Tuesday, 3 December 2019

A Million Dreams
Dani Atkins

Julie Williams

Huge apologies to Dani Atkin's and everyone at Head of Zeus for missing my stop on the Blog Tour in November. Please see the lovely review from Julie Williams below. Sorry once again.

This is a lovely honest book that depicts a Mother’s love in its entirety.  I thoroughly enjoyed this pacey page turner and devoured each chapter. The storyline is a heart breaker that had me on an emotional roller coaster complete with plenty of ‘lump in throat’ moments.
Beth Brandon, a widow, decides to try for a much wanted baby by using her final stored embryo but due to a terrible mistake by a worker at the clinic she discovers that is was given to another couple Izzy and Pete, resulting in a child Noah who is now 8 years old.
A Million Dreams describes the dilemmas and almost impossible decisions that have to be faced head on. There are of course no winners or easy solutions in this situation with two Mothers fighting for their child. Emotions run high with plenty of agonising tears along the way. Heart strings are pulled in every direction as the two women’s lives are thrown together in the most compelling situation.
A beautiful book that I happily give 5 stars to and would recommend to readers who love Women’s romantic fiction.

My thanks to Net Galley and Head of Zeus for the ARC digital copy  in exchange for an honest opinion.
My gratitude extends to Julie Boon for including my review on her blog tour spot on boonsbookcase.blogspot.co.uk

Sunday, 1 December 2019

One Winter Morning
Isabelle Broom

Julie Williams

As it's the start of advent today, I thought I would put a lovely, feel good, wintery review on the blog! You can read my lovely friend, Julie William's review of this fab story below.

Genie isn't feeling very festive this December.
The frosty mornings and twinkling fairy lights only remind her it's been a whole year since she lost her adoptive mother, who took her in as a baby and raised her as her own.
She's never felt more alone - until she discovers her birth mother's identity.
And where to find her: New Zealand, half the world away.
Travelling there could be her one chance to meet the woman who gave her up.
But will she find the answers she has been looking for? Or something she could never have expected?

This lovely story oozes a whole host of mixed emotions, love, loss and friendship to name a few.  It held my attention throughout and I can definitely say that it is a great read.

When Genie is faced with a Christmas without her adopted Mum Anna, the guilt she holds over her death almost a year ago triggers her to get on a plane to New Zealand in the hope of finding her biological Mum Bonnie.

Genie has many unanswered questions, the main one being why she abandoned her as a baby. Armed with Anna’s memory book she settles down on the long flight and begins an emotional journey.

On arrival, Genie wastes no time in her search but discovering her Mother has flown to England!  This devastating blow is softened by Tui the gorgeous young girl with learning difficulties who is revealed as her sister.

As she learns more about Bonnie, a shared passion of horses enhances the connection between them and this helps her with her own demons. A spark with Kit a worker at the stables helps her grief with his kindness and honest nature.

Bonnie meanwhile, on the other side of the world in England, is not being so brave so decides to write her story while being holed up at an old friends home. Having found herself pregnant at 18 and in a different country away from her family, Bonnie had some pretty tough decisions which affected her life daily.

One Winter Morning is packed with some great characters which I warmed to straight away and of course the beautiful descriptive scenery of New Zealand.

My thanks to Net Galley for the ARC digital copy and to Julie for putting this review on her blog.

To order a copy of this book from Amazon click here

Friday, 29 November 2019

People Like Us
Louise Fein

I am so excited to show you the cover for this debut from Louise Fein which will be published next year by Head of Zeus. I can't tell you how excited I am to read this one and keeping everything crossed I will get a copy! I have a little teaser for you below just to whet your appetite...

Leipzig, 1930's Germany.

Hetty Heinrich is a young girl growing up under Nazi rule. With an SS officer father, a brother in the Luftwaffe and a member of the BDM, Hetty is the epitome of a perfect German child.
But Walter changes everything. Blond haired, blue-eyed, perfect in every way Walter. The boy who saved her life. A Jew.
As she falls more and more in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, Hetty begins to question everything. Will the steady march of dark forces destroy their world, or can love ultimately triumph?

Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Book Thief and Kate Furnivall.

About the author

Louise Fein holds an MA in Creative Writing from St Mary’s University. Prior to studying for her master’s, she ran a commodity consultancy business following a career in banking and law. She lives in Surrey with her family. People Like Us is inspired by her family history, and by the alarming parallels she sees between the early 30s and today.

