Blog Tour: A Dangerous Game by Madeline Dyer {Review}

Dangerous Game Banner

Today is my stop on the A Dangerous Game by Madeline Dyer blog tour.

Blurb…

LOVE WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE EASY.

All her life, Keelie Lin-Sykes has known what she wants: to protect her brother and sisters by killing as many of the soulless Enhanced Ones as she can. Oh, and to have fun while she’s doing it. After all, hiding in a secret Untamed community, while the group’s Seer warns them of danger, shouldn’t mean that life can only be serious, right?

But, when a face from her past suddenly—and secretly—shows up, Keelie’s catapulted back into the very world she’s been trying to escape from for the last ten years: a world full of guilt, lies, and…love. And the deeper Keelie gets into this world, the bigger the risks become.

Now, Keelie must deceive those she values most in order to protect them, even though her actions will destroy everything she knows and haunt her family forever. But she can’t ignore her feelings–not again. And Keelie will do anything to be with the man she loves.

Review…

Admittedly I have not read any of Madeline’s Untamed series books. I was a bit worried I would have had to have read them to fully understand the world that A Dangerous Game was set it. A Dangerous Game is a standalone and you don’t need to have read the other books. However, while the story is perfectly readable as a standalone, I did get the feeling that there was more to it which may be remedied by reading the other books.

Either way I will be more than happy to pick up the Untamed series as I really enjoyed A Dangerous Game. I enjoyed the characters but mostly I loved the world in which is was set. I really liked how things came together not just with the Enchanted and Untamed but with the element of the Spirits as well and Seers. The world has a lot of depth and I am really looking forward to exploring this in more detail.

I really like Madelines writing style it all flows very naturally and she has the ability to make you want to keep turning the pages. The ending surprised me quite a lot and I really liked that. I love it when a book isn’t predictable and the end comes as a surprise.

All in all I would give A Dangerous Game a very well deserved 4.5 stars (my first ever half star!).

Thanks for reading. To find out more about Madeline and her books you can do so on my previous post <here>

Emma-Louise x

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Blog Tour: The Eden Paradox by Barry Kirwan {Guest Post}

Today I have a Guest Post for you from the author of The Eden Paradox, Barry Kirwan.

Blurb…

A murder… a new planet mankind desperately needs… a thousand-year old conspiracy… What really awaits us on Eden? In a world beset by political turmoil, environmental collapse, and a predatory new religion, a recently discovered planet, Eden, is our last hope. But two missions have failed to return. Blake Alexander and his crew lead the final attempt to bring back good news. Meanwhile back on Earth, Micah Sanderson evades assassins, and tries to work out who he can trust as he struggles in a race against time to unravel the Eden Paradox.

Extract…

Why I wrote the Eden Paradox

I’ve always loved Science Fiction. When I moved to Paris, I joined a writers group as a way to meet people and make friends. I got caught up in a short story which featured a four-person crew landing on Eden, the first habitable planet we could get to, and managing to upset an indigenous alien species they didn’t even know was there, and promptly getting killed in the process. I took it to a workshop in Paris, run by Michael C Curtis (fiction editor of Atlantic Fiction). Most of the twelve participants hated the story with a vengeance, e.g. this is the worst first line ever written. Michael noted that although they hated the story, they talked about the characters as if they were real people they knew. Keep the characters, he said, and change the story. So that’s what I did.

I read up on Fermi’s paradox – why, if there are logically many habitable planets in the galaxy, haven’t we encountered serious evidence of extra-terrestrial visitors? There are several obvious answers – the galaxy is really vast, so nobody’s found us yet; they found us but we’re not interesting; the galaxy is very old, and civilisations may have come and gone and we might be in a ‘dead patch’; etc. So, to me, there were four questions framing my story:

1. Why haven’t we met alien life yet?
2. When we do, will aliens be friendly or hostile?
3. Will they be smarter than us?
4. Will we survive the experience?

I figured, what if there is civilisation, but it is very far away. What are the chances they are friendly? And if they’re not friendly, could we puny humans do them any damage? Well, yes, I thought, because the laws of physics suggest that nuclear weapons and possibly nanotech invasion would be nasty for most (corporeal) organisms, no matter how far advanced. So, how would they avoid these defences if they wanted to invade? Inside help, I thought, and there I had the makings of a story which has ended up a trilogy in four parts (okay, so it is a tetralogy, or quadrology if you prefer).

