books, reviews

Book Review: You’ll Never Walk Alone – Rachel Kelly

Just before Christmas I was kindly sent a signed copy of this lovely book. A collection of wonderful poems to help us through some of life’s challenges. As some of you may know I love poetry and find it soothing and powerful. I dip into my poetry books when I need a mood boost or to sit with my feelings, but feel comforted, knowing that I’m not the only one to feel that way. Which is what this book is meant to do. There’s a wonderful selection of poems, old friends and some new faces too. Whatever you’re going through, poetry can help remind us to keep going. You’ll be ok.

A wise and soulful poetry prescription for every season and every mood. Words can be a way to unlock our feelings. Poetry allows us to be in touch with our emotions and explore our vulnerability. You’ll Never Walk Alone is a collection of the kind of inspirational texts – mainly poems – that can accompany us, whatever we are feeling, from sorrow to delight. These are poems that allow us to enjoy a full range of emotions. The poems are organised according to the season in which they ‘belong’: we all have seasons of our minds, be they wintery and dark, or more spring-like and hopeful. With this book by your side, you will feel comforted when times are tough and cheered when they are joyful. The texts are introduced by Rachel Kelly, writer and mental health advocate, whose gentle voice will show you how each poem might become your friend and become part of your emotional reality. Poetry can be a new tool for wellbeing. And one that means you’ll never walk alone.

Rachel Kelly is a keynote speaker, bestselling writer and mental health campaigner. She shares her experience of depression and evidence-based strategies that have helped her recover, and has long been an advocate for the therapeutic power of poetry. She runs Healing Words poetry workshops for mental health charities, at festivals and in prisons, and has been a judge for the Koestler Poetry Prize and the Rethink Mental Illness Poetry Awards. Her passion for poetry led to her becoming the co-founder of the iF poetry app and co-editor of iF: A Treasury of Poetry for Almost Every Possibility (Canongate, 2012). Her memoir Black Rainbow: How words healed me -my journey through depression describes how poetry was an integral part of her recovery. Her critically acclaimed books include The Happy Kitchen, Walking on Sunshine and Singing in the Rain and have been published in over 10 countries. Rachel has spoken all over the world from Delhi to Sydney, America and across the UK. She is also a well-known media commentator and former Times journalist as well as an official ambassador for mental health charities Rethink Mental Illness, SANE, The Counselling Foundation and Head Talks. Rachel lives in London with her husband, Sebastian, and their children.

Thank you to Rachel, the publisher and Midas PR for my copy. I’ll treasure it.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Over the Moon – S.E. Anderson

Today I’m excited to participate in the Creative Blog Tour for Over the Moon by S.E. Anderson hosted by MTMC Tours.  An illegal clone of the recently murdered princess of the galaxy. A flying kitchen timer bot. A girl out of time with some defrost issues. A theme park droid with the mind of a prince. And a lost beast who’s not sure who he’s meant to kill. Over the Moon is an exciting F/F YA Science Fiction Fantasy published on January 10th, 2023 from Sea Breeze Books! 

Title: Over the Moon

Author: S.E. Anderson
Publisher: Sea Breeze Books

Publication Date: January 10th, 2023
Genres: F/F Young Adult, Sci-Fi Fantasy

Format: eBook, Paperback, Hardcover

Purchase a copy: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Add on Goodreads!

Ding Dong, the Technowitch is dead.

As an illegal clone of the murdered galactic princess, Dora’s face would get her killed the minute she steps off her dull farming moon. She spends her days tinkering with gadgets and gears, with Tau, her kitchen-timer-bot, for company. But when forces close in and threaten her family, her escape attempt lands her deep in the Outer Zone — and on top of the Technowitch of Night, crushing her in the process.

Now a fugitive in two solar systems, Dora’s only chance of survival is to find her way to the mysterious Technomage on his Emerald moon. In a place where science has advanced to be indistinguishable from magic, she must accept the help of an unlikely trio: a cryogenically-preserved girl with no memory, an obsolete theme park droid, and a bioengineered beast with a penchant for the dramatic.

As Dora realizes there’s more to the princess’s death than what the universe has been told, she must choose — save her family, or risk everything to right a centuries-old wrong.

——–
Character Art Reveal:

Meet the main characters of Over the Moon with these stunning character illustrations!



Dora (and Tau)
Nemo
Nekkan
Crow

INTL Tour-wide Instagram Giveaway!

Enter the Rafflecopter below where One Grand prize winner will receive: a hardcover of Over the Moon with a woodmark, postcard + other spacey swag AND Two Runner-ups will get: an Ebook copy of Over the Moon + signed postcard! Ends on January 18th, 2023. Winner will be announced in the Rafflecopter & contacted via email. Enter Here

S.E. Anderson can’t ever tell you where she’s from. Not because she doesn’t want to, but because it inevitably leads to a confusing conversation where she goes over where she was born (England) where she grew up (France) and where her family is from (USA) and it tends to make things very complicated.

