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Gloriana by June Wilson – Thrilling Historical Fantasy

This is Book One of The Chronicles of Albion.

Having read the Middengard Sagas, which introduces readers to three of the main characters featured in Gloriana – Isolde, Josh, and Molly plus others – I must say that I have enjoyed reading Gloriana even more than I did the previous series, which I found to be original and enchanting.

You don’t have to have read The Middengard Sagas to get into the new series but I think you will understand the characters better if you do.  It’s an exciting prequel series that takes you to another world full of magic, time travel, and fantasy adventure.

Gloriana is set in London in 1571 and explores intrigue in the court of Elizabeth 1.  Josh and Molly are tasked with travelling back in time to 1571 to help Isolde on behalf of Freya (Goddess of Truth) and Mae (Fae Queen) to solve a riddle and stop a dark disaster from happening.

Without giving away too much, this story has everything from intrigue to murder to magic to a budding romance and you won’t be disappointed as it is a page-turner that will keep you interested right up to the last page! 

June, I cannot wait to read The Empress, Book 2!

5/5 stars – Highly recommended!

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I’ll be Home for Christmas! By Abbey Clancy

It is an uplifting story full of drama, regrets, insecurities, romance, friendship, family and long distance relationships. It focuses mainly on the romantic relationships of the characters and the ups and downs that they experience.

Jessika has finally got her big music break and heads off to the USA to tour with gorgeous megastar Cooper Black after they record a track together.  She reluctantly leaves behind her new fiancé, Daniel, who is a well-known music producer and her soul mate.  He encourages her to take this chance of a lifetime as he will be busy anyway producing the lovely Vella’s new music album. 

Being in different time zones, they struggle to find time to chat and Jessika is left feeling a bit insecure one night when Vella answers Daniel’s phone. 

Jessika sets about embracing the party lifestyle and has fun with Cooper and the rest of the entourage.  The supporting characters like Neale and JB are really fun and interesting.   You immediately feel like they’ll be great friends to have and that they’ll always be loyal.

The story offers a glimpse into what I can imagine is the reality of being a celebrity and having to living your life in the public eye surrounded by paparazzi and exposure on social media.  Abbey is likely using her own experiences to add depth to her story.

Despite the title, I’ll be Home for Christmas, I believe that this book can be enjoyed at any time of the year.  It’s a heart-warming, life affirming romantic tale with interesting characters that you will find entertaining from beginning to end.  It was great to read a book set both in Northern England and the USA.

It’s the perfect time of the year to snuggle up on the sofa with this charming book and a hot chocolate filled to the brim with melting marshmallows!

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Blog Tour: Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa

Hi! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Night Of The Dragon by Julie Kagawa, which is the 3rd book in the Shadow Of The Fox series!

I’m a huge fan of Julie Kagawa’s writing and this has been my favourite series to date.

“Night of the Dragon” hypnotically draws our attention towards the thrilling conclusion of this Shadow of the Fox series, as the brave motley crew that we have grown to love, attempts to save the world from being overrun by demons. Their world is currently exposed to a rift haemorrhaging demons, who are hell-bent on killing everyone and preventing them from stopping the Harbinger of Change from granting a wish that will change their world forever in the worst possible way.

I have no wish to spoil the story for you by giving too much away but I highly recommend this series.  I couldn’t put the books down and had to read the whole series one after another without pause.  I had to keep going as I was deeply invested in seeing what happened to the endearing characters.  The most unlikely characters are drawn together and become an unusual family that will fight and die for each other.

This story is packed with action, emotion, heartbreak, drama and surrounded by Japanese myth and magic.  I truly loved to watch how Yumeko interacted with everyone and everything, embracing her kitsune talents and using her newfound power to fight against evil and save the world.

I was drawn into this world from the first page and fully immersed myself, feeling the highs and lows of the emotions of this well written story with characters that were well developed and interesting.

***** and highly recommended read.

Thanks to @BloggerHQ @HarperCollinsUK @HQstories @Inkyardpress for the preview copy.

This is my honest and unbiased review.

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Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm by Jaimie Admans

So, what’s it all about?

Firstly, this has to be my favourite all time Christmas themed romance with a generous sprinkling of humour and a dollop of human angst.  I didn’t want the book to end!  It is a joy to read and I just couldn’t put it down because I simply had to know what was going to happen next!

Leah catches her so-called boyfriend in a compromising position with a co-worker and promptly quits her job in London.  Consequently, after too many bottles of Prosecco, Leah gets caught up in an auction war and finds herself the owner of a Christmas tree farm in Scotland.  At first Leah is shocked when she realises what she’s done but, in her heart, she knows that she has made the right decision and is honouring her deceased parents at the same time as they would’ve been happy with her choice.

The dilemma…

After arriving at her farm, she is hugely disheartened by what she sees as the farm is in a sad state of disrepair and looks nothing like the photos.  Noel, the devastatingly handsome but grumpy pumpkin farmer from next door, is very sceptical about her commitment to the farm but eventually changes his mind about her and, as a result, he starts to teach her how to look after her trees.

