#AllAboutUs

An unforgettable and heart-stoppingly romantic story of love, loss and second chances, perfect for fans of One Day and Me Before You.

***

If you could turn back the clock, would you choose a different life?

Ben’s always loved the month of December, but this year, with his relationship with Daphne on the rocks, it’s missing its usual magic. And then his old friend Alice gets back in touch. Ben’s always thought of Alice as the one that got away, and he can’t help but wonder: what if he’d done things differently all those years ago?

He never imagines he might get to find out… but when a stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch one freezing winter’s night, he’s astonished to wake up the next morning on 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

Two loves. Two lives. One destiny…

This is an enchanting and modern re-telling of a Christmas Carol which I thoroughly enjoyed. It is the perfect seasonal romance. The book isn’t about Christmas so could easily be read at any time of year but, the majority of the events happen around Christmas, so it gives you that warm happy feeling to read it at that time of year.

I was annoyed by the main character to begin with, he was whinny and selfish but upon finishing the book you know that’s how he needed to be written for this plot to work. I also enjoyed this was written from the male perspective as it is keeping with the classic and so many romances are from the woman’s viewpoint.

It is beautiful story that shows us that our memories are completely subjective to the emotions we are feeling at the time and reminds us that we need to apricate what we have instead of taking it for granted.

I will be buying this for my friends to read in December.

Thank you @HQstories for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.

#ThisGreen&PleasantLand

Everyone has a place they call home. But who gets to decide where you belong?

For years Bilal Hasham and his wife Mariam have lived contented, quiet lives in the sleepy rural village of Babbel’s End. Now all that is about to change.

On her deathbed, Bilal’s mother reaches for his hand. Instead of whispering her final prayers, she gives him a task: build a mosque in his country village. Mariam is horrified by Bilal’s plan. His friends and neighbours are unnerved. As outrage sweeps Babbel’s End, battle lines are drawn. His mother’s dying wish reveals deeper divisions in their village than Bilal had ever imagined. Soon Bilal is forced to choose between community and identity, between faith and friendship, between honouring his beloved mother’s last wish and preserving what is held dear in the place that he calls home. 

This is the story of Bilal, who mothers dying wish was for him to build a mosque. A once central and included member of the community, Bilal becomes ostrisized and the target or hate crimes by people he thought were his friends. Spurred on by his wife he becomes more determined to for-fill his mothers dream despite the negativity from the community.

This is a great story of a community that on the surface appears inclusive but actually only wants to be inclusive if it works out in the direction they have planned. This is a very clever story and once I wish didn’t ring true but after all I have seen this year I fear is truer than ever and it makes me so angry.

I did feel the first half was a little slow as it set the scene but Malik really knows how to write to get you emotionally invested so be prepared!

My favourite character was definitely Rukhsana, she warmed my heart throughout and I just wanted to give her a great big cuddle! I loved that the most unlikely of characters brought them all together.

Thank you to Compulsive Reads Blog Tours and Zaffre Books for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.

Ayisha Malik is a writer and editor, living in South London. She holds a BA in English Literature and a First Class MA in Creative Writing. Her novels Sofia Khan is Not Obliged and The Other Half of Happiness, starring ‘the Muslim Bridget Jones’, were met with great critical acclaim, and Sofia Khan is Not Obliged was chosen as 2019’s Cityread book. Ayisha was a WHSmith Fresh Talent Pick, shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Award and Marie Claire’s Future Shapers Awards. Ayisha is also the ghost writer for The Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain.

#OddBird

Simon Selwood is an academic expert on the monogamous sexual behaviour of birds, but hopeless at finding human love. Then he meets Kim, and at last something is more important to him than ornithology.

Kim doesn’t give a hoot about birds. And at first she isn’t very interested in Simon either. Relying on what he has gleaned from observing the opportunistic pied flycatcher and other species, plus the unorthodox advice of old friend Phil, Simon sets out on a mission to discover love for himself.

But will he make the right choice?

Odd Bird takes a light-hearted look at the battle of the sexes, drawing on the surprising parallels between the courtship behaviours of humans and birds.

This is the story of Simon who has only had one relationship in his life and when that comes to an end he starts to question his ability to find love. He then meets Kim and focus’s all his attention on her, confident that she is the one for him but what if his focus on Kim stops him seeing who would really be perfect for him?

Simon is a brilliant, likeable character and you just want to see a happy end for him. I liked the humour and loved his friendship with Phil and Penny but at times I do think that there was a little too much in-depth bird terminology/ descriptions.

This is definitely one for fans of the Rosie Project or any bird lover!

Thank you to @farragobooks and @leefarniefarns for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.

