Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Blitz, Childrens Books, Friendship

Wombat & Jones: The Great Banana Mystery Arran Francis 5* #Review @wombatandjones #Narrator Alison Campbell @rararesources #Audiobook #review #Friendship #kidlit #teamwork #problemsolving #Summer #SaturdayMorning

Wombat and Jones are excited to attend the famous Boris Beaker’s banana bread baking class and like many other friends in town they can’t wait to get to work on making scrumptious banana bread. However, there’s just one problem — before class gets underway, Boris discovers that all of the bananas have gone missing!

​Boris Beaker and his disappointed students know there is no chance they can make banana bread without this key ingredient, but Wombat isn’t willing to give up that easily. Putting her investigative skills to the test, she gets help from her trusty sidekick — Furlock Jones — and together they attempt to solve The Great Banana Mystery.

Wombat & Jones: The Great Banana Mystery is a funny tale about friendship, problem-solving, and teamwork. Simple mistakes and jumping to conclusions can happen after all, but Wombat & Jones try their best to put it right and learn from them. 

Wombat and Jones Google Play Apple Books

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

My Thoughts…

This is a humorous story designed for children in the four to six age group. The colourful and comic characters draw the reader into the story. The narrator brings the characters to life. The overemphasised accents help the children differentiate between the characters.

This story follows Wombat and Jones as they look for the missing bananas. It helps children to understand that not everything is as it first appears, not to jump to conclusions and to trust in your friends.

You could use this story as a problem-solving exercise for your children this summer, rather like a treasure hunt. It’s fun to listen to with vivid characters and an engaging narrator.

Written by author Arran Francis, creator of multiple series for BBC’s CBeebies Radio, and has worked as an audiobook producer on behalf of MacMillan Audio, Audible and Harper Collins. He launched Wombat and Jones Audio in 2019 with the aim of writing children’s novels to be released exclusively in audiobook format.

The audiobooks for the Daisy May’s Daydream Parade and Wombat & Jones series were released last summer with further books in the series and standalone titles being scheduled for publication in 2020.

Facebook Twitter Instagram

Posted in Blog Blitz, Motivational, Non-Fiction

Hector: At Ground Level by Gary Finnan @GaryFinnan @BalboaPress @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #BookBlitz

This Little Book is about being present to the wonders that exist around us At Ground Level, discovering all that we fail to see when we spend so much of our lives chasing bigger, better, faster, more, endeavouring to fly higher. Everything else seems much more desirable around us than ourselves, or our lives and loves, after a long day at the slug farm.

When do we decide how to proceed with the life we have built thus far: Joy, Passion, Marriage, Divorce, Suicide, Enlightenment? Choices we have made. What if you built from a place of strength rather than always feeling diminished and unfulfilled? A life built upon the life you have, rather than the elusive life you imagine, yet fear. Build a great life in balance with your best self and your nurtured relationships. Transformation is seeing the hidden gems that truly exist in plain sight.

We have all heard someone say, The grass is greener on the other side. Is it?

Most of us were 4 or 5 years old when the belief structure we made with life set in: Iam stupid, I am weak, I don’t deserve, etc. We engaged believing that we should spend our lives proving that we are who we believe everyone else thinks we are. Breaking the cycle of doubt is essential. Loving self is the first love.

The grass is greenest where you are!

Amazon UK

Born in Scotland and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Gary Finnan splits his time between Sonoma Wine country in California and his farm in Aiken South Carolina, along with his wife Eva and two daughters. Gary is an award-winning inspirational author. 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Blackwatertown Paul Waters 4*#Review @PaulWaters99 @Unbound_Digital @RandomTTours #noircrime #CrimeFiction #NorthernIreland #Ireland #1950s #Historical #BlogTour #BookReview #Blackwatertown

When maverick police sergeant Jolly Macken is banished to the sleepy 1950s Irish border village of Blackwatertown, he vows to find the killer of his brother – even if the murderer is inside the police.

But a lot can happen in a week. Over seven days Macken falls in love, uncovers dark family secrets, accidentally starts a war and is hailed a hero and branded a traitor. When Blackwatertown explodes into violence, who can he trust?

