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Thursday, 31 May 2018

#BookReview The Parentations by Kate Mayfield


About the book

Eighteenth-century London and the lives of the sisters Fitzgerald, Constance and Verity, become entwined with the nearby Fowler household. For Clovis Fowler,whose unearthly Nordic beauty belies a ruthless thirst for power, and husband Finn, a Limehouse thief, have agreed to provide safe harbour to a mysterious baby.
The puzzling phenomenon binding them close arose unexpectedly from deep within the savage but beautiful landscape of Iceland, where a hidden pool of water grants those who drink from it endless life. But those who sip from the waterfall discover all too quickly that immortality is no gift.
To preserve the life of this strange baby from those who wish him harm means that all concerned must remain undiscovered for more than two hundred years. And, as the centuries creep thither, one in their enclave proves more menacing than those who pursue them. Worse, the life-giving pool that sustains them all, runs dry…

Published by Point Blank Books
Hardcover page count - 496

Purchase Links






MY REVIEW

I received this book in the recent My Chronicle Book Box Fantasy Edition - click here for my unboxing post.  I'd not heard about it before and so this past weekend was another Big Book Weekender, and this was the big book I picked it up to read and it made the bank holiday weekend fly by!!

Who wants to live forever? If you answered yes, then you may want to change your mind after reading this highly original historical novel that follows a number of characters, over a wide span of years, set in London and Iceland and their experiences with the impact that immortality brings their way.

I did find this book started quite slowly, so don't let that put you off, as you soon become captivated by the characters, none more so than by Constance and Verity, who are sisters, and the mystery baby who comes into their lives with very little known of why he has arrived and for how long they will have him under their roof.

The story starts in Iceland in 1783 with the eruption of a volcano, which opens up a green pool from which Stefan drinks from before knowing the consequences of his action. He is then the keeper of this knowledge to help those who also drink from it understand what lies ahead for them.

I loved the originality of this story, alongside the development of the characters over the centuries and all they encounter. There is always a slightly unsettling undertone to the whole story and you can understand the pressure that those affected by immortality end up facing. 

It's a beautifully written book, so inventive and a fascinating study of family dynamics that never fails to satisfy your curiosity and one I highly recommend!

🌋🌋🌋


#BlogTour The Bridesmaid's Dilemma by Karen King #Excerpt #GuestPost


Delighted to be hosting the stop today for this Blog Tour on behalf of Accent Press and Karen King!  As well as a little Guest Post by Karen herself on the inspiration for writing this book, there is also an excerpt for you to enjoy!!! 


ABOUT THE BOOK

From the bestselling author of The Cornish Hotel By The Sea 

Every summer has a story... Fun-loving travel rep Jess doesn’t want to be chief bridesmaid at her snooty cousin’s wedding, but it will cause a family feud if she refuses. She doesn’t want to fall in love either but when a raucous stag party arrives at her Majorcan hotel, Jess hits it off instantly with best man, Eddie. A summer romance is exactly what commitment-phobe Jess needs and, as the stag-do draws to a close, so does the holiday fling. She has no intentions of carrying on the summer fun but when Eddie turns up again, Jess is faced with a big dilemma. 
Will this bridesmaid get the happy-ever-after she never knew she wanted...

Publisher Accent Press

Purchase Links




GUEST POST

Here are Karen's thoughts on where she got the inspiration from for writing this fabulous new release!


The inspiration for The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma came from a few sources.
I’ve often admired the stamina and friendliness of the holiday reps at the resorts I’ve been to, they seem to be on duty all day and evening and have to deal with a variety of problems and awkward guests. There was a stag party on board one of our holiday flights, they were very raucous but good-natured, and these two things formed the seeds of a story about a holiday rep having a fling with a member of a stag party staying at the hotel where she worked. Then my husband, Dave, booked a trip to Majorca for our third wedding anniversary and that was the inspiration for the setting.
I enjoyed writing this dance scene because it showed how fun-loving, outgoing and popular Jess is, and is the instigation for the growing attraction between Jess and Eddie. I got the inspiration for the scene from a nightclub Dave and I went to in Crete a few years ago. We’d got engaged that day on Santorini, and the reps at our hotel invited a group of us to the nightclub that evening. We had a fantastic time, there were bubbles and foam everywhere and a couple of the women were dancing like Jess and Libby, with a crowd around them clapping and cheering.  I love the atmosphere at clubs, where everyone looks like they’re having such a good time, and I enjoy watching people dance. I’m a people watcher – and I’ll get up and dance myself if I’ve had a couple of Bacardis!

