#CoverReveal! Emily Harvale is back, and so is Lily Pond Lane! #ReturnToLilyPondLane (@emilyharvale @Rararesources)

I am so unbelievably excited for this! If you have been following my blog for a while, you’ll no doubt remember the multiple posts that were on my blog last year featuring Emily Harvale. Don’t worry, I’m not a stalker, but I am a huge fan and I am so pleased to say that she is back!

That’s right folks! If you’re new to my blog I highly suggest you go and look for Emily Harvale’s back catalogue featuring ‘Lily Pond Lane’, just so you’re ready for the new instalment to land soon (hopefully). Hell, even if you’re not a new follower but you haven’t read the books, then I suggest you do the same!

I am delighted to be revealing the cover of Emily’s upcoming treat, ‘Return to Lily Pond Lane’. Here we go!!!!

Life couldn’t be better for Mia and her friends in Little Pondale – until tragedy strikes…

 

Mia Ward is on cloud nine after a magical Christmas and New Year and she isn’t the only one. Everyone on Lily Pond Lane seems to be living in blissful harmony. Until tragedy strikes… not once, but twice. And as Hettie Turner points out: ‘Bad things always come in threes.’ 

 

Whilst the other residents of Little Pondale are wondering what might happen next, Mia is busy worrying about her friends and trying to help them with their grief. But she needs to be careful. Just when she thought she had everything, there’s a very real chance she might lose the only thing she truly wants. 

Isn’t it pretty?! ‘Return to Lily Pond Lane’ is due to be released on the 26th February, and you can pre-order your copy right now from Amazon. I’m so excited!!

 

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#BlogTour! #Review – The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne (@SherylBrowne) @Bookouture

She made her bed. You’ll lie in it.

Rebecca only wanted to help out – to be kind. Richard seemed so alone after his wife, Nicole, died, and Rebecca wanted to make sure he knew he had someone to rely on.

But now she’s in Nicole’s immaculate house. Drinking from her favourite crystal wine glass. Keeping shoes in her orderly closet. Comforting her sweet and grieving step-daughter. It feels like Rebecca is living another woman’s life.

And as she gets to know the neighbours, Rebecca hears stories that make her wonder: was free-spirited Nicole happy in this perfect life, or did she feel trapped? Did she feel, as Rebecca is beginning to, that something wasn’t quite right?

What does TWG think?

You can definitely tell that Sheryl Browne has a history in writing contemporary/romantic fiction as well as books like this! That’s totally not a negative at all by the way, it’s just that if I didn’t know any better, I would have put a large section of this book under that genre heading and not the psychological one.

Three women, two of them being puppets….figuratively speaking, but who is holding the strings?

‘The Second Wife’ switches between the narratives of each main character, telling the story through their own eyes. But whose story do we pay attention to? Do we believe a story which can no longer be challenged? This book highlights the fact that nothing is ever at it seems, and the lengths which people can go to for their own personal gain, regardless of who they knock down on the way.

I did say at the beginning of this review that a large portion of the storyline was a bit split genre, and I do stand by that. However, the psychological element of the storyline kicked in over halfway through and when it did kick in, boy did it kick in! I thought the relaxed-ish vibe was very cleverly done as it led me into a complete false sense of security – was a happily ever after possible? Or were the characters just as twisted as each other?

‘The Second Wife’ is a gritty, twisted novel which has so many hidden agendas that I felt like I was on a ride I would never get off of. The way that Sheryl Browne was able to genre split throughout the novel was very impressive and i felt that it worked with the overall vibe of the book.

The only irk for me was that I felt the storyline was a little predictable, but nonetheless I did enjoy reading about some incredibly deranged characters!

A psychologically twisted novel with a romantic notion to make you feel that a happily ever after is near, ‘The Second Wife’ is a highly enjoyable, twisted and intense read.

Buy now!

About the author.

