Book Review: Godkiller by Hannah Kaner #Godkiller @HFKaner @HarperVoyagerUK @fictionpubteam @instabooktours

Synopsis

You are not welcome here, godkiller

Kissen’s family were killed by zealots of a fire god. Now, she makes a living killing gods, and enjoys it. That is until she finds a god she cannot kill: Skedi, a god of white lies, has somehow bound himself to a young noble, and they are both on the run from unknown assassins.

Joined by a disillusioned knight on a secret quest, they must travel to the ruined city of Blenraden, where the last of the wild gods reside, to each beg a favour.

Pursued by demons, and in the midst of burgeoning civil war, they will all face a reckoning – something is rotting at the heart of their world, and only they can be the ones to stop it.

My Review

Worshipping Gods is outlawed within the borders of Middren. This includes pilgrimages to holy sites and the keeping of shrines, symbols, totems and charms etc. The Veiga also known as Godkillers are appointed by King Arren to enforce this law and ensure that any Gods identified are disposed of. Kissen is a Veiga and takes her job very seriously. Kissen is approached by a young girl called Inara who seeks her help. Inara has a God called Skedi (Skediceth), a God of white lies attached to her and seeks Kissen’s help so she and Skedi can be parted. Elogast (Elo) was a former knight and soldier to King Arren but gave up his role and title to become a baker as he didn’t agree with King Arren’s beliefs relating to god worship. Elo and Arren grew up together and still remain close friends. But then due to a turn of events Arren seeks out the help of his friend for one last mission because he owes an outstanding debt to a god. So starts Kissen, Inara, Skedi and Elo’s journey which starts off as two separate journeys but then converge into one when they join forces.

I’m the kind of reader that can normally tell from the first chapter whether I will vibe with a book and I can honestly say I connected with this book straight away. The opening chapter was the perfect beginning to what I can only describe as an epic journey with some amazing and unforgettable characters. At the beginning we are introduced to a young Kissen and what she and her family go through because they worship a certain god. It is due to their beliefs that they are targeted by others and Kissen loses her whole family but it is due to her father’s sacrifice that she lives. When we are introduced to a grownup Kissen she is fierce, independent, a fighter but she’s very much alone in the world. Her sole job and focus is that of a Godkiller, spurred on by the loss of her family. That is until she meets Inara and knowing that Inara’s fate is linked to Skedi’s she decides to help Inara so she can be separated from Skedi without being harmed. At the same time we are introduced to Elo who is on a quest to save his friend King Arren.

I loved this storyline. The writing was immersive and the world building was extraordinary. I felt like I was on a journey with the characters and part of the action. I really liked the characters in the story because they just complemented each other. We have a strong female lead in Kissen, a former knight, a young girl and a god. I really liked the disability representation in the book. Kissen lost part of her leg as a child but it’s never stopped her fulfilling her role or helping others even when she is in immense discomfort and pain. She embraces her disability, accepts that it is part of who she is and that it has shaped her into the person she has become. At the same time it is also a constant reminder of what happened leading to her losing her family and her father saving her. Elo has seen a lot during his time as a knight and still suffers from flashbacks and PTSD. Inara is very young and wants to be free from Skedi. Skedi on the other hand wants to be free from Inara but at the same time has formed quite an attachment to her. It was interesting to see how Skedi at times manipulated the characters but they didn’t know they were being manipulated until things came to a head.

The book ended on a pretty big cliff hanger that set up the next book in the series perfectly. When I read the last sentence I couldn’t believe that it was the end of the book because I wanted to carry on reading to find out what happened to the characters next. The fighting scenes were immense and descriptive. It was clear from the descriptions given that both Kissen and Elo are very accomplished warriors.

If you’re a fan of high epic fantasy which includes the found family trope then this is a book not to be missed.

Author Bio

Hannah Kaner is a Northumbrian writer living in Scotland. She works as a senior digital consultant in Edinburgh, delivering digital healthcare, tools, and services for the public sector. She has a first class degree in English from Pembroke College, Cambridge, and a Masters of Science with distinction from the University of Edinburgh. She is inspired by world mythologies, angry women,speculative fiction, and the stories we tell ourselves about being human.

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Book Review: Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia Of Faeries by Heather Fawcett #EmilyWildesEncyclopaediaOfFaeries #HeatherFawcett @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Synopsis

Enter the world of the hidden folk – and discover the most whimsical, enchanting and heart-warming tale you’ll read this year, featuring the intrepid Emily Wilde. . .

