Posted in Book Review, Young Adult

Ride A Bright Horse Jennifer Dovey 4*#Review @matadorbooks #JenniferDovey #YAFiction #Teen #Horses #motivational #retro #selfdiscovery #comingofage #AnimalFriends

Relatable, fun story about a growing bond between a novice rider and her horse
Based on a real horse and the author’s memories of her
Ideal for young riders 12+ – and everyone! – who is interested in horse riding or animals

Jenny has always wanted to ride but has always been very nervous about doing so. However, today’s the day and she approaches the horse chosen for her with a stomach full of butterflies –and finds, to her delight, a kindred spirit in Daisy.

Daisy is a mischievous horse, full of quirky charm and ready to teach Jenny that the bond between a girl and her horse is unlike anything she could imagine.

Without ideas about what horses should do, Jenny allows Daisy to be a freer spirit, and as Jenny encourages Daisy to learn new skills, Daisy becomes both pupil and teacher and Jenny’s confidence and ability to ride improve.

With only their instincts and deepening bond to guide them, this pair are about to embark upon the friendship of a lifetime.

Ride a Bright Horse portrays the fun and affection, laughter and tears and harmony of spirit between a rider and a horse, as they share a most unusual journey.

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

My Thoughts…

This is a lovely story based on real memories for anyone who loves horses. Jenny loves animals and wants to ride, but she’s nervous. Daisy is a horse at the riding school with a good heart. Together they have adventures, as only a young person and an animal can.

This is full of happiness, sadness, learning and having fun. It has a retro quality to it, but the sentiments are relevant today. Written with emotion, it engages the reader from the first page.

It bought back memories of my time with horses as a girl and young adult. An enjoyable read perfect for preteens and young adults. Or anyone who loves horses.

Jennifer Dovey was raised in a sleepy village in Wiltshire. She has now retired and lives on a hilltop in deeply rural South West France with her husband. Her love of the countryside and fond memories of the irresistible charm of her mischievous horse Daisy have inspired her first novel

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Motivational

Billy Tapper Zillionaire Gary Finnan #BookBlitz @GaryFinnan @LoveBooksGroup #HistFic #LoveBooksTours #1950s #1960s #BillyTapperZillionaire

Amazon UK

This colourful novel of adventure, family, and courage shows young Billy McTaggart coming of age as a tapper in a British railyard during the bitter years following World War II. Bullied for his small stature but endowed with a sharp mind, the fierce ambition of his sweetheart Meg, and the love of his Mam, Billy navigates a rapidly changing world where steam engines give way to rock and roll, Elvis, and the Beatles. Everything changes for Billy in one breathtaking moment when he uncovers an amazing secret hidden inside a rail car. Romance, loss, pain, and elation follow his path up and out of England’s rigid class system. Through it all, Billy maintains his generous spirit and sense of what is right. Billy Tapper Zillionaire captures the humanity of simple relationships for an accidental bystander to history growing up in the 1950s and 60s.

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 Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Humour, Memoir, Motivational, Non-Fiction

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 2 4*#Review @Nickalbertautho #Audiobook #AudiobookReview #BlogTour #RuralLife #Ireland #Memoir #NonFiction #AudibleUK #FreshEggsandDogBeds2 @rararesources

Nick and Lesley’s desire for a better life in the countryside was a long-held dream. Unforeseen events and a leap of faith forced that dream into reality, but moving to rural Ireland was only the beginning of their story.
Foreigners in a foreign land, they set about making new friends, learning the culture and expanding their collection of chickens and unruly dogs. But their dream home was in desperate need of renovation, a mammoth task they attacked with the aid of a DIY manual, dwindling funds and incompetent enthusiasm. With defunct diggers, collapsing ladders, and shocking electrics, what could possibly go wrong?
Will their new life live up to expectations, or will the Irish weather, dangerous roads, and a cruel twist of fate turn this dream into a nightmare?

