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Saturday, 30 October 2021

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - 30th October 2021

 


Hello all! Happy Halloween Weekend! Spotted this spooky yarnbomb on a postbox locally this week - hats off to all the people who make these! I love seeing them and they brighten up the humble postbox perfectly!

On to books, and it's been another good bookish week! Managed to finish 4 books, added 2 to the netgalley shelf and received 1 book in the post for reviewing! And I didn't buy any! Wahoo!  So here is my look back..


BOOKS FINISHED

THE BERESFORD by WILL CARVER (audiobook) - 4 STARS


Starting over at Netgalley...

A TIDY ENDING by JOANNA CANNON
publication date - April 2022
A NICE, NORMAL HOUSE

Linda has lived around here ever since she fled the dark events of her childhood in Wales. Now she sits in her kitchen, wondering if this is all there is – pushing the Hoover round and cooking fish fingers for tea is a far cry from the glamorous lifestyle she sees in the glossy catalogues coming through the door for the house’s previous occupant.

A NICE, NORMAL HUSBAND

Terry isn’t perfect – he picks his teeth, tracks dirt through the house and spends most of his time in front of the TV. But that seems fairly standard – until he starts keeping odd hours at work, at around the same time young women start to go missing in the neighbourhood.

A NICE, NORMAL LIFE…

If Linda could just track down Rebecca, who lived in the house before them, maybe some of that perfection would rub off on her. But the grass isn’t always greener: you can’t change who you really are, and there’s something nasty lurking behind the net curtains on Cavendish Avenue.

WINTER GARDENS by CEDRIC POLLET
publication - December 2021

In this stunning reimagination of an entire season, acclaimed and award-winning author and photographer Cedric Pollet presents 20 of the most beautiful winter gardens accross France and the UK.

Winner of the Garden Media Guild - Garden Book of the Year award, Pollet showcases these breathtaking winter gardens which are at their best when most gardens are at their barest.

Rich with blazes of colour and light, these gardens use creative structural planning and subtle textures to greate masterful visual and sensory ensembles.

From berries and barks to vibrant shrubs and evergreens, these gardens will delight and inspire in equal measure, all captured in extroardinary photographs by Pollet, one of today's masters of garden photography and accompanied by insightful text which picks out the reasons these gardens are so special.

The second half of the book is an illustrated directory of over 300 plants which encourage you to achieve these effects in their own gardens.

From the author of bestselling Bark: An Intimate Look at the World's Trees, this beautiful guide is a unique and unmissable book on some of the most creative and inspiring gardens around today.


And I received a copy of this to review...

WAHALA by NIKKI MAY
publication date - January 2022

SEX AND THE CITY with a killer edge for fans of QUEENIE, EXPECTATION and MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER

GRAZIA INSTAGRAM 'IT' BOOK

'Funny, shocking, unputdownable. I loved it' PAULA HAWKINS, author of The Girl on the Train and A Slow Fire Burning

'Terrific. I just raced through Wahala. Nikki May writes so well about friendship, food, fashion and the many ways modern women can stumble in their careers and personal lives' CLARE CHAMBERS, author of Small Pleasures
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Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English, though not all of them choose to see it that way.

Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction: endures) stay-at-home motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her eyes as her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.

When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them.

Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.

Explosive, hilarious and wildly entertaining, this razor-sharp tale of love, race and family will have you laughing, crying and gasping in horror. Fearlessly political about class, colourism and clothes, the spellbinding Wahala is for anyone who has ever cherished friendship, in all its forms.


CURRENTLY READING




HAPPY READING!!

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#BlogTour UNDERNEATH THE CHRISTMAS TREE by HEIDI SWAIN #BookReview @TeamBTC @Heidi_Swain #UnderneathTheChristmasTree

 


Delighted to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for the wonderful UNDERNEATH THE CHRISTMAS TREE by HEIDI SWAIN.

My thanks to the author and publisher for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK


***The sparkling new Christmas novel from the  Sunday Times  bestselling author Heidi Swain!***

Wynter’s Trees is the home of Christmas. For the people of Wynmouth it’s where they get their family Christmas tree, and where Christmas truly comes to life.

