#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!


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 –


Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

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

Instagram – @isabella_may_author

#BookReview for The Chocolate Box by Isabella May

My review for The Chocolate Box by Isabella May, 5/5 stars.

This a story of revenge – via a box of scrumptious chocolates! Add in some quirky characters you’ll love and hate, a teenage crush that has far-reaching consequences, and a team-building trip to France, for a magical, roller-coaster read. As always, Isabella May’s mouthwatering descriptions of each chocolate-covered delight leave you craving anything sweet within reach!

Ellie has had a turbulent childhood, from an overbearing mother to not fitting in at the posh school she’s sent to. When there’s a chance to work with the rich Westwood family, she sees a chance to set in motion an idea she’s been planning for a long time.

The more you read, the more the story pulls you in and you want to see how Ellie is going to carry out her idea. With a touch of the supernatural, and a huge dollop of magic, Ellie’s journey of self discover is a little crazy, pretty explosive, and full of surprises!


#BookReview for It Will Be Quick by Karl Drinkwater

My review for It Will Be Quick by Karl Drinkwater, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

Where do I start with this review? I love Drinkwater’s books, I’ve read all of them so far, and each one remains in my mind for a long time after. It Will Be Quick is no different. This collection of short stories held me spellbound, each one cleverly crafted and so well written you feel like you’ve read an entire novel in just a few pages.

It’s not easy to create characters and situations in short stories that capture the reader, but Drinkwater has achieved this and much more. You’re desperate to know what happens to the two strangers stranded on a rocky island in the middle of the ocean, fighting for their lives as hours, then days, pass; your heart aches for the little boy who sacrifices everything for an undeserving mother; you are with a mother as she gives birth, so incredibly written that you’re left stunned at the end; and a story from an era of thousands of years ago, sad, poignant, and frighteningly real, will remain with you for a long time.

These are just some of the stories. There are many more, such as the old man shunned by a society that only listens to money, a woman who finds a computer game gives a much-needed edge to her life, a man whose cycling holiday takes a bizarre turn, and then there is the stunning ‘Miasma’, which you have to read for yourself.

Once again Drinkwater has surpassed himself, proving that anything he writes is a must-read. As with all his books, I highly recommend It Will Be Quick.

Paperback links:

Ebook coming soon!

#BookReview for A Wish For Jinnie by Audrey Davis

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My review for A Wish For Jinnie by Audrey Davis, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

Have read the author’s Haunting of Hattie Hastings series, I was really looking forward to reading her latest book. She very kindly gave me an ARC, and it didn’t disappoint!

I was grabbed from the first pages, both by the great characters and by the author’s wonderful writing style, full of dry British humour. From Jinnie’s grandma Wilma, a feisty old woman who keeps a copy of Sex After Seventy in her living room, to Dhassim the genie, who loves the Spice Girls and wearing women’s tracksuit bottoms, this book had me chuckling all the way through.

It’s a love story – Jinnie is getting over being dumped by her fiance Mark by starting a new life in a small Scottish town – but it’s also so much more. It’s a story of ordinary people struggling to get by, dealing with dementia, and divorce, and loneliness. But most of all it’s a story of hope, of believing that something better could be just around the corner, and that maybe what we want isn’t as important as helping others.

The characters are people you meet every day, from all walks of life – we’ve all known a Jo or a Janette. I loved this wonderful, feel-good story with a dash of magic, and I can guarantee it will warm your heart and leave you yearning for more!

Well-written, with touching moments as well as plenty of humour, I highly recommend this book!

You can preorder it now, and read it from the 22nd June:




#BookReview for 2000 Tunes by Karl Drinkwater

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My review for 2000 Tunes by Karl Drinkwater, 5/5 stars (would be more if I could!). It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

Where do I start with this book? I’ve read most of Karl Drinkwater’s books and loved them all, but this one has to be my favourite so far.

It’s like taking a trip back in time, revisiting old friends and old haunts. I’ve never been to Manchester, but the way he pulls you into each setting, you feel like you’ve lived there yourself. The characters are so well written, so well developed, so realistic, that you feel as if you’re there with them, living their lives with them.

Sam and Mark are two completely different people, leading separate lives, the only thing in common is the place where they work. And the fact that they are two deeply vulnerable people, struggling to find their place in the world, despite everything that keeps knocking them down. We’re pulled into their lives right from the start, as Sam mourns the death of her grandmother, and Mark mourns the demise of The Hacienda, and walk beside them as their lives slowly entwine.

There are other characters, each adding extra depth and richness to the story: Emily, Sam’s vibrant, fun-loving friend with a heart of gold; Roger, the office creep (we’ve all known one of them!); Rene, the misunderstood boss who’s the butt of everyone’s jokes; and Ben and Dave, two colleagues who become Mark’s first real friends.

And there’s the music, which weaves itself around the threads of the story, evoking memories from those long-gone years. Even if you weren’t into the indie groups of the time, Mark’s passion (and the author’s) for his music gets into your soul.