Emily Wilde is good at many things: she is the foremost expert on the study of faeries; she is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encylopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby

But as Emily gets closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones – the most elusive of all faeries – she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all – her own heart.

My Review

Dr Emily Wilde is in the process of writing the first encyclopaedia on faeries and faerie lore. As part of her research she journeys to the village of Hrafnsvik, Ljosland with her dog Shadow to learn more about a species of faeries called the ‘Hidden Ones’. Emily isn’t a people person so she finds it difficult to connect with the townsfolk. That is until her rival Wendell Bambleby arrives suddenly to help Emily with her research. As Emily starts her research she is drawn into uncovering who the Hidden Ones are and is also drawn into the faerie world. But in addition to her research there is another mystery which is a little more closer to home. Who is Wendell Bambleby and what does he want from Emily?

I have been very much looking forward to reading this book since I saw not only the cover reveal but once I read the synopsis I knew this was a book I needed to read because I love everything about faeries and the faerie world. As soon as I started to read I found it difficult to stop. This was the perfect cosy weekend read. I absolutely adored the storyline. It was enchanting, magical, captivating and whimsical in equal parts. I loved the premise of the story i.e. that Emily and Wendell finds themselves in a little village to study faeries but end up being pulled into a different world and trying to uncover a mystery.

Emily is very much a researcher and from the opinion that I got whilst reading she knows a lot about faeries and how to interact with them. She is an expert in her field but has never been to the faerie realm. But whilst researching she inadvertently gets involved in something that’s bigger than her and the village when she starts to look into why people from the village have been taken by faeries. When she decides to rescue the missing people she finds herself drawn into the faerie world which she knows a lot about in theory but isn’t very familiar with in practise. Emily learns very quickly that faeries are tricksters and that she has to keep her wits about her. When Emily spends time in the faerie realm she gets more of a sense of what that world is really like but at the same time she starts to lose a grip on time and where her home truly is.

I really liked the format of the book because it felt like I was reading Emily’s personal journal and it felt like I was with Emily as the story unfolded, seeing exactly what she was seeing. As soon as Wendell made an appearance there was definitely something different about him especially when Emily first arrives in the village and receives a letter from him which she then tries to burn but the letter remains intact despite her best attempts. Emily has an inkling that something about Wendell isn’t quite right and who he might be but she can’t put her finger on it. It’s whilst she is looking into the Hidden Ones that she uncovers Wendell’s secret. The relationship between Emily and Wendell was what I can only describe as perfect. They have this love/hate relationship and great banter. They are always trying to outdo each other but at the same time they truly care about each other.

A story filled with magic and enchantment that will whisk you away to the faerie realm with the turn of every page.

Author Bio

Heather Fawcett is the author of the middle grade novels Ember and the Ice Dragons and The Language of Ghosts, as well as the young adult series Even the Darkest Stars. She has a master’s degree in English literature and has worked as an archaeologist, photographer, technical writer, and backstage assistant for a Shakespearean theater festival. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada.

Book Review: Promise Me by Jill Mansell #PromiseMe @JillMansell @HeadlineFiction @headlinepg @RandomTTours

Synopsis

Fate’s about to make mischief…

One minute Lou is happily employed, with a perfect flat. The next, her home and job have gone. Suddenly she has to start over.

The last thing Lou wants is to move to a tiny Cotswolds village. She certainly doesn’t intend to work for curmudg-eonly eighty-year-old Edgar Allsopp. But Edgar is about to make her the kind of promise nobody could ignore. In return, she secretly vows to help him fall in love with life again.

Foxwell is also home to Remy, whose charm and charisma are proving hard to ignore. But Lou hasn’t recovered from the last time she fell for a charmer. She needs a distraction – and luckily one’s about to turn up.

Secrets never stay hidden for long in Foxwell, nor are promises always kept. And no one could guess what lies ahead…

My Review

Lou believes that she is only passing through Foxwell whilst spending some time with her friend Sammy that is until she bumps into Foxwell’s grumpiest resident, 80 year old Edgar. Edgar makes Lou a proposal that is too good to be true i.e. that if Lou becomes Edgar’s carer that when he passes she will inherit his home Walton House. Edgar has no family and no one he is close to so Lou decides to find out why Edgar is the way he is and helps him reconnect with an old flame. Also in Foxwell is Sammy’s older brother Remy who Lou cannot help but like more than she should.

One of my favourite things about a new Jill Mansell book is the map at the beginning because it helps me connect to the location, the characters in the story and where they are when the storyline is unfolding. I really liked the sound of Foxwell and Edgar’s home sounded like the perfect country home/mansion.

