Review: Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands @patricia_sands


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: October 1, 2017

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb: 

The author of the Love in Provence series returns to the South of France with a poignant portrait of a woman who must learn how to create a new life for herself…


Sixty-two-year-old Arianna arrives in the South of France for a two-week artists’ workshop full of anticipation but burdened by guilt. Back home in Toronto, she has been living with the devastating diagnosis of her husband’s dementia and the heartbreak of watching the man she has loved for decades slip away before her eyes. What does her future hold without Ben? Before her is a blank canvas.


Encouraged by her family to take some time for herself, she has traveled to Arles to set up her easel in the same fields of poppies and sunflowers that inspired Van Gogh. Gradually, she rediscovers the inner artist she abandoned long ago. Drawing strength from the warm companionship and gentle wisdom of her fellow artists at the retreat—as well as the vitality of guest lecturer Jacques de Villeneuve, an artist and a cowboy—Arianna searches her heart for permission to embrace the life in front of her and, like the sunflowers, once again face the light. 

Review: 

A few months back I read Sands Love in Provence series and absolutely loved it, she creates realistic characters in the most beautiful settings dealing with the same type of issues and problems that many of us can relate to on some level. She takes the reader on a poignant and emotional journey that is just a gorgeous experience. 

I adored her protagonist Katherine from LIP and was hoping I would have another strong connection to Arianna and I totally did! I love that Sands has heroines that are not in their twenties, they’re more mature and worldly bringing a sophistication to the story. Arianna’s situation was heart wrenching, dementia is a devastating disease and I had so much sympathy for her. When she takes a chance and heads to the artists retreat she begins a journey of personal growth and self introspection that was amazing. The rest of the people at the retreat are eclectic and interesting, they added an additional layer of depth to the story. 

Sands truly brings a setting to life, from the mouthwatering, scrumptious food descriptions to the stunning landscapes she paints the prettiest picture with her prose. There was a strong, rich sense of history of Arles that was fascinating, I’m not a history buff or remotely artistic by any means but it was compelling and I definitely learned a few new things. This was a bittersweet read with plenty of life lessons and inspiration, a really positive and lovely tale. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

Blog Tour: A Very Vintage Christmas by Tilly Tennant @TillyTenWriter @bookouture


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: September 28, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture 

Genre: Romance

Blurb: 

The fairy lights are up and shoppers are flooding the snowy seaside promenade. It’s going to be a busy month at Forget-Me-Not Vintage, a magical shop with a warm heart where every item has a story to be told.


With bright red hair and an infectious smile, Dodie is a hopeless romantic and absolutely one of a kind, just like the pieces in her shop. 


When Dodie finds a love letter in the pocket of an old woollen coat, she makes it her mission to deliver it to its rightful owner. Following the address, she manages to persuade the handsome but reluctant new tenant, Edward, to help her with her search.


As the story of the letter unfolds, Dodie is there, as always, to pick up the pieces and make things right. But who will be there for her when her own love story needs a helping hand? 


Is it too much to dream of a happy ending like the ones in the black and white movies she adores? 


If you’re looking for a sweep-you-off-your-feet romance that will warm you through and through then the door to Forget-Me-Not Vintage is always open. Perfect for fans of Jane Linfoot, Debbie Johnson and Jenny Colgan.

 

 I’m so delighted to be one of the stops on the blog blitz for A Very Vintage Christmas today! 


Review:

Tilly Tennant is quickly becoming one of my go to authors when I’m looking for a lighthearted read that I can really escape into. I loved her From Italy with Love series and was so excited when I found out she was releasing a Christmas book! I know many of you think I’m a bit insane for already being all Christmas crazy but though this is set during the holidays, it’s not overwhelmingly Christmassy. It’s sort of there in the background and does play a part, but it’s not in your face, so any Grinches out there, don’t ignore this one because it has Christmas in the title, grab it because it’s such a fun, feel good book!

Sweet Dodie is the main character and I just adored her, she marches to the beat of a different drum but she was adorably charming and so kind. She’s an enormously giving individual and her small acts of kindness warned my heart. Her gran was an absolutely lovely addition to the story, she’s flaky and flighty but has a heart of gold. Isla is Dodie’s best friend and though her part was small, I really enjoyed their friendship and am so happy she’s getting her own book as the next installment in this little gem of a series. There are also some delicious male characters to swoon over which is always a treat. 

