Book Review ~ ‘New Boy’ by Tracy Chevalier.

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New Boy: Othello Retold by Tracy Chevalier
(Hogarth Shakespeare)
Genres: Adult, Historical, Retellings
Release Date: 11th May 2017.

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SYNOPSIS

From the New York Times bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring comes the fifth installment in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, a modern retelling of Othello set in a suburban schoolyard

Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, a diplomat’s son, Osei Kokote, knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day so he’s lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again.

The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970’s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi, Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

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Book Review ~ ‘New Boy’ by Tracy Chevalier ~ 5 Stars!

In ‘New Boy’ Tracy Chevalier has created an incredible retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello that creeps up on you, and lingers in the mind long after you’ve turned the last page.

The never altering routine of a school playground is thrown into disarray when 11 year old Osei arrives at his new school. Why does this young boy cause such an uproar? Because this is 1970s Washington, and Osei is black. The themes of race and segregation of the time are heartbreakingly portrayed in this retelling where not only is Osei victimised for the colour of his skin, but so is the young Dee, a white girl who chooses to befriend him.

Chevalier’s decision to base this story in a school was so clever, as nowhere else in a modern setting would the trail of lies, rumours and jealousy be so rife as in a school playground where, as is truthfully stated by one of their teacher’s “kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime.”

I adored this retelling of Othello, and many parallels can be found between this and the current Black Lives Matter movement in America. I strongly recommend this book, as the issues raised are made even more black and white by their being portrayed and noticed by children who can only have picked up their casual racism from the careless comments of adults.

5 Stars!


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Book Review ~ ‘The Girl on the Beach’ by Morton S. Gray.

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The Girl on the Beach by Morton S. Gray
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Mystery
Release Date: 24th January 2017.
Publisher: Choc Lit

33297899


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SYNOPSIS

Who is Harry Dixon?

When Ellie Golden meets Harry Dixon, she can’t help but feel she recognises him from somewhere. But when she finally realises who he is, she can’t believe it – because the man she met on the beach all those years before wasn’t called Harry Dixon. And, what’s more, that man is dead.

For a woman trying to outrun her troubled past and protect her son, Harry’s presence is deeply unsettling – and even more disconcerting than coming face to face with a dead man, is the fact that Harry seems to have no recollection of ever having met Ellie before. At least that’s what he says.

But perhaps Harry isn’t the person Ellie should be worried about. Because there’s a far more dangerous figure from the past lurking just outside of the new life she has built for herself, biding his time, just waiting to strike.

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Book Review ~ ‘The Girl on the Beach’ by Morton S. Gray ~ 5 Stars!

Morton S. Gray’s debut novel will blow you away! The perfect mix of romance, suspense and drama, I was at the edge of my seat throughout Ellie and Harry’s story, desperate to uncover the truths that were hidden, and see my favourite characters safe in their new life.

‘The Girl on the Beach’ tells the story of Ellie, single mum to teenager Tom, who after an abusive marriage has uprooted her life to a new town in the hope to keep her and her son safe when her ex-husband is released from prison. But her newly created life is threatened with the arrival of the new headmaster at her son’s school, a man who she knew and loved in another life as Ben, but who doesn’t remember her, nor goes by that name.

I loved the will-they/won’t-they storyline of Ellie and Harry, especially as we begin to see cracks in the life that Harry has created for himself, and Ellie starts to worry that she is clinging to the past. They were both strong characters who still had their flaws, which made me really connect to them. Ellie’s determination to keep her son safe above all else made for some brilliant Mother/Son scenes, which were some of my favourites in the book. As well as seeing both Ellie and Harry grow as characters, it was Tom’s development that I adored witnessing the most.

With some fantastic secondary characters, and a thrilling plot which will have you racing to the end, ‘The Girl on the Beach’ is a great mystery that you will still be thinking of long after you’ve turned the last page.

5 stars!


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Book Review ~ ‘Tell Me No Secrets’ by Lynda Stacey.

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Tell Me No Secrets by Lynda Stacey
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Mystery
Release Date: 9th April 2017.
Publisher: Choc Lit

34837416


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SYNOPSIS

Can a secret be worse than a lie?

Every time Kate Duggan looks in a mirror she is confronted by her guilt; a long, red scar reminding her that she was ‘the one to walk away’ from the car accident. Not everyone was so lucky.

On the surface her fiancé Rob is supportive – but the reality is different. He’s controlling, manipulative and, if the phone call Kate overhears is anything to go by, he has a secret. But just how dangerous is that secret?

When Kate begins work at a firm of private investigators, she meets Ben Parker. His strong and silent persona is intriguing but it’s also a cover – because something devastating happened to Ben, something he can’t get over.

As Kate and Ben begin their first assignment, they become close. But, what they don’t realise is how close to home the investigation will bring them, or who will be hurt in the process.

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Book Review ~ ‘Tell Me No Secrets’ by Lynda Stacey ~ 5 Stars!

What a brilliant second novel from Lynda Stacey. I say this many a time, but Choc Lit has done it again!

Kate’s story is one that will resonate with many; how long can you allow yourself to be in the dark when someone you love has secrets that are damaging your life? I adored Kate, she was hard-working, had sound morals, and above all cared about those in her life. Her history was tragic, and in taking care of her twin sister Eve, paralysed from a car accident that killed their brother James and left only Kate walking away without serious injury, you can feel her survivor’s guilt seep off the page, and makes you root for her.

