Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Pathways - Camille Peters


Date of Reading: 15/04/2019
Author: Camille Peters
Publisher: Rosewood Publications
Publication Date: February 4, 2019
My Rating: 4/5

About the book:

Eileen has never been interested in love. Ever since her father's abandonment, she's vowed to never experience such pain again. But the enchanted forest has different ideas. When the continuously shifting pathways lead her to a mysterious stranger, Eileen finds her promise to fiercely guard her heart increasingly difficult to keep. 

One night when she becomes lost in a storm, the enchanted forest's pathways lead her to the castle, home to the kingdom's Dark Prince, where Eileen finds herself entangled in what many consider an opportunity but which Eileen believes to be a curse: competing for the Dark Prince’s hand through a series of tests that judge one’s royal worth. Eileen is neither royal nor interested in becoming a princess. But the mysterious stranger she met in the woods has his own reasons for helping her succeed, although the cost of his assistance may be too high: that of Eileen's heart, the one thing she's vowed never to give. 

Inspired by “The Princess and the Pea” and "Rumpelstiltskin"

My Review:

      I have always been a fan of fairytale retellings in a medieval setting and this has been another addition to my favourites. Loosely based on 'The Princess and the Pea' and 'Rumpelstiltskin', Camille Peters has created an altogether wonderful story that will leave you enraptured. 
      Perfectly drawn characters (I adore them all) and a beautiful setting in the shape of an enchanting forest and a castle create a beautiful plot to soothe your heart. The forest cannot be counted as a character but it sure has a personality of its own. If it were all real, I would have packed my bags already to escape the scorching sun outside. Eileen and Aidan are so lucky to have a forest as their friend.
      The array of royals and the contests are equally hilarious. Well, we will be able to guess the mystery by then, but that is not going to affect the smooth flow of the book a bit. So take this cute novel to awaken the little girl (or boy, I don't want to be partial) inside you. It will take you back to those days when you believed in magic and miracles.

Meet the author:


Camille Peters was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah where she grew up surrounded by books. As a child, she spent every spare moment reading and writing her own stories on every scrap of paper she could find. Becoming an author was always more than a childhood dream; it was a certainty.

Her love of writing grew alongside her as she took local writing classes in her teens, spent a year studying Creative Writing at the English University of Northampton, and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in English and History. She’s now blessed to be a full-time author.

When she’s not writing she’s thinking about writing, and when’s she’s not thinking about writing she’s…alright, she’s always thinking about writing, but she can also be found reading, playing board games with her family and friends, or taking long, bare-foot walks as she lives inside her imagination and brainstorms more tales. 

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Amazing Grace - Kim Nash (Blog Tour)


Date of Reading: 18/04/2019
Author: Kim Nash
Publisher: Hera Books
Publication Date: April 10, 2019
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 3.5/5

(This review is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources)

About the book:

She’s taking her life back, one step at a time… 

Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with headteacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted. 

Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary - and her perfect life fell apart. 

Now she's a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks… 

Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up on her doorstep, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves. 

So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness? 

A funny, feel-good romance about finding your own path and changing your life for the better – readers of Cathy Bramley, Jill Mansell and Josie Silver will love this uplifting read. 

My Review:

        Kim Nash's debut is a realistic take on the everyday life of a single mom with a sprinkle of romance to bring the cheerful and perfect ending. Reading this has been like living through Ibsen's 'A Doll's House' all over again. Here, in a very modern scenario, Grace is confronted with the same choices as Nora -- should she sacrifice her happiness for the love of her child or should her needs be prioritized? Years must have passed by, but for a woman, it is still hard to make a decision when it involves her kids.
         What touched me most about the book is the way Grace is led by her mother's spirit and her vocalisations given at the end of each chapter is really quite beautiful and tear-jerking. The role of the mediator was unsettling since I don't believe in that stuff, but the firm belief that our dear ones are watching over us from heaven is something anyone can share.
       On the whole, the book has left me brooding. Reading Grace's story has made me realise the hopeful side of this earthly life. If you have good friends and encouraging siblings any murky water can be waded through with ease.

Meet the author:

Kim Nash lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture and is a book blogger at www.kimthebookworm.co.uk

Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association's Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can't quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA. 

When she's not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge-watching box sets on the TV. She's also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs. 

Amazing Grace is her debut novel with Hera Books and will be out on 10th April 2019

Connect with Kim on Social Media here:


Monday, 15 April 2019

Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher - Maxine Sylvester

Date of Reading: 06/04/2019
Author: Maxine Sylvester
Publication Date: January 28, 2019
Publisher: Matador
My Rating: 4.5/5

About the book:

Ronaldo and Rudi discover friends come in all shapes and sizes as they embark on a superhero mission to help a lost wolf cub called Ernie to find her pack. 