As I worked on it, and particularly as I got into the second book, I got more and more interested in alien intelligence, how different and more advanced it could be – not easy to conceptualise, obviously, but worth some effort. Why would it be more advanced? Well, if you think about galactic timescales and travelling distances, and times for any alien society to rise, mature, stagnate and fall, chances are good that there will be species some millions of years ahead of us on the evolutionary scale. So, Star Trek, where humans are pretty much top dog, is a nice idea, but, statistically speaking, unlikely.

The Eden Saga isn’t just about aliens and space ships; far from it. It’s about humanity, and what could happen if we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a far superior civilisation – would we cope? Could we adapt fast enough? To me these are important questions, because the answers reveal things about ourselves, and because one day, as we see further into the galaxy, we’ll find something, or more likely something will find us. Then it won’t be fiction anymore. I believe we should think ahead…

So, the answers to the four questions, according to the series, are:

1. We already have, a long time ago, and they’re due back
2. Mainly hostile or at best utilitarian; altruism is not that common an alien value
3. Mostly, some by a long way
4. Well, for this one, you have to read the series…

In the first book, the Eden Paradox, we find out that aliens visited us a thousand years ago, and are coming back, and that they left one or two behind to mind the store. The fate of humanity rests in the hands of two men, Micah on Earth, and Blake on Eden, the nearest habitable world, but they only have a short time to figure it all out before the aliens arrive.

People have said The Eden Paradox is not like normal science fiction, that it is more like a thriller set in the near future. Personally, I hope it remains fiction for a very long time, and that we can hide under the galactic radar for another few centuries before advanced aliens come a-knocking.

Book links…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13054426-the-eden-paradox?ac=1&from_search=true
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0982369840/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

Author links:

Website: http://www.barrykirwan.com
Blog: blog.barrykirwan.com
Twitter: @Eden_paradox
Facebook: https://facebook.com/EdenParadox

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

Book Tour: Joshua N’Gon by Anthony Hewitt

prince

Today I have an excerpt for you from the novel Joshua N’Gon Last Prince of Alkebulahn by Anthony Hewitt as part of the blog tour hosted by Neverland Book Tours.

Blurb…

Joshua N’Gon is a Fourteen year old foster child from Africa. He has grown up in a loving home in north London and for all intents and purposes he was an ordinary teenager. The reality though could not be further from the truth. Joshua is a mystery wrapped up in an enigma and he is beginning to understand he has a destiny that is far beyond what he could ever have imagined.

On his tenth birthday he receives a mysterious package from his birth parents. He is given articles of technology that even his young mind realized were so far beyond what he knew and understood that they were almost magical. Joshua straps on a tribal hierloom of obvious alien origin – a miraculous multi-tool he calls his RCT– Real Cool Tool that bonds with his arm and is irremovable. And so begin his physical changes too, the headaches, the flashes of genius, the visions and the amnesia.

With his friends Brick and Mina they slowly help him to unravel the mystery of who he is. In the meantime dark corporate forces are gathering in the horizon as Joshua’s talents and his interest in finding his family has piqued the curiosity of powerful people. Soon as his life and the life of those he loves are threatened he must come to grips with his gifts and the miraculous alien technology that founded his people.

Excerpt…

17 Asimov Street, Wharnton Estate

Kenneth pushed the white checker on the board with a self-confident flick of his index finger and looked up at Joshua with his game face on, his spinning checker settling on a white square. Joshua nodded and moved his black checker diagonally. A cunning smile unraveled on Kenneth’s lips. He jumped three of Joshua’s players, destroying any chance of his brother saving face in this impromptu draught game.

Kenneth leaned back in his chair and shook his head.

“For someone as smart as you bruv, your rubbish at Checkers.”

Joshua shrugged.

“Dad was good at it. He said he used to play it in Jamaica a lot as a kid.”

“You’re not Dad, champ. Take my word for it.” Kenneth grinned.

“I can’t be good at everything, bro. What are you going to be good at if I keep winning?” Joshua quipped.

Kenneth glared at him and shook his head

Joshua chuckled.

“Chillax bro, I didn’t make you win. You did that fair and square.”

Kenneth eyed him appraisingly, gauging his truthfulness then brightened.

“One more game?”

“Nah, got some school work to do.”

Kenneth leaned back in his chair. It creaked.

