Friday 29 November 2019

Cover Reveal: People Like Us by Louise Fein

I have another exciting cover reveal for you today. People like us comes out on 7th May 2020 and you can click here to pre-order your copy now. Here's what it's all about...

Leipzig, 1930's Germany.


Hetty Heinrich is a young girl growing up under Nazi rule. With an SS officer father, a brother in the Luftwaffe and a member of the BDM, Hetty is the epitome of a perfect German child.
But Walter changes everything. Blond haired, blue-eyed, perfect in every way Walter. The boy who saved her life. A Jew.
As she falls more and more in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, Hetty begins to question everything. Will the steady march of dark forces destroy their world, or can love ultimately triumph?
Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Book Thief and Kate Furnivall. 

And here's that cover for you...

About the author

Louise Fein holds an MA in Creative Writing from St Mary’s University. Prior to studying for her master’s, she ran a commodity consultancy business following a career in banking and law. She lives in Surrey with her family. People Like Us is inspired by her family history, and by the alarming parallels she sees between the early 30s and today.

Follow Louise:  
Facebook: @LouiseFeinAuthor
Twitter: @FeinLouise

Thanks to Louise for sharing the cover with us today and look out for my review of this book coming Spring next year!

Thursday 28 November 2019

Review: Messy Wonderful Us by Catherine Isaac

What if loving someone means keeping a secret that will break your heart?

In late 1983, a letter arrives from Italy, containing secrets so unthinkable that it is hidden away, apparently forever. More than three decades later, it is found . . . by the last person who was ever supposed to see it.

When Allie opens an envelope in her grandmother’s house, it changes everything she knows about her family – and herself.

With the truth liable to hurt those she loves most, she hires a private detective to find out what happened to her late mother in the summer before Allie was born. Taking leave from her job as a research scientist, she is led to the sun-drenched shores of Lake Garda, accompanied by her best friend Ed. But the secrets that emerge go far beyond anything they were expecting. Now, Allie must find the courage to confront her family’s tangled past and reshape her own future.

Review: Well I loved this book an inordinate amount. It really does have everything. I laughed, i identified with the characters and what they were all going through, I cried and I was truly left thinking-pure brilliance. 

I so enjoyed getting to know Allie over the course of this novel. She is a trouble person and when everything is turned on its head for her she reacts in the ways we all would react. I loved watching her grow and change over the course of the novel and I would love to spend even more time with her. I didn't always agree with the choices that she made but that fact that she has flaws made for an even better rad. 

Ed is a great character too. He doesn't seem particularly complex at the start of the novel, just a genuinely nice guy and then, for me, Ed's story arc when on the biggest roller coaster of them all. I loved finding out more about him and spending time with him. In many ways, for me he stuck with me longer than Allie did and I have so much respect for Catherine Isaac for the journey that she took Ed on. 

A lot of authors would shy away from some of the subjects that Catherine Isaac explores in this novel but this writer jumps straight in and tackles some very taboo issues head on and does so in an amazingly sensitive and wonderful way. I defy anyone to read this novel and not feel something. 

I was left uplifted by this book. I devoured it in one sitting because I just couldn't stop turning the pages and delving deeper and deeper into Ed and Allie's journey. I can't wait to see what is next from this writer but I highly, highly recommend Messy Wonderful Us. 

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

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Guest Review: Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts

Cosy up with the new novel in the Pudding Pantry series, full of love, laughter, kisses under the mistletoe, and plenty of delicious pudding!
The first snow is falling over Primrose Farm, the mince pies are warming, and Rachel can’t wait to share a kiss under the mistletoe with her gorgeous new flame, Tom.
If only it was all comfort and joy . . . The arrival of Tom’s ex brings an unwelcome chill to the farm. And despite Master Baker Mum Jill’s valiant efforts, the new pudding pantry business is feeling the pinch.
With a spoonful of festive spirit, a cupful of goodwill with friends, and her messy, wonderful family by her side, can Rachel make this a Christmas to remember?

Review: This is the second book in a series from Caroline Roberts about a tea shop run by Rachel and her mother, Jill, at Primrose Farm, situated in the north of England, near Alnwick. Following the tragic death of her father, Rachel was determined to keep the farm which had been his life’s work going in spite of financial difficulties. To bring in some extra income, and putting their culinary skills to good use, the ladies set up the tea shop in an outbuilding. Now, Christmas is approaching, and mother and daughter have to come up with some new ideas to boost the currently flagging business. For Rachel, this has to be achieved at the same time as running the farm and bringing up a young daughter. Can she do all this and find the time to continue with her blossoming romance with neighbouring farmer Tom?