This was such an enjoyable read and it was nice to escape to Foxwell whilst reading. I knew after reading the first chapter that I was going to like this book. The first meeting between Lou and Edgar was memorable and comedic that had me laughing and smiling especially as Lou tries to help Edgar who’s fallen but he hits her with his walking stick as he believes he is being mugged. But in that first meeting grumpy Edgar takes a shine to Lou. He realises that he needs help and that Lou is the person to be his carer so he quickly connects with Lou making sure he has her contact details and then puts forward his proposal. Although Edgar’s offer sounds ideal Lou has to put up with a lot and Edgar expects a lot from her and it isn’t until later on in the book that Edgar realises how lucky he is to have Lou. I loved the addition of Captain Oates, the dog. He is the perfect companion for Edgar as he is another version of Edgar in dog form. They have the same temperament when it comes to people, are both grumpy and snappy.

Lou is a very caring character and this is apparent from the beginning. She is a very attentive carer, always putting people first but she does open a can of worms when she helps Edgar reconnect with Della who’s intentions towards Edgar are less that favourable. As a character Lou has lost her husband and finds herself newly single but she is apprehensive about starting a relationship with anyone because of the way that she was treated by her husband. When Remy makes an appearance Lou starts to reassess her position on relationships. I loved the interactions between Lou and Remy. It was clear that Lou really liked Remy but she believes that he was out of her reach and that he didn’t see her as anything other than his brother’s best friend. However, as we quickly learn Remy likes Lou more than a friend but he’s never actually pursued anything with her because he believed mistakenly that something might happen between Sammy and Lou and didn’t want to stand in their way.

A book about relationships and finding love.

Author Bio

Jill Mansell has been writing Sunday Times bestsellers for over twenty years, most recently Should I Tell You? Her hobbies include exploring the Cotswolds and the south west of England, scouting for locations for future books, and discovering brilliant new restaurants along the way. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Twitter @Jill Mansell

Facebook /OfficialJillMansell

Instagram @JillMansell

Book Review: The House That Made Us by Alice Cavanagh #TheHouseThatMadeUs #BlogTour @julietstories @TeamBATC

Synopsis

One Day meets Up: The House That Made Us is a love story – and a life story – told through a series of photographs and inspired by a true story

When Mac and Marie marry and find a home of their own, Mac takes a snap of them outside their newbuild bungalow, the garden bare and the paint on the front door still wet. It becomes a tradition, this snap, and slowly the photographs build into an album of a fifty-year relationship.

Every year they take a photo and though things change around them – the garden matures, the fashions change, they grow older – the one constant is their love. Every year, come rain, come shine, from the Seventies through the decades, every photo tells the story of their love. But life never travels the path you expect it to, though they know that a life with love is a life lived to the full.

Now, in the present day, the photo album belongs to someone who doesn’t know the people in its pages. As they watch the lives from the past unfold, will the truth of their love story be told…?

A heart-breaking story about life and love for readers who love Holly Miller, Jojo Moyes and Hazel Prior.

My Review

At the start of the book we are introduced to two unnamed characters that are looking through a photo album. That photo album contains the story of Mac, Marie and their home which they call Sunnyside. Each photo in the album documents Mac and Marie’s story from the first day they moved into Sunnyside to the present. But who were Mac and Marie and what is their story?

I found this to be a really enjoyable and heart-warming read. The story was unique and I loved the idea of Mac and Marie’s life story being documented in a photo album which was being looked at by a stranger. This is a duel timeline story. In the present we have the photo album being looked at by a stranger and each photo being discussed with their companion about how Mac and Marie’s life has changed each year based on the next picture in the album. As each page is turned we are taken back to the past where we meet Mac and Marie. We are given an insight into their first day at Sunnyside as a married couple and then we follow their story to the present date. It was interesting to learn about Mac and Marie’s life story but also the stories of the people that surround them and their extended families. Mac and Marie go through a lot together as a couple but also as a  family. We follow their journey from a newly married couple, to becoming parents, to becoming grandparents. As individuals Mac and Marie have very different family backgrounds. Mac lost his parents when he was a baby and was raised by his aunt. Growing up he wanted nothing more than a big family. Marie comes from a very big family and she initially planned to pursue her hairdressing career after marriage until she fell pregnant. In marrying Marie, Mac not only fulfilled his dream of starting a family but also became a part of Marie’s big family. One of the things I found interesting about the storyline is when Mac starts to delve into who his parents were and finds long buried secrets that were kept from him growing up.

