Thursday, 21 January 2021

Review: Rescue Me by Sarra Manning

 Margot doesn't have time for love.

Will is afraid to love.

And neither of them are expecting to fall in love with Blossom: a gentle Staffy with a tragic past, a belly made for rubbing and a head the size of a football.

After their first meeting at the rescue centre, both Margot and Will want to adopt Blossom so reluctantly agree to share custody. But Will's obsession for micro-managing and clear-cut boundaries and Margot's need to smother Blossom with affection, means that soon they have a very confused and badly behaved dog on their hands.

Can they put their differences aside to become successful "co-pawrents" and maybe even friends? And meanwhile, does Blossom have plans of her own?


Review: Although it is right there in the tagline, this book was waaaaay more about dogs than I expected it to be. This book really is exactly as it says, two lonely people and one good dog and all three of them were truly wonderful, fully formed characters to read about. 

Will and Margot are so much more similar than they realise and the most important things about them that is truly key to this story is how strong and stubborn both of them are, just like their wonderful dog blossom. I really identified with Margot, not just because she is 36 and worried about her biological clock just like me. There are definite care warnings when it comes to being childless and reading this book, I did find it tough at times. But I also really identified with the fact that she has been living alone so long she sometimes cannot see that it is OK to ask for help with things. 

Will is such a cinnamon roll and so if you like your male leads like that you're going to love this book! He is so prickly and yet underneath it all he is such a family guy and Blossom really does help to melt that hard exterior shell. Speaking of loving male leads like this, there are some steamy moments in this book and when I say steamy I mean hot. I loved the romantic scenes in this novel, they were so well written and very female-centric and definitely got me hot under the collar-I loved that side of this book. 

Now if you're not a dog person, like me, and you're worried that there are going to be too many details about treats and dog bowls and picking up poo then fear not. There are a lot of details like that in this book but that is not the be all and end all of the storyline and each poo bag comes with a meaning behind it that moves the plot on or leads to a description of another wonderful midi dress or pair of fancy shoes! I love that this book shows that one can be a dog a person or one can be a fashionista and it isn't the be all and end all of your life, it is just a part of you. 

This book is also a love letter to London living. I so miss being able to walk out of my house or off a bus or a tube and get somewhere, I loved being able to get my steps in without having to walk on a treadmill and so I really enjoyed taking walks with these characters and exploring a part of my heritage at the same time. The description of their respective abodes and the changing weather was just stunning and so it was easy to immerse yourself in their world and just enjoy a really lovely story about some complex characters. Highly recommend!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US


Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Guest Review: The Little Village Library by Helen Rolfe

It takes a village...

Cloverdale is known for its winding roads, undulating hills and colourful cottages, and now for its Library of Shared Things: a place where locals can borrow anything they might need, from badminton sets to waffle makers. A place where the community can come together.

Jennifer has devoted all her energy into launching the Library. When her sister Isla moves home, and single dad Adam agrees to run a mending workshop at the Library, new friendships start to blossom. But what is Isla hiding, and can Adam ever mend his broken past?

Then Adam's daughter makes a startling discovery, and the people at the Library of Shared Things must pull together to help one family overcome its biggest challenge of all . . .

A heartwarming story about the kindness we can find when we least expect it, and the places we learn to call home.


Review: I have become quite a fan of Helen Rolfe’s writing, having read some of her festive stories over the Christmas period. I was attracted by the title of this particular book, and then by its lovely cover, that speaks of a charming country village. I was totally hooked by the story right from the start, and although it was much more serious than I was expecting, it kept my attention to the very end. I will certainly be looking out for more from this author.

At the beginning of the book, we meet Adam Parker, who has moved with his son and daughter to the little village of Cloverdale. Following an initial move from Australia to London, Adam has moved his family to this little village for a better quality of life. On a visit to the Cloverdale library, Adam learns that local resident Jenny is in the process of setting up an extension to the facilities - the Library of Shared Things. This is a place where members of the community can borrow useful items, from bread makers to chain saws, for a small cost. In an effort to get involved in neighbourhood activities, Adam offers his help with the project. At the same time, the locals, particularly a few of the ladies, take an interest in him. They want to know why he has moved his children half way around the world and where is his wife. Unbeknown to him, the rumour mill is turning, and it could spell danger for the Parker family. In the meantime, it is not only Adam who is seemingly hiding a secret; there is tension among some of the other villagers as well.

I thought that this was a really compelling story with something for everyone - drama, romance, humour and mystery. Although the title and cover suggested a cosy tale, there were some serious issues within the pages for many of the characters, not just Adam. While Adam and his family were the central characters in the book, there were a number of other strong players, each with their own storylines. The secret that Adam was hiding was hinted at all the way through the story, never being quite revealed until almost the very end; such skilful writing. I did guess what it was, but not until well into the book. I thought the concept of the Library of Shared Things was quite intriguing. I would thoroughly recommend this book to other readers.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Massive Unboxing And Book Haul | New 2020 Releases and Library Wins!


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Review: The Island by C.L. Taylor

 Welcome to The Island.

Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re becoming a reality.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?


Review: I love a CL Taylor novel and I really love a CL Taylor YA novel. I really love the fact that we have a claustrophobic environment in this book a little like her previous young adult novel The Treatment, it really makes for a heart stopping read. You feel the pressure that the characters are under and it rally adds to the thrill. This novel also tackles some mental health issues and how trauma can affect people differently and I thought that was a really great move on this writer's part. 