And is betrayal the only way to survive?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The attitudes, traditions and violence of 1950s Ireland are all reflected in the first chapter of this thriller. What follows is an impactful and pacy exploration of Jolly Macken’s posting in Blackwatertown, a small border town in Ireland.

This historical noir crime novel immerses the reader in the Irish ‘troubles’. Interwoven into this adrenaline-fueled, poignant thriller are the sectarianism, split families, and the culture of silence. Humour lightens this often dark story.

Macken is an enigmatic, but relatable character. His flaws make him believable, and he earns the reader’s empathy.

Paul Waters is an award-winning BBC producer and co-presenter of the We’d Like A Word books and authors podcast, shortlisted for 2020 Books Podcast of the Year. Paul grew up in Belfast during ‘the Troubles’ and went on to report and produce for BBC TV and radio.

His claim to fame is making Pelé his dinner. Paul has covered US politics, created a G8 Summit in a South African township, gone undercover in Zimbabwe, conducted football crowds, reported from Swiss drug shooting-up rooms, smuggled a satellite dish into Cuba and produced the World Service’s first live coverage of the 9/11 attacks on America.

He also taught in Poland, drove a cab in England, busked in Wales, was a night
club cook in New York, designed computer systems in Dublin, presented
podcasts for Germans and organised music festivals for beer drinkers. He lives
in Buckinghamshire and has two children.

Website Twitter Facebook Instagram

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Murder Mystery

Death Remembered K.E.Coburn 4*#Review #ASleuthingClubMystery @KeCoburn @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #1950s #VillageLife #historical #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview

Summer 1952.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but Charity Nicholls is bored of her quiet life in a tiny English village where nothing ever happens. Other than her nagging, marriage-obsessed mother, all she has to fill the time are her dreams of becoming a writer, and the Sleuthing Club – the mystery-reading book club she attends every week.

But everything changes the day her father receives a poison pen letter.

With the help of the Sleuthing Club, particularly handsome Henry Taylor, Charity is determined to find the culprit. But when people start dying and the police arrive, led by the infuriating Inspector James Lawrence, her little village becomes a hotbed of crime.

Can Charity find the murderer before anyone else dies?

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This 1950s village is the perfect setting for a naive but intelligent amateur sleuth and a slew of nasty letters and murder. Charity, the vicar’s daughter is desperate to leave the quiet village where she lives, nothing ever happens. The highlight of her week is the sleuthing club where they discuss crime fiction. Then her lovely father received a poison pen letter, and she decides to find out who has sent them.

Murder makes the investigation a police matter. Like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple Charity has a tense relationship with the police detective that you suspect may improve with acquaintance and results. Full of clues, false leads and suspects this engaging story reflects the characters, society and village life in the 1950s well.

This first book is an entertaining and promising start to the Sleuthing Club series.

K E Coburn lives by the seaside in Kent, England, and spends her time plotting murders and mayhem for her imaginary friends in the Sleuthing Club!

As well as having a master’s degree in history, she’s a huge fan of everything vintage, especially the 1950s, and loves researching this interesting period. Nothing makes her happier than looking at old photographs, drinking old-fashioned cocktails, and doing as little work as possible.

Her debut novel Death Remembered: A Sleuthing Club Mystery (Book 1) will be published in July 2020.

If you fancy keeping up to date with her murderous plots you can find her on social media

Twitter Website Facebook

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Friendship, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Weekend Away Sarah Alderson 4*#Review @sarahalderson @AvonBooksUK #CrimeFiction #PsychologicalThriller #Lisbon #Friendship #BookReview #TheWeekendAway

Two friends go on holiday. Only one comes back.

Orla and Kate have been best friends forever. Together they’ve faced it all – be it Orla’s struggles as a new mother or Kate’s messy divorce. And whatever else happens in their lives, they can always look forward to their annual weekend away.

This year, they’re off to Lisbon: the perfect flat, the perfect view, the perfect itinerary. And what better way to kick things off in style than with the perfect night out?

