Finer Things Review

**Thank you to Sandstone Press for sending me a copy of this book, below is my honest review in exchange for receiving the book.**

 

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GoodReads:

London: 1963.

The lives of a professional shoplifter and a young art student collide. Delia needs to atone for a terrible mistake; Tess is desperate to convince herself she really is an artist. Elsewhere in London, the Krays are on the rise and a gang war is in the offing. 

Tess’s relationship with her gay best friend grows unexpectedly complicated, and Delia falls for a man she’s been paid to betray.

Book Information:
Publication Date: 
27/06/2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 288
Category: Fiction
ISBN: 9781912240685

 

My Review

This was such a creative premise for a novel. I always love a good historical fiction but this grabbed me from the moment I glanced at the cover. But finding out it was basically a 1960s Female centered version with hints of ‘Ocean’s 11’? Oh I was all in. Disclaimer: This is way better than Ocean’s 11, and I refuse to talk about any movies from that after Ocean’s 12. They don’t exist in my world.

[Funnily enough my husband asked if the model on the cover was Joan from ‘Mad Men’ and considering that was focused on the 60s I would say they really nailed it with this cover.]

Wharton absolutely brings his A game to his debut novel, his writing is completely engaging and when I think of this book the first thing that comes to mind for me is ‘beautiful.’

The characters had so much intrigue to them, and the fact that he kept true to the time period of the 60s without taking away from the integrity of the characters just impressed me.

There was a whimsical air to Delia and I have to say she was my favorite, for being someone so utterly raw and from her roots she was like a changeling with a hint of the old ways in her superstitions.

Tess was complex and I think I would have wanted to see more of her but I was happy enough with how Wharton introduces her to us. She’s young, in London and trying to figure out who she is. Her story is also one that really resonates with the times. There was such a love of art and to see her blossom in her concepts of it was really great and her journey with Jimmy was one that I really appreciated at the end for all its difficulties and the heart aching truth of it all.

David Wharton gave a truly brilliant debut novel and I loved it, keep an eye out for this book and his future works. If you like a more ‘modern’ historical fiction or just a good fiction novel in general, I hope you’ll give this book a try.

 

About the Author

“David Wharton grew up in Northumberland and lives in Leicester, where he has worked in education for many years. He now divides his time between writing fiction and training English teachers. Finer Things is his first novel.”

 

Bride Squad Runaway Blog Tour

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GoodReads:
Ava and her trusty bride squad set off on an unforgettable Irish roadtrip. Along the way there’s ice-cream vans, roguish strangers and a very handsome Frenchman. Join them for this laugh-out-loud, feel-good romance with a twist.
‘Tu es belle – wow! Look at you!’ 
It should be the perfect moment. A sunny day at Vintage Brides, and Ava O’Hara is twirling in her wedding dress. Super-hot Stefan likes what he sees…
But Stefan won’t be the one standing at the altar. It’ll be Simon, Ava’s wannabe rockstar fiancé. Or will it?
Simon says he loves her, but he’s got a funny way of showing it. When his indiscretions go viral on the big day, Ava suddenly becomes a bride-NOT-to-be.
She needs her Bride Squad, and fast. It’s time for a runaway! But will Ava come home from her wild Irish roadtrip? And if she does, will it be to love, loss or something entirely different?
A brilliantly funny and uplifting story of love, friendship and freedom by real-life BFFs, Caroline Grace-Cassidy and Lisa C. Carey. Readers of Holly Martin, Marian Keyes and Katie Fforde will love this brilliant collaboration.

Where to Buy

Amazon Kobo

 

My Review

Bride Runaway Squad is a light hearted and funny read. Think of ‘Bridesmaids’ meets ‘The Decoy Bride.’ [2 of my fave wedding rom-com films, just incase you all were wondering] It’s really the kind of read that just leaves you feeling uplifted at the end, the authors do a great job of keeping real emotions while giving us something to chuckle at. It actually reads a lot like a rom-com movie and it makes the pages just fly by. But! The focus isn’t the romance, it’s the friendship, so keep that in mind, this is all about some Bride Squad Power.