Bestselling Author, Sheryl Browne, brings you powerful psychological thriller and contemporary fiction.  A member of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and previously writing for award winning Choc Lit, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

So why does Sheryl write in two genres? Quoting E. L. Doctorow, Sheryl says: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights…” This she thinks sums up a writer’s journey, you never quite know where you are going until you get there. You might start with an outline, but a strong character will always divert from the plot. If Sheryl’s not sure where a character is going, she simply has to trust him to show her the way. Plus, according to one reviewer, she also has a scary insight into the mind of a psychopath. 


To find out more about Sheryl’s novels, go to www.facebook.com/SherylBrowne.Author/ or follow @SherylBrowne on Twitter. 
To find out more about Sheryl, go to www.sherylbrowne.com

#BlogTour! #Review – Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow (@ChristieJBarlow) @HarperImpulse @RaRaResources


Second blog tour of the day and I have another RaRaResources post for you all. I am one of the bloggers hosting Christie Barlow and her new book, ‘Love Heart Lane’ – huge thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to HarperImpulse for the ARC. Here is my review:


Welcome to Love Heart Lane…

When Flick Simons returns to the small village of Heartcross she only expected to stay for a few days. The white-washed cottages of Love Heart Lane might be her home, but the place holds too many painful memories, and of one man in particular – Fergus Campbell.

When a winter storm sweeps in, the only bridge connecting the village to the main land is swept away! As the villagers pull together, Flick finds herself welcomed back by the friends she once left behind. And as the snow begins to melt, maybe there is a chance that Fergus’s heart will thaw too…

What does TWG think?

Does it sound bad if I say that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book so much? I guess part of me thought that I would be faced with a candyfloss style read what with the title being what it is, however I have to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried! ‘Love Heart Lane’ isn’t some ‘sweeter than candy’ type of novel in the sense that makes you eyeroll, its actually the complete opposite.

Felicity left her home village to start afresh in the hustle and bustle of London. Even though she missed her family and good friends, she couldn’t seem to brush off the emotions behind her real reasons for leaving. Until now. For some things, Felicity’s visit is a little bit too late, yet for other things her visit could be the start of something new. And by that I don’t mean the new bridge!

So yes, as I was saying, this novel is such a tender, gifted read which made me grin from ear to ear with happiness. There was nothing in the storyline which appeared false as, fictional they may be, all of the characters appeared to be genuine. I could tell that a lot of love had went into creating such colourful characters – I sure had my favourites!

I loved the community atmosphere and the sense of forgiveness, despite how many years had passed since emotions were frayed and relationships and friendships were tested. It gave me such a good feeling watching the villagers all come together, thus being the perfect moment for me to think ‘you know what, the title totally fits’. And it does.

I am so very pleased that my original thoughts of the book were completely and utterly wrong, as ‘Love Heart Lane’ was such an uplifting, magnetic, huggable read which left me wanting more. If you’re after a novel which makes you feel like you’re floating on air, surrounded by duvets and pillows, whilst also filling your heart with joy and gratitude, then this book will be right up your street….well, or lane like the title suggests.

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

About the author.

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Love Heart Lane. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia.   Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for http://www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden (@Lumsdenrich) @TinderPress @AnneCater

Today I am one of the bloggers hosting Richard Lumsden and his new book, ‘The Six Loves of Billy Binns’. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

At well over a hundred years old, Billy Binns believes he’s the oldest man in Europe and knows his days are numbered. But Billy has a final wish: he wants to remember what love feels like one last time. 

As he looks back at the relationships that have coloured his life – and the events that shaped the century – he recalls a lifetime of hopeand heartbreak.

What does TWG think?

Oh Billy Binns – such an old soul. Billy realises that time is of the essence where is life is concerned. However due to his flailing memory and uncertainty towards his surroundings, Billy has limited concept of the here and now, yet, if he tries his best, he can attempt to remember the times in his life where his heart got it right. Of course the memories aren’t 100% exact, but he tries his best to try to resonate with his emotions one last time. After all, those he loved are long gone – you can’t fault him for wanting to leave this Earth having remembered the good times….can you?

