Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Childrens Books, Magic

Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure Emma Larkin 4* #Review @emmalarkinbooks @rararesources #childrensbooks #kidlit #ladiesgaelicfootball #blogblitz #bookreview #Ilustrator #PaulNugent #RebelinKerry

#IzzysMagicalFootballAdvneture

Izzy is a seven-year-old girl who lives in Ireland and loves all sport, especially Gaelic Football.

Izzy plays football with her brothers on a regular basis in their back garden and dreams of playing for her county in the All Ireland Ladies Football Final in Croke Park when she is older.

One day, Izzy puts on her great grandmother’s bracelet, which is made of old All Ireland medals that her great grandmother won a long time ago, and something unexpected and magical happens, which may make Izzy’s Croke Park dream a reality sooner than she expected…

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

My Thoughts…

A lovely family story, about believing in yourself and your dreams, and practice makes perfect.

Izzy regularly plays Gaelic football with her three brothers, and despite trying hard, is often on the losing side, which is frustrating and makes her unpopular with her teammate brother. Banished to her room, when she has a tantrum, she finds her grandmother’s bracelet, and then with a little magic, she sees what the future could be.

The characters are relatable, the adventure full of magic and motivation, and the illustrations follow the action beautifully. The introduction to Gaelic football is interesting, for those who are not familiar with it, and the story is pitched appropriately for the intended age group.

I read the electronic version of this, but the illustrations are clear and still enjoyable.

#EmmaLarkin

My name is Emma Larkin, and I am the founder of “Emma Larkin Books” and “Rebel in Kerry Press”.  I have recently written and published my first book “Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure”, and I hope to write many more books about Izzy and her adventures in sport. As may be evident from the name of my publishing imprint, I am a “Rebel in Kerry”!  This means that I am originally from County Cork in Ireland, which is known as the Rebel County, but I moved to Kerry (another county in Ireland which neighbours Cork) in 2006 and have been happily living in Kerry since then, with my husband and four children. My husband is a Kerry native and we live in North Kerry, near Listowel, where my husband is from and is an area which is rich in literary history! 

I have always enjoyed reading and writing. Writing essays was my favourite part of primary school!

In my spare time, I love to run. I am very involved in my local park run in Listowel. I also coach ladies’ football at underage level with my local ladies’ football club and did attempt to play ladies football for a few years with my local “Gaelic4Mothers&Others Team”! I may not have been the greatest football player, but I could run! And it was an hour each week where I could exercise in a fun environment with a fantastic group of women, who I remain friends with to this day.

My inspiration to write this book was my grandmother, Maureen Hennebry, née Cashman. She was on the Cork camogie team which won the All-Ireland Camogie Championship three times in a row between 1939 and 1941. She came from a family rich in GAA history, the Cashman’s of Blackrock in Cork, and is even mentioned in the following poem by the famous Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh:

Camogie MatchPatrick Kavanagh 1905 – 1967

Bright shone the sunlight on Peggy and Doreen

Wild swung the ash sticks.  Be careful astoreen;

Josie is getting into her stride now,

Kathleen is hurling with all her Cork pride now.

A shout from the side-line: Mark your man, Kathleen Cody.

Kathleen pucks it.  I tell you that puck was a dotie.

The game is exciting, it is indeed really,

Maureen Cashman is tackling the bold Ide O’Kiely …

In hindsight, I am in awe of the fact that my grandmother and her teammates played camogie at such a high level at a time in Ireland, where a woman’s role was predominantly to be a wife and homemaker. Which comes to my reason for writing this book, my grandmother was my inspiration to write it, but my reason for writing it was to encourage all young girls to play sports. It is crucial for our wellbeing and development and we need to make it as normal for girls to play sport as it is for boys. The growing popularity of women’s sports in Ireland and further afield is so encouraging and we need to continue to develop this. As the current 20*20 campaign says, “if she can’t see it, she can’t be it”. I hope that my book can in some way help to normalise girls playing football and that both boys and girls will enjoy reading about Izzy’s adventures!