But when Orla wakes up the next morning, Kate is gone. Brushed off by the police and with only a fuzzy memory of the night’s events, Orla is her friend’s only hope. As she frantically retraces their steps, Orla makes a series of shattering discoveries that threaten everything she holds dear. Because while Lisbon holds the secret of what happened that night, the truth may lie closer to home…

A twisty holiday read

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The predictability of this story’s foundation makes it relatable, and when it all goes wrong so much more chilling. Orla and Kate best friends embark on a long-awaited weekend away. Orla, a new mum, is torn between rekindling her friendship and lost identity and staying home with the child she idolises. She goes and quickly gets into the weekend away vibe. Unfortunately, the next morning Kate is missing, and so is Orla’s recollection of the night before.

The story follows Orla trying to find Kate and what she uncovers along the way. There are lots of twists, plenty of smokescreens and unreliable characters. Who can she trust? The suspenseful, pacy plot engenders a sense of danger.

I like the dynamic between Orla and her unlikely hero. The ending is true to the psychological thriller genre, unexpected, unexplained and unsettling.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Suspense

Watch Over You M.J.Ford 4*#Review @MJFordBooks@AvonBooksUK #CrimeFiction #Suspense #DSJosieMasters #BookReview #WatchOverYou

The hunt is on. And this time, it’s personal…

When DS Josie Masters is called out to a house in North Oxford to investigate a serious incident, things take a personal turn. The body is Harry’s – her friend and former colleague.

Josie thought Harry lived alone, but evidence suggests he’d had a lodger – a young woman who has fled the scene.

And as more killings stun Oxford, the police discover the picture is more complicated than it appeared.

The young woman is on the run, and someone is following her – leaving a stack of bodies in their wake…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A contemporary, gritty police procedural with a relatable female detective, and a complex investigation. DS Josie Masters is now a single mum returning to work for the first time since the birth of her son. She’s conflicted, but her driven personality and diligence to her role keeps her on active duty.

Her first murder is personal and violent, and old friend and everything is not as it first appears. The pacing is commensurate with the investigation, which is hampered by further seemingly unrelated deaths. I read this as a standalone enjoyably, but if you can read all of the books in the series to understand the character development and relationships at play.

This has a noir-crime ethos emphasised by the occasional chapters from a disturbed individual.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Travel

Eleven Lines to Somewhere Alyson Rudd 4*#Review @allyrudd_times @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #Love #Loss #Mystery #Family #serendipity #LiteraryFiction

In a world of what-ifs, a connection has been made.

When Ryan spots a young woman on the tube on his commute, he can’t take his eyes off her. Instantly attracted and intrigued, he’s keen to find out more about his mysterious fellow passenger.

The woman he thinks of as Millie spends all day travelling the Underground, unable to leave for reasons unbeknownst to Ryan. For some inexplicable reason, he just can’t shake the feeling he wants to help her escape her endless commute.

This is a story of love and loss from the author of The First Time Lauren Pailing Died

Amazon UK Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story relies strongly on its characters to capture the reader’s heart and keep them reading. The plot is detailed and reflective in keeping with literary fiction, but it also relies on serendipity and how one person’s actions can affect others.

The setting on the underground gives the story an iconic quality. It is also relatable for the millions that have ridden the underground. People watching is inevitable when travelling in such proximity. This story stems from people watching and whether they do have mysteries to solve.

Ryan’s fixation with Sylvie, her compulsion to ride the underground, and his quest to help her is the momentum of this story. The characters are emotional and honest and easy to empathise. Their lives are ordinary but fascinating as is their fatalistic overlaps.

Read this book with no expectations and see what you think.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Saga

The Ops Room Girls Vicki Beeby 5*#Review @VickiBeeby @canelo_co @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #WW2 #WomeninWar #WAAF #TheOpsRoomGirls #BlogTour #BookReview #histfic #saga

When Evie’s dreams come crashing down, she’s determined to still make something of herself in these trying times…

It is 1939 and working-class Evie Bishop has received a scholarship to study mathematics at Oxford when tragedy turns her life upside down. Evie must seek a new future for herself and, inspired to contribute to the war effort, joins the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force as an Ops Room plotter.

