Friday, 12 February 2021

An Ordinary Life

An Ordinary Life 
by 
Amanda Prowse 
BLOG TOUR 
 I am delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for An Ordinary Life and my very dear friend, Julie Williams, is a great fan of Amanda's books and so agreed to review this one for me. Thank you Julie.
REVIEW 
An absolutely wonderful story by the talented Amanda Prowse. Yes it tugs at your heart strings and you may find tears in your eyes but I can’t express how beautiful this book is. REVIEW This story tells of Molly recalling her life as she lies in bed having suffered a stroke and fall. She may not be able to move or talk but this 94 year olds' memories are sharp and vivid. The title An Ordinary Life doesn’t depict Molly’s life as she had endured so much in her lifetime. She has suffered deeply but also loved deeply. She can leave this world knowing that she is cherished and played a significant role leaving her mark on many. I love reading Amanda’s books as they are beautifully written with characters that I can’t help but hold in my heart. This story has all these and more. My thanks to Net Galley for the ARC.
Author Bio
Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty six novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles 'What Have I Done?', 'Perfect Daughter', 'My Husband's Wife', 'The Girl in the Corner', 'The Things I Know' and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe. A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5's 'The Jeremy Vine Show' and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as 'The queen of family drama' Amanda's novel, 'A Mother's Story' won the coveted Sainsbury's eBook of the year Award while 'Perfect Daughter' was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016. Amanda's ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can't possibly read another book until the memory fades... Praise for Amanda Prowse: 'A powerful and emotional work of fiction' - Piers Morgan 'Deeply moving and emotional, Amanda Prowse handles her explosive subjects with delicate skill' - Daily Mail 'Uplifting and positive, but you will still need a box of tissues' - Hello! 'A gut-wrenching and absolutely brilliant read' - The Irish Sun 'You'll fall in love with this...' - Cosmopolitan 'Deeply moving and eye opening. Powerful and emotional drama that packs a real punch.' - Heat 'Magical' - Now magazine Social Media Links – Say hello on Twitter: @MrsAmandaProwse Friend me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmandaProwseAuthor Tag me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/MrsAmandaProwse Visit my Amazon Author Page: Amanda Prowse Author Check out my website: www.amandaprowse.com

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Christmas for Beginners

Christmas for Beginners
 by 
Carole Matthews
REVIEW 
My little old blog is 6 years old today and I am celebrating with a review by the lovely Carole Matthews, whose books I have loved for many years now. 

 This is a sequel to Happiness for Beginners and it follows the animal antics at Hope Farm which is run by Molly and her friend Bev. Molly loves the country life and when the original Hope Farm was being demolished to make way for a new rail link, her very rich actor boyfriend Shelby comes to the rescue and buys her a new farm which she is overjoyed at having.  

Molly also cares for Shelby's teenage son Lucas. He has anger problems (mainly involving his dad!), but loves living in the caravan on the farm with Molly. Shelby, in the meantime, is busy acting in a very famous soap and turns up to see them very sporadically! 

 Although Shelby bought the farm, Molly still has to keep it up and running and that includes helping to fund it and when they decide to hold a Christmas open day, it needs all hands to the pump to organise the event. 

Along comes handsome Matt, who happens to also be the local Mayor to help with the fundraising and also, it seems, a dab hand at farming! Will Molly get her head turned by Matt or will she wait for Shelby whose visits to the farm are becoming less frequent? 

 Lucas is a typical teenager, but you can tell his heart is in the right place, but he just can't seem to get close to his father, especially since the death of his beloved Mum. Molly seems to be the only one he can turn to in a crisis and he certainly has plenty of those in this second book! 

 This is another fabulous novel by Carole and I love the characters, so was really pleased that we were heading back to Hope Farm. I flew through this one and I would like to think we haven't heard the last of Molly and gang! 

 Thank you Carole for yet another great read and yes, I did laugh out loud when I read about the embarrassing alpacas at the Christmas open day!!

