Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Non-Fiction

Wicked Writing Skills Lexi Rees 5*#Review @lexi_rees @rararesources #LexiRees #OutsetPublishing #WickedWritingSkills #ChildrensBooks #KidLit #NonFiction #Workbook #Writing #7+ #BlogTour

Wicked Writing Skills: Over 90 non-fiction activities for children

Writing is like a spell. It can melt hearts and fry brains, twisting and turning as the magic works.

Want the world to fall at your feet, destroyed by the might of your pen?

– Sharpen your powers of persuasion

– Sky-rocket your debating skills

– Add ooomph to your reports

– And lots more! Packed with top tips, this awesome workbook has everything you need to know to become a WICKED WRITER.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

Wicked Writing Skills gives readers in the 7-11 year age group writing confidence and skills in areas of non-fiction. It follows on from the author’s engaging and successful creative writing skills book.

The workbook uses age-specific subjects divided into seven non-fiction topics. An engaging and informal writing style makes this a fun learning tool. The importance of highlighting the subject and using structure to make succinct points is a generic writing skill that applies to many of the topics covered in this book.

The book is illustrated with fun graphics and contains projects to test out skills at the end of the book.

Win an activity book – Wicked Writing Skills (UK Only)

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Lexi Rees

Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south. She writes action-packed adventures brim full of witch-doctors, fortune-tellers, warriors and smugglers, combining elemental magic with hints of dystopia. She also writes fun activity books for children. 

Her fantasy adventure, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids. The sequel, Wild Sky, is available now. 

She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children and, as well as her Creative Writing Skills workbook, she has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Moonlight Over Studland Bay Della Galton 5*#Review @DellaGalton @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Family #UpLit #Romance #Animals #Dreams #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #PublicationDay

‘Utterly uplifting, pure escapism’ Trisha Ashley, bestselling author

Animal loving Samantha Jones is on a mission to ‘live the dream’.
When best friend Abby has a beautiful baby boy Sam’s priorities change and she realises she wants more from her life.

Uninspired with her dull day job Sam plans to expand Purbeck Pooches, her seaside pet sitting business into a full-time career and embarks on a mission to find her perfect man.

Sam soon hits trouble. Her boss accuses her of moonlighting. The perfect man is frustratingly elusive and her parents make a shock revelation.

The odds are stacking up against her but Sam finds that sometimes when you reach for the moon, you get a handful of glittering stars thrown in for free.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an engaging story about friendship, families and following your dreams set in a Dorset coastal vista. Sam is a great best friend as Abby finds when she turns up on her doorstep heartbroken and pregnant. Sam’s day job as an audio typist is a means to an end. It’s her hobby job as a dog walker and animal sitter that gives her the life she aspires to. Finding the ideal man doesn’t even make her wishlist after her latest heartbreak, but this story shows that following your dreams can lead to some surprising benefits.

Friendship is the predominant theme in this story, but gentle romance makes a lasting impact as Sam’s story progresses. The romantic male lead is not at all stereotypical, which adds authenticity to this heartwarming story. There are lots of lovely characters all believably flawed and one or two eccentrics that given the story its vivacity. The protagonists are older, which reflects contemporary society well.

This is a story about ordinary folks in everyday situations, but their friendship and love are extraordinary. This quality shines through, in insightful, and sensitive writing, making this an escapist, and uplifting book to read.

Extract from Moonlight Over Studland Bay – Della Galton

Sam Jones was beginning to feel a great deal more stressed than she had when she had left Beach Cottage, her home overlooking Studland Bay in one of the most beautiful spots in Dorset, fifteen minutes earlier. Her hands felt slippery on the steering wheel. It was hot for June, plus annoyingly a section of her long dark hair had escaped from its butterfly clip and was flicking round her face as she drove. This was because all of the car windows were down. Abby, who was half sitting, half lying on the back seat, had said she needed the air.

‘Can’t you drive any bloody faster, Sam? I’m in agony here.’

She glanced in the rear view mirror and saw that her best friend and housemate – they’d met in year seven and had been inseparable ever since – was thrashing about. Her head was thrown back, her white blonde hair fanned out against the headrest and her flushed face was screwed up in a very good impression of someone in agony. But, as Abby was prone to exaggeration, if not a full-on drama queen, Sam was nowhere near as worried as she might otherwise have been.

Sometimes she thought the only thing she and Abby now had in common was the fact they were both thirty-six. They had been born exactly a month apart – Sam on 10 May and Abby on 10 June. A month had a lot to answer for in astrology terms. Not that Sam put as much faith in astrology as Abby did. This morning, Abby’s Three-Word Fun Horoscope, which she read every day on her app, had said, ‘Don’t go yet’. Abby, as ever, had put her faith in that until she couldn’t hold off any longer, which is why they were racing along in the car now.

