#BlogTour! #Review – My Summer of Love and Limoncello by Sue Roberts (@SueRobertsautho) @Bookouture

Happy publication day to Sue Roberts and ‘My Summer of Love and Limoncello’. I am delighted (whilst being super poorly) to kicking off the blog tour for Sue’s book today – many thanks to Bookouture for the tour invite, here is my review:

Three best friends, Italian sunshine and a handsome stranger can fix just about anything… Can’t it? 

Maisie Knight had it all. A gorgeous husband. A successful business. A beautiful home. Until one day, after walking into the storeroom of their shop, she loses it all at once – catching her husband cheating on her with the girl from Checkout 3. So when she wins a holiday to Italy, a week under the Tuscan sun couldn’t come soon enough. 

Treating best friends Cheryl and Emma to a girls’ trip, the terracotta-roofed Villa Marisa on a rustic farm awaits them. The fields of golden sunflowers could be the perfect cure for Maisie’s broken heart – and local farmer, suspiciously perfect Gianni, with his thick black hair and twinkling brown eyes is a welcome distraction from her broken heart.

Mornings waking up to freshly brewed coffee and views of the rolling hills, moped rides with cheeky Italians, and feasts of prosecco and pasta help Maisie forget her troubles. After all her heartache, she’s surprised when she starts opening up to Gianni – she’s even more surprised when the temperature rises and it’s not just the rays of the Italian sunshine…

Maisie could get used to the good life. But just as she’s getting her spark back, disaster strikes. The next thing she knows, her past is catching up with her, reopening old wounds and Maisie has a life-changing decision to make. Should she say ciao to her summer of love and limoncello?

What does TWG think?

This book definitely ticked my box for ‘up-lit’, even if the poor main character, Maisie, had her life spin on its axis. But as they say, ‘when life throws you lemons…’ or limoncello in this case!!!

I really enjoyed the relaxing, and easy to read vibe of the storyline as it wasn’t at all taxing and meant that I was able to lose myself in the storyline without worrying whether I was going to miss out in a vital piece of information.

Romance is featured in this book, naturally, and despite not being a big ol’ romantic myself, I enjoyed watching relationships blossom. However I did find it a little too cheesy at times, if not a little forced.

‘My Summer of Love and Limoncello’ an ideal holiday read, as well as being the ideal read to kick you up the backside and remind you just how important self care is. I did feel for Maisie but she showed that she was such a tough cookie, even if she did crumble at times. Cookie Monster would be proud!

A heartwarming, enjoyable novel which puts a spring in your step and a smile on your face.

Buy now!

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#BlogTour! #Review – #AsSickAsOurSecrets by A.B.Whelan (@AuthorABWhelan) @AnneCater

whelan
Fourth blog tour of the day, and second one for RandomThingsTours, is my review of A.B.Whelan’s ‘As Sick As Our Secrets’. Many thanks once again to Anne for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

As Sick As Our Secrets Cover
What would you do if you found out your husband was a serial killer?

Olivia Campbell has the life most women want. A respected husband, beautiful home, and the freedom that only financial security can provide.

But not all is as it appears…

Olivia has secrets, and after discovering a hidden journal in her husband’s study, she realizes that she’s not the only one.

As her picture perfect world starts to fall apart around her, Olivia wonders just how deep the secrets run as she finds herself immersed in the investigation of a young missing girl.

Some coincidences are just too hard to ignore, but how far is she willing to go to discover the truth?

What does TWG think?

Oh bloomin’ eck – I cannot fault this book for its intensity, suspense, and mind-blowing level of grit, but sheeeeeesh it really is like the title suggests; sick!! Of course I don’t mean that rudely, I mean that in the ‘sick and twisted’ sense, because it really is!!

‘As Sick As Our Secrets’ isn’t the type of thriller which describes the characters actions and leaves a little bit of mystery for the readers to decipher in their own mind. Instead it’s the type of thriller which describes actions in such intense and chilling detail, explaining the twisted event in such a manner which creates a picture in the reader’s mind which includes feelings of nausea and thoughts such as; ‘WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!?’. To be brutally honest, my mind couldn’t decipher the storyline any other way than what the author wrote! Again, no, I’m not saying that as though it’s a bad thing, it was just difficult for me to digest at times because I couldn’t get over just how ‘what the f…..’ the characters in this book could be.

