The Barn of Buried Dreams by Chrissie Bradshaw #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@ChrissieBeee) @RaRaResources #Giveaway #The BarnOfBuriedDreams

The Barn of Buried Dreams

I am so excited today to be taking part in the blog tour for The Barn of Buried Dreams by my fellow RNA member, Chrissie Bradshaw. My huge thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for asking me to be on the tour and to Chrissie for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly. Make sure you check out the giveaway further down the page.

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“Erin and Heather Douglas are struggling. Their mother’s death has left a void in their family and everyday life has side-lined their dreams. 

Erin has buried herself away in the family home and left her stage career. By hiding away, she is evading the pain of returning to London and the acting world where her ex-fiancé is enjoying success and a new relationship. When she meets charismatic Texan Jackson McGee, she wrestles with her feelings for him. Should she trust another man?

Heather is juggling babies, work, a rocky marriage and running on wine. An overheard conversation makes her ask, would Mark cheat on her?

Can the sisters help one another to face their fears, dust off and revive those dreams and find joy in life?”

After reading the blurb, I was really eager to get in to this new book by the delightful Chrissie Bradshaw to see if she is as friendly and approachable on the page as she is in real life. I am fascinated by the dynamics within families, particularly between sisters as I have three myself, so I was sure this book would be right up my street.

Now I have finished the book, I can confirm that I was not at all disappointed following my high expectations. This is a very readable, warm and enticing novel which was engrossing and satisfying to the end.

The characters of Erin and Heather were well-drawn and their relationship recognisable to me as an accurate dynamic between female siblings. I felt particularly for Erin. The book starts showing the close and loving relationship between Erin and her mother and I felt her loss and despair keenly when her mother passes, particularly as she is already reeling from rejection by her boyfriend and further personal trauma. No wonder she finds it almost impossible to cope and move on.

Heather was harder to like, as she comes across as very selfish and self-centred at the beginning, but the author does a wonderful job of gradually revealing what is driving her behaviour and by the end I was much more sympathetic towards her and happy with the way everything is finally resolved at the end of the book.

I particularly loved the setting of the book in the border country between Scotland and Northumberland, an area I know very well from many childhood holidays and a beautiful part of the country which is filled with warm and friendly people, and I feel like Chrissie brought this to life perfectly and got it across in her writing, so that I really believed in the setting and the characters in the book and became invested in their stories.

Chrissie has quite a formal writing style which is unusual in a book of this type in current times, but I actually really liked it and found it gave her a very distinctive voice. Her writing and the story flows very smoothly and is very easy to read and I am sure that anyone wise enough to pick up this lovely book will be carried along with it and close the last cover with the satisfaction that follows a pleasing read. Highly recommended.

The Barn of Buried Dreams is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Giveaway

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To win a Paperback copy of ‘The Barn of Buried Dreams’, limited edition mug featuring both of Chrissie Bradshaw’s  novels and  a box of fresh macarons delivered from ‘Urban Cakehouse’, click on the Rafflecopter link below.  (Open to UK Only)

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Make sure you check out the rest of the posts on Chrissie’s Blog Blitz below:

The Barn of Buried Dreams Full Tour Banner

About the Author

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Chrissie, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker and a tenacious trainer of her welsh terrier, Oscar. She has always loved match-making a book to a reader. Writing the kind of book she loves to read takes this a step further. When Chrissie is not writing or reading, you will find her walking Oscar on the beach, trying to avoid the gym and spending time with her family and friends.

Her new release, THE BARN OF BURIED DREAMS – when will they see daylight?, is a contemporary story about two sisters who are struggling after the death of their mother. It starts in Dunleith, the same Northumbrian setting as her debut novel ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’, and some characters cross both books. Readers can enjoy either book as a stand alone

Connect with Chrissie:

Website: http://www.newhenontheblog.com

Facebook: Chrissie Bradshaw Author

Twitter: @ChrissieBeee

Instagram: @chrissie_bradshaw_author

 

Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes #BookReview (@MarianKeyes) @penguinrandom @PenguinUKBooks @PenguinRHUK @BleuViola #RachelsHoliday

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“They said I was a drug addict. But my occasional drug use was strictly recreational. And, hey, surely drug addicts are skinny?’

