Return to Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale #BookReview #BlogTour (@emilyharvale) @RaRaResources #RaRaResources #LilyPondLane

Return to Lily Pond Lane Blog Tour

I am so thrilled to be returning to Little Pondale to catch up with Mia and her friends for the blog tour for Return to Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and to Emily for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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Life couldn’t be better for Mia and her friends in Little Pondale – until tragedy strikes…

Mia Ward is on cloud nine after a magical Christmas and New Year and she isn’t the only one. Everyone on Lily Pond Lane seems to be living in blissful harmony. Until tragedy strikes… not once, but twice. And as Hettie Turner points out: ‘Bad things always come in threes.’

Whilst the other residents of Little Pondale are wondering what might happen next, Mia is busy worrying about her friends and trying to help them with their grief. But she needs to be careful. Just when she thought she had everything, there’s a very real chance she might lose the only thing she truly wants.

I’m really enjoying this series by Emily Harvale and have fallen completely in love with Mia and the other residents of Little Pondale, so it was nice to go back after the Christmas instalment and find out what was happening to them all.

Some dramatic events, as it turns out, but I don’t want to include any spoilers so I won’t say any more about the nature of them, except to say that they offer up some challenges for Mia and Jet on their path of true love. There were lots of twists and turns in the story and plenty of heart in my mouth moments, as I was willing things to turn out well for the characters I have become so fond of over the course of the books. They really feel like friends now that you always want the best for.

Emily’s writing is so warm and approachable and very easy to read, it carries you through the story effortlessly. She is so good at enthralling you totally in the tale and never doing anything to jolt you out of that state of suspended reality you enjoy when you get engrossed in a tale. It is a real skill.

This is a very short book which is a quick read, so if you are looking for a quick, cosy romantic fix, this is the perfect book for you. The story was enough to provide me with a couple of hours of entertainment after a couple of very dark reads this week. It wasn’t quite as meaty as some of the previous instalments, but I enjoyed it nonetheless and I am looking forward to the next book, A Wedding on Lily Pond Lane, which I will be reviewing next month, so make sure you come back then!

Return to Lily Pond Lane is out now and you can get a copy here.

To see some alternative opinions on the book, please do follow the blog tour:

Return To Lily Pond Lane

About the Author

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Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.


Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

Connect with Emily:

Website: https://www.emilyharvale.com/

Facebook: Emily Harvale Writer

Twitter: @emilyharvale

Instagram: @emilyharvale

The Lock by Andrew Barrett #BookReview #BlogTour (@AndrewBarrettUK) @BOTBSPublicity #TheLock #BookOnTheBrightSidePublicity

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I’m Eddie Collins, a CSI. I was finishing up at a sudden death in an old house, waiting for the body snatchers to arrive, when I heard a noise from the cellar.

I had time to kill, so I went to investigate.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one with killing on his mind.

I’m delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for The Lock by Andrew Barrett, a crime novella with a forensic twist. My thanks to Sarah Hardy of Book On The Bright Side Publicity for asking me to take part in the tour and to the author for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly.

I haven’t read any of the other Eddie Collins books, so this was a short, sharp introduction to the character and the writing of Andrew Barrett, and I have to say it was a bit like getting a fast punch in the face that gave me the shock of my life and took my breath away.

This is only a short novella which took me around an hour to read, so perfect if you are wanting a quick, satisfying fix. However, I would not advise reading this if you are at all faint of heart. I made the mistake of reading it late at night just before going to sleep and it scared the pants off me.

This is only going to be a short review to give you a flavour of the book, as it is jam-packed with action from start to finish but I don’t want to include any spoilers in my review. What I will say is that it is a clever combination of forensic crime novel and an interesting dash of horror to go with it, which is quite different to my usual fare. I really liked the main character of Eddie Collins, who is a CSI rather than a policeman, so he brings a fresh and fascinating eye to a crime scene. Although this is a short book, the author does a great job of injecting a lot of Eddie’s personality in to the writing quickly and seamlessly. He does it very cleverly through his actions, thoughts and language, rather than telling us about him, which makes it an easy way to pick it up without slowing the pace of the story.