I loved the little bit of a historical vibe this book had between Dodie owning a vintage store and the letter she finds that was written during World War Two, there was a throwback to a different time even though this was set in the present day. This was a sparkly, festive magical read with wonderful characters and an engaging plot. Tennant always manages to sweep me away to a new place and I loved the charming town where this was set and could easily picture it all clearly thanks to her vivid descriptions and vibrant writing style. Add this one to your Christmas reading list and keep your eye out for book two next month! 

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

About the Author 


Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing. She wrote a novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.
Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. In 2016 she signed to the hugely successful Bookouture and is currently working on her tenth Tilly Tennant novel. She also writes as Sharon Sant, where she explores the darker side of life, and Poppy Galbraith, where things get a little crazier. Find out more about Tilly and how to join her mailing list for news and exclusives at http://www.tillytennant.com

Throwback Thursday: In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch #TBT


Goodreads|Amazon
Release date: July 1, 2016

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Contemporary Fiction 

Blurb: 

Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.


But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality.


Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.

Review: 

I’m joining in again with Throwback Thursday which was created by my good friend Renee at It’s Book Talk. She started this weekly feature as a way to highlight old favorites and read books that have already been published. I have so many older books on my TBR that get ignored in favor of review copies and I figure participating in Throwback Thursday will help me to read at a least one older title a week!

This is told from multiple perspectives that of Catherine, Owen, Annie, Colin and Lindy. This group couldn’t be more different, but maybe that’s what made them all connect in the first place twenty years ago. Catherine and Owen are married with children and go the non traditional route as he stays home with the kids and she works. They seem like the perfect all American family on the surface, but resentment bubbles under the surface. Annie is also married with one kid and she tries really hard to present the perfect life to the world, especially online. We all know no one is perfect though… Colin is a successful surgeon with a big secret about their late friend, Bea and Lindy is a famous musician with way too many issues to list here. For such a large ensemble cast of characters I found them all to be really well drawn and relatable. Some more than others, I didn’t have much in common with Lindy’s rock star life but could relate to both Annie and Owen as stay at parents. (I wonder why? 😜)

This isn’t a traditional mystery but rather a story of secrets and long held grudges with mysterious elements. When they reunite at the bequest of Bea most of them haven’t kept in touch at all and all have different issues with each other and things they really don’t want the others to know. I admittedly got slightly annoyed with most of them because so many of their problems could’ve been solved by simply talking to each other, but without conflict this would’ve just been a boring story about a group of middle aged friends, so I get that it was basically the driving force of the book. Overall this was an enjoyable read, the author is a good writer my only complaint was the ending, I felt like there were just too many loose ends that weren’t tied up at all BUT I’m super picky about endings so take that with a grain of salt. 

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

Review: Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne 


Goodreads|Amazon
Release date: September 26, 2017

Publisher: Harlequin 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Blurb: 

An unlikely attraction brings comfort, joy and unforgettable romance this holiday season!


Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she’s been living. She’s made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn’t one of them. Julia’s looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker’s latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia’s care for the holidays, she’ll take any help she can get—even Jamie’s. 


Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that’s much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can’t last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever… 

Review: 

This is the seventh book in the Haven Point series, I jumped in at book six with Serenity Harbor and have been bummed that I didn’t get in on the ground floor of this one. These books are SO sweet, I love how each one focuses on a new developing romance but there are appearances from previous characters in the subsequent books, that’s always so fun. I know I’ll never have time to go back and read the first five books, but I’ll definitely be following it from here on out. 

Julia is the town librarian and lives a fairly quiet life. She has plenty of close friends but her parents have both passed away and she’s an only child so she doesn’t have any real family left. Jamie needs a rental for a few weeks so his sister sets him up in Julia’s apartment that is attached to her own house. It’s a total opposites attract saturation, he’s a bit of a ladies man with a huge family, (he has six siblings) and she’s more reserved but besides the obvious cliche there isn’t anything cheesy here. I loved both of them and watching them fall in love was adorable. Jamie was quite the charmer and Julia was beyond cute but they both had wounds that needed to heal and darkness in their pasts. As much as I enjoyed their storyline two little boys stole the show and my heart. Clint and Davy end up staying with Julia while they wait for a spot with a foster family and they were the cutest kids and such a sweet addition to this already endearing story. Hot guys and darling kids, what more could a girl want?!

