Book Review ~ ‘The List’ by Patricia Forde.

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The List by Patricia Forde.
Genres: Middle-Grade, Fantasy/Sci-Fi.
Release Date: 1st August 2017.

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SYNOPSIS

Fahrenheit 451 meets The Giver for tweens in this gripping story about the power of words and the dangers of censorship.

In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.

On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.

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Book Review ~ ‘The List’ by Patricia Forde ~ 4 Stars!

A heartfelt and inspiring tale set in a scarily recognisable near future, The List is a wonderful middle-grade tale of the power of words.

Cleverly twining etymology into her dystopian world, Patricia Forde allows us to see the strain that comes within a society where words are controlled by the regime. As a lover of words, and fiction, it was uncomfortable in such a brilliant way to see Letta and her fellow companions in Ark speak only List approved words. It was so intriguing to see how when you get rid of one word, how easy it is to then follow suit with others.

I adored Letta’s character and her love for words leapt from the page. In her battle to find out what happened to her long-lost family and her master, the Wordsmith Benjamin, you will root for her as she forges unexpected alliances and battles for the rights of words.

A really powerful book aimed at a middle-grade audience, this will make the reader think. There is also some set-up for future books in this world, which will give the reader a bit more closure, as I feel the end to this book was quite rushed. Nevertheless, I definitely recommend to readers aged 9-12, who want something that will challenge their thoughts and beliefs.

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Patricia Forde

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New Release + Book Review ~ ‘Little Teashop of Horrors’ by Jane Lovering.

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Little Teashop of Horrors by Jane Lovering
(Yorkshire Romances #7)
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: 28th March 2017.
Publisher: Choc Lit

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SYNOPSIS

Secrets, lies, carrot cake – and an owl called Skrillex!

Amy Knowles has always been the plain sidekick to her pretty best friend Jules. And whilst the tearoom they both work in on the Monkpark Hall estate in Yorkshire is not exactly awash with eligible bachelors, it’s obvious where the male attention is concentrated – and it’s not just on the cakes!

There is one man who notices Amy. Joshua Wilson also works at Monkpark, where he flies his birds of prey for visitor entertainment. He lives a lonely existence but he has reasons for choosing isolation – and, in Amy, he may have found somebody who understands.
Then a management change brings slick and well-spoken Edmund Evershott to Monkpark. He’s interested in Amy too, but for what reason? Josh suspects the new manager is up to no good – but will Amy? Because Edmund could leave her with much worse than a broken heart …

Another wonderful quirky, fun novel from this award-winning author. Sit back, grab the chocolate, you’re in for a real treat!

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Book Review ~ ‘Little Teashop of Horrors’ by Jane Lovering ~ 5 Stars!

Jane Lovering’s novels are always guaranteed to bring you joy, and Little Teashop of Horrors is no exception! With a heroine you’ll love because she’s just so genuinely, well, nice, and a hero who’ll creep up on you and steal your heart without you noticing, this is a tale that will have you laughing one minute, then sniffling into a tissue the next.

Amy was a joy as our heroine. We all know someone like Amy, who is too nice for their own good (and often wish we were like her when our tempers get the better of us), and one of the many joys of this book was seeing the transformation that Amy made from the beginning to a strong, young woman who stood up for herself, and realised her worth. It beautifully mirrored Josh’s own transformation whose story will have you near to tears. Lovering beautifully creates a tentative friendship between the two that you will root for from the beginning.

Filled to the brim with a quirky humour that Jane Lovering never fails to bring to her novels, you will laugh out loud throughout; Sam and his artichokes, Gran and her spoons – all are so relatable that you feel as though you too are a part of the Monkpark family. There were many moments that I wished I was sitting in the Monkpark cafe, sipping tea and eating cakes and plotting ways to get rid of the snotty manager Edmund.

A delight from start to finish, Little Teashop of Horrors is the perfect book to dive into this spring! 5 Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Only 99p for a limited time!