Follow Louise:  
Facebook: @LouiseFeinAuthor
Twitter: @FeinLouise

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2rl61Pk
Waterstones: https://bit.ly/2KRRMYV
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2DcJEOA
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2OM1iy7

Follow Head of Zeus
Website: www.headofzeus.com
Twitter: @HoZ_Books
Facebook: @headofzeus
Instagram: @headofzeus

Monday, 4 November 2019

Mother and Child
Annie Murray

I am so pleased to kick off the blog tour for Mother and Child by Annie Murray. This is the first book I have read by this author, but when I found out why the author wrote it and the charity she supports, I was only too happy to take part. You can read my review of this amazing story below and I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future.

Mother and Child by Sunday Times bestseller Annie Murray is a moving story of loss, friendship and hope over two generations . . .

Jo and Ian’s marriage is hanging by a thread. One night almost two years ago, their only child, Paul, died in an accident that should never have happened. They have recently moved to a new area of Birmingham, to be near Ian’s mother Dorrie who is increasingly frail. As Jo spends more time with her mother-in-law, she suspects Dorrie wants to unburden herself of a secret that has cast a long shadow over her family.
Haunted by the death of her son, Jo catches a glimpse of a young boy in a magazine who resembles Paul. Reading the article, she learns of a tragedy in India . . . But it moves her so deeply, she is inspired to embark on a trip where she will learn about unimaginable pain and suffering.
As Jo learns more, she is determined to do her own small bit to help. With the help of new friends, Jo learns that from loss and grief, there is hope and healing in her future.

Jo and Ian have lost their only son Paul to an accident, but Jo feels she is losing everything else as well including her personality and even her marriage as Ian has become so distant.

In an attempt to start again, they move to be nearer Ian's mother Dorrie, who is more of a mother to Jo than her real one, who she is not close to.

They move to a new house and Jo decides she needs to integrate so decides to join a local yoga class. Little does she know that the people she meets will change her life for the better.

Jo wants to do a run in London to help a charity that she comes across in a magazine to help people in a village called Bhopal in India where a tragedy over 30 years ago is still being felt and her friends are only too eager to join her.

I have to say that the author deals with the after effects of Jo and Ian's grief brilliantly. Reading this book brought a few tears to my eyes as I too an grieving for my dear Mum who I lost this year. 

Superbly written and thoroughly researched, you really appreciate how much work the author put into every word of this book and I would thoroughly recommend it.

Soon after midnight on the morning of December 3rd, 1984, what is still recognized as the world’s worst ever industrial disaster took place in the city of Bhopal in central India.

A plant built to manufacture pesticide, owned by the American Union Carbide Corporation, leaked 40 tons of methyl-isocyanate gas, one of the most lethally toxic gases in the industry, over the surrounding neighbourhood. This was a poor area consisting mainly of slum housing, some of it leaning right up against the factory wall.

People woke, coughing and choking. Panic broke out as many tried to flee for their lives. As they ran, their bodies broke down with toxic poisoning, eyes burning, frothing at the mouth. Women miscarried pregnancies. Many people flung themselves in the river and by dawn, the streets were littered with thousands of bodies. It is estimated that 10,000 died that first night and the death toll continued, within weeks, to a total of about 25 000. Many more have died since. There are still reckoned to be 150 000 chronically ill survivors. Their plight was not helped by the fact that Union Carbide would not release the name of an antidote to a poison that they did not want to admit was as dangerous as it really was.
The plant, making less profit than had been hoped, was being run down for closure and was in poor condition. Not one of the safety systems was working satisfactorily. In addition, the original design of the factory had been ‘Indianized’ – in other words built more cheaply than would be expected of such a plant in a western country.

This was 35 years ago. In 1989, a paltry amount of compensation was eventually paid by Union Carbide who did everything a large corporation can do to evade taking responsibility. Their comment was “$500 is about enough for an Indian.” That was $500 to last for the rest of the life of a man who could no longer work to look after his family.

The sickness and suffering from ‘that night’ goes on in those who survived to this day. What is less well known about Bhopal however, is that even before the 1984 gas leak, the company had been dumping toxic waste in solar evaporation ponds. The lining used was about like you would use in a garden water feature. This in a country of heavy rains and floods. In the early 80s, people started to notice how bad their water supply tasted. Cows were dying.

Union Carbide closed the plant. They never cleared the site, which still stands in an area of highly toxic soil and water. The water supply in that area is so contaminated that water has to be brought in from outside. In 2001 Union Carbide was bought by the Dow Chemical Company, and is, from 2018, now DowDuPont. Despite having acquired all the assets of Union Carbide they are not prepared to accept its liabilities and clear up the site.