The local community of Elffield is won over by Leah’s enthusiasm and new ideas to reinvigorate her farm and the village market so that it doesn’t close down.  The friendly villagers accept her as one of their own.  As a result, Leah soon feels like she belongs and is happier than she has been in a long time.

The story leads you to discover that Leah and Noel have to overcome obstacles from their past to find a future together.  I enjoyed the humour flowing between them and the slow brewing, but sizzling romance.  They try, without much luck, not to like each other but in the end they have to admit that they’ve fallen in love with one another other, which is so endearing.

Ahhh and wait until you meet the adorable Gimzo.  He will steal your heart…and your treats when you’re not looking.

My thoughts…

This book is full of charming and interesting characters and I wish I could visit Elffield for real! 

I loved Noel’s character and his hotness jumps off the page at you, reeling you in.  He is a strong but sensitive character, who you warm to and want to get to know better.  

Leah is an inspiring, relatable character and I love that she is making huge changes in her life and finding herself in a place where she truly feels like she belongs.  Furthermore, I like that Leah was determined to succeed with or without help from anyone else. 

I think that they are both endearing, well developed characters and this story had me oohing and ahhing, as well as laughing and crying in parts.

Definitely a worthwhile read!

So, grab a hot chocolate, sit comfortably and enjoy this heart-warming, feel good romance filled adventure.  Finally, I loved reading this book and highly recommend it as a seasonal read to get you in the mood for Christmas.

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The Truth About Lies by Tracy Darnton

truth about liesThe Truth About Lies is not your run of the mill psychological thriller.  It is an intriguing read about Jess, who has hyperthymesia – “a condition where people are able to remember an abnormally large number of their life experiences in vivid detail”.

Hanna, Jess’s roommate dies in an apparent suicide after falling from their window.  Shortly afterwards, Jess starts to receive strange notes and believes that someone is following her around.  She begins to question this and also her past.  Can she trust her memories?

This is an enthralling and suspenseful story filled with all sorts of secrets and lies.  Jess is an interesting and singularly unique character, who is tormented by her past.  We only glimpse a little of the trauma she suffered when she was part of the research programme but the effects are clearly visible in her voice and actions.  Jess’s identity is hidden in the beginning so we don’t really know who she is.  Later when Jess meets Dan, a new student, she tries to keep her distance but they become friends and she opens up about her past.

Without giving too much away, this is an enjoyable read filled with mystery and just when you think you know what’s going to happen, there is a twist that keeps you guessing right up to the end.

 

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Christmas at Woolworths by Elaine Everest

I enjoy seasonal reads and Christmas at Woolworths was such an enjoyable and enlightening read!

This is my honest and unbiased review in return for a copy of this book from the publishers.

christmas at woolworthsI found myself fully immersed in the story all the way through the book.  The characters are well developed, authentic and endearing.  I loved that the women were depicted as strong, interesting and inspirational characters.

Right from the start, I was intrigued to find out what life was like for those amazing women living in Erith, Kent.  Freya, Ruby, Maisie, Sarah, Betty, Maureen, Vera and Pat to name but a few of the characters are all very different people drawn together during WWII.  Some of them have bonded whilst working at Woolworths, and others by living together and supporting one another in this tight-knit community.

Although I am too young to have lived during this war era, I found myself reflecting on what life must have been like for these people.  Their strength and camaraderie is inspirational and heart-warming.  Each character is highly motivated to do their part to try and end the war so life could return to normal.  They endured the constant threat of scary air raids and buildings being bombed, but all the while trying to lead as normal lives as possible.

Woolworths is the hub of the town that people relied upon to create a sense of normality and where women could prove that they are as capable of doing a magnificent job of running a business as men could.  As you are most likely aware, in those days, women were expected to stay at home and men ran the businesses.  These wonderful women fund-raised to support the war effort and also provided auxiliary support for fire services and ARP, as well as taking in refugees into their homes.

This wonderfully written, well researched book gives an amazing insight into the lives of these brave characters.  I enjoyed the interaction between the characters, which offered intimate glimpses into their budding friendships and romances.  The intrigue and mystery created by some new arrivals made me very curious indeed to keep reading!

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I was kept thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.  This book is full of exciting plots and interesting characters.  I didn’t want the story to end!

I can highly recommend this book, not only as a fantastic Christmas read, but also as a heart-warming story that will leave you filled with good cheer and a sense of positivity for the festive season!

This book deserves

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The Summer House by Jenny Hale

I loved the The Summer House as it was filled with intrigue, romance, friendship and family secrets.

summer houseCallie Weaver and her best friend, Olivia decide it’s time for fresh start and invest in a beach house.  Their plan is to renovate and open the house as a bed & breakfast at North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Whilst out getting some lunch one day, Callie unexpectedly meets local heartthrob, Luke Sullivan.  She finds herself drawn to him, despite feeling that a relationship is the furthest thing from her mind.

During the renovation process, Callie and Olivia come across an old diary belonging to the previous owner.  The diary is full of past secrets, with the potential to affect lives in the present.  They decide to give it to the owner’s brother to see what he wants to do with it.