This was a cozy little read, tons of Christmas magic set in an idyllic, charming town. There’s a strong message of hope in Thayne’s novels that’s truly heartwarming, I’m in love with her writing style, there’s a natural ease and fluidity that just makes reading her books so much fun. If you need a book to add to your holiday reading list that would be perfect to read fireside make sure you add this one! 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Claire at Little Bird Publicity for my review copy. 

Blog Tour: Reach for the Stars by Colleen Coleman @CollColemanAuth @bookouture


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: September 21, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture 

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Blurb: 

When Evelyn Dooley married her high-school sweetheart, James, she thought she was set for life. Now she’s twenty-eight, single, and fleeing to Dublin from her hometown to avoid the gossip surrounding their break-up. And all because of a test-your-relationship board game.


This was not in her five-year plan.


Then a chance encounter with gorgeous musician Danny leads to an unlikely friendship, and soon the pair are running music nights together in one of the oldest pubs in Dublin. For the first time Evelyn is following her dreams rather than someone else’s – and sparks are beginning to fly between her and Danny…


But when her savings run out and home beckons, Evelyn has to choose. The safe, comfortable life she left behind, or a new adventure with Danny? Will Evelyn flee back to the familiarity of her ex, or reach for the stars and take a leap into the unknown?


A laugh-out-loud, feel-good story of friendship, second chances, and romance, perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lindsey Kelk and Marian Keyes.

I’m delighted to be one of the stops on the blog tour for Reach for the Stars


Review:

A few months ago I had the pleasure of reading Coleman’s debut, Don’t Stop Me Now and absolutely loved it’s overall message of hope and empowerment. This time around I once again loved the themes of resilience, positivity and getting back up after getting knocked down, Coleman has a real knack for writing engaging, uplifting stories with the loveliest characters. 

I just adored Evelyn right from the start, she was the type of character that you want to befriend. Coleman creates the most gorgeously relatable characters, Evelyn had me laughing and smiling so many times, she was just so sweet and I really wanted her to find her niche in the world. Her transformation from the beginning to the end of the book was amazing, she really found her groove and had such a fantastic attitude. Danny is her maybe love interest and he was adorable and their interactions were heartwarming and swoon worthy. 

Often times chick lit can be slightly predictable, which is fine but this wasn’t at all which was SO refreshing. Evelyn has many curveballs thrown her way (again and again) so figuring out what would happen next was impossible. This book is perfect to pick up on a day when you’re down in the dumps, it will most assuredly put a smile on your face and make you want to go out and seize the day, it was a delightful read. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

About the Author:


Colleen Coleman is an Irish-Canadian novelist. She is the winner of the much-coveted Novelicious Undiscovered People’s Choice Award launched to find the next ‘chick-lit star’. She spent over ten years working as a teacher of English and Philosophy before finally taking a deep breath, scrunching her eyes shut, putting her pen to paper and vowing not to lift it again until she wrote the words The End. As a result, her first novel was born. Colleen lives between London, Ireland and Cyprus with her very patient husband and very, very chatty twin daughters. Don’t Stop Me Now, her first book was released in March 2017. 

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Review: The Beachside Christmas by Karen Clarke @karenclarke123 @bookouture


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: September 26, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture 

Genre: Romantic Comedy 

Blurb: 

Snow is falling and there’s romance in the air. Curl up for a cosy Christmas by the fire at Seaview Cottage…


When thirty-year-old Lily Ambrose’s latest relationship ends in disaster, she remembers happy childhood holidays in the seaside town of Shipley and decides it’s the perfect place for a fresh start.


But when Lily arrives, the town’s spirits are as low as her own: the local celebrity due to turn on the Christmas lights has gone on a cruise instead. Keen to prove herself, she calls in a favour and secures gorgeous reality star Ollie. 