KindleAmazon UK Paperback Amazon UK Audible UK

Kindle- Amazon Paperback- Amazon Audible US

I received an audiobook from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Living the country dream in Ireland was how we left Nick and Lesley at the end of book 1. Book 2 details what life is like and the ups and downs of renovation. The honesty and humour are the unique selling point of this series. It’s not just the good bits it’s the bad bits too. There are many poignant events in this memoir that make the listener empathise.

For anyone who’s ever renovated their home, you’ll be agreeing with Nick’s observations and chuckling at the mistakes and the near disasters. Add in the peculiarities of an unfamiliar country and its a recipe for misunderstandings and subsequent laughter.

The animals are still front and centre in Nick’s life, and there are many anecdotes some hilarious, some sad in this story. What shines through is the sharing of a dream, the courage and the innate sense of humour of the storyteller and his wife.

I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment. The narration is first-class brings the characters to life.

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 2020.

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

Amazon Author Page Facebook Twitter Website 

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

Let’s Get Published Val Penny 5*#Review @valeriepenny @lovebooksgroup #BlogTour #BookReview #LoveBooksTours #nonfiction #Motivational #Guide #Publishing #Writers #LetsGetPublished

At last, a book that is easy to read and tells it how it is! The book was written to assist authors to maximise their success when submitting work to agents or publishers, to help authors consider their priorities and preferences for getting work into print. To advise authors on how to identify the agents and/or publishers they want to approach. It should also assist with editing their manuscript fully prior to submission. The book offers advice about how to prepare a submission package to give an author the best chance of success. The road to becoming a successful author is not easy, but it is rewarding. Let this book take you on the journey.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a clear, concise and motivational book on getting published. It contains relevant information on preparing your manuscript for publication based on the author’s recent experience. It recognises the dynamic nature of publishing and offers easy to follow guidance, on how to present your manuscript most effectively.

It’s quick to read but will provide a new writer with easy to refer to guidance, as their writing journey progresses. The layout is sensible and the advice considered. It’s a book I will read again.

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. 

Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fifth novel in the series, Hunter’s Secret, is published by darkstroke. Her first non-fiction book, Let’s Get Published is available now.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel, Travel Blogging

The Little Teashop in Tokyo Julie Caplin 5*#Review @JulieCaplin @0neMoreChapter_ #RomanticEscapes @rararesources #Tokyo #Teashop #Romance #Travel #HolidayRomance #BlogTour #BookReview @Juleswake #RachelsRandomResources

Grab your passport and escape to a land of dazzling skycrapers, steaming bowls of comforting noodles, and a page-turning love story that will make you swoon!

For travel blogger Fiona, Japan has always been top of her bucket list so when she wins an all-expenses paid trip, it looks like her dreams are coming true.

Until she arrives in vibrant, bustling Tokyo and comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart ten years ago, gorgeous photographer Gabe.

Fiona can’t help but remember the heartache of their last meeting but amidst the temples and clouds of soft pink cherry blossoms, can Fiona and Gabe start to see life – and each other – differently?

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – One More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Travel blogger Fiona wins a trip to Japan to take photographs and be mentored by a professional photographer. Sounds good, except that arrogant talented Gabe is someone from her past. She’s still attracted but won’t risk making a fool of herself again. Fiona has confidence issues about her appearance and her talents, but she takes a risk because she loves new experiences and wants to enjoy everything about her trip.

Gabe is jaded with life and love, Fiona’s enthusiasm and naivety grates initially until she makes him see things differently. The road to romance is conflicted as a former lover doesn’t want to let go. Gabe’s blinkered attitude is annoying and threatens his happiness with Fiona.

This is a journey of self-discovery for Fiona, as she grows into her true self, she is less accommodating and grows in confidence.

The Japanese setting and traditions are integral to the story and make this something special.

The romance is gentle and the ending positive and uplifting.

Julie Caplin

Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands, taking journalists on press trips to awful places like Turin, Milan, Geneva, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam and occasionally losing the odd member of the press in an airport. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to eat amazing food, drink free alcohol, hone her writing skills on press releases and to research European cities for her books.

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter.