‘Honey, half an hour ago you didn’t want to come,’ Sam pointed out gently. ‘You were dead set on having a home birth. And I can’t drive any faster, it won’t do us any good if I crash.’ Also, she was worried about the two mousetraps, both of which contained live mice, which she’d just remembered were on the back seat of the car in a brown paper bag. The traps were shut, but if they tipped off the seat they might open and release their cargo and Abby was terrified of mice. If there was one thing worse than having a pain-ridden Abby in labour in her car, it was having a pain-ridden and panic-stricken Abby in labour in her car.

Sam knew she should have moved the humane mousetraps before they’d set out, but in all the panic of racing around the house gathering up all the stuff that Abby hadn’t bothered packing because ‘no way am I having an unnatural hospital birth,’ it had slipped her mind that they were there. Fortunately they hadn’t been in situ very long; she had planned to release the occupants in the woods on her way back to get Abby, before she’d realised quite how urgent things had become.

Della Galton

Della Galton is the author of 15 books, including Ice and a Slice.  She writes short stories, teaches writing groups and is Agony Aunt for Writers Forum Magazine.  She lives in Dorset. Della’s new fiction series launched with Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff in May 2020.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

The Maiden and the Mercenary Nicola Locke 4*#Review @NicoleLockeNews @MillsandBoonHistorical @HarlequinBooks @rararesources #harlequinhistorical #BlogBlitz #BookReview #MillsandBoonHistorical #HistoricalRomance #LoversandLegends #MondayBlogs #Giveaway

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This medieval romance is part of the Lovers and Legends series. The romance between a serving girl and a mercenary masquerading as a servant is a forbidden romance trope and is full of adventure, danger and passion.

The lighthearted romance between two individuals with hidden agendas, but a common purpose counters the malevolence underlying the story. Their romance is intense, passionate and secretive. The plot contains intrigue and the threat of being found out, as Louve and Biedeluue indulge their attraction whilst trying to achieve their necessary missions.

The author creates a believable sense of history and a disturbing ethos which changes with the whim of the evil lord. The characters are flawed and relatable, and the romance is the flame that carries them through.

Giveaway to Win a £20 / $20 Amazon Gift Card

(Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Nicole Locke

Nicole first discovered romance novels hidden in her grandmother’s closet. Convinced that hidden books must be better, Nicole greedily read them. It was only natural she should start writing them (but now not so secretly).

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

Murder At The Gorge Frances Evesham 4* #Review #Extract @FrancesEvesham @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #BlogTour #boldwoodbloggers #BookReview #MurderMystery #ExhamOnSea #MurderAtTheGorge #MondayBlogs

A joke? A prank? Or something more sinister?

When the Exham-on-Sea residents are targeted by anonymous emails containing apparently harmless nursery rhymes, no one knows whether to laugh or shudder until an unexplained death touches the town.

Libby Forest, baker, chocolatier and Exham’s very own resident private investigator, alongside her partner Max Ramshore, set out to solve the puzzle before more people die. But when Max’s ex-wife arrives on the scene, ahead of Max and Libby’s long-awaited nuptials, things go from bad to worse.

With the town and their relationship under threat, Max and Libby need the help of the Exham History Society if they’re going to find the nursery rhyme killer in time.

Murder at the Gorge is the seventh in a series of Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set at the small English seaside town full of quirky characters, sea air, and gossip.

If you love Agatha Christie-style mysteries, cosy crime, clever dogs and cake, then you’ll love these intriguing whodunnits.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

As I haven’t read any books in this series, I can confirm it reads well as a standalone. There are sufficient backstory and character details to immerse a new reader in this tale of murder. Amateur sleuths Libby Forest, and Max Ramshore, have their wedding plans sidelined when poison pen letters turn to murder and Max’s ex-wife infiltrates his life.

This story is set in Exham-On-Sea a fictional coastal village in Somerset, which has a vibrant community and a penchant for murder. The plot is full of twists with numerous suspects and historical connections to be investigated. The characters are well-written and draw the reader into the village. The village ethos is believable and gives the murder mystery authenticity.

This is something to escape with for a couple of hours, and I plan to read the whole series.

Extract from Murder At The Gorge – Frances Evesham

The wind blew them back to Max’s Land Rover, parked near the jetty, in half the time it had taken them to reach the lighthouse.

As they flung open the doors and the dogs scrambled on board, Max’s phone rang. He shot a glance at the screen and his stomach lurched. Stella. His ex-wife. He hadn’t heard from her for years. His finger hovered over the red button for a second, but he knew she’d just call again. Reluctantly, he answered.

