Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry @FionaGibson #BlogTour #Review @AvonBooksUK

I'm so happy to be one of the stops on the blog tour for The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry. Today you can catch my review but first of all let's take a look at the description for the book...

If you want to move forward, sometimes you have to go back …

Prepare to fall in love with beautiful village of Burley Bridge.

Growing up in a quiet Yorkshire village, Roxanne couldn’t wait to escape and find her place in the world in London. As a high-powered fashion editor she lives a glamorous life of perennial singlehood – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne gets her heart broken by a fashion photographer, she runs away, back to Della’s welcoming home above her bookshop in Burley Bridge.

But Burley Bridge, Roxanne discovers, is even quieter than she remembered. There’s nothing to do, so Roxanne agrees to walk Della’s dog Stanley. It’s on these walks that Roxanne makes a startling discovery: the people who live in Burley Bridge are, well, just people – different from the fashion set she’s used to, but kind and even interesting. Michael, a widower trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into a comforting friendship.

Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent 46 years trying to escape?

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The first part of the book is a great introduction to Roxanne's character and her life in London along with her relationship with Sean. After a disastrous day at work and then a terrible evening (let's be clear on things Dancing Queen is a fab song) events have well and truly spiralled out of control for Roxanne. With her life suddenly changing she finds herself on her way back to Burley Bridge to see her sister Della.

I loved Burley Bridge although I did wonder at first how Roxanne would cope with a more sedate way of life after living in London for so long. Along with seeing how she would react to being so near to her sister and reconnecting with her. I loved seeing Roxanne's personality shine through as the story progresses and she became a more likeable and rounded character. Ellen Berry manages to bring the place to life with her writing along with the people who live there. 

This book is full of charm with a wonderful light and heartwarming feel to it that will certainly put you in a good mood. The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane moves at a lovely pace and is perfect to curl up with and enjoy!

With thanks to Sabah at Avon Books for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

A Time To Change by Callie Langridge #BlogBlitz @clangridgewrite #Review @bombshellpub

Thank you for joining me today on the blog blitz for A Time to Change by Callie Langridge where I'm delighted to be sharing my review. First of all let's take a look at the description for the book...

I would rather love passionately for an hour than benignly for a lifetime.”

In a house full of history and secrets, the past will not stay where it belongs…

Lou has always loved Hill House, the derelict manor on the abandoned land near her home. As a child, the tragic history of its owners, the Mandevilles, inspired her dream to become a history teacher. But in her late twenties, and working in a shop to pay off student debts, life is passing her by.

That changes when a family disaster sends Lou’s life into a downward spiral and she seeks comfort in the ruined corridors of Hill House. The house transforms around her and Lou is transported back to Christmas 1913. Convinced she has been in an accident and is in a coma, Lou immerses herself in her Edwardian dream. With the Mandevilles oblivious to her true identity, Lou becomes their houseguest and befriends the eldest son, Captain Thomas Mandeville, a man she knows is destined to die in the First World War.

Lou feels more at home in the past than the present and when she realises the experience is real she sets out to do everything in her power to save her new friends.

Lou passes between 1913 and 2013, unearthing plots of murder and blackmail, which she must stop no matter the cost.

On her quest to save the Mandevilles by saving Thomas, Lou will face the hardest decision of her life. She will learn that love cannot be separated by a century.

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When we are introduced to Lou she is coasting through life apart from showing a love of history which stems from an interest in Hill House as a child. She is debating her future when she suffers a devastating loss. In her despair she goes to the old house to escape her problems and this is when everything changes. Callie Langridge really sets the scene with some lovely descriptive writing that further drew me in it almost felt as if I was walking around the house myself.

I was absolutely hooked by this story it was a perfect combination for me with history, secrets and a mystery that completely intrigued me and held my attention. I felt for Lou's character and it was so interesting to see her become entwined in the lives of the inhabitants of Hill House. Due to her knowledge of the future she can't help but become invested in trying to change events for the Mandeville's.

I have to say that the plot moves at a wonderful pace and I loved the transition from timelines but of course the past was all the more intriguing. As I got to know the characters I was hoping that Lou would succeed in altering certain events. However I also had questions of what would happen if she did make those changes.