Visit the following websites for more information;

20*20 campaign – www.20×20.ie

Sport Ireland – www.sportireland.ie

Ladies Gaelic Football Association – www.ladiesgaelic.ie

Camogie Association – www.camogie.ie

Women in sport – www.womeninsport.org

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime

Silent Night – Geraldine Hogan 5*#Review @bookouture @GerHogan #DetectiveIrisLocke #Ireland #policeprocedural #crimefiction #BlogTour

‘She reached into the pram and placed her hands on the cotton blanket. It was still warm. But her smiling, new baby sister, with her wide blue-grey eyes, was gone…’

Twenty-five years later, three bodies are found at a ramshackle cottage in the Irish countryside, and Detective Iris Locke is sick to her stomach. The victims are Anna Crowe and her two young children.

Iris has only recently joined the Limerick Murder Squad. Against her father’s advice, she’s working the narrow lanes and green hills of her childhood. Iris still remembers Anna, who was just a small girl when her baby sister was snatched, never to be seen again. It was the one case Iris’ own father never solved, and Iris can’t help but wonder if the two crimes are connected.

She’ll stop at nothing to find Anna justice, but a fire has destroyed almost all the physical evidence, and Limerick is the same small town she remembers: everybody protects their neighbours, and Iris has been away for too long.

Can Iris unpick the lies beneath the surface of her pretty hometown, and catch the most twisted individual of her career, when reopening the old case means reopening old wounds for her team, the rest of the community, and her own father?

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

My Thoughts…

All the ingredients for a stunning police procedural, are in this first book of the Detective Iris Locke series. An ambitious, clever detective, an atmospheric authentic setting, believable characters and unexpected twists in the poignant case, they are investigating.

The tragic first event sets the scene for this story and draws you in, even though you can’t immediately see how it is connected to what follows. Iris is desperate to work in Murder, and she needs to prove herself. Hardworking, and likeable, she is not sure if she can fit in with the other detectives. There are some wonderful characters in this story, the detectives are recognisable, and avoid stereotypes. Even Slatterly, who is the closest to a stereotype has a reason for his behaviour that is eventually revealed, making him believable.

The investigation is well thought out, and interesting, lots of suspects, with the true reasons behind the crime hidden until the end. The twists are believable, and unexpected, especially towards the end, and everything comes to a satisfying conclusion. With the prospect of more investigations for Iris and the team

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Geraldine Hogan

Geraldine Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree in Training and Management from University College, Galway. She is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of four contemporary fiction novels under the pen name Faith Hogan.
Silent Night is her first crime novel, her second is due out in December 2019.
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Guest post

The Beach at Doonshean Penny Feeny 4*#Review @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #FamilyDrama #Ireland #Liverpool #Secrets #BookReview #BlogTour #GuestPost

In Ireland, the past never dies…

Long ago, on a windswept Irish beach, a young father died saving the life of another man’s child.

Thirty years later, his widow, Julia, decides to return to this wild corner of Ireland to lay the past to rest. Her journey sparks others: her daughter Bel, an artist, joins her mother in Ireland, while son Matt and daughter-in-law Rachel, at home in Liverpool, embark on some soul-searching of their own.

 As the threads of past and present intertwine, Julia’s family confront long-buried feelings of guilt, anger, fear and desire.

Only then can they allow the crashing waves of the beach at Doonshean to bond them together once again.

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

My Thoughts…

A heroic, yet tragic event affects the emotional development of two families connected historically by the tragedy on Doonshean beach.mi

The quality that resonates from this story is the family’s dysfunction. Superficially, Julia’s family seems normal, but dig a little deeper and the cracks appear. The characters are believable because they are flawed, and in some cases unlikable. Ronnie’s family is also divided. Her sons left at the first opportunity, and never fulfilled her hopes for them. Especially, Tom. Despite his lucky escape, he doesn’t seem to be making the most of his life, but maybe things are about to change.

This story has a great deal of charm, its an easy, emotional read. Both families are affected by the past tragedy, now they are together again, will something positive emerge?

A story of coincidence, tragedy and family life.