☀☀☀☀☀
And now here's a little extract from The Bridesmaid's Dilemma for you all to enjoy!!


One of the fantastic things about being a holiday rep was the social life. That, and the sun, and all the countries she got to visit. Last season she’d been stationed in Tenerife and the season before that it had been Barcelona. It was hard work, long hours, and sometimes the rooms were pretty basic – a few times she’d had to share with another rep –but she loved the job.
Libby was dancing with Damián, Marta, and a group of holidaymakers. She waved to them and Kurt grinned.
‘Go on, I can see you’re itching to dance. I’ll go to the bar and get the drinks.’
        ‘Thanks. You’re a star,’ Jess told him, giving him a peck on the cheek then heading off to join Libby and the others. She only had a couple of hours to dance, and she intended to make the most of it.

***

Eddie recognised her as soon as he walked in. The bright red hair was a dead giveaway, although now it was hanging loose around her shoulders instead of tied up in a ponytail, and she was wearing a strappy silver mini-dress rather than the yellow T-shirt and faded denim shorts she’d worn this afternoon. Very sexy. There was a carefree air about her, a suggestion that she didn’t conform, wasn’t scared to be different. It intrigued him. Jess, that’s what the hotel manager had called her.
He watched as she kissed a fair-haired guy on the cheek then went over to join a group of people dancing while the guy went up to the bar. Were they an item, he wondered. Someone as gorgeous as Jess was bound to be taken.
‘I’ll get the first round in,’ Ross said. ‘What you all having?’
‘Jack Daniels for me,’ said Greg.
Eddie tore his eyes away from Jess and followed Ross to the bar. When they returned with their drinks, a crowd had gathered around Jess and a woman with long dark hair, and people were cheering and clapping as they both danced in the middle of the floor. Jess tossed her long hair, shook her lithe hips and rocked it like there was no tomorrow. While the other woman was gyrating, twirling, twerking, you name it, her black satin halter-neck jumpsuit clinging to her body like a second skin, emphasising her long legs, slender frame and sun-tanned skin. She was pretty, in a conventional sort of way, but Jess was striking. And had curves to die for.
Greg followed his gaze. ‘Hey, isn’t that the lass who helped us sort out our rooms at the hotel?  Who’s that stunner with her?’
‘Probably another rep. Good dancers, aren’t they?’
‘Cool it, mate, getting off with a couple of chicks is not what this stag weekend is all about,’ Ross told him.
‘You might be chained, but the rest of us aren’t,’ Greg said, walking over to join the group around the two dancers.
‘It’d only be polite to say hello, she did help us out,’ Matt said, following Greg.
Ross shrugged his shoulders. ‘I guess so.’
Greg and Matt joined the circle around the two girls, clapping and stamping their feet along with the rest. Tony and Sam followed them. Ross and Eddie looked at each other, shrugged then walked over, too. When the song had finished, the crowd gave the girls resounding applause.
Eddie saw Jess glance over at him, smile and wave. Then she and her friend both walked over to the bar to get a drink.
‘Let’s go and talk to them,’ Greg said. ‘I’d like to meet the friend.’
Eddie followed him, feeling ridiculously pleased that it wasn’t Jess Greg was interested in.