Lily’s neighbours are initially thrilled, but Ollie is as uncontrollable as he is good-looking. He can’t remember the town’s name, calls the Christmas decorations tacky, and manages to offend everyone. And whilst handsome but stubborn cameraman Craig tries to help, even he can’t stop Ollie’s madcap plans to stage a romance with Lily…


Will Lily be able to keep Ollie under control and bring the Christmas cheer back to Shipley – and find herself a real kiss under the mistletoe?


An addictive, heart-warming and uplifting read about friendship, romance, and Christmas spirit. Perfect for fans of Phillipa Ashley, Cathy Bramley and Debbie Johnson.

I’m so happy to be hosting a stop on the blog blitz for The Beachside Christmas today, I just adore this series! 


Review: 

This is the third book in a series, I read and loved the first two, The Beachside Sweetshop and The Beachside Flower Stall and while you can easily read them each as standalones, I wouldn’t recommend doing so. Each book is set in Shipley and features new central characters but every book is such a fun, feel good read that you would be seriously missing out! 

This one focuses on Lily, a new resident to town who is so excited to be moving somewhere new until she realizes that the town isn’t quite as welcoming as she had hoped and she somehow finds herself offering to let a reality star and his cameraman stay with her. Things quickly get out of hand as Ollie is almost as quirky as her new neighbors and she realizes her new simple life will be anything but.

One of my favorite things about this series is that though each book features new characters you still get to check in on the ones from previous books which is always fun and a bit like catching up with old friends. Two of my old favorites, Jane and Doris Day are back and both are as hilarious as ever. These books are laugh out loud funny, there are countless hilarious scenarios that make me giggle just thinking about them now.

Lily was a lovely lady and just as relatable and lovable as all of the characters that Clarke creates. Once again, I felt like I took a mini vacation to Shipley, one full of plenty of laughs and heartwarming moments. There was definitely romance here as well, but none of that annoying instant love, it was gradual and felt so realistic and genuine. I just love Christmas books and as the weather here is finally cooling down it was the perfect read to get me thinking about the holidays, I’m like a little kid I get so excited just planning for Christmas! 

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

About the Author: 


Karen Clarke writes romantic comedy novels. THE BEACHSIDE SWEET SHOP and THE BEACHSIDE FLOWER STALL are out now and THE BEACHSIDE CHRISTMAS will be available in September 2017.


Karen has also written three romcoms with a paranormal twist, all available to download


When she’s not working on her novels, Karen writes short stories for women’s magazines and has had over three hundred published in the UK and abroad. Some of them can be read in her short story collection ‘BEHIND CLOSED DOORS…and other Tales with a Twist’ 


Karen lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children.

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Blog Tour: Dan Knew @fjcurlew

Release date: September 2, 2017

Blurb:

A Ukrainian street dog is rescued from certain death by an expat family. As he travels to new countries with them a darkness grows and he finds himself narrating more than just his story. More than a dog story. Ultimately it’s a story of escape and survival but maybe not his.
The world through Wee Dan’s eyes is told in a voice that will stay with you long after you turn that last page.
 
The animals in this book are all real, as are their stories. The people’s names have been changed to protect their privacy. Fact or fiction? Well, dogs can’t talk, can they?
 

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Dan Knew. I have an extract from the book to share with you today.

Extract:

Dan Knew – Extract
 
Scotland 2016
 
I knew it was going to be a bad day: the worst day. The bathroom was full of wasps, buzzing and buzzing. I could hear them from my bed. She screamed, “What the hell am I going to do now? Shit!” I tried to move: to help her, but I couldn’t.
 
