything. Ever the optimist, can Harriet remind them of the joy in their lives and the importance of celebrating good friendship before it’s gone?

Through the highs and lows of a long, glorious summer, these three women will rediscover what it means to be there for each other—before they face the hardest of goodbyes.

One Last Summer High Res

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

One Last Summer is a bittersweet novel in the truest sense of the word. On the one hand, spending the entire summer holidays in a beautiful house with my two best friends sounds like heaven. On the other, when you find out why this holiday is so important, then it becomes absolutely heartbreaking.

The priory where the friends stay sounds absolutely breathtaking, and the perfect escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life. To be honest, the idea of spending the summer there to just relax and read sounds like total heaven.

I fell in love with taciturn Samson and straight-talking Mrs Ryder. They say that sometimes people come in to our lives for a reason, and that certainly seemed to be the case for these two quirky characters and Harrie.

The reason behind the holiday is not an easy subject to write about, and at times the rollercoaster of emotions that the characters experience brought tears to my eyes. That said, although obviously the situation that triggered the holiday is always there in the background, this book was about more than that. It was about friendship, those true friends who it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you saw them or even spoke to them, and it doesn’t matter how different your lives and personalities have become. All that matters is that you know that if you needed them, they would come, and that is a beautiful thing.

You might want to keep the tissues and the chocolates on hand for this one as you will be laughing and crying along with the friends.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

One Last Summer - Victoria Connelly

Victoria Connelly studied English literature at Worcester University, got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a young springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens.

She is the author of two bestselling series, Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler Films in Germany. The Runaway Actress was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel award.

Ms Connelly loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden, with either a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

Her website is http://www.victoriaconnelly.com, and readers can follow her on Twitter @VictoriaDarcy and on Instagram @VictoriaConnellyAuthor.

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Book Review

Hate Bale – Stephanie Dagg

Happy Publication Day to Hate Bale by Stephanie Dagg. I am so happy to be involved in the publication day activities for this book. Many thanks to Stephanie, 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:

Grumbling guests and escaping piglets are precisely what Martha doesn’t need. She’s already struggling to run a holiday cottage and a rather large smallholding single-handedly. Since her husband Mark died, three years ago, her rural property in France, beautiful as it is, has become an increasingly heavy millstone around her neck.

So whilst she’s horrified to stumble across a corpse at the local farm supplies shop, it does at least distract her from her own woes. Best friend Lottie, the cheese to Martha’s chalk, swoops in to offer moral support, and encourages Martha to join her in some unofficial sleuthing. Meanwhile, police officer Philippe Prudhomme, a former fellow chess-player of Mark’s, undertakes a rather more professional investigation.

However, despite everyone’s efforts the killer remains at large. And when more bodies (one and a bit, to be precise) come Martha’s way, it definitely feels like he’s closing in on her…

There’s suspense, humour and excitement in this entertaining cosy mystery set in the French countryside.

You can order your copy of Hate Bale here.

HateBale Cover

REVIEW:

Just recently I seem to be hearing people talk about the cosy mystery genre more and more, but I didn’t really understand what it was if I am being entirely honest, so when the opportunity to take part in the publication day for this book, I grabbed the opportunity to discover a new genre. It turns out that I am a fan. I often read fast-paced crime thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat, but I found that I thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace of this book. Yes, there were bodies piling up around Martha (sometimes in particularly imaginative ways), but at the same time there was a warmth about the writing, and there was a touch of humour throughout.

I fell in love with adoring Phillippe, and equally adoring pooch Flossie, and I loved that the wayward livestock on Martha’s smallholding was injected with just as much character as the humans were.

I found that I couldn’t take to Lottie at all. She is exactly the sort of person who would instantly rub me up the wrong way and I found reading about her quite jarring. However, I think this was perhaps the point of the character, to act as a counterbalance to Martha’s sweet nature and to prevent the book becoming too sugary. The vast differences between their characters certainly make for a quirky partnership, and I can quite see them getting a taste for investigating and crime-solving in rural France, with their poor loyal policeman following them around and attempting to keep them in check.

As I am sure many people do, I often dream of escaping to a rural idyll, somewhere in the peaceful European countryside, and whilst my own dreams lean more towards France than Spain, I love the idea of running a smallholding with a holiday cottage attached. Obviously, as this book shows, the reality is somewhat harder than the dream, but it was still so attractive to me that I would have happily upped sticks and moved to France to help Martha.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie of animals, has made for exciting times. The current array of creatures ranges from alpacas to zebra finches, with pretty much everything in-between! Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve.

I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.