Rudi comes up with a plan to find the pack and deliver a message during a speed test at flying school. But Ronaldo isn’t totally onboard with the idea. He desperately wants to break the speed record and the plan means jeopardising his chance of becoming champion. 

Will Ronaldo go for glory… or will he discover the true meaning of friendship and sacrifice the race for Ernie? 

My Review:

      Ah! The second book in the 'Ronaldo: The Flying Reindeer' series is nothing short of charming. We are introduced to one more character, the wolf cub Ernie, adding to another dose of fun to an already remarkable set of characters. An evil side of me was actually hoping that Ernie won't find her pack so that we could see a bit more of her in the coming stories. But I am glad at the way story unfolded and I really really hope she will be a permanent part of the series. Such cuteness could never be overlooked.
       Reading this has taken me back to my Harry Potter days where the characters grow with each story and the plot thickens along with it. Our Ronaldo is growing too, now engaged in risky adventures and faced with more complex choices. And the setting and the pictures are absolutely gorgeous, making me wish for Christmas again. But this is a story for all seasons and can even be read as a standalone. 
        I will suggest this as a perfect reading choice for children up to 10 or 12 years depending on their reading preferences. I doubt anyone can resist such an adventurous story set in a sparkling winter land.

Meet the author:


I was born in Hounslow, Middlesex in the south of England. As a child, I loved drawing and took private art classes with a wonderful teacher called, Pearl Lee. She had an abundance of Disney magazines, and I would paint the characters on wood, card, canvas or anything else I was allowed to use, including walls.
  
When I was nine, my mum took me on holiday to Majorca. I clearly remember being fascinated by how other people lived outside of England. Travelling became my new obsession.

After Sixth Form College, I intended to go to art school, but my travel bug got the better of me and chose to work as a holiday representative in Greece instead. This was followed by seven years working on cruise ships, two years in Israel and Palestine, and six years in Russia and Armenia. Although I lapped up the different cultures, I found my work over the years very unfulfilling. I decided to dig out my Caran d’Arche pencils, and do something about it!

I enrolled in The College of Cartoon Art and was mentored by the renowned caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. I created a character called Ronaldo and decided to write a short story about him. Before I knew it, my head was spinning with ideas and the first book, The Reindeer Flying Academy, went from a small picture book into a full-blown chapter book … but more importantly, I loved every minute of the writing and illustrating process.

Nowadays, I live in Bali, Indonesia, with my amazing partner, Mark, (Bristol born and bred) and am currently illustrating the third book for the Ronaldo series, Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza.

I am still a self-confessed Disney geek and get excited as a five-year-old whenever a new Disney animated film comes out. I love the Disney theme parks and have visited Orlando, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo – California and Shanghai are next on my bucket list.

I have an unhealthy fondness for pizza and chocolate but a healthy love of Pilates - I like to think they balance each other out. And finally, I am a lifelong Arsenal supporter … although sometimes I wish I wasn’t!

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Suddenly Single - Carol Wyer (Blog Tour)


Date of Reading: 10/04/2019
Author: Carol Wyer
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: April 8, 2019
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 4.5/5

About the book:

When bestselling romance author Chloe Piper’s marriage implodes a week before Christmas, she flees her cheating ex and the village gossips for the solitude of the newly built Sunny Meadow Farm and the company of her hapless dog, Ronnie.

But Chloe is soon pushed out of her comfort zone. Because with a lively development building crew – headed up by charming Alex – and a larger-than-life neighbour determined to make Chloe’s love life her pet project, Chloe finds herself in a whole new world of chaos…

This enthralling romantic comedy of self-discovery and new beginnings is perfect for fans of Kirsty Greenwood, Colleen Coleman and Marian Keyes.


My Review:

      I have just finished this amazing novel and whooping around with excitement, so please excuse me if this review comes out to be incoherent. This is Wyer's second book that I have taken up (no, I didn't read her detective novels) and is surely going to be on my favourite shelf. More than fiction, I will categorise this under self-help which is made genuinely interesting with the inclusion of a story.
       Our protagonist, Chloe Piper, is not just shy, she is suffering from social anxiety disorder. She is afraid of facing people and her knees buckle whenever she is confronted with too much attention; she even avoids supermarkets, scared of mingling with a crowd. She is a character I could pretty much identify with and that is not because I have this anxiety disorder (not that I have checked). But extreme shyness is equally horrible and the worst thing is there is only one cure: confront your fears and stop running away, as Chloe demonstrates. Help is sure to be at hand when you are ready to help yourself. Yes, this is one of those stories which perfectly portrays the message of Paulo Coelho.
      I am not fond of novels which include a lot of brooding, but here it felt completely natural. Since Chloe is not that talkative and keeps on thinking about the same things, the novel it seems has cleverly reflected her character. And the singleton group . . . I have only one word for you guys, AWESOME! 
        On the whole, this story has reminded me a lot about what I need to do. Because in spite of all the New Year pledges, I still run a mile if I am asked to be on the stage. So, Chloe, I know you are not real, but you are an inspiration to each introvert in this planet. I might be making a wild guess here, but it is possible that the author is also talking about her own writing experience through Chloe, and if that is the case, there could be someone who inspired this heroine.
      So what are you waiting for? I hope this review has given you enough incentive to run to the library. Another fabulous gem from Carol Wyer that should not be missed.