Under her pen name, Julie Caplin, her thirteenth novel, The Little Teashop in Tokyo will be published in ebook and paperback this June.

Twitter @Juleswake Facebook

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Humour, Motivational, Romance, Travel

The Summer Island Swap Samantha Tonge 5*#Review @Aria_Fiction @SamTongeWriter @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #Summer #Holiday #Romance #Humour #Motivational #Extract #BookReview #Conservation #SelfRealisation #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation #TheSummerIslandSwap

Sometimes the best holidays are the ones you least expect…

 After a long and turbulent year, Sarah is dreaming of the five-star getaway her sister has booked them on. White sands, cocktails, massages, the Caribbean is calling to them.

But the sisters turn up to tatty beaches, basic wooden shacks, a compost toilet and outdoor cold water showers. It turns out that at the last minute Amy decided a conservation project would be much more fun than a luxury resort.

So now Sarah’s battling mosquitos, trying to stomach fish soup and praying for a swift escape. Life on a desert island though isn’t all doom and gloom. They’re at one with nature, learning about each other and making new friends. And Sarah is distracted by the dishy, yet incredibly moody, island leader she’s sure is hiding a secret.

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

My Thoughts…

Humour, originality and romance are all integral to this motivational story. There are good intentions, misunderstandings and an idyllic if not expected setting. Deeper issues of controlling behaviour and conservation add depth and engagement.

Forced out of her comfort level, Sarah confronts issues caused by her difficult childhood. She is conflicted but easy to empathise. Gentle romance is the catalyst for her emotional journey, which is positive and satisfying.

Extract from Summer Island Swop – Samantha Tonge

‘I’ll still have to clear it at work. I’m not sure how Prue will feel about me taking a month off.’

Just the mention of my boss’s name made my stomach knot.

‘No one’s indispensable. Not even wonderful you,’ she called back.

My chest felt warm. Over recent years, Amy had matured and started to look out for me, cooking dinner and mowing the lawn. However, I’d never lose my maternal feelings towards her. When we were ten and six ours was quite an age gap. As was eighteen and fourteen when I’d had to leave her behind with Dad but promised we’d live together again. I beat the sugar and butter, remembering her tears and his folded arms as I dragged my suitcase past the fountain and out of the huge driveway, into the street. I’d finally realised I had to leave after… I swallowed. No. I wasn’t going to think about that now.

I let Nelly into the back garden, busied myself with ingredients and cleaned up whilst the cookies baked. Their sweet aroma wafted through the air as I carried them into the lounge, on a tray, with two coffees.

‘Good timing,’ said Amy and turned off her screen, looking pleased with herself. I put the tray on the table and joined her.

‘Is it all booked?’

She nodded. ‘A modest deposit paid. The rest is due in the middle of June, two weeks before we leave.’

‘Can’t you at least share which part of the world we’re visiting?’

‘That would be telling,’ she replied airily and took the largest cookie.

I jumped up and held her right arm firm whilst tickling the armpit. ‘I won’t stop until I find out, Amy Sterling.’

However, she was as strong as me these days and, giggling, held the cookie in her mouth and forced both of my hands away. I sat down once more. I recognised that expression. She was determined to keep her secret. Sometimes, with my impulsive sister, that could be a dangerous thing, like when she’d agreed to do a charity skydive with colleagues at work. She didn’t tell me until the morning of the jump.

‘Just a clue. A teeny one,’ I said. ‘Please…’

 ‘I’ve never seen you this excited before. Well, not since you were made assistant manager. Oh, and the time you found that fancy moisturiser for half price.’

‘It wasn’t just any moisturiser. The Duchess of Cambridge uses it.’ I pressed my palms together. ‘At least let me guess… the Canary Islands? Barbados? Australia’s an island, right? I mean, you and me – we share most things, don’t we?’

‘Best buddies, always,’ she said solemnly.

It was a promise we’d made to each other, the day after Mum’s funeral. And sure enough, we confided in each other about our latest celebrity crushes, about our dreams for the future; we put the world to rights over Chardonnay and Pringles. I knew her favourite colour, favourite food, favourite band. She could always tell when I’d had a stressful day at work and, without prying, would make me a hot chocolate, fetch a blanket and switch on my current Netflix obsession.

Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.

When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.

She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo and in 2020 her novel Knowing You won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award.

Website Twitter Facebook Instagram

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Humour, Motivational, Romance

Meet Me At Pebble Beach Bella Osborne 5*#Review @osborne_bella @AvonBooksUK #Romance #Friendships #Life #uplit #humour #BlogTour #BookReview #coastal #seaside

Regan is holding a winning lottery ticket.
Goodbye to the boyfriend who never had her back, and so long to the job she can’t stand!
Except it’s all a bit too good to be true…

When Regan gets pranked, she finds herself jobless, homeless and boyfriendless in one fell swoop.

Luckily her friendly seaside community provides a beacon of hope, proving to Regan that sometimes you really can rely on the kindness of others – and one local in particular, a handsome fireman called Charlie, helps Regan realise that this could be her chance for a fresh start.

Armed with a list of ways to change her life, Regan decides it’s time to step out of her comfort zone. Because – as Charlie knows all too well – life is for living . . .

Goodreads

Amazon UK Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

Regan didn’t immediately appeal to me. I’m a neat freak and sympathised with Jarvis, her ultra tidy boyfriend, but she redeemed herself, within a few pages, with her caring attitude and sense of humour. Regan thinks her life is changing for the better then it doesn’t, but maybe, it does? Just when you think things may be okay fate intervenes.

Humour and poignancy give way to darker issues and real sadness as this story progresses. Regan and Charlie’s conflicted romance forces her to concentrate on finding a new career and move her life forward. Kevin and Elvis are poignant characters and easy to empathise. Friendship, humour, mystery, romance and sadness are all integral to this story.

Regan grows in insight and understanding as she faces heartbreak and tough choices. Her honesty endears her to her friends and the reader. The book concludes with questions answered, mysteries solved and an innate sense of justice.

With relatable characters, humour, poignancy, romance and secrets, this story engages from its exciting beginning, through heartbreak to its positive ending.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Motivational, Non-Fiction, User Guide

Let’s Get Published Val Penny #CoverReveal @valeriepenny @lovebooksgroup #LoveBooksTours #nonfiction #Motivational #Guide

At last, a book that is easy to read and tells it how it is! The book was written to assist authors to maximise their success when submitting work to agents or publishers, to help authors consider their priorities and preferences for getting work into print. To advise authors on how to identify the agents and/or publishers they want to approach. It should also assist with editing their manuscript fully prior to submission. The book offers advice about how to prepare a submission package to give an author the best chance of success. The road to becoming a successful author is not easy, but it is rewarding. Let this book take you on the journey.

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. 

Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fifth novel in the series, Hunter’s Secret, is published by darkstroke. Her first non-fiction book, Let’s Get Published is available now.

Amazon UK

Posted in Biography, Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction

If Clouds Were Sheep Sue Andrews 5*#Review @ShepherdessSue @CrumpsBarnStudio #AutoBiography #memoir #sheep #farming #motivational #BookReview #Paperback #IfCloudsWereSheep #Cotswolds #Dreams @MsLornaGray

mde

If Clouds Were Sheep…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This honest and humorous memoir gives a unique insight into sheep farming in the Cotswolds.

When their friendship leads to love, Sue is happy to share Aubrey’s boyhood dream of farming sheep. Sue shares life experiences, people who influenced their lives and the characterful animals integral to their farming dream.

It’s an engaging and immersive read, sharing life’s ups and downs, of farming sheep. Their dedication and respect for the animals are evident, and the reader soon realises that farming is a way of life rather than a job. Humorous and poignant anecdotes, fill the pages of this memoir. There are lots of interesting facts about sheep farming.

An inspiring and motivational memoir that proves dreams can be chased and won.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Excerpt, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Motivational, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

Take a Look at Me Now Kendra Smith 4*#Review @KendraAuthor @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #Life #Love #Friendship #Motivational #multigenerational

Out with the old…

Maddie Brown has spent most of her life putting everyone else’s needs above her own. But with her marriage crumbling and her nest scarily empty, she realises it may be time to spread her own wings and fly.

