#BookReview for Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

My review for Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair, 5/5 stars.

A beautifully written, heartbreaking story set in the 1700s of a young lady, Elizabeth Manteith, who is kidnapped from Scotland and taken to America to be sold as a slave. Based on real events, it brings to light the plight of more than 600 people who were taken over the years.

This is a love story that transcends colour, race, and class, as Elizabeth grows from being a spoilt lady of the castle to a young woman who fiercely defends her closest friends. There is joy and sadness, laughter and tears; the narrative pulls you in and keeps you intrigued all the way through.

I admire books that speak about parts of history that others would prefer to keep hidden, and this book tells the heartbreaking story of people whose voices would otherwise remain unheard. Well written, with wonderful characters, it’s a great read I highly recommend.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08XMY518W/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08XMY518W/

#BookReview for Trapped by Kristina Beck

My review for Trapped by Kristina Beck, 5/5 stars.  It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

I always enjoy reading Kristina Beck’s stories – they’re gritty contemporary romances that hit all your emotions! This one starts with a shocking event that has repercussions on all the characters’ lives.

Charli is an interior designer who has a successful TV show. Kellan used to work for her father, and took over the business when his boss died. Both have led separate lives until that fateful day. But both are filled with guilt over what happened, and find it hard to talk about their feelings. Will love win through?

Kristina Beck writes books that leave you emotionally battered, yet uplifted, and hopeful about life and love. She’s not afraid to tackle tough topics, but does so in a sensitive way that keeps you turning the pages. Each character has a journey to make before finding true love, and you are drawn into the story with every revelation and twist, on tenterhooks right up to the end. Highly recommend!

https://geni.us/TrappedEH

#BookReview for The Man Who Loved Spiders by Brian O’Gorman

My review for The Man Who Loved Spiders by Brian O’Gorman, 5/5 stars.

When Brian O’Gorman said he was going to write a memoir, I couldn’t wait to get the chance to read it. Since creating my Meet the Authors group on Facebook, his comments on the daily question post have left me crying with laughter. But as always, behind every great story there can be sadness, trauma, and a fight to survive. In The Man Who Loved Spiders, Brian bares his soul and talks frankly about his mental health, coping with being bi-polar, and his journey to becoming the man he is now.

There is no doubt that O’Gorman is a fantastic story-teller. Whether you’re listening to him talk or reading one of his books, he has a way of keeping you hooked on his every word. Having read most of his other books, I often wondered how he creates such a rich variety of characters and makes everyday situations so fascinating. This memoir answered that question.

It takes a unique gift to be able to make a reader cry with laughter at an anecdote one moment, then literally cry at the heartbreaking unfairness of life the next, but O’Gorman achieves this with ease. His stories are entertaining, yes, but also carry the sadness and trauma which led to devastating moments in his life. It can be a difficult read at times, but it shows the gritty reality behind the term ‘mental health’. A must read that I would recommend to everyone. Thank you, Brian, for sharing your story.

https://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Loved-Spiders-English-ebook/dp/B09796DXMB
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Man-Who-Loved-Spiders-English-ebook/dp/B09796DXMB

#BookReview for Bubblegum and Blazers by Isabella May

I’m delighted to be a part of Isabella May’s blog tour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources! Here’s my 5-star review for Bubblegum and Blazers.

This is a fun read that takes you back to school in the 1990s, complete with a tuck shop filled with nostalgic treats! Isabella May works her magic again in her mouth-watering descriptions of sweets from years gone by – you can almost taste them! Combined with her spot-on observations of the past and present, this is a must-read for anyone over 30!

This is a school reunion with a difference – 3 months in the company of old classmates, with a huge jackpot at the end for the winner. The author has captured the nuances of the ‘elitism’ we all experienced at school at one point or another, those secret crushes and power-plays, the highs and lows of life in and out of school. As we get to know the characters, we find out what’s really behind their social media profiles, and that their oh-so-perfect lives aren’t actually that perfect.