 
Ukraine 2002
The End Of The Beginning
 
It was so hot. Too hot to be out in the sun. Safer here in the shadows. Safe from the heat, from the dangers of daytime. The ground was dry and dusty and I could smell the burning of the sun, feel it licking at the walls all around me.
I was with my family: me, my brother and sisters, and my mother. I wasn’t very old and still needed my mother to help me get food, to look after me. She wouldn’t let me feed from her any more; she brought back food instead.
I wanted to hunt. To go out with her. ‘Not yet’, she growled. ‘Not yet’: her teeth bared, her eyes narrow. I knew that meant stay. Serious stay.
We were living under a building. There was a hole we could creep through that led to an almost-underground place, and it kept us safe. We had to hide from a lot of things. From the noisy, big machines that could run faster than us. They would kill us, squash us flat! I had seen it once. A dog that wasn’t quick enough. Trying to get that last piece of food. Snatching at the ground. Eyes staring. A bad noise. The body of a dog.
When the machine had gone I watched, as the other adult dogs sniffed the air, then walked towards it, slowly, slowly, checking all around. Noses high, hackles raised, senses on alert. Fresh meat. They pulled at it, tearing bits of flesh from its body. Growling and snarling at each other.
The stronger dogs ate first. I watched my mother edging forwards, trying to sneak her way to the front. A quick dash, a snap, a growl, and she was running back with meat in her mouth.
I ate well that day. I knew it was dog, but it was dead. It tasted good. Better than the usual scraps that we ate most days. We were hungry a lot of the time, you see. When food came we ate. It didn’t matter what it was.
 
My mother was out trying to find something for us to eat. I could hear her rummaging through the garbage cans, snuffling through bits of paper and plastic. If she found something she would try and hide it from the others. Run back to us with it before they saw her. There were many of us, you see. Lots of dogs living around here, and we had to fight some of the time.
Well, the adults would fight and we would watch, learning, practising, waiting, until it would be our turn. Usually it was about food, sometimes territory; some other dog wanting our place. Our patch. Occasionally one of them just got angry. I didn’t know why.
Sometimes we would work together, all of the dogs. We’d chase an enemy off. Another dog maybe, from a different pack, a different area. There were other animals for chasing too. Birds, bigger than me, white and noisy with bright orange beaks that could stab. They were scary and we young dogs would keep ourselves well hidden from them.
Noisy, hissing cats with claws sharper than my teeth. Rats. They were food too. Sometimes my mother would catch one and we’d eat. But they could fight, the rats. They could be mean and my mother had scars on her face from them. She had a lot of scars. They all did: the older dogs.
 
Our biggest enemies were the two legged ones. The humans. We had to hide ourselves really well when they were around. I heard them that day. Their feet stomping. I could see my mother. She was running back to us.
My mother.
Running.
Looking back at them, then forward to us. I could sense a very big fear from her. There was a long pole which they lunged at her with. Something pulled her back suddenly by her neck. It was so quick. They had her at the end of their pole. I could see her eyes, wide, staring. Her feet scrambling to stand but she couldn’t.
I didn’t know…I didn’t know what was happening but it was all bad. I kept hidden and watched as they threw her into the back of one of the noisy machines. A big one that had a very bad smell. There were dog noises too. Whimpers, cries, very quiet ones. Very sad ones. Pain ones. I was filled with a big fear and sadness all at once. All together. Mixed up and scary.
The men were coming towards our hiding place. Closer and closer they came. Their smell was bad. It was danger. I was shaking and so, so, scared. One of them had a big bag in his hand. The other one had the pole. I edged back as far as I could. Back, back into the darkest of the dark places. I hoped they couldn’t see me.
They were poking with their pole, backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards. I couldn’t see it but I could hear it, smell it, feel it scraping the ground, breaking the air. I was shaking and shaking. There was a yelp. Lots of yelps. I knew the sound. My family! The men had them. They threw them into the bag.
Human voices. A door slamming. The noise of the machine.
The whimpering was getting further away. Nothing left but the smell of the big machine and the badness it took with it.
I stayed there, in my hiding place, and watched. Staring at what had been. Now a space. An emptiness. Nothing but bad feelings. The sun slipped down low in the sky. The shadows grew long and disappeared. It was night time. I listened. The sounds had all changed. I couldn’t hear any of the other dogs. No snuffling, growling, nothing.
It was too scary for me to go out, even though I was hungry. I curled myself up into a tight safety ball, tucked my head under my legs as far as it would go, tried to get to sleep. It wasn’t easy. I kept thinking and thinking about what had happened. Pictures of what I’d seen. Awful ones.
I had never been alone before and I didn’t like it. There was nothing to snuggle up to. No other heartbeats. No kicks and dream noises. No snuffles. No breathing, apart from mine. And mine sounded so loud in this silence that was everything now. This bad, bad silence. Maybe the next day would be better?
 