In with the… ex?

At a university reunion, Maddie meets Greg. He was the love of her life – and the one that got away. Some things never change, and neither of them can deny the feelings that linger between them. But there are so many reasons they can’t be together… not least the massive secret she has been keeping from him all these years. 

Maddie is SO ready for a brand new start. But what do you do when the past just won’t stay in the past?

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

My Thoughts…

A multi-generational story about life, love, romance and friendship. Maddie regrets her choices made twenty years ago. Can she be the person she is inside? Maddie is a relatable character, easy to empathise and like. Essentially this is a journey of belated self-discovery, it retains its grip on reality because Maddie doesn’t shy away from her responsibilities, but realises she deserves to do things for her too.

Extract from Take a Look at Me Now – Kendra Smith

They sat at separate tables. Maddie picked at her food and allowed her glass to be refilled several times, and eventually emerged from the fuggy hall, where the fog of drinks, steam and aromas of the four-course dinner came up against the sharp evening wind outside.

It was dusky, the horizon swallowing up the smear of crimson streaked across it, like a watercolour painting turning dark at the edges. Maddie looked around as she inhaled the air heavy with the scent of honeysuckle. She could see him standing at the bottom of the steps, his face glowing in the eerie white light of his mobile phone. Then he was taking a call, his shoulders hunched over. She pulled back and waited by the doorway, unsure of her place.

She swayed slightly on her heels, knowing she’d had too many drinks. Whatever the conversation was, it was heated. He was gesturing with his free hand towards the grass, as if conducting his own private, invisible orchestra. After a minute, he spun around and jammed his phone in his pocket. Then he saw her, walking slowly down the steps. She pulled her wrap around her shoulders tightly as she got to him.

‘I have to go,’ he muttered, and jerked his head to the left.

Like the last time, Greg? she wanted to ask. But instead she calmed the butterflies in her stomach, as the wave of emotion overwhelmed her and forced a smile. Theirs was a story from the past.

They used to miss lectures on a Friday as they both only had one – they’d stay in bed most of the day. He’d wander around her tiny bedsit in not much more than a towel tied around his waist after a scalding-hot shower. In fact, she realised with a shudder, that’s what she missed the most: the easy intimacy. He used to wash her hair sometimes, with gentle hands on her scalp, circling the back of her neck with his strong thumbs. He’d sit her down in front of the basin and gently wet it all, pour over shampoo then put on honey-scented conditioner and comb it through.

It was wonderful and so relaxing. Sometimes it had led to something more… but normally he’d wrap her hair in a towel and they’d sit, watching her tiny TV, and she’d feel like the luckiest girl in the world. And now, here he was, in a dinner jacket and black tie, standing right next to her. Stony-faced. She bit her lip, tasted the blood, so she could focus on the present.

And with that he walked briskly away.

She watched him. Watched as he strode across the concrete courtyard, heels clicking, like he did all those years ago. Perhaps she’d been stupid to come, to open up all those old wounds again. She folded her arms across her chest and shivered.

‘Maddie!’ It was Ellie, weaving her way towards her in purple slingbacks, clipping on the hard surface. ‘There you are! C’mon, we’re all going to the Student Union bar for Snakebites! Maddie, c’mon!’ Ellie had stopped by one of the pillars and was fiddling with her shoes.

‘Looks like you need some help with your footwear!’ She took Ellie by the arm as they made their – slightly wobbly – way to the bar.

As she licked the traces of blood from her lips, she was thankful that at least it would take her mind off the nagging question that was building up in her mind.

Kendra Smith has been a journalist, wife, mother, aerobics teacher, qualified diver and very bad cake baker. She started her career in Sydney selling advertising space but quickly made the leap to editorial – and went on to work on several women’s magazines in both Sydney and London. With dual Australian-British nationality, she currently lives in Surrey with her husband and three children.

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