Guest Post- Penny Feeny

All sorts of factors combine in the construction of a novel, little pieces that you put together bit by bit like a jigsaw. I usually begin with the location, somewhere that will transport me and my characters. My previous three novels were all set in Italy, which is instantly seductive – but other countries can be romantic too! I chose the Dingle peninsula in Ireland for The Beach at Doonshean, because it’s an area I know well and one that I love. No visitor can fail to be beguiled by its special magic: the wild unspoilt scenery, the gentle pace of life and the charm and friendliness of the Irish themselves. However, the starting point for the story was an event I’d heard about many years earlier.

A woman I knew (actually she was my landlady) had been widowed when her husband drowned saving the life of a child – leaving behind three children of his own. The horror of this tragedy made a strong impression on me, but there was curiosity too. What happened to the rescued child? What kind of adult did they become? Does knowing that your life has been saved give you an extra sense of responsibility? Is it a privilege or a burden? And what repercussions does such an act of heroism have on the people who come after? Do they feel they have to measure up? I can’t pretend I know the answers to these questions but I wanted to explore the possibilities and the likely effects on the two families involved. What if they came across each other several years later?

The Beach at Doonshean covers a period of ten days or so in the lives of the Wentworths and the Farrellys. Various members of each clan are already facing a personal turning point when circumstances throw them together again. Bel has had a health scare and is longing to fall in love, Rachael is doubting her ability to be a good mother, and Tom has suddenly acquired a child he didn’t know existed. I wanted to find a catalyst that would reflect the disruption they were all experiencing. The volcanic ash cloud of 2010 was a freak incident at the time and mostly forgotten now (there’ve since been so many other bizarre aircraft delays!) but for those caught up in the chaos, it had a significant impact. Flights were grounded for a week and the knock-on effects lasted for several days as people tried to get back to their homes and their normal lives. For my purposes, this created an ideal scenario in which Julia Wentworth, first widowed, then divorced and now newly retired, could set in motion a chain of events which would lead to much soul-searching in both families.

The action is set between Liverpool, which has undergone a wonderful renaissance since I first came to live here, and the beautiful windswept south-west of Ireland where we go on holiday regularly. County Kerry has a famously spectacular coastline and magnificent Atlantic beaches with endless stretches of golden sand; you can even catch the unforgettable sight of a shoal of dolphins leaping for their dinner. But my story needed a beach with a riptide – and one that was not too remote. It’s not often that you would deliberately seek out a danger spot, but Doonshean, just outside the little town of Dingle, fit the bill perfectly. I should add that there is only one section of the beach subject to the riptide, so there is absolutely no excuse not to visit and enjoy this wonderful corner of the world!

I hope you enjoy the book too!   

Penny Feeny

Penny Feeny has lived and worked in Cambridge, London and Rome. Since settling in Liverpool many years ago she has been an arts administrator, editor, radio presenter, advice worker, and has brought up five children. Her short fiction has been widely published and broadcast and won several awards. Her first novel, That Summer in Ischia, was one of the Summer of 2011’s best selling titles.

Posted in Book Review

A Grand Old Time 4* Review Judy Leigh

Evie Gallagher is regretting her hasty move into a Dublin care home. She may be seventy-five and recently widowed, but she’s absolutely not dead yet.

And so, one morning, while the rest of Sheldon Lodge is asleep, Evelyn walks out the front door and never looks back. So begins a road trip that will take Evie first to Liverpool, then on to Brittany, where she buys a camper van and heads south on a Great Adventure.

But not everyone thinks Great Adventures are appropriate for women of Evie’s age, least of all her son Brendan and his wife Maura, who set off in pursuit, following a trail of puzzling text messages.

But when Brendan and Maura finally catch up with Evie, there are shocks in store for all of them … because while Brendan may have given up on life and love, Evie Gallagher certainly has not.

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 My Thoughts…

It’s always good to find a story with an original premise. Starting a whole new life at 75 definitely qualifies.

Evie thinks moving to a care home is the right thing to do when her husband dies; she realises as the youngest there both in years and outlook it’s not for her. She needs to escape before it steals away her remaining years. Evie is feisty, good-hearted and independent and likeable. Evie’s adventure depends on a lucky break, but that’s the beauty of escapist fiction. Her experiences span three countries, countless unlikely friends and an iconic campervan.