Rachel is living it up in New York City, spending her nights talking her way into glamorous parties before heading home in the early hours to her hot boyfriend Luke.

Then her sensible older sister shows up and even though it seems like a bad joke, she finds herself in actual rehab.

It’s there that she’s supposed to kick her non-existent drug habit – and to get over losing Luke. Luke’s a fox; he’s also strong and kind, but he has had more than he can take of Rachel.

None of this was part of her plan and saying goodbye to fun will be hard.

But not as hard as losing the man that, too late, she believes might be the love of her life.”

Bit of a retro review today which might make a nice change! I’ve not signed up for many blog tours this month, as I wanted to take the pressure off during NaNoWriMo, so I was planning on using the break to make a dent in my TBR. Then my friend, Kate, over at Ideas Become Words mentioned that she had started reading the copy of Rachel’s Holiday I had given her (she’d never read a Marian Keyes book, can you believe it?) and I was suddenly overcome with the urge to re-read it myself. It is my favourite of her books and it has been a few years since I read it. Then I felt guilty, because I have loads of new books languishing unread on my TBR. Then I thought how ridiculous that was, I read for pleasure so, if I want to re-read an old favourite, why not? Book blogging can warp your mind sometimes!

This is no small book. At 625 pages, it takes a commitment of time, but it is oh so worth it. As I went through, I remembered exactly why Marian Keyes is one of my favourite authors, and why I am not alone in adoring her. I think it also came along at an auspicious time in my own writing journey, to give me some insights into writing that I need to be able to move my own project forward.

This book is an exploration of addiction through the eyes of Rachel, who can’t see that she has a drug problem until her friends and family stage an intervention and force her into a treatment facility. We follow her progress through all the steps of her recovery, and it is an eye-opening, painful and emotional experience.

And this is the genius of Marian’s writing. It is completely truthful. She doesn’t shy away from showing things exactly the way they are. She writes with complete emotional honesty, without pulling any punches or shying away from things that are painful and laying everything bare. her writing isn’t sugar-coated or glittery, but it is real and her readers respond to this. They can see truths about the human experience, their experience, reflected back at them.

Rachel is not a very likeable character for most of the book. She is monstrously selfish and self-involved, refusing to see her issues and blaming everyone but herself, but Marian manages to make us care what happens to her by giving us glimpses of why she is the way she is and hints that maybe she is capable of redemption and worth rooting for and we can see it is important that we are shown the truth of what addiction does to a person. She is also not the stereotype of a drug addict, so we are left thinking, ‘there but by the grace of God,’ which draws us in to the story even more. It is a masterclass in hooking the reader and exactly the kind of thing I wish I could do with my own writing. Well, we can all dream!

Anyone who had read any of Marian’s non-fiction writing or follows her on Twitter will know that this is how she is in real life too. She is very honest about the struggles she has had herself with alcohol dependency and depression and is a vocal advocate of the things that she believes in. Plus, she is absolutely hilarious. All of this spills through and is very evident in her writing, which is a clear reflection of who she is. If you gave me an anonymously bound book written by Marian Keyes, I would know who the author was immediately, her voice is so strong and distinctive. I have been through a phase recently of not making much progress on my book for various reasons, one of which is that I am afraid my author voice is too light to do justice to the serious subject matter it covers, and that my prose style is too bare. Reading this book has reminded me of the value of being honest and open and authentic in your writing. Of just letting your voice speak out and putting the passion for your story and the truth of your experience into your book. This is what we, as readers, respond to. It shines from the pages and lights up the work, drawing the reader to it.