Eddie gets himself into a pickle by being a nosy parker, to be honest, and as the book goes through the tension becomes almost unbearable and you will feel ready to jump out of your skin. I liked the fact that the author is quite tongue in cheek about the horror aspect, as he has Eddie making references to the various slasher movies throughout which made me laugh a little, but didn’t lighten the tension.

It’s hard to say much more about the book without giving the plot away so I won’t. If you fancy a quick read with a gripping plot and a touch of horror thrown in that will make you jump out of your skin, this is a good choice.

The Lock is available now as an ebook and you can get your copy here.

Check out the rest of the stops on the tour as detailed on the tour poster below:

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About the Author

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Andrew Barrett has enjoyed variety in his professional life, from engine-builder to farmer, from Oilfield Service Technician in Kuwait, to his current role of Senior CSI in Yorkshire. 

He’s been a CSI since 1996, and has worked on all scene types from terrorism to murder, suicide to rape, drugs manufacture to bomb scenes. One way or another, Andrew’s life revolves around crime.

In 1997 he finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead, and it’s still a readers’ favourite today, some 120,000 copies later, topping the Amazon charts several times. Two more books featuring SOCO Roger Conniston completed the trilogy.

Today, Andrew is still producing high-quality, authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour that attract attention from readers worldwide. He’s also attracted attention from the Yorkshire media, having been featured in the Yorkshire Post, and twice interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.

He’s best known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals and administers justice. Eddie’s series is four books and two short stories in length, and there’s still more to come.

Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels there, using his home city of Leeds as another major, and complementary, character in each of the stories.

You can find out more about him and his writing at http://www.andrew-barrett.co.uk

Connect with Andrew:

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

Facebook: Andrew Barrett Author

Twitter: @AndrewBarrettUK

Instagram: @andrewbarrettauthor

Exclusive Readers’ Group: Barrett ERG

Tempted by….Zooloo’s Book Diary: Cotton Tale by E. C. Fisher @ECFisherAuthor @zooloo2008 #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #CottonTale

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A private jet violently crash-lands on a deserted island. Captain Newton and his stewardess Rebecca are reluctantly forced to band together with the Vanderbach family as a means of survival.

They soon discover the island holds a dark secret the mainland has kept hidden since the 70s. Something monstrous was genetically engineered nearly forty years ago that even nature couldn’t destroy. Now it stalks the group as they venture further into the jungle in search of rescue and escape.

Can the group of misfit survivors manage to work together to find a way off the island? As the tension, suspense, and horror rise, they realize time is not on their side … the ravenous creations are drawing closer, and their appetite is insatiable.

Two firsts on the Tempted by…. feature today, as this is the first time I have featured an e-book purchase and also the first time I have included a novella rather than a full-length novel, so well done for standing out from the crowd, Zoe! Today I have Cotton Tale, a short horror story by E. C. Fisher.

This book was brought to my awareness by this review by the lovely Zoe over on her blog, Zooloos’ Book Diary. When one of your favourite bloggers starts a review with ‘Holy Mother of OMFG!’, it makes me think that this might be a story I want to pick up and take a look at. When I read the blurb, it sounded like it might be a cross between Lost and Stephen King’s Langoliers and Zoe obviously really enjoyed it, so I didn’t think I had much to lose for the cost of a short e-book. I don’t read enough horror, and this should be a quick one so I am looking forward to squeezing it in to a free hour. After reading Zoe’s review, I don’t think I will read it at bedtime when I’m on my own though!

For those of you who have not come across Zoe or her blog before, you must check her out, I promise you will absolutely adore her. She is always so enthusiastic about what she reads, and books in general, and she is an absolute dynamo with her content; there is always something new and fun and interesting to see on her blog. She is completely lovely, and a huge supporter of fellow bloggers and I love her to bits.

Watch out for my own review of this novella – coming as soon as I can find a gap in my blog tour schedule to fit it in. In the meantime, if you would like to grab a copy for yourself, you can download it here. It is free if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

Bait, Grist & Security by Mike Hodges #BookReview #BlogTour @unbounders @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BaitGristSecurity #GetCarter

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Three darkly comic noir novellas from the cult director of Get Carter

In ‘Bait’, a slippery PR man, Mark Miles, is unaware he’s being manipulated and dangled as bait by an investigative reporter until he’s swallowed by a sadistic mind-expanding cult from America.