***

‘Don’t look now, but there’s a group of guys coming over to us. And they’re pretty fit.’
Jess turned her head slightly and saw that it was Eddie and one of the others from the stag group. She’d hoped he’d come over. All the while she was dancing she felt his eyes on her. He really was something. She wouldn’t mind spending a bit of time with him.
Take it easy, he’s probably got a girlfriend, she reminded herself. In her experience, guys in stag parties were always trying it on, conveniently forgetting their girlfriend/partner back at home.
Still, as a rep at the hotel he was staying at, she had to be friendly.
‘That was some dance.’ The other man – Greg according to his T-shirt – said, his eyes on Libby. Sandy-haired, a roguish twinkle in his blue eyes, just the right amount of stubble on his chiselled-chin, the sort of smooth operator with a ‘bad lad’ air that Libby always went for but had never appealed to Jess. Good job he wasn’t the groom.
Libby, true to form, flashed him a megawatt smile. ‘Thanks.’
‘Hello again,’ He nodded at Jess, but it was obvious his attention was on Libby. ‘Thanks for helping us sort the rooms out.’ Greg was slurring his words slightly. They’d probably been drinking all afternoon and evening, taking advantage of the cheap drinks here.
‘You’re welcome,’ Jess replied. ‘Which hotel did you get sent to?’
‘The one over the road.’
‘Oh, this is the stag party you told me about,’ Libby said. ‘Now which one of you is the stag?’
‘Ross,’ Greg pointed his thumb at Ross. ‘Are you a rep at the hotel, too?’ He pointed to the name on the front of his T-shirt. ‘I’m Greg.’
‘So, I see.’ Libby shook the hand he offered. ‘I’m Libby. And yes, I’m a rep, too. Glad you managed to get your rooms sorted out. Manuel is a stickler for obeying the rules.’
‘Thanks to Jess,’ Eddie joined in. ‘We haven’t been properly introduced, have we? Hello, Jess.’ He leaned forward and kissed her on both cheeks, soft sensual lips fleetingly touching her skin, a heady waft of after-shave, warm breath enticingly close. She felt a bit dizzy.  She must have drunk more than she realised.
‘I am Édouard, Eddie.’
Édouard. She mentally rolled the name around on her tongue. Nice. It seemed a shame to shorten it.
‘Er… hi.’
‘Thank you for your help, Jess.’ Every time he spoke it sent goose bumps down her spine.
‘It was nothing,’ she replied.
Greg was looking at Libby as if he’d never seen anyone as amazing as her before. Libby often had that effect on men.
‘Let me buy you and your friend a drink to say thank you. It would have been a really difficult situation without your help.’
‘Thanks, vodka and coke please,’ Libby replied before Jess could decline. Not that she was about to, not with Eddie looking at her like that.
‘And you?’ Greg looked questioningly at Jess.
She smiled and nodded. ‘A vodka and coke for me too, please.’

☀☀☀☀☀

Thank you for stopping by Books and Me today! 

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

#BookReview The Lido By Libby Page


ABOUT THE BOOK

A tender, joyous debut novel about a cub reporter and her eighty-six-year-old subject—and the unlikely and life-changing friendship that develops between them.

Kate is a twenty-six-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When she’s assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary, an eighty-six-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child. It was here Rosemary fell in love with her husband, George; here that she’s found communion during her marriage and since George’s death. The lido has been a cornerstone in nearly every part of Rosemary’s life.

But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemary’s fond memories and sense of community are under threat.

As Kate dives deeper into the lido’s history—with the help of a charming photographer—she pieces together a portrait of the pool, and a portrait of a singular woman, Rosemary. What begins as a simple local interest story for Kate soon blossoms into a beautiful friendship that provides sustenance to both women as they galvanize the community to fight the lido’s closure. Meanwhile, Rosemary slowly, finally, begins to open up to Kate, transforming them both in ways they never knew possible.

In the tradition of Fredrik Backman, The Lido is a charming, feel-good novel that captures the heart and spirit of a community across generations—an irresistible tale of love, loss, aging, and friendship.

Published by Orion
Hardcover page count - 384

Purchase Links




MY REVIEW

I adored this book! From the first few pages you are immediately drawn into the world of Kate, who is struggling with anxiety in the world she lives in and often shuts herself away in her flat. She works at the local paper and is soon given the chance of writing a story about the local Lido which is soon to be demolished. Kate doesn't know that working on this story is set to change her life and her outlook and help banish some of those demons living inside her head.

Rosemary is 86 and a regular swimmer at the Lido. It has become her second home since the loss of her beloved husband, and the thought of it no longer being there springs her into action to try and save the little piece of heaven that means so much to her and many others in the community. To the 'men in suits' it is just a building, but to those who use the Lido it means so much more - where romances start, friendships are made, childhood memories abound - and to lose that can be devastating for those living in the area.

Kate is sent to interview Rosemary and the most wonderful and touching friendship begins these two women and it was just a delight to read how this bond strengthens throughout, how they both help each other personally and of what can be achieved when people in a community pull together.

I loved the sense of community throughout, and also how we see that despite the struggles that both characters face throughout, there is always that thread of hope and how unlikely friendships blossom. Kate and Rosemary are two amazing characters as well - Kate suffers with anxiety and you get a real sense of the terror she often feels in those moments when the walls seem to be closing in on her, and Rosemary is still struggling with life without her beloved George and it was so joyous to look back on their life together through her eyes.