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

A Christmas Wedding

A Christmas Wedding
By
Fiona Ford 
Blurb: London, 1943: Dot Hanson has never forgotten the thrill of seeing the beautiful Christmas displays at Liberty’s department store as a young girl. Never in her wildest dreams did she think she would one day work there, or that she would fall in love with the store’s manager, her childhood sweetheart Edwin Button. But in spite of the life Dot has built for herself, and the tight-knit community around her, she lives in the shadow of a terrible secret. And as the bombs continue to fall across Britain there is more heartache still to come. All Dot wants is a family of her own with the man she loves by her side. Will her dreams come true in time for Christmas? 

 Review 
Sadly, this is the final instalment in the Liberty Girls saga and I have loved getting to know the girls and their families over the past couple of years. 

 In this final part we meet up with Dot, who has recently found love again with Edwin Button, who she previously fell in love with as a teenager. They are engaged to be married and are like a couple of love sick puppies!! 

 Mary has married David and has recently adopted his  niece Emma and is busy building a loving home for her. Mary is estranged from her family and is devastated to receive a letter from her father telling her he would like to meet up with her as time is running out for him. This puts her in a real dilemma: Should she go and try to make amends, or should she let bygones be bygones and move on with her life? 

 Meanwhile, Liberty’s is welcoming a new sales assistant called Brenda and of course, Dot takes her under her wing and immediately realises that all is not well and wants to find out the reason why Brenda is such a nervous young lady. If anyone can find out why, it’s Dot! 

 Dot has a very dear friend called Ivy who lives in the West Country and she decides to take a trip to see her and her daughter for a bit of a break. Little does Dot realise that her trip will change her life and the lives of those around her forever….. 

 This was another fabulous read from the author. She writes straight from the heart and this saga has been full of love, loss, drama, laughter and everything in between! 

I am sad to say goodbye to the girls of London town and will miss them dearly. Anyone who is a saga lover will thoroughly enjoy this series and I hope to read more from this wonderful author.

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

The Cosy Little Cupcake Van

COVER REVEAL
I am so happy to reveal the second book by the wonderful Annette Hannah. She is not only a fabulous book blogger, but now an author! I am also delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour in March and I have an extract for you on 29th March. So stay tuned...https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1nY9OK8hzMsBqP_-zF7Q22QPDG3CPXZEL

Monday, 16 November 2020

A Christmas Wedding by Fiona Ford

A Christmas Wedding

I’m delighted, but also slightly sad to be the last stop on the blog tour for this bookAs it’s the last instalment in a wonderful series about a group of girls working in the department store Liberty’s in London during WWII. It’s been no secret that I have loved this series and hope that when I receive my copy of the book, I don’t cry to too much at the end! The lovely author has provided an extract for me and I shall review as soon as I can. Enjoy this last part and you can read reviews of the previous books on the blog.https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Q3twCLzty_rm8F5V6wn6D7fW_Fv10Zwm


Prologue

December 1914

 

As the brightly lit window came into view it was all Dorothy Banwell could do not to run to it and press her face against the glass like a child. The Norwegian Spruce that took centre stage was easily the largest and most beautiful tree she had ever seen. Craning her neck to drink it all in as it towered above her Dorothy, or Dot as she was better known, felt alive with Christmas magic as she peered at the colourful glass ornaments, each one twinkling under the lights. In between the ornaments, small candles perched as straight as soldiers and decorated with glittering aluminium strands instead of the usual silver – the only real sign war had affected the country. Right at the top, with all the elegance you would expect from a window display at Libertys department store, stood a large gold star, beaming all the way across Argyll Street like a beacon and welcoming everyone inside from the bustling London streets.

“It’s beautiful”, a voice beside her breathed. 

At the sound of her old friend, Ivy Penhaligon, Dot turned around and smiled. “I’ve always loved this shop. My mother used to bring me when me and Olive were nippers to look at the window displays”

Ivy’s eyes roamed the display greedily before she looked down at her daughter. What do you think Helen?’