The story flowed really well and I have to admit to loving the time slip/time travel stories. If done well they can create and bring to life a different era and immerse the reader in the past. A Time To Change manages this perfectly with a story that I ended up completely caught up in along with being invested in the characters lives. 

With thanks to Bombshell Books for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Callie was born and brought up in Berkshire. After a brief teenage spell in the depths of Lancashire, she moved back to London.

Having left school at 16, she studied drama before embarking on a career in marketing. This saw her work in music marketing in the heady days of Britpop in the nineties. She unleashed her creativity in the design of window displays and marketing campaigns for the leading music retailer. More recently she has followed her passion for social history and currently works in marketing for a national historical institution, promoting projects and running events.

On hitting her thirtieth birthday, she decided finally to take her A levels and gained A’s in English Literature and Language, and Film Studies – not bad when working full time! – and this spurred her on to take the first of many creative writing course. A few years later and she has had a number of short stories published and plays performed at theatres and venues across London.

Callie lives in London with her long-term partner and an ever-growing collection of antique curiosities.

Author Links

Twitter: @CLangridgeWrite

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove By Holly Martin #BlogBlitz @HollyMAuthor #Review @bookouture

I'm delighted to be joining the blog blitz for Christmas at Mistletoe Cove by Holly Martin and today you can catch my review. First of all let's take a look at the description for the book...

Christmas has arrived at Hope Island, promising snowflakes, surprises and plenty of seasonal joy. So snuggle up and fall in love at Mistletoe Cove …

Growing up on Hope Island, Eden Lancaster always believed that if you wished hard enough for something, dreams really could come true. But Eden’s greatest wish is also her biggest secret: she has been completely in love with her childhood friend, the charming and attractive Dougie Harrison, for as long as she can remember. And he has no idea. 

When Dougie leaves his successful life in New York to return home to Hope Island for good, Eden can’t escape her feelings. Her heart is full of hope that her romantic dreams are finally, at long last, going to come true…

This Christmas could change everything. But can a lifelong friendship really turn into the perfect romance? And will Eden get the happily ever after she’s always wished for?

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove is like a warm hug on a cold winter’s day. The perfect treat this Christmas for fans of Debbie Johnson, Cathy Bramley and Miranda Dickinson.

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I have absolutely adored this series along with it's wonderful set of characters so I couldn't wait to read this last instalment. However I also felt a little sad that it was coming to an end and I have to admit to longing to read Eden and Dougie's story as soon as they were mentioned. Christmas at Mistletoe Cove can be easily classed as a standalone as you get some background information within this story. However you really are missing out on such a wonderfully romantic series so I definitely urge you to start at the beginning.

There is such a playful friendship between Eden and Dougie that just drew me into their story. I loved their interactions and I was smiling away to myself throughout. Dougie is flirty and cheeky which was a perfect combination I think I may have got a little crush on him myself. It makes a lovely change to have a male lead with red hair then couple it with green eyes I think I was swooning a little. They already have a close and tactile friendship but there is also that lovely bit of realism whenever they were together that made things so perfect. Eden is a strong character except when it comes to Dougie after years of loving him but never telling him there is this vulnerability to her that was so endearing.

As ever it was so lovely to catch up with the characters in the previous books who all try to help Eden and Dougie figure everything out. I have to give a special mention to Finn he was hysterical as usual and it always became even funnier when Lucy joined in the conversation. I was half cringing and half giggling, I love them!

There are some lovely themes of friendship, love and family that combines to make a really gorgeous story that pulled me right in. It really is the perfect heartwarming story and guaranteed to bring you a lovely feeling of Christmas cheer! I know for a fact whenever I pick up a book by Holly Martin I will be reading a story with engaging characters that will have you rooting for their happy ever afters. It's a wonderful will they won't they story but the question is will their dreams come true this Christmas?

Holly Martin has a special way of creating stories that seem truly magical and if you are in need of a little bit of Christmas sparkle then look no further!

A beautifully romantic story that is guaranteed to melt your heart!

With thanks to Kim at Bookouture for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books

Author Links:

Friday, 22 September 2017

Broadcast by Liam Brown @liamBrownWriter #BlogTour #Review @Legend_Press

Thank you for joining me today, I'm delighted to be one of the stops on the blog tour for Broadcast by Liam Brown and sharing my review. First of all let's take a look at the description for the book...