A.B.Whelan is a very clever and dynamic author who certainly knows how to grab her readers by their anatomy! Even if I wanted to put this book down, I don’t think I would have been able to, purely down to my level of intrigue. This book may be very twisted and a bit nauseating, but it works in a way I never, ever imagined myself saying.

A magnetic, stomach churning, twisted read which took over my mind, body and soul. I was certainly put under A.B.Whelan’s spell…will you be?

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

#BlogTour! #Review -Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman (@LucyColemanAuth) @Aria_fiction @RaRaResources

Summer on the Italian Lakes Full Tour Banner (1)
It’s a RaRaResources day today as all of my blog posts are for this tour host! I hope you will join me for the three reviews I have lined up (I say lined up….i’m yet to type them but y’know!). First of three posts is my review of Lucy Coleman’s ‘Summer on the Italian Lakes’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to the publisher for the ARC.

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

So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer’s retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda – owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson – could this be just the thing to fire up Brie’s writing – and romantic – mojo?
Brie’s sun-drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer’s very own happy-ever-after…

What does TWG think?

If you’ve ever wanted to go behind the scenes of an author’s life, then you’re in luck as the main character of this book is a best-selling romance author. I have a slight hunch that Lucy Coleman used her own personal experiences with writing to bring Brie’s character to life, by highlighting the highs and the lows of putting pen to paper. I thought it was brilliant as well how the author made people think about the romance genre as it had, and continues to do, negative press because people can’t understand the complexity behind writing romantic novels. Obviously that’s a nice way of putting it! Even though I am pleased that Lucy Coleman has openly, well, indirectly, defended her genre, I felt sad because why should she? Nobody gives bad press about thriller novels and people getting their heads lopped off, so why should romance authors defend the fact that they want to spread a little love around the place? You’ll have to excuse me – I’m going off on a tangent,  it’s just something i feel quite strongly about….if you hadn’t guessed already!

Anyway! Poor Brie not only has writers block, she also has self-confidence block because of just how much recent events have made her want to hide. People automatically assume that, just because Brie likes to write things that get her readers a little hot under the collar, that her own bed is getting a lot of attention. And no, I don’t mean sleep.

When Brie goes to Lake Garda to assist another author and his retreats, she manages to re-evaluate her life in more ways than one. Obviously I won’t say how she does that, but i definitely became her cheerleader that’s for sure!

I am probably going to sound like a pessimist here, but I spent a lot of the story sitting waiting for Arran to run. It’s not that i don’t believe in love, I just felt that Arran’s situation was incredibly fast and I suppose I couldn’t really invest in it because I was uncertain of the overall outcome. Like i say, I know i sound a bit pessimistic when I say this, especially as i wanted the ‘happily ever after’ as much as the next person, i just found it a little too….shall we say, convenient? Just to clarify – the above isn’t a negative remark towards the author and the way that she has delivered the storyline, it’s just my opinion on the characters lifestyle choices. I know the author put them there, obviously, it’s just hard not to think of them as real people.

I really enjoyed the realistic portrayal of a writers life alongside such wonderful, and heartfelt humour. The characters were such a fun bunch to get to know and I thought that Lucy Coleman did a sterling job at making readers (ie me) resonate with their personalities on various levels.

Brie has got to be one of my most favourite characters that Lucy Coleman has written, mainly due to the relatability of her personality but also because she shone with both her perfections and imperfections.

‘Summer on the Italian Lakes’ is such an uplifting, humorous, poignant read which will have you yearning for your own happily ever after.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

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

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.
When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

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

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.
Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Social Media Links

Website
Facebook
Twitter

#BlogTour! #Review – Bollywood Wives by Alex Khan (@alexkhanauthor) @HeraBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Third and final tour of the day is for a book full of glamour; Bollywood Wives by Alex Khan. Huge congratulations to both Alex, and Hera Books on the publication of this release. I am delighted to share my review with you all today, many thanks to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Hera Books for the ARC.

Zara Das is Bollywood’s hottest property, her every move watched by the eyes of the press. Riding high from the success of a string of blockbusters, she has the world at her feet, but the scandal from her latest film threatens to dethrone her as Bollywood’s reigning queen. 

So when superstar director Raj Dillon stages a lavish retelling of Pride and Prejudice, moving the shoot from Mumbai’s soundstages to London, Zara knows this is the role that could put her back on top. Coming with them are the Bollywood Wives – Jackie, Sasha, and Rani – bringing their own off-screen drama.

