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Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. I am very new to this so i am still learning if i make any mistakes i can only apologize. There are already lots of great book blogs out there so i am up against some tough competition. I will just be doing my own individual thing and learning as i go. I love to read and talk books, this hasn’t always been the case its only been the last year or so that i have really become a bookworm. I know hard words to digest. Reading is away for me to escape everyday life and my anxieties. This is true for a lot of people. But a good book exciting characters and new places to visit whilst sat in your comfy spot is the best therapy. I dabble a little with writing also, i generally write poems about anxiety. I do hope you will enjoy my posts and i hope to get a lot out of doing this by way of experience writing/blogging and by helping books to succeed.

Blog Tour|Book Review|After You Fell|J S Lark

I find this subject fascinating. Having read another book about it, i was very eager to see how this author approached it. Thank you to Rachel @rararesources for allowing me to take part and to the Publisher One More Chapter for my copy.

Publisher One More Chapter Published 13 Dec. 2019 Edition Kindle Genre Pyschological Thriller Purchase Links UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/After-You-Fell-J-S-Lark-ebook/dp/B07RW3TBXC/ US https://www.amazon.com/After-You-Fell-J-S-Lark-ebook/dp/B07RW3TBXC/

Blurb

As one life ends
Louise Lovett’s death was a tragedy. But questions still swirl about exactly what happened to Louise that day. Did she fall … or was she pushed?

A new life starts
Helen Matthews’ donor heart saves her life. But as her new heart beats inside her, Helen feels the pull of its previous owner – despite what everyone is telling her, Helen is certain she has one final message to pass on.

And a dark obsession begins
As the lives of Helen and Louise become ever more entangled, Helen’s obsession gets increasingly out of control.  And the fragile new life she has built begins to fall apart…

My Review **** 4 Stars Wow what a book! It really packs a punch, it has so much going on. A new heart a new start. Having lived with a heart condition all her life Helen receives a donor heart and life can really begin. Simply wanting to find the donor’s family to thank them turns to obsession. The author really delved into this characters mind and told her story and all the raw elements of human experience from all points of you in a chilling yet captivating way that you yourself become obsessed with were the story will take you next. The pace was slow to begin with but the intensity grows and grips you and really engages the reader.I never saw the ending coming no clue and it definitely left me reeling. An intense, gritty and thrilling read. I highly recommend this one. I look forward to reading more by this author.

About The Author

Jane is a coffee, chocolate and red wine lover, and a late-night writer of compelling, passionate, and emotionally charged fiction.

Jane’s books may contain love, hate, violence, death, passion, a little swearing, and an ending you are never going to forget.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/JS-Lark-2288653328057315 http://www.janelark.co.uk/ https://twitter.com/JaneLark

My Month In Books|November 2019

I am a little late with this post, it’s a busy time of year for us all. But i do hope you enjoy reading this post and discover some books you may not have read. Get adding to your ever growing TBR piles!

First up is,

Magic Under The Mistletoe. Lucy Coleman

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy  Coleman

I have to say whilst there were elements i enjoyed and i did like it, i wasn’t crazy about it https://cookingthebooksreview.home.blog/2019/11/20/blog-tourbook-reviewmagic-under-the-mistletoelucy-coleman/

Next up a couple of short christmas stories. I loved these! https://cookingthebooksreview.home.blog/2019/11/13/book-reviewshort-storiesd-van-de-merwe/

12 Days of Christmas. D. Van De Merwe

12 Days of Christmas by D.  van de Merwe

The Heart of Christmas. D. Van De Merwe

The Heart of Christmas by D. van de Merwe

A middle grade Fantasy, Awa and the Dreamrealm. Isa Pearl Ritchie https://cookingthebooksreview.home.blog/2019/11/29/blog-tourbook-reviewawa-and-the-dreamrealmisa-pearl-ritchie/

Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie

And last but by no means least a faboulous festive rom-com, No One Cancels Christmas. Zara Stoneley https://cookingthebooksreview.home.blog/2019/12/02/book-reviewno-one-cancels-christmaszara-stoneley/

No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

I am looking forward to slowing down a little bit and probably won’t get much reading done this month.

Book Review|No One Cancels Christmas|Zara Stoneley

Love a festive read! What is not to love! Zara has become a firm favourite of mine. She is so lovely too. I won my copy curtesy of the author in a recent giveaway.

Publisher: One More Chapter Published 13 Dec. 2018 Edition Paperback 400 pages Genre Romantic Comedy Purchase Links UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-One-Cancels-Christmas-hilarious/dp/0008301050/ US https://www.amazon.com/No-One-Cancels-Christmas-hilarious/dp/0008301050/

Blurb

Tis the season to behave badly…

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Wedding Date!

It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.

The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl. But as the resorts new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling jolly!

