Sisters of Berlin by Juliet Conlin @Julietconlin @bwpublishing @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Today. I’m pleased to share my review for the Sisters of Berlin by Juliet Conlin. Thank you to Black and White Publishing for a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Berlin 2014. The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, and the city is gearing up for

a celebration of unity and liberation. But, beneath the surface, are those for whom the

divisions and allegiances of the past remain close to home.

In her hushed and leafy corner of Berlin, Nina’s life is a comfortable, conventional one

– until her younger sister Marie, a free-spirited writer, is attacked and left for dead.

For Nina, Marie’s brutal demise – and that of her unborn child – tips her own carefully

controlled life into a nightmare. Stonewalled by official incompetence and subterfuge,

Nina begins to realise that her sister’s past and the secrets of the once-divided city

are connected in unimaginable ways. As she seeks out justice for Marie, Nina becomes

caught in a tangle of obsessions, lies and hidden truths that threatens to destroy her

marriage, her livelihood and all that she holds dear.

My thoughts:

I remember the Berlin Wall falling – I had just started University and it seemed amazing that after all the recent worries about the USSR and the USA starting a nuclear war, that suddenly Communism was being swept away and the people of Berlin were now free to travel across their city.

This book is a murder mystery and historical fiction story rolled into one. Nina has recently lost her sister (murder), is struggling to keep her medical practice solvent and to look after her mental health (eating disorder).

This well written story looks at family relationships, the difficulties of being a working mum, dealing with grief and how the past can change the future. It is not an easy read due to the topics covered but was interesting and thought provoking. A stark reminder that no one knows what secrets people hold and what goes on behind closed doors.

Author bio:

Juliet Conlin was born in London and grew up in England and Germany. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Durham. She works as a writer and translator and lives with her family in Berlin. Her novels include The Fractured Man (Cargo, 2013), The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days (Black & White, 2017), The Lives Before Us (Black & White, 2019).

Buy Link

http://blackandwhitepublishing.com/shop.html

Publisher

Black & White Publishing was founded in 1999 by Managing Director Campbell Brown and Publishing Director Alison McBride. Since then, the business has grown into one of Scotland’s leading independent publishers with over 300 books in print across a variety of genres. Committed to publishing the best books from the most talented writers in the UK and beyond, some of our bestselling authors include Daniela Sacerdoti,  James Robertson,  Estelle Maskame,  Nick Alexander,  Richard Gordon,  Alex Norton,  Millie Gray,  Sally Magnusson and Tony Black.  We produce an extensive range of titles, including general non-fiction,  biography,  sport and humour,  as well as selected fiction,  young adult and children’s books.

This year, we’ve started an exciting new alliance with PGUK who now provide sales representation for our titles, and GBS continues to distribute our books. Our eBooks are distributed by Faber Factory. Over recent years, our range of fiction has grown following recent eBook successes such as Daniela Sacerdoti’s Glen Avich series, which has sold nearly a million copies to date. These new alliances and our e-book successes are helping us shape and develop the list in new ways to bring more exciting new titles to both local and global markets.

the Eliza Doll by Tracey Scott – Townsend @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

I’m pleased to share my review for the Eliza Doll by a new author to me, Tracey Scott-Townsend being republished by Wild Pressed Books this summer. Thank you to the publisher for a paperback copy and to Love Books Group for inviting me to join the book tour.

Synopsis:

Ellie can’t work out whether she’s running away from the past or towards a future she always felt she should have had. She left university and had baby after baby without even meaning to. But it was her third child she blamed for ruining her life.

Now her children have grown and Ellie is on her own. She shocks everybody by selling her home and moving into a converted van to travel the country selling handmade dolls at craft fairs.

It can be lonely on the road. Ellie has two companions: her dog, Jack, and the mysterious
Eliza who turns up in the most unexpected places. At every encounter with Eliza, Ellie feels as if she’s standing again in the aching cold of a waterfall in Iceland, the sound of crashing water filling her with dread.

Ellie can’t change the past. But is it really too late to rectify the bad thing she did when Eliza was a baby?

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read by Tracey Scott-Townsend and it is being republished four years on from the original publication date.

We meet Ellie as she turns 50, hiding away from her family and friends, living in a converted van with Jack, her dog. The story travels back and forwards in time as we discover what happened to Ellie to cause her to travel the country in her van, selling handmade dolls at craft fairs and why she doesn’t want to sell the Eliza doll. We also travel to Iceland and Ireland, as Ellie looks for peace and forgiveness.