But behind the diamonds, designer clothes and seven-star hotels lies the truth of how Zara reached the top. And when a dead body is found in her hotel room, it seems that someone is determined to take Zara down – and will stop at nothing to expose her darkest secrets. 

Zara has spent years running from her past. But now it’s caught up with her… 

What does TWG think?

Wow – I don’t think I have ever read a book like this before! I will admit that I was a little bit unsure of the storyline at first as I couldn’t really work out where things were going, or whose life I should be paying attention to the most. Of course there was the main character, Zara, who we get to know very well throughout the book, but there were other women in the book with such strong personalities that they were all fighting for the main spotlight.

I would say that the book reminded me of ITVBe program, ‘The Only Way is Essex’, but that may be deemed a negative remark, and it isn’t. I think the concept of ‘how the other half live’ so to speak, was what reminded me of the outspoken TV program, yet it was very clear that there was no competition for who won the glamour and sassy stakes – the Bollywood Wives.

The storyline is very unique due to it containing high end, glamorous Indian lifestyles alongside dark and thrilling elements, enough to grab you by the collar and hold you hostage like a bit of BDSM (with your consent…obviously 😉 ). I will admit, again, that I wasn’t really taken by the main character, Zara, as she had more of an unlikable vibe than likeable. That said, Minnie was farrrr worse than she was! Alex Khan is brilliant at creating such colourful and highly complex characters which can both grate you one minute, and then have you feeling like their BFF the next. Rani was good at that!!

So, despite my earlier uncertainty, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by how the storyline all came together and I cannot wait to see what Alex Khan brings to the table next – more sass I hope!

A addictive, glamorous and intense read which left me wanting more.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Year of Starting Over by Karen King (@karen_king) @Bookouture #publicationday

Massive congratulations to Karen King on the publication of ‘The Year of Starting Over’! I am absolutely delighted to be kicking off the blog tour today with a review – many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

Last year was meant to be when Holly got her happy-ever-after. But stuck in a job that’s going nowhere, and a relationship that feels more like it’s going backwards… thisyear Holly hasdecided it’s time to change her life. She just has to:

– End the relationship with the commitment-phobic boyfriend
– Go on a proper adventure
– Learn to be herself again
– Definitely, categorically not fall in love.

Cramming her belongings into her little yellow Mini, Holly drives on to a ferry bound to Spain, to stay at a remote farmhouse near a beautiful village in the Andalusian hills.

But the day she arrives she nearly crashes her car into a gorgeous guy on a motorbike. He’s called Matias and their paths keep crossing, much to Holly’s irritation. Because as she learns to speak Spanish from the locals, finally starts laying out plans for her own design business, and sips sangria in the sunlit village square, Holly is beginning to remember who she is and what she wants.

So she won’t allow herself be distracted by Matias. Because this year – for Holly – there are more important things in life than love. And she won’t let yet another bad relationship ruin everything… will she?

What does TWG think?

Sometimes when things happen in our lives, we have to decide between fighting….or flighting. Not everyone has the luxury over going to a different country to think things over, so a lot of us only have the option to flee to the toilet to contemplate our lives whilst inhaling the new, seasonal toilet duck smell, as though cinnamon and spice will make us see things much clearer than good ol’ pine. Thankfully Holly had the option to think things through in Spain….

Poor Holly has lost sight of herself and what she wants from life. Instead of doing things or wearing things that SHE wants, she has been making choices based on what other people want, in fear that they won’t like her for who she really is. It’s a sad state of affairs when people feel the need to do that, isn’t it?

‘The Year of Starting Over’ really is a book which makes you think about the bare bones of your own life and everything you wish to achieve in the not too distant future. It wouldn’t be a Karen King novel if there wasn’t a man involved, so of course the storyline contains multiple eligible bachelors for Holly to think about….even though she has sworn off men due to the actions of snakey Scott.

I loved how tender and uplifting the novel was, and I absolutely fell in love with little Luna. What a character!! It was wonderful how we got to see Holly start the story as a little bud who got weathered along the way, finally flourishing in a way that she should have all along. It was a beautiful sight to see and Karen King has done an exceptional job of bringing Holly’s story to life in such a natural and humorous manner, whilst also ensuring that her readers took a step back to think about their own lives.