This is a lovely Christmassy story full of the sights and smells of the festive season. The book is presented with a sprinkling of recipes for Christmas treats. I haven’t tried any of them, but I’m sure they will be good if they come from Jill’s family recipe book. In addition to making the reader want to rush into the kitchen and get baking, this book gives a real feeling of how difficult it is to run a farm in the current financial climate, and especially in wintry conditions. I admired Rachel and her mother for soldiering on in spite of setbacks. Of course, strong and handsome Tom is there to lend a hand, but I felt that even without him, these ladies would be able to cope with whatever was thrown at them. If you haven’t read the first book in the series, you can still enjoy this story, but it is nice to experience the beginnings of the Pudding Pantry. This book, or indeed the set of two, would make wonderful additions to anyone’s Christmas stocking.

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

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I'm Thankful I Read in 2019 26/11/19

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

As always, this is not a definitive list of my favourite books or top ten, but books I am genuinely thankful to have experienced this year!

Thursday 21 November 2019

Review: Love Songs For Sceptics by Christina Pishiris

My brother’s getting married in a few weeks and asked for help picking a song for his first dance. I suggested Kiss’s ‘Love’s a Slap in the Face’.
It didn’t go down well.
When she was a teenager, Zoë Frixos fell in love with Simon Baxter, her best friend and the boy next door. But his family moved to America before she could tell him how she felt and, like a scratched record, she’s never quite moved on. Now, almost twenty years later, Simon is heading back to London, newly single and as charming as ever...
With Simon back in town, Zoë is determined to finally pluck up the courage to tell him how she feels, but as obstacles continue to get in her way – Jess, Simon’s perfect ex-girlfriend, Nick, an obnoxious publicist determined to ruin Zoe’s career, and family pressure around her brother’s big(ish) fat(ish) Greek wedding – Zoe begins to wonder whether, after all these years, she and Simon just aren’t meant to be.
What if, instead, they’re forever destined to shuffle around their feelings for each other, never quite mastering the steps. Is Zoë right to be sceptical about romance, or is it time she changed her tune?

Review: This was such a great premise for a story. I love the idea of someone in the music industry having some sceptical love song choices-I actually really enjoys reading about an editor of a music magazine-a glimpse into that world was so fresh and full of entertainment.

Zoe was an interesting character to spend this novel with. She has a fiery personality and is passionately independent but she has a wonderful mix of friends and colleagues who all compliment her and are all fully developed and intriguing in their own right. I didn’t always agree with the choices that Zoe made and felt like I was often judge mental towards her but it really meant that you never knew what direction the story was going to take next.

Then there’s the romance in this novel, as if music industry gossip and a brothers wedding wasn’t enough. This novel features a love triangle situation that morphs into a variety of other shapes throughout the course of the book. I love this trope and really liked the way this author played with and manipulated it for her characters in this case. I could definitely feel the chemistry between the characters and was definitely willing the triangle to go in one direction way more than the others.

This story is structured around chapters with song titles and the chapters are a mixture of lengths, when you come across a short chapter you definitely find yourself wanting to read on and so go time and again for ‘one more chapter’ so it was definitely a fast-paced novel without lacking any depth that’s for sure. I enjoyed this read, it was interesting to read about a main character in a different field and the romantic aspect of it definitely kept me on my toes the whole way through! 

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

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Blog Tour: Review of A Perfect Cornish Christmas by Phillipa Ashley

Today is my stop on the blog tour for A Perfect Cornish Christmas by Phillipa Ashley. I have a review for you today and if you like the sound of that, there are buy links at the bottom of this post! Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews. 

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

Christmas in Cornwall is just around the corner…
But after last Christmas revealed a shocking family secret, Scarlett’s hardly feeling merry and bright. All she wants this Christmas is to know who her real father is.
So Scarlett heads to the little Cornish town of Porthmellow, where she believes the truth of her birth is hidden. She just didn’t bargain on being drawn into the Christmas festival preparations – or meeting Jude Penberth, whose charm threatens to complicate life further.
Everything will come to a head at Porthmellow’s Christmas Festival … But can Scarlett have the perfect Christmas this year, or are there more surprises on the way?
Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.

Review: I always look forward to books with a Christmas theme. This is the first one that has come my way this year, and I am delighted that it is by one of my favourite authors. Phillipa Ashley has written many stories based in Cornwall; this one is the second in a series featuring the Cornish seaside village of Porthmellow. I read and enjoyed the first In this series, and was looking forward to catching up with some familiar characters, as well as new arrivals in the village.

This story follows the fortunes of the Latham family - parents Anna and Roger, and grown up children Ellie, Marcus and Scarlett. While spending the Christmas break in Porthmellow, a well-meaning, but nonetheless disastrous Christmas present has left the family reeling following a shocking revelation. A year later, as the village of Porthmellow prepares once again for its annual Christmas celebrations, we find Ellie living there in the manor house that once belonged to her aunt, and joined unexpectedly by Scarlett, who is seeking answers about her heritage. As Christmas approaches, it appears that both girls may have found romance in the form of ex-army engineer Aaron and natural history writer and forager Jude, both of whom originally come from the village. However, there are complications in these relationships as well. When mother Anna also arrives on the scene, the girls hope that they may discover some answers and find a way to keep the Latham family from splitting apart.