With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince gorgeous but Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be…

My Review ***** 5 Stars

Fabulous festive fun

My fourth read by this author and I absolutely loved it. I don’t think I will ever tire off reading books by Zara. She brings so much to a story. The humour is by far the best part of her stories and this has it in full on snow blizzard style straight from the off. But it’s not all twinkly lights and tinsel. There are some deeper and raw elements with some not so pleasant surprises revealed, which made me gasp and feel so much for the characters on a new level. A perfect setting and lovely character’s, Poppy being one of my favourites and a feral cat to boot. Moving on and learning to love oneself as you are set in a perfect magical Christmas world beautifully described. A perfect cosy Christmas read that will thaw even the hardiest of Scrooge’s.

About The Author

Zara Stoneley

Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of ‘The Wedding Date’.

She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Born in a small village in the UK, Zara wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years, and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true. She now writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘No One Cancels Christmas’, ‘The Wedding Date’, ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’. Social Media Links Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley Website: https://www.zarastoneley.com

What festive books have you been reading?

Indie Author Spotlight|S D Mayes

Welcome to the November edition of indie author spotlight. I am pleased to welcome the gorgeous S D Mayes, author of Letters to the Pianist. She very kindly did a Q and A, but before i share that i want to share an excerpt from the book. Enjoy!

Publisher BHC Press/Gelan Published 6 Oct. 2017 Genre Historical Suspens Purchase Links https://www.amazon.co.uk/Letters-Pianist-S-D-Mayes-ebook/dp/B074P5TTSH

Blurb

A FAMILY TORN APART … A PAST THEY CAN’T ESCAPE

In war torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the terrifying bombing of their family home. They believe their parents are dead, their bodies buried underneath the burnt remains—but unbeknownst to them, their father, Joe, survives and is taken to hospital with amnesia.

Four years on, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist and is struck by the resemblance to her father. Desperate for evidence she sends him a letter, and as the pianist’s dormant memories emerge, his past unravels, revealing his true identity—as her beloved father, Joe. Ruth sets out to meet him, only to find herself plunged into an aristocratic world of sinister dark secrets.

Can she help him escape and find a way to stay alive?


Excerpt
This extract is taken from a third of the way into the story, when Edward is visiting his father-in-law’s country estate in Shropshire with his wife, Connie. The family and some mysterious guests have just eaten game for dinner, after taking part in a rather sinister pheasant shoot, and Edward has just seen the entire table, including his wife, raising a toast to Hitler. Confused and overcome with nausea he covers his mouth with his hand, and staggers towards the door.

This gives you a snapshot of the central theme of the story – how the protagonist, Edward – a Jewish man with no memory of the past, is attempting to make sense of the strange family he has married into.


Stumbling into their bedroom, Edward flopped down onto the four-poster bed. Connie swept through the door after him, her signature Chanel permeating the air like a scented breeze. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he felt her stroke his forehead, feeling the coolness of her fingers contrast with the heat emanating from his brow. 
‘How are you, darling?’
He wrinkled his forehead. ‘I don’t feel well.’
‘But you must eat, Eddie. Are you going to join us later?’
He groaned. ‘I’ve got one of those awful migraines. Do apologise for me.’
Connie leant over and kissed him on the lips, stroking his cheek as he turned his face away.
‘Is everything all right, darling?’ 
‘I just didn’t think you were an Adolf fan?’
Connie pouted and folded her arms. ‘Oh, so that’s what this is about. Honestly, Eddie, you are being silly. I merely raised an innocent glass of claret to a dead man. We must all learn forgiveness for the damned, and I can’t sit there like a party pooper. Daddy would have thought me terribly improper for disrespecting his comrades.’
‘Forgiveness,’ said Edward, staring at her blankly.
‘Yes, Daddy’s philosophy has always been to raise a toast and bless your enemies. It’s a family superstition … in case you meet them in hell.’ Connie giggled.
He closed his eyes, feeling more confused than ever.
‘Do come down when you’re hungry, darling.’ She stood up and smoothed down her dress. ‘I can tell chef to fix you something light, perhaps some scrambled eggs and smoked salmon?’
‘Thank you,’ he said wearily. He waited for the door to shut, relieved to be left alone. Family superstition. Could that really be true? Despite the many times he tried to whitewash it, there was something about his father-in-law’s nature that was deeply disturbing. It was like hearing a violinist play a rapturous melody that lifted your spirits until, without warning, there was that one shrill, discordant note, so unbearably, piercingly out of tune, that it made you want to scream for it to stop.

Q and A

Hi Sherron, welcome to my blog. Thank you for agreeing to take part in this Q and A. I love getting to know authors and what makes them tick.

Hi Kayleigh,

Thanks for this.

Firstly, please can you introduce yourself.

Hi, I’m S.D. Mayes and I’m the author of historical suspense novel, Letters to the Pianist. I’ve been a journalist, and author of self-help books for the last twenty years. I started writing fiction four years ago.

