World Fantasy Convention ~ Day 1

So had a brilliant start to the World Fantasy Convention today! It started with the sudden realisation that it was Hallowe’en and that I needed a sophisticated outfit which could double as a costume for my favourite holiday. Therefore it seemed only fitting that I went as a Hufflepuff…

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I met some absolutely lovely people, including the wonderful Nancy Holder who wrote some of my favourite ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ books and one of my favourite authors Sue Moorcroft. The panels I attended were so much fun and it was so great to hear from authors who are so passionate about fantasy, and to hear that fantasy is still very much a popular choice with readers.

I think the best thing so far in this convention is meeting the other readers and writers who really understand your passion for the genre. I have many a time been called a nerd by my friends due to my love for the magical worlds that you can escape to when you read a fantasy novel. I met the lovely Daphne M.E. Vanleene (twitter: @laurelleaves), another young aspiring author whose work sounds absolutely amazing, so give her a shout on Twitter!

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And that was only Day 1, and my iPad is already deciding that it doesn’t like wordpress so these blog posts will have to be cut short until I return home to my laptop. Tomorrow is an even longer day. Starting at 10am and finishing near Midnight…that’s going to be tough. Time for an early night I think. Catch you all tomorrow!

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SALE ALERT ~ ‘Pulling Me Under’ by Rebecca Berto and ‘Afterlife Academy’ by Jaimie Admans.

‘Pulling Me Under’ by Rebecca Berto ~ 99c/77p

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‘Pulling Me Under’

Paul was Katie’s rock for thirteen years, but then she watched him die.

By day, she is left with her daughter Ella’s questions about where Daddy went, and at night she’s consumed with nightmares of the moment he died. It isn’t long before Katie’s mother hints that her volatile lifestyle and developing drinking habits are no way to raise a little girl.

Through it all, her and Paul’s best friend, Liam is there. Grieving the death of both husband and friend, the time they spend together seems more intimate these days, and Katie soon stumbles into taboo territory: Liam might be in love with her.

Torn between Liam’s feelings and losing Ella, one night Katie runs.

Air. Space. Thinking time. That’s what she thinks she’s getting when she stumbles upon that party. In the morning, in a strange bed, she can’t remember the night before.

Pulling Me Under is raw in its brutality of love and pain, with slow-building suspense to a heart-stopping conclusion.

‘Afterlife Academy’ by Jaimie Admans ~ FREE!

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‘Afterlife Academy’

Even being dead isn’t enough to get you out of maths class.

Dying wasn’t on sixteen-year-old Riley Richardson’s to-do list. And now, not only is she dead, but she’s stuck in a perpetual high school nightmare. Worse still, she’s stuck there with the geekiest, most annoying boy in the history of the world, ever.

In a school where the geeks are popular and just about everything is wrong, Riley has become an outcast. She begins a desperate quest to get back home, but her once-perfect life starts to unravel into something not nearly as great as she thought it was. And maybe death isn’t really that bad after all…

Welcome to Afterlife Academy, where horns are the norm, the microwave is more intelligent than the teachers, and the pumpkins have a taste for blood.

World Fantasy Convention ~ Day 0

Well, today has been a bit of a hectic adventure. After both cars broke down, I ended up getting the train to Brighton to meet my celestial sister and fellow writer K.R. Green so we could head to The Fantasy Convention. That in itself wasn’t as much a problem as arriving at the Early Arrivals Reception with a suitcase, rucksack and leaving with a nice collection of free books that any bookworm would drool over, and proceeding to carry the whole lot back up to Brighton Train Station.

Needless to say I was pretty exhausted…

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But all the free books was totally worth the beetroot red face and screaming back that I sported when finally collapsing onto the floor of my friend’s flat. I mean, just look at the prettiness of these books!

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Umm….but may have a problem getting them all home…

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And this is only Day 0! Tomorrow is when the real action starts.

So, anyone else going to the Fantasy Convention this weekend? It was announced a couple of hours ago that the new Master of Ceremonies is the amazing Neil Gaiman who wrote Stardust. As well as that there are some great talks scheduled and some of my favourite authors are attending.

I’m super excited for tomorrow and can’t wait for these talks!