This is a lovely romantic story, with a warm festive feel to it; I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a satisfying Christmas read. Porthmellow would certainly be a wonderful place to spend Christmas, with its charming decorations, great traditions and community spirit. Once again Phillipa Ashley has introduced the reader to some strong and interesting characters, as well as intriguing situations. I do enjoy her books set in Cornwall; her love for and familiarity with the county shine through her writing. I always finish her books with a strong desire to visit. I hope that there may be more Porthmellow stories in the pipeline - I would love to find out how the relationships in this story develop.

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

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Changes in my Reading Life

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I love this week's topic, especially since my reading has changed a TON over the past few years...

1. I have more time to read now. This is a bit of a given but I definitely have more time to read since moving to Denver. For the first 2 years I couldn't work here and then I had a much shorter commute as well so I just have much more time to read. 

2. I have access to an amazing library now so I borrow more library books both in physical form and through apps like Overdrive, Hoopla and RB Digital. 

3. I read much More YA. I think it took me a while to settle down to the fact that YA contemporary romance is my thing. I just didn't have time to research and pick the right books before and now I would say that a much bigger chunk of my reading is YA. 

4. I go to less book events now. Being near London before was amazing for book events and I said yes to most of them. You can tell when I've been back to visit home because I have a ton of book event write ups and vlogs over on my channel. Whilst Denver does have some good authors come to visit, there isn't something every week for me like there used to be. 

5. I go to bookcon/book expo now. This is the kind of antidote to there being less book events in Denver. The past 2 years I have attended book expo and bookcon in New York at the end of May, something which I could never have done when living in the UK-how would I have got all the books home?

6. I read more nonfiction than I used to. I have always been a big fan of nonfiction and loved a nonfiction audiobook on my commute but I read way more nonfiction now because I'm much more aware of nonfiction releases coming up. 

7. I read less ebooks. I think because I have such an excellent library and because publishers are sending out much more attractive proof copies of books, I read maybe one or two ebooks a month now whereas before it was the majority of what I was reading. 

8. I read poetry now. 

9. I read graphic novels now. 

10. I still love reading everything and discovering new things and I will always be behind on my blog posts and reviews-some things never change!

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Guest Review: Dark Skies by L J Ross

Beware what lies beneath…

One fateful, starry night, three friends embark on a secret camping trip but only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant…until now.

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan returns from honeymoon to face danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest, a murderer has escaped justice before and will do anything to protect the secrets of the past. Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, an old foe has taken the helm as Superintendent and is determined to destroy Ryan at any cost.

Who will prevail in Ryan’s most dangerous case yet?

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

Review: This is book seven in the DCI Ryan mysteries series. Ryan heads up a police serious crime team based in Newcastle, and the stories are set in the region. As the series has progressed, readers have become increasingly familiar with Ryan and his colleagues, as well as some of the criminal element they have encountered. However, most of the books can be read as stand-alone stories, this one being no exception.

This story is set primarily in Kielder forest, a large woodland in north eastern England, and in particular around Kielder Water reservoir and a village on its banks. The reservoir was formed by construction of a dam; several buildings were submerged as the water gradually collected. It is from one of these buildings that a body emerges. Ryan and his team are called in to investigate the identity and cause of death of what appears to be a boy who had lain undiscovered under the water for many years, probably since before the area flooded. While looking into this death, another boy is murdered in the village, this time a student from a group on a field trip organised coincidentally by Ryan’s wife, Anna. Could there be a connection between the deaths of the two boys? As the detectives investigate, their work is complicated by the arrival of a new Detective Chief Superintendent who has a history with Ryan and appears intent on disrupting his team’s equilibrium.

As with all the books I have read in this series, I have really enjoyed this mystery, and especially trying to work out who was to blame for the crimes from the clues scattered throughout its pages. Although I have said that each of these books can be read as a stand-alone, part of the pleasure is in following the progress of relationships within Ryan’s team, and within his personal life. So while I would recommend this book for the storyline, interesting characters and descriptions of the Northumbrian landscape, I would equally suggest reading the whole series from the start.

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

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Review: Day Zero by Kelly Devos

Don’t miss the exhilarating new novel from the author of Fat Girl on a Plane, featuring a fierce, bold heroine who will fight for her family and do whatever it takes to survive. Fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It series and Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series will cheer for this fast-paced, near-future thrill ride.

If you’re going through hell…keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

Review: This is one of those books that you really cant compare to anything else you've read because it is so different and so unique an despite the fact that it is a total cliche, this book had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. 