I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. As well as being an author, I’m also a part-time editor and, with Chris, manager of three carp fishing lakes. My hobbies are cycling, geocaching, knitting and sewing.

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Book Review

Dyed Souls – Gary Santorella

Today is my stop on the blog tour for the award winning Dyed Souls, by Gary Santorella. Many thanks to Gary, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Described by John Lloyd of The Bookbag as “Catcher in the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Dyed Souls is a gritty coming-of-age literary novel, set in a residential treatment center in 1980’s California.

Charlie Lyle loves science, natural history, and the world of the mind, and it is his refuge and salvation as he copes with his drug-addicted mother and a world of circumstances well-beyond his grasp. More a work of philosophy than psychology, “For the teen it has a galling coming-of-age, redemption quest. For the adult it has that, as well as a literary look at a singular fictional life.”

Dyed Souls Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Troubador

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Dyed Souls has won two awards:

Silver in the 2018 Global eBook Awards – Young Adult Fiction Category

Chill With a Book Readers Award.

REVIEW:

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this book, as the blurb doesn’t give too much away, but something about it caught my attention, so I thought I would give it a try. In all honesty, it took me a couple of attempts to get into it, but once I did I was completely drawn in. I fell hard for all the troubled kids living at Hawthorne, and I felt deeply invested in each of their stories. I could have happily followed any one of them to see what happened, and would actually love to know how each of them turned out. But this was not their story, it was Charlie’s.

As Charlie begins his journey into adulthood, we see him encounter the best and worst people that society has to offer. This is not a book that is always comfortably reading, and there are parts that I found quite harrowing, but they were filled with such raw emotion that at no time did I feel that anything had been added simply to get a reaction from the reader. Everything that happens does so for a reason that shapes Charlie and the way he lives his life.

Although this is very much a coming of age tale, there is so much more to it than that. The depth given to each of the characters, even those encountered only briefly, breathes a whole life into the writing, and results in an almost philosophical view on life.

I am really struggling to find the right words to say to do justice to this book, so I will leave you with this. Just read it. You won’t regret it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dyed Souls Author PicGary Santorella, Owner, Interactive Consulting is a Lean implementation, organizational development, conflict resolution, and team-building specialist. He has a BA in Behavioural Psychology from Providence College, Providence, RI (1980), a Master’s Degree in Occupational Social Welfare from UC Berkeley (1990), and is a licensed cognitive-behavioural therapist in the State of California. His book: Lean Culture for the Construction Industry: Building Responsible & Committed Project Teams 2nd Edition was published by Productivity Press (a division of Taylor & Francis) in 2017. His first novel, Dyed Souls, was published by Matador Publishing in 2018.

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Book Review

The Worth of a Penny – Jess B Moore

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Worth of a Penny by Jess B Moore. Many thanks to Jess, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Sweetheart Penelope Davies is what her daddy calls gullible, right after he told her she was stupid and worthless. With her cheek red from being slapped by him, and her heart trampled by a worthless boyfriend, she packs up and follows her half-brother to Fox River, North Carolina, in need of a fresh start.

Dominic MacKenna is the youngest of five brothers, the friendly one with a killer smile and easy laugh. His brothers are all grown up, and one by one they’re flying the nest, leaving him out of sorts and unsure of his place. Who is he if not the youngest MacKenna?

Penny falls in with the MacKenna brothers, welcomed in as family, and offered the kind of love and support she never knew existed. With a new job and a lot of determination, she is finding out what she’s capable of. The last thing she needs now is to fall in love with the most notorious flirt in town.  

Dominic falls for the sweet strong girl with a penchant for random facts and quirky homemade dresses. All he wants is to show Penny how wonderful she is, how smart and funny, and how desired and loved—even if he has to do it as her friend.

the worth of a penny Cover

PURCHASE LINK

REVIEW:

When I saw that the front cover of this book referred to it as “A Sweet Romance,” I will confess that I wasn’t to sure what to expect. Although I often wander into the romcom Chicklit genre, out and out romance isn’t something that I would normally pick up. However, something about the blurb for this one caught my attention, and I am so glad that it did.

Although this is most definitely a sweet romance, this is not in a saccharine, sickly way, it is more that the strong family bonds, and the welcoming nature of the MacKenna brothers puts you in mind of simpler times when family and community were what mattered. As I was reading, I kept coming back to the thought that this book made me feel safe, like I was enveloped in a huge fluffy blanket with a mug of hot chocolate in my hand. It was a beautiful, gentle escape from the real world. That’s not to say that the characters just sailed through life. They certainly had their fair share of upsetting experiences to contend with, but through them all I just knew that they would help each other through.