I thought I had an inkling as to who the stranger was that was looking through the photo album. But when there was a plot twist towards the end of the book I realised I was completely wrong when the character’s identity was revealed. It was a very pleasant surprise and one I could never have guessed or anticipated.

An emotional and heartwarming read about the story of one family spanning many years.

Author Bio

Alice Cavanagh was born in Fulham and still lives in London. She writes under a variety of names, including her real name, Bernadette Strachan, and as Juliet Ashton.

Book Review: Becoming Ted by Matt Cain #BecomingTed @MattCainWriter @headlinepg

Synopsis

It’s never too late to follow your dreams…

41 year-old Ted Ainsworth has worked in his family’s ice-cream business, in the quiet Lancashire town of St Luke’s-on-Sea, for his whole life. But the truth is, Ted has never wanted to work for the family firm – he doesn’t even like ice cream, though he’d never tell his parents that. And when Ted’s husband suddenly leaves him, the bottom falls out of his world.

But Ted isn’t alone. His best friend, the flamboyant Denise, is determined to help – she hasn’t forgotten that he once helped her through her worst time. She knows that Ted has a secret dream, and she’s going to help him on his way, despite his parents, the disapproval of locals, and a series of mysterious letters that may threaten the happiness of Ted’s nearest and dearest…

My Review

When Ted’s husband, Giles tells him out of the blue that he’s leaving him for another man. Ted’s world quite literally falls apart. Ted no longer has a husband and he’s working and running the family business Ainsworth’s Ice Cream but he doesn’t even like ice cream. When Giles leaves, Ted starts to reassess his life and what he really wants to do, which includes his secret passion to become a drag queen. But then the mysterious letters start to appear. As Ted starts his journey to become a drag queen hiding this secret from his parents, it appears someone close to him maybe hiding their own secret from him. Will Ted take those first steps to making the life he’s always wanted and making his dream come true?

When I started this book and in the first chapter when Ted discovered Giles was leaving him I felt so bad for Ted. I just wanted to give him a big hug. It just seemed so unfair how he found out and then when the reality kicked in everyone around him were starting new relationships and Ted found himself very single. Giles leaving Ted did in some ways give Ted the push he needed and the motivation to pursue his dreams. As a young child when Ted met his first drag queen Ted was in awe and it left a lasting impression on him but he never had the confidence to go for it. But for the first time Ted puts himself first and makes a pretty amazing drag queen called Gail Force. At Ted’s first open mic night you could tell that this is a role that Ted was made for. He was a natural, funny and very witty. Although Ted loved Giles immensely, Giles wasn’t very good for Ted because he was always putting him down, telling him he shouldn’t try new things in case it showed him up. Rather than supporting him even if something went wrong Giles was very negative which did dent Ted’s confidence and supress his true personality.

I really loved the storyline and it was such a refreshing read and one I will not forget very easily. The storyline is a mix of Ted finding his true self, with a little family drama thrown in and then of course he meets Oskar. That first meeting between Ted and Oskar in the ice cream shop was probably one of the cutest scenes I’ve ever read. They both catch each other’s eye but they both become really flustered when they try to talk to each other. As characters Ted and Oskar are quite similar because they are both keeping secrets. When Ted decides to become a drag queen and starts his preparations for the open mic night he doesn’t tell his parents as he’s not sure how they will react. When he does tell them they are nothing but supportive. Oskar fled Poland because he knew that as a gay man he would never be accepted but since moving to St Luke’s he’s never officially come out as gay or told anyone. So when the Oskar meets Ted it prompts him to be open about how he truly feels and who he truly is. When Oskar does come out to his work colleagues their reaction isn’t what he was expecting because they are fine about it and say they already knew he was gay but to them he is still the same Oskar.

A heart-warming story filled with drama, romance and a happily ever after that will make you smile.

Author Bio

Matt Cain is an author, leading commentator on LGBT+ issues, and a former journalist. For the past two years he has been a presenter for Virgin Radio Pride, was Channel 4’s first Culture Editor, Editor-In- Chief of Attitude magazine, and has judged the Costa Prize, the Polari Prize and the South Bank Sky Arts Awards. He won Diversity in Media’s Journalist Of the Year award in 2017 and is an ambassador for Manchester Pride and the Albert Kennedy Trust, plus a patron of LGBT+ History Month. Born in Bury and brought up in Bolton, he now lives in London.