Meet the author:


As a child, Carol Wyer was always moving and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published and journalism in many magazines.

Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.




Sunday, 7 April 2019

The House at Greenacres - Darcie Boleyn (Blog Tour)

 
Date of Reading: 25/03/2019
Author: Darcie Boleyn
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: March 25, 2019
Source: NetGalley 
My Rating: 3/5
 
About the book:
 
When Holly Morton fled Penhallow Sands nearly a year ago she was determined to put the past - and Rich Turner - behind her. But now an unexpected loss and financial trouble have led her back to the family vineyard and it's time to tell Rich the truth - he's a father.

Surrounded by the memories of what they once shared Holly's anger fades in the glow of Rich's undeniable love for their son and the way he selflessly steps in to help the vineyard out of trouble. As Holly watches Rich flourish in his new role as father to baby Luke, she realises that though they can't change the past, the future is still theirs to write...


An uplifting, emotional romance set in Cornwall perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley
 
My Review:
 
        'The House at Greenacres' is the first book in the Penhallow Sands series and the second of the Boleyn books I am reading. This time we are transported to an idyllic countryside making it one of the perfect summer reads.
        My only complaint with the blub is that it completely gives out the story. There are no surprises or heartbreaking incidents. Instead, we are taken on a journey of self-discovery and life-altering decisions that will make you ruminate a lot. The story follows a dual narrative evoking the views of Holly and Rich and we could not but admire the way Rich comes out his feeling of guilt to be the father his son deserves.
       On the whole, an ideal story concerning family, forgiveness and fresh starts which is perfect for summer days.
 
Meet the author:
 
Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop. 
 
 

Saturday, 6 April 2019

The Time of Our Lives - Portia MacIntosh

Date of Reading: 06/04/2019
Author: Portia MacIntosh
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: April 12, 2019
Source: NetGalley 
My Rating: 5/5

About the book:

Love is in the air…?

Luca is used to being the ‘single one’ at weddings – it happens, when all your other friends are engaged, married or taken. But when she bumps into Tom, her friend from university who broke her heart into a million pieces, she finds herself wondering what could have been.

It’s ten years later, surely she should be over that Tom by now? So why is he looking even more gorgeous than ever – and why doesn’t he seem to be able to keep his eyes off her either?

And as the champagne flows and old secrets resurface, Luca realises that perhaps the time to take a chance on love and life is…now?
 

My Review:

        Have you ever felt that strong emotional pull towards a book after reading the first page? The feeling that you are meant to read this or the book is calling to you? Well, that is exactly what I felt when I randomly clicked open this on my kindle. I was putting it for another day but just thought it better to have quick look. I stopped only at the end and even now, I could feel the story as if I have lived through them all.
        A romance with the structure of a crime thriller is hard to find nowadays and that is what drew me into it from the start. Luca driving alone in the night will have anyone on the edge. What a stunning start to an unputdownable novel! Whoa! don't get me wrong, this is not crime fiction. Well, there is a small crime involved when you think about it, but still, it won't qualify for the genre.
       The entire story unfolds on a wedding day which also gives way to a reunion of six friends who stayed together (I loved the premise. Who could have known so many things can happen on a single day!). Some flashbacks are also there giving us a preview of the group's life together. They are weird, funny and constantly reminded me of my hostel mates. As always, secrets and misunderstandings play their parts and there ensues a cacophony. Ha!
        Don't want to be a spoilsport by giving out the storyline but I hugely recommend you to pick this book. Luca is the perfect narrator; she is our ordinary girl with no serious moral flaws or past regrets. Life just didn't work out for her, but not anymore. I loved the way she resisted Tom's advances instead of swooning over visibly. Every time they come together, I mentally urged her to stick with her decisions and speak up and she did. You go, girl! 
       On the whole, 'The Time of Our Lives' is an emotionally charged, well-crafted novel that will remind you that some friendships last forever.

Meet the author:

Portia MacIntosh has been ‘making stuff up’ for as long as she can remember – or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales.

After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels instead. Bestseller Portia writes hilarious romcoms, drawing on her real-life experiences to show what it’s really like being a woman today – especially one who doesn’t quite have her life together yet.
 
        
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