Brendan, Evie’s only son, is her antithesis, he is dour, dependant and downtrodden. His life doesn’t live up to his expectations, but he seems helpless to change it. His relationship with Maura, his wife, is in a rut and he jumps at the chance to leave his life behind when his mother goes missing, and he is duty bound to find her.

This story has many comic moments mostly related to Evie, but there are there are also some slow passages, which make the story drag a little. A charming autumn romance, an excellent assortment of characters, vivid and easy to visualise and beautifully described settings make this a worthwhile read. This hopeful, humorous and poignant story explores life, love and relationships.

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

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Behind A Closed Door – Adele O’Neill Blog Tour: 4* Review

Behind a Closed Door blog tour banner

What if everything in your life was a lie? An emotionally tense story of love, loyalty, betrayal and revenge. 

DUBLIN – For the past two years, Jill Ryan has tried to keep her darkest secrets deeply buried and remain relatively anonymous. Haunted by her tragic past and struggling to keep her life together, Jill soon realises that the last person she can trust is herself.

KILKENNY – Only Heather Martin knows the lengths her husband will go to teach her a lesson and Heather has had enough. Faced with the impossible choice of saving herself or staying to care for her ailing father, Heather has a choice to make. But does she have what it takes to survive?

When Detectives Louise Kennedy in Dublin and Tony Kelly in Kilkenny begin to investigate, their dark discoveries collide unravelling a complex web of secrets that stretch far and wide.

Behind A Closed Door cover

Links to buy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ocWAgk

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2EMCq7n

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2HvfxD1

iBooks: https://apple.co/2EZ1Cqs

 

My Thoughts…

‘Behind A Closed Door’, is an emotionally harrowing story of domestic abuse, family loyalty and friendship. Two female characters are the focus of the story, one in Kilkenny two years previously and one in present-day Dublin. Both are loyal women, who have suffered domestic abuse. Timeslip between the two time periods and locations is seamless and moves the story along at a readable pace.
Character-driven this story centres on a small number of individuals, and their respective lives, cleverly linked. However, it is numerous plot twists later that the full picture is apparent. Sinister intent underscores this story; the antagonist is hateful and your empathy for the victim without question. While the suspense is well-written the major plot twist is not hard to solve, but this doesn’t detract from the story’s menace and the believable dilemmas and conflicts the protagonists face.

‘Behind A Closed Door’ highlights in a sensitive way the horror of domestic abuse using realistic characters and situations.

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

O'Neill_Adele

Having lived and worked in the UK and Dublin since college, Adele now lives in her hometown in Co. Wicklow with her husband and two teenage daughters. She writes overlooking the Irish Sea and is an active member of the Wexford Literary Festival committee.

Twitter: @Adelesbooks

Facebook: AdeleONeillBooks

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Girl Targeted – Blog Tour – Val Collins Extract and 4*Review

 

GIRL TARGETED BLOG TOUR

Office jobs can be stressful. Aoife’s may be lethal.

Aoife’s life is finally on track. She’s happily married, pregnant with her first child and has the world’s best mother-in-law. But when Aoife accepts a job as an office temp, her entire life begins to unravel. 

Is one of Aoife’s colleagues a murderer? Is Aoife the next target? Why is her husband unconcerned? 

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targetted final art (2)

 

Extract…

Three Days Later

‘‘Morning,’ Aoife shouted over the noise of the hoover. ‘Josie, isn’t it?’

Josie switched off the hoover and put both hands on her hips. ‘You’re the new one, right? Did you take my key?’

‘What key?’

‘The key to the HR office. That Delia one says the office has to be locked every night, so Laura gave me a key. I keep it in the cupboard with the J-cloths and the dishwasher tablets. It’s never gone missing before.’

‘I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about it, but I can let you in now.’

‘Are you having me on? Do you know what time it is? I already wasted half the morning looking for the blooming key. I have grandkids to get to school. You think I’m going to start cleaning the office at this hour? It’s not my fault someone nicked the key.’