The idea behind MindCast is simple. We insert a small chip into your skull and then every thought, every feeling, every memory is streamed live, twenty-four hours a day. Trust me - within a few months you'll be the most talked about person on the planet.

When David Callow is offered the lead role in a revolutionary new online show, he snatches at the opportunity.

Rapidly becoming a viral sensation, David is propelled to stratospheric levels of celebrity. However, he soon realises the downside of sharing every secret with the world.

A prisoner to both his fame and his own thoughts, David seeks to have the chip removed, only to discover the chilling secret lurking at the heart of MindCast, and the terrifying ambition the show's creator has for him.

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With all reality shows that are available to watch it's surely at the back of most minds as to how far will the next one go to get those all important ratings. So it's safe to say I was definitely intrigued by the premise for Broadcast. In this day and age there is an urge to share our lives with the public. With plenty of means available like vlogs and as I said before why not even enter a reality TV show. Broadcast instantly drew me in as we are introduced to the abilities of Mindcast such a simple but genius idea. As with any fame you are surely going to get to experience the darker side eventually. It's a scary thought that people would be able to experience your every emotion and thoughts. I think I was instantly on alert almost wanting to shout a warning out to David. So with this in mind I was very eager to see where this story would go. It was interesting to see David experience this new way of becoming a viral success. He isn't the most likeable character but this just enhances the story as his character develops and becomes a more rounded character as things progress.

The story pulled me along at a fast pace and I pretty much read Broadcast in one go. It was easy to immerse myself in the story and I couldn't wait to see how everything would turn out. Even though there is the Sci-Fi element it is an all too worrying thought that maybe one day this would be possible and who knows what the next big thing will be.

Intriguing, fast paced and tense!

With thanks to Imogen at Legend Press for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Author of REAL MONSTERS (2015), WILD LIFE (2016) and BROADCAST (2017)
Liam Brown is a writer, filmmaker and former-life model. His debut novel Real Monsters was published in 2015 and long-listed for the Guardian’s Not the Booker prize. He lives in Birmingham with his wife and two children.
Author Links

Secrets of the Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell #blogTour #Extract @arevellwalton @arrowpublishing

Thank you for joining me on the blog tour for Secrets of the Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell. I'm delighted to be sharing an extract today but first of all let's take a look at the description for the book...

Sunderland, 1941

As the world war continues the shipyard girls face hardships at home, but work and friendship give them strength to carry on.

Gloria is smitten with her newly arrived bundle of joy, but baby Hope’s first weeks are bittersweet. Hope's father is missing at sea, and with their future as a family so uncertain, Gloria must lean on her girls for support.

Meanwhile, head welder Rosie has turned her back on love to keep her double life secret. But her persistent beau is determined to find out the truth and if he does, it could ruin her.

And there is finally a glimmer of hope for Polly and her family when Bel and Joe fall in love. But it isn’t long before a scandalous revelation threatens to pull them all apart.

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We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we  give.
Winston Churchill


The North Atlantic Ocean
Monday 4 August 1941

Jack Crawford desperately tried to stay  afloat.
But as yet another angry wave of freezing cold sea-  water washed over him, his flailing body was forced back down into the darkened, soundless underworld of the North Atlantic.
Jack fought back and seconds later he managed to battle his way to the surface, but the numbness presently creep- ing up his limbs told him his time was running out. As he gasped for breath, he inhaled salt water and started splut- tering. Choking. With his last ounce of energy he strained his head up to the skies, frantically trying to take in the fresh, pure night air. But his thick tweed trousers felt like lead weights dragging him back down, and, despite hav- ing freed himself of his jacket shortly after being thrown – or rather blasted – into the ocean, even his cotton shirt now felt like it was tailored with  metal.
It might have been Hitler’s Luftwaffe that had caused Jack to be floundering around in a debris-strewn expanse of sea, with planks of wood from the ship’s deck bobbing next to him, and a smattering of lifeless bodies lolling aim- lessly face down on the surface of the water. It might have been their bombs that had successfully sunk the steamship which had been taking him back home to the woman he