In ‘Grist’, the bestselling writer, Maxwell Grist, ruthlessly uses real people as fodder for his crime novels before finding himself living up to his name and becoming grist for his own murder.

In ‘Security’, an American movie star, unhappy with the film he’s working on, refuses to leave his hotel for the studios, while in the corridor outside his luxury suite mayhem and murder take over.

I am so excited today to be on the blog tour for this book, containing three comic noir novellas by the legendary Mike Hodges, director of ’70s cult classic movie, Get Carter. My huge thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the opportunity to review this exciting book and to Unbound for my copy, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is a very different book than ones I would normally choose to pick up. A book of three separate, standalone novellas with a dark heart and a comic twist from the legendary director of Get Carter. One of my favourite things about being a book blogger is stretching my reading outside its normal ambits and I am glad that I picked this one up.

This is not a quick or easy read, it is a very dense book – in number of pages, density of type and just the nature of the prose, but it does make you concentrate on what you are reading, and this is a good thing, since the best way to get the most from this book is to wring every twist and nuance from the words. The prose is a huge part of the joy of the novel. It is a very visual book, with a lot of description, and written in a very individual style. There is no doubt that this book was written by someone who is used to working in the visual arts, and I think, once you have read it, it could only have been written by Mike Hodges.

The characters are all unpleasant people, existing in the underbelly of society. Some of them have power and influence and wield it over the others, and the book shows us how our position in this pecking order influences our behaviour. Our society is still hierarchical, despite what we might like to believe, but this is now a hierarchy of money and influence, rather than titles and land and everyone is jostling for a better position.

This book isn’t going to be for everyone. It is a book that takes some work to read, because it does not read as a piece of standard prose as previously described. Some of the language and imagery is crude and violent, the characters unattractive. However, the storylines are extremely clever, the characters well-developed and it is very, very funny. It will make you cringe in places while you are laughing, and you’ll be hoping you never meet its inhabitants in real life. But it is a book that will get a reaction from you, and will conjure very clear images in your minds eye, almost filmatic in their vividness, and this is an accomplished thing for a book to do.

Bait, Grist & Security is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the blog tour, check out the blogs on the dates listed on the poster below:

Bait Grist Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Mike-Hodges

Mike Hodges was born in Bristol, UK.
As a television producer in the 1960s, he was invited to join the investigative programme World in Action. This took him to the US, covering the 1964 presidential election, and that same year to the war in Vietnam. He produced and sometimes directed the arts
programmes Tempo and New Tempo.
He is perhaps best-known for his work in cinema and television, including: Get Carter, Suspect, Rumour, The Manipulators, Pulp, The Terminal Man, Flash Gordon, A Prayer for the Dying, Morons from Outer Space, Florida Straits, Black Rainbow, Croupier, and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.
He lives in London. This is his first book.
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Bittersweet by Veronica Henry #BookReview #ShortStories #Freebie (@veronica_henry) @orionbooks #Kindle

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A chance encounter on New Year’s Eve brings one woman’s dream alive; a woman begins her new life by the sea; and one strawberry tart can change everything…

From forgotten loves to second chances, new happiness and old friends, this is an uplifting and moving collection of short stories about how love changes, and how it changes us – from Sunday Times bestseller Veronica Henry.”

** Features an exclusive extract of her upcoming novel Christmas at the Beach Hut! **

Just a quick review today of Bittersweet, a delightful collection of short stories by one of my favourite authors, Veronica Henry. The book also has an exclusive extract from her new novel Christmas at the Beach Hut which will be published on 15 November.

There are seven short stories in this little collection, and everyone of them is delightful. It is really hard to write a short story but Veronica manages to imbue each of these with an impressive range of activity and emotion; I defy any of you to read them and remain unmoved. Despite the restrictions on the length of each, Veronica’s trademark warmth and empathy is obvious in each one, no one else could possibly have written these stories.

Each of these has a different twist on relationships, some of them happy, some more melancholy, but all of them ultimately uplifting. I think my two favourites were Escape to the Country, where I found myself inwardly cheering as Holly finally takes her future in her own hands, and A Certain Likeness, where we are left believing that it might never be too late.