In the months after the gas leak in 1984, the nearby Hamidia hospital started to see children born with birth defects more horrific than any they had witnessed before. These days, because of gas- and also water-affected parents, the rate of birth defects is now reaching into a third, soon to be a fourth generation. The main parallel with the kind of extreme toxic effects would be with the children of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

The only free care in this impoverished neighbourhood for people suffering from the effects of gas poisoning, or to help with very severely handicapped children, is from the Bhopal Medical Appeal. It is to them that all the money from Mother and Child is going.

In the book, you can read more about what happened in Bhopal and about how the book itself came to be written.

Author Information 
Annie Murray was born in Berkshire and read English at St John's College, Oxford. Her first 'Birmingham' novel, Birmingham Rose, hit The Times bestseller list when it was published in 1995. She has subsequently written many other successful novels, including The Bells of Bournville Green, sequel to the bestselling Chocolate Girls, and A Hopscotch Summer. Annie has four children and lives near Reading.

To order a copy of the book click here

Thursday, 31 October 2019

A Wedding in December
Sarah Morgan

Congratulations to Sarah Morgan on what looks like a fabulous winter read. I know Julie Williams loves reading this authors books, so I am delighted to share her review on paperback publication day for you.

This lovely Christmas story is set in the picturesque resort Aspen, Colorado in the USA. Surrounded by gorgeous snow filled mountains and forests this book really does set the scene for a perfect Christmas. The characters are wholesome and warm but os course there are a few bumps along the way for some of them.
The White family always look forward to celebrating Christmas together in their family home Honeysuckle Cottage in Oxford but when the youngest daughter, Rosie announces out of the blue that she is getting married in Aspen, plans have to be quickly rearranged.
Rosie is an impulsive, lovely girl and after meeting Dan only a few months previously alarm bells ring for her sister Doctor Katie and her parents that she is making a mistake.
On arrival sparks fly but they can all see that Rosie is madly in love this does not however stop the questions so falling outs are inevitable. Surprises are abundant for all the family members as this delightful tale evolves, there are also laughter as well as tears moments.
The location is dreamy, a true winter wonderland in which to hold a Christmas wedding, just wish I had an invite!
My thanks to Net Galley for the digital ARC and to Julie for allowing me to review this book on her blog as she knows I am addicted to Sarah Morgan’s books.

To order a copy of A Wedding in December on Amazon click here

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

The Secrets of Ironbridge
Mollie Walton


I am delighted to bring you the cover for the second instalment in the Ironbridge series, The Secrets of Ironbridge.

I read the first one in this series and it was fabulous, so am eagerly awaiting this one!

What a gorgeous cover it is and if you are a saga lover and haven't read The Daughters of Ironbridge, what are you waiting for?...

1850s Shropshire.

Returning to her mother's birthplace at the age of eighteen, Beatrice Ashford encounters a complex family she barely knows. Her great-grandmother Queenie adores her, but Beatrice's family's privileged social position as masters of the local brickworks begins to make her uncomfortable.  

And then she meets Owen Malone: handsome, different, refreshing - and from a class beneath her own. They fall for each other fast, but an old family feud and growing industrial unrest threatens to drive them apart.

Can they overcome their different backgrounds? And can Beatrice make amends for her family's past?
The Secrets of Ironbridge is available to pre-order now. #secretsofironbridge

Friday, 25 October 2019

The Familiars
Stacey Halls

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn't supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife. Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong.

As Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the north-west, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye?

Soon the two women's lives will become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood's stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake.

Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.

I have to thank my son for badgering me to read this book! I do love historical fiction and this one has really left me wanting more!

Fleetwood is a young bride who is desperate for a child of her own, but as she keeps miscarrying, she is becoming increasingly despondent and will go to any lengths to get help to carry a child full term. Even if it means employing a local "midwife" (Alice) who promises to help Fleetwood have a baby with the help of herbs and local remedies.

Fleetwood's husband Richard is very influential within the community and doesn't want to be embarrassed in any way and will do whatever it takes to have an heir to his estate.

Anybody who is interested in history or witches will have heard of the Pendle Witches and I am no exception. This was my first read when I went on holiday to Cyprus in October and I devoured it in a couple of days.

I'm not going to give any spoilers or go into too much detail, but this is a super read and now I know that the authors next novel is called The Foundling, I am so excited and eagerly awaiting this one.

The Foundling Museum in central London is absolutely fascinating, but also very upsetting knowing that children and babies were often left on the doorstep with "tokens" from their parents for the children to remember them by when they were older.

To order a copy of The Familiars on Amazon click here