There is plenty of chaos as the show progresses, with a few twists and plenty of surprises along the way, but the story all comes together with a satisfying ending. I loved that the book was a glimpse of reality TV from behind the cameras, with a hint of craziness you can easily imagine being present while organising this kind of show. Well written, with a cast of characters you’ll either love or hate, and then change your mind about several times, this is a book I highly recommend. Grab a hot chocolate and some flying saucers or banana split toffees, and settle down for an entertaining trip to the past!

mybook.to/bubblegumandblazers

Bubblegum and Blazers

When Ali, Blake, Charlotte, and Grant sign contracts to star in a Back to School reality TV show, LOVE is the very last thing on their minds:

Ali flies to the UK from New Zealand, intrigued by the golden opportunity to advance her amateur social media influencer career.

Blake carpe diems the moment with both hands after a constant flurry of bad luck.

Charlotte jumps at the chance to relive her sporting glories of the past – and take a hiatus from her humdrum marriage.

And Grant is just relieved to get away from his failing second-hand music shop.

But once the advances hit their bank accounts, it soon becomes apparent that producer Jock’s Pied Piper-style offer to change their lives is distinctly lacking in sherbet fizz!

In fact, the only sweet thing about this gig for the former students and the rest of their Bubblegum

and Blazers competitors, may just be the packet of candy in their pockets.

Re-enacting their past is a rollercoaster of revelations, retaliation, and unlikely romance in a gold-fish bowl of mayhem where Raphael (Agony Uncle of the school sweet shop) and his rhubarb and custards reign supreme…

Purchase Link: mybook.to/bubblegumandblazers

Author Bio:

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic, as well as a Pranic Healer.

After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children’s publishing… selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!

All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel – both feature extensively in her cross-genre novels, fused with a dollop of romcom, and a sprinkle of magical realism.

Social Media Links –

www.isabellamayauthor.com

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/

Instagram – @isabella_may_author




#BookReview Looking for Lucy by Jane E. James

My review for Looking for Lucy by Jane E. James, 5/5 stars.

The opening chapter, written in Lucy’s voice, sets the scene perfectly and makes chills run down your spine. The creepy setting of Moon Hollow, the cold strangeness of Jane and John, and the dark, still waters of the lake add to the atmospheric drama of the story.

Lucy has been missing for a month, and her parents coerce Cindy Martin, a psychic who has been cast aside by her mother and most of her friends, to help them search for her. But the house is full of secrets, and Cindy keeps having disturbing flashbacks.

Nothing is as it seems and every character is hiding something – what happened at Moon Hollow, and is Lucy still alive? This is a story with plenty of unexpected twists and revelations that keeps you turning the pages to find out what’s really going on. The ending is just as sinister as the opening, with a haunting sadness that will break your heart. Highly recommend.

https://www.amazon.com/Looking-Lucy-Unlike-other-thriller-ebook/dp/B08X8LC4Y2/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Looking-Lucy-Unlike-other-thriller-ebook/dp/B08X8LC4Y2/

#BookReview for The Warden by Jon Richter

My review for The Warden by Jon Richter, 5/5 stars.

Wow, I loved this book! Set in the year 2024, with flashbacks to 2020, it shows an alternative reality to the Covid situation we’re currently living through. The virus has become even more virulent, and people are shut inside their homes, terrified to go out.

The protagonist, Eugene, is an agoraphobic ex-cop, who is content to live out his days in his bricked-up apartment, his life run by James, an artificial intelligence created to look after humans. Until the day things go wrong…

I loved the characters, the tension created from the first page, the flashbacks to Felicity’s past (James’s creator), and the gradual reveal as to what’s really happening. Having read Richter’s Auxiliary London 2039, I knew this would be a great read, and I wasn’t disappointed!

The story is far enough removed from our actual situation to be able to read without the constant reminder of what we’re going through. But as an alternative reality, it’s a pretty scary warning of how things could have gone! The Warden is more than a story about Covid, though – it’s a story of corporate greed, of human weaknesses, of strength and courage to overcome past traumas, of determination to do the right thing.

Well written, with a story that keeps you hooked until the end, this is a book I highly recommend!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B095STQXYV/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B095STQXYV/

#BookReview for Bi The Way by Sarah Northwood

My review for Bi The Way by Sarah Northwood, 5/5 stars.  It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

In this book, the author begins with the emotional moment her teen came out to her, and then takes us back in time to when she and her husband decided to start a family. What comes through is Sarah’s love for her family, her open honesty about the mistakes she made, and her journey to reaching a better understanding of everything her teen was going through.