One thing I tell you though, chapter six had me dying to find out what had Simon the fiancé done?! That whole chapter it was just me going ‘WHAT DID HE DO?!’

I really enjoyed is that our bride was just about 40 and just getting married for the first time, I just felt this was a bit more accurate in our day and age, people get married all across the age ranges now.

Also, while the humor is definitely what makes the book, I adored how this was truly a book on friendship, so even though it read like a ‘rom-com’ romance wasn’t the focus, it was a smaller part, the main bulk of the story is finding yourself along the way of reconnecting with those who make a difference just by being in your life.

[My favorite part was with the rats. Hands down. I’m still chuckling.]

The friends don’t always see eye to eye and I love that the issues were resolved in a way that just felt natural. Let me tell you, finding out you had more in common with someone and that jealousy can remove a lot of obstacles is so enjoyable to read. Cate and Lauren are different enough that they both really stand out from each other and from our bride Ava, and the cast of characters is just really fun, there’s a great energy between them and  whoever they meet along the way.

Friendship aside though, I just want to say I adore Stefan and felt like he was such a great character. He is supportive and a good friend before anything else. I may be a fangirl of his now haha.

If you like romance, if you’re getting married, if you just finished a relationship, and you like to have a laugh, this book is one to pick up! It’s a quick and fun summer read and I hope that you all get to enjoy it as much as I did!

Thank you to Black&White Publishing for sending me a copy and allowing me to take part in the tour. [My review is as honest as always!] And you can find the rest of the tour at the end of my post.

***Note! Royalties from the sale of this book are going to be donated to the Sarah Jennifer Knott Foundation for Cancer of Unknown Primary.***

 

About the Author(s)

 

Caroline Grace Cassidy is an Irish film and television actress, and author. She is best known for her role in David Gordon Green’s Your Highness. 

Her debut novel When Love Takes Over was released by Poolbeg on February 7, 2012. She was cited by The Irish Times newspaper as one of their ‘People to Watch’ in 2012.

Since then she has been published with , The Other Side Of Wonderful (2013), I Always Knew (2014) Already Taken (2015) and The Week I Ruined My Life was published in 2016 with UK Publishers Black & White Publishing.

 

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The Sea Refuses No River Blog Tour

 

The Sea Refuses No River Cover

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The journey of grief is a strange one
and one not often talked about in our everyday reality of this society,
but I know what it’s like to dive deep,
down to the bottom of the wreck,
feel the ribs of the wreck,
after losing a parent so young in life

In this collection, the sea refuses no river, there is an acceptance of the pain and an acceptance of the healing moments; the healing journey. To quote Adrienne Rich: I came to explore the wreck’, and in this collection, Bethany discovers how, ‘The words are purposes. The words are maps.’

Book Information:
Paperback: 42 pages
Publisher: Fly on the wall poetry (21 Jun. 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1999598652
ISBN-13: 978-1999598655

Where to Buy it

Click Here

 

My Review

I have always had a soft spot for poetry, and though it’s nice to read love poems, romantic ones at that, I think that poetry spans so much more and offers a sort of comfort for almost any situation. In this collection, Rivers takes the reader on a journey of grief and healing, in this case it is the loss of her own Father which resonates in her poetry. There’s always something missing in you after you’ve lost someone you’ve cared for and sometimes talking to others helps but seeing words from someone else that speaks to your heart is just a therapy in its own, at least for me. Rivers doesn’t force the words and they seem to come from a place of honesty and her style is simple and lovely. She also doesn’t overburden the reader so if they are also suffering from grief it will not be something so overwhelming that it’ll more damage than healing. The imagery is flowing, and paints a picture in your heart. My favorite poems were ‘At My Father’s Grave,’ ‘How to Cross the Desert,’ and ‘Seeker’ but they were all a joy to read in their own right and some of them felt more lyrical than anything.