#LoveSongsforSceptics

My brother’s getting married in a few weeks and asked for help picking a song for his first dance. I suggested Kiss’s ‘Love’s a Slap in the Face’.

It didn’t go down well.

When she was a teenager, Zoë Frixos fell in love with Simon Baxter, her best friend and the boy next door. But his family moved to America before she could tell him how she felt and, like a scratched record, she’s never quite moved on. Now, almost twenty years later, Simon is heading back to London, newly single and as charming as ever . . .
But as obstacles continue to get in her way – Simon’s perfect ex-girlfriend, her brother’s big(ish) fat(ish) Greek wedding, and an obnoxious publicist determined to run Zoë – Zoë begins to wonder whether, after all these years, she and Simon just aren’t meant to be.

What if, despite what all the songs and movies say, your first love isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be? What if, instead Zoë and Simon are forever destined to shuffle around their feelings for each other, never quite getting the steps right . . .

Love Songs for Sceptics is perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lucy Vine and Lindsey Kelk.


Zoe is is the editor of a music magazine which is heading for failure unless she can pull off an interview with her musical icon, Marcie Tyler, who hasn’t spoken to the press in ten years. Add to that the reintroduction of Simon, her life long crush and an annoying publicist and you have a great, upbeat read revolving around the music world.⁠



This book had an unexpected enemies to lovers trope which I absolutely love and definitely made this book for me (that and that the fact that the chapters are all song titles!!) Definitely one for the feel-good fiction fans out there!⁠

Thank you to @randomttours and @simonschusteruk for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.

Christina Pishiris was born in London to Greek Cypriot parents, who used to bribe her to go to family weddings by promising that George Michael might be there. To deal with the inevitable disappointment, she began scribbling stories on napkins and has been writing ever since. She started her career as a journalist, specialising in the TV industry, before going freelance. Since meeting her film-maker husband she’s also
moved into production, working on music documentaries.

Her hobbies include compiling cheesy 80s playlists, coveting the neighbour’s cat and writing protest letters to Guerlain after they discontinued her favourite perfume.

#TheWitchHouse

Who can you trust, if you can’t trust yourself?

Alice Hunter, grieving and troubled after a breakdown, stumbles on the body of her friend and trustee, Harry Rook. The police determine he has been ritually murdered and suspicion falls on the vulnerable Alice, who inherited the place known locally as The Witch House from her grandmother, late High Priestess of the local coven.

When the investigations turn up more evidence, and it all seems to point to Alice, even she begins to doubt herself.

Can she find the courage to confront the secrets and lies at the heart of her family and community to uncover the truth, prove her sanity, and clear herself of murder?

This was a brilliant suspense thriller/murder mystery with a setting. It was full of characters who you didn’t fully trust, we quickly find out that the narrator has recently been released from a psychiatric hospital and from there you constantly question everyone that meet.

I really enjoyed the dry, sarcastic humour of Alices character and the way that she brought a little bit of lightness to a rather creepy mystery.

This is perfect for anyone who loves a bit of gothic fiction and I will be keeping an eye out for more of Ann’s work!

Thank you to @RedDogPress for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.

Ann Rawson has long been addicted to story. As a child she longed to learn to read because she knew there was magic in those pages, the inky squiggles that turned into words and became images in her head – the stories that could transport her away from the everyday. As she grew older, she divined there was truth in books too. They were a glimpse into other minds. Her reading became the foundation of a deep and abiding interest in what makes people tick – and so she soon became hooked on crime fiction.

Age ten, she wrote to Malcolm Saville, author of the Lone Pine Series, enclosing her first short story. He wrote back and encouraged her to continue writing – and she is heartbroken that the letter is long lost. His book, Lone Pine Five, sparked a lifelong interest in archaeology, as it mentions the Mildenhall Treasure which makes an appearance in The Witch House.

A lapsed witch with enduring pagan tendencies, she lives on the south coast. She still thinks of herself as a Northerner, although she’s been in exile for many years. Almost every day she walks on the Downs or the white cliffs with her husband, plotting her next novel while he designs computer systems.

Ann’s debut novel, A Savage Art was published by Fahrenheit Press in 2016. She has published some short fiction, and in 2019 her memoir piece If… was shortlisted for the Fish Short Memoir Prize.

She is currently completing a memoir and working on her third novel.

You can follow her on Twitter @AE_Rawson (where she doesn’t go far, to be honest), find her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/aerawson/, and her blog is at www.strawintogold.co.uk

#TheLostLightsofStKilda

1927: When Fred Lawson takes a summer job on St Kilda, little does he realise that he has joined the last community to ever live on the beautiful, isolated island.

