Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Humour, Paranormal

Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Vampire Menace 4* #Review @OlgaWojtas @SarabandBooks @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #Humour #HistFic #cozymystery #BlogTour #BookReview

The intrepid librarian Shona McMonagle, erstwhile Marcia Blaine Academy prefect and an accomplished linguist and martial artist, finds herself in an isolated French mountain village, Sans-Soleil, which has no sunlight because of its topography. It’s reeling from a spate of unexplained deaths, and Shona has once again travelled back in time to help out.

Forging an uneasy alliance with newly widowed Madeleine, Shona is soon drawn into a full-blown vampire hunt, involving several notable villagers, the world-renowned soprano Mary Garden – and even Count Dracula himself. Will Shona solve the mystery, secure justice for the murder victims and make it through a deathly denouement in the hall of mirrors to return to present-day Morningside Library?

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Shona McMonagle is an enigmatic and decidedly quirky character, which is just as well, because ‘Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Vampire Menace’, is a strange tale. It takes a little getting into, especially if this is your first encounter with the talented librarian, a former prefect of Miss Blaine’s academy, and now intrepid time traveller. The adventure is standalone but would be more immersive if you were familiar with the character, and the reasons for time travel. Read the first book if you can. before embarking on this.

Set in the ominous-sounding French village Sans-Soleil, Shona has to extricate herself from a coffin and a room full of mirrors before finding out, where she is. The first people she meets are frankly strange, and she soon finds typical of the village. The story is a complex blend of history, historical characters and mind-blowing fiction, and it works. To enjoy this you have to accept the intricate world-building and immerse yourself in the adventure, and acerbic very witty humour, both verbal and visual.

The plot is absorbing, full of historical facts and historical characters, who are cleverly blended with the fictional ones. Shona is certain of her capabilities, and she is undoubtedly intelligent and well-educated, the perfect advertisement for Miss Blaine’s academy, However, she is not the most intuitive of amateur sleuth’s and there are many examples of dramatic irony in this story. The reader knows more than the protagonist, or at least understands, what they are reading. This makes for many humorous moments.

Shona’s thought processes and dialogue with her fellow characters are witty and enjoyable. The distinctly Scottish humour can be appreciated wherever you hail from.

The story is well-paced and written with visual imagery, that lets the reader enjoy the period and setting, as well as the relentless adventure.

If you enjoy an original, unique reading experience, this is something you should read.

Olga Woitas

Olga Wojtas is an unconventional – and very witty – writer of postmodern crime fiction whose surrealist humour has been compared to the likes of PG Wodehouse, Jasper Fforde and the Marx Brothers. Her debut novel, Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar, has been published in the UK and US to great critical acclaim – being longlisted for the inaugural Comedy Women in Print Prize 2019, shortlisted for a CrimeFest Award, and named as one of the best mysteries and thrillers of the year by Kirkus. A journalist for more than 30 years, Olga was Scottish editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement before she began adding creative writing to her portfolio. She won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2015 and has had numerous short stories and several novellas published. Olga lives in Edinburgh, where she once attended James Gillespie’s High School – the model for Marcia Blaine School for Girls, which appears in Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the novel that inspired the Miss Blaine’s Prefect series.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Humour, Memoir, Motivational

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 4* #Review @Nickalbertautho #Audiobook #AudiobookReview #BlogTour #RuralLife #Ireland #Memoir #NonFiction #FreshEggsandDogBeds @rararesources

#FreshEggsandDogBeds

Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn’t want customers, builders who didn’t need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?

UK: Amazon UK Paperback Audible

USA: Amazon Paperback Audible

#FreshEggsandDogBeds

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I don’t do many audiobook reviews, but they are great, for someone like me. I can work on something else, whilst I’m enjoying the story someone is reading to me, it’s like being a child again, lovely.

This escape to the country, or strictly speaking escape the UK, is an interesting memoir. Full of life events affecting Nick and his wife, as they decide to give up the rat race and move to rural Ireland. I expected lots of life experiences and mishaps as the couple lived the dream in a rural idyll. Eventually, this is what you get, but first, there are many chapters, on how the couple got to this point in their lives. There are comical, poignant and interesting moments, in these early chapters, but this section could be much shorter and still provide a snapshot of life before Ireland.

The couple’s first trip to Ireland and their house search, introduces many colourful characters, lots of humorous moments and interesting facts on Ireland, the housing market and economy in the early twenty-first century.

The difficulty of buying a house in Ireland is surprising These events are retold in an upbeat humorous way, but you can appreciate how stressful this was for the author.

The dogs and chickens have fabulous personalities, and you can see how much they are part of the family. There are also some poignantly sad animal moments, which all of us, who share their lives with animal friends will empathise.

Life in Ireland is never boring, I loved the chapter where Nick moves in, on his own. His experience with the oil fired boiler reminded me of my own experiences with the same sort of boiler. Country living is not for the faint-hearted.

The memoir is authentic and honest. This is a realistic view of escaping the rat race, the problems are numerous, but the will to make the change, is stronger, and ultimately they succeed. This first book, on living the dream in rural Ireland, is factual, humorous, motivational and poignant The narrator is engagingly good, and the memoir flows well. I enjoyed my day listening to this.

Nick Albert

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant.

As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid-1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally.

After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited.

With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.

In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in early 2020.

Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

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Posted in Book Spotlight, Holiday Romance, New Adult Romance, Romance

Trust In You Julia Firlotte #Preorder #promo @juliafirlotte @rararesources #Romance #Summer #Love #comingofage #FallingForYou

From the moment she met him, Ella Peterson had questions. As always, though, she’s too shy to ask.

Older and sexy as hell, mysterious Adam Brook soon sweeps sheltered Ella off her feet; but is he as perfect as he appears to be, or is there more to him than he’s telling her?

Ella’s world has already turned upside down after moving from England to rural Kansas. She and her sisters were hoping for a more secure future, but instead find that life can be tough when jobs are scarce and the stakes often higher than anticipated.

When events spiral out of Ella’s control, she learns the person she needs to rely on most is herself and her instincts on who to trust in the future.

It’s just that her instincts are screaming at her to trust Adam; it’s what he tells her that makes that a problem.

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Publication Date: 6th April

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Julia Firlotte

Julia is an avid reader of all things romance, and she has read hundreds of books across a variety of sub-genres and began writing her own novels in 2018. Four books are currently in various stages of editing and completion, the first of which is finished and will be on sale in spring 2020.

Julia has always been passionate about languages and fiction and has a degree in Languages And Trade and an A-Level in English Literature. When Julia is not writing or editing her own novels, she usually has her nose in books by other authors and is otherwise kept busy caring for her family, going to the gym and carrying out her day job. Julia lives on the South Coast of England with her two children, husband and cats.

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