Look, I will hold my hands up and say that this book wasn’t my usual cup of tea, but I was totally able to appreciate the thought that went into creating such a character as Billy Binns. Not only did the author have to create Billy’s personality in the present, he had to create Billy’s personality during various points of his characters life. Billy’s childhood included. I found it very clever how the author managed to seamlessly switch between the past and the present, whilst also being in tune with Billy’s thoughts (or lack of), without showcasing the character as the type of person who had lost his marbles. Believe it or not, yes, Billy’s memory wasn’t his friend – he was in his hundreds! But he, so I thought, was still as smart as a button. It was as though his mind was young but his body wasn’t.

For me personally, ‘The Six Loves of Billy Binns’ was a touching novel but it wasn’t for me…if you catch my drift. I didn’t dislike it, I did enjoy it. I guess I just found it hard to relate to the main character and his life. That said, just because the book wasn’t for me, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy what I read because I did. It was lovely to get to know such a gentle and worldly man. A man who clearly was in touch with his emotions, and that itself was lovely to see.

Richard Lumsden has clearly written this book from the heart as it is evident the entire way through. I’m so glad that I was able to get the chance to ‘meet’ Billy Binns and walk alongside him in his very last journey. Powerful, poignant and emotionally driven – if only there were more Billy Binns in this world.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – Walking in the Rain by Julia Ibbotson (@JuliaIbbotson) @RaRaResources

I’m back!! Today is my second stop on the ‘Drumbeats Trilogy’ blog tour, and this time I am reviewing the second book ‘Walking in the Rain’. Thanks again to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:


Jess happily marries the love of her life She wants to feel safe, secure and loved. But gradually it becomes clear that her beloved husband is not the man she thought him to be. She survived civil war and injury in Africa, but can she now survive the biggest challenge of her life? 

What does TWG think?

‘Walking in the Rain’ pretty much picks up from where we left off in ‘Drumbeats’, so I do recommend reading the books in order as the trilogy seems to be written as one continuous story just split into three chunks.

Anywhoo, my thoughts; this review is going to be quite challenging to write as I have extremely strong thoughts about one of the characters in particular, so I don’t wish to unintentionally give anything away whilst I badmouth them ;). If you have already read the book then I am positive you will know who I am talking about. If you havent, lets just say that this person is a vile, waste of space that I wouldn’t pee on if they were on fire. Harsh, but true.

Why Jess didn’t stick to her guns was beyond me. She obviously had an inkling that not all was well! I know that things were very different in those days, and it’s a shame that females got treated by the government in the way that they did. Utterly, utterly shocking.

Do I wish that Jess had more backbone? Yes! Do I think that the way in which she would be percieved by outsiders frighened her? Yes – how could it not? Who would have believed her anyway? It was a tough one to gauge, that’s for sure.

‘Walking in the Rain’ very different to the first book of the trilogy as, not only is Jess a lot older, the themes which occur throughout the storylines differ greatly. For example; Africa and poverty/war was the main topic in book one, yet in book two family life and women’s rights were the topic of conversation.

Julia Ibbotson definitely isn’t a one trick pony as she carried the strength of her storytelling from book one into book two seamlessly, and as though there hadn’t been a break inbetween stories. Personally, I found ‘Walking in the Rain’ quite hard to read at times because I just couldn’t fathom the choices of one particular character. Their actions astounded me, yet they created such an emotionally charged atmosphere throughout the book which meant that Jess just had to pull her finger out.

I really enjoyed yet another poignant novel from Julia Ibbotson – her characters would be proud of her for giving them, and many other women, a voice they so desperately needed heard. 

Buy now!

About the author.

Award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She read English at Keele University, England (after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana, West Africa) specialising in medieval language, literature and history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics. She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but became a school teacher, then a university lecturer and researcher. Finding Jess (2018) is her sixth book and the last of the Drumbeats trilogy (which begins and ends in Ghana). Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in choirs, swimming, yoga and walking in the countryside in England and Madeira where she and her husband divide their time.

Acclaimed author of: 

Drumbeats (2015), the first of the trilogy set in 1960s Ghana: sometimes you have to escape to find yourself.

Walking in the Rain (2016), the second in the trilogy set in 1970s and 1980s England: never give up on your dreams.