I must admit, I didn’t read the extract from Veronica’s new book because I have it on pre-order and I didn’t want to have to wait three weeks to be able to carry on reading once I was drawn in to the story. However, if you haven’t read either of the two Beach Hut novels (and if not, why not, they are wonderful!), the extract will be a great taster of the seaside town of Everdene and I am sure you won’t be able to resist diving in to the series.

The best thing os all about this little collection is that it is FREE to download on Kindle. Yes, you heard that correctly – it is absolutely free to download, so what on earth could possibly be stopping you? You can download it here, then grab a comfy chair, cosy blanket and a mug of your favourite hot beverage and settle down for treat. You can thank me later.

If that wasn’t enough, Veronica will be guesting on my blog on Friday 16 November as part of my new Friday Night Drinks feature, to celebrate the launch of her new book, Christmas at the Beach Hut, so make sure you check that out. Veronica’s new book is available for pre-order here.

About the Author

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Veronica Henry has worked as a scriptwriter for THE ARCHERS, HEARTBEAT and HOLBY CITY amongst many others, before turning to fiction. She won the 2014 RNA NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD for A NIGHT ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Veronica lives with her family in a village in north Devon.

Connect with Veronica:

Website: www.veronicahenry.co.uk

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

Twitter: @veronica_henry

Instagram: @veronicahenryauthor

 

The Boardwalk by the Sea: Autumn Antics by Georgina Troy #BookReview #BlogTour (@GeorginaTroy) @RaRaResources #BoardwalkByTheSea #Giveaway

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Thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today for Autumn Antics, book two in The Boardwalk By The Sea series by Georgina Troy. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the author for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Make sure you check out the fabulous giveaway after the review.

The Boardwalk by the Sea - Autumn Antics by Georgina Troy

“Being a part-time hand model can be tricky, especially when you have to deal with prima donnas like Megan Knight, a reality star whose meteoric rise has surprised everyone. Bella is happiest running her tiny antique business from the front room of her cottage on the boardwalk. To ensure she has enough income coming in, she also rents out two of her bedrooms and is hiding a secret crush on one of her lodgers. His name is Jack and he also happens to be her best friend Sacha’s brother.

If life wasn’t complicated enough, her world-travelling mother appears on her doorstep on the same evening that Jack’s ex-fiancée arrives on the boardwalk determined to win him back. Bella has a lot of thinking to do and soon discovers that not all gems sparkle.”

I have to admit that I haven’t read the first book in the Boardwalk by the Sea series but, having just finished this book, it has made me want to rectify this oversight and I have immediately downloaded it to my Kindle.

This is a really lovely little read, perfect for the season as we travel back to Jersey with part-time hand model Beth, just as the seasons are changing and the cooler autumn weather closes in. There are lots of references to snuggling down in front of log fires with a hot chocolate after a bracing coastal walk, which is just what you will feel like doing with this book. Take a brisk morning walk and then cuddle up on a Sunday afternoon and spend a contented couple of hours enjoying this heart-warming read.

The book is peopled with really lovely characters. I warmed to Beth immediately and wanted to follow her trials and tribulations as she juggles trying to make ends meet, unrequited feelings for one of her lodgers, an unexpected visit from her work travelling mother and a stroppy reality TV star. The writing is witty, the plot undemanding but interesting and the setting appealing and well brought to life. It is a really attractive package for a novel.

The writing includes a lot of description and I can see that in places some readers might find it too much, with every little action documented, but actually for me it really worked for the book. It is a book set in a small world where every tiny thing matters to the story, so it seemed fitting. This is not a book of huge happenings, it is about the intimate stories of people’s lives and I just found it very sweet and appealing.

This book worked its way into my heart and I couldn’t put it down. I liked it a lot more than I expected and I am going to immediately catch up on part one. I really hope this isn’t the end of the story for Beth and the folk on the Boardwalk by the Sea.

The Boardwalk By The Sea: Autumn Antics is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Giveaway

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To be in with a chance of winning an Autumn Antics tote bag and locket, click the Rafflecopter link below:

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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.