“You’re on holiday, and they still have you on a leash. They not teaching you how to survive in the big bad world are they. They want you to be a follower. School is a waste of time, man.”

“Don’t let Mum, hear you saying that,” Josh said. “She believes we never should stop learning.”

Kenneth’s laugh sounded like a sarcastic bark.

“Mom wants you to go through this school ting. Me, on the other hand, had plans for my life from day one.” Kenneth became more animated; it was obviously a passionate issue with him. “Dad wanted me to get a trade too, and I think they knew before I even knew college wasn’t my route. They left that for you.”

Joshua sighed.

“Why do you always make it seem like Mum is against you and for me.”

“It’s true though,” Kenneth said. “Ever since you came on the scene, the baby gets it all.”

“That’s not fair, man. Mom and Dad treat us both the same.” Joshua protested.

Kenneth sat up a bit straighter.

“You know what I can’t help thinking sometimes? What it would be like to be an only child, living in a house with no secrets. Would Dad be still here and not in prison?”

Joshua’s eyes blazed.

He stood up from his chair and loomed over his big brother, his nose flaring, his lips pulled back as he forced the words through his lips.

“You keep talking like that, and we may need to have words outside.”

Kenneth knew more than anyone that Joshua would do anything in his power to have Fredrick home and to believe otherwise was like spitting in his face.

“Is that a good idea bruv? I’m nineteen.” Kenneth said evenly.

“It won’t matter.” Josh’s voice deepened.

Both boy’s eyes met and locked.

Kenneth felt his brothers anger and felt his cheeks warm at the memory of being beaten by Josh when he was seventeen.

He may have pushed him too far.

“It stings, doesn’t it?” Kenneth asked, looking away from him. “The truth I mean.”

Joshua points to his brother’s head with an accusing finger.

“What’s wrong up here bruv. Always talking but saying nothing.”

“I’ve got eyes little step brother. I’m not stupid; you were different even as a baby and even then, I wasn’t important enough to be told everything.”

“Yeah, I know my story, so what?” Joshua said. “You were young, what did you expect them to say.”

“I couldn’t put my finger on it as a kid but growing up I saw it. And the funny thing is Mom and Dad still kept me in the dark.”

“How do you explain something you don’t understand yourself?” Joshua asked.

“They whisper about your gifts, your family, your friends,” Kenneth said.

“Not secrets,” Joshua corrected. “Mysteries.”

“You saying I know everything I need to know about you?” Kenneth asked.

Joshua nodded.

“Do I know everything about you, Kenneth? Tell me that. We all have secrets.”

“Maybe I felt, I wasn’t the focus of attention again. I had been replaced by this strange kid who could walk and speak at ten months.”

Joshua shook his head.

“You don’t get it, do you. When you were stressing about me, I wanted to be you.”

“Me?” Kenneth asked shocked.

“Yeah. How many times do you have to explain who you are to your friends?” Joshua’s voice raised a pitch. “How many times?”

Joshua’s smile was sardonic.

“Your name is Taylor; Dad’s name is Taylor and so is Mom. What am I? N’Gon.”

Kenneth nodded.

Joshua kept going.

“I have to be constantly fronting about my birth parents. Now it’s out there, that I’m a foster kid, I have to deal with all the crap that comes with it.”

Kenneth was quite for a while then said.

“I didn’t look at it like that.” He said somberly.

“Why should you.” Joshua said, “It didn’t affect you bruv. I had to deal with the bullying and rumors.”

“What rumors?” Kenneth asked.

“You know.” Joshua snapped. “The same ones you heard and maybe even helped spread.”

“Me!” Kenneth spat.

“You want to get real, brov. Let’s get real.” Joshua snapped

“You think I’d do that?” Kenneth asked.

“I dunno would you? Feeling like a G with the bangers on the estate could be easier than sticking up for your brother.”

“I didn’t spread any rumors. I just heard the stories. What could I do?” Kenneth asked.

“What did you do? Did you back my corner? Nah, you started believing that I had something to do with Dad betting banged up.”

“It wasn’t like that. I just didn’t know what to believe, what to think.”

“I’ll tell you. Mum’s got threatened, Dad took justice in his own hands, things got out of hand, and some of the gang got hurt.”

“You were seen.” Kenneth insisted.