There are lots of useful links, and some beautiful poems and drawings by the author, and the author talks about the problems she had with some members of her family. I can see this book being used by schools as a way of opening a discussion about LGBTQ+ and achieving greater understanding and acceptance.

At the end of the book, there is a section where other members of the author’s family talk about their experiences during this journey ‘over the rainbow’. Their comments are enlightening, and show the love, trust and acceptance this family has, not only towards each other, but to everyone.

I believe this book is essential reading for everyone, to better understand the world around us, the right language to use, and the best way we can support and respect others’ choices. Highly recommend.

https://www.amazon.com/Bi-way-journey-rainbow-English-ebook/dp/B095SQ4ZB4/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bi-way-journey-rainbow-English-ebook/dp/B095SQ4ZB4/


As a side note, I am good friends with Sarah, and we often chat on FB, together with our other good friend, Kayleigh. The three of us share almost everything, and I remember when Sarah first told us about her teen coming out. These chats were invaluable when my own teen came out to me a little while later. Thanks to Sarah, I could give him the support, reassurance and love he needed, which was invaluable to us.

#BookReview for Mum’s the Word by Lorraine Turnbull

My review for Mum’s the Word by Lorraine Turnbull, 5/5 stars.

This is a great read interwoven with the underlying themes of domestic abuse, friendship, and love. When Ann-Marie kills her husband in the opening chapter, this dark comedy takes you on a roller coaster of a ride where four women bond over love, life, and death.

With friendships, new beginnings, characters turning their lives around, learning lessons from their mistakes, others getting only what they deserve, the story has many layers that all come together to create an enchanting tale. It’s wonderful to see the characters grow as events change them, and there are many touching moments.

If you like dark comedies with well written characters and a rich, colourful story, I highly recommend this book!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B093C6YXJH/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B093C6YXJH/

#BookReview for The Silent Maid by Annette Spratte

My review for The Silent Maid by Annette Spratte, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

When Daniel Huntington goes to Brigham Manor as Master of Horse, he is intrigued by the silent girl who sleeps in the kitchen and is treated badly by the other servants. The mystery deepens when he sees how Baronet Brigham treats her, and he desperately wants to find out why.

Interspersed with letters Daniel writes to his mother, where we see all his doubts and insecurities come out and learn more about him, the narrative draws you into the story right away, to the Yorkshire estate with its servants, intrigues, and volatile baronet.

A must read for fans of historical fiction, the author takes you back in time with this haunting story set in England in the 1700s. Romance with a touch of suspense and mystery, Annette Spratte has brought the characters to life and created a beautiful story that will stay with you for some time.

https://www.amazon.com/Silent-Maid-English-Annette-Spratte-ebook/dp/B0922FP8XR/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Silent-Maid-English-Annette-Spratte-ebook/dp/B0922FP8XR/

#BookReview for Night of the Spiders by Brian O’Gorman

My review for Night of the Spiders by Brian O’Gorman, 5/5 stars.

Wow, where do I start? Having read Dawn of the Spiders and Day of the Spiders, I guessed that I was in for a gory, horrific, terrifying roller coaster of a read – and I wasn’t wrong!

Night of the Spiders concludes the trilogy, and it was well worth the wait. The spiders are bigger, nastier, faster, and even more determined to wipe out the human race. There are some incredible scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat, heart racing, as the protagonists flee the hordes of famished spiders (and others that are gory enough to make you want to cover your eyes!).

Brian O’Gorman writes gutsy stories with a punch, that keep you hanging on every word until the end. His skill lies in creating great characters who become real people, with all their flaws and weaknesses, sometimes redeeming themselves, many times not. You can never tell who will die and who will survive, which can lead to some shocking moments as you read – his books are never predictable!

Even if you hate spiders (as I do!), I highly recommend this trilogy.

https://www.amazon.com/Night-Spiders-Brian-OGorman-ebook/dp/B093C4Y8H4/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-Spiders-Brian-OGorman-ebook/dp/B093C4Y8H4/

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