‘Hello?’

‘Max, I need your help. I’m in Bristol. Come and see me. Now.’

Max stared at the phone, stunned into silence.

Libby climbed into the passenger seat. ‘Who is it? Business?’

Max croaked into the phone, ‘I’ll call you back,’ ended the call and dropped the phone into his pocket as though it had burned his fingers.

Libby pulled her seat belt tight. ‘That was a bit abrupt. You’ll frighten customers away. You could take a lesson from the way Mandy answers the phone at work. Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, these days.’

She chattered happily about Mandy, her lodger and chocolate-making apprentice, soon to become the sole tenant of Hope Cottage when Libby moved into Max’s house near the sand dunes. She didn’t seem to notice that Max still stood by the open driver’s door, answering in grunts, not hearing a word she said.

Stella. After all these years?

‘Well, let’s go,’ Libby said.

‘Yes, sorry.’

He made an effort to pull himself together, climbed into the car and started the engine.

‘Who was it, anyway?’ Libby asked.

He couldn’t tell her, not now. He couldn’t spoil her excitement over the wedding. ‘Old colleague,’ he muttered, and the lie seemed to hang in the air, like a cloud.

‘One of your old business mates? Did you get cut off?’

‘That’s right. Might be some work coming my way. I’ll call back, later.’

Frances Evesham is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea mysteries set in her home county of Somerset. In her spare time, she collects poison recipes and other ways of dispatching her unfortunate victims. She likes to cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other, her head full of murder―fictional only.

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Romance

A Surprise Christmas Wedding Phillipa Ashley 5* #Review @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #HarperCollinsAudioUK #festive #Christmas #Cumbria #Events #Weddings #Winter #BookReview #Audiobook Narrator Laura Kirman @laurakirman #Review #ASupriseChristmasWedding

It’s been a year since Lottie’s fiancé walked out, leaving her heartbroken. But things start to look up when she lands her dream job at a beautiful Lake District estate, with a handsome groundskeeper for a neighbour.
 
So when Lottie is asked to organise a last minute Christmas wedding at Firholme, she can’t wait to get started. Until she meets the couple, and discovers that Connor, the man who broke her heart, is the groom-to-be.
 

As snow falls on the hills, can Lottie put aside her past to organise the perfect winter wedding? And will there be any festive magic left to bring Lottie the perfect Christmas she deserves?

Curl up with this gorgeous story about love and second chances.

Amazon UK Audiobook

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

My Thoughts…

I’ve read lots of this author’s books, but this is the first I’ve listened to as an audiobook. Rather than Cornwall, the setting for this story is Cumbria one of my favourite places, so I couldn’t wait to start listening. This is a story of betrayal, forgiveness and second chances with a surprising festive wedding. Not wanting to give away the plot suffice it to say not all surprises are welcome.

Lottie is working as an event planner at a Cumbrian country house. Planning her first wedding causes conflict in her personal and professional lives, ultimately it makes her realise, some truths about herself and her previous relationship. Jay appears unsocial, but he has trust issues when it comes to relationships, something that stands between his and Lottie’s happiness.

The story has some lovely festive touches, and the romance is conflicted, but rewarding. There is also a poignantly relevant sub-plot about Lottie’s sister, which shows the importance of their sisterly bond and is a particularly heartwarming part of the story.

The characters are vibrant and wonderfully flawed, and they are brought to life, convincingly, by the excellent narrator. Not all the characters are easy to like, particularly Connor and his fiancee Keegan. The story has a good plot for an audiobook with lots of characters and dialects. The narrator is professional and copes well with the different accents and characters.

If you are looking for a festive read with family and forgiveness at its heart with ripples of romance, and humour this is a perfect read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Poetry

The Coconut Girl by Sunita Thind 4*#Review @sunitathind @wildpressed #poetry @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #TheCoconutGirl #BookTour #BlogTour #BookReview

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.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts….

For a small book, this contains impactful material written in a lyrical, personal style. There’s a story running through the book, a young girl and then woman’s perspective of her culture, family and lifestyle. The cultural references make this intrinsically interesting to readers. The poetry is honest and raw and sometimes disturbing, written using vivid sensory imagery and vulnerability.

The intensely individual observations of Cancer, treatment and the aftermath are haunting and poignant. The disparity in the poet’s culture between arranged marriage and western lifestyle is starkly portrayed and powerful, written by someone within it.

This book is an insightful, intense exploration of cultural expectations, family, illness and what it’s like to be a woman between two cultures, it’s fascinating, heartbreaking and thought-provoking.