Finding Jess (2018), the last of the trilogy set in 1990s England and Ghana: can the past ever be left behind?

Also by Julia Ibbotson:

A Shape on the Air (2017): historical (Dark Ages/early medieval) time-slip romance. Two women 1,500 years apart, with one aim: to reclaim their dreams and fight the dangers that threaten them both across the ages …

The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, (first published 2011, rereleased 2017) a feel-good story of the renovation of a Victorian rectory interwoven with period recipes to feed the soul, all from the rectory kitchen.

S.C.A.R.S (first published 2012, rereleased 2016) (children’s novel): a troubled boy slips through a tear in the fabric of the universe into a parallel medieval fantasy world of knights, dragons, and a quest for the triumph of Good over Evil. But can he save himself?

#BlogTour! #Review – The Suspect by Fiona Barton (@figbarton) @TransworldBooks @AnneCater #TheSuspect


It’s TWG’s turn to host today’s stop on Fiona Barton’s blog tour and no, I’m not ‘The Suspect’, honest!! Many thanks to Transworld Books for the ARC, and huge thanks as always, to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite. Here is my review of ‘The Suspect’:

The new must-read thriller from the author of Sunday Times bestseller, THE WIDOW, and the Richard & Judy No. 1 bestseller, THE CHILD.

*********

‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.’

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . .

What does TWG think?

Oh this was clever. This was very, very clever!!

What would you do if you found yourself being on the receiving end of a journalists questions, instead of being the one asking them? Would you be annoyed? Happy that they’re just doing their job? Or would you feel betrayed by the people you call friends? The people who, up until recently, were working alongside you, trying to find the latest showstopper piece to put in the newspaper. I would feel a tad betrayed although I could appreciate that they were just doing their job…..to a point. That said, it would all depend on the reason why they were hounding you in the first place, wouldn’t it?

Two missing girls, two frantic families, and nobody wanting to give out straight answers – sounds a tad stressful! Kate, forever being a journalist, is determined to find out information about the mission girls before the rivals. However, due to the fact that her own son hasn’t been in contact much as he decided to venture to a different country to ‘clear his head’, trying to get the exclusive without turning it personal is quite testing for Kate.

Obviously I won’t spill spoilers here, but whilst ‘The Suspect’ does start off slow and steady, the storyline gradually picks up speed as the storyline progresses, before concluding with an absolute firework of a closing chapter. Put it this way – if the storyline had teeth, it would have bitten me. I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before, and it’s oh so relevant here. Knowing what I know now, I SHOULD have seen it coming, but because the author was very clever with the way she wrote each eventuality and the characters reactions, I ended up not seeing it coming at all and it left me with a jaw nearly reaching the floor in shock. And no, I’m not even being over dramatic either!

‘The Suspect’ is written from different points of views and, whilst that can often be confusing for some, Fiona Barton made it perfectly clear whose point of view was in the spotlight each time, upping the grit with such short and sharp chapters. Patience is a virtue where this book is concerned, yet on the other side of the coin my lack of patience and constant urge to find out what happened, enabled me to fly through the book like no tomorrow. I just couldn’t help myself!

Fiona Barton is, and I’ll say it again, a very clever writer who certainly knows how to make her readers think. I was so impressed by what I read, and I cannot wait to read more from this author.

A brilliantly written, jaw dropping novel which left me gasping in shock – what more could you want?!

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – The Forgotten Children by Isabella Muir (@SussexMysteries) @RaRaResources


Next up on the blog this afternoon is my review for ‘The Forgotten Children’ by Isabella Muir. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

A woman’s search to find her son uncovers the shocking truth about one of Britain’s darkest
periods.

Struggling with the demons of her past, Emily is a children’s author with a dark secret, and a guilt
that threatens to consume her.  For twenty years she has lived in Brighton, England, trying to forget
the day they took her baby from her, just hours after he was born.  But now, in the summer of 1987,
she decides to begin the search for her son. 