But for Liza Wynter, it’s a millstone around her neck. It was her father’s pride and joy but now he’s gone, she can’t have anything to do with it. Until her father’s business partner decides to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son Ned.

When Liza arrives, she discovers a much-loved business that’s flourishing under Ned’s stewardship. And she’s happy to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she has other plans. But will the place where she grew up make her change her mind? And can it weave its Christmas cheer around her heart…?

Underneath the Christmas Tree is the perfect festive read, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Milly Johnson, Carole Matthews and Cathy Bramley.

Praise for HEIDI SWAIN:

'Full of Heidi’s trademark gentle charm. Lock the door, pour some mulled wine and settle into this wonderful Christmas treat!' Milly Johnson

'More Christmassy than a week in Lapland - we loved it!'  heat  magazine

'Sprinkled with Christmas sparkle' Trisha Ashley

'Give yourself a Christmas treat and curl up with this magical book!' Sue Moorcroft, author of  The Little Village Christmas

'A real Christmas cracker of a read!' Penny Parkes, author of Practice Makes Perfect

'CosyChristmassy and deeply satisfying! Another wonderful read!' Mandy Baggot, author of  One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill 


PUBLISHED BY SIMON SCHUSTER

PURCHASE LINK



MY REVIEW

Cosy.  Cheery.  Charming!  I'm smitten!! This was  such a wonderful read, full of all the feels and has me wanting to start up my own Christmas Tree business!! 

Liza has a dilemma! Her father passed away, and his pride and joy was the business he set up in Wynmouth selling Christmas trees.  But with her father gone she doesn't want anything to do with the business, so handed the day to day running over to his business partner.  It was a deal that suited everyone!

But he's set to retire, and wanting to hand over the reigns to his relative, and they need Liza home to sort a few things out.  She is looking to cut ties and head off travelling and can't think of anything worse than returning 'home'.

Ned has a number of new ideas for the business but Liza is a little hesitant about his plans so there's a bit of early tension.  But with a lovely local community around them, and her starting to get a bit more hands on with the business, you wonder what is going through her mind.  Should she stay or should she go?!

I fell immediately in love with all the characters!  They all had such wonderful hearts and you just want to be part of their community! The setting was magical and the situations they found themselves facing were touching and felt 'real' so you could just imagine yourself in similar situations!

A real feelgood and fun Christmas read!!  And it's never too early to read a festive tale so I highly recommend grabbing your copy ASAP!!

★★★★★





Friday, 29 October 2021

#BookReview PSYCHOPATHS ANONYMOUS by WILL CARVER @BlackCrow_PR

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home, a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters. She’s also an addict: A functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men. 

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve. 

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control. 

She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group. 

But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man…

A scathing, violent and darkly funny book about love, connection, obsessions and sex – and the aspects of human nature we’d prefer to hide – Psychopaths Anonymous is also an electrifyingly original, unpredictable thriller that challenges virtually everything.

PUBLISHED BY ORENDA BOOKS


PURCHASE LINK



MY REVIEW

What must go on in the mind of an author to come up with a character such as Maeve??!! Probably best not to ask! And to just to enjoy the madness of his creation!!

I loved the way this story was told. We're in the mind of Maeve - not a sane place to be! - but we hear every train of thought as she process her life, her encounters and everything in between! She's a woman with zero empathy! Her views are cynical, cold and calculating! Yes she can appear 'normal' on the outside, but that illusion is quickly shattered when you're alone with her!

We follow her in this story as she seeks to quench her thirst for all the bad addictions in her life - drugs, drink, sex and killing! She is very careful with who she picks out as a victim, and the more she gets away with the more driven she becomes! You wonder just what it is she is looking for throughout this journey, and to be fair, I don't think she knows either! She just has a need to be in control, like a true psychopath!

You're always wondering if her way of dealing with life is going to catch up with her, and the author does a fantastic job of immersing you in her world and watch her playing with fire - with very little concern for the outcome! She's the kind of killer who will judge the goings on in reality tv while torturing a victim! Zero F's given for any of her victims!!