Re-reading this book has been one of the most useful experiences I have had this year and I feel motivated to crack on and be more Marian in my own writing – except the Yorkshire version, of course!

You can get a copy of Rachel’s Holiday here.

About the Author

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Marian Keyes’ international bestselling novels include Rachel’s Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There?, This Charming Man,The Brightest Star in the Sky, The Mystery of Mercy Close and The Woman Who Stole My Life. Two collections of her journalism, Under the Duvet and Further Under the Duvet, are also available from Penguin. Marian lives in Dublin with her husband.

Connect with Marian:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarianKeyes

Twitter: @MarianKeyes 

Instagram: @marian_keyes

Website: www.mariankeyes.com

Her Last Move by John Marrs #BookReview #BlogTour (@johnmarrs1) @AmazonPub @EmmaFinnigan @damppebbles #HerLastMove #damppebblesblogtours

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“She’s chasing a killer. He’s watching her every move.

He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career—and she knows that it will make or break her. But she can’t catch the culprit alone. Together with facial recognition expert Joe Russell, she strives to get a lead on the elusive murderer, who is always one step ahead of them.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?”

This is my first book by John Marrs, I am embarrassed to admit. I know, I know, I should have read The One by now, everyone I know has raved about it, and I do have a copy sat on my shelf but I’ve just not got round to it yet. Having read this book and given the standard of the writing, I’ll have to move it up the TBR pronto.

This book is a breath-taking rollercoaster of a police procedural that kept me on my toes the whole way through. Honestly, every few pages there was a new plot twist that had me exclaiming ‘What?” and ‘No, that can’t happen!’, sometimes out loud. Lucky I’m on my own a lot otherwise people might have thought I was going a bit mad. (Actually, maybe that’s why I’m on my own a lot, constantly muttering to myself over books, I’ll have to watch it).

The book starts with a bang as we are launched straight into the mind of the killer, which is not the most relaxing place to be as the author has managed to create an extremely twisted mind to perpetrate the crimes in the book and he doesn’t pull any punches with the gruesome action right from the beginning. A seemingly random set of murders in quick succession leave the police, and the reader, scratching their heads as to what is the connection between and the motive for the murders. As we get alternate chapters from inside the mind of the killer, we have a better insight and a few more clues than the police but it is still baffling and kept me guessing all the way through.

The police woman at the forefront of the investigation is a young DS who is a single parent struggling to juggle home life and work and trying to make her mark in her job. Fortuitous timing leads to a toe hold in the investigation which she believes could be the big break she is looking for, but how can she square this with meeting the needs of her family? I thought Becca was a wonderful character that I could relate to very easily and this made the book all the more compelling as I was willing things to go well for her.

My favourite aspect of the book, though, was the involvement of DS Joe Russell, who is one of the Met’s ‘super recognisers’ – police men who have a photographic memory for faces and can be seconded to an investigation to help track down a perpetrator. I found the whole process behind his involvement absolutely fascinating, and he was another complex and well-drawn character that made the story even richer and more engaging.

This book was so well plotted, I was carried along with the story with ease and the author is not afraid to make some tough decisions with the story and the characters that really took the book in unexpected directions and left me shaken and affected. The last third of the book was so exciting that I had to read it straight through without even stopping to make a cuppa (unheard of!).

This book was a fast-paced, gripping read that kept me guessing right to the end. What more could you ask for?

Her Last Move is out now and you can buy your copy here.

To get a range of reviews for this book, follow the blog tour below:

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About the Author

John Marrs

John Marrs is the author of #1 bestsellers The One (soon to be made into a film with Urban Myth Films), The Good Samaritan (shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards 2018), When You Disappeared, and Welcome to Wherever You Are. After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer. 

Her Last Move is dedicated to John’s late father, Charlie, who was a police officer for 25 years.