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Jane Lovering

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Book Review ~ ‘After She’s Gone’ by Sheryl Browne.

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After She’s Gone by Sheryl Browne
(DI Matthew Adams #1)
Genres: Dark, Thriller, Romance
Release Date: 19th February 2017.

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SYNOPSIS

He’s killed your child and kidnapped your wife. What would YOU do?

There’s evil and then there’s Patrick Sullivan. A drug dealer, pimp and murderer, there are no depths to which Patrick would not sink, and Detective Inspector Matthew Adams has found this out in the most devastating way imaginable.

When Patrick’s brother is shot dead in a drug bust gone wrong, the bitter battle between the two men intensifies, and Matthew finds it increasingly difficult to hold the moral high ground. All he wants is to make the pimping scum suffer the way he did … the way Lily did.

But being at war with such a depraved individual means that it’s not just Matthew who’s in danger. Patrick has taken a lot from Matthew, but he hasn’t taken everything – and now he wants everything.

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Book Review ~ ‘After She’s Gone’ by Sheryl Browne ~ 5 Stars!

Wow! What a thrilling ride! DI Matthew Adams is the new man in town!

I’ve read Sheryl Browne’s contemporary romance novels (which are amazing) so wasn’t sure what to expect with this first in her series of thrillers, but boy was it intense!

Sheryl Browne really gets people; how they think, what makes them tick, their loves and fears, and in After She’s Gone this was what really made the book sing. Matthew was a hero that wasn’t perfect, and we saw all the thoughts that went through his head, good and bad and his well-meaning, but sometimes badly executed plans to keep his family safe. We sit through them, and root for him throughout it all, because he was real and relatable.

Browne does similarly with this book’s villain, Patrick Sullivan. You’ll hate him, really despise him and all that he stands for. You’ll wish him dead, you’ll wish him arrested, you’ll wish he’ll fall over his own feet, or slip on a banana skin, but then he’ll show a human side. He’ll show pride and love for his daughter, he’ll miss his brother, he’ll freeze in fear at the sight of a spider, and your heart will break at what he has become, because maybe, just maybe he could have been a better person if he’d been brought up with a different family.

There is a beautiful romance throughout, and the family connections forged make this book extra-special. Amongst the police, the kidnappings, the deaths, there is the home and family life that Matthew treasures above all, and as his world begins to spiral apart, you will rush through the pages, desperate to know whether he’ll be able to have it back.

5 Stars, and bring on more DI Matthew Adams!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Sheryl Browne

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Book Review ~ ‘The Bear and the Nightingale’ by Katherine Arden.

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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.
(The Bear and the Nightingale #1)
Genres: Historical, Fantasy, Fairy Tales.
Release Date: 12th January 2017

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SYNOPSIS

A young woman’s family is threatened by forces both real and fantastical in this debut novel inspired by Russian fairy tales.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift – a precious jewel on a delicate chain,intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, the father hides the gift away and his daughter, Vasya, grows up a wild, willfull girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.

Atmospheric and enchanting, with an engrossing adventure at its core, The Bear and the Nightingale is perfect for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman.

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Book Review ~ ‘The Bear and the Nightingale’ by Katherine Arden ~ 5 Stars!

Lyrical, Fantastical, and Awe inspiring, The Bear and the Nightingale is up there with Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, and has me still thinking about it.

A beautiful historical tale of family, fairytales, and the dangers of mass-hysteria, Katherine Arden has created a story with tones of Joanne Harris’ Chocolat and Russian fairytales that have been passed down through generations. We follow Vasya’s story, a young girl who grows up without her mother, and is in a world that is hovering between modern religion and practice, and the rituals, beliefs and superstitions of old; Spirits are to be given offerings in exchange for their protection, the signs of nature listened to and heeded, slowly being feared and shunned in favour of a christian way of life.