‘No, of course not. I’ll explain to Laura why you couldn’t clean the office, and I’m sure she’ll get you a new key. Is there anything else I can do to help?’

Josie smiled. ‘Sorry, love, it’s not your fault. It’s just that snooty cow gets up my nose. You know she wrote me a note once? Two inches high each letter was. Does she think I can’t read? “THERE IS DUST ON MY TABLE. DO NOT LET ME SEE DUST HERE AGAIN.” I’m telling you, it’s a good thing I’ve never run into her. I’d give her a piece of my mind, you can be sure of that.’ She unplugged the hoover. ‘What are you doing here at this hour, anyway? You should be taking it easy in your condition.’

‘You sound like my husband. He won’t let me take the train “in my condition”, so we have to be in Dublin before rush hour. Why he thinks that’s better for me than an extra hour in bed, I’ve no idea.’

‘You’re lucky to have him. My young one’s fella took off the minute he heard she was pregnant. Never saw him again, any of us.’ She picked up the hoover. ‘I’m off. You take care of yourself now, love.’

Aoife made herself a cup of tea, read her newspaper and phoned Jason. She had been hired to do a compliance check on the HR files, but, as she didn’t have keys to the filing cabinet, she couldn’t start work until Laura arrived. She finished her tea and headed for the office.

The interconnecting door to Delia’s office was slightly ajar. As Aoife removed her coat, several loose coins fell out and rolled around the room. Holding on to the desk for balance, Aoife got down on her knees and shuffled around, collecting them. The last one had rolled into Delia’s office. Aoife shoved open the door and picked it up. She was manoeuvring herself into a standing position when she noticed the shoe. Black suede with a gold buckle and a six-inch heel. It was lying on its side in the middle of the floor. As she straightened up, Aoife saw two stockinged feet dangling in the air. She let her eyes travel up to the woman’s knees, then, covering her mouth with both hands, she clamped her eyes shut and backed out of the room.’

My Thoughts…

Psychological thrillers depend on perfect pacing and carefully built suspense to work, and this novel has both. The ordinary setting makes the story believable, and lots of suspicious characters could be behind the incidents that make Aoife fear for her life. 

Her home life is not idyllic, but is her husband just disinterested, or is there something more going on? Working as a temp in an office doesn’t usually involve danger, but after her dreadful, first-day discovery, Aoife knows this is no ordinary office.

If you enjoy working out whodunnit and can keep track of numerous false leads, you will enjoy this well-written thriller, which not only leads our heroine into danger but also questions her decisions and morals.

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

 

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Website: https://valcollinsbooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Val-Collins-Books-125273274834187/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/valcollinsbooks

 

Posted in Book Review

The Traveller’s Daughter Michelle Vernal – 4* Review

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Her mother’s secret…

For fifty years Rosa kept the secrets of her past hidden from her beloved daughter, Kitty. The hurt and pain, the guilt over what she’d done, was something she could never face. But now the time has come to share the truth of Kitty’s heritage…

Her daughter’s discovery…

Kitty never knew anything about her mother’s early life. But after her death, the discovery of Rosa’s journal opens Kitty’s eyes to a whole new world—a family she’s never known and a love she’s never dreamed of…

The fate of a family…

Now Kitty must travel to her mother’s homeland, but after fifty years, can the sins of the past be forgiven? Or will history repeat itself? With a decades-old family feud threatening her future, can Kitty put right what once went so wrong?

Join Kitty on her journey as she follows in her mother’s footsteps from the south of France to Ireland, discovering who she is along the way in this beautiful tale of forbidden love and fancy cupcakes!

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My Thoughts… 

I loved the originality of this story and the echoes between the past and the present and different generations. The travellers’ way of life isn’t overly romanticised, which often happens and there are lots of interesting characters.
There were elements of this story that detracted from it. The pacing of the story was problematic at times. The step back in time with Kitty’s mother was very slow. Conversely, the relationship between Jonny and Kitty lacked depth for me. I appreciate the love at first sight idea, but it seemed rushed for its outcome.
Overall it was an enjoyable read, with well-described settings and vivid characters.

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