“By How High Hughie, really?” Joshua asked. “You taking the word of a bre whose always drunk over mine. Family sticks together, man. Mum and Dad taught us that.”

Kenneth nodded, solemnly.

“Ok, ok the things they were saying were bonkers, and I should have stood up against them.”

“I would for you,” Joshua said

Josh stood up, turned away and headed out of the kitchen.

“Hey, Josh!” Kenneth called after him.

Joshua stopped and looked back.

“The next time you call me out, I’m going to take you up on the offer. Then we will see who can take who.”

Both boys grinned.

“Yeah, we’ll see, fam, we will see,” Joshua said.

Joshua NGon Last Prince of Alkebulahn by Anthony Hewitt

Links…

Book website: www.thelastprince.co.uk

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36222715-joshua-n-gon?ac=1&from_search=true

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0956266010/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

Book Tour: Disturbing Works by Jon Richter {Review}


Today I have a review for you of the Jon Richter book Disturbing Works.

Blurb…

The first volume of my Disturbing Works is a collection of twelve twisted tales perfect for people who like their stories dark, despicable, and deeply unsettling.  Containing fantasy, sci-fi, dark humour and a lot of deliciously nasty horror, it should have something for every reader that has a sinister side and nerves of steel…

Review..

Disturbing Works is made up of small short stories and I have to say I really enjoyed them. 

I loved the darkness to each one and how it differed from the next. All 12 were completely unique and could quite easily stand up against a full length novel. 

Richter’s words flow naturally and he has an amazing ability to create tension and suspense along with a side of dread. 

I would absolutely recommend this to any thriller or horror lover and would give this book 5 stars. 

This chilling volume is available now for your Kindle or eReader at www.amazon.co.uk.

Thanks for reading. 

Emma-Louise x

Author Guest Post: Liz Taylorson

Today I have a Guest Post from Author of The Little Church by the Sea, Liz Taylorson. Liz talks to us about Inspiration. 

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Inspired by …

Many authors draw inspiration from the view outside their study window. The rolling hills of the Cotswolds, perhaps, the Lakeland fells or a windswept Scottish beach … Ah, smell that sea air, how could anyone fail to be inspired?

The view from my desk is rather more suburban. I can see a wide patch of tarmac intended for turning vehicles but mostly used as a handy little car park by the neighbours, and a road beyond it. It’s not an exciting road, it’s a small hill that goes up towards the railway station. The most exciting things about it are the blossom trees in the spring and watching cars slide down it in the snow.

However I still spend an inordinate amount of time looking out of my window when I should be working … So other than gazing out of the window, where do I get my inspiration?

When it came to writing my first novel, the first thing I did was make a list. I love lists and pretty notebooks to write them in and I knew I wanted my story to have a wintery setting – I wanted the bleakness of the seaside in winter and I wanted the prettiness of Christmas, frost and snow. So I listed all the things that inspired me about winter – the contrast of dark nights and pretty lights, frost on the windows and flames in the hearth, holly and ivy hanging against a wood panelled wall and silver candlesticks. I listed half remembered childhood customs, songs and stories. And then I tried to imagine the kind of place I could set a story that included all these elements.

Then I came across a door. A picture of a door, in fact, an old wooden door belonging to a tiny cottage in Robin Hood’s Bay, a fishing village not far from Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast. It had a beautiful old door-knocker and a Christmas wreath hanging on it. It would be just the kind of place for wood panelled walls, silver candlesticks, mulled wine and mistletoe, but what kind of things might happen in a cottage like that?

Now I had a setting of the seaside in winter, I knew that with it would come an element of danger – high tides, storms, cold and a community that could easily be isolated by the wrong kind of weather, plenty of drama there! It gave a lovely contrast to the warmth and tradition of Christmas.

Finally I had to think about who was going to be at the heart of the story. I knew that I wanted to write about a lonely woman who had never had a full relationship with a man, so I asked myself who might find themelves in this position? The answer came quite quickly – someone with a strong belief that sex before marriage was wrong. Someone religious … a vicar perhaps? A female vicar. But why on earth would a single female vicar be living in a pretty cottage in the middle of a seaside village and not a in vicarage?

Because something had happened to the vicarage and she couldn’t live there. Something dramatic and unusual that would make a good starting point for her story, her quest to find a home and the right man to share it with … And this is where another kind of inspiration came in. I sometimes work with an author of local history books, helping him prepare his manuscripts for publication – and he had written a book about the North Yorkshire coast, which documented several cliff falls including the demise of the Holbeck Hall Hotel in Scarborough in 1993. So, what if her vicarage had fallen over the cliff?