I had tears in my eyes by the end but my heart was filled with so much love and all the feels and I cannot recommend this book highly enough! If you loved Eleanor Oliphant by Gail Honeyman, or A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, then this is the book for you!


🏊🏊🏊🏊🏊

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Top 5 Tuesday - Top 5 Sci-Fi Books


Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Shanah at BionicBookWorm, to explore a wide range of topics in the bookish world! 

And this week the topic is your Top 5 Science Fiction Reads!  I've definitely increased the number of sci-fi books picked up recently as I used to be quite scared of them thinking they'd be too 'out there' or over my head! But there's such a wide variety of science fiction explored now in books that it has lured me over to the dark side!!

Here's my favourites off the top of my head!


The Long Way to  a small angry planet by Becky Chambers


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel










Divergent by Veronica Roth


The Power by Naomi Alderman




👽👽👽👽👽

#BookReview Tomorrow by Damian Dibbard


ABOUT THE BOOK

A wise old dog travels through the courts and battlefields of Europe and through the centuries in search of the master who granted him immortality 

“Ornate, vivid, deeply colored, and so precise I could smell and taste the world… The story of a dog crossing continents and centuries in search of the man he loves is moving and tender. I was captivated by its charm from the beginning.” —Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 

Tomorrow tells the story of a 217-year-old dog and his search for his lost master. His adventures take him through the London Frost Fair, the strange court of King Charles I, the wars of the Spanish succession, Versailles, the golden age of Amsterdam and to nineteenth-century Venice. As he journeys through Europe, he befriends both animals and humans, falls in love (only once), marvels at the human ability to make music, despairs at their capacity for war and gains insight into both the strength and frailties of the human spirit.

With the rich historical vision of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrelland the captivating canine perspective of A Dog’s Purpose, Tomorrow draws us into a unique century-spanning tale of the unbreakable connection between dog and human.


Published by Michael Joseph
Hardcover pages - 320

Purchase Links





MY REVIEW


Tomorrow is a dog! And he's your narrator throughout this truly unique and imaginative historical book. And he also happens to be 217 years old! So there's a lot of stories to tell as he takes you through his life and his quest to track down his beloved master once more, after he goes missing when they're at a cathedral.

I loved the idea of this book and found it to be a very intriguing read, even if sometimes it did fall a little flat for me. There's a lot of jumping around time wise and that is dealt with quite well, but I often found some of the timelines a little pointless and distracting from that bond between dog and master.

It was fascinating to view history in this way, through the eyes of Tomorrow - lots of time spent in Venice, The English Civil War, Waterloo to name a few - and this was often graphic and quite horrifying as he tried to make sense of what he saw humans doing to each other. He's a very perceptive character and you can't help but feel touched by the lengths he goes to in trying to reconnect with his master, and the fact that he helps other dogs along the way and becomes quite close to some!

If you are looking for a book that offers something a little different then I highly recommend this as it is a story that is truly original! The striking cover is also worth checking out!!

🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶




#CoverReveal Summer at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green


Who's ready for a cover reveal??!!  Well, it's your lucky day as I'm here to share another gorgeous new cover with you!! My thanks to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/  for putting this all together and letting me be part of the fun!

here's a little more about the book before the big reveal.....


Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café 
Jaz Winters stuck a pin in a map and fled to the village of Sunnybrook, looking for a brand new life – and after a rocky start, it’s beginning to look as if she made the right decision. Her blossoming friendship with Ellie and Fen has seen her through some dark times, and she’s managed to land two jobs – waitress at The Little Duck Pond Café and working as a weekend tour guide at Brambleberry Manor, the country house that’s been in Fen’s family for generations. 
Sure, life isn’t totally perfect. There’s the irritating know-it-all guy who keeps popping up on her manor tours, for a start. He seems determined to get under Jaz’s skin whether she likes it or not. But she supposes it’s a small price to pay for the relative peace she’s found, living in Sunnybrook. 
But just as Jaz is beginning to think rosier times are on the horizon, a shock encounter looks set to shatter her fragile happiness. 
Will she be forced to flee from Sunnybrook and everyone she’s grown so fond of? Or will she find the strength to stand her ground and finally face up to the nightmares of the past? 

This novella is part of a trilogy: 
Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café 
Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café 
Winter at The Little Duck Pond Café 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love. 
Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café, published on 18th June 2018, follows the first in the series, Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café. 



And here it is in all its' glory!!! 💕