Saturday, 3 December 2022

Christmas comp x1 bookmark

The competition is for ONE of the three bookmarks shown. 1 - snowman 2. snowflake 3. stocking.

The competition is open worldwide.

It will run for one week only as so many postal strikes and ideally we want the bookmark to get to the winner asap. Please comment which bookmark you would choose should you win.

Good Luck all, use the Rafflecopter below to enter. As usual the more entries you complete the more chances you have xxx

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 1 December 2022

A Mother's Christmas Wish by Glenda Young

Today is my stop on the blog tour for A Mother's Christmas Wish by Glenda Young, for my stop I have my review, non spoiler as always, enjoy.

About the author:

Glenda Young credits her local library in the village of Ryhope, where she grew up, for giving her a love of books. She still lives close by in Sunderland and often gets her ideas for her stories on long bike rides along the coast. A life-long fan of Coronation Street, she runs two hugely popular fan websites.

Social Media Links

For updates on what Glenda is working on, visit her website and to find out more find her on Facebook/GlendaYoungAuthor and Twitter @flaming_nora.

Buy links for the book (out now) Amazon UK click HERE or Amazon US click HERE.

A Mother's Christmas WishA Mother's Christmas Wish by Glenda Young
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 401

Publisher - Headline

Source - Review book

Blurb from Back cover

"I hope this Christmas is better than last year's."

Following a scandalous affair, wayward Emma Devaney is sent in disgrace from her home in Ireland to Ryhope, where she will live with her widowed aunt, Bessie Brogan, and help run her pub. Bessie is kind but firm, and at first Emma rebels against her lack of freedom. Struggling to fit in, she turns to the wrong person for comfort, and becomes pregnant.

Accepting she must embrace her new life for the sake of her baby, Emma pours her energy into making the pub thrive and helping heal the fractured relationship between Bessie and her daughters. She catches the attention of Robert, a gruff but sincere farmer, who means to win her heart.

As December approaches, thankful for the home and acceptance she's found, Emma is determined to bring not just her family, but the whole Ryhope community, together to celebrate - and to make one very special mother's Christmas dreams come true.

My Review

Set in 1923 lordy lord Emma is a bit of a riot, totally wild. Living in a small town with her mum (her dad ran off a while back causing local tongues wagging), a proud lady Emma does one of the worst things ever. Not only caught frolicking in a secret relationship but the person ooft huge scandal. Shipped off to her aunt even her trip and arrival there is shocking and sets tongues wagging. She is not like a lady of her time, she has fire, attitude and a longing for adventure!

The book covers a lot of issues and I have to be honest I wasn't a huge Emma fan to begin with. Knowing she left her mum and village in a scandal you think she would be super set on making a good impression and wow is her entrance to her aunts anything but. That being said I think the author did a pretty good job because we seem her go on a pretty big personal journey. She still remains spikey and noones doormat however she is very focused on family and doing the right thing.

The book has some shady characters, people taking advantage, people struggling with grief, family troubles, money troubles but it also deals with community, love, redemption, health, friendship. I loved Bessie and I think she stole the show, despite Emma being the forefront main character I felt Bessie was right up there with her, she is such a good egg. Very unjudgmental, warm, mothering, supportive but also stubborn and doesn't suffer fools. It was nice to see strong women for the time period and doing things like running a bar, dealing with the things that come with it. Emma really shone in parts too, being sent there by her mum was the making of them all and I loved the family themes that ran strongly throughout. This was my first book by Young, it won't be my last. Emotive, moving, engaging and characters you either love or hate, 4.5/5 for me!

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Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Amazon Voucher x1 £5 Comp now live

It is nice to bring Princess Trixie, the original blogger *helper* for our giveaway post.

Up for grabs is x1 £5 Amazon Voucher. UK only as Amazon does not allow me to gift outside my own country. Don't worry we will be having another giveaway open to all but this is UK ONLY.

Working with Luna is always eventful, she is either super cute and pliable or full of beans. Today she was bouncing all over the couch.

Sometimes she is really good, others well lets just say it takes more than a few takes lmao.

Or more than a few :P

But we get there in the end.