1)What inspired you to start writing?

In terms of fiction, it’s something I’ve always wanted to as I love storytelling and the ability to take the reader into another world.  You learn so much from walking in another character’s shoes, and also get to say some very Non-politically correct things which you can pass of as your character’s traits 😊  

Finding my mother, Ruth’s memoires after she died three years ago also inspired me. She wrote about how her family home was bombed in the blitz and the subsequent evacuation to stay with relatives after she and her two siblings were left orphaned. I had a real eye opener into the turmoil of that time. Ruth the protagonist is inspired by her and the bomb scenes are based on real events that she described.

I also did a ton of research, reading endless online accounts from people who lived as children during that time. I also watched many documentaries on Hitler and the aristocracy, which was a fascinating learning curve. 

2)When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I first worked as a journalist over twenty years ago and started writing for national newspapers and magazines. I first considered myself an author after my first self-help book was published back in 2003.

3)What comes first, the plot or characters?

It’s hard to say, a bit of both I guess. I think of a character and also what their intention is which dictates their pathway through the story.

4)What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I get up in the middle of the night to write down ideas, so often go without sleep in the midst of a novel.

5)How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

I often got upset as I was writing Letters to the Pianist because the story is so emotional. I would listen to old songs like ‘Smile’ by Nat King Cole and get really tearful thinking about what my characters were going through.

6)Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.

Probably my character Ruth who was only fourteen when she thinks her parents have died in the bombing of her home. She’s an orphan who hates herself, her nose, her spots, being overweight … plus she has to deal with an abusive uncle, but she finds strength and turns her life around.

7)Are you working on anything at the moment? 

Yes, I’m working on ‘The Lodger’ which is a domestic noir  novel about a single mum who loses her job and takes in a lodger through air bnb. She falls for him, but he has secrets and isn’t what she thinks … but she has secrets too that threaten to destabilize her life

8)Favorite quote (doesn’t matter the source)

Dreams and wishes and fairy tales were like icing on a mouldy cake – they can’t hide the truth – because when you take a proper bite, you choke.

Ruth Goldberg, Letters to the Pianist  

9)If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Passionate, disciplined, feisty 

10)Either Or

Tea or coffee

tea

Hot or cold

hot

Movie or book

Book

Coke or Pepsi

Pepsi

Toilet paper – over or under

Over

Morning person or Night owl

Morning

Shower or bath

Shower

City or country

Country

Social Media or book

Book

Paperback or ebook

Paperback

11)Share something fun or interesting about yourself that we may not know. 

I was brought up in an ashram and taught to meditate at the age of six.

Thank You Sherron so much. I have loved reading all of these answers. It has been great getting to know more about you. 🙂 And what a beautiful excerpt.

Social Media Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorMayes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorMayes/

Website: www.authormayes.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35989543-letters-to-the-pianist

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know S D Mayes and love the sound of the book! Coming up next month i have two Spotlights to end the year, hope to see you there.

Blog Tour|Book Review|Awa and The Dreamrealm|Isa Pearl Ritchie

I love fantasy and especially fantasy that involes dreaming. I couldn’t wait to read this.

Publisher Te Rā Aroha Press Published 1 Nov. 2019 Edition Kindle 208 pages Genre Middle grade Fantasy Purchase Links UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XFHSB9R
US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XFHSB9R

Blurb

What if dreams are more real than waking life?
Life is already complicated enough for Awa Bryant when she starts having weird dreams – waking dreams – and strange coincidences start appearing in her real life.
She meets dreamcharmer, Veila, a quirky glowing creature who helps to guide Awa through the mysterious Dreamrealm.
At first the Dreamrealm is a glorious escape from Awa’s daily struggles but something is not right… Soon Awa discovers she has a bigger quest, and everything she cares about is at stake. Will she be brave enough to face her fears and save her friends?

My Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️4 stars

I have read books in this genre before and about dreams or dreaming and was pleasantly surprised by the unique and very different story. A young girl on the fringes of becoming a teenager has so much going against her, parents are divorcing she’s had to leave the house she loves and start a new school. She is haunted at night during sleep of her past life until she meets a fairy like creature who takes her on a fantastical and magical journey into a world beyond dreaming, the dreamrealm. Where Awa learns that she is a very special and rare girl. Dreaming and dreams are a truly fascinating subject and the author has really let her imagination run wild with this story. So simple to slip into this story with the beautiful, descriptive world building. Some very big and tough lessons are explored and written with finesse such as bullying and racism. A great refreshing fantasy that coming of age children will find inspiring. I look forward to seeing where Awa’s journey leads next.