This was an interesting and thought provoking read, covering some difficult topics including child abuse. My favourite part of the book is when Ellie first joins Running Hare House and starts to work with the local community. A 4 star read for me.

Author bio:

Tracey-Scott-Townsend is the author of six novels — the most recent The Vagabond Mother (January 2020) and Sea Babies (May 2019) — all published by Wild Pressed Books and Inspired Quill Publishing. Reviews often describe her novels as poetic or painterly.

She is also a poet and a visual artist. She has a Fine Art MA and a BA (Hons) Visual Studies. She has exhibited paintings throughout the UK (as Tracey Scott). She has a long career as a workshop facilitator with community groups and in schools.

Tracey is co-director of an up-and-coming small independent publisher, Wild Pressed Books, which has a growing roster of authors and poets.

Mother of four grown-up children, Tracey spends as much time as possible travelling the UK and Europe in a camper van with her husband and two dogs, writing and editing while on the road. 

Buy Link 

http://www.wildpressedbooks.com/the-eliza-doll.html

Tree Magic by Harriet Springbett @HarriSpringbett @impress_books @lovebooksgroup #CoverReveal

Today I’m helping share the gorgeous cover of Tree Magic by Harriet Springbett.

Synopsis

Thirteen-year-old Rainbow discovers she can communicate with trees.

But that’s just the beginning. Her magic hands can shape trees at her will, but her gift is dangerous and has fatal consequences. An accident that leaves Rainbow unconscious leads her mother to make a confession that will change Rainbow’s life forever. Are her abilities a gift or a curse? Can Rainbow really trust her mother? From England to France, through secrets, fears and parallel worlds, Rainbow’s journey to understand her powers takes her beyond everything she’s ever known.

To find the truth, she must also find herself.

Author Bio

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition and blogs at https://harrietspringbett.wordpress.com

Buy Link 

Beyond The Horizon by Ella Carey #CoverReveal #Bookouture

Today I’m pleased to be taking part in the cover reveal for Beyond the Horizon by Ella Carey with Bookouture.

Synopsis:

Suddenly, it became hard to breathe and the sound of the engine throbbed in Eva’s head. The plane crashed and skidded. She heard the wail of sirens. The last thing she remembered was pulling her body across the tarmac an inch at a time—before her world went black.

Sweetwater, Texas, 1943Eva has always wanted to fly away. She jumps at the chance to train with the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots and help the war effort, even if the days are exhausting, the southern nights sweltering. When she’s in the air, it’s all worthwhile: her heart soars, as close to infinity as you can get. And since she met handsome Jack, she has someone to fly back to. But on one dangerous night, everything goes wrong. When she awakes, her body is broken and her memory is gone…

Los Angeles, 1977. Eva seems like a normal married woman with a family to be proud of. When she woke up after that terrible night—a blank in her memory—Jack was smiling down at her. But so many decades later, Eva is still searching for answers about the night that changed her life forever. Why have letters to her fellow pilots gone unanswered for thirty years?What really happened on her last flight?

Ever since that catastrophic crash, Eva has lived with the worst fear imaginable: did she do something terrible enough to make her friends cut her off? Increasingly overcome by frightening flashbacks, where she is fighting to escape from a tiny cockpit filled with smoke as her plane falls to the ground, she desperately tries to uncover the truth. But are some secrets best left buried in the past?

From bestselling author Ella Carey comes a sweeping story, inspired by true events, about the brave, forgotten female pilots who helped America win the war. A story you will never forget, and one that will always stay in your heart.

This book was first published in 2019.  

Author Bio:

Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards. A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.

Ella loves to connect with her readers regularly through her facebook page and on her website.

http://www.ellacarey.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ellacareyauthor/

https://twitter.com/Ella_Carey

Pre-order Links:Amazon: https://bit.ly/2C5XLIw

Apple: https://apple.co/2Dunnzx

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2XDlB64

Google: https://bit.ly/3gDx5hs

The Secrets of Saffron Hall by Clare Marchant

I’m pleased to share my review today for the debut novel by Clare Marchant. Thank you to Avon Books for a digital review copy via Netgalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Two women. Five centuries apart.
One life-changing secret about to be unearthed…

1538
New bride Eleanor impresses her husband by growing saffron, a spice more valuable than gold. His reputation in Henry VIII’s court soars – but fame and fortune come at a price, for the king’s favour will not last forever…

2019
When Amber discovers an ancient book in her grandfather’s home at Saffron Hall, the contents reveal a dark secret from the past. As she investigates, so unravels a forgotten tragic story and a truth that lies much closer to home than she could have imagined…

An enchanting historical novel about love and hope in dangerous times, perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Kathryn Hughes.