The ending doesn’t disappoint either – not too long and dragged out, not so short it leaves you wanting more. It’s just perfect.

There are so many wonderful parts to this story, so many little scenes that keep popping into my head even after I’ve finished reading it, as if they’re my memories now, not something I read. It’s going to stay with me for a long time. Highly recommend!

Amazon US
Amazon UK

#BookReview for Shadows of Regret by Ross Greenwood

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My review for Shadows of Regret by Ross Greenwood, 5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information.)

I’ve read most of this author’s books, I love how these gritty stories show a more emotional side of people whose lives haven’t been easy. This one is slightly different, as it’s written from a woman’s point of view, but he has created a believable, realistic character every woman can relate to.

This book follows the story of Katie, newly released from prison after 16 years. We don’t know what crime she committed, or why – this is slowly revealed during the rest of the book. Greenwood is very good at creating down-to-earth characters who leave an impression on you even after you’ve finished reading, and I think he’s excelled himself in this book.

The story makes you feel all the emotions, as Katie celebrates her new-found freedom only to find she’s still in a kind of prison, bound by rules, and worse. With the added insult that no one will believe her, as she’s an ex convict.

As more and more memories come back to her, she takes matters into her own hands, determined she will decide her future and put an end to her past. Haunting and tragic, the story keeps you gripped until the very end.

As with all of Greenwood’s books, I highly recommend this.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

#BookReview for Self Love: A British Tale of Woe and Wit by TL Clark

My review for Self Love by TL Clark, 5/5 stars.

What a brilliantly funny story, interspersed with some darker moments that make you stop and think. I think a lot of British women will see themselves in Molly – those feelings of insecurity, always apologising for everything, beating yourself up for those silly little mistakes… I could go on!

Molly is bright, funny, witty, with everything going for her, but thoughtless comments from her mother over the years and cruel bullying when she was little have destroyed her self-confidence. But despite that, she still craves what everyone wants – love, happiness, and a better life.

The scene where she receives nasty replies from an online dating site made me sad, and then angry – it may be only fiction, but these things really happen to people. And the guy who thought he was getting lucky because he chose the fat, ugly one – well, I was really hoping Molly would give him a punch in the face.

I loved the way Molly speaks to the reader all the way through, it gives the story a fresh appeal that works really well. An interesting story full of humour and witty remarks, and well written too, I highly recommend it to anyone who loved Eleanor Oliphant!

Amazon US
Amazon UK

#BookReview for Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra

My review for Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra, 5/5 stars.

This is an incredibly emotional story of three women trying to escape their upbringing in Albania. Right from the beginning, you understand how hard it is for them, living in a country where men have the final say in everything.

Sara wants a better life, a better job, and a future, but stuck in a low-paid job that sucks the very soul from her, she can’t see a way out. Alba, her friend, appears to know how to play the system – but at what price? While Ina thinks she has a marriage made in heaven, but the reality is so very different.

The story follows the three women’s lives through the years, their struggles and desperation as they fight against the chauvinistic rules of their country. I live in Italy, and know how hard it is here – but this book has opened my eyes, too!

The author keeps you captivated all the way through with her descriptions of Albania and its people, and the struggles that many women have to deal with every day of their lives there. This is a book I highly recommend.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Cold Fusion 2000 by Karl Drinkwater

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My review for Cold Fusion 2000 by Karl Drinkwater, 5/5 stars.

I finished this book a few days ago, and it’s taken me this long to write a review. It’s an unusual story, and I mean that in a good way. I’ve read other books by the author, mostly horror and also his latest sci-fi one, which I loved. This one, however, is completely different!

The protagonist, Alex Kavanagh, comes across at first as a slightly OCD geek with a large chip on his shoulder. He’s a teacher, but hates teaching. He has a girlfriend, but doesn’t really want her. He starts writing physics articles for magazines but never gets round to finishing them. You don’t know whether to feel sorry for him or slap him.

But the story draws you in. As frustrating as Alex is, Drinkwater’s writing makes you keep on wanting to read and find out what happens next. Alex’s sister, Natalie the live-in friend, the family dropping in whenever they feel like it, are all so realistic, it feels like you’re living in the book with the characters. Then Jane makes an appearance and turns their lives upside down.

Jane is the twin sister of Alex’s old flame, Lucy, the love he never got over. She’s in town for 72 hours, and when she bumps into Alex by chance, she decides to make up for her sister’s treatment of him 6 years before. From this point, it becomes a story of redemption, of realisation, of finally behaving like a grown-up, and you see Alex in a different light as he struggles to become the man he’s always wanted to be.

Set in 2000, obviously, it has lots of references to the period that will make you smile as you read them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and will probably re-read it at least once more to pick up some of the more subtle clues and references I missed the first time around, as I was concentrating on the story! Well written and edited, it also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge (click here for more information).

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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