There's a ton of sex, drugs and violence (not rock and roll!), and it's a book that stays long in the mind for very dark reasons!! Will Carver is a master at creating such twisted and insane offerings - and as a reader I am very thankful!!!

★★★★★


My thanks to Jamie and the team at Black Crow PR for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.


#BookReview THE BERESFORD by WILL CARVER #Audiobook

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.

There’s a routine at The Beresford.

For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building.

Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate, Sythe, no longer does. Because Abe just killed him. 

In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers. 

And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door.

Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings…

Eerie, dark, superbly twisted and majestically plotted, The Beresford is the stunning standalone thriller from one of crime fiction’s most exciting names.

PUBLISHED BY ORENDA BOOKS


PURCHASE LINK




MY REVIEW

I listened to the audio version book of this book.

What a deliciously dark and twisted read this was!!!

On the surface The Beresford looks a nice place to rent an apartment! All overseen by the mysterious Mrs May, who plays the little old lady landlord role perfectly, it's a place that draws in those looking to escape from their pasts, find their own independence and a bit of normality.... oops! That's what is lacking at The Beresford!!

Previous residents have just disappeared without a trace, leaving their families asking questions .. but not too many! And as soon as one resident leaves, another moves in.... and the cycle begins again.

I loved the madness of this book! You get a glimpse at each of the new characters move in and you're taken in by their 'normality' until something happens! And then you're shocked at how easy they take on their new role and play their part! As the story unfolds in front of you, you just wonder how darker it can get ... and it gets very dark!!

It's one of those books that you shouldn't enjoy but you can't help yourself because of the wonderful way the story plays out, and the characters you find yourself cheering for but then shocked by their behaviour! A great insight into the split personality side of humans - harmless exterior, dark interior!!

★★★★

#BookReview THE ROYAL GAME by ANNE O'BRIEN #Audiobook

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

The inspirational story of the Pastons, a family who rose from obscurity to the very heart of Court politics and intrigue during the Wars of the Roses.

England, 1444. Three women challenge the course of history…

King Henry VI’s grip on the crown hangs by a thread as the Wars of the Roses starts to tear England apart. And from the ashes of war, the House of Paston begins its rise to power.

Led by three visionary women, the Pastons are a family from humble peasant beginnings who rely upon cunning, raw ambition, and good fortune in order to survive.

Their ability to plot and scheme sees them overcome imprisonment, violence and betrayal, to eventually secure for their family a castle and a place at the heart of the Yorkist Court. But success breeds jealousy and brings them dangerous enemies…

An inspirational story of courage and resilience, The Royal Game charts the rise of three remarkable women from obscurity to the very heart of Court politics and intrigue.

PUBLISHED BY HQ


PURCHASE LINK



MY REVIEW

I listened to the audio version of this book - it was brilliantly read!!

My knowledge of the Paston famiy was zero before reading this book, and now I just want to know all I can!! The author has done a wonderful job of conveying their story through 3 very different female characters - from Margaret who takes charge when her family future is threatened, to Eliza who is downtrodden and controlled by her mother but wants to break free, to Anne who is looking for a suitable marriage - you get to see history and family struggles through their eyes and it is enthralling stuff!

You cannot help but be full of admiration for these women and how they dealt with what life threw their way. It really brought to life the struggles of the time, especially of women who were expected to sit quietly and do nothing to rock the boat. Margaret especially wasn't that kind of character, and I just loved her sense of justice even if it meant putting herself in danger. It showed how unfair life was for them due to their sex and it is all played out alongside a turning point for the country with the War of the Roses and all the political upheaval. It was very uncertain times for many, and these women and their personal battles were a wonderful way to explore such an interesting period of history!

A brilliant piece of historical storytelling and I'm already eager to read the sequel!!

★★★★★

Thursday, 28 October 2021

#BlogTour THE TWELVE EVEN STRANGER DAYS OF CHRISTMAS by SYD MOORE #BookReview @rararesources @PointBlankCrime @SydMoore1 #12EvenStrangerDaysofXmas

 


Extremely delighted to be with you today to help kick off the Blog Tour for the fabulous THE TWELVE EVEN STRANGER DAYS OF CHRISTMAS by SYD MOORE. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!