And there you have it. The things that have inspired me – books, pictures, pretty notebooks to make lists in and looking out of the window!

Liz’s novel The Little Church by the Sea is published by Manatee Books and can be purchased from Amazon at: goo.gl/Wwr5uG  

Liz is on Facebook at @TaylorsonLiz and Twitter @taylorson_liz. She has a blog at liztaylorson.wordpress.com 

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Thank you so much to Liz who happens to live local to me, your time writing this is much appreciated. 

Emma-Louise x

Book Tour: The Lido Girls by Allie Burns {Excerpt}

Today I have a Excerpt from The Lido Girls by Allie Burns.

Blurb…

Escape to the inter-war years in this emotional story where opportunity can be found at the pool-side in your local lido… Perfect for fans of Pam Evans and Gill Paul 

Change is in the air…

London, 1930s: 

Natalie Flacker is tempted by the glamour of the new keep fit movement, but when she is dismissed from her prestigious job in PE she loses the life she so carefully built. Echoes of the war’s destruction still reverberate through her life, and now she is homeless, jobless and without prospects.

But connections made on a summer holiday, with her best friend Delphi, create opportunities. When Natalie is offered a summer job at a lido at the seaside, she jumps at the chance. But is she up to the challenge of taking on a group of unfit women in need of her help?

Set against the backdrop of the beginnings of the pioneering keep fit movement; this is a feel-good reminder of just what’s possible when you find the courage to follow your heart.

Spend a very British summer with The Lido Girls!
Excerpt…

They followed the chattering girls through to the Grand Hall. The hairs on her arms stood tall again. The sweeping latticed glass ceiling, way above them in the heavens, was both a hothouse that at once amplified the chatter of two and a half thousand excited women, while also bringing them closer to the serenity of the clouds above on this grey April day.

She threaded an arm through Delphi’s and they smiled at one another, sharing the thrill of the moment, the tingle in the air.

A troop of women brushed past them as they marched up and down behind banners from their home towns or counties; first Portsmouth went by, then Yorkshire was followed by a rowdy group from Yeovil. On either side of the central concourse – the same dimensions as a swimming pool, though broader and longer than anything she’d ever seen – were steep-sided seats for the spectators: the children, sisters, brothers and husbands of the women demonstrating today.

‘I want to be near the front,’ Delphi said, ‘as close to Prunella as possible.’

Natalie held back, noticing the flashbulbs coming from the front. Prunella had been the main topic of many of Delphi’s letters, but they had to be practical and not get too close. They’d both told lies so they could be there today. It would do neither of them any good to find themselves pictured in the press, nor would it help Delphi’s career prospects if she had a sleeping fit right at the foot of the stage.

Delphi gave up on pushing through when an instruction came for them to sit down. They noisily lowered to the cool concrete floor and sat cross-legged. Delphi and Natalie squeezed into a row in the midst of a group of Scots wearing tartan ribbons on their shoulders, about half a dozen lines from the very front. They had an excellent view of the stage and the three-piece jazz band, but were safe from the photographers, and hidden from view should Delphi take a turn.

Natalie lifted her head and looked all the way behind her at the rows and rows of ladies, all in matching white shirts and black shorts. All with their hair set in waves.

For all their uniformity, the women inside the outfits were much more of a mixture than she’d expected. At her college there was a definite sort of girl who thrived there – she’d been one herself – usually wealthy, or as in her case, with a father in a respectable profession.

These ladies weren’t of one sort at all. Some were their age – surplus women as the press liked to label them, women like she and Delphi, in their thirties, still single and not much hope of that ever changing. The loss of so many men in the war had seen to that. Not that she’d ever give up the hope of finding a husband. Others around them wore more lines about the eyes, and had rounder hips. War widows, no doubt.

All of them, whatever their age or circumstance, had come more out of the need for company than exercise and so for that reason she should fit right in, but still she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was wrong to have come.

You can  purchase a copy of The Lido Girls here.

Thanks for reading and thank you to Jenny at Neverland Book Tours for putting together another fab tour.