Connect with John:

Website: https://www.johnmarrsauthor.co.uk

Facebook: John Marrs Author

Twitter: @johnmarrs1

Instagram: @johnmarrs.author

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The Rooster Bar by John Grisham #BookReview (@JohnGrisham) @HodderBooks #TheRoosterBar #Thriller #Legal

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“Law students Mark, Todd and Zola wanted to change the world – to make it a better place. But these days these three disillusioned friends spend a lot of time hanging out in The Rooster Bar, the place where Todd serves drinks. As third-year students, they realise they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specialising in student loans, the three realise they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

So they begin plotting a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they have to leave law school, pretend they are qualified and go into battle with a billionaire and the FBI . . .”

Ah, Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Back to school, the weather starts to nip, boots and coats are dug out of the closet, the leaves change colour and…it is time for a new John Grisham release. I always equate this time of year with the time to get a new one of his book. I now always have them on pre-order so I get them the day they come out, because I absolutely love his books. Always an edge-of-your-seat, irresistible combination of thriller and legal puzzle, his book are guaranteed to keep me glued to the pages from start to finish. I normally devour them as soon as they are out.

So imagine my surprise when, whilst waiting for his new book The Reckoning to be published, I realised that I hadn’t read last year’s release, The Rooster Bar. How did that happen? I can’t imagine except that my memory is like a sieve these days (I blame my age and hormones. In fact, it is even possible that I have read it and forgotten, things have got that bad.) Anyway, happy days – I now had another unread John Grisham to enjoy on my recent holiday.

I am always fascinated as to where authors get their ideas for novels from and there is an interesting note at the back of this book where Grisham reveals that the idea for this novel came from an article he read about the level of debt students in the US were taking on in order to put themselves through law school. Quite how he goes from what sounds like quite a dull article, particularly to non-lawyers, to a nail-biting thriller is the nature of his genius, because somehow he manages to spin it in to one of his classic plots that kept me up late desperate to get to the end.

The plot of this book is quite outrageous and I think you need to suspend your disbelief to buy in to it, but that is true of most thrillers, which are by their nature outlandish and pushing the boundaries of what is probable. These books are pure escapism, sometimes keeping only a slight grasp on reality and I am sure the court system in the USA would be outraged to think this could possibly happen (although I am now waiting for someone to tell me that it has been done.) Anyway, likelihood aside, the plot is original and gripping and an interesting spin on the ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ roles as the protagonists are actually breaking the law but we still end up rooting for them, despite the fact that they are jeopardising the futures of their clients, because they themselves are victims in some respects. Should they get away scot-free? Is what happens to them justice? I don’t want to give anything away by revealing my thoughts but I think you will find more to ponder in these books than people often give Grisham credit for.

When I have revealed to people in the past what a massive fan I am of John Grisham’s books, I have met with some literary snobbery, most particularly from people who have never read any of his books. Well, firstly, I would query whether you can form a valid opinion of an author without reading a word they have written. And, secondly, you don’t sell as many books as John Grisham has without being able to write. He is the master of creating a taut, exciting and interesting thriller and this one is no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I always do, and can’t wait to read his new book.

The Rooster Bar is available now and you can get a copy here.

About the Author

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Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham’s hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing’s greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham’s reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham’s success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, The Associate, The Confession, The Litigators, Calico Joe, The Racketeer, Sycamore Row, and Gray Mountain) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 40 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books’ protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients’ case, earning them a jury award of $683,500—the biggest verdict of his career.

When he’s not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Follow John on social media:

Website: http://www.jgrisham.com

Facebook: John Grisham

Twitter: @JohnGrisham

Instagram: @johngrishamauthor

Some Old Bloke by Robert Llewellyn #BookReview #BlogTour (@bobbyllew) @unbounders @annecater #randomthingstours #SomeOldBloke

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“When writer, comedian and Red Dwarf actor Robert Llewellyn’s son scrawled a picture of him at Christmas and titled it ‘Some Old Bloke’, Robert was cast deep into thought about life and what it means to be a bloke and an old one at that.