2 – 3 PM – Genre Fiction in Romance (Hall 4)

3 – 4 PM – Writing Historical Fantasy (Oxford Suite)

4 – 5 PM – Foxed, Slightly Bumped… (Hall 4)

5 – 6 PM – Genre Poetry (Cambridge)

Get in touch if you are going to the convention and want to meet. This is my first convention so I’m both excited and a little nervous!

Teething Troubles at Christmas ~ A Short Story for ‘A Merry Minion Christmas: Assorted Tales from the Realm of the Dark Fairy Queen.’

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Teething Troubles at Christmas.

Genre: Romantic Comedy         Author: Sorcha O’Dowd         eBook Yes

ONCE UPON A TIME

Scarlett was exhausted. She’d been summoned from one house to another all night, dutifully fulfilling her job of exchanging small milky teeth for a shiny fifty pence piece that barely fit in the pocket of her overall. Honestly, whoever thought that being the Tooth Fairy was a romantic notion was, quite frankly, stupid. It was the least romantic job in the world and the fact that she barely reached thirty centimetres in height and therefore had very little space on her person to put a fifty pence piece was to be honest, more troublesome than you’d think. But in the grand scheme of things that was actually the least of her worries, for the teeth themselves were more often than not a complete burden.

Couldn’t the children at least clean the tooth before they put it eagerly under their pillow? It wasn’t the nicest of sights or the most enjoyable of jobs having to pick up the milky tooth, large enough that she had to hold it with both newly manicured hands, when it was covered in ripped flesh and drying blood.

And she supposed no one thought of her welfare when it came to this job. She saw the other young fairies give her envious glances when she flew from the Fairy Queen’s palace in the evenings ready for a night of work. So many times she’d been tempted to yell at them that it was hardly the most glamorous of jobs, and that having to carry such a large number of fifty pence pieces in the oversized pockets of her tiny work coat meant she had agonising back problems when she finally returned home before sunrise and collapsed into bed.

It was also a real killer on her social life. Whilst everyone else in the Kingdom was out partying at night, she was stuck collecting blood covered teeth. Lovely!

“God I’m tired.” She yawned as she finally returned to her room, her eyes drooping and her lips pouting as sleep called to her. She fought the sensation briefly and focused on unbuttoning her coat, giving a relieved sigh as she stretched her back and felt it realign itself with a satisfying crack.

As she clambered onto her bed, and looked out at the sunrise peeking through her bedroom window, she sighed wearily catching sight of the celebrations going on below in the Palace courtyard.

Whilst she’d been out having to fly around the entire planet in the space of twelve hours, everyone here at the castle was celebrating Christmas.

She watched as the fairies danced down below her, the sounds of joyful music filtering through her open window and she felt jealousy rise up within her.

Funny really. You expect the Christmas Fairy and his little minion elves to be working hard on this day, but people tend to forget that the Tooth Fairy is an all-night-every-night job. There’s no Christmas for her, just like there’s no Easter.

Feeling annoyed at herself for her dull thoughts, Scarlett shook her head and reached up to firmly close her open window, feeling a little more cheerful as she shut the sounds of her fellow fairies out of her bedroom and her mind.

Now, where was that book she had been looking forward to reading before bed?

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Throughout the Fairy realm there was a saying used all too often; ‘Don’t Ever Wake A Sleeping Dragon’. For some reason unbeknown to Scarlett the saying ‘Don’t Ever Wake A Sleeping Tooth Fairy’ hadn’t ever caught on. (She couldn’t fathom why. She’d almost scared a poor servant to death when he’d woken her too soon, and sent him off screaming into the day.)

As this proverb had never been spread throughout the Kingdom, you would think that a fairy would be slightly more alarmed when facing Scarlett’s wrath, screaming and raging at him merely forty-five minutes after she had fallen asleep.

But no.

This fairy was Kyle, and Kyle never looked outwardly alarmed, for that would mean that his annoying (and Scarlett would never admit it, but rather handsome) smirk would have to cease. So instead he merely grinned lazily as Scarlett hovered before him, her face red with fury.

“I had a LONG NIGHT. I was TIRED! TIRED, Kyle! Now, I know that is not something that you would understand seeing as you’ve never done a hard night’s work in your life. But SOME PEOPLE need sleep to function properly.”

“Woah! Chill Scarlett!” Kyle laughed as though the entire situation was a great joke to him, and Scarlett turned away from him in a huff, hating how great he looked when he curved his lips into that gorgeous smile of his. ‘NO Scarlett! Focus.’ She silently scolded herself.