She’s lived pretty much her entire life in the South of France, except for a brief stint where she moved to Washington DC, or the eighty years she spent as a queen of Narnia before coming back home five minutes after she had left. Currently, she is working on her PhD in Astrophysics and Planetary sciences in Besançon, France.

When she’s not writing, or trying to science, she’s either reading, designing, crafting, or attempting to speak with various woodland creatures in an attempt to get them to do household chores for her. She could also be gaming, or pretending she’s not watching anything on Netflix.

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My thoughts: this was a great, fun Wizard of Oz/Wicked inspired sci fi adventure. Dora is desperate to get off the farming moon she lives on with her aunt and uncle. Her life is boring and she wants more. But unfortunately she’s an illegal clone of the recently deceased princess and wanted by various factions – some to destroy her and some to undermine the ruling class.

So when she escapes (by accident) during a storm, drops the ship on top of a technowitch, liberates some tiny droids and gets sent on a mission to see the technowizard (as you do), makes some new friends and accidentally starts a war. It’s all going so well. But there’s more. And to find out what, you’ll have to read it!

Lots of fun, spot the Oz-ian references as you go and meet the gang – Crow, Nemo, Nekkan and Tau, who help Dora to get across the scary planet to the wizard’s moon in the hope he can help them too.

Story time!

Over the Moon is inspired by Frank L. Baum’s classic The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy Gale is swept away from her aunt and uncle’s farm to the mysterious land of Oz. There are actually 14 books in the series. Only a couple have been adapted into films (and musicals) and imo Return to Oz (1985) should be a horror film, definitely not the Judy Garland technicolour extravaganza.

I’m related to a real life Dorothy Gale – my great-great-aunt, known as Doll. No wizards or witches would mess with her. She was an incredible woman and a bit of a character, mother of 3, Win (who lives in America and is still going in her 90s), Mick and Jeff (aka The Baby!). During the war my Nan lived with them too in West London.

Auntie Doll had a job cleaning the buses at the depot. When the bus she needed to get to was blocked in, she hopped in and moved another one of the way. The manager said to her “I think we’d better teach you how to drive that Mrs Gale” and she spent the rest of the war as a bus driver! She also introduced my grandparents to each other, she worked in a laundry in the early 60s where my Grandad was working too, and decided he’d be perfect for her niece. I’m glad she did or I wouldn’t be here! She was a feisty, hard working woman and I’m really proud to be related to Dorothy Gale.

January 9
Paper Fury – Book Blog
@mtmctours – Bookstagram

January 10
@bookspired – Bookstagram

January 11
The Reader and the Chef – Book Blog

January 12
@booksandbasilisks – Bookstagram

January 13
Ramblingmads – Book Blog
@icinoamandahere – Bookstagram

January 14
@hercrazybooksta – Bookstagram
@hellotherefromlaura – BookTok

January 15
Willow’s Corner – Book Blog

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow – Colin Garrow

A dead body. A hoard of forged banknotes. A gangster out for blood.
Newcastle, December 1955. Returning home after a weekend away, singer and amateur sleuth Rosie Robson discovers a man lying on a baggage trolley with his throat cut. After the police get involved,
an attack on Rosie and her boss prompts Inspector Vic Walton to find a safe house for the pair. But the bad guys seem to be one step ahead of them and Rosie is forced to track down a possible witness to the murder in a bid to learn the truth. Can the canny crooner solve the mystery before a
Newcastle gang boss catches up with her?
Set on Tyneside, Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow is book #3 in the Rosie Robson Murder Mysteries series.
Purchase Link


True-born Geordie Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor. He has also occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. Colin’s published books include the Watson Letters series, the Terry Bell Mysteries and the Rosie Robson Murder
Mysteries. His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Grind, A3 Review, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. These days he lives in a humble cottage in Northeast Scotland.

Website (Adults) Website (Children)
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My thoughts: this is a fast paced thriller set during one snowy winter in 1955. Without mobile phones or CCTV, the race is on to find a killer. All they can go on is Rosie’s memory and the evidence, all of which points in one direction but the prime suspect says it wasn’t him and scarpers.

Is there a new gang boss making a play for Newcastle? Rumours of a woman with a penchant for red hot pokers and a man with a scarred face have Rosie running scared, nowhere is safe and her friends are at risk too. Can Vic arrest the villains before anyone else gets hurt?