Emma-Louise x

Book Tour: The Big Little Festival by Kellie Hailes {Guest Post}

Blurb…

Love happens when you least expect it…

Jodi is panicking. It’s only weeks until her little village in Devon holds its first ever festival and everything is falling apart.

Desperate to avoid disaster, she brings in notorious party planner Christian to save the day. Although she wasn’t prepared for just how gorgeous he would be!

Men are off the cards for Jody and surely Christian is the last man she would ever date? But with tensions rising – along with the bunting and home-made scones – she’s about to find out…

Guest Post…

The Power of Procrastination

It’s safe to say before giving birth and changing jobs my whole working life had been deadline driven. My career as a radio copywriter was filled with daily, heck, hourly deadlines. From when a script must be written by, to when it needed to be approved by, to when it needed to be recorded by, to when the audio needed to be approved by the client for it to go to air. And it wasn’t a case of one client a day, we’re talking multiple clients, multiple account managers, multiple demands to have stuff done yesterday. I thrived on it. Procrastination was a dirty word. It meant not getting stuff done. And stuff needed to be done.

Fast forward five years and how times have changed. Since becoming an author I’ve become quite the procrastinator. You see there are deadlines, but they’re not the kind that require you to plan your day out in order to meet them. It’s more… if I write just over one thousand words a day I’ll finish the book with enough time to go through it two more times to ensure the plot holes are tidied up, the grammar probably won’t kill the copy editor and the spelling is checked.

It leaves a lot of time to twiddle my thumbs, but is that twiddling of thumbs actually procrastination? I think not, for it’s during those times of putting off writing when I get my best ideas.

Recently I was standing in the shower longer than usual and it came to me that my hero in Christmas at the Second Chance Chocolate Shop needed a good emotional reason to hate Christmas, and not the amusing one I’d initially considered going with. I walked out of that shower cleaner and with an idea.

When I’m at the absolute end of a deadline my house turns into a tip. Everything is ignored in order to get the words to my editor. But in the initial stages you could eat off my floors. Toys are in the toy box. Dishes done and put away. And when I do sit down at my laptop it’s with a scene planned in my head. A scene that has played earlier in my head as little bits of toys and cat fur are sucked up the Hoover’s tube.

You’ll also find my legs a touch more toned (which means not really toned at all) during this period, as there’s no better way to procrastinate than by telling yourself you need to go for a walk to avoid writer’s bum. Also known as avoiding the daily word count. So you wander round, get your exercise in, and during that time characters accompany me on my walk and chat to me about their needs, desires and what irritates them about the world. Those walks fill out my characters, make them more real to me. Changing them from strangers into friends.

Procrastination. Not such a dirty word after all. Without it I’d be staring at a blank page.

(PS – previous to writing this, I’d convinced myself I really needed to go down to the fruit and veg shop to buy bananas. And that’s where the idea for this post came from.)

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

Book Tour: A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt {Review}

Today I have a review for the book A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt.

Blurb…

 Welcome to Thornwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District… where homecomings happen and surprises are in store for the four Holley sisters…

Anna Holley, the third of four sisters, has always felt a little bit forgotten. A family tragedy when she was a child had her retreating deep into shyness, and social anxiety kept her on the fringes of the cozy chaos of the busy vicarage.

After several years away from home, Anna returns for Christmas… and an important announcement from her father. As much as she once loved the village, coming back is hard and puts Anna’s social capabilities to the test. 

Avoiding her sisters’ bossy questions, she heads out to the local pub one night, and meets a handsome stranger nursing a pint. Somehow, unburdened by expectations, Simon seems like the perfect person to spill all her secrets to—including a hopeless, long-held crush on her sister’s boyfriend. Confident she’ll never see him again, Anna returns home… only to discover the next day that Simon is actually her father’s new curate!

Anna is beyond mortified, but Simon won’t let her retreat into her usual shyness—and for once Anna is forced to confront the past, and all the fears and feelings she’d tried so long to hide. But with his own heartache that needs to heal, can Simon help Anna to make this the most magical Christmas either of them have known?

Review…

I have read a few of Kate Hewitt’s books before and always enjoyed them. A Vicarage Christmas was no different.

This book has elements of mental illness in it, specifically social anxiety and I found it interesting to read about. How it affects the characters and the decisions that Anna makes because of it. 

Anna is a really easy to like character, I sympathised with her completely and really felt for the situation she was put in and also the guilt she felt.