Only three years later, St Kilda will be evacuated, the islanders near-dead from starvation. But for Fred, that summer – and the island woman, Chrissie, whom he falls in love with – becomes the very thing that sustains him in the years ahead.

1940: Fred has been captured behind enemy lines in France and finds himself in a prisoner-of-war camp. Beaten and exhausted, his thoughts return to the island of his youth and the woman he loved and lost. When Fred makes his daring escape, prompting a desperate journey across occupied territory, he is sustained by one thought only: finding his way back to her.

The Lost Lights of St Kilda is a sweeping love story that will cross oceans and decades. It is a moving and deeply vivid portrait of two lovers, a desolate island, and the extraordinary power of home in the face of darkness.

Published by Corvus on 5th March 2020, 278 pages

This is a the story of Chrissie, Fred and Archie. The story spans decades, a war and a lost way of life.

It follows Chrissie from her childhood on the island where life was still lived as it had been for hundreds of years until the end of the second world war. It is a story of love, betrayal and loyalties.

Although there is no suspense or twists in this story I found I couldnt put it down and I got completely lost in it. It is beautifully written and brings the Island of St Kilda alive, I could picture the landscapes and the wildlife exactly as it was written and felt emotionally involved in Chrissie’s life. The difference between modern life and life on the island was fascinating especially as it wasn’t that long ago.

The author created characters that seemed very real but also used actual people that played vital roles in the second world war that had me reading up about them as soon as I had finished the book.

I would definitely recommend this to historical fiction fans.

Thanks to @annecater at Random Things Tours and @CorvusBooks for my copy in exchange for review.

Elisabeth Gifford grew up in a vicarage in the industrial Midlands. She studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University. Her bestselling novel, Secrets of the Sea House, was shortlisted for the Historical Writers’ Association’s Debut Crown for Best First Historical Novel in 2014. She is married with three children, and lives in Kingston upon Thames.

Are You Watching – Ralph Vincent

6th January 2020

A page-turning new YA thriller for the social media age, perfect for fans of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and One Of Us Is Lying.T

Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man.

She was the first of his victims but not the last.

Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all.

The whole world is watching her every move.

And so is the Magpie Man.

Review:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was a brilliant young adult thriller which I devoured in a single sitting! I liked that the use of social media in the book was to try and do something proactive and not just another teenager addicted to likes and followers.

I really enjoyed Ralph’s comments on society, this quote,

“We put our lives out there in all sorts of ways – on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat – but it’s always edited. We hand pick the best bits and hope the world gives a shit.”

it just completely summed up the use of social media for me. Rarely do we post pictures and updates about the all the bad things that happen in our day.

Also, the premise of day five was really clever (you will have to read to find out what I mean)

I did not guess who the Magpie Man, which for me was a bonus as I have guessed the ending to a few of the big thrillers, such as the silent patient, this year but you can tell its a YA thriller as although it kept me guessing it didn’t give me goose bumps or that chill that an adult thriller does – or maybe its just because i’m too old!

Get Are You Watching? in ebook now for only 99p https://amzn.to/34J8Qsi

Thank you to Anne Carter and Penguin for my copy in exchange for review

Who Did You Tell – Lesley Kara

It’s been 192 days, seven hours and fifteen minutes since her last drink.

Now Astrid is trying to turn her life around. Having reluctantly moved back in with her mother, in a quiet seaside town away from the temptations and painful memories of her life before, Astrid is focusing on her recovery. She’s going to meetings. Confessing her misdeeds. Making amends to those she’s wronged.

But someone knows exactly what Astrid is running from. And they won’t stop until she learns that some mistakes can’t be corrected.

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the story of an alcoholics struggle with her sobriety whilst being the target of someone’s revenge.

This was a really good story line with some great twists, I kept thinking that I had it all worked out and then something else would happen and I would completely change my mind!

As Astris is a recovering alcoholic she struggles to remember parts of her past which just adds to the suspense and makes it more of a roller coaster read.

My only two minor gripes where that I thought the romance was very downplayed, they met and then that was it, they were dating…but its not essential to the story so it doesn’t detract from it at all, I just personally love a proper bit of romance. I also did find it hard to care about the main character as she just seemed so whiny but that rectifies its self through the story when you get more back ground as you see that she hasn’t had it easy.

Thanks to Anne Carter, Bantam Press & Net Galley for the copy in exchange for review.

About the Author:

Lesley Kara is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course.

She grew up in Essex and now lives with her family on the North Essex coast. Lesley has been a teacher and worked as a bookseller.

Her first novel, The Rumour, was a Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller. The Rumour has been optioned for TV (Cuba Pictures) and has sold in 15 territories to date.