I was totally gripped, the pacing was relentless and I could not put this down. Rosie is a compelling protagonist and her friends and colleagues are a great bunch.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Patches Through Time – Sian Turner

An unbelievably believable time travel escapade.
Casual antique dealer Jake Patch picks up an unusual object and can’t put it down. Literally. His find is a time travel device, and he hatches a bold plan to acquire objects from the past and sell them at
modern day prices. But when the mysterious Infinity Glass leaves Patch stranded in a dangerous past, it falls to his teen daughter Cass to save him.
With hints of The Time Traveller’s Wife and Back to the Future and a smattering of Lovejoy, Patches through Time will send you spinning headlong into the past, then spit you back into the twenty-first century.
This book contains occasional profanities. Trigger warning: bereavement (parent, spouse).

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Sian Turner was born in Wales, but lives in East Sussex. She has recently started learning Welsh (and can categorically testify that Welsh is difficult).
She works as a part-time volunteer in her local RSPCA cat re-homing centre, from where she keeps adopting new family members (only one or two at a time).
Sian enjoys reading and reviewing some of the many truly amazing novels by Independent Authors, and she is secretary of her local writers’ group, Shorelink Writers.

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My thoughts: this was a fun time travelling adventure, with lots of pop culture references and some reminders of learning history at school – Jake’s first trip is to 1066, but he’s a bit far away from the battlefield, probably a good thing as it was pretty bloody.

Getting stuck in 1943 means his daughter Cass and her new friend Mia have to travel back and rescue him, while bombs are falling on the south coast. Luckily the sarcastic sprite Drusilla, their “guide” is on hand to help them figure out the time travelling rules.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: So Pretty – Ronnie Turner

Fear blisters through this town like a fever…

When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.

Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.

Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely, and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.

As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife-edge.

Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it always has. And before long, it will find Ada too.

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author. Ronnie now lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. Ronnie is a Waterstones Senior Bookseller and a barista, and her youth belies her exceptional, highly unusual talent.

My thoughts: this was really good, it got creepy very quickly and I really felt for Ada and Albie, terrified and trapped in Rye. With Teddy and the really disturbing Mr Vincent (he never speaks and collects really odd things). Teddy claims to want to escape the shadow of his father but proves to be more like him as the book goes on.

There is something a bit creepy about seaside towns, especially out of season, something sad and haunted about them. I don’t know Rye itself but it serves as the perfect setting for this tale of obsession and loneliness.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Concierge – Miranda Rijks

They hired an assistant to help them. But she has other plans.

High-flying duo Goldie and Braun Delucci run a major film production company. But recently their gilded lives were touched by tragedy when one of their leading actors, Ally, died in a car crash.

What the Deluccis don’t realise is that their newly hired private assistant is actually Ally’s sister. Simone is convinced Ally’s death was suspicious and she is determined to find out what happened on that terrible night.

Simone’s new job puts her at the heart of a rich, dysfunctional family. As she digs for the truth about Ally’s death, she realises someone is watching her. And they want her gone.

That just makes Simone more determined to discover whatever terrible secret the Deluccis are hiding. But she doesn’t understand she is about to uncover something so dark, so shocking that her own life may never be the same again.

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Miranda Rijks is a writer of psychological thrillers and suspense novels. She has an eclectic background ranging from law to running a garden centre. She’s been writing all of her life and has a Masters in writing. A couple of years ago she decided to ditch the business plans and press releases and now she’s living the dream, writing suspense novels full time. She lives in Sussex, England with her Dutch husband, musician daughter and black Labrador.

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My thoughts: this was a clever premise and paid off nicely. Simone goes undercover with her sister’s former employers to find out what really happened to her and gets caught up in a messed up family and a terrible situation.

No one is particularly honest about things, apart from maybe the children, though not teenager Rose, who’s hiding all sorts of nasty little secrets. But her dad isn’t very truthful either and his secrets put people in harm’s way.

Simone finds that her sister, far from the drug addicted car thief the media are spinning her as, was, as expected, an innocent caught up in something bigger than her and with someone who can’t be trusted.

I felt for Simone but she took things incredibly far, pretending to be someone else and her niece almost paid the price. Honesty tends to be the better policy. Luckily Goldie was a really nice person and not to blame and able to forgive the deception, of Simone at least.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Case Files – Rachel Amphlett

Discover twelve dark and twisted mysteries from USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett.

This page-turning collection features The Man Cave in which Darren regains consciousness in a dank basement where escape turns out to be the least of his worries; in All Night Long Zoe soon wishes she wasn’t working the late shift; and in Nowhere to Run a rookie detective encounters her first serial killer… but will she survive?

My thoughts: this was a really enjoyable collection of short crime stories. Some were very brief and others felt like the beginning of a novel. All were clever and a couple made me laugh out loud. If you like crime fiction and short stories, you could do a lot worse than starting with these.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Local Girl Missing – J.A. Baker

Missing without trace…
When local woman Deborah goes missing, her colleagues Adrian, Yvonne and Merriel are all left in shock. Gossip around the office begins to swirl – what could have happened to Deborah? Is she dead or alive? And who could be responsible for her disappearance?
Everyone is terrified that they could be next…except the one person who has all the answers. The last person people expect.
Because Deborah is being held captive by a monster, a psychopath. But not a stranger… it’s someone she knows all too well…
Purchase


J. A. Baker is a successful psychological thriller writer of numerous books, previously published by Bloodhound. Born and brought up in Middlesbrough, she still lives in the North East, which inspires
the settings for her books. Her first title for Boldwood will be published in December 2022.