“Well?” She asked, forcing  her voice to remain stiff and punishing as she turned around to face him again, folding her arms crossly. “What was your reason for waking me up at the crack of dawn when I’d been up all night, unlike everyone else in the entire…”

She didn’t see him fly towards her in the space of a second, and only caught up with his movement as his lips quickly dropped to hers and she felt him give her a soft kiss. Soft, but meaningful.

He pulled away as quickly as he’d moved in, and Scarlett opened her mouth to scold him only to find that no words would leave her lips.

“Happy Christmas, Scarlett.” Kyle grinned at her, a twinkle in his eye, and before she could even utter a syllable, he flew and disappeared out the door in a swish of arrogant gracefulness.

“Idiot.” Scarlett finally managed to spit out, even as a shy but bright smile grew on her face, and she literally floated back to bed.

“Best Christmas ever!” She sighed happily as she fell back onto her bed, a content smile on her face as she drifted off to sleep.

THE END

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Book Review – ‘It’s Got to Be Perfect’ by Haley Hill.

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It’s Got to Be Perfect by Haley Hill
Genres: Contemporary, ChickLit, Humour

It's Got to Be


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SYNOPSIS

#1 Amazon Bestseller
Award Winner Readers’ favortite

Award Winner Best Dating Book 2013

When Ellie Rigby hurls her three-carat engagement ring into the gutter, she is certain of only one thing, that she has yet to know true love.

Following months of disastrous internet dates and conflicting advice from her dysfunctional friends, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Although now, instead of just looking for a man for herself, she’s certain her life’s purpose is to find deep and meaningful love for all the singles in the world.

Five years on, running the UK’s biggest matchmaking agency, and with thousands of engagements to her name, she has all the answers she needs. She knows why eighty-five percent of relationships fail. She knows why twenty-eight is the most eligible age for a woman. She knows that by thirty-five she’ll have only a thirty-percent chance of marriage.

Most of all, she knows that no matter what, it has to be perfect. Or does it?

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Book Review ~ ‘It’s Got to Be Perfect’ by Haley Hill ~ 5 Stars!

I honestly don’t know how to review this book as I so easily gave it five stars and just want to scream to the world “GO AND READ THIS BOOK!”

I have honestly never laughed so much whilst reading a book in my entire life. It was so funny, and cleverly written. I absolutely adored it. I think every person who reads this book would agree with me. There’s just so much truth to the story and frankness with which author Haley Hill introduces us to the men and women of the world who wish to find their perfect match.

The story was written to absolute perfection. Haley Hill’s writing style was absolutely brilliant, and Ellie’s internal narrative was so much fun to read and so cleverly put together, that I would read another book by this author in a heartbeat. As well as it being light relief to read, I also thought that it was realistic and relatable to people today.

What I really loved about this book is how Haley Hill took the story to the next level by making the hope of a ‘happily ever after’ less likely. This really made me connect to the story in a way that I often don’t with this sort of chick lit. Being able to sympathise with the desire for a ‘happily ever after’ I felt so in tune with the characters, both the clients, and Ellie when her relationship with Nick begins to sour.

Ellie and Nick’s courtship is great to read for any romantic, yet I was more devastated than I usually am in books when their relationship ended four years later. It was a stark reminder that not everybody gets their happy ending with the person they love, and that sometimes we have to get through life alone. I was so desperate to see these characters reconcile and the connection to the characters Haley Hill gave me with her incredible writing, made the story even more emotional and heartfelt.

An extra fun part of this book was seeing what the clients wanted in their perfect partner. It gave a hilarious realisation to see that today we tend to have a shopping list for what we want in a partner, the most common being their appearance. Whilst some were more extreme than others (I laughed so much at some of the clients preferences), it shows that love tends to be a second thought despite how romantic many people are today.

Overall this was a fantastic read and is on my list of favourite books of all time. I have never laughed so much in my life, and would buy this book for my girlfriends for birthdays and christmas.


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Haley Hill

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Book Review – ‘The Selkie Enchantress (Seal Island #2)’ by Sophie Moss.