Emily takes refuge in a small town on the Isle of Anglesey to plan the search, where she meets
Walter, a gentle stranger, who helps her with his words of wisdom and kindness.  But it is when she
decides to return home to Hastings, that she really has to face her demons. 
 
Estranged from her parents when she was just sixteen, Emily is shocked by what her mother has to
tell her about events that occurred before Emily was even born.
 
Beside her, throughout her search, is Emily’s beautiful Irish friend, Geraldine, recovering from her
own sad experiences.  Together they uncover a truth that shocks them all.
 
The Forgotten Children draws the reader into lives affected by narrow-minded beliefs and blinkered
thinking at the highest level. Children who weren’t allowed to be born, children who were
abandoned, and children who were taken, forced to lead a life thousands of miles away from
everyone and everything they knew – leaving scars that may never heal.
 
At its heart, The Forgotten Children is a story of survival, but the journey that Emily has to take is
painful.  Even more so because she knows it was allowed to happen by individuals, religions and
governments, who should have known better.

What does TWG think?

I was expecting ‘The Forgotten Children’ to be laced with intense, historical elements which would get me confused. But, the reality of this book was that it wasn’t like that at all. Yes, the storyline IS inspired by historic events, however due to the way that Isabella Muir has incorporated facts alongside her fiction, made for a really enjoyable and powerful read.

‘The Forgotten Children’ tells the story of a lady who would do anything to try to find her son as, when she was younger, her son was taken from her. A decision her mother made for her. Now, twenty years later, Emily is determined to put things right. However, whether it’s because she wants to ease her own guilt or whether she is feeling maternal and wishes to know that her son is okay, I really don’t know. The answer of that would be down to the individual reader and how they portray the events in the storyline.

This book was quite a hard-hitting read due to the emotional themes involving children. I wasn’t born when forced adoptions/having to give up babies were rife and, to be perfectly honest, I am very glad that I wasn’t. I cannot even begin to imagine how devastating it must have been during those times, especially if they later find out that their child is no longer in the country. How would you even begin to conduct a search for your child outside of the country, knowing full well that their name could have been changed or they may even have died. I know filing systems weren’t as tight-knit as they are now…well….they’re meant to be, but why weren’t adoptions conducted properly? Why did things have to end up being illegal?

It’s pretty evident that ‘The Forgotten Children’ left me with so many questions due to the factual side of things. That in itself was very emotional for me, especially as I am a parent myself. I mean, saying a child shouldn’t be born when it wasn’t their fault they ended up in this world?

Walking alongside Emily in her journey was enlightening, a bit frustrating, and rather enjoyable. I say frustrating because her character got on my nerves a little bit. For an adult, she seemed to throw her teddy out of the pram a lot. I get she was emotionally lost due to the relationship with her mother and other things which came to light, but come on. I thought Walter was a wonderful, wonderful addition to the storyline and, if I’m being totally honest, I thought he was quite underrated. He was my star of the show and I am so glad that we were able to follow his journey a little bit in the storyline.

Isabella Muir is a very descriptive, emotionally charged author who lets you feel the pain alongside the characters, instead of merely brushing over it like you’ve just spilt your cuppa. Not only did ‘The Forgotten Children’ fill me with joy, it also created the hunger to know more about those destructive years. Knowledge is power, just as Isabella Muir clearly knows otherwise she wouldn’t have included such a poignant topic in her novel. I just hope that children today never have to feel such devastation as they did back then.

Uplifting, insightful, and emotionally brilliant – ‘The Forgotten Children’ tells a story that everyone needs to know.

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

About the author.

Isabella Muir has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for
twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional
Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

As well as her newest title, The Forgotten Children, Isabella is the author of the Sussex Crime
Mystery series. These Agatha Christie style stories are set in the sixties and seventies and
feature a young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke, who has a passion for Agatha Christie.
All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets
off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters
caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in
Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

Social Media Links

Facebook // Twitter // Website

Giveaway – Win a signed copy of The Forgotten Children (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box
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.

Enter the giveaway!