A cosy, fun filled and poignant novel that will highlight just how ‘okay’ it is to not be okay in life. Such a wonderful little book.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Lost Man by Jane Harper (@janeharperautho) @LittleBrownUK #TheLostMan

It’s day three of #TheLostMan blog tour! Today for my stop on the tour, I will be sharing my review of Jane Harper’s novel. Many thanks to the team at LittleBrownUK for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

He had started to remove his clothes as logic had deserted him, and his skin was cracked. Whatever had been going through Cameron’s mind when he was alive, he didn’t look peaceful in death.

Two brothers meet at the remote border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of the outback. In an isolated part of Australia, they are each other’s nearest neighbour, their homes hours apart.

They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old that no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. 

Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he choose to walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

What does TWG think?

Jane Harper, for me, has always been one of those authors who you hear a lot about but you just never get the moment to grab a book to read….until now. Yes, until ‘The Lost Man’, I hadn’t picked up one of Jane Harper’s novels yet everyone was shouting about how good her writing was on social media. So, when I finally got the chance to join the ‘in crowd’ as it were, I knew I had to jump at it. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t apprehensive – what if I didn’t like it? What if I was the only one not to fall under Jane Harper’s spell? Obviously I wouldn’t know the answer to that until I had read the book….and now that I have, I can answer it.

I didn’t dislike it! In fact I was captivated by Jane Harper’s storytelling! It didn’t take me too long to work out where the title of the book fit with the storyline, however the truth behind the lost man doesn’t become clear until the last knockings. Frustrating? Yes and no. I totally appreciated why the author kept the pace as it was, and it would have been pointless to divulge the truth too early in the story, but at times I did find the pace too slow because there wasn’t always that hook for me to hold onto.

I thought that the character dynamics were very cleverly written, especially as their lives were intimately entwined with each other’s, whether they liked it or not.

Personally, I thought the latter portion of the book was what stole the show as it ticked the boxes for grit, intensity, and uncertainty, a lot easier than the rest of the book. So much so, I didn’t want the book to end. Saying that, I didn’t dislike the other parts of the book at all, I just felt like it was missing something.

Overall, ‘The Lost Man’ made me feel a bit like a lost woman at times, but I found the authors storytelling to be spellbinding and worth its weight in gold.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Stalker by #LarsKepler @AAKnopf @crimebythebook #StalkerBook

Having started and read ‘Stalker’ in one day, I am beyond excited to be reviewing the book for the blog tour today! Huge thanks to Abigail for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review of ‘Stalker’ by Lars Kepler:

The internationally bestselling authors of The Sandman and The Hypnotist return with a terrifying new thriller: Detective Joona Linna–recently returned from compassionate leave–reunites with hypnotist Erik Maria Bark in a search for a seemingly unassailable

sadistic killer.

The Swedish National Crime Unit receives a video of a young woman in her home, clearly unaware that she’s being watched. Soon after the tape is received, the woman’s body is found horrifically mutilated. With the arrival of the next, similar video, the police understand that the killer is toying with them, warning of a new victim, knowing there’s nothing they can do.

 

Detective Margot Silverman is put in charge of the investigation, and soon asks Detective Joona Linna for help. Linna, in turn, recruits Erik Maria Bark, the hypnotist and expert in trauma, with whom Linna’s worked before. Bark is leery of forcing people to give up their secrets. But this time, Bark is the one hiding things.

Years before, he had put a man away for an eerily similar crime, and now he’s beginning to think that an innocent man may be behind bars–and a serial killer still on the loose. . .

 

What does TWG think?

Oh my BLEEPING goodness!!!!!!!! Why have I never picked up a Lars Kepler novel until now?! Omg – I still can’t get my head around what I read, so I apologise in advance if there is a lot of ‘omg!’ and sentences which make no sense at all. Obviously I would prefer it if the review was coherent….but I can’t promise anything!!!

So, ‘Stalker’ was the first book I had read by the dynamic duo, Lars Kepler. Yes, it is part of a series, and no you do not need to have read the previous four books before you read this one – in my opinion, obviously. At around 500 odd pages, I honestly thought that it would end up being a story which just went on and on. It wasn’t. I was actually quite surprised by how concise the book was considering it was of great length, so much so, I started and finished the book in one day! Unfortunately I had to put the book down a couple of times as the child and pets needed feeding….how selfish of them to want food!!!!