I'll admit that I haven't read a whole lot of books about teen coders surviving doomsday but that's clearly because I never knew I wanted to read about kick-ass girls like that! This book really does have everything, women defying gender stereotypes, villains that do unpredictable things, typical high-school friendship issues and of course just a little bit of romance. It is somewhat political, totally timely and I really enjoyed it. 

Jinx is a great main character because she does have all of those teen traits that we can recognise and identify with but then she has been trained by Dr Doomsday and is also an awesome coder who is great at surviving role play games in her online community. She makes for a wonderful heroines to spend the course of this book with. She has a step sister who is basically the opposite of her and so they counteract one another constantly but that can sometimes be helpful in certain situations. I can't wait to delve a little more into their relationship in the second half of this duology!

The real show-stealer here in terms of characters is little brother Charles, he is so sweet and so quirky and I just loved when he would come into a scene and complicate it or just make everything a little bit lighter. He has his own issues and they can often be problematic when you're trying to run from some unknown force in the middle of a desert. I loved the dynamic between these siblings and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of that in book two. 

In terms of events in this book, the plot is one of the twistiest I have read for a long time, I literally didn't predict anything that was going to happen along the way and sometimes you really need a book to come along and shake things up like that. There is quite a lot of violence in this book and peril at every turn so definitely exercise care there if that's not your thing. I will say though I don't think any of the violence or any of the scarier parts were there unnecessarily, I think they were all key to the plot and so I thought they were well-timed and added to that edge of your seat factor. 

Now I know you don't normally find me recommending doomsday survival novels on this blog but you do find me recommending books with brilliant character dynamics and kick-ass women defying all of those gender roles to make for some awesome page turning action scenes so I do highly recommend this book. My only issue with it is that now I have to wait for book 2 to come out and I'm just not sure how I'm going to last until it does!

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

October Reading Wrap Up 2019

So hands up who completely forgot to post their October wrap up... that would be me! So sorry. I think the whole being at Disney World (vlogs over on my channel, highlights on my insta) and the clocks going back and leaving my job just threw me for a loop and I forgot how to be a blogger entirely! So here is my October wrap up...

As always, if I have already reviewed a book I will leave a link to that review and will break my wrap up down into the format I read the books in. 


Physical Books


Wednesday 6 November 2019

Guest Review: Cragside by L J Ross

Are you afraid of the dark..?

After his climactic battle with notorious serial killer The Hacker, DCI Ryan is spending the summer with his fiancée within the grounds of Cragside, a spectacular Bavarian-style mansion surrounded by acres of woodland. When they are invited to attend the staff summer party – a Victorian murder mystery evening – it’s all a joke until the lights go out and an elderly man is found dead. It looks like an unfortunate accident but, as the dead man’s life begins to unfold, Ryan and his team of detectives realise that all is not as it appears.

When a second body is found, terror grips the close-knit community and Ryan must uncover the killer who walks among them, before they strike again...

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

Review: This is the sixth book in the DCI Ryan mysteries by L J Ross. I came upon the series when it was already well established, so I am enjoying reading the books in quick succession. Some of the previous books have relied to some extent on having read others in the series, but, apart from containing recurring characters in DCI Ryan’s team, who readers of previous books in the series will have come to know, this one could definitely be read as a stand-alone.

The action here takes place almost entirely in a grand Northumberland house, Cragside, and in its grounds. While DCI Ryan and his fiancée, Anna, are attending a staff party at the house, there is an unexplained blackout, after which a body is discovered outside in the courtyard. During the investigation of this death, some interesting facts emerge about the victim, leading Ryan and his team to wonder if this was indeed an accident, as originally believed. When another body is found, this time in the grounds of the house, people begin to fear that a serial killer may be at large, and to wonder who will be the next victim. Ryan and his team are faced with a complicated situation that they must unravel before it’s too late. Meanwhile, his currently happy personal life looks as if it may be about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new member of the force.

As DCI Ryan is a member of a squad dealing with serious crime, you can be sure that there will be at least one suspicious death somewhere along the line in these stories. In common with other books in the series, the reader is given a little more information than the investigators, and a few clues to try and work out what is going on. The excitement in this and other books in the series is that while you have faith in Ryan, you are never sure who is safe. Nobody is ever immune from the unwanted attention of the wrongdoer. I’m certain that anyone who enjoys crime drama will like this book. It might appeal especially to people who know the area in which the story is set, although knowledge of that region is of course not necessary for its appreciation.

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

Tuesday 5 November 2019

November 2019 TBR

November will be a busy month in terms of travel but I have some idea of what I want to read too. It is also nonfiction November month so I have some nonfiction books specifically I want to get to as well as some November releases...

November Releases

November 12th (US)

November 9th (US)

November 14th (UK)

November 28th (UK)

Nonfiction November Reads

Other Books I Want to Get to