My thoughts:


A 4.5 star read rounded up to 5.

I enjoy reading time slip novels and thoroughly enjoyed this one. The two time periods were both interesting but I enjoyed the Tudor time period the most. The historical details were fascinating and the storytelling was superb. The link between the two eras was equally interesting and heartbreaking – if you have experienced a miscarriage or a stillbirth, this may be a difficult read.

A very impressive debut novel and I’m looking forward to reading more by Clare Marchant in the future.



View all my reviews

Celebrating two years with Jake – our adopted dog

Today I’m taking a break from posting about books so I can catch up on writing reviews for all the amazing books I’ve read recently.

However, it came to my attention, that our gorgeous rescue dog Jake adopted us two years ago. He is now 8.5 years old, and loved visiting Dobbies at Cirencester this morning (he loves going out in the car and wasn’t impressed by lockdown either, as he is a dog who loves meeting humans).

We adopted Jake from SNDogs who are based in Swindon, after a recommendation from a work colleague. There are many other dog rescue charities across the UK (and the world) who are looking to rehome dogs, who can longer be looked after by their original owners.

Jake had obviously been much loved but the owners were now no longer able to offer the care he needed (he was very matted when he arrived and had to have a drastic haircut).

He has brightened up our lives and certainly helped us during lockdown, although I think he is keen for the youngest teenager to go back to school and give him peaceful daytimes. He is now my profile picture for my Bookstagram page KarenKisreading on Instagram too.

My daughter drew this for Mothers Day 2020.

My Map of You by Isabelle Broom

Today I’m pleased to share my review for this beautiful book by one of my favourite authors. I’ve read Isabelle’s latest three books and loved them, so decided it was time to read some of her earlier books too, starting with this one published in 2016. Thank you to Penguin Books UK for this paperback copy – I’ve been taking part in book surveys via their reader panel for a couple of years and won a £50 book voucher last year to spend on their books (it did take a few hours to decide which books to pick!).

Synopsis:

Holly Wright has had a difficult few years. After her mother’s death, she’s become expert at keeping people at a distance – including her boyfriend, Rupert.

But when Holly receives an unexpected letter explaining that an aunt she never met has left her a house on the Greek island of Zakynthos, the walls she has built begin to crumble. Arriving on the island, Holly meets the handsome Aidan and slowly begins to uncover the truth about the secret which tore her family apart.

But is the island where Holly really belongs? Or will her real life catch up with her first? 

My thoughts:

Sometimes when you discover an author a few years after their writing career started, you go back to read their earlier books and are slightly disappointed. I’m pleased to say that this definitely wasn’t the case here – I loved the story and the story telling.

Holly is a complex character, she needs to deal with a lot of issues, including the guilt she feels for not being there when her mum died and not knowing who her father is. Aidan was my favourite character – kind, caring, and trying to encourage Holly to be honest with herself.

The story moves backwards in time repeatedly, as we slowly discover why two sisters went from being close to never speaking to each other again. It is difficult to say much more without giving away any spoilers.

I have visited Greece four times but haven’t visited Zakynthos. Isabelle Broom brought the island to life for me, the scenery, the people and the food – I could almost taste the Greek salad and pastries. If it wasn’t for the global pandemic, I would have booked a holiday there next week.

This is another 5 star read and I loved escaping to Greece with Holly.

Author bio (from Amazon):

Isabelle Broom was born in Cambridge nine days before the 1980s began and studied Media Arts in London before a 12-year stint at heat magazine. Always happiest when she’s off on an adventure, Isabelle now travels all over the world seeking out settings for her escapist fiction novels, as well as making the annual pilgrimage to her second home – the Greek island of Zakynthos. Currently based in Suffolk, where she shares a cottage with her two dogs and approximately 467 spiders, Isabelle fits her writing around a busy freelance career and tries her best not to be crushed to oblivion under her ever-growing pile of to-be-read books.

If you like pictures of dogs, chatter about books and very bad jokes, you can follow her on Twitter or Instagram @Isabelle_Broom or find her on Facebook under Isabelle Broom Author. To find out more about her books, visit her website http://www.isabellebroom.com.