About The Author

Isa Pearl Ritchie

Isa Pearl Ritchie is a New Zealand writer. As a child, she loved creating imaginary worlds. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. Her second novel, Fishing for Māui, was selected as one of the top books of 2018 in the New Zealand Listener and was a finalist in the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Adult Fiction Book 2019. Awa and the Dreamrealm is her first book for young people.
http://www.isaritchie.com

Social Media Links –
https://www.facebook.com/isapearlritchie/
https://twitter.com/isapearlritchie
https://www.instagram.com/isapearlritchie/

Thank you to rachel at @rararesources for inviting me on to the tour and the author for my copy.

Blog Tour|Book Review|Magic under the Mistletoe|Lucy Coleman

Thank you to Rachel @rararesources for inviting me onto the tour and to Aria for my copy.

Magic Under the Mistletoe Publisher Aria Published 5 Sept. 2019 Kindle Edition 334 pages Purchase Link – http://smarturl.it/MagicUnderMistletoe

Blurb

It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.
So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?
Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!

My Review *** 3 Stars This is not your typical traditional cosy Christmas romance, it touches on Christmas and especially the ending has some wonderful Christmassy moments. But it’s more than that it actually boarded on contemporary such was the intensity of the storylines. The MC’s Leesa and Cary are very similar people and this did bode well for their relationship for which didn’t start off conventionally a little bit cringe at times and I actually didn’t think they would end up together at all that is quite clever by the author. Cressida was a personal favourite for me, she is a formidable character and quite a whirlwind, a true romantic at heart. I loved her. A particular bug bare and purely personal taste was the business talk which I found a little tedious at times but was a big element to character development. In essence there is a moral to this story and that is love isn’t always hearts and flowers and slushiness. And that it isn’t always about love at first sight. It’s about learning to love the one you have found because it isn’t always meant to be. A romance you can read anytime of the year.

About The Author

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’
Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.
When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.
Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.
Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.
Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. She writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Social Media Links Website: https://linnbhalton.co.uk/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth https://twitter.com/LinnBHalton

Book Review|Short Stories|D. Van De Merwe

Today i am reviewing two short stories by a new to me indie author, now known as D.Wells. I have talked about short stories before and how much i enjoy them. For me they are a perfect introduction into an authors writing style and give you a good indercation of wether you enjoy they way they write and a taste sometimes of future works. You can also get a lot from a short story,a story/plot doesn’t neccessarily have to be a 300 plus page novel.

12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas: A festive short story by [van de Merwe, D.]
Publisher self published Published November 20, 2014 Kindle edition 68 pages Genre Romance/short story Purchase Links https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PYRIM18/ https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00PYRIM18/

Blurb

A romantic and festive short story, 12 Days of Christmas captures the blossoming relationship between Emma and attractive neighbour Jed. Centred around Christmas and New Year, this short story is bound to get you in the holiday mood.

Emma has a disagreeable first meeting with new neighbour Jed, over the trifling matter of a Christmas tree. Another awkward encounter or two later and Emma ushers in the festive season realising that she quite likes the handsome guy next door.

A workaholic, she comes to terms with having let life pass her by, while Jed offers the chance of some much needed normality and much missed romance. Dealing with an over excited housemate, Emma’s own confusing feelings and a smattering of snow and all things festive, her 12 Days of Christmas are anything but dull.

My Review **** 4 stars

A lovely cosy read

A really enjoyable read. Emma and Jed don’t get off to the best of starts but soon a friendship blossoms and developing feelings with a sweet happy conclusion. We actually learn quite a lot about Emma. The author has packed quite a bit into this story. Lots of fun,laughter and festivities. A perfect Christmas short story.

The Heart of Christmas

The Heart of Christmas by [van de Merwe, D.]
Publisher self published Published November 29, 2017 Kindle edition 46 pages Genre Family fiction Purchase links https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077TS5VY3/ https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B077TS5VY3/

Blurb

Three years after the events of the ’12 Days of Christmas’, Emma and Jed are about to get married. But not before the family come together to celebrate Christmas day in style. However, with Emma’s sister Maddie going through a painful and troubling separation and Jed facing the first festivities since the loss of his mum, they all need to pull together in support.

A short story about reconciliation and hope, The Heart of Christmas is full of warmth, festivities and Christmas spirit.

A sequel to the ’12 Days of Christmas’.

My Review **** 4 stars

Gorgeous sequel

A great second trip in to the lives of Emma and Jed. We meet some lovely new characters and a lot of focus is on Emma’s sister Maddie. The characters and story is so well written that I felt I really knew them all. There is a lot of substance in this story. Christmas, a wedding and reconciliation what’s not to love. I would love to see a 3rd book possibly a longer one.

About The Author

D. Wells

D. van de Merwe is British born and currently living somewhere where the sun shines, with her husband and young family. She loves writing, reading, exploring and adventure, in no particular order.

Social Media links https://instagram.com/www.instagram.com/d.wellsauthor https://www.facebook.com/authorD.Wells/