If you enjoy free flowing poetry, whether you’ve suffered a loss or not, I recommend this to you. Thanks to Anne Cater, the Publisher, and Bethany Rivers for the opportunity to read this lovely book.

About the Author

 

Bethany Rivers Author Pic
Bethany Rivers

 

Bethany Rivers (M.A. in Creative Writing from Cardiff University) is a poet and author based in Shrewsbury, who has taught creative writing for over eleven years and mentored and coached many writers from the start of their writing project through to publication.

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Dream Angus


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GoodReads:

Part of a series of books containing myths as retold by first-rank contemporary authors, this is Alexander McCall Smith’s telling of the Celtic myth of Dream Angus, a god of love, youth, beauty, and also the bringer of dreams. He is cherished by all, but fated to love only Caér, the swan maiden from his own dreams. Smith spins five charming stories of Dream Angus with five tales of his modern alter egos.

“…what is life but the pursuit of dreams?”

Thank you to Canongate Books for sending me a copy of this, I was so excited as I love takes on mythology.

[So excited in fact that my email said Revew Request in my haste to type. Let that sink in. Revew. I’m still mortified.]

Admittedly I’ve never read any of Alexander McCall Smith’s works before, I’d heard of him and had been interested but just hadn’t gotten around to it until now.

Dream Angus gives us an interwoven work of short stories that spans the ages to give us a more modern day retelling of the Celtic God of Dreams, Angus.

One thing that impressed me from the start is rarely do a read an introduction unless it’s an academic work, if it catches my eye I will and McCall Smith’s intro was actually very enjoyable to read. It’s hard to know how to introduce your own work when you’re tackling legends and myths and we all know many authors do it well, but it’s still always nice to know that even the prolific authors understand the delicate work they’re doing.

Onto the real meat of the book however I have to say this is just one of those books you read in an almost dreamy manner -no pun intended- it is something to be read as an experience rather than trying to just gobble it up, devour it, and analyze it. That comes later. Half jk.

Rather than trying to give an epic tale, threaded through various times and places are the stories of the small and wondrous gifts bestowed on people by the dreams and powers of Angus, there is love, there is peace, and of course most importantly there are the dreams.

My favorite parts were actually the tale of how Angus came to be, and how he confronted his Father eventually. [Would say more, but, spoilers!] There’s just always something about a good origins story to me.

This is a rather languid and flowery work, it’s not meant for those looking for a clear cut collection of short stories and/or a Michael Bay version of mythology.

Anyway, if you’re into a rather thought provoking novel that’s a leisurely [and rather short] read, I highly recommend Dream Angus to you. Don’t forget The Canons has a whole series of books done by well known authors, ‘The Myths’ and it includes works by Margaret Atwood, A.S. Byatt, and Philip Pullman as well!

“But Angus does more than that: he represents youth and the intense, passionate love that we might experience when we are young but which we might still try to remember as age creeps up. Age and experience might make us sombre and cautious, but there is always an Angus within us- Angus the dreamer.”

-Alexander McCall Smith, 2006

 

 

 

The Repenting Serpent Blog Tour

Hey all,

I was not lying when I said that this summer was the summer of Blog Tours and so far I’m really enjoying participating in all of them. Today I’m with #BitsaboutBooksBlogTour run by the super kind Caroline!

First off. I’m so glad that she asked me to join in because this is the kind of book that is just straight up my jam.

Okay, now onto the important stuff.

The Repenting Serpent - Wes Markin - book cover

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A DCI Michael Yorke Thriller

A vicious serial killer slithers from the darkness, determined to resurrect the ways of a long-dead civilisation.
When the ex-wife of one of DCI Michael Yorke’s closest allies is left mutilated and murdered, Yorke and his team embark on their greatest test yet. A  deeply personal case that will push them to their very limits.
As Yorke’s team are pulled further into the dark, the killer circles, preparing to strike again.
The Repenting Serpent is a true edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting page turner.