Simon is a really good guy and it was really good getting to know him, I’d quite like a book from him perspective which delves into his past. 

There are elements of sadness in the book but every moment is well worth reading. I was left feeling warm and cozy when it was over.

Kate has such a smooth writing flow that you can easily get through chapters and not even notice. 

I would rate this 4 stars and highly recommend it for anyone wanting a lovely Christmas read.

You can grab your copy here.

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

It’s A Family Thing: Jay-Jay Playbus Books by Sue Wickstead {Review}

Welcome to the first Mummy and Toddler joint review. Today we are reviewing the books Jay-Jay The Supersonic Bus and Jay-Jay and His Island Adventure both by Sue Wickstead. Both are children’s books for age 3+

Sue was generous enough to send us these copies to review when she found out how much Alexis loved to read. It’s so nice to share my love of reading with my children.

We read The Supersonic Bus first and really enjoyed it. We learnt all about how Jay-Jay had transformed from an ordinary bus into a super Playbus. 

Alexis really enjoyed this book, especially when Jay-Jay had all the toys put inside for the children to play with. 

When I asked Alexis what she thought of this book she said “she enjoyed it very much and liked the bus”.

We then read the Island Adventure book. This was a great story about Jay-Jay traveling to an Island on a Ferry and meeting new children. Alexis loved the pirate theme of the book and very enthusiastically kept saying “yarr” all the the way through.

When I asked Alexis what she thought of this story she said she “wished she had a Playbus” which even as an adult I can sympathise.

As an adult reading these books I found them enjoyable. They were interesting and educational without been too in your face about the lessons they taught. I was a little worried that Alexis may lose interest as they are a little wordier than her normal book but it wasn’t a problem, the stories were entertaining enough to keep her fully engaged.

We both really liked these books and will definitely be reading more by Sue. 

For more information;

Sue’s Author Page

Original Playbus Page

Sue’s Website

Sue is a supply teacher and has worked with children for over 20 years, it was through her charity work with The Bewbush Playbus Association that she got inspiration for her Jay-Jay series. 

You can find Sue’s books for purchase here.

Thank you for reading.

Emma-Louise and Alexis x

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle {Review}

​A contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti’s eerie, sensual poem, “Goblin Market.” Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters…

Today I bring to you my review of Molly Ringle’s The Goblins of Bellwater.

Blurb…

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own. 

Review…

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this via NetGalley and I have to admit when I requested it that initially it was the gorgeous cover that dragged me in. Once I read the blurb I just had to read the book. I seem to have a bit of a thing for books featuring Goblins. I find them really interesting and full of fantasy.

The Goblins of Bellwater proved to be a book full of Magic, Intrigue, Bravery and Sadness. When I say sadness I mean it in the best way. 

Following the story of Skye it’s so easy to feel sorry for her, suck in a situation she cannot control and more importantly cannot discuss. Skye choses actions she knows are wrong but is compelled to do and she feels such sorrow for the situation she puts others in.

Livy is someone who would die for her sister, she’s at a loss now to help but once she finds a way she stops at nothing to break the spell. Facing the biggest challenge of her life and putting all her trust into something unknown she shows courage and bravery.

Kit is a great guy, I instantly liked him and felt bad for him stuck under the curse. Building a life around the complexities of such it’s great to see him let others in and to let himself find love.

Grady is a cool guy who just wants to help. He ends up stuck in a situation which is equally as frustrating as Skye’s. Together they find a way to endure what is happening to them, their reliance on each other ultimately saves them from the prospect of a life of misery. 

I liked how all the characters developed over the duration of the book, each learning about themselves on the way.

The Goblins as much as I dislike them are so fantastically written that you cannot help loving to hate them especially Redring.

I thought the story was magically, and beautifully written in many ways. It completely sucked me in with the vivid details and descriptions. 

Molly’s writing style flows so naturally and she created a world I wanted to be part of. I found it really hard to put the book down as I wanted to keep going and find out what happened. The pacing is perfect, nothing felt too drawn out or equally rushed. I feel like I want to read it again just to get back into the world.

The Goblins of Bellwater has definitely earned a place on my Top 10 of 2017.

5 star all the way.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon UK and it’s currently under £4 on kindle. An absolute bargain. I’m going to hunt down the rest of her works!

To find out more about Molly and her books you can find her here.

Thank you for reading.

Emma-Louise x

P.s look at this beautiful cover.