Book Review: Someone To Kiss By Jaime Anderson #SomeoneToKiss @jandersonwrites @rararesources

Synopsis

As the clock strikes midnight over a disastrous New Year’s Eve and happy couples celebrate all around her, Kate makes a resolution, hastily scrawled on the back of a napkin, that next New Year’s Eve she will have found someone of her own to kiss.

But when you’re a forty-something cat-mom who’d rather binge Netflix than brave the singles scene, finding someone to kiss turns out to be harder than it sounds. Kate is totally unprepared for navigating hook-up apps, speed-dating, and sliding into somebody’s DMs.

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, Kate seems further than ever from reaching her goal. As relationships crumble around her and dark long-kept secrets spill out, could Kate’s fixation on her quest cause her to let true love slip through her fingers forever?

Amazon Link: https://mybook.to/someonetokiss

My Review

On New Year’s Eve Kate is at a wedding and whilst everyone is welcoming in the new year Kate realises that she is alone and she has no one to kiss. So she vows that by the end of the year she will have someone that she can bring in the new year with. So starts Kate’s journey into the world of dating. Will Kate meet the one before the years out?

I really enjoy this book. At times it was funny but at times it was very emotional. What really surprised me about this book is that there is so much more to the story than what is presented in the blurb. Essentially this book is pitched as Kate’s journey into the world of dating to see if she can find the person that she is meant to be with by the end of the year but the story isn’t just about Kate. In fact the story is about three people. Very early on we are introduced to Kate who is very lonely but wants to be in a relationship. Her past relationships haven’t ended particularly well and so when Kate makes a decision that she will find someone she puts a lot of pressure on herself to make it happen. She goes on some really disastrous dates, to what I can only describe as a very chaotic speed dating experience and when she thinks she’s met the right person for her it transpires that isn’t the case. The story is also about Kate’s best friend Julia. From Kate’s perspective Julia is perfect and she’s everything that Kate isn’t. Julia is independent, outgoing and attracts men very easily but doesn’t take relationships seriously. But as Kate learns this is far from the truth. Julia is hiding a devastating secret and she acts strong to hide her true feelings. This is also the story of Ben who is Julia’s older brother. Ben, Julia and Kate have always been friends and have always spent a lot of time together. However Ben has always liked Kate more than just a friend but he’s never expressed how he feels about her and Kate has never seen him other than Julia’s brother and her friend. It was very clear from the outset that Ben really liked Kate not only because of some of the things he would say to her but the way he would Interact with her. He was always there for her, he’d always listen to her talk about men but it must have been so torturous.

Although this is a story about Kate finding the love of her life this is also a story about friendship and relationships. Kate and Julia have such a lovely friendship that starts to suffer when Kate starts to push herself into online dating which means that they start spending little time together but at the same time Julia’s hiding something from Kate. But that secret can only be hidden for so long until Julia eventually cracks and explains how she’s feeling. It takes them to have a very honest conversation with each other for them to realise that although they’ve drifted apart they’re still a big part of each others lives and they reconnect again very quickly.

A story about friendships and finding love where you least expect it.

Author Bio

Jamie Anderson is based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. A proud Canadian and Saskatchewanian, she wanted to set her first two novels in the place she was born and raised.

She works in content marketing, has a certificate in professional writing and has done a smattering of freelance writing, character development and copyediting over the past several years.

She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, and has been reading for longer than that. She lives happily with her mountain of books, her TV and her two plants.

Sign-up to Jamie’s newsletter https://dl.bookfunnel.com/cxifz0ucfv for news on her followup romance novel Love, Julie. You’ll also receive exclusive deals, special offers and a FREE copy of Jamie’s sweet, uplifting novella Running from Christmas as a welcome gift!

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Book Review: Blinded Me With Science by Tara September #BlindedMeWithScience @TaraSeptember @rararesources

Synopsis

Opposites attract like a magnet to steel, or in this case, Emerson to Steel

Emerson Powers has been so focused on obtaining her science degree that she’s neglected the more social aspects of college life. With the new start of her junior year, she’s determined to fix that with a real hands-on lesson in biology. The assignment is simple enough—teach the rock star’s son how to be good, while he shows her how to be very bad. Two objectives, one outcome … will the lesson be love or heartbreak?

Steel is no longer the bad boy Emerson knew from prep school, and he’s set to prove it by helping Emerson complete her secret list of desired college experiences. And if he can convince her that they are meant to be together along the way, even better!

While teaming up on experiments, both in and out of the classroom, Emerson discovers a new side to Steel. Leaving her to question everything she thought she knew. Still, is it enough to forgive the past or just mere chemistry?