To enter, as always, use the Rafflecopter, the more entries you complete the more chances you have.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vile Stars by Sera Milano

Vile StarsVile Stars by Sera Milano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 384

Publisher - Electric Monkey

Source - Vine & then bought copy

Blurb from Goodreads


This is a different kind of love story.

17-year-old Luka isn't looking for love. She's trying to piece her life back together after a heartbreaking loss. But when she meets the gorgeous and charismatic Cosmo under a meteor shower at the Greenwich Observatory, it feels like destiny has played a hand. Surely theirs is a love written in the stars.

But Cosmo isn't what he seems, using Luka's love for him to slowly take control of her life. As the pandemic starts to make headlines and lockdown sets in, she is trapped emotionally and physically in a coercive relationship. Luka's friends and brother can see what's happening, but struggle to reach her. Something will have to be sacrificed so Luka can set herself free - but what will be left of her when she does?

Luka's story is told from many points of view: through her letters, and through the voices of her brother, Alec, his boyfriend Theo and Luka's best friend, Roisin. Each of them holds a fragment of the story - it's time to put it all together.

My Review

I don't know what I was expecting with this one, when I first got it and seen the trigger warnings I was looking after my dad so put it aside. The parental loss isn't a huge central theme but relevant to the characters and there are many emotive issues. The characters are young, taking exams age and a tight group, best friends Luka (main character) & Roisin, Luka's brother Alec and his boyfriend Theo. Luka and Alec lost their mother & live with their step dad and wee sister, Cosmo is lost, writing letters to her mum and leaving them at the grave. Enter Cosmo, a chance encounter and he sweeps Luka off her feet and that folks is when everything starts to change and become dark.

So I think this may be my first book with pronouns and a trans character and whilst Luka is central Theo and the issues surrounding them is hugely important and relevant. Cosmo is a piece of work, I haven't loathed a character like this in a while. Luka is in the flows of grief and dealing with loss, heartache and trying to find herself so when Cosmo comes along we see red flags and vile traits that Luka is blinded to.

Despite the characters being young the amount of adult themes and issues are relatable across the board. The toxicity of the relationship was really uncomfortable to read but so important and well done, homophobia, transphobic, isolation, coercion and you have friendships, relationships, grief, loss, coping or rather trying to.

This is my first time reading this author, I will absolutely check out their other works, 4/5 for me.

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Sunday, 27 November 2022

Light as a Feather by Zoe Aarsen

Light as a Feather (Light as a Feather, #1)Light as a Feather by Zoe Aarsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days

Pages - 385

Publisher -

Source - I think this was a competition win


Riverdale meets Final Destination in this fast-paced and deliciously creepy novel about an innocent game that turns deadly at a high school sleepover.

It was supposed to be a game…

Junior year is shaping up to be the best of McKenna Brady’s life. After a transformative summer, McKenna is welcomed into the elite group of popular girls at Weeping Willow High, led by the gorgeous Olivia Richmond. For the first time in a long time, things are looking up.

But everything changes the night of Olivia’s Sweet Sixteen sleepover. Violet, the mysterious new girl in town, suggests the girls play a game during which Violet makes up elaborate, creepily specific stories about the violent ways the friends will die. Though it unsettles McKenna, it all seems harmless at the time.

Until a week later, when Olivia dies…exactly as Violet predicted.

As Violet rises to popularity and steps into the life Olivia left unfinished, McKenna becomes convinced Olivia’s death wasn’t just a coincidence, especially when a ghost haunting her bedroom keeps leaving clues that point to Violet. With the help of her cute neighbor, Trey, McKenna pledges to get to the bottom of Violet’s secrets and true intentions before it’s too late. Because it’s only a matter of time before more lives are lost.

My Review

So how many times when you were younger did you engage in games at a stay over? For us we used to play spirits, in this book it is almost like that but huge vibes from The Craft movie. The girls are a mixed bunch Olivia is the popular girl, money, location, beauty, McKenna has kind of just made it back into the fold and new girl who is quite quiet/reserved Violet has also just made it in. The game is simple, one lies on the ground, the others around, fingers underneath and someone, Violet, leads and tells them one by one in graphic detail a story about how they will die. Spooky and creepy but it is just a game right? Until one of the stories comes true, lots of questions, was it a coincidence, did Violet somehow know? Is the rest of the stories going to happen?