In this lighthearted, revealing and occasionally philosophical autobiography, we take a meandering route through Robert’s life and career: from the sensitive young boy at odds with his ex-military father, through his stint as a hippy and his years of arrested development in the world of fringe comedy, all the way up to the full-body medicals and hard-earned insights of middle age.

Whether he is waxing lyrical about fresh laundry, making an impassioned case for the importance of alternative energy or recounting a detailed history of the dogs in his life, Robert presents a refreshingly open and un-cynical look at the world at large and, of course, the joys of being a bloke.”

I am really excited today to be taking part in the blog tour for Some Old Bloke by Robert Llewellyn. My thanks go to Anne Cater for inviting me on to the tour, and to Unbound for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I’ll be honest, I volunteered to be on the blog tour for this book for the sole reason that I am, and have been since its inception (yes, I am that old, I watched the first ever episode on TV when it aired), a massive Red Dwarf fan. I have seen every episode multiple times and it still makes me laugh like a drain whenever I watch it. I have them all on DVD (yes, I am that old, I still own and watch DVDs). I was very keen to read stories about the filming of the series from the man who played Kryten.

It turns out this was a mistake, because Red Dwarf is barely mentioned in this book. Robert has written many other books that I had been unaware of, including one called The Man in the Rubber Mask, which is the inside story of Red Dwarf and the one I should have been reading. Robert’s other programmes, Scrapheap Challenge etc., are not ones that I am familiar with, as a bookish (sssh, 40+) woman with little interest in the workings of machinery. I am also, patently, not a ‘bloke’, so I began to worry that this book was not for me. However, I was committed so I ploughed in.

It turns out this was a fortuitous mistake because I bloomin’ loved this book. Turns out that (sssh, 40+), bookish non-blokes may have a lot in common with Robert Llewellyn that has nothing to do with being a massive Red Dwarf nerd, sorry ‘fan’. Being at odds with ones parents politically but still loving them deeply. Despairing of the current state of UK politics. No understanding nationalism. Who knew Kryten and I were so aligned?

There is also a lot in here that did not resonate with me. I’ve never been a shoemaker, lived in a van, been on stage or smoked pot. I’ve never been to Australia, although I’d like to, so there was also a lot to learn from this book. The information about renewable energy in particular really got me thinking, which is always a good thing.

Plus this book is bloody funny. I kept laughing out loud and having to read bits out to my partner. And it has dogs. And funny stories about dogs. Really, what’s not to like. Although, if you are a ultra-right-wing Tory nationalist, you will hate it, but then you are probably not reading my blog anyway.

Robert’s writing style is very open, warm, chatty and totally candid. I mean, really candid. If you are offended by talk of penises, drugs or pornography, this is not the book for you but I found his honesty really refreshing. It seems really normal and down to earth. He seems like a good bloke.

Read this book, you won’t be disappointed. I’m just off to download The Man in the Rubber Mask, which is the book I wanted to read in the first place but am glad I didn’t.

Some Old Bloke is out now and you can buy your copy here.

For a range of opinions on this book, check out the rest of the blogs on the tour below:

Some Old Bloke Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Robert Llewellyn

Robert Llewellyn is an actor, novelist, screenwriter, comedian and TV presenter, best known for Red Dwarf, Scrapheap Challenge, Carpool and Fully Charged. He drives an electric car and writes under a rack of solar panels in Gloucestershire.

Connect with Robert:

Website: http://www.llewtube.com

Facebook: Robert Llewellyn

Twitter: @bobbyllew

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Fierce Grace by Jess B. Moore #BookReview #BlogTour (@authorjessb) @crookedcatbooks @RaRaResources #FierceGrace #RachelsRandomResources

Fierce Grace

Back in July I read an amazing book which has become one of my favourites of the year (read my review of The Guilt of the Sparrow here), so I am delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for the author’s new book, Fierce Grace. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for offering me a place on the tour and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.