Posted to a fighter station on the Sussex Coast, Evie befriends two other WAAFs – shy, awkward May and flirty, glamorous Jess. Faced with earning the approval of strict officers and finding their way in a male-dominated world, the three girls band together to overcome challenges, keep their pilots safe in the skies and navigate new romances.

But the German bombers seem to know more than they should about the base’s operations, and soon Evie, May and Jess are caught up in a world more dangerous than they ever imagined…

This is an uplifting, dramatic WW2 saga.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This engaging story follows the lives of three young women during WW2. All are part of the Women’s Auxillary Airforce (WAFF). Evie, Jess and May have different backgrounds and personalities, but they gravitate together when they meet on an airbase in Sussex. This friendship sustains them through adventure, danger, intrigue and romance.

The characters are believable and likeable. The story’s excellent sense of period brings WW2 to life, highlighting the sense of community and the tragic consequence of war. This is a charming story, One that involves the reader in the women’s lives. It’s easy to imagine the airbase and its occupants as the author uses sensory imagery well. It would make a good television series.

Vicki Beeby writes historical fiction about the friendships and loves of service women brought together by the Second World War.

Her first job was as a civil engineer on a sewage treatment project, so things could only improve from there. Since then, she has worked as a maths teacher and education consultant before turning freelance to give herself more time to write.

In her free time, when she can drag herself away from reading, she enjoys walking and travelling to far-off places by train. She lives in Shropshire in a house that doesn’t contain nearly enough bookshelves.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Spotlight, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Young Adult

Kissing Daisy Parker Michael Milton #BlogBlitz @mikemiltonbooks @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #YoungAdults #ComingofAge

First loves. Last chances. Street Fighter II.

Daisy is a Sylvia Plath reading, Robert Smith devotee, planning on a summer of Australian beaches with or without her two favourite boys. Obsessed gamer and jealous boyfriend Greg needs the prize money from the Scottish Street Fighter II championships to join Daisy in Oz. She wouldn’t really go without him. Would she?

Scottish-born, English-accented Junaid is the couple’s best friend. Haunted by that school dance and terrified of the future, he finds himself falling for his best friend’s girl. When a disastrous event at the video game tournament brings Daisy and J closer together, Greg attempts the ultimate redemption.

Each makes decisions which alter the course of their friendship, and their lives, forever. But do the answers to life’s biggest questions truly lie in kissing Daisy Parker?

Amazon UK

Michael Milton spent the first 25 years of his life pretending to be other people. After switching drama school for university, he travelled the world as an English teacher and returned home to complete his MA in Creative Writing.

His stories have been long and shortlisted for the Fish Prize, the Bath Short Story Award, the Mogford Prize and the Emerge Impact Creative Writing Prize. Kissing Daisy Parker is his first novel, and yes, he can beat you at Street Fighter.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Travel

Under a Starry Sky Laura Kemp 4*#Review @Laurajanekemp @HachetteAudioUK @orionbooks #Audiobook #Audiobook #Review #UnderaStarrySky #SecondChances #Wales #FamilyDrama #Love #Secrets #Romance

One summer to change her life…

Wanda Williams has always dreamed of leaving her wellies behind her and travelling the world! Yet every time she comes close to following her heart, life always seems to get in the way.

So, when her mother ends up in hospital and her sister finds out she’s pregnant with twins, Wanda knows that only she can save the crumbling campsite at the family farm.

Together with her friends in the village, she sets about sprucing up the site, mowing the fields, replanting the allotment and baking homemade goodies for the campers.

But when a long-lost face from her past turns up, Wanda’s world is turned upside-down. And under a starry sky, anything can happen…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this audiobook from Hachette Audio UK Orion via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is perfect for an audiobook listen. The narrator is professional and believably voices the characters. The story is simple, and the characters are authentic and relatable. The combination of characters, plot and setting are what makes this heartwarming.

Told mainly from Annie and Wanda’s point of view the story begins with the fire that destroyed more than buildings fifteen years ago. It altered the village and the lives of Annie Lew and Wanda. The story follows their current lives which are full of angst, guilt and regret with some well-placed humorous touches.

The life experiences are realistic and draw the listener into the story. The final chapters are uplifting and the ending romantic.