So this is absolutely young adult, teen with horror type vibes going through. So there is a lot of the angst and issues that are important to the youngsters, having a date for prom, getting judged for not, mean girl vibes within the popular clique and then the spooky story/game. McKenna has the cute guy next door neighbour but he is thought to be weird so much as McKenna does like him their friendship is under the radar.

The book is a little bit all over the place as we have McKenna liking the brother of cool girl Olivia, the secret friendship with mchottie next door. Then the turn of the supernatural now I loved that and you would absolutely be diving into where did she actually come from, whats her history, how did this happen, how can her story be so close to what happens. I did love that, some of the bitchy and teen behaviour/choices did annoy me but I think it reflects of the age group of those involved (for the most part to be fair).

I wasn't a huge lover of how we rounded up and I get that there are more books in the series so the need for it and I will most likely read them because I am nosey and want to know. Some bits riveting, some were just ok and I was annoyed at a few bits but the book kept me engaged a good bit. Apparently there is a tv show too so think I will have a nosey at that, absolutely going to rewatch the craft movie, 3.5/5 for me.

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Sunday, 20 November 2022

Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino

Silent Parade (Detective Galileo, #4)Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Abacus

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Detective Galileo, Keigo Higashino’s best loved character from The Devotion of Suspect X, returns in a complex and challenging mystery—several murders, decades apart, with no solid evidence.

A popular young girl disappears without a trace, her skeletal remains discovered three years later in the ashes of a burned out house. There’s a suspect and compelling circumstantial evidence of his guilt, but no concrete proof. When he isn’t indicted, he returns to mock the girl’s family. And this isn’t the first time he’s been suspected of the murder of a young girl, nearly twenty years ago he was tried and released due to lack of evidence. Chief Inspector Kusanagi of the Homicide Division of the Tokyo Police worked both cases.

The neighborhood in which the murdered girl lived is famous for an annual street festival, featuring a parade with entries from around Tokyo and Japan. During the parade, the suspected killer dies unexpectedly. His death is suspiciously convenient but the people with all the best motives have rock solid alibis. CI Kusanagi turns once again to his college friend, Physics professor and occasional police consultant Manabu Yukawa, known as Detective Galileo, to help solve the string of impossible to prove murders.

My Review

So this is book four in a series, I haven't read the others and started here, I think reading the earlier books may well have given me a bit more connection to the characters. Imagine your beloved daughter going missing and her remains found a few years later in a house fire. Everyone knows the killer and their guilty but they get off because of evidence issues. What is worse is it isn't the first time he has been connected to something like this and also went free then. If all of that isn't bad enough the arrogance of the killer to be around and taunt the family with his presence.

So the book splits a bit, we have the family of the victim, hard working, family orientated and very loved in their community. The police investigated, the guy visiting the family at their workplace and just being a very smart but lacking any kind of morality, hate him! A big festival happens locally and what do you know the bad guy dies under suspicious circumstances. The police are looking into it and with his connection to the local girls death the suspects are plentiful.

It is a busy book and I liked the professor helping out with the investigation, unofficially of course. There are a fair few players and despite us jumping around them it wasn't overly difficult to follow. I liked it I didn't love it, not sure if that would have changed had I read the earlier books. This was my first time reading this author, I would read them again, 3/5 for me this time.

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Friday, 18 November 2022

The Poison Machine by Robert J Lloyd Blog Tour

Today is my stop, closing the blog tour for "The Poison Machine" by Robert J Lloyd.

The book is available to buy now, treebook and ebook, click HERE for the link to Amazon.

About the Author: (from Amazon)

I grew up in the London suburbs, south of the river, and then in Sheffield.

At school I wanted to be an artist, thinking I was going to be the next great English painter. I did a BA degree in Fine Art, in Coventry, but moved more into art theory, ideas, and writing.

My MA thesis was on Robert Hooke and the ‘New Philosophy’, detailing his work as Curator of Experiments of the Royal Society, and as architect of the new London after the Fire. The ideas and characters I came across when researching him stayed with me; years of tinkering resulted in The Bloodless Boy and its sequel The Clockwork Assassins.