#BlogTour! #Review – Life or Death by Chris Merritt (@DrCJMerritt) #ZacIsBack @Bookouture


This isn’t a ‘Life or Death’ situation, however I am delighted to be sharing my review of Chris Merritt’s latest novel today, as part of the blog tour! Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:


Never forget. Never forgive.

As a detective in the Metropolitan police, Zac is no stranger to murder cases, but this one is different. This is his daughter’s murder. 

Years after Amelia died, Zac is still trying to trace the police office involved in his daughter’s death.

And whilst Zac is prepared to break every rule to find the man responsible, his young and ambitious deputy, Kat, is working on a high profile case of her own. But she knows Zac is keeping secrets from his team so she’s following his every move.

When one of Zac’s informants is killed, he knows he’s close to catching his man, but before he can act, he receives a call about his son which blows his world apart… And this time, he knows he’ll stop at nothing to save his family.

What does TWG think?

What the f…….!!!!!!!!! How on Earth am I meant to review this?! Geeeeeezo my poor heart! Zac always seems to grab the short straw really, doesn’t he? He certainly doesn’t get much luck heading his way, that’s for sure!

If you haven’t read any of Chris Merritt’s previous novels; don’t fret. Whilst ‘Life or Death’ is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. That said, each book has information in the storyline referencing a previous book, so if you don’t mind only having the basic information about past events, then yes, these books are fine to read on their own. I, having read all three books, fully recommend all of them to be shunted to the top of your TBR piles, like yesterday. They are THAT good!

So yes, once again Zac finds himself in the firing line. It doesn’t seem to matter that his daughter was murdered – someone still wants to make Zac and what’s left of his family, to suffer. What a lovely person they must be!

I jest. They aren’t. They are a womble of the cockerel variety!

This book is very, very dark and severely intense. I mean, it has to be given the nature of the storyline and what Zac finds himself up against! Chris Merritt certainly has upped the ante where this storyline is concerned – I am genuinely surprised my heart didn’t fall out of my mouth (not possible I know but it felt like it might!!). Even though parts of the storyline made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, the author was very clever in creating a storyline which was so addictive, it didn’t seem to matter how uncomfortable or nervous I became, I wasn’t able to tear my eyes away until the book had finished. Seriously, I even read some of the chapters through squinted eyes as I was afraid that the inevitable was going to happen! You never know with Chris Merritt – he loves to keep his readers on their toes and raise their heartbeats a tad!!

‘Life or Death’ had me on tenterhooks the entire way through and, whilst a large portion of the storyline made for quite uncomfortable reading, I couldn’t help but be addicted with the phenomenal storyline my eyes were digesting. The characters were utterly brilliant, even the ones which had huge question marks looming over their heads – they helped make the story what it was! Don’t get me wrong, I wanted them to get their comeuppance in the most inhumane way possible, but still – beggars can’t be choosers…..right? ;).

I cannot recommend ‘Life or Death’ even more if I tried! Chris Merritt has completely outdone himself with his exceptionally crafted, wonderfully gritted, severely intense, and extremely gratifying novel which, I have to say, is wayyyyyyy more addictive than coffee. This is the book of all books and I for one cannot WAIT to read more from this author!

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Chris Merritt is a Clinical Psychologist and former diplomat based in London, who has been writing on psychology since 2010. In 2014 he decided to combine his Bring Her Back, his debut novel. He currently works on a mental health research project at King’s College London, and part-time as a psychologist in the NHS. When not working or writing, he loves climbing and basketball, and dreams of one day being able to work from home enough to own a whippet.

 

 Author Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrCJMerritt

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17558172.Chris_Merritt

#BlogTour! #Review – Drumbeats by Julia Ibbotson (@JuliaIbbotson) @RaRaResources

drumbeats trilogy full tour banner
For the eagle-eyed readers amongst you, you may have noticed that The Writing Garnet appears multiple times on the above banner, and you would be correct by noticing that as no, it isn’t an error. You see, this blog tour is for Julia Ibbotson’s ‘The Drumbeats Trilogy’ but, because I am reviewing each of the books individually, I, as well as others, have multiple dates on the tour.