It took me a few moments to work out who everyone in this book was and how they were connected, you're stopped right into the action on a holiday with a group of young people who meet up every year because their Mums were in the same NCT group. I love this concept because I had friends growing up who were in my life for that same reason. You have to work out the dynamic of the group which the friends also have to do each year as they grow and change. Each character is unique but they all have fears which are exposed on this trip. 

The structure of this novel is great because it is essentially a dual narrative. We get to hear from Jessie and Danny but Jessie's story is told in the first person whereas Danny's is told in the third person. I loved this distinction and the fact that we had both view points. I felt I was drawn most towards Jefferson because he seems to be the most different from the others in the group. We have 2 characters who are in a relationship and two who are related and so I felt like Jefferson was a kindred spirit in being an outsider. He also came out to the group a few years ago and I liked that this detail was included as part of the storyline. 

I aways love the fact that this authors feeds us information in a slow drip drip drip. It means that you have to keep turning the pages to find out more about and event or a character and I think that bonds you to the characters even more. I love that sense of being intrigued and the thrill of new events or new people. Because this is a YA novel it does read a little quicker than CL Taylor's adult novels which are also pacey but a little longer and so I flew through this book in an afternoon/evening. I really enjoyed it even though it got a little scary at times. It was a great break from the real world and I highly recommend reading this sooner rather than later!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US


Monday, 18 January 2021

Book Spotlight: The Laird's Secret by Linda Tyler

I have a new book to bring to your attention today. The Laird's Secret by Linda Tyler is published today and I have all the info you need below. If you love the sound of that, you can click here to order your copy now!


Here's what it's all about...


When trust has been destroyed, could you learn to love again? 

In 1953 life is getting back to normal after the war and Christina Camble is one of those looking to the future. But her trust in men is destroyed when she discovers her fiancĂ© has a wife and child. She gives up her job and flat in a bid to escape London and moves to Scotland, where she hopes to get her life back on the right track. 

Christina’s expectation of a peaceful life is interrupted when she meets handsome but reserved Alex MacDonald, the Laird of Craiglogie, a man physically scarred and emotionally wrecked by his experiences in World War Two. As Christina and Alex cautiously get to know one another, she soon finds herself embroiled in his life and living in his house. 

Christina discovers she has made an enemy of family friend, Helen, who wants Alex for herself. As Helen sets her sights on Alex, she succeeds in driving a wedge between him and Christina. 

Will Alex and Christina find their happy ever after, and is it possible for two damaged people to ever learn to love and trust again?

The Laird's Secret is an emotional and moving historical romance which is the perfect read for fans of authors like, Danielle Steele, Julia Quinn and Fern Britton.



About The Author


Linda Tyler’s debut novel, Revenge of the Spanish Princess, a swashbuckling romantic adventure set in the Mediterranean in the 1600s, won a Romance Writers of America competition and was published in April 2020 by DC Thomson as a My Weekly Pocket Novel. Her second novel, The Laird’s Secret, a romance set in rural Scotland in the 1950s, was commended in a Scottish Association of Writers’ competition and was released in January 2021 by Bloodhound Books. She has a further Pocket Novel coming out in March 2021, Summer Intrigue, a Regency romance in which the hero and heroine set out to unmask a spy for Napoleon Bonaparte at a country house party. Linda has also had short stories published in the UK, the USA and Australia.

 

Born in London, Linda moved progressively north until settling with her husband in a village on the edge of the Scottish Highlands.  She has a PhD and is a former university lecturer and a practitioner in child law. She has kept chickens, bred dogs and raised children. Linda now runs holiday accommodation, sings in a local choir and is walked daily by the family dog. 

Author page: www.facebook.com/LindaTylerAuthorScotland

Twitter: @LindaTyler100



Saturday, 16 January 2021

Guest Review: The Secret Footballer: Access All Areas By The Secret Footballer

Forgive your enemies, they say.
Keep their addresses and keep notes, I say.

In Access All Areas, you'll learn how to buy three Premier League points for just £25,000, what it's really like to face a Football Association disciplinary hearing, and why every footballer in the country shuddered when they heard about the Ched Evans case.

Add to that The Secret Footballer's no-holds-barred tour of the country's Premier League clubs - telling us what it's like to play in each ground and revealing the one that all players really hate to go to - and you get an entertaining glimpse into a world that's normally off-limits to the fans.

Unapologetically opinionated, witty and honest, Access All Areas is every thinking fan's guide to the beautiful game.

I am The Secret Footballer and all bets from here on in are off...



Review: I wasn’t sure what to make of this book, whether it was a spoof or a serious account of some of the inner, and less palatable, workings of the world of professional football. The Secret Footballer is a pseudonym for a person or persons who is the author of a newspaper column and a number of books about football. Some people believe that they have been able to identify The Secret Footballer as a former professional footballer who played for a number of clubs, including two in the Premier League. Other people have suggested that the author is a journalist or journalists who have gleaned a lot of knowledge from interviewing professional footballers. I listened to this book, published in 2015, as an audiobook.

As I said, I wasn’t sure what to make of this book, which is a very cynical account of footballers, managers, club chairmen, referees, player transfers and football academies. There are some humorous moments, but also some sad moments, especially when discussing the high rates of depression and divorce among ex-players. I found that some of the situations described were familiar from reading other players’ biographies, so clearly the author knows about the world of professional football. I can also understand why the author would want to remain anonymous, given that he is less than complementary about a number of famous individuals from football.

This book comes with a care warning, in that there is a lot of explicit language throughout. This was probably made worse by the fact that I listened to it as an audiobook. In addition, I thought that some of the language was racially offensive. This could have been an interesting book about football but, for me, it was spoiled by the over-liberal use of profanities.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US