It’s safe to say that my bank account will take a bit of a hit this week as I aim to purchase the other four books in paperback, as well as this one. Do you think I loved it?! Short answer: OMG YES! Seriously, I was absolutely hooked by the twisted turn of events, the psychologically damaging storyline, and the incredibly nauseating and vivid descriptions of certain characters actions. Yes, that’s right, I used the word ‘nauseating’ as a positive. Who would have thought it?!

‘Stalker’ isn’t a read for the faint hearted or people who have an aversion to blood. Although saying that, you might get an aversion to blood whilst reading this – a lot is lost! The storyline is fast paced in places, slow paced in others, yet the level of intensity throughout the entire book was absolutely phenomenal.

I loved the array of dynamic characters, each one adding their flaws into the storyline to create a multi layered read which, if I were wearing any, would have totally blown my socks off! I was absolutely shocked by the conclusion as I had tried to work out my own ‘whodunnit’, but ended up failing miserably. I think the fact the authors dropped red herring after red herring, whilst also pointing bloody fingers at one character in particular, it was only natural for me to follow those instincts and think that they were the one who had done it. Obviously at the time I didn’t know the pieces of information I was using as glue to my puzzle pieces, were in fact red herrings. It just goes to show how complex the minds of Lars Kepler are, and the complexity of the storyline itself. Clearly not everything is as it seems, right?!

It probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that ‘Stalker’ is now a very strong contender for my top book of 2019. Wow, seriously, ‘Stalker’ is an jawdroppingly, gritty, read which left me wanting more. Outstanding beyond belief. The book may have been long in pages, but it felt like one of the quickest books I’ve ever read. I can not recommend this enough!

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

LARS KEPLER is the pseudonym of the critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. Their number one internationally bestselling Joona Linna series has sold more than twelve million copies in forty languages. The Ahndorils were

both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler and have each published several acclaimed novels. They live in Stockholm, Sweden. Translated by Neil Smith.

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#BlogTour! #Review – Finding Jess by Julia Ibbotson (@juliaibbotson) @RaRaResources #DrumbeatsTrilogy

Today is my third and final stop on The Drumbeats Trilogy blog tour, and what a ride it has been! Huge thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review of the third book in the trilogy, Finding Jess:

Single mother, Jess, has struggled to get her life back on track after the betrayal of her beloved husband and her best friend. When she is on the brink of losing everything, including her family and her job, she feels that she can no longer trust anyone. Then she is sent a mysterious newspaper clipping of a temporary post back in Ghana. Could this be her lifeline? Can Jess turn back time and find herself again? And what, exactly, will she find?

Finding Jess is a passionate story of love, betrayal and second chances – and of one woman’s bid to reclaim her self-belief and trust. It is a feel-good story of a woman’s strength and spirit rising above adversity.

What does TWG think?

Is it weird that I now feel a little bereft that I have reached the end of the trilogy? I’ve literally watched Jess grow up over the space of three books, walked alongside her as she made multiple journeys which carved both her present and her future, as well as feeling an emotional connection towards her and the unfortunate events she became involved in.

Jess has come a long way since the beginning, and in the third instalment of the trilogy, she still finds herself battling with that character who I would not wee on if they were on fire. At times I wanted to shake her because they had no longer had a hold over her so why was she turning into a doormat? I guess confidence is one thing….or lack of, especially as it had been knocked. It was just hard watching her melt as though she was in the wrong. No. The only thing she was in the wrong about was not telling them to go and fornicate oneself!!!

Whilst it was brilliant that the author wanted to keep readers up to date with snippets from previous books, (I’m assuming it was mainly for readers who were reading the books out of order), I did feel a little bit cheated by the fact that there were quite large chunks of a previous storyline merely pasted into the new one. It did feel as though I was just rereading past storylines when I just wanted to read more of ‘Finding Jess’. Like I say, I can see why the author did it and I can’t fault her for that at all, I just think that there could have been smaller references to the two previous books as opposed to substantial blocks.

However, I really did enjoy the storyline of ‘Finding Jess’ – I couldn’t believe how invested I had become! I got so annoyed by certain things that it affected me when I wasn’t even reading. I mean, that just goes to show how powerful Julia Ibbotson’s writing is!