The four-year old said nothing for a moment, her hand pressed into Dot‘s now, seemingly as transfixed as she was by the display. 

Pretty,’ she declared eventually.

Dot smiled down at her, it is pretty, but not as pretty as you’ll look on your wedding day.’

Ivy smiled. 

Dot laughed at the compliment. ‘I hope you’re not saying you’re going to have me looking like a Christmas tree with this dress you’re making me.’

Ivy giggled and Helen followed suit, finding the adults laughter infectious.

‘How long have you known me, Dorothy Banwell?’ Ivy asked with a raised eyebrow.

Dot thought for a moment. A good four years now.’

‘Precisely.’ Ivy agreed. And in that time have I ever made you do anything that would make you look daft?Pretending to think again for a moment, Dot paused, before catching Ivy‘s twinkling eye. 

On reflection no. Though there was that time I came to stay with you and Kenneth shortly before Helen‘s first birthday and you did ask me if I wanted Corporation Pop. I thought it was something fancy, but then when I said yes you both burst out laughing and handed me a glass of water.’

Ivy threw her head back and laughed, her blonde hair glistening under the shop lights. ‘I’d forgotten that. That‘a always been one of Kenneth‘a favourite jokes.’Dot pursed her lips and gave Ivy a mock glare. 

And I’ve never forgotten it either.’

Ivy ran her tongue across her teeth. As I recall you told us how you felt at the time.’

I’ve never been backwards in coming forwards,’Dot said with a smile, ‘especially with old friends.

‘Best friends, IIvy said softly, before looking back at the window. It is beautiful’

It is,’ Dot confirmed.

And don’t they sell fabrics in there?’ Ivy continued.

A gnawing feeling began to grow in Dot‘s stomach. They do’

‘Well, as I’m in charge of making your wedding dress how about we go in and have a look at what they’ve got?’

Alarm pulsed through Dot. We can’t go in there.’

Why?’

‘Because, it‘a not for the likes of us! My mother would have a fit.’

Ivy frowned. What’s your mother got to do with it?’

You know what Mother‘s like,’Dot said with a sigh. ‘She’d start saying we weren’t good enough for the likes of in there. That we weren’t posh enough, that we had no business, that we should know our place. I mean she used to bring me to look at the displays but she never took us inside.’

‘So you’ve never actually been in this shop?’Ivy asked, the cool December wind whipping around her neck. She looked down at Helen who was still staring at the window transfixed. Helen, would you like to go inside?

Wordlessly Helen nodded, the excitement in her eyes shining as brightly as the gold star on top of the tree.

Looks like thats settled then,Ivy said with a shrug. Lets go.

As Dot looked into the little girls copper eyes that seemed almost as  familiar to her as her own  she smiled. The last person she wanted to let down was this little girl. All right,’  she said at last. But Im warning you, if we get thrown out because were not good enough, its your fault not mine.

With that Ivy flashed Dot a warm, genuine grin. When will you start believing in yourself Dorothy Banwell? Honestly, its a good job you’ve got me as your best friend. I dread to think how youd cope without me.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

The Deptford Girls

The Deptford girls

By

Patricia McBride

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1m8uE0nAbRJ5cCOsZzacteDbgQ4BxGJY2

When I saw the title of this book I knew I had to read it as I come from South East London myself, but I was a bit apprehensive as this is the fourth book in a series. I was assured by the author that it could be read as a stand-alone and I wasn’t disappointed! I got into it from page one and thoroughly enjoyed it! You can read my review below.


A country at war. Friends in trouble. A fascist traitor. Stepping up can only lead Lily to danger.

Rescuing friends or spotting spies; Private Lily Baker always gets involved.

While London burns she looks out for workmates and girlfriends but also uncovers a web of deception at the Depot where she works.