 

The DCI Michael York Thrillers:
#1 One Last Prayer for the Rays – getbook.at/OneLastPrayerRays
#2 The Repenting Serpent – getbook.at/RepentingSerpent

 

My Review

I feel like I’m just fangirling over amazing books lately just flapping around excitedly in my reviews like the crazy inflatable arm man. So. I’m going to try really hard to give you something more than pterodactyl screeches in this review.

This was basically the novel equivalent of Criminal Minds, a really dark and suspenseful police procedural.

[And I am a huge fan of Criminal Minds you know until about season 11]

Markin gives such a delicious read about a series of murders and they all seem to have a very strong connection to something more than just a serial killer getting their fill. This also includes Aztec mythology which is a nice change of pace as we usually hear more about Greek/Roman/Norse mythology in novels these days. [Or at least I do…hopefully it’s not just me lol]

I very much enjoyed seeing how Yorke and his team were piecing together clues and loved the creepy chapters told from the point of the serial killer. I have to say the misdirect worked on me momentarily and to that I tip my imaginary hat to Markin because I really thought I know ‘whodunit.’

Also, Markin is not afraid to do away with characters he’s like the thriller  version G.R.R. Martin, so, you know, try not to get attached, bahaha. I did like that though, it was clear that anyone was capable of dying and the feeling of everyone running out of time had me actually and not just figuratively on the edge of my seat. Martin doesn’t drag on the novel too long and he manages to give a very satisfying story in quite a short period when you realize how much he integrated into the plot and the amount of characters.

So, if you like police procedurals/thrillers, and you want to read an amazing newer series, go grab The Repenting Serpent -or the first one in the series, One Last Prayer for the Rays.- Though this is a series, it’s not necessary to read book 1 to be able to read book 2.

 

About the Author

Wes Markin Author Image

Wes Markin is a hyperactive English teacher, who loves writing crime fiction with a twist of the macabre.
Having finished ‘The Repenting Serpent,’ sequel to ‘One Last Prayer for the Rays,’ he is now working on the third instalment of DCI Michael Yorke’s wild ride. He is also the author of ‘Defined,’ a prequel to his DCI Yorke novels, which takes the reader back to his blood-soaked university days.
Born in 1978, Wes grew up in Manchester, UK. After graduating from Leeds University, he spent fifteen years as a teacher of English, and has taught in Thailand, Malaysia and China. Now as a teacher, writer, husband and father, he is currently living in Harrogate, UK.

Twitter

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Amazon

 

The Rest of the Tour

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Little Book of Fairy Tales- Indiegogo Promo

Hey guys!

I got a good chunk of reading done this weekend and I can honestly say I’m pretty happy with most of what I’ve read and that the books have been unusually good for May and June thus far!

However! I’m here to talk you all about a pretty cool Indiegogo project brought toy by Dancing Bear Books

All Images and quoted information has been pulled directly from Dancing Bear Books Indiegogo Project Page which you can find a link for down below!

SO! None of this is mine, I’m just an exceedingly polite thief!

indiegogo

 

Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time, there were two girls. They sat in their living room and pondered the bookshelves and asked themselves where everyone was. Where were the characters from across seas and that spoke in different tongues, where were the princesses who loved princesses and lived happily ever after. 

About Dancing Bear Books

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Dancing Bear Books was founded by Lucy Rose and Kristel Buckley. Shocked and astounded by the lack of diversity in fantasy and fairytale work on their bookshelves, they founded the company to create an inclusive and magical place for readers and writers alike. 

Initially, we were going to self-fund this project but after reading such wonderful submissions, we believe that this project deserves more to really promote these fantastic writers and designers. We are still on the hunt to try to pack out this book with the best fairytale short stories around but we’ve received some really beautiful work. 

We want to fund the publishing of this book for a multitude of reasons, our main ethos when embarking on this quest is to give a voice to communities that don’t normally get them. We hope that we can support writers from diverse groups and platform diverse characters. 

When considering funding, there is quite a lot to consider. There are writers, editors, proofreaders, designers, typesetters to pay. There are print runs, marketing and events to consider. With your help, we can make this happen. 