I loved the way that Jess came into her own and flourished as her own person, yet part of me couldn’t help wonder whether we might see a storyline coming from Katy’s viewpoint instead. She seemed like such a troubled individual who needed steering in the right direction – it would be very interesting to see how her personality flourishes, I must admit!

‘Finding Jess’ cements Jess’ journey to self discovery and learning the ability to try to love the skin that you’re in. Jess’ story highlighted the fact that not everyone will like you, love you, want to be around you, and that’s okay because as long as you’re proud of yourself, and as long as you love a part of yourself or are willing to try to love yourself, that is what matters the most.

This storyline, as well as Julia Ibbotson’s poignant narrative, took me on my own little journey. I am so thankful that I was able to get the chance to open my eyes to a path I never would have found otherwise. Jess’ story is one that I will remember for a very long time and, as long as Julia Ibbotson keeps producing novels, I will be reading her meaningful, heartfelt and enchanting words for a very long time to come.

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) timeslip 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 // Twitter // Website // Pinterest //Goodreads // RNA author page

Giveaway – Win a PB copy of Drumbeats (book 1), book marks, post cards, key ring and handbag fob (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.

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#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 – A Greek Affair by Linn.B.Halton (@LinnBHalton) @HarperImpulse @RaRaResources

a greek affair full tour banner
With temperatures hitting the minuses today (ahem…..it sure feels like it!), I couldn’t be more excited if I tried as I head to Greece for my stop on the idyllic looking, ‘A Greek Affair’ by Linn.B.Halton! Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and of course thank you to the publisher, HarperImpulse for the ARC. Here is my review:

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More than just a holiday romance?

Her daughter, her job and divorcing her untrustworthy ex are Leah’s main priorities. She isn’t really bothered that her life might be missing a few things. But after winning a prestigious travel blogger award, she’s inundated with offers to review glamorous holiday destinations. Lying around drinking exotic cocktails and being paid for it! What could be better?

Perhaps a romantic trip to idyllic Greece to find the one man who might make Leah risk her heart again…

What does TWG think?

I have been sitting on this feeling from the moment I read it in the book, so bear with me whilst I just put this straight out there:

OMG LEAH’S EX IS AN ABSOLUTE END OF A BELL AND A COCKEREL OF THE BANKER WITH A W, VARIETY!!!!!!

-breathes-. Sorry. Who the heck does that?!?! Well, clearly he did but geez. I would say that I have no words but clearly I had a few above ha!!

I’m glad to have gotten that off my chest. So. Leah has tried her best to make a wonderful life for herself and her little girl, so much so, she ends up winning a travel blogger award! If Leah thought that she was busy before the win, she had no idea just how much has blog would blow up after the win. As weird as this sounds, I was so proud of her and what she had achieved whilst also bringing up her little girl herself. Yeah there were times where Leah felt like she couldn’t cope, but she kept going because she wasn’t going to be the second parent to walk out of her daughter’s life.

Like most, if not all, Linn.B.Halton’s novels, there is a man involved in this storyline, one which Leah ends up meeting unintentionally and finds that her world gets shaken up quicker than James Bond’s martini.

I adore Linn.B.Halton’s delectable storylines, and ‘A Greek Affair’ certainly was no different. Each of the characters were written from the heart, with so much care being taken as they were being created and their lives being built. I will admit that there was a character who left a sour taste in my mouth, aside from the god awful ex that is. Look, I was so happy for Leah, but there was something about the man who stole her heart which left me feeling nervous. Hopefully I don’t give anything away here, but the way he was so indecisive, needing to be convinced that Leah was the right way forward made me feel like he was being fake. You shouldn’t have to convince someone to be with you or make time for you. I wholeheartedly understand that he had his own personal issues, but he seemed to say one thing yet do something completely different, before changing his mind altogether.

Personally, I thought that the story was brilliantly written and I loved having such a strong, empowering woman as the main character. That said, I do think that the round-up, latter section of the novel wasn’t on par with the rest of the book due to the man in question. I actually think that ‘A Greek Affair’ could have come to a perfect conclusion whether he was there or not – his fakery annoyed me and I knew that Leah was far better than that.

Overall, ‘A Greek Affair’ left my heart cosy and my giggles exercised. A lovely, lovely, up-lifting novel, perfect for empowering readers everywhere.

Buy now!

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About the author.

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’ Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

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

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.
Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Social Media Links

Website // FB // Twitter