loved,  but,  as  Jack  felt  Nature  close   in   –   claiming  him – drawing his body down into the quietness of its watery womb, his eyes  closed.
Jack had lived and worked within a stone’s throw  of the sea his entire life and he loved it with a passion – yet, after a lifetime of adoration, it had turned on him, and like a spurned lover baying for blood, it was trying its utmost to kill  him.
And it was succeeding – slowly but  surely.
As Jack opened his eyes to take one last look at life, he saw a bright, round, yellow light. It was the middle of the night – he was in the middle of nowhere – and, until this moment, the only illumination had come from the starry sky and the waning moon  above.
Jack felt Nature close in – claiming him – drawing his body down into the quietness of its watery womb, his eyes closed.
Jack knew he was  dying.
He felt his body closing down, but as it did so his whole being was flooded with the most comforting warmth, and all around him he could smell a sweetness; like jasmine on a sultry summer’s eve. As his grip on life loosened, the  door of his mind’s eye opened and he was gifted with a wonderful vision – a beautiful, newly born baby girl. Her eyes were still cloyed with sleep, but as Jack stared in awe at this ethereal apparition, the baby’s eyes opened and looked back into his own with unguarded  love.
A ripple of surprise – then recognition – hit Jack, and he smiled, for the wide, grey-blue eyes gazing back at him were a replica of his own.
And it was then he  knew.
He knew who the child  was.
And at that moment Jack’s world went black. And quiet.
And he knew Nature had  won.
Death had come for  him.

Chapter One

The Ford Estate, Sunderland
Three weeks later Wednesday 27 August 1941
‘Happy Birthday to you . . . Happy Birthday to you . . .   ’
Dorothy bent over the crib in the middle of Gloria’s neat front room and sang softly to the baby girl who was snug- gled up on her side, her little thumb just touching her tiny bud-shaped mouth. Hope was sound asleep, her breathing only broken by the occasional  snuffle.
Gloria was putting a tray laden with two cups of tea and a plate of shortbread fingers down on the oblong wooden coffee table. As she sat down on the sofa she pushed her thick, slightly curly, brown hair back behind her ears, and pulled her favourite cardigan around herself. She’d given up trying to convince herself it had shrunk; the fact of the matter was it wasn’t only her waist that  had  expanded with this pregnancy, but just about every other part of her body.
‘Honestly, Dorothy, she’s only two weeks old. It can hardly be classed as a birthday!’ Gloria said, looking at the sugar-speckled shortbread before guiltily taking a piece and dunking it in her  tea.
Dorothy straightened up and put her hands on the  belted waist of her denim overalls that had been pulled in tight to accentuate her tiny waist and womanly hips. She

frowned at Gloria. Her friend. Her workmate. The mother of her goddaughter. She would never have guessed a year ago, when they’d all started working at Thompson’s ship- yard as trainee welders, that it would be Gloria with whom she would form the closest  bond.
‘I swear, Glor, if I said something was black you’d argue it was white.’ She left the side of the crib and went to her holdall and pulled out a small present, which had been neatly wrapped in pink tissue paper and adorned with a white bow on the front. She had purchased the little pres- ent from Risdon’s, which had the reputation for being the best baby shop in town.
Dorothy handed the gift to  Gloria.
‘You open it on Hope’s behalf,’ she   demanded.
Gloria pursed her lips, a  little  embarrassed,  as  she  took the present. ‘You  should  be  saving  your  money,’  she reprimanded her friend. This was so like Dorothy, as frivolous with her money as she was about life. But, she also had a heart of gold. And, more than anything, she was one of the most loyal people Gloria had ever met. Take away all the bluster and showiness and you were actually left with a surprisingly solid and steadfast young woman, someone who would stand by your side, whatever the circumstances.
‘I told you . . . ’ Dorothy sighed dramatically, untying  her headscarf and allowing her raven-coloured hair to tumble untamed around her face and over her shoulders     ‘ . . . when Hope was born, I was going to be the best god- mother ever. That means spoiling her rotten – even if she’s not awake to appreciate it.’ As she spoke, she looked over  at Hope to make sure she had not woken  up.
‘Anyway . . . ’ she continued, ‘I didn’t haul myself all the way over here – from the other side of the town – after an entire  day  spent  welding  the  hull  of  a  great  big  bloody  ship