Vasya has a gift to speak with the spirits and demons that surround her village, but with this gift, as paranoia grows in the village, and her stepmother’s hatred for her grows more and more, Vasya is in danger of forces both real and supernatural as she tries to keep those she loves safe.

A magical tale that will take you to the freezing winters of a small Russian village, and will creep into your heart like the tiniest of icicles, making you shudder and gasp as you follow Vasya’s fantastical story.

5+ Stars!

*Review copy was kindly provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Book Review ~ ‘A Second Christmas Wish’ by Kathryn Freeman.

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A Second Christmas Wish by Kathryn Freeman
Genres: Festive, Romance
Release Date: November 1st 2016
Publisher: Choc Lit

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SYNOPSIS

Do you believe in Father Christmas?

For Melissa, Christmas has always been overrated. From her cold, distant parents to her manipulative ex-husband, Lawrence, she’s never experienced the warmth and contentment of the festive season with a big, happy family sitting around the table.

And Melissa has learned to live with it, but it breaks her heart that her seven-year-old son, William, has had to live with it too. Whilst most little boys wait with excitement for the big day, William finds it difficult to believe that Father Christmas even exists.

But then Daniel McCormick comes into their lives. And with his help, Melissa and William might just be able to find their festive spirit, and finally have a Christmas where all of their wishes come true.

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Book Review ~ ‘A Second Christmas Wish’ by Kathryn Freeman ~ 5 Stars!

Such Feel-good, Festive Fun!

When it comes to stories with sweet, slow-burning romance and a little bit of heartache, Kathryn Freeman always delivers! I adored stepping into Melissa’s world in A Second Christmas Wish and witnessing her beautiful relationship with her son William, and her attraction to Daniel grow.

Christmas has never been a good time for Melissa. For the last few years she’d been married to her manipulative and emotionally abusive ex-husband Lawrence (You will love to hate this guy, seriously!) and now all her efforts are focused on giving William a Christmas that he deserves. But that proves more than difficult since Lawrence had made William believe that Father Christmas isn’t real.

Seeing the way that William blossomed throughout this book was the highlight for me. Starting off as shy, quiet and a boy who internalised a lot, it was so heartwarming to see that through Melissa and Daniel’s relationship, and through Daniel’s being a positive male role model, William became a confident, happy and outgoing boy.

Daniel was an oh-so-sweet hero who I loved. With the host of secondary characters including his sister and nephew, we see how the difference in how he and Melissa had grown up, her lonely and distant, whilst him showered with family love, affected him in fighting for Melissa. Their scenes together where he refused to give up on her, even when she had doubts, were so great.

Join Melissa, Daniel and William in this gorgeous festive story, where you’ll see that sometimes a single wish can have a unique power.

5 Stars!


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Kathryn Freeman

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Book Review ~ ‘Little Girl Lost’ by Janet Gover.

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Little Girl Lost by Janet Gover
Coorah Creek #4
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: 2nd August 2016
Publisher: Choc Lit

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SYNOPSIS

When a little girl goes missing, an entire town comes together to find her …

When Tia Walsh rides into the small town of Coorah Creek on a Harley-Davidson, Sergeant Max Delaney senses that everything about her spells trouble. But Tia’s trouble is not all of her own making, and the dangerous past she tried to leave behind is hot on her heels.

Sarah Travers has returned home after three years of college to find that her parents have been keeping a devastating secret. Her childhood crush, Pete Rankin, is facing his own struggle with a harsh reality that will take him away from the girl and the life that he loves.

Tia, Max, Sarah and Pete are all trying to find their future, but when a little girl goes missing in the harsh outback, nothing else matters except finding her safe.

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Book Review ~ ‘Little Girl Lost’ by Janet Gover ~ 5 Stars!

Oh how I loved, loved, loved this book! Janet Gover never fails to deliver with her heart-wrenching and beautifully delivered tales of Coorah Creek, and Little Girl Lost is no exception.