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The Selkie Enchantress by Sophie Moss
The Seal Island Trilogy #2
Genres: Romance, Fantasy

The Selkie Enchantress


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SYNOPSIS

In this modern-day fairy tale romance, Irish islander, Caitlin Conner, has been in love with professor of Irish folklore, Liam O’Sullivan, for as long as she can remember. But just when he’s starting to look at her as more than a friend, a mysterious woman arrives on Seal Island and captures his heart. As Caitlin discovers the truth behind the woman’s lies, she realizes Liam is trapped in a dangerous enchantment and the only way to break the spell is to uncover a secret Irish fairy tale that has remained hidden for hundreds of years. But when the petals of a white rose grown in winter start to fall, the legend is set in motion. And Caitlin must find a way to change the ending before the last petal falls.

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Book Review ~ ‘The Selkie Enchantress’ by Sophie Moss ~ 5 Stars!

Sometimes there is nothing better than losing yourself in a great fantasy story. But what I love even more is stories where the fantasy elements are neatly entwined with everyday life making the story both realistic and relatable to readers, giving you the perfect balance of the unknown and the everyday struggles we face. The Selkie Enchantress embodies all of this, and is quite simply a brilliant and beautifully written story which leaves you feeling content long after you have turned the last page.

Sophie Moss has a stunning writing style, which just flows so beautifully and naturally throughout her work. Her descriptions of the Irish coastline and Seal Island just give you a perfect sense of place and makes you wish you could visit the locations for a weekend retreat to escape from the world. I adored returning to the Island with this second installment of the Selkie Trilogy and loved seeing the characters we were introduced to in ‘The Selkie Spell’.

Caitlin’s story was a real heartbreaker for me, and I’m sure everyone else reading this book will agree. I loved her character in ‘The Selkie Spell’ but had no inkling that she was hiding so painful a secret from her friends, and I commend her for her strength and how much she sacrificed for what she believed was best for others. The emotion with which author Sophie Moss wrote these scenes with Caitlin was stunning and I doubt there is a person with a heart who would not feel it hurt for Caitlin and Liam and the struggles they have. Without giving too much away, I will only say that the end of the chapter in which they find a baby’s rattle washed up on the beach, gave me chills, and I felt the thrill you get when reading a great emotional and suspenseful novel. The way that the baby’s rattle symbolises the innocence of those who have been taken advantage of by creatures more powerful was just brilliant.

The fantastical elements were written to perfection, and as with ‘The Selkie Spell’, there wasn’t a single moment where I thought the story was becoming unrealistic ot taken too far. The way that the fantasy was deeply entwined with the myths and legends that many Irish grow up believing made the story seem real and believable.

The mysterious Nuala’s reasons for her actions (again I’m being purposely vague so as not to ruin the story), were not only sad but also show just how much love and power can drive people to do terrible things. The fact that Sophie Moss was able to make us both hate and pity Nuala, and feel joy and sadness when Owen was set free from Nuala’s grasp, gives credit to what a fantastic writer she is. I was so happy to see how Owen blossomed with his new family, yet I felt sad that he had lost the woman he’d always looked to as his mother. The fact that he had been cruelly taken and used for another’s means was heartbreaking.

Caitlin and Liam’s story was an emotional one and I loved every second of it. I’m so excited to read Sam and Glenna’s story now, as I can tell there will be some fireworks between those two…In more ways that one!

5 Stars and a definite recommended read!

Check out my review for the first book in The Selkie Trilogy, ‘The Selkie Spell’ here.


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Sophie Moss

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Cover Reveal ~ ‘North Pole Reform School’ by Jaimie Admans.

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North Pole Reform School by Jaimie Admans

Publication date: November 6th 2013

Genres: Comedy, Romance, Young Adult

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Synopsis

Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn’t think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can’t get any worse.Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom.She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn’t expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him.But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves’ lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas.

A YA romantic comedy in which Santa is the bad guy, teaching reindeer to fly is on the curriculum, and zombies have a fondness for Christmas music.

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Jaimie is a 27-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, drinking tea and watching horror movies. She hates spiders and cheese & onion crisps.She has been writing for years, but has never before plucked up the courage to tell people. She writes mostly chick-lit and young adult. Kismetology is her first novel and there are plenty more on the way!