This is the third book set in the Fox River community, but it can easily be read as a standalone – I haven’t read the previous books and I certainly didn’t feel as though I was missing out on any character back story. That said, I would love to get to know the characters better so I’ll be heading off now to check out the other books.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJess B Moore is a writer of love stories. When she’s not writing, she’s busy mothering her talented and stubborn children, reading obscene numbers of books, and knitting scarves she’ll likely never finish.

Jess lives in small town North Carolina with her bluegrass obsessed family. She takes too many pictures of her cats, thinking the Internet loves them as much as she does. She is a firm believer of swapping stories over coffee or wine, and that there should always be dark chocolate involved.

Her novels combine her interests in family, music, and small towns into thoughtful tales of growing up and falling in love.

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Book Review

Maybe Baby – Carol Thomas

Today’s blog tour, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources, is all about contemporary romance. Many thanks to Rachel and to Carol Thomas for inviting me to take part in the tour and for providing me with my copy of the book.

BLURB:

Just when you thought you had it all worked out …

Best friends Lisa and Felicity think  – maybe, just maybe – they finally have everything sorted out in their lives.

Lisa is in a happy relationship with her old flame, and busy mum Felicity has managed to reignite the passion with her husband, Pete after a romantic getaway.

But when Lisa walks in on a half-naked woman in her boyfriend’s flat and Felicity is left reeling from a shocking discovery, it becomes clear that life is nothing but full of surprises …

Maybe Baby_High Res

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

If you have ever reached the end of a rom-com and wondered what happened next  after the characters achieved their “Happily Ever After,” then Maybe Baby is the book for you. Although it is the second book in the Lisa Blake series,  the fact that I haven’t read the first book did not spoil my enjoyment of this one in the slightest. It works perfectly well as a standalone, and at no point did I find myself feeling lost because of a detail I had missed from the first book.

Maybe Baby is filled with a cast of lovable characters, some furry, some not so furry. My particular favourites were curious toddler, Fred, and the rambunctious kittens, Kit and Kaboodle.

Not many books make me laugh out loud, but this had me properly chuckling in places, and at one point even made me spit my coffee. It is a lovely, warm, comfort read about what comes after the all the “Will they, won’t they” drama of your average romantic comedy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Maybe Baby Author PhotoCarol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively young Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and taught in primary schools for over fifteen years, before dedicating more of her time to writing. Carol is a regular volunteer at her local Cancer Research UK shop. She has a passion for reading, writing and people watching and can often be found loitering in local cafes working on her next book.

Carol writes contemporary romance novels, with relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads.

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Book Review

March Book Jar

Well, these updates seem to be happening later and later each month don’t they! I can’t believe we are halfway through April already! This year is just romping by. Three books came flying out of the jar and I would like to tell you that I am starting to make a dent in my TBR pile, but one or two other books seem to have snuck on to my Kindle – oops!

41087327First out this month was Gone By Midnight by Candice Fox, which is a book that I received from NetGalley. Now, this book was I think number three in a series, which I didn’t realise when I started reading it. There were a few things that were mentioned that made me wonder if this was the case though, and a quick Amazon search confirmed things. To be honest, this wasn’t really an issue, and this reads just fine as a stand alone. The premise behind this an interesting one, and I enjoyed the characters in it a lot. It was perhaps a little predictable in places, but I still enjoyed it and would read more by this author – probably the ones that came before this one in the series for starters.

39964740My second book was another NetGalley book, and it was the wonderful The Binding by Bridget Collins. I absolutely fell in love with this book, and will be doing a full length review very soon. It is so beautiful that I could do a whole post just talking about the cover and what the inside looks like, never mind how fantastic I thought the story was.

 

 

 

33391439I had to cheat a little with my third book from the jar this month and dig through until I pulled out a paperback to read while my Kindle cooked. The winning book was Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi, but sadly it just wasn’t for me. The book was originally written in French and at first I just thought that maybe something had been lost in translation. Because of this I was determined to give it the benefit of the doubt and finish reading it. However, when I got to the end I really wished I hadn’t bothered. I don’t want to give anything away, but I felt completely cheated by the ending.

 

If you want any more details about any of these books, here are the Goodreads links for you:

Gone By Midnight

The Binding

Black Water Lilies

I have a feeling that next month could be a little quiet on the book jar experiment, because I have one new release coming that will be jumping the queue the second I get my paws on it, and I seem to have an awful lot of blog tours coming up. What with that and NaNo, it’s going to be a busy month.