What a perfect summer holiday read!  I loved the way that the author handled the story.  The setting was gorgeous and easy to visualise.  The characters were well developed and likeable.  I could easily imagine the seaside village and the characters.  I enjoyed the suspense that played out alongside the sweet romance when old secrets were revealed.

I was happy to discover that Luke, although coming from a wealthy family, wasn’t a “spoilt rich boy”.  Instead, he turned out to be a caring, helpful and very likeable character.  I found myself really rooting for Luke and Callie’s happily ever after.

This was an enjoyable and entertaining read, which I would recommend to anyone looking for a “time to chill and read” experience.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This feel-good book deserves

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Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Ahh….who doesn’t like a feel-good story.  I loved Geekerella!

geekerellaGeekerella is a modern day Cinderella tale starring Elle Wittimer, a geeky 17 year old, who feels like she doesn’t belong anywhere.  She is orphaned when her father dies and forced into virtual slave labour by her demanding stepmother and twin stepsisters.  Elle escapes her bleak reality by losing herself in the fantasy world of Starfield, an old TV show, which she used to watch with her dad.  She even writes extensively about all things Starfield on her blog, Rebelgunner.

Elle discovers that her favourite show is being remade into a film.  She is extremely disappointed to find that Darien Freeman, a soap star, will be playing Federation Prince Carmindor.

Elle hears that the producers of Starfield are hosting a CosPlay contest, which she is desperate to win as it could be her ticket to a brighter and better future for herself.  She has been scrimping and saving behind her stepmother’s back so that she can pay for her ExcelsiCon ticket and expenses.

Elle works part-time on the Magic Pumpkin food truck with Sage, her green-haired, best friend, who helps her on her quest to go to ExcelsiCon.  Sage, together with Elle’s newfound text “friend”, embolden her to open up and take charge of her life.

Meanwhile, Darien is reluctant about having to participate in this year’s ExcelsiCon as the “true” Starfield fans have written him off as just another shallow heartthrob, totally unsuitable to play Carmindor.  What they don’t know is that Darien is a closet nerd and a Starfield super fan.  Under pressure from his father, Darien is frustrated by the constant burden of having to maintain his superstar image.  He really just wants to be himself.  He wants someone in his life, who will understand and support him without judgement.  Someone like the girl he’s been texting, by accident at first, but it feels right as he can be himself with her – except he can’t reveal his identity.

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Conclusion

This book pays homage to the fandom culture and I highly recommend it.  I was charmed by the references to Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, amongst others.  The Cinderella retelling made me feel nostalgic and happy.

This book helps us to understand that we are all unique and deserve to be loved.  We discovered how much the characters learnt about themselves and despite being scared, they were brave enough to stand up for what they believed in and what they wanted.

The advice then is:  You have a voice, so use it to stand up for yourself.  This is your life.  Take charge and unlock your potential.  Surround yourself with people who care about you and distance yourself from those who seek to trample all over you.  You also deserve a happy ending.

This feel-good book deserves

Thanks to NetGalley and Quirk Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Beneath a Burning Sky by Jenny Ashcroft

I enjoyed Beneath a Burning Sky.  This intriguing historical novel takes place in two locations, one being England and the other being Egypt.

burning skyThe main character, Olivia, 22 years old, is coerced into marriage by her grandmother to a cruel and abusive man known as Alistair Sheldon.  She relocates to Egypt with him and is happily reunited with her sister, Clara.  She is treated atrociously by Alistair and inadvertently develops feelings for her husband’s boarder, Captain Edward Bertram, when he befriends her.

Amidst all the tension, Clara is kidnapped when they visit the city.  The reason behind this abduction is unclear and Olivia does her utmost to find her, despite all the obstructions put in her path.

Without spoiling it for you, I can say that this is a thrilling and deeply intriguing story with plenty of action, romance and suspense, predominantly set in Egypt during the 19th century.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

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The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.”

The Beautiful Ones reads like a classic novel with a paranormal twist.

beautiful onesThis beautifully written story is all about Hector Auvrey and Nina Beaulieu. Hector is out to exact revenge on the woman who broke his heart. Nina is a socially awkward young girl, who unwittingly falls in love in Hector.  She later finds out that she was being deceived.

The story is told from the perspectives of three very different characters: Hector, Nina, and Valerie. Hector is a telekinetic “talent”, previously impoverished, now a wealthy well-known stage performer. He has spent a decade pining for his first love.  Valerie, the antagonist of the novel, is a bitter, jealous woman, who was guilted into marriage to a wealthy man by her family.  Valerie resents Nina, her cousin by marriage, who has the social freedom that she never had. She is naive and somewhat impulsive.  Nina, like Hector, is telekinetic, and her uncontrolled displays have rendered her a social nuisance.

I don’t want to spoil the story for you.  What I can say is that you won’t regret reading this fascinating book.  I was enchanted by this elegantly written novel filled with vibrant, captivating characters.  I found the tension between the characters gripping and authentic.  I didn’t want this story to end!

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with this ARC.

This book deserves