together – to be told how to spend my hard-earned money!’ Dorothy pulled a comical ‘so there’ pout, sat down, picked up her cup, and took a big slurp of  tea.
Gloria watched Dorothy nestle up in what had been Vinnie’s chair, and smiled to herself. The tatty brown arm- chair had always been her husband’s – or rather, her soon-to-be ex-husband’s. They must have had the wretched thing for almost twenty years: it was probably as old – and definitely as worn out – as their marriage. And during all that time, no one but His Majesty King Vinnie had been able to park their bum in it. Gloria could honestly not remember a single occasion when anyone else had used it. And now, even after she’d finally found the strength to chuck Vinnie out of the marital home at the end of last   year – Gloria could still not bring herself to sit in it. It was almost as if by doing so she would feel him near – and that was the last thing on earth she  wanted.
Gloria’s mind spun back four months, to when Vinnie had called round at the house after work and lost it with her; he’d smashed her so hard in the face it was a fluke her nose had not been broken. She had not seen hide nor hair of him since then and she had the sneaking suspicion that someone had put the frighteners on him. She’d heard through the grapevine that not long after he’d tried to rear- range her face, he had been given a right battering himself. He’d claimed he’d been mugged, but Gloria knew no one with half a brain would bother trying to rob Vinnie – espe- cially after he’d been to the pub. Even if he’d had any money on him in the first place, it would be safely tucked away in the landlord’s coffers by the time it was last orders. Seeing Dorothy sitting there now, drinking her tea, all cosied up and still in her dirty overalls, Gloria was glad she had kept the chair. She would love to see the look on Vinnie’s face if he were to see her workmate – and a woman,

at that – now commandeering his throne. His chair that no one had ever been allowed to use – not even their two grown-up boys. Seeing others sitting on it without a care in the world, especially someone like Dorothy, who, she knew, Vinnie would hate with a passion, gave her a sliver of revenge.
Gloria held her daughter’s birthday present for a moment before carefully tearing the tissue paper to reveal the cutest, smallest brown teddy bear she had ever   seen.
‘Ah, Dorothy, it’s lovely. Thank you. She’s going to love it. Why don’t you give it to her yourself when she wakes up,’ Gloria said, helping herself to another finger of short- bread and taking a big  bite.
Dorothy looked at her friend and laughed, ‘Eee, I see your sugar craving’s not left you  then?’
Gloria popped the rest of the biscuit into her mouth and brushed the crumbs off her skirt. ‘I know. I’ve already used up all my sweet rations. Anyway, I vaguely recall you tell- ing me when I was in labour that you were going to buy  me “the biggest cake ever” once I’d given  birth!’
Dorothy let out a theatrical sigh at the mention of Hope’s birth, when Gloria had gone into labour in the shipyard in the middle of an air raid. It had been one of the most ter- rifying but also most wonderful days in  their  lives.  They’d all run around like headless chickens, with the air raid sirens screaming out their warning for everyone to take cover, and bombs dropping just half a mile away in Fulwell. They hadn’t even had time to get to the yard’s shelter  as  baby  Hope  had  been  determined  to  make  her entrance into the world in the middle of all the pandemonium.
‘God, I think I’ll remember every second of that day for as long as I live!’ Dorothy said, helping herself to a biscuit and casting another look over at  Hope.

‘Same here,’ Gloria agreed, her mind immediately trip- ping back to Hope’s traumatic birth; it still made her feel incredibly emotional thinking of how Dorothy and all the other women welders had risked life and limb to get her to the relative safety of the painters’ shed that had ended up becoming a makeshift delivery  suite.
‘Anyway, come on, tell me the latest gossip from the yard,’ Gloria demanded, pushing away the tears  which had started to prick the backs of her eyes. She was annoyed at herself for being so overly sensitive but it was hard when she remembered Dorothy’s face after she had delivered her goddaughter, and the look of both relief and elation on the rest of the women’s faces.
‘How’s our “little bird” getting along?’ Gloria asked. ‘She still happy working in the drawing  office?’
Hannah had been taken on as a trainee draughtsman   just a few weeks before Hope was born. It had been her saving grace as she really was like a little bird, petite and fragile, and in no way cut out to do any kind of physical work, never mind something as gruelling and back- breaking as welding. They’d all been amazed she’d stuck it out for as long as she had, as she’d struggled from the moment she had first switched on her welding machine, but, much to their amazement, she had continued to slog it out for nearly a year.
Thankfully, Rosie had spotted some drawings that Hannah had done of one of the ships that was waiting to   be launched in the dry dock and had taken it across to Basil, the head draughtsman. He had jumped at the chance of taking Hannah on, as not only were her sketches, in his words, ‘technically brilliant’, but, like just about every- where nowadays, his department was desperately short of workers.
Dorothy’s   eyes   lit   up.   ‘Oh   yes,   more   than     happy.

