Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction

Talland House Maggie Humm 4* #Review @MaggieHumm1 @shewritespress #BookReview #BlogTour @RandomTTours #HistoricalFiction #Women #TallandHouse @CameronPMTweets

Royal Academy, London 1919: Lily has put her student days in St. Ives, Cornwall, behind her―a time when her substitute mother, Mrs. Ramsay, seemingly disliked Lily’s portrait of her and Louis Grier, her tutor, never seduced her as she hoped he would. In the years since, she’s been a suffragette and a nurse in WWI, and now she’s a successful artist with a painting displayed at the Royal Academy. Then Louis appears at the exhibition with the news that Mrs. Ramsay has died under suspicious circumstances. Talking to Louis, Lily realizes two things: 1) she must find out more about her beloved Mrs. Ramsay’s death (and her sometimes-violent husband, Mr. Ramsay), and 2) She still loves Louis.

Set between 1900 and 1919 in picturesque Cornwall and war-blasted London, Talland House takes Lily Briscoe from the pages of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse and tells her story outside the confines of Woolf’s novel―as a student in 1900, as a young woman becoming a professional artist, her loves and friendships, mourning her dead mother, and solving the mystery of her friend Mrs. Ramsay’s sudden death. Talland House is both a story for our present time, exploring the tensions women experience between their public careers and private loves, and a story of a specific moment in our past―a time when women first began to be truly independent.

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

My Thoughts…

The author’s attention to historical detail and knowledge of the world of art and literature makes this story vivid and vibrant despite its gentle pacing. I know little about Virginia Woolf or the story that inspires this book, but that didn’t dim my enjoyment.

The plot is a medley of historical, literary characters, events and settings. It explores the early twentieth century, a time in England of great change, especially for women. The heroine Lily Briscoe experiences loss, love, nursing in wartime, life as a suffragette whilst still following an artist path. The society in St Ives, known for its artistic community and London is brought to life and give this story a great sense of time and place.

There is also a mystery to solve with the mysterious death of Ms Ramsay. This is a coming of age novel and shows all aspects of Lily’s life against a turbulent historical period of English twentieth-century history.

This is an intricately detailed, fascinating story that captures the social history and the personal development of a young woman in the early twentieth century.

Maggie Humm

MAGGIE HUMM is an Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies University of East London. Her books include Border Traffic, The Dictionary of Feminist Theory (the first edition of which was named ‘outstanding academic book’ by Choice), the best-selling Modern Feminisms; Feminism and Film;Modernist Women and Visual Cultures: Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Photography and Cinema; Snapshots of Bloomsbury: the Private Lives of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, Rutgers University Press and the Tate; and The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf and the Arts, Edinburgh and Columbia University Presses, (the focus of an Edinburgh International Book Festival talk).

She was an editor of the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Women and has been a Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor at many universities including Massachusetts, San Diego State, Stanford,Rutgers, Queen’s Belfast, and Karachi. She gave an Annual Virginia Woolf Birthday Lecture and keynote and plenary papers in Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, the US and elsewhere.
Media include consultant and participant in the BBC Schools prize winning Nice Girls Don’t Swear and BBC Women’s Hour, World Service, BBC 4 Today and Front Row, overseas – Turkey TRT World television ‘Showcase’, France Culture La Grande Traversee: Virginia Woolf, French TV Arte ‘Cornwall Through the Eyes of Virginia Woolf. Find out more at http://www.maggiehumm.net

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Motivational, Non-Fiction, User Guide

365 Days of Gratitude Journal Marielle S. Smith 4*#Review @MSWordsmithNL @rararesources #GratitudeJournal #MentalHealth #positivity #motivational #BookReview #BlogBlitz #Guide #365DaysofGratitudeJournal

‘Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.’ Rumi

Being grateful is easy…

…when everything goes according to plan.

But how do you keep at it no matter what life throws at you?

Enter 365 Days of Gratitude, the undated daily journal that will help you stay on track.

After years of barely surviving her own emotional minefield, writing coach Mariëlle S. Smith discovered the transformative power of practising gratitude. But, like no one else, she knows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done.

Complete with inspiring quotes, daily prompts, and recurring check-ins, the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal encourages you to create a sustainable gratitude practice too.

Ready to commit to the life-changing power of gratitude? Order your copy of the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal now.

Get 50% off the printable PDF until 6 September 2020 with the following discount code: HAPPYLAUNCH. Go to https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysofgratitude or https://payhip.com/b/Hld2 to claim your copy. 

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

My Thoughts…

If you believe in the value of gratitude journaling but are struggling then this book may be helpful. It is easy to use with useful prompts to guide your thoughts. If specific prompts don’t work for you, adapt them. It’s a guide, not a rulebook.

Attractively set out, it’s easy to summarise your weeks and months of gratitude journaling with weekly, four-week and three-month prompts. There are also motivational quotes to inspire you.

If you want to remember what’s good in your life and focus on the positives, this guide may be for you.

Marielle S. Smith

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a (ghost) writer. Early 2019, she moved to Cyprus, and island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.

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Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Memoir, New Adult Romance

A Stranger in Paris Karen Webb #CoverReveal @bookwormpegg @impressbooks1 @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #AStrangerinParis

Aberystwyth University, 1986 – and another year of torrential rain. Bad hair days and a rugby-fanatic fiancé are part of her drab existence so who can blame Karen for falling into the arms of a handsome Parisian?