I could feel the strength of the sun through the stone of the wall, smell the heat, but I didn’t move. I stayed and watched. When I had to go to the toilet I did it in the den, even though I knew that it was something I shouldn’t do, I was too afraid of the outside. I missed my family so much but I didn’t howl, I knew I couldn’t. I had to be as still and quiet as the emptiness that was left.
All day I waited, pricking my ears at every sound, catching smells, trying to recognise them. There was nothing. They weren’t coming back, were they? I had to move. My stomach told me so, my senses too. I had to move to stay alive. Darkness. Wait for the safety of darkness.
When it came I crept out very slowly, keeping my body low on the dusty ground. So low. Food was what I needed more than anything. I was so hungry that it hurt. I stopped for a moment and sniffed at the air, looked around. There were the shadows of trees and buildings and machines.
I crept a little bit further, standing taller. Then my nose caught it. Meat. I forgot about being scared and ran towards it. The smell. My mouth was wet.
The food smell was coming from a building quite close to our home. I had only seen it from further away before. It was a very noisy place with a lot of people, and at night time, the thump, thump, thump of music. Lots of laughter and humans having fun, but I knew that anywhere there were humans was dangerous for us. We had to be very careful. We kept far away if we could.
Tonight I had to go close.
There was a big piece of hard ground with lots of machines standing on it. I tried not to look, just run towards the smell of the food. Suddenly it was there. A machine, heading straight for me! The lights blinded me. I couldn’t move. I…
A human screamed and I felt a hand swoop me up and lift me so high, away from the machine. My heart was thumping and I was shaking. I didn’t know what was happening to me. If I was in danger, or if I was safe. The hands felt…safe. The human smell felt…safe.
‘Oh, look at you. It’s okay. Really it is.’ A man held me up high and sort of jiggled me, laughing. He must have been really big because I was so far above the ground.
‘Let me see. Is he okay?’ a woman asked.
Her voice wasn’t like the others I’d heard. The noises were a bit different, softer. There was a good smell coming from her. A smell of something friendly. Something kind. Something not hungry, not scared. She felt happy. Good.
‘You are so cute!’ she said. She held me close to her and I snuggled in, hiding my head under her arm. ‘Mum won’t mind,’ she giggled.
‘What about HIM?’ the man with her asked.
It didn’t sound nice. I don’t think he liked HIM.
The woman shrugged her shoulders. ‘It’ll be fine.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Don’t care really. Mum will be delighted.’
I couldn’t see anything because I kept myself tucked under her arm where I felt safest. The noises all changed. The smells too.   We were getting further and further away from my home. Further away from everything. That much I knew. But I felt safe. She felt safe. My eyes got heavy. The jiggling of her walk, the beat of her heart, the sound of her breathing, were all comforting. I fell asleep.
 
 

Goodreads|Amazon

About the Author:

 
Fiona dropped out of school aged 15, because being the consummate rebel, she hated it! After becoming a single parent she decided to return to education, graduating in 1996 with an honours degree in primary education. Ah, the irony!
As soon as she graduated she packed everything she owned into her Renault 11, including her daughter, two dogs and a cat, and headed off to Estonia to become an international school teacher. After fifteen years of teaching, predominantly in Eastern Europe, she returned to the UK .
She now lives on the east coast of Scotland with two Scottish rescue dogs and a disgruntled Portuguese cat.

Fiona is the author of two books:
To Retribution – A love story/political thriller set in times of turmoil.
http://amzn.to/1YlMDqy
 
Dan Knew – A fictionalised account of her travels told through the eyes of Dan, her rescued Ukrainian street dog.
http://amzn.to/2rQQWiL
 
 
Dan Knew Blurb
 
A Ukrainian street dog is rescued from certain death by an expat family. As he travels to new countries with them a darkness grows and he finds himself narrating more than just his story. More than a dog story. Ultimately it’s a story of escape and survival but maybe not his.
The world through Wee Dan’s eyes is told in a voice that will stay with you long after you turn that last page.
 
The animals in this book are all real, as are their stories. The people’s names have been changed to protect their privacy. Fact or fiction? Well, dogs can’t talk, can they?
 
Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/FJCurlew
 
Twitter @fjcurlew
 
Website
https://fjcurlew.com/
 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate

What I Read Last Week: 


Paperbacks from Hell was a totally different type of read for me but a really cool one!

She Did It was a great psychological thriller. 

I liked Best Day Ever but it’s definitely dividing readers. 


Sweet Reality was a fun guilty pleasure read. 

Cold Blood was another great read in a fantastic series. 

I’ve become such a huge fan of Smith, I really liked The Kindred Killers

Currently Reading: 


I’m reading this for my TBT pick, I’ve missed the past couple of weeks and am so excited I’ll be joining again! 

Up Next: 


Apparently it’s chick lit/women’s fiction week on Novelgossip?! 😂😂 Not any thrillers planned which is odd, but I adore every single on of my planned authors so I’m very excited! 

I’m struggling with my blogging lately, I know it’s a common problem but I’m at that overwhelmed and I’ll never catch up stage. I know there’s no possible way to read every single book I want to read but I need to start saying no more. I was doing pretty well with it the first half of the year but lately it’s been hard. Could all my favorite publishers quit releasing such amazing sounding books please?! (I’m looking at you Bookouture, Orenda and Lake Union) 

How was your week? 

Review: Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben 


Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: September 26, 2017

Publisher: Dutton Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller 

Blurb: 

With unmatched suspense and emotional insight, Harlan Coben explores the big secrets and little lies that can destroy a relationship, a family, and even a town in this powerful new thriller.


Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for. 


When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine. 

Review: 

Coben is an auto buy author for me, I’ve read every single one of his books and have never been disappointed by any of them. I LOVE his Myron Bolitar series but his standalones work well for me too and this one was no exception. There’s a brief cameo from Myron at one point when he crosses paths with Nap which was such an unexpected treat! The main character, Nap reminded me of a combination of Myron and Win so my craving for them was partially satiated. This was twisty and full of deceit and long buried betrayals, classic Coben doing what he does extremely well. 

Nap was the kind of standard character fans know and love in Coben’s books, he has that trademark dry humor and wit, he’s smart, sharp and the type of cop that’s not afraid to skirt the boundaries of the law and he’s loyal to a fault. I immediately connected with him, his story is heartbreaking, he lost his twin brother and his girlfriend within a short period of time and has never quite been the same since. All he wants are answers and he may finally be getting them, but it’s all much more than he ever expected, the lies are stacking up and nothing makes sense, how much of the past was fact and what was fiction? 

I can’t say much more about the plot, but this was excellent, Coben is a master and this was a strong reminder for me as to why he’s one of my all time favorite authors. He’s simply one of the best and if you haven’t read one of his books before they all come highly recommended by me. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

Review: Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @orendabooks


Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: September 30, 2017

Publisher: Orenda Books

Genre: Contemporary Fiction 

Blurb: 

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… 

I’m honored and delighted to be hosting one of the stops on the blog tour for Maria in the Moon today!


Review:

Every once in awhile a special type of book comes along and gets well and truly under my skin, it takes ahold of me, consumes me even and Maria in the Moon was that rare beauty of a book. Louise Beech is an astoundingly gifted writer, reading one of her books is a true honor. 

I think the blurb for this book is absolutely perfect, it gets your attention yet it doesn’t give so much away that you totally know what to expect. The mystery of Catherine’s ninth year intrigued me enough to want to read it but I had no idea the true haunting, harrowing beauty this book would reveal. Catherine was such a fascinatingly complex woman, she’s exquisitely well drawn. She’s damaged and broken but she’s achingly raw and wholly relatable, I adored her and really cared about her, I was wholeheartedly invested in her story. Her time volunteering at the flood crisis hotline was my favorite part, it was heartbreaking and provided so much insight into her true character. 

This is such a unique read and one that’s hard to classify into just one standard genre, my friend Chelsea at The Suspense is Thrilling Me said Louise Beech novels are their own genre and I couldn’t agree more. There’s a little bit of everything, a mystery, some love, a hint of magical realism and most importantly, a plot that any human could relate to. Beech is one of the greats, no other author can bring out emotions in me like she can. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

About the Author: 



Louise Beech has always been haunted by the sea. She regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. She was also part of the Mums’ Army on Lizzie and Carl’s BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show for three years.