So, whilst this may be my third and final RaRaResources blog tour of the day, it’s my first of three posts for this tour, AND I get to kick off the blog tour as well! Many thanks to Rachel for the blog tour invite and ARC.

First up in the trilogy is ‘Drumbeats’ – here is my review:

drumbeats (new)
It’s 1965 and 18 year old Jess escapes her stifling English background for a gap year in Ghana, West Africa. But it’s a time of political turbulence across the region. Fighting to keep her young love who she believes is waiting back in England, she’s thrown into the physical dangers of civil war, tragedy, and the emotional conflict of a disturbing new relationship. So why do the drumbeats haunt
her dreams?

This is a rite of passage story which takes the reader hand in hand with Jess on her journey towards growing into the adult world.

What does TWG think?

Oh Jess, what have they done to you!!

It didn’t take me long at all to become invested in Jess’ world. At only 18 years of age, Jess had already seen things she shouldn’t have, been made aware of things she shouldn’t have, and be treated in a way that nobody should ever be treated. With all of that in mind, Jess is determined to carve herself a life to be proud of, away from the people who believe her choices to be impossible – so she decides to go to Africa. As you do.

Set in 1965 when things were a lot different to they are now, both in England and overseas, ‘Drumbeats’ explores the tragedies of everyday life in West Africa, as well as the detrimental affects politics had on human life.

Jess’ character is much wiser than her eighteen years suggests. That’s not to say someone of eighteen isn’t wise, but Jess has an extremely old head on young shoulders and her determination to succeed is very endearing and, weirdly, quite frustrating. That’s an odd thing to say really, isn’t it? I was frustrated FOR her. Whilst she wanted to go above and beyond for those in need whether it was during the lessons she taught or whether it was in Accra, she never ever left any of her energy for herself, thus wondering why she ended up being unable to do things for a little while. Her selflessness was her most beautiful trait, yet it was also one which seemed to shoot her in the foot more times than necessary.

When the author took us along on Jess’ journey to Accra, a rock hard lump formed in my throat due to the devastation of how people in Africa, both young and old, lived. I know that they know no different, but why are they being left to die? Left to rot? It certainly opened my eyes to a completely different world outside of the bubble we live in here in the UK. It was hard to read, I won’t lie, but I am very glad that I did as, not only did I become aware of difficulties overseas, my knowledge grew without even realising it.

‘Drumbeats’ is such an intense, thought-provoking novel which puts the emotion of African lives, well under the spotlight. This is a story which was both enjoyable and devastating in equal measures, yet if you were to ask me whether the devastation ruined my enjoyment of the book, I would put my hand on my heart and say definitely not. Because it didn’t. I’m not sitting here saying that I revelled in other people’s heartache, not at all. But the way in which Julia Ibbotson crafted her story to ensure that her readers were both enlightened and entertained, spoke volumes.

I flew through this book and, if this is the strength of the first book in the trilogy, I cannot wait to read the other books and follow Jess’ life. Devastatingly beautiful – what more can I say?

Buy now!

About the author.

Award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She read English at Keele University, England (after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana, West Africa) specialising in medieval language, literature and history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics. She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but became a school teacher, then a university lecturer and researcher. Finding Jess (2018) is her sixth book and the last of the Drumbeats trilogy (which begins and ends in Ghana). Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in choirs, swimming, yoga and walking in the countryside in England and Madeira where she and her husband divide their time.

Acclaimed author of:

Drumbeats (2015), the first of the trilogy set in 1960s Ghana: sometimes you have to escape to find yourself.

Walking in the Rain (2016), the second in the trilogy set in 1970s and 1980s England: never give up on your dreams.

Finding Jess (2018), the last of the trilogy set in 1990s England and Ghana: can the past ever be left behind?

Also by Julia Ibbotson:

A Shape on the Air (2017): historical (Dark Ages/early medieval) time-slip romance. Two women 1,500 years apart, with one aim: to reclaim their dreams and fight the dangers that threaten them both across the ages …

The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, (first published 2011, rereleased 2017) a feel-good story of the renovation of a Victorian rectory interwoven with period recipes to feed the soul, all from the rectory kitchen.

