Posted in Book Reviews

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

Posted in Book Reviews

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.

Posted in Book Reviews

The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather Smith

“Set in 1980s Newfoundland, The Agony of Bun O’Keefe is the story of a 14-year-old girl who runs away to the city and is taken in by a street musician who lives with an eclectic cast of characters: a pot smoking dishwasher with culinary dreams; a drag queen with a tragic past; a Catholic school girl desperately trying to reinvent herself; and a man who Bun is told to avoid at all cost.”

agony bun

Bun is fourteen and it’s 1986.  She has lived almost her entire life in a junk filled house with her hoarder mother.  Bun is kicked out of her home with no money and nowhere to go.  She finds a place to stay with a motley group of twenty-somethings.  Now maybe she can finally learn how to find her own way in life.

The Agony of Bun O’Keefe is a well written and interesting read. Smith has a unique style and Bun is a quirky and interesting character.  All the characters are real and engaging.

The plot is fascinating. Bun deals with love, loss, numbness all while trying to find her way in life. She has some interesting coping mechanisms, which you will read about in this story.

Smith deals with difficult subjects like abuse, AIDs, and prostitution in an appropriate way. The ultimate message here is about how to deal with real family and what it means to choose your own family. This leaves you feeling a little sad, yet uplifted at the same time.

I think that this book will be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. The Agony of Bun O’Keefe is a fresh and fascinating story.  I’m sure that you will enjoy it as much as I have.

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This book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

bookishly ever afterThank you to Netgalley, Isabel Bandeira and Spencer Hill Press for allowing me to read and review this book.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.  I really enjoyed reading Bookishly Ever After as it reminded me a bit of my own childhood teen angst.

Phoebe is the epitome of a devoted bookworm.  She make notes of dialogue and quotes from her books to use in real life as she is very shy and not good at communicating, especially with boys.

Her book obsession and constant book referencing is just so relatable but she takes it to another level when she actually dresses up to go to author events. It made me sad, though, that she felt the need to go to her books for answers to real life problems and relationships.

Her hobbies include band practice, archery and knitting.  Phoebe spends a lot of her time (when she’s not reading) knitting herself costumes related to her favourite character in her books.

Without going into detail, there is a boy interest or two.  Phoebe is trying to decide which one she likes more.  Her best friend intervenes and tries to push her towards one in particular.  Just it happens like in real life if you had friends like these!

Phoebe is a very likeable character and I think that she is easy to relate to.

Bookishly Ever After is an easy and enjoyable read for teens/YA but I bet that there are adults out there that will enjoy it too.  I was entertained and really liked the story.

This book deserves

Posted in Book Reviews

The Summerhouse by the Sea by Jenny Oliver

Summerhouse by the SeaThank you to NetGalley and HQ for allowing me to read and review Summerhouse by the Sea.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

I’ve just finished reading this delightful, feel-good book.  I think that it is a must read for the summer holidays, but even more so, this beautifully written story explores family relationships, how they affect us in ways not always apparent and how we can rise above them to become our own person.

This is an intelligent, well written, touching tale of love, loss and realising what truly matters in life – contentment and acceptance.

This story revolves around siblings, Rory and Ava Fisher, whose mother, Isabel, was a famous singer.  She deserted them to all intents and purposes when they were young.  Their father is a somewhat distant figure, but luckily they holidayed frequently with their grandmother, Val,  and she provided some much needed stability and love to their lives.

When their grandmother passes away, Rory wants to sell her home, the Summerhouse in Spain, but Ava decides to stay on for a while after the funeral, taking a leave of absence from work and renting out her flat in London.  Rory, a filmmaker, suffers a professional mishap and needs to escape his failing career so he joins Ava, along with his son, Max.  His wife, Claire, is left behind in London as she has work commitments.

The wonderful supporting characters, who were friends of Val such as Flora, Gabriella, Rosa, etc., enrich this charming and funny story, and play an important role in influencing the life decisions ultimately made by Rory and Ava.  Let’s not forget about Tom either, Ava’s one time celebrity crush.

 

Without giving too much away as this book is only available for pre-order at the moment, both Rory and Ava have to acknowledge how much  their disaffected parents have influenced their personal relationships.  To move on from this realisation, they have to accept themselves and decide what they want out of life. An interesting underlying thread running throughout this story is the impact that technology has had on their lives and that having a detox from their phones, etc., enabled them to discover what was truly meaningful.

This book is full of humour, warmth, love and a touch of romance.  It will leave you feeling uplifted and is guaranteed to make you smile.

It is full of happy endings!  I loved reading it and I’m sure that you will too.

This charming book deserves a celebrated 

 

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