In walks Ben; (oh Ben, what a guy!) the Son of the ‘Parker & Son’ where Kate begins her new job in the world of Private Investigating, she begins to really accept how out-of-control her relationship with her fiance Rob has turned. Suspicious of his secrecy, and lack of warmth, their current investigation turns personal, and Ben is there to hold her up, and make her understand how badly she is being treated. Ben was a superb hero for our story, and I loved seeing how their individual healing processes developed after they met each other.

With twists and turns, mystery turning into a dangerous game of life and death, Tell Me No Secrets had me racing to the finish line, desperate to see how my new friends would fare in the war against drugs. Lynda Stacey made the situation feel so real by including a number of brilliantly created secondary characters, who you could relate to, or at least recognise from day-to-day life. Eric and Eve’s story was one that had me grinning from ear to ear, and I really enjoyed seeing the inner turmoil of Isobel, who even if you don’t like, you’ll see as a real human being with true emotions and fears.

A brilliant 5 Star read from Lynda Stacey!


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Book Review ~ ‘Wintersong’ by S. Jae-Jones.

 

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
(Wintersong #1)
Genres: Romance, Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: 7th February 2017.

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SYNOPSIS

Dark, romantic and unforgettable, a fantastical coming-of-age story for fans of Labyrinth and The Darkest Part of the Forest.

Deep in his terrifying realm underground, the cold and forbidding Goblin King casts a dark shadow over nineteen-year-old Liesl. Her grandmother has always warned her to follow the old laws, for every year on the longest night of winter, she claims, the Goblin King will emerge into the waking world in search of his eternal bride. Sensible and plain, Liesl knows it’s her duty to keep her beautiful sister Käthe safe from harm. But Liesl finds refuge only in her wild, captivating music, composed in secret in honor of the mysterious Goblin King.

When Käthe is stolen by the Goblin King, Liesl knows she must set aside her childish fantasies to journey to the Underground and save her. Drawn despite herself to the strange, beautiful world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she finds herself facing an impossible choice. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Set at the turn of the 19th century, when young upstart composers like Beethoven were forever altering the sound of music, S. Jae-Jones’ richly imagined debut spins a spellbinding tale of music, love, sisterhood, and a young woman’s search for self-actualization.

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Book Review ~ ‘Wintersong’ by S. Jae-Jones ~ 5+ Stars!

My God, this book. Just wow! I mean, just…umm. *speechless*

I may ramble incoherently, as I often do about the books I love, but this stunning book is so rich, sexy, magical that I feel I need to just scream about it from the roof-tops.

Once there was a little girl who played her music for a little boy in the wood. She was small and dark, he was tall and fair, and the two of them made a fancy pair as they danced together, dancing to the music the little girl heard in her head.

First off – That beginning. Oh my god! Fairy tales are a big favourite of mine, and from that first paragraph, I was enraptured, I could picture it in my head and was excited for the story to come. Music and magic coming together are a match-made in heaven for me, and as the story unfolds the sensual effect of music, magic and love left me breathless.

Secondly, the characters will stay with you for a long time after you finish reading. Liesl,  Käthe, the Goblin King – all were so well-developed and so extraordinary that they leapt off the page and I could see everything about them that I needed to to really believe in them.  I understood the battle of light and dark in the Goblin King, I felt Liesl’s reluctance to find herself, after years of helping her siblings find themselves, and Käthe, the girl who realises after it is too late how much she loves her sister.

Written in mind for the elder YA audience, this book has everything in it I wish I’d had to read as a teenager. Deeply, but not overtly, sensual, I would not recommend it for under sixteen years old, but there is something about this book that will trap you in its spell and let you recognise your own desires through Liesl’s experimentations with her music.

A stunningly written, sensual and fantastical romance, Wintersong is a must-read for fans of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Angela Carter.

5+ Stars!

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


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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

34707765


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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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Book Review ~ ‘Ever the Hunted’ by Erin Summerill.

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Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
(Clash of Kingdoms #1)
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: 27th December 2016.

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SYNOPSIS

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, a legendary bounty hunter—that is, until her father is murdered. The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart.

She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a force to be reckoned with.

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Book Review ~ ‘Ever the Hunted’ by Erin Summerill ~ 4 Stars!

An exciting and engaging debut from author Erin Summerill, Ever the Hunted highlights this author’s talent for storytelling and world-building, and starts us on a journey that will take you across kingdoms in the fight for truth.

Ever the Hunted introduces us to Britt, a young girl left to fend for herself after her father’s murder months earlier. Britt is a strong character and I loved seeing her develop throughout the novel, especially as she becomes softer in heart, yet harder in mind. Her prior relationship with her father’s accused murderer added an exciting element to the story, and I loved seeing how she had to question what the evidence suggested, and with what her heart was telling her.

There is some gorgeous world-building in this novel, and I loved the story behind the clashes of the two kingdom’s (something I’d like to see further explored in future books in the series).

Overall this was a superbly written adventure through foreign lands in search of the truth, and I am excited to see where the series will take us next.

4 Stars!

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


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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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