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My thoughts: I enjoyed this, I liked the switching between different characters so you see what they think about each other and recent events. You don’t know who to trust because they all seem to be hiding something. Even Deborah, who ask the kidnapped victim, you’d think would be the most honest.

I had no idea who the kidnapper was. There were too many suspects, too many messed up families. So it was a huge surprise and yet there were definitely questions at the end that still needed answers.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Secrets of Rochester Place – Iris Costello

Spring 1937: Teresa, a young Basque girl, is evacuated to London in the wake of the Guernica bombing. She thinks she has reached safety in the lofty halls of Rochester Place and the soothing arms of Mary Davidson, but trouble seeks her out wherever she goes…

Autumn 2020: Corrine, an emergency services operator, receives a call from a distressed woman called Mary. But when the ambulance arrives at Rochester Place – the address the woman gave them – she is nowhere to be found. No matter how hard she tries to forget, memories of Mary’s raw fear haunt Corinne and secrets, long-hidden in Corinne’s family tree, begin to surface.

Is Mary calling from beyond the grave? And what actually happened at Rochester Place all those years ago?

Set between the dusty halls of Rochester Place and the bustling streets of modern-day Tooting, this emotive, intricately layered mystery tells the spellbinding story of two people, separated by time, yet mysteriously connected through an enchanting Georgian house and the secrets within its walls. The perfect escapist read for fans of Kate Morton, Eve Chase and Lulu Taylor.

My thoughts: inspired by the author’s family, this is a moving and clever timeslip book, set between now and events in the Spanish Civil War and Second World War.

Sadly Spain’s horrific 1930s War is not taught much here, and what little I know I’ve learnt as an adult. But it was the precursor to the horrendous events of WW2, especially the massacre of Guernica. Which is where little Theresa is fleeing from.

Sent to safety in England by her elder sister, Theresa travels by sea with other refugee children. Offered a home by the kind and intriguing Mary, an Irish woman who speaks Basque and lives with her English husband in Rochester Place, she finds herself in a world unlike that she’s known. But Mary has secrets and a past too.

How these two are connected to Corinne, who works as an emergency services call handler, while her wife and sister-in-law run a family restaurant, selling the delicious food their mum used to make. After a strange phone call shakes her, Corinne and her historian uncle Robin look into Rochester Place and its occupants. Then she’s called to Ireland, where her grandmother is ill. And secrets are about to be revealed.

Moving and rather lovely, with several love stories mixed into the history, this is a heartwarming tale of found family, survival and love.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Deadly Covenant – Michael Stanley

While building a pipeline near the Okavango Delta, a contractor unearths the remains of a long-dead Bushman. Rookie Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of Botswana CID and Scottish pathologist, Ian MacGregor, are sent to investigate, and MacGregor discovers the skeletons of eight more men.

Shortly after the gruesome discoveries, the elder of a nearby village is murdered in his home. The local police are convinced it was a robbery, but Kubu isn’t so sure … and neither is the strange woman who claims that an angry river spirit caused the elder’s death.

As accusations of corruption are levelled and international outrage builds over the massacre of the Bushman families, Kubu and his colleagues uncover a deadly covenant, and begin to fear that their own lives may be in mortal danger…

Michael Stanley is the writing team of South African authors Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana CID. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. The third in the series, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original mystery and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award. A Death in the Family and Dying to Live are the latest in the Detective Kubu series, published by Orenda Books. A prequel to the Detective Kubu series, Facets of Death, was published in 2021 and A Deadly Covenant follows Kubu’s second case.

My thoughts: Detective Kubu returns in a case of murder, secrets and promises. Sent out to a remote village to investigate human remains found while digging for new water pipes, Kubu encounters people who won’t speak up, closing ranks against the outsiders. As more bones are found and pathologist Dr McGregor thinks they’re the massacred remains of a group of Bushmen, discriminated against widely, and some may be children, Kubu becomes more determined to find the truth. Then new murders occur.

As Assistant Commissioner Mabuku comes out to help with this new spate of crime, the local police think it’s a newcomer – a Bushman who says he’s come at the behest of his ancestors, because of the bodies they’ve found.

Digging into local history, rumours and friendships, the team find a terrible pact made between a group of friends years before. Could this hold the answers?

Gripping, trawling through the worst things humans can do, but with a lightness of touch, finding moments of humour, and with such intriguing characters. I loved the last Kubu I read and this was also very good. Enjoyable and thought provoking.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.