Apparently Rosie says she’s taken to it like a “duck to water”. She’s even got some colour in her cheeks, quite something for Hannah. I’ve never known anyone with  such translucent skin . . . But, anyway, I digress –’ Dorothy sucked in air for added effect ‘– our little bird has not only got a few roses in her cheeks – but, more importantly, she’s got quite a sparkle in those big brown eyes of   hers.’
Gloria almost choked on her tea. ‘No . . . Hannah? . . . Really? I can’t believe she’d have her head turned by anyone.’
‘Well,’ Dorothy said, grabbing a biscuit from the plate,  ‘it would appear so, or at least Ange and I think  so.’
Gloria chortled, ‘Oh, honestly, you two are terrible. Not everyone’s man-mad you know? I’m surprised either of you ever get any work done the way you’re constantly on the lookout for new talent. Hannah’s not like you two. The poor girl’s probably got a “sparkle in her eye”, as you put  it, because she’s simply cock-a-hoop she’s not having to weld any more.’
Dorothy sat back in her chair. ‘Well, there’s something up. Every time I see this Olly he’s practically glued to Hannah. He’s obviously got the glad eye for   her.’
‘Mm.’ Gloria took a sip of tea and got up to check on baby Hope. ‘Well,  if that is the case, and you and Ange    are right, then you’d better make sure she’s all right. She’s far too young for any kind of shenanigans . . . And I don’t want you and  Angie  encouraging  her.  The  next  thing  we know, she’ll have had her heart broken, or worse still, have gotten herself in the family  way.’
Dorothy spluttered with outraged laughter. ‘God, you’re a right one to talk! . . . Anyway, Glor, “that  girl”  is  the same age as Ange and me. Hannah’s not far off nineteen. She’s a young woman not a  child!’
‘That  may  well  be,’  Gloria  pursued  her  point,      ‘but

she’s different to you two. She’s had a different upbringing. And she’s so naïve. And on top of all of that, she hasn’t got anyone around her – apart from her aunty Rina, who, by the sounds of it, is a lovely woman, but she’s getting on a bit and she’s not very – how can I put it –   worldly-wise?’
All the women knew Hannah had had a sheltered upbringing in her native Prague; that her middle-class Jewish upbringing in Czechoslovakia couldn’t have been more different to being raised in an industrial, working- class town like Sunderland. The only reason she was over here, instead of sat at a desk studying Latin, or learning to play the piano, was that Hitler had decided Hannah’s homeland was to be a part of his Third  Reich.
‘Hannah’s got us,’ Dorothy reassured her friend. ‘Anyway, don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on her – and this lovelorn work colleague of hers.’ Dorothy stood up and noisily put down her teacup, causing Hope to stir. Dorothy smiled; she had succeeded in waking the  baby.
‘Hurrah! She’s woken up . . . wants to see her fairy god- mother,’ Dorothy said as she strode over and picked Hope up out of the cot, cradling her in her arms and   cooing.
Gloria shook her head at Dorothy as she pushed herself out of the sofa. Last week when Dorothy had popped in to see Hope, she’d used similar tactics to wake the   baby.
‘Well now, seeing as we’re all up and awake I’ll make  you some sarnies,’ Gloria said. ‘You must be starving. I know I’d be after a day’s work at the yard. Bring Hope into the kitchen and you can keep telling me all the   news.’
Gloria plodded into her little kitchen, which, as always, was spic and span. Since she had got shot of Vinnie, she had enjoyed keeping her newly built council house pris- tine and well ordered. There wasn’t room in her life for  any more chaos.
‘So, Glor, have you made up your mind when you’re