Hastening across The Channel with stars in her eyes, she speeds to the city of light only to discover that her lover is nowhere to be found. Nor what he seemed.

Life takes a turn for the better when her old school-friend Jessica makes a dramatic entrance, encouraging Karen on a downward spiral of adventure – including a brush with the Parisian underworld which places both girls in peril.

Karen’s childhood is a constant anguish reminding her that when things go wrong, not everyone has a home to return to, as the dark shadows of the past merge with her troubled French life.

Where to go, when there’s no going home?

Based on a true story, A Stranger in Paris is the first of a three-part series. This honest memoir recounts with humour and poignancy the search for love and family.

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Karen graduated from Aberystwyth University with a Degree in English Literature. She then moved to Paris, where she worked for 16 years as an English language teacher for business professionals before settling in rural South West France. With few employment opportunities other than stuffing geese or picking melons, she qualified as a licensed real estate agent.

Karen then attended Lancaster University where she graduated with a Masters in Creative Writing in 2015, after which she set up a series of Creative Writing retreats, “A Chapter Away”, inviting world famous authors, literary agents and publishers to teach aspiring novelists. Inspired by the comments of tutors on the memoir writing course, she began “A Stranger in Paris.”

Passionate about theatre, and script-writing, Karen has also written plays, several short stories and a novel – all of which are lurking in the bottom drawer. “A Stranger in Paris” is her first published work, and is the first novel of the trilogy La Vie Française.

Karen now lives in Gascony with her husband and son, and has a grown-up daughter who works in London. Much of her writing is inspired by the North West of England where she grew up, and France which became her country of adoption.

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

Displacement Anne Stormont 5*#Review Rachel&Jack: The Skye Series @writeanne @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #motivational #Displacement #Love #Loss #BookReview #BookTour #TravelTuesday #Skye #Israel

Divorce, the death of her soldier son, and estrangement from her daughter, leave Hebridean crofter, Rachel Campbell, grief-stricken, lonely and lost.

Forced retirement leaves former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter needing to find a new direction in life.

After Rachel and Jack meet on a wild winter’s night in the most dramatic circumstances, an unlikely friendship begins, despite their very different personalities. However, their feelings for each other gradually go beyond friendship – something neither of them feels able to admit. And, when Rachel leaves to go on a life-changing journey to the Middle East, it seems unlikely their relationship will go any further.

Can Rachel give her heart to Jack?

Can Jack trust himself not to break it if she does?

Set against the contrasting and dramatic backdrops of the Scottish island of Skye and the contested country of Israel-Palestine, Displacement is a story of courage and love – where romance and realism meet head on.

Displacement is the first of the three books in the Rachel & Jack Skye Series.

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

My Thoughts…

Displacement is an addictive emotionally satisfying read, from the stark beauty of Skye to the richness of the Israeli setting and the captivating, relatable characters.

Rachel’s life finally implodes after her mother’s death. Still reeling from her husband’s infidelity, her son’s death destroys her, and her daughter’s anger leaves her believing that life is over. Jack retired after a health scare is following a dream in Skye. He misses his career and wonders if his relationship with a married woman is his only choice.

Jack and Rachel have a serendipitous meeting, but have they met for a reason?

The characters are authentic and easy to empathise. Rachel comes to terms with devastating loss and learns to forgive herself for events beyond her control. Israel is enlightening, and the setting and political climate explored well.

The dynamic between Rachel and Jack is believable, in an engaging heartwarming read of loss and love.

Anne Stormont was born in Scotland and although she has travelled all over the world – including a teaching exchange to South Africa, four trips to Australia and several visits to the Middle East – it’s where she still lives.

She began making up stories as a child in order to entertain her four wee sisters. But as an adult, being busy with motherhood and working as a teacher, it took a long time and a mortality wake-up call for her to get that first book written.

She’s a compulsive crossworder, yoga practitioner, avid reader, keen walker and enthusiastic gardener. She can be a bit of a subversive old bat, but she tries to maintain a kind heart. She also loves tea, penguins and being with her grandchildren.

Change of Life was her first novel and she has since published three more. Her books are all set in Scotland and are contemporary romances where the main characters may be slightly older but are not necessarily wiser.

You can find out more about Anne and her books at her Website 

Posted in Cover Reveal, Poetry

The Coconut Girl by Sunita Thind #CoverReveal @sunitathind @wildpressed #poetry @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #TheCoconutGirl

The Coconut Girl is a collection of poems containing material that is from the Indian, female point of view with an insight into Punjabi culture. We also follow the author through the hallucinogenic state of the brain following cancer treatment and in her experience of life in multicultural Britain.The protagonist in the poems is at the same time deeply vulnerable and strongly independent. Overall her strength of character shines throughThe Coconut Girl features poetry of deep imagery, not least in some of the poems exploring the experience of the female body post-operatively, such as in My Womb Is A Park Of Carnage.

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Sunita Thind

SUNITA THIND is a Bedford born Derby-based published female, Asian British BAME poet and writer. Her debut collection of multicultural poetry (Black Pear Press, 2020) focused on living between two cultures, British and Punjabi. Sunita is a workshop facilitator, speaker and performance poet. She has had poetry and short stories published in various literary magazines, e-zines and journals.