To follow the rest of the tour, check out the dates on the poster below:

Autumn Antics Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Deborah Med

Georgina Troy is a pseudonym of author Deborah Carr. She recently signed with HarperCollins’ romance imprint HarperImpulse to write an historical romance to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War. The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr will be published in e-book format on 12 October 2018 and in paperback on 27 December 2018.

Georgina was a finalist in the Contemporary Romance Category of the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2016 (RoNAs) with A Jersey Kiss and a finalist in the Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2015. Her first four-book series, The Jersey Scene and books 1 and 2 of her second series, The Boardwalk by the Sea are available.

She also writes thrillers as Ella Drummond and lives on the island of Jersey with her husband and three rescue dogs and is 1/3 of The Blonde Plotters.

Sign up to Georgina’s Newsletter at: deborahcarr.org/contact 

Connect with Georgina:

Website: https://deborahcarr.org

Facebook: Georgina Troy

Twitter: @GeorginaTroy

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson #BookReview

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The story of respectable Dr Jekyll’s strange association with the ‘damnable young man’ Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde’s true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity’s basest capacity for evil. The other stories in this volume also testify to Stevenson’s inventiveness within the Gothic tradition.

This was another short story I chose to quick start my Goodreads Challenge for 2018, and also to start my personal challenge to read at least one classic novel a month throughout 2018 that I have never read before. I’m not counting this as January’s effort, as it is not a full length novel, but it was a good warm up.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of those stories that we all know so well, its premise has become so firmly embedded in the lexicon of how we describe people with a split personality, that we feel like we must have read it at some dim and distant point but actually many of us have probably never sat down and actually read the original text. This was certainly the case for me.

The story starts out with the main narrator, a lawyer named Mr. Utterson, taking a walk with a friend who tells him a horrible tale about an assault on a young girl by a sinister figure named Mr Hyde who pays off the girl’s family with money seemingly provided by a respectable acquaintance of theirs named Dr. Jekyll. Later, Utterson is instructed by Dr. Jekyll to rewrite his will, leaving all of his possessions to Mr. Hyde. Utterson takes it upon himself to find out what the connection is between the upstanding Dr. Jekyll and the abominable Mr. Hyde and, by the end of the story, the horrible truth is revealed.

This story is a riveting read on so many levels. Just as a straight-forward horror story it is  gripping in its vivid and terrible descriptions, and how the story moves forward as told through the eyes of the bewildered lawyer Mr. Utterson who cannot understand why the seemingly noble Dr. Jekyll is associating himself with the terrible Mr. Hyde. It also works well as a mystery, in which the clues are unveiled slowly, piece by piece, and this remains true even though we all know the outcome of the tale, which is demonstrative of how cleverly it is written. I let my bathwater go cold as I devoured this story in one sitting. The writing is creepy and atmospheric, bringing to life the horror of the monster stalking the fog-bound streets of Victorian London.

Finally, I think the story is fascinating in pondering exactly what it is the Stevenson is trying to say about human nature in this story and, I have read numerous different theories on what this tale is an allegory of. Is it a religious warning against playing God and straying from the path of virtue and righteousness? Is it a veiled reference to the perils of homosexuality in the Victorian era? Is it a sexual morality tale? Are we to draw the conclusion that Stevenson believed that all men are, at heart, primitive beasts whose base instincts are only suppressed by a thin veneer of civilisation that is just waiting to be scraped aside to let our true natures run amok? Everyone reading the story is going to take something different from it and Stevenson himself said “Everything is true, only the opposite is true too; you must believe both equally or be damned.” It seems that he did not want his story boiled down to a simple, neat explanation. Maybe the mark of a good storyteller is to allow the reader enough room to take from his tale what he will, and it certainly makes for a much more entertaining debate.

You may think you know the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but I highly recommend that you read the original text for yourself and see if what you THINK you know, is really the essence of the tale for you. you won’t be disappointed. You can purchase a copy here.

About the Author

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Edinburgh, the son of a prosperous civil engineer. Although he began his career as an essayist and travel writer, the success of Treasure Island (1883) and Kidnapped (1886) established his reputation as a writer of tales of action and adventure. Stevenson’s Calvinist upbringing lent him a preoccupation with predestination and a fascination with the presence of evil, themes he explored in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), and The Master of Ballantrae (1893).