S.C.A.R.S (first published 2012, rereleased 2016) (children’s novel): a troubled boy slips through a tear in the fabric of the universe into a parallel medieval fantasy world of knights, dragons, and a quest for the triumph of Good over Evil. But can he save himself?

Social Media Links
Facebook Author page
Twitter
 Author website
Pinterest page: includes boards with pics and images that inspired each book
Goodreads author page
RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) website author page

#BlogTour! #Review – At the End of the Summer by June Moonbrigdge (@JMoonbridge) @RaRaResources

at the end of summer full tour banner
It’s a RaRaResources kinda day today as all my blog posts are for this tour organiser! So, second blog post of the day is where I get to share my review of ‘At the end of the Summer’ by June Moonbridge. Many thanks to Rachel for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

at the end of the summer-amazon

Joshua’s life as a rock guitarist seems like a dream come true. Sold out concerts, red carpet events and wild nights portray him as a confident young man with the world at his feet. Only few friends know the scars he carries.

When freelance photographer Caroline meets the rock band Burning Ruins at the after party, an irresistible chemistry of attraction between her and the sexy rock guitarist is clearly seen to everybody. However, after a forced conversation from Joshua’s side, Caroline’s convinced the attraction is not mutual.

Waking up the next morning, Caroline has no idea what happened. She flees out of the hotel room mortified, convinced she’d become another of the band’s trophies. Determined never to meet anyone from Burning Ruins ever again, she has no clue people around her have different ideas.

In a summer that takes them from London to Wales and to the sultry heat of Rome, they’re desperately fighting their demons from the past, while trying to protect their broken hearts. Will they ever let each other mend their broken hearts or will they try to heal them alone?

What does TWG think?

The cover of ‘At the End of the Summer’ really caught my eye – just look at the simplistic yet intriguing design. After all, who doesn’t like looking at a starry sky?

If you enjoy reading novels which are full of romantic escapades, uncertain emotions, and drama that guaranteed to overflow more than once throughout the storyline, then I have a pretty good feeling that this book would be for you.

Was it for me though? Honestly? Yes and no. I thought the drama element was perfectly matched to the characters personalities, some more than others, and I enjoyed the fact that I was able to watch certain characters (namely Caroline), flourish as the story progressed. It’s clear that June Moonbridge has taken the time to craft her characters lifestyles in such a detailed manner, whilst also carefully carving their personalities in a way readers might be able to relate to. For example – each of the characters spent time trying to come to terms with their varying levels of naivety, and as weird as this sounds, watching a character own that personality trait is incredibly endearing and allows them to come across more three-dimensional as opposed to simply being a fictional character.

That said, I did find some of the storyline and romantic notions to be a little farfetched and unbelievable. I could see what the author was trying to achieve, but I seemed to struggle at times with just how far it went. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a happy ending and people falling in love – I’m not that much of a cynic!

All in all, ‘At the End of the Summer’ was a pleasant enough read with characters who definitely made the storyline what it was.

Buy now!

About the author.

June was born in June and she always loved the moon. Born and raised in Slovenia, she studied economics, and quickly realised she hated it.

However, later she found herself working in mainly male-dominated businesses. She can choose the best steel for your project, but don’t, please don’t, ask her which lipstick brand you should use.

Although her writing was constantly criticised by her teacher that didn’t stop her. Under different pen names, she had stories published in magazines, and then went on to publish three books under pen name Eri Krt.

After having two children, and learning that her second child has autism, she married their father and carried on working. Work and family life left her with little free time. But the desire to write didn’t die.

Always looking for something new, she challenged herself to write a novel in English and all her three novels:

All that the Heart Desires
Caught Between Two Worlds
And
At the End of the Summer

are a result of that continuous challenge … 

You can find her on:
www.facebook.com/JMoonbridge
https://twitter.com/JMoonbridge
https://www.bookbub.com/profile/june-moonbridge
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13887820.June_Moonbridge
https://www.instagram.com/jmoonbridge/

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