going to get this little one christened?’ Dorothy asked, fol- lowing behind her with Hope cradled in her   arms.
Gloria sighed. Dorothy had asked her the same question last time she came round. She wasn’t quite sure whether it was because Dorothy genuinely thought her daughter should be baptised, or because it would be a good excuse for a bit of a social – and one where she would be the centre of attention.
‘Not yet,’ Gloria said, slapping two slices of white bread down on the wooden chopping board. ‘So, how’s everyone else doing?’
‘Well . . . ’ Dorothy paused, looking down at Hope and pulling a funny face. The baby’s little clenched hands reached up and tried to grab at some imaginary object in front of her godmother’s face. ‘ . . . Polly’s just got a letter from lover boy, so she’s all  happy.’
‘Oh, that’s good,’ Gloria said, genuinely pleased. Polly’s fiancé, Tommy Watts, who she’d met and fallen  in  love with when he was working as a dock diver at the yard, was now removing limpet mines from the bottom of Allied ships. Being on the list of reserved occupations, Tommy could have stayed at home, but he’d been determined ‘to do his bit’. Gloria couldn’t work out if he was a brave man, or a mad one. Probably both. But regardless, Polly adored the lad, and every time she got a letter from him she’d read it out to them all.
‘He still based in Gibraltar?’ Gloria  asked.
Dorothy nodded. ‘Polly says she can’t see him being moved anywhere else. They can’t risk losing the Rock. If they do they’ll lose control of all shipping in and out of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Then we really will be done for.’
Any talk of the Atlantic or the war being waged on the sea made Gloria anxious. Thoughts of her own two boys, who were also in the Royal Navy, pushed themselves to  the fore, as well as her increasingly desperate worries  about Jack. It had now been three weeks since his ship had gone down and still there’d been no word as to whether or not he had been one of the lucky few to survive.


Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter #BlogTour #Review @OrendaBooks

It's my pleasure to be one of the stops on the blog tour for Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech. Today I'm delighted to be sharing my review but first of all let's take a look at the description for the book..

Long ago my beloved Nanny Eve chose my name. Then one day she stopped calling me it. I try now to remember why, but I just can't.'

Thirty-one-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can't remember everything. She can't remember her ninth year. She can't remember when her insomnia started. And she can't remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria. With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges ... and changes everything. Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide...

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I had heard so many good things about Maria in the Moon so I was eager to start reading and find out for myself. It's going to be hard to put into words how emotional and heartfelt this story is without constantly repeating myself but I will try. I have to admit to being a pretty emotional person, I do after all cry at happy events aswell as sad. However I think most readers will find an emotional attachment to this story that will leave them thinking about the story long after finishing. Well this is true in my case anyway.

Catherine is such an intriguing character and to begin with I didn't quite know what to make of her. She has a down to earth and straight talking personality but also a vulnerability that was such a contrast too. Within the story there is humour which Catherine uses to deflect that made me smile. The way her character has been written is something I can only describe as refreshingly honest she has flaws but this is what made her character so engaging for me. After all don't we all have sides to our personality that may not be to everyone's taste.

Maria in the Moon is a wonderfully descriptive story that well and truly puts the reader into Catherine's life. I was willing her memories back but also dreading the inevitable fallout from the recovery of them. This is the first book that I have read by Louise Beech but it certainly won't be the last. Louise Beech has the ability to write in such a way that the reader feels a part of the story and fully engaged in the characters lives. Catherine especially feels real and flawed and these are often the characters we can relate the most to. The whole pacing of the story is steady and consistent all the way through.

I found myself reading some scenes with tears in my eyes and there is a heartbreaking rawness to Catherine that I couldn't help but become emotionally attached to her. There are some pretty heart wrenching scenes that were tough to read at times. However there is also the hope for survival and to have the chance to start again.  

With thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Louise has always been haunted by the sea, even before she knew the full story of her grandfather, the man who in part inspired novel How to be Brave. She lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – where from her bedroom window she can almost see the waters of the River Humber, an estuary that inspired book, The Mountain in my Shoe.