The Twelve Even Stranger Days Of Christmas



From the twice CWA Dagger shortlisted author of The Twelve Strange Days of Christmas come thirteen twelve stories to transport you to the macabre world of inexplicable phenomena.

As the dark winter nights get longer, prepare to lose yourself in the world of the strange. With a tale for each day of Christmas and a rather unlucky 13th, Christmas is not the only spirit in these pages. ‘Tis the season for sacrificial feasts, cultish communities and a train with a rather final destination. So wrap up warm and let yourself get lost in the world of the strange, the scary and the supernatural…

published by Point Blank 

Purchase Links 

UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Twelve-Stranger-Christmas-Museum-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B0929TLH6Q

US - https://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Stranger-Christmas-Museum-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B0929TLH6Q 


Author Bio



SYD MOORE is the author of the Essex Witch Museum Mysteries (Strange Magic, Strange Sight, Strange Fascination, Strange Tombs and Strange Tricks) all published by Point Blank. The series was shortlisted for the Good Reader Holmes and Watson Award 2018. She has been shortlisted twice for the CWA Short Story Dagger for The Strange Casebook (2018) and The Twelve Strange Days of Christmas (2019). Her debut screenplay, Witch West, which she developed from an original idea, has been optioned by Hidden Door Productions for production in 2021. Syd is a founder member of the Essex Girls’ Liberation Front which successfully got the term ‘Essex girl’ removed from the Oxford English dictionary. She lives in Essex. @SydMoore1 

@PointBlankCrime

@SydMoore1


MY REVIEW

If you love your stories to be spooky and quirky (I do!!) then here they are!!  In this wonderful collection of 13 (not unlucky for us!) short stories, we are taken in all different directions from the alternative Seven Dwarves (now their names finally make sense!!), a very strange train experience on the C2C line (not that unusual for any of us who have taken that journey!), seaside dates, and the four housewives of the apocalypse to name but a few!!

I found this so easy to read! And so fun too! The stories are so different and that makes you just want to read them all in one sitting as you never know what you're going to encounter next!  And some of the stories take you off into very weird tangents and I loved that! I also loved the Essex mentions in some of them! Definitely had me smirking at many observations!  And I now find myself looking at murals in more detail now!!

There's also a visit back the Essex Witch Museum in one of the stories so that was nice to get to check back in with the characters from the Essex Witch Museum Mysteries series - if you've not checked that series yet, then get to it NOW! 

A book that's perfect 12 months of the year - not just for Christmas!  Full of the weird, the wonderful, the spooky and the strange!! Loved it!!

★★★★★






Wednesday, 27 October 2021

#BlogTour THE WEDDING CAKE WISH by ROSIE GREEN #BookReview @rararesources

 


Delighted to be with you today as part of the Blog Tour for the wonderful THE WEDDING CAKE WISH by ROSIE GREEN. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

The Wedding Cake Wish, Little Duck Pond Cafe



Wedding excitement is in the air! With their big day approaching, Fen has her heart set on a gorgeous, intimate celebration with not much fuss at all. But strong-minded mother-of-the-bride Marjery seems to have considerably grander plans. There's also the small problem of a missing best man, and when Fen tasks Hudson Holmes and Ruby Watkiss with the job of tracking him down, their investigations unearth far more secrets than they bargained for.

 Will the Big Day go ahead in the light of such dramatic revelations? Can a wedding cake wish save the day? One thing's for sure – this will definitely be a wedding to remember!


Purchase Link - https://amzn.to/3BBqWNI


Author Bio 




Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. The latest, ‘A Summer of Surprises', is out now.

Look out for ‘Snow Falls over Sunnybrook’, a heart-warming Christmas delight, out in November 2021. As snow drifts down over the village, will romance finally blossom for one very special pair?