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“Annabelle Dare is in a good place. She landed a sweet job, teaching at the quaint Fox River Elementary School. She has everything she needs: teaching music and sharing an apartment with her best friend. A simple life, she’s convinced, is all she needs.    

Asher Grace knows who he is and what he has to offer. Nothing. A poor boy from the wrong side of town, steel worker, with too much weight on his shoulders as he is trying to hold his family together. Best choice is avoiding too-sweet-for-her-own-good Annabelle at all costs.    

Annabelle falls in love with the way she comes to life with Asher. He awakens a hunger for life and love in her that she didn’t know she possessed.  

Asher must learn his worth beyond his upbringing and his past. Annabelle must learn to stoke the fire of life as it burns within her and learn how close she can get before the flames lick her. “

This is the second book by Jess B. Moore set in Fox River, a small town on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and some of the characters from The Guilt of the Sparrow make cameo appearances but this is a whole new story focusing on a different set of central characters so it is effectively a standalone novel and can be read and enjoyed as such by anyone.

What it does have in common with the first book is that it is a character-driven story that deals with the internal, emotional lives of two people, Annabelle and Asher, who are starting out in a relationship and how they explore and develop that relationship in the midst of pressures from their families and histories. As such, there are no major dramas or huge happenings in the book. It is a story about the small, ordinary lives of real people.

Jess is brilliant at drawing characters and really delving into their psyches and pulling out what makes them tick for us the examine and understand. The people come alive on the page and the reader is able to get right under their skin and explore their thoughts and emotions, live their experiences right along with them. Her writing is very powerful and for people who are interested in the psychology of human behaviour and like this kind of story, this is as intimate as writing gets and it can’t fail to move you.

But…and I hate that there is a but because I wanted to love this book as much as the first one …but I didn’t. There was something blocking me from falling in love with this book and I have thought hard about what it is before sitting down to write the review. I think part of it is that the first book was written from the perspective of both protagonists and this was what made me so involved in their story, as we could see it develop from both sides and it felt extremely intimate. In this book, we only get Annabelle’s perspective. I thought maybe I just didn’t relate to Annabelle as much, and this probably was part of it.; I just didn’t get her, I don’t think. For someone supposedly so independent, she seemed a little weak and needy and I couldn’t quite buy in to the fact that this was all caused by unaccustomed vulnerability due to love. It just didn’t quite ring true. I believe my main problem, though, was that this relationship didn’t feel like a particularly healthy one, especially for Annabelle. Even her friend, Kendra, expresses this concern multiple times, right to the very end of the book, so it was obviously something the writer was conscious of and I am just not a fan of books portraying women willingly staying in unhealthy, unbalanced relationships. I don’t find it appealing or romantic, particularly in a modern, rather than historical, setting.

It may have helped if we could get a better handle on Asher’s perspective, as in the first book with Cotton, but we only get Annabelle’s interpretation of what Asher is thinking, which is inevitably skewed. I am sure the writer had a different take on his feelings which just didn’t translate through into the book for me. I also understand that this is just my interpretation of the book and how I felt about it. The literary canon is littered with books where there are romances between unequal partners that people adore. It just doesn’t suit my tastes in a modern setting, I’m afraid.

There is no doubt that this book is beautifully written and the characters vividly brought to life and their emotions explored. I loved the setting again, and a lot of the subsidiary characters are fascinating and I hope Jess returns to Fox River to explore some of their stories further. I am sure many people will love the central relationship in this book, and maybe read it and find a different perspective on it and reaction to it, this is a very personal response. I also think that I maybe I had too high expectations after my reaction to book one which were possibly never going to be met. You should definitely read this book and be your own judge. The story held me throughout, it just didn’t worm its way into my heart this time.

Fierce Grace is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour, visit the blogs listed on the poster below:

Fierce Grace Full Tour Banner

About the Author

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Jess B Moore is a writer of love stories.  When she’s not writing, she’s busy mothering her talented and stubborn children, reading obscene numbers of books, and knitting scarves she’ll likely never finish.