Purchase Links
US: https://amzn.to/3Cz3Dq3
UK: https://amzn.to/3SCNfKS
CA: https://amzn.to/3SFfaK1
AU: https://amzn.to/3CEUTyZ

And there is a free bonus chapter available at https://bit.ly/taraseptemberbonus

My Review

Emerson and Steel both went to the same High School, Franklin Academy. Emerson was the Principal’s daughter and Steel was labelled the bad boy son of a Rock Star. Fast forward two years and Emerson is now in college thinking that she’s left Franklin Academy behind her. That is until Steel makes an appearance in her class and she is paired up with him on a project. Emerson’s experience of college so far has been studying nonstop and hitting the books but she has created a list of the things that she would like to do while she’s at college. The list of things being very un-Emerson. When Steel inadvertently sees the list after Emerson lends him her notebook he offers to help her tick some of the items off her list. But why has Steel offered to do this? As Emerson and Steel start to get to know each other and spend more time together they find that there is more to their relationship than the project and the list.

I listened to this novella as an audio book which is approximately 3 hours long and I loved it and would happily listen to it again. It was such a cute and adorable story that it filled my heart and really lifted my mood. It was the thing I needed on a rainy and glum day. I loved the characters because they fitted the story perfectly. Emerson is what I would describe as bookish and a complete nerd when it comes to studying and Steel is seen as the good looking Rock Star’s son who has trouble written all over him. But there is more to who they are than just those labels. There were a lot of expectations on Emerson from her father to be studious and in some ways he did control certain aspects of her life. So she’s never enjoyed her life like most students do by going to parties and meeting new people. For Steel his reputation of being a bad boy, who is always drunk and is always conducting pranks proceeds him. But Steel has turned over a new leaf. He’s now sober and is trying to make a success out of his life.

When Emerson and Steel reconnect they bring out the best in each other and there is definitely a spark. Steel helps Emerson come out of her shell and being around Emerson makes Steel a better person. The chemistry between Emerson and Steel was there from their first meeting. It’s clear that Emerson liked Steel when they were at Franklin Academy but when he asked her to prom she thought he was playing a prank on her. As for Steel he liked Emerson from the first day he saw her and was crushed when she refused to go to prom with him, but he never told her how he truly felt and he believed she was out of his league. I loved the idea of the list and how Steel helped Emerson fulfil them but making sure at the same time that she wasn’t in any danger and she didn’t lose control. It was so sweet when they went to a party, Emerson got very drunk and Steel looked after her. There were a few spicy scenes in the book which enhanced the amazing chemistry between two characters.

As this book is only a novella I was quite sad when it ended and would have gladly listened to a longer version of the book. But despite being a novella it was packed full of story and it didn’t feel like any aspects of the story was missed out. I absolutely loved it and it’s definitely one that I will be listening to again.

A quick read filled with romance.

Author Bio

Fueled by an IV of green tea and Prosecco, Tara September is a multi-award-winning contemporary romance author of bestselling sassy & steamy love stories filled with banter. Based in Southwest Florida, Tara holds a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, a B.A. from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, as well as attended college courses at Queen’s College in London, U.K. She is also the proud mom to identical twin 10-year-old boys and three cats.

Social Media Links –
Instagram ➜ https://instagram.com/taraseptemberauthor
Facebook ➜ https://facebook.com/taraseptemberauthor
Twitter ➜ https://twitter.com/taraseptember

Book Review: The Mysterious Case Of The Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett #TheMysteriousCaseOfTheAlpertonAngels #AlpertonAngelsBlogTour @JaniceHallett @ViperBooks

Synopsis

Open the safe deposit box.
Inside you will find research material for a true crime book.
You must read the documents, then make a decision.
Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police?

Everyone knows the sad story of the Alperton Angels: the cult who brainwashed a teenage girl and convinced her that her newborn baby was the anti-Christ. Believing they had a divine mission to kill the infant, they were only stopped when the girl came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than stand trial, while mother and baby disappeared into the care system.

Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed; if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby’s trail.

As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong. The truth is something much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined. And the story of the Alperton Angels is far from over.