She remembers sitting as a child in her father’s cross-legged lap while he tried to show her his guitar’s chords. He’s a musician. Her small fingers stumbled and gave up. She was three. His music sheets fascinated her – such strange language that translated into music.
Her mother teaches languages, French and English, so her fluency with words fired Louise’s interest. She knew from being small that she wanted to write, to create, to make magic. She’s inspired by life, history, survival and love, and always has a story in her head.
She loves all forms of writing. Her short stories have won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting twice for the Bridport Prize and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Her first play, Afloat, was performed at Hull Truck Theatre in 2012. She also wrote a ten-year newspaper column for the Hull Daily Mail about being a parent, garnering love/hate criticism, and a one year column called Wholly Matrimony about modern marriage.
Her debut novel, How to be Brave, was released in 2015 and got to No 4 in the Amazon UK Kindle chart, and was a Guardian Readers’ pick for 2015. This novel came from truth – when Louise’s daughter got Type 1 Diabetes she helped her cope by sharing her grandad’s real life sea survival story.
Her second novel, The Mountain in my Shoe, was released in 2016 and was inspired by her time with children in care. It explores what family truly means, and how far we will go for those we love. It longlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize.
Maria in the Moon will be released in 2017.
Author Links

A Justifiable Madness by A.B. Morgan #Review @AliMorgan2304 #BlogBlitz @bloodhoundbook

Can you really tell the difference between madness and sanity?

Mark Randall goes to great lengths to get himself admitted to an acute psychiatric ward and, despite being mute, convinces professionals that he is psychotic. But who is he and why is he so keen to spend time in a psychiatric hospital?

When Mark is admitted, silent and naked, the staff are suspicious about his motives.

Dealing with this, as well as the patients on the ward, Mark’s troubles really begin once he is Sectioned under the Mental Health Act. When decisions about his future are handed to Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Giles Sharman, Mark’s life is about to go from bad to worse.

Drugged, abused and in danger, Mark looks for a way out of this nightmare. But he’s about to learn, proving that you are sane might not be easy as it seems...

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The description for A Justifiable Madness well and truly captured my attention, I had so many questions going into the story. With obviously the main one being - Why would anyone try to get themselves admitted into a psychiatric hospital? I have to admit to being completely curious as to where the story was going to go. To be honest it felt quite refreshing to not really have any clues as to the storyline to begin with. It meant that I could just completely wrap myself in the story from meeting Mark and his antics then being arrested and admitted to the hospital. 

I enjoyed reading the story from the different perspectives, with Monica you can see she is trying to do her job and also how she can't quite figure Mark out. The conversations between Monica and Emma are lively and they added a lightness to their environment and working life. Then you have Mark and I loved his inner dialogue as he begins his time on the ward mute so you get to hear his true thoughts. He is a determined character that I couldn't help but like.

Then we are introduced to Dr Sharman and that is when events really unravel I would hate to ruin the story so no spoilers from me. I found the story subtle as in that there was tension but it was more underlying and not full on. I actually liked this pace it fit in really well with the storyline even though it isn't a highly tension filled story the pacing was brilliant and in no time at all I had reached the end. I enjoyed the clever plot and it definitely made me think about the whole subject of psychiatry from diagnosis through to the treatment. A Justifiable Madness is part thriller, drama and suspense all rolled into one making a fantastic combination.

An intriguing and different story!

With thanks to Bloodhound Books for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Married to an overgrown child with a beard and too many motorbikes, Alison Morgan lives in a corner of a field in North Bedfordshire and is making the most of a mid-life crisis. The Morgans are determined not to grow old gracefully or to be seen wearing beige and can be found exploring life through a love of live music, anything with an engine, the sea, mountains, rugby, proper pubs and fascinating people.

Alison has worked for the NHS for nearly thirty years, twenty of those within mental health services, at the front line, where she eventually became the manager of a countywide community service for people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. Much to her frustration, her heart decided to develop an electrical fault, which forced her to sit down for more than five minutes, and her career temporarily juddered to a halt. Not one for thumb twiddling, she took up position in front of a computer with a plan to write a set of clinical guidelines for assessment of psychosis, but instead a story, which had been lurking in her mind for several years, came tumbling out.

With her health steadily improving thanks to the staff at Papworth Hospital, Alison hopes to return to nursing part-time, but is determined to keep writing fiction. Her debut novel AJustifiable Madness is inspired by her life and career as a psychiatric nurse, and her fascination with the extremes of human behaviour. Her second novel, Divine Poison, also published by Bloodhound books is due for release in January 2018.


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