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Why is funding this project important?

Well, let’s face it, out of all the genres I do think fantasy could use a bit more boost on diversity in all regards and I’m sure most of you all agree on that point which is why I’m writing this post. If I thought I was talking into the void, I’d just make an Instagram post. [Insert fake audience laughter here]

If you don’t believe me, listen to how passionate they sound discussing diversity in fairytales and fantasy:

There is such a lack of representation, particularly in fantasy and fairytale related fiction. We are particularly focusing on BAME and LGBT stories where we can and working to promote diverse protagonists. There is a real cry out for these stories and we can’t wait to be a part of building that diversity in the indie book scene. 

 

Where to Fund the project

Indiegogo: Little Book of Fairy Tales

 

Where to find Updates on the Project:

Twitter @Dancingbearbook

Facebook @Dancingbearbooks 

Instagram @Dancingbearbooks

 

There’s 11 days left on the funding, so go throw your money at them!

 

The Chosen – Blog Tour

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Synopsis:
Introducing an epic new trilogy from Taran Matharu, author of the New York Times–bestselling Summoner series. 
Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.
Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.
But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.

Book Information
The Chosen (Contender #1)
by Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: June 4th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Book Links

GoodReadsAmazoniTunesB&NBook DepositoryKoboGoogle Books

 

My Review

Dinosaurs. If anyone knows a way to make me happy, add dinosaurs, I will faithfully read and love your book on that premise alone. Thankfully Matharu had some other points I really enjoyed about his novel so it wasn’t just the dinosaurs. [But I mean, come on, dinosaurs.]

Cade is a great protagonist, he is a history ‘nerd’ and someone who has kinda tried to stay out of the limelight but this doesn’t seem to particularly work for him as he ends up thrust into focus constantly.  The boarding school scenes are short and quickly disappear as the current situation of being in a new place that is possibly not even Earth just grows more and more ‘real’ to the students who have been placed in this predicament. Cade isn’t the only one, but, that may not necessarily be a good thing as at least one boy seems to have decided Cade is his target for bullying and now in a high stress situation, Cade is having to watch some of his fellow students and the other threats in this new place. [Did I mention dinosaurs?]

I loved the other cast of characters as well, in fact I would say that Quints and Spex were my favorites along with Grace, purely because she seems like she could kick so much butt and that is so cool, so I hope we learn more about her in book 2.

As noted this is the first book in a new series and the ending will certainly leave you wanting to read book two to find out what happens.

Besides the obvious parts I favored, I also enjoyed the history tidbits and the mystery of it all, it had some elements that slightly reminded me of Maze Runner but to Matharu’s credit, this is unlike any other plot I’ve encountered before. And this book was so quick to read as I just kept pressing for one more chapter to find out what on earth was going on/going to happen next.

I will say that I wish some other things had happened sooner than later in the novel as a lot is crammed in a little time and with how the ending is, I really wish that all of the teenagers would have known the purpose of it all as I feel like they deserved that much, I’d like to say more, but, spoilers! I also felt like though everything felt so quick there was a little too much build up for the end and as I said I thought those events should have shifted sooner, but, this is a perfect ending to leave us on edge to find out what happens in book 2. Well played Matharu, well played.

Cade and the others have some tough challenges to face and they’ll have to work together if they want to have any hope of going home. But will it be enough?

How long until book 2?? UGH.

Thanks to The Fantastic Flying Book Club, the publisher, and Matharu for the copy of the book and being part of the tour!

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Mood Board from the Author!

My Playlist

 

About the Author

AUTHOR

Taran Matharu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series, which has been translated into 15 languages and has sold over a million copies. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for writing during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.
Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013. 
Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’ and sharing his work on Wattpad.com. The shared sample of the story went viral, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months. Taran went on to launch his professional writing career, and has never looked back.
His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey, Forlaget Forar in Denmark and Unieboek in the Netherlands.

Author Links

WebsiteGoodReadsTwitterFacebook, Instagram

 

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