My Review

The Alperton Angels were a cult. They were convinced that one of their member’s Holly’s baby was the anti-Christ and it was their mission to kill the baby and save the world. Everything was going to plan until Holly called the police and in an abandoned factory The Angels committed suicide and Holly, the baby’s father and the baby (known as The Alperton Baby) were rescued. The trio disappeared into the care system after being given new identities so they couldn’t be traced and were never heard from again. 20 years later Amanda Bailey, a true crime author has decided to write a book about the Angels and is hoping to find and interview The Alperton Baby who would now be an adult. But she has competition as a former colleague Oliver Menzies and rival is also trying to find The Alperton Baby. As Amanda and Oliver work together will they find out the identity of The Alperton Baby and what did in fact happen to The Angels in the abandoned factory all those years ago.

It will be no surprise to anybody reading this review and my previous reviews that I have been a big fan of Janice Hallett since I was introduced to The Appeal. This was then followed by the author’s second book The Twyford Code which was brilliant so I have been eagerly anticipating The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels as soon as the title was revealed. Like the author’s first two books this book follows a similar format where the book is made up of texts, e-mails, transcripts of conversations, newspaper articles and extracts from fictional books. The story is told from the point of view of Amanda Bailey as she tries to find The Alperton Baby and who The Angels were, uncovering secrets along the way.

I purposely chose this book as my first read of 2023 and it was the best choice I could have made. This was a brilliantly written book with a fascinating storyline. The premise of a cult drawing in two teenagers and convincing them that their baby is the anti-Christ, the unrelated death of a young man in a flat and the disappearance of the teenage members of The Angels and the baby bought more intrigue to the storyline. It was interesting to see how Amanda tried to piece together the information she could find, potential leads and trying to speak to those who were involved in the investigation and present when the baby was rescued. No one account given was the same and recollections differed between those who were present.

This story was filled with mystery, intrigue, was dark and gory in parts which is the perfect ingredients for a crime thriller. There was also a very spiritualistic aspect to the case because of what the cult members believed which also started to influence Amanda and Oliver’s research. Especially Oliver who started to think from the perspective of the cult members. I’ve said this before in many of my previous reviews but Janice Hallett is definitely a genius. The format of the book makes the story unique. From the moment the reader picks up the book it’s not like they’re outsiders watching from the periphery of the story but it’s like they are walking in Amanda’s shoes and following her journey. I finished this book within 24 hours because from the first page I was gripped and was pulled into this mystery of who The Angels were, what their motives were and what happened to the baby. From the beginning I was trying to find that one thread in the story that would lead me to the answer that Amanda was looking for. I did find it towards the end of the book. However, there were definitely some plot twists and turns along the way and some red herrings which completely threw me off track. I had an inking as to how the story would end but the ending was not only unexpected but mind boggling. I won’t say too much in this review because that could lead to spoilers but if I could recommend a book to anyone it would be this one.

A truly amazing read filled with mystery, intrigue and a must read if you’re a fan of crime fiction.

Author Bio

Janice Hallett is a former magazine editor, award-winning journalist and government communications writer. She wrote articles and speeches for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department for International Development. Her enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the world several times, from Madagascar to the Galapagos, Guatemala to Zimbabwe, Japan, Russia and South Korea. A playwright and screenwriter, she penned the feminist Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard and co-wrote the feature film Retreat, a psychological thriller starring Cillian Murphy, Thandiwe Newton and Jamie Bell. The Appeal is her first novel, and The Twyford Code her second.

Book Review: My (Extra) Ordinary Life by Rebecca Ryan #MyExtraOrdinaryLife #BlogTour @WriteBecsWrite @TeamBATC @simonschusterUK

Synopsis

Have you ever wondered how normal you are?
What if you were perfectly average?
More than anyone else.

For Emily – it’s true. When she watches a documentary on the average human she sees her life. Her job, her hair, her favourite food. All of her – plainly, horrifically average. Even her blood group. Right there and then, she decides she wants more

She’ll travel the world (i.e. venture out of her hometown)

She’ll become a vegan (it’s interesting to hate cheese, right?)

She’ll do something daring (As long as it’s safety tested)

Nothing will stand in the way of Emily living her best life. Not even Josh and his dimples. Because she absolutely can’t fall in love… that would be too ordinary. 

And from now on, Emily is going to be extraordinary.

My Review

When Emily watches a TV show about the average normal person she realises that she too is average. She believes that there’s nothing about her that’s extraordinary or different and that has to change. So Emily creates a life list of different things that she wants to do which will make her more interesting. Will Emily complete her list? And what happens when she meets Josh and his presence conflicts with one of the items on her list?