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.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Happy Family Jackie Kabler #CoverReveal @JackieKabler @0neMoreChapter_ #CrimeFiction #Psychological #suspense #preorder #4June2021 #TheHappyFamily

A mother who disappeared…
When Beth was 10 years old, her beautiful, wild mother Alice walked out and never came back. Beth’s life since hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but now she is happy and settled, with a successful career, a loving family and a beautiful home.

An unexpected visitor…
Then one day there’s a knock at the door. Alice has returned. Overjoyed to have the chance to rebuild their relationship, Beth invites her mother to move in.

A life that comes crashing down…
At first, everything seems wonderful. But then Beth’s friends begin to drift away, strange things start to happen at home, and rumours begin to circle about her past. As the mysterious events around Beth become darker and more dangerous, she is forced to question everything. Is somebody in her life trying to destroy her happiness? And how far will they go?

#Preorder

Amazon UK

Posted in Book Review, Festive Read, Romance

Snowbound At The Manor Ellie Darkins 4*#Review @MillsandBoon @EllieDarkins #MillsandBoonInsiders #Romance #SnowboundAtTheManor #instagram #MillsandBoonTrueLove #Festive Read

The words merry and Christmas don’t go together for Jess. So her trip to a luxury stately home is for business, not pleasure. Only Jess hadn’t counted on spending Christmas snowbound with enigmatic Rufus, elusive owner of the manor. To top it off, it’s more difficult to ignore the sparks between them with each passing day!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

It took me a little while to warm to the characters and events in this story, although I enjoyed the setting and the unexpected encounter element from the start. Rufus and Jess meet dramatically with him collapsing on her holiday home doorstep, and the chemistry begins to sizzle as she helps him thaw out. Neither is keen on involvement, so there is plenty of conflict in this story as they fight the attraction between them. The Instagram promotion angle is the least appealing element of the story for me, but I appreciate others may love this.

This is a lovely festive read with a great setting, romance and snow.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Cozy Mystery, Mystery

The Mystery of Montague House Emma Davies #CoverReveal @EmDaviesAuthor #SummerandWynterMystery @rararesources #Mystery #cozymystery

When Summer meets Wynter…

With enough rooms to fill a Cluedo board several times over, Montague House has often been the subject of rumour and gossip. Tales of strange goings on, an owner who disappeared one day and was never seen again, not to mention the treasure that rumour has it lies at its heart… But now the present owner has died and the house is to be sold. It looks as if the opportunity has come to finally settle the stories once and for all.

Clodagh Wynter doesn’t believe in ghostly goings on and tall tales of secrets. She has her feet very firmly on the ground and, tasked with the job of valuing and cataloguing the house and all its contents, she’s simply looking forward to working in such a glorious setting. And if she happens across a priceless painting, well, that’s just icing on the cake.

Andie Summer is a Finder of Things and desperately needs this job; she’s down to her last few tins of baked beans. So looking for hidden treasure sounds right up her street, even if there was something very fishy about the mysterious Mr Mayfair who hired her. Because it’s just like she said to her faithful Basset Hound, Hamish; I saw something out of the corner of my eye as I was leaving, and you know what that means. It’s never good news when I see something out of the corner of my eye…

As the unlikely pair are thrown together, it soon becomes very clear however that they are not the only ones searching for the treasure. And they’re going to need all their ingenuity, resourcefulness, not to mention chocolate biscuits, if they’re ever going to untangle the web of secrets that surrounds Montague House. One that reaches even further than they ever thought possible...

Amazon UK

Emma Davies

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty-something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a fifty-something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband and three children in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Noir, Nordic Noir

Fallen Angels Gunnar Staalesen 4* #Review @OrendaBooks #FallenAngels #NordicNoir #GunnarStaalesen Translator Don Bartlett #BlogTour #BookReview #VargVeum

Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum has to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Eighth in an international-bestselling series of Nordic-Noir thrillers

When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former
classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly
reunited with his old friend Jakob – guitarist of the once-famous 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.
Their rekindled friendship is thrown into jeopardy by the discovery of a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own
adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.

Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I understand that this is the eight book in a long-running series, but this sees the private investigator Varg Veum as a younger man than some of the earlier books, in a story that delves into his past and shows how he became the man he is. So, in many ways, this is a good starting book for new readers like me. The story reads as a standalone and is true to the Nordic Noir genre.

The themes of good and evil and spirituality and sin underscore this story. It has noir themes which are disturbing to read but are essential to the character of the story. There is a murder mystery which has its roots in Varg’s past, which is described strikingly both in events and location.

The writing is immersive and vivid. The characters distinctive, but not likeable, which is often a given in this genre. It’s not an easy read, but it is insightful, and the Norwegian setting is of intrinsic interest too.

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies.

Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona
Award for Nordic Crime Fiction and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019.

He lives with his wife in Bergen.