I'm represented by Gaia Banks at Sheil Land Associates literary agency. Many thanks are due to Gaia, who has championed both books with an astonishing energy and attention to detail.

I'm married, with three splendid children and a very lovely wife, and I live in the Brecon Beacons.

Follow me on Twitter as @robjlloyd.

On Facebook, I'm Robert J Lloyd.

I would love to hear from you if you've read all - or part - of the books. Reviews would be very welcome, too!

The Poison Machine (Hunt & Hooke, #2)The Poison Machine by Robert J. Lloyd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 6 days

Pages - 464

Publisher - Melville House

Source - Arc

Blurb from Goodreads

Harry Hunt must go to Paris in search of a spy and imposter who has knowledge of a plot to kill the Queen of England in this thrilling and addictive sequel to The Bloodless Boy.

1679. A year has passed since the sensational attempt to murder King Charles II. London is still inflamed by fears of Catholic plots. Harry Hunt—estranged from his mentor Robert Hooke and no longer employed by the Royal Society—meets Sir Jonas Moore, the King’s Surveyor-General of the Board of Ordnance, in the remote and windswept marshes of Norfolk. There, workers draining the fenland have uncovered a skeleton.

Accompanied by his friend Colonel Fields, an old soldier for Parliament, and Hooke’s niece, Grace, Harry confirms Sir Jonas’s suspicion: the body is that of a dwarf, Captain Jeffrey Hudson, once famously given to Queen Henrietta Maria in a pie. During the Civil Wars, Hudson accompanied the Queen to France to sell the Royal Jewels to fund her husband’s army. He was sent home in disgrace after shooting a man in a duel.

But nobody knew Hudson was dead. Another man, working as a spy, has lived as him since his murder. Now, this impostor has disappeared, taking vital information with him. Sir Jonas orders Harry to find him.

With the help of clues left in a book, a flying man, and a crossdressing swordswoman, Harry’s search takes him to Paris, another city bedeviled by conspiracies and intrigues. He navigates its salons and libraries, and learns of a terrible plot against the current Queen of England, Catherine of Bragan├ža, and her gathering of Catholics in London. Assassins plan to poison them all.

My Review

This is book two in a series, you can absolutely read this as a standalone however there is backstory and happenings from books one that I think would enrich reading this so go get that book first! We are back with Harry, after an embarrassing encounter he is now away from his mentor and beloved society on a private case. His friend (previous soldier) and the lovely Grace will be accompanying him on their investigation, a body has been discovered, identity in question and a possible imposter to check out. Harry has his hands full and that is before getting onto tracking down a disappearance, there are murderers around, skullduggery and a plot afoot to take down the queen.

So first thing I am going to say historical fiction was never a first pick for me and plots that involve any kind of royalty doesn't tend to be a first pick for me. I read and really enjoyed the first book so was happy to read book two and see what is in store for Harry and co.

Harry is a very human character, he gets embarrassed, he knee jerk reacts but he is basically a decent guy and dedicated to his task(s) but he really makes some questionable decisions.

I do like reading about meetings/mentions of actual historical figures/times and meeting characters with relatable issues. For example Harry, he is a smart bloke but because he gets embarrassed he ends up going off on a different direction/job choice because of the slight he received. Or how he interacts with women and remains completely oblivious of his words/lack of actions when around or in relation to the woman he has long held a torch for.

The book has different story paths and we go along with Harry on his as well as getting insight into the shady bad guys and their dastardly plans, murder/robbery and darker still. King, Queen and all manners of important people are throughout the book as well as a stint in one of the jails, ooft I really felt for the person at that point. The author really paints a vivid picture of the horrific conditions and depending on your imagination, quite boak worthy.

I like Harry although not all his choices and I did feel for him quite a few times throughout the book, Grace too. I love how strong a character she is as often women in those time periods can be very wallflowerish, family/home orientated, focused only on a husband and being seen and not heard type. That isn't Grace nor a few of the females we come across in this one to be honest, I am all for it. 4/5 for me this time and I hope Lloyd is planning of bringing more out. As I said historical isn't my first pick by any stretch of the imagination although I have found myself reading a wee bit more of them as I get older however none of them are quite like these!

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