Jess lives in small town North Carolina with her bluegrass obsessed family.  She takes too many pictures of her cat, thinking the Internet loves him as much as she does.  She is a firm believer of swapping stories over coffee or wine, and that there should always be dark chocolate involved.

Connect with Jess:

Website: https://jessbmoore.com

Facebook: Jess B. Moore

Twitter: @authorjessb

Instagram: @authorjessb

Goodreads: Jess B. Moore

One Way Ticket To Paris by Emma Robinson #BookReview #BlogTour (@emmarobinsonuk) @bookouture #PublicationDay #OneWayTicketToParis #NetGalley

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“When I was a kid and I’d lost something, my dad always said ‘Go back to the place you last had it’. The problem is that what I’ve lost is… me.

Kate loves her family more than anything, but recently she has started to feel invisible. Lying awake at three a.m. as her husband snores, panicking about shopping lists, birthday parties, and the school bake sale…

She finds herself in the kitchen, gulping water, staring at a postcard of the Eiffel Tower from Shannon, her best friend.

Paris, with its red wine, slippery cobbles and curly lamp posts. Where the scent of freshly-baked croissants hangs in the air, and Kate last remembers feeling like herself.

The postcard is a year old. It has just one line on it: When are you coming?

An inspiring, feel-good tale of friendship, love, and what happens when running away is the only way you can find your way home.”

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for One Way Ticket To Paris by Emma Robinson. My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for inviting me to take part and for my copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Today is Publication Day for this book, so I hope you have a marvellous day, Emma.

I haven’t read anything previously by this author so I am coming to her writing fresh and, having read this book I am wondering why I haven’t discovered her before.

This story is really fresh and enticing from first page to last as we follow the lives of three women dealing with personal crises, as they all come together in Paris. Kate is a mum-of-two wondering where she lost herself along the way and how to find herself again. Laura is sick of waiting for her life to move on with boyfriend, James and Shannon wonders if she is ready for the next step in her life or if she is still running from the past.

Any woman reading this book will recognise some facet of herself or something she has been through in the lives of one of these women and the author does a really fantastic job of building real women with real lives who are relatable to all of us. They were all the kind of people we know or who are friends with and whose problems are very real and relevant.

I had particular sympathy with Kate who finds herself trying too hard to be the perfect mum, and judging her success in the eyes of the other mums who she deems to be doing a better job. I am sure any of us who have children will be familiar with the pressure we put on ourselves to be the very best mum our children deserve and the guilt we feel when we believe we are failing and the frustration that often the father of the children don’t feel the same pressure. The issues women have balancing motherhood and career and sense of self are very much at the forefront of society and I think that Emma does a really great job of reflecting the different pressures women are under in modern society in this book, but in a way that is not aggressive or preachy but warm and compelling.

I was hooked on this book from page one and once I had finished it I felt like I had spent a few hours with some really great friends pouring out their problems in to my sympathetic ear. Grab a glass of wine and settle down for a girl’s night in with this lovely book. I will definitely be looking for other titles by this author; this is just the type of female-focused fiction that I enjoy reading.

One Way Ticket To Paris is out today and you can get your copy here.

This book is on a blog tour for the next three days so make sure you check out the rest of the stops on the tour:

OWTTP - Blog Tour

About the Author

Emma

Emma Robinson thinks of herself as one of the ‘Bridget Jones generation’ – who are now grown up and having children – and writes novels for women who feel the same.

She also has a blog, Motherhood for Slackers, which takes a humorous look at parenthood, and includes poems such as ‘Dear Teacher’ about her son starting school which has been shared around the world. Emma is an English teacher and lives in Essex with a patient husband and two children who are an endless source of material.

Connect with Emma:

Website: https://motherhoodforslackers.com

Facebook: Motherhood For Slackers

Twitter: @emmarobinsonuk

Instagram: @emmarobinsonuk