Follow Rosie on Twitter - https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green88 


MY REVIEW

The series that just keeps giving!! I cannot believe this is the 17th novella in The Little Duck Pond Cafe , and it still feels as fresh as Book 1!!  

The build up to the wedding continues and, as you can imagine, it doesn't run smoothly! When does it ever?!  So there's another case for Ruby and Hudson to solve and I love these characters together.  They just work so well together and nothing seems to stop them on getting to the bottom of things!

And poor Fen should be looking forward to her wedding, but as introvert she is finding it all a little too overwhelming and spiralling out of control, mostly thanks to her mother who has somewhat taken over the planning and she doesn't seem to understand the meaning of a quiet, intimate ceremony!

Full of wonderful characters and intriguing situations, it's one of those stories that just grabs you from the get go and I'm already counting down the days until the next installment!!


★★★★★



Tuesday, 26 October 2021

#GuestPost STRICTLY CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by HELEN BUCKLEY #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @HelenCBuckley

 


Hello!  Happy Tuesday and Happy Publication Day to STRICTLY CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by  HELEN BUCKLEY!  What a cover!! That glitterball!! I want one!!  

So it's a pleasure to hand over the blog today to Helen as she shares some thoughts with you all!

Over to you Helen.....

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Release Day: Strictly Christmas Spirit by Helen Buckley

When I was younger, I was obsessed with celebrity gossip. I loved reality TV, and spent hours poring over gossip magazines with friends. I started out with J17 and Smash Hits, devouring information about the bands and singers I loved. Then I moved on to Cosmopolitan, Heat, Now!, Grazia, and Glamour, soaking up the fashion commentary and the celebrity interviews.

But the snippets of information in the glossy pages never felt quite enough for me. I wanted to know more. What was it really like being a famous person? What were they like, and what was the reality behind the headlines?

I have never been famous and I don’t know anyone famous so my guess is as good as yours. But my overactive imagination, coupled with my love of all things romance, led to my Spotlight Series – a series of standalone contemporary romances about love and fame.

All those years spent reading gossip magazines and watching reality TV fed in to the dramatic, thrilling stories I wanted to write. So far I’ve taken inspiration from Dancing on Ice, I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, and Strictly Come Dancing to create my Spotlight Series.

Ironically, the time I now spend writing means I barely have time to watch any reality TV, but I try to keep up when I can and often you’ll find me commenting about various aspects of reality TV shows on my blog at buckleybooks.org

Some people might think it strange, to take inspiration from TV shows to write books. But these TV shows bring joy to millions of people every week. I’m just trying to capture a little bit of their magic, drama, and excitement, and put it into book form, with my own unique twist and characters (always fictional!) to root for.

I hope that people will enjoy the stories I write as much as the shows they love to watch on telly.

             Helen’s latest ‘Spotlight’ series book, Strictly Christmas Spirit, is out now!

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About the book:

From disco balls to Christmas baubles …

Ex-dancer Emily Williams turned her back on the sparkle of popular dancing show Strictly Dancing with Celebs to help those in need. Now the only dancing she does is teaching lonely pensioners to waltz, and the closest she gets to disco balls is making baubles with the homeless people in her Christmas crafts class.

She’s certainly not star-struck when Hollywood heart-throb Blake Harris is sent to her at short notice for community service, and has no desire to babysit the arrogant actor with his bad boy antics and selfish ways. Christmas might be a time for miracles, but Blake seems to be a lost cause.

But Emily’s reasons for abandoning her dancing passion means she understands the Hollywood wild child more than she’d like to admit. Could their time together, coupled with a dash of Christmas spirit, lead to a miracle change of heart for them both?

Book 3 in Helen's Spotlight series but they can all be read as standalone stories.


Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3jqLu3O 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3m0ukvI 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3nh3AGP


About the Author: 



Helen Buckley lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and two sons. After working in the charity sector in the UK and abroad, she turned her hand to writing and her first novel, Star in the Shadows, was published in 2019. She writes any moment that she can, enthralled by stories of fame, romance and happy ever afters. Apart from being addicted to writing and enjoying soft play with her sons, she’s an avid reader, action-movie fan and chocolate addict.

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