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book as soon as I read the synopsis and the cover captured my attention from the moment I saw it. Reading this book came at the right time for me because as soon as I started to read I could definitely relate to Emily and what she was going through. I was feeling a bit jaded with life, not sure where I was meant to be, what to do with myself and then I was introduced to Emily and things just started to make sense. I am a firm believer that books choose the reader and in this case this book chose me. There were a lot of times when I would read passages and the story felt like it was about me and my life. I definitely connected with Emily as a character. She’s likeable, funny, brave, has no filter, has been through a lot in her life but yet she still tries to do her best. Although Emily thinks that she’s just ordinary, nothing about her or her story is ordinary but she feels like she needs to do something more to be interesting. It’s through her journey of self-discovery that she embraces and accepts who she is. If I met Emily in real life I think we would get on really well.

The story isn’t just about Emily trying to complete items on her life list it is also about grieving. Emily lost her twin sister Claire at a very young age and it’s something that she’s never really dealt with. She is always comparing herself to Claire i.e. what would Claire do in her situation, where would Claire be now if she had lived. Despite trying to avoid her grief it is also unavoidable because every time she looks in the mirror she not only sees herself but she also sees Claire. So I can understand why it was so hard for Emily to embrace her loss.

I enjoyed reading this book because it was poignant, emotional and comical all at the same time. There were many instances where I would find myself laughing because of something Emily had done or said. I loved the first meeting between Emily and Josh. Josh gives her an awkward smile and Emily just scowls at him (this is something I would totally do). Despite this they get to know each other and share a pizza while Emily wears her comfy Santa Sprout pyjamas. As for Josh as soon as he as introduced he sounded perfect for Emily. From his description he sounded very dreamy, plus he had dimples which was a bonus. What I liked in particular about Josh is that he sees the real Emily and to him she is perfect as she is. Another person who sees Emily for who she is, is her best friend Kaz. Everyone should have a Kaz in their life.

There were so many memorable scenes in this book that will definitely stay with me for a long time but one of my favourite scenes was definitely when Emily takes part in Tough Mudder and although when the race starts she’s really far behind she never gives up and completes the race.

A book about learning who you are and embracing yourself.

Author Bio

Rebecca Ryan lives in Bradford with her husband and three young children. Although she always loved writing, it hadn’t really occurred to her that she could do it professionally. She recently left her job as a teacher to pursue writing full-time. She enjoys walking in the countryside and takeaways (if that counts as a hobby).

Book Review: The Testing of Rose Alleyn by Vivien Freeman @rararesources

Synopsis

England in the year 1900. A vibrant young woman must take control of her destiny.
Vivien Freeman’s atmospheric novel brings late Victorian England hauntingly to life in the mind of the reader. In this beautifully written romance, we explore the choices facing an independent-minded woman at a time when women struggled for self-determination.

Purchase Links

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-testing-of-rose-alleyn/vivien-freeman/9781739781408

My Review

In 1900 we meet 16 year old Rose who is now living in the town of Widdock working as an assistant in a bookshop. Although Rose has left her family behind she has a surrogate family at Apple Tree House where she lodges with friends she has made along the way and the houses owner Mrs Fuller. When a book that is sold at the bookshop attracts controversy the bookshop and its owner Leonard Pritchard become the attention of the town. Will the matter be resolved? Will Rose express her true feelings for Leonard, the owner of the bookshop?

I enjoyed the story and found it well constructed. One of the things that really struck me about Rose is that whilst reading it felt like she as an older character with a lot of life experience. Rose recently lost her mother in childbirth, and has moved away to a new town so she can be more independent. But at the same time she is torn between her life of independence and her responsibilities to her family back home. It was clear from the outset that Rose really enjoys working at the bookshop especially because she is a keen reader. The interactions between Leonard and Rose were so lovely and it was a little obvious that Rose really liked Leonard more than just her employer. You could say that she had a big crush on him which she quickly realises is something more, it is love. What she doesn’t realise is that Leonard feels the same way. Whilst reading I sometimes forgot that Rose was only 16 and Leonard was 23. As a character I really liked Rose. She is independent, strong and doesn’t give up. When the bookshop becomes embroiled in scandal she decides to stay and support Leonard even if that means her own name and that of her family gets drawn into the controversy. She has faith in Leonard and his decisions, staying because she wants to support him.

A story in the historical fiction genre with a happily ever after!

Author Bio

Vivien Freeman grew up in North London and graduated in Art History from the University of East Anglia before settling in Ware, Hertfordshire. A published poet as well as a novelist, she taught Creative Writing for many years and has an M.A. in Scriptwriting from Salford University. She now lives in rural Wales in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband, the poet, John Freeman.