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Book Review – ‘When Empires Fall (Vasser Legacy #1)’ by Katie Jennings

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When Empires Fall by Katie Jennings
(The Vasser Legacy #1)
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

When Empires Fall (Vasser Legacy #1) by Katie Jennings


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SYNOPSIS

The Vassers are America’s greatest family, an empire forged in steel and stone, wealth and prestige. They’re in the business of luxury hotels…and murder.

When the truth is exposed through the letters of a dead woman, all hell breaks loose. The family tries to cope with the allegation that what they thought was a decades old suicide was actually the cold-blooded murder of one of their own.

Things only get worse when they realize the killer is still among them.

Enter the newest generation of Vasser heirs: three siblings now running the Vasser Hotel in New York City, each with their own agenda. Principled and serious Grant; charming playboy Linc; and ruthlessly secretive Madison. They soon discover that swimming in the undercurrents of their own family’s dark past could prove to be disastrous.

Family may be the ties that bind, but When Empires Fall, they are the ties that kill.

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Book Review ~ ‘When Empires Fall’ by Katie Jennings ~ 5 Stars!

I am in awe of this incredible story and the amazing characters that I have met. I can’t recommend this book enough, I loved it!

‘When Empires Fall’ was a brilliant start to the Vasser Legacy series, with an electric storyline and some amazingly well-rounded characters.

Katie Jennings has a beautiful writing style that always sucks me into her stories, the events she writes always realistic, intriguing and having me on the edge of my seat in suspsense. The historical storyline made my hairs stand on end, and I loved how we were given little hints as to who the perpetrator was, but the big reveal was still shocking and surprising.

Whilst reading this book, I found myself so attached to each of the members of the Vasser family and admired that despite the issues that came up between them on occasion, they were always there for each other. Quinn was a real breath of fresh air as a character, and I adored her cheerful persona and glass half full type of optimism. I also could see why Grant found this uncomfortable at first, and instead of being annoyed at him for being broody, it made me enjoy the way their relationship developed at a slower pace even more. I also connected deeply to Lynette’s character and thought she was a great match for Linc, with her realistic view of life. As much as I love the quick romances filled with lots of passion, I also liked how Lynette looked at things with a cool head and discouraged Linc from making rash decisions when in a hot temper.

And where would this amazing book be without the wonderful Wyatt? *sigh* Wyatt wasn’t introduced early on in the book and his arrival really stirred up the plot for young Madison, who I have to say is my favourite character in this series. Katie Jennings has a real talent for giving her characters more layers than we see, and expect at first glance. I really loved both sides of Madison’s character, and how as we progress through the novel we begin to see that her determination to succeed isn’t just a greedy attempt to control the Vasser empire, but her desperate desire to regain some control that she lost when she was abandoned by Wyatt. Wyatt’s return to her life starts to show us a more vulnerable side to her, and we begin to see how her cold and blunt affront is a shield from the hurt of her past. Wyatt’s need to win Madison back, make up for his past mistakes and protect those he cares about most, all whilst maintaining his gorgeous, passionate and sarcastic self made him my favourite book boyfriend FOR LIFE! The modern day Rhett and Scarlett, their relationship is fiery, passionate and so damn romantic!

If all of that doesn’t persuade you to go and read this book right now, I’ll say it nice and clear: This is a must read!

6 Stars and on my list of favourite books ever!


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Katie Jennings

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Book Review – ‘The Blanket Hornpipe’ by Fusty Luggs.

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The Blanket Hornpipe by Fusty Luggs
(Pompey Saga #1)
Genres: Historical, Humour,

The Blanket Hornpipe by Fusty Luggs


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SYNOPSIS

May Miller is a hard as bloody nails, ruddy, slum dweller. Well, that’s Emily’s opinion. Emily is a trollop and a thief. That’s not just May’s opinion. Dolly (cook at Fairview House) and Joseph (gardener), agree.

Miss Miller works for Mr and Mrs Spritely. May replaces their previous maid, who found herself in a ‘delicate condition’. Unmarried too! But that’s another story. …

The Blanket Hornpipe, book one in the black comedy, The Pompey Saga series, straddles the ebbing Victorian and incoming Edwardian period.

She was just a docker’s daughter,
Her living earned on The Hard.
But though mud larks are called filthy,
With that brush, she’d not be tarred.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Blanket Hornpipe was a cleverly crafted novel which gave both a humorous saucy and sadly realistic portrayal of Victorian life.