When the ruthless suspect knows she’s closing in, she must act fast to unmask the traitor and save her friends, herself, and the brave soldiers overseas whose lives are at risk.

The Deptford Girls is the fourth in the Lily Baker wartime series. This heart-wrenching story features courage, friendship, betrayal, compelling characters, and a captivating plot.

If you like vivid stories that take you right into the world of the characters, you’ll love The Deptford Girls. Cuddle up with a cuppa and enjoy this exciting, warm-hearted read.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1iEznKnxPPZncufZ1550SzYUJc8NOBUSq

Review

Lily, along with her friends Bronwyn, Marion, Edith and a Ruth work in a depot in Deptford, south east London. There is heightened security around the depot and rumour has it that the current shipment contains guns. 

Mr Biggerstaff is a new member of the team. Lily is instantly wary of him and is sure he is up to no good. She is going to have to keep her wits about her where he is concerned. 

Marion has troubles of her own. She has been dumped by her boyfriend and even worse, finds herself pregnant. What is she going to do and how is she going to tell her mum? 

Edith has her husband Sidney home from the war injured with a head injury.  She makes any excuse to be at work or with the girls; is there something she is hiding from them about her husband? 

Ruth is a jewish woman with three children who have just been evacuated to the country.  She also seems to be making excuses about her husband not being around. 

It seems all the girls are keeping secrets...

I really enjoyed this book as it was so easy to get into with very likable characters and with short chapters I whizzed through it. I would definitely read books by this author again.


Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deptford-Girls-heart-breaking-friendship-betrayal-ebook/dp/B08DRMNKTM

 US - https://www.amazon.com/Deptford-Girls-heart-breaking-friendship-betrayal-ebook/dp/B08DRMNKTM


Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/patriciamcbrideauthor

About the Author

Patricia lives in Cambridge, England with her husband Rick. She first wrote non-fiction, mainly self-help books, but became inspired to try her hand at fiction. In addition to writing she volunteers for a local museum and Addenbrookes Hospital.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1zXvWkPhvWA6x2euXkZZN16AZgaq2_XBn

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

The Quickening

The Quickening
by
Rhiannon Ward
REVIEW

This is the first novel in a change of genre for Rhiannon Ward (Sarah Ward) and luckily, I was sent a copy for review (thank you) which you can read below. 
This is an atmospheric, autumnal read which is perfect for this time of year! Thankfully, not as scary as I thought it might have been as I don't like jumpy books, but nevertheless, kept me on the edge of my seat sometimes!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1sELLJzeyKQi6Wa2DpGrVzGgWsiUKgnjx

 Review

Louisa Drew is a photographer who is commissioned to take photos of the contents of Clewer Hall for its' sale so that the family can go and start a new life in India. Poor Louisa lost her first husband Bertie during WWI and also her twin sons in the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918.

Now married again to Edwin and expecting another child, Louisa is trying to earn a living to keep their heads above water, so taking a job away from home for 10 days is a welcome break from the unhappiness she feels towards her second husband and her miserable existence since the death of her beloved Bertie and her sons. 

As Louisa starts to take pictures of the contents of the house, she finds out that a séance is going to be recreated that first took place in 1896. She is introduced to the Medium, Ada, who, when she realizes Louisa is heavily pregnant, warns her to leave the house as soon as she can. Louisa is made of stern stuff and just a bit stubborn! So decides to stay to finish her commission.

George is a journalist from London who also arrives at Clewer Hall to report on the séance and is full of admiration for Louisa because she is an independent, married woman earning a living in an era when this was a rarity. Little does he yet know that Louisa would rather work than be at home (also in London) with Edwin, who she is not in love with.

Obviously, things don't go to plan and strange things start to happen for Louisa and with the warnings she receives about leaving the house, she is determined to find out  why there is such a dark, oppressive atmosphere at Clewer Hall.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and really hope that the author decides to write more. Very easy reading with short chapters that left you wanting to read a bit more at the end of every one!

Thank you so much to the author for sending me a copy to review.