First off, I read this in about five hours one evening. I knew if I started it I wouldn’t put it down until I had finished, and I was fine with that, so I chose an evening where I didn’t have work the next day. A Coorah Creek novel always means an evening locked away reading. Second off, I finished this and then couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about the characters, the place, the story. I was obsessed.

Little Girl Lost is told from the view of four different characters. Tia, Max, Sarah and Pete all have one thing in common, Coorah Creek is a town that is hard to shake from your blood. Only Sarah is native to the town, so it was great to see her perspective after returning after years at college, and to see how it differed from Tia, who at first can’t take to the friendliness of the close-knit community without fear. A delivery driver Pete who always loves when one of his deliveries calls for a trip to Coorah Creek, and Max who has happily made the place his home, despite having had different plans for his future. I connected to each character on such a deep level, and loved seeing Tia and Max, and Sarah and Pete grow closer in their own ways, and how they had to overcome personal issues of all kinds to find happiness.

Seeing the town members band together to help find a missing girl was one of my favourite sections of the book. You could see through the masks that all the characters usually wear, as they let down their own defences all to help an outsider family. To see this family grow closer because of the ordeal was equally heartwarming!

I also adored the undertone throughout the novel of the main character being the town. Janet Gover beautifully portrays the town as the mother of all who shelter there, and it is this that makes me want to revisit it time and time again through these books.

With a host of great secondary characters who fellow series lovers will recognise, reading Little Girl Lost really is like coming home again.

5 Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Janet Gover

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Book Review ~ ‘You’re the One That I Want’ by Angela Britnell.

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You’re the One That I Want by Angela Britnell
(Nashville Connections #4)
Genres: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: 17th September 2016.
Publisher: Choc Lit

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SYNOPSIS

What if you didn’t want to fake it any more?
When Sarah, a teacher from Cornwall, and Matt, a businessman from Nashville, meet on a European coach tour, they soon find themselves in a relationship …

Except it’s a fake relationship. Because Matt is too busy for romance, and Sarah is only trying to make her cheating ex-husband jealous … isn’t she?

As Matt and Sarah complete their tour of Europe, they do all the things real couples are supposed to do – from visiting fairy-tale castles in Germany to recreating the scene from Romeo and Juliet in Verona. And, of course, for every picturesque destination there’s a loved-up selfie and Facebook post to match.

But as their holiday comes to an end, Sarah and Matt realise that they’re not happy with their pretend relationship. They want the real thing.

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Book Review ~ ‘You’re the One That I Want’ by Angela Britnell ~ 4 Stars!

A gorgeous little story, perfect for a cozy evening in, You’re the One That I Want is a lovely addition to the Nashville Connections series that will leave you with that feel-good vibe.

A shorter read, but no less impactful than a full-length novel, Angela Britnell creates a beautiful relationship between Matt and Sarah as they find themselves on the same coach trip on a tour around Europe with their mothers. The only two people under the age of 50, Matt and Sarah quickly get to know each other, but it’s safe to say that neither give the best first impression.

Britnell timed this story to perfection. Despite the short length, I believed the pace of the book, and could feel the claustrophobia that was getting to Matt from the hours on a coach away from his work, and how him and Sarah connected over the little snippets of information they gained of the other in the hours they had to spend together. Sarah’s annoyance at Matt’s attitude greatly echoed the annoyance she felt at herself for how childishly she was using Matt to make her ex-husband jealous.

You’ll love Matt and Sarah from the get-go, and will root for them to make it, through meddling mothers, nosy tour-guides and a distance of Cornwall to Nashville.

The only thing I hoped for was a little more closure. I had that moment of turning the last page, thinking another chapter could have seen Matt and Sarah talk through the problems of long-distance relationships and discuss a final solution to give the characters and readers some closure. Fingers crossed we’ll see a snippet of these great characters in future Nashville Connections stories to see how they fare!

4 Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*


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Angela Britnell

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