All too often there are novels that highlight all the romantic notions we tend to associate with Victorian lifestyles and the inner workings of Victorian households. Maybe forbidden love affairs between master and servant, or arranged marriages that result in undying love. Whilst these are great stories, The Blanket Hornpipe goes a step further giving a unique and realistic story of a number of different characters.

I really enjoyed reading of the struggles that character May had to go through in order to increase her earnings so that she could one day run her own flower business, and despite being saddened that her innocence and vulnerability made her prey to a man who took advantage of her, I really admired how she was determined not to let her circumstances get the better of her and used the men’s desire for her for her own personal gain.

I also liked how this novel showed the more likely aspects of servant life in the Victorian era. Maids were often taken advantage of, and couldn’t do anything without risking their reputation further. It was a clever angle that the author chose to look at this issue, and it was well contrasted with the humour and saucy chapters that gave the novel some light relief from the darker aspects.

I really enjoyed this book and would have given it 5 stars, but there were a number of spelling and grammatical errors that need to be nipped in the bud. Overall it was a well researched, and cleverly written book, an intriguing and saucy read and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something that looks at Victorian life at a different angle and enjoys some humour and erotica thrown in.

4 Stars!


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Book Review – ‘Pulling Me Under’ by Rebecca Berto.

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Pulling Me Under by Rebecca Berto
(Pulling Me Under #1)
Genres: Psychological, Contemporary, Romance

Pulling Me Under by Rebecca Berto


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SYNOPSIS

Paul was Katie’s rock for thirteen years, but then she watched him die.

By day, she is left with her daughter Ella’s questions about where Daddy went, and at night she’s consumed with nightmares of the moment he died. It isn’t long before Katie’s mother hints that her volatile lifestyle and developing drinking habits are no way to raise a little girl.

Through it all, her and Paul’s best friend, Liam is there. Grieving the death of both husband and friend, the time they spend together seems more intimate these days, and Katie soon stumbles into taboo territory: Liam might be in love with her.

Torn between Liam’s feelings and losing Ella, one night Katie runs.

Air. Space. Thinking time. That’s what she thinks she’s getting when she stumbles upon that party. In the morning, in a strange bed, she can’t remember the night before.

Pulling Me Under is raw in its brutality of love and pain, with slow-building suspense to a heart-stopping conclusion.

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Book Review ~ ‘Pulling Me Under’ by Rebecca Berto ~ 5 Stars!

‘Pulling Me Under’ will be available to buy on October 13th 2013.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wow is the only way in which I can describe this book. I’ve found it so difficult to write my thoughts down about how much I loved and connected to this novel because it is such a personal, emotional and heartwrenching story that any words I say won’t do it justice. The only thing I can actually say without giving anything away is that; you must read this book the moment it is released.

Author Rebecca Berto so cleverly gives us an insight into Katherine ‘Kates’ mind as she struggles through life after the death of her husband Paul, a death that she witnessed and feels responsible for. All too often books seem to skip past the nitty gritty, dark and painful times that people have to live through after the death of a loved one. Therefore I was overjoyed to follow the dark, compelling and psychological journey of Kates’ recovery, seeing first hand how the loss of her husband affects her relationships with her parents, best friend and most importantly her daughter.

Usually the romantic in me dominates my love for fiction, and the romance of a story is that which I connect to the most, but Rebecca Berto’s incredible storytelling in this book just drew me in and had me so invested in Kates’ relationship with her daughter Ella that I can’t tell you the number of times I was in tears as Kates struggled to recover from the trauma of her husband’s death in order to be the mother she wanted to be for her child.

Seeing every stage of Kates’ grief and how she first spirals into a dark psychological state and then gradually starts ti accept help had me so engrossed, and I had to stop reading for minutes at a time to take deep breaths, still my racing mind and remind myself that this wasn’t my life and it wasn’t me going through this trauma. The writing was just so extroadinary that I felt I was living the story as it happened. I could not read this book without completely immersing myself in it, and caring for the characters so much that I viewed them as close friends rather than fictional individuals on paper.

This book was truly stunning, a real masterpiece and a brilliant example of a realistic, dark gritty new adult book whose story will consume you. The timing was perfectly done and the contrast between the confused and distorted thought processes of the deeply grieving Kates and the slowly healing, loving Kates was spectacularly done.

6 stars and on my list of favourite books of all time.


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