WE BEGIN AT THE END by Chris Whitaker

I’m thrilled to share my review for We Begin at the End again to share the new paperback cover. The paperback version is published today (although I did spot a copy in Waterstones last week).

Synopsis:

Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer.

Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.

Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.

Murder, revenge, retribution.

How far can we run from the past when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?

My thoughts:

Thank you to Zaffre Books for a preview copy – my thoughts are my own.

This is the first book I’ve read by Chris Whitaker, who as I read the book, I wrongly assumed was American.

The book starts over 30 years ago with the body of Sissy being found. We jump forward 30 years from the death of Sissy to find out what happened to her family and friends in Cape Haven after her death.

We are slowly fed pieces of information about Star, Duchess, Robin and Walk. We start to find out secrets, some held for decades. Some information misdirects the reader or perhaps we just jump to wrong conclusions.

I was concerned that with all the stress and anxiety about the global pandemic, that I would struggle to be able to concentrate on this book. However, I was so quickly drawn into the lives of Duchess and Robin, that I enjoyed escaping the real world.

This book is one of those that will stay with me for a long time – great story telling and so many flawed but likeable characters. I will be recommending this book to friends and family – everyone should read about Duchess.



View all my reviews

The Saturday Morning Park Run by Jules Wake #blogtour





I’m pleased to share my review for the latest book by Jules Wake. Thank you to One More Chapter for a digital review copy to prepare for the blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the free digital copy. The book will be published later this month but can be pre-ordered now.

Synopsis:

This is the story of two women.
One old, one young.
One looking for new adventures. One looking for a purpose.
Both needing a friend.
And this is how, along with two little girls in need of a family, a gorgeous stranger, and a scruffy dog, they bring the whole community together every Saturday morning for love, laughter and a little bit of running…(well, power walking).
Some people come into your life when you need them the most.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this story, which seems even more relevant now after lockdown, looking at how there are lonely people all around and people are starting to reconsider their work/life balance alongside their physical and mental health.

I was thrilled to be able to read this book because I recently enjoyed The Little Teashop in Tokyo by Julie Caplin (see my review at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/06/03/the-little-teashop-in-tokyo-by-julie-caplin/ ), then discovered Jules Wake is her real name – thank you to TheBookBabe for recommending her books. I was also keen to read about the Park Run – my family have been involved with running and volunteering at our local Park Run over the past few years.

The story takes some time to get to the Park Run, but please do keep reading as Jules Wake introduces you to a great cast of characters and a dog (all the best books have a dog). My favourite character was Hilda, who is determined to enjoy life and to encourage others to do the same.

This is a book about friendship and trust, community spirit and improving our mental health with exercise. An uplifting read for 2020.

Pre-order Links:

Jules Wake:

Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches, sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.  

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes series.  

Between them, the two Js have written fourteen novels, The Saturday Morning Park Run being the latest. 

Social Media Links – 

Twitter @Juleswake

https://www.facebook.com/juleswakewrites/

Instagram: juleswakeauthor

Please check out the other reviews on the blog tour – information below.

The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts

I’m pleased to share my review for The Wish List today. Thank you to HQ for providing a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. This book will be published later this week.

Synopsis:

Be careful what you wish for…
 
Florence Fairfax isn’t lonely. She loves her job at the little bookshop in Chelsea and her cat, Marmalade, keeps her company at night. But everything changes when her stepsister, Mia, announces that she’s engaged to her boring golf-playing boyfriend. That’s when Florence meets Irish love coach, Gwendolyn.
 
…because you just might get it!
 
When Gwendolyn makes Florence write a wish list describing her perfect man, Florence refuses to take it seriously. Finding someone who likes cats, doesn’t wear pointy shoes and can overlook her ‘counting habit’? Impossible! Until, later that week, a handsome blond man asks for help in the bookshop…
 
But is Rory the one, or is he simply too good to be true? Florence is about to find out that her criteria for finding Mr Right aren’t as important as she thought – and that perhaps her perfect man has been right there all along

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this romantic fiction book – a much needed break from anxiety inducing news and some darker novels I’ve read recently. The story is set partly in a bookshop, one which needs to move forward into the modern day and encourage people to visit it more. Florence also needs to move forward with her life – or so her family insist.

The wish list is what she creates after being sent to see a ‘love coach’ and then Rory arrives, who seems to tick many of the boxes – or does he? This is fun romantic book with some sad topics covered and some laugh out loud moments. An uplifting read for the summer of 2020.