Book Review: The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston #TheDeadRomantics @ashposton @HQstories

Synopsis

Florence Day is a ghost-writer with one big problem. She’s supposed to be penning swoon-worthy novels for a famous romance author but, after a bad break-up, Florence no longer believes in love. And when her strict (but undeniably hot) new editor, Benji Andor, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye.

Although when tragedy strikes and Florence has to head home, the last thing she expects to see is a ghost at her front door. Not just any ghost, however, but the stern form of her still very hot – yet now unquestionably dead – new editor.

As sparks start to fly between them, Florence tells herself she can’t be falling for a ghost – even an infuriatingly sexy one. But can Benji help Florence to realise love isn’t dead, after all?

My Review

Florence is a ghost writer for a bestselling romance novelist. But she’s having trouble finishing the current book she’s working on because she doesn’t believe in love anymore. After her relationship ended badly and she was truly betrayed Florence gave up on love. When she meets her new editor Benji she tries to get an extension which isn’t forthcoming. Then she hears the devastating news that her father has died. So with a heavy heart Florence returns to her hometown of Mairmont and it just so happens that her family own and run a funeral home. As well as being a ghost writer Florence can also see ghosts. This is something that she’s been running away from since she moved away from Mairmont. When she arrives home she expects to see the ghost of her father but what she is met with is Benji’s ghost. It appears that Benji’s unfinished business might be linked to Florence’s current manuscript. Will Florence finish her current book? Is love truly dead for Florence?

A ghost writer who sees ghosts is just the perfect idea for a book. As soon as I read the first chapter I knew this was going to be a new favourite read for me and it has definitely become that. I knew that I would like Florence as soon as I met her especially when she describes herself as being a member of the Addams Family and she buys books in particular when she is nervous.

I absolutely adored this book. The premise of the book was brilliant and I loved the storyline. Florence is such a brilliant character. She’s strange, odd, very quirky, a little weird, she doesn’t have a filter when she speaks and she sees ghosts. We share the same characteristics apart for the ghost bit. There were certain parts that I did feel truly bad for Florence. My heart broke when she found out that her father had died because she was very close to him and he was someone that truly understood her. When we learned what had happened with her ex-boyfriend and how he betrayed Florence in the worst way possible I felt so sad for Florence. After such an awful knockback like that it’s understandable why she stopped believing in love and couldn’t write about love or romance anymore.

I loved the dynamic between Florence and Benji because they just bounced off each other and were clearly very attracted to each other. Benji recognises that Florence is very unique and by spending time with her Florence realises that she shouldn’t close her heart off completely. At the same time Benji’s presence also helps Florence to deal with and process the grief of losing her father. I really liked how Florence’s family know about her gift and they’ve supported her from the beginning and embraced that this was a part of her. The surprising plot twist I did not see coming but it was a happy twist for me because I did wonder how this book was going to end and whether I’d be smiling or whether there would be tears. I’m happy to report there were lots of smiles and a few happy tears.

A book that includes forbidden romance, that will pull at your heartstrings and will make you cheer on the main character from the outset.

Author Bio

Ashley Poston loves dread pirates, moving castles, and starry night skies.

Ashley graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BA in English. She has worked at Kodansha USA and Bloomsbury Publishing as a social media coordinator and marketing designer respectively. Currently, she offers her work to freelance clients and writes full-time. Her books have appeared on the Indie Next List multiple times, and have been featured in Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Entertainment Weekly, Hypable, Buzzfeed, and in the Goodreads Choice Awards. Her critically-acclaimed sci-fi duology, Heart of Iron, was named on 2019’s Rainbow List.

When not writing, she plays Dungeons and Dragons and reads fanfic. She lives in South
Carolina with her bossy cat, and they are firm believers that we’re all a bunch of weirdos looking at other weirdos, asking for their username.

Social Media Accounts:
Twitter: @ashposton
Instagram: @heyashposton
Tumblr: @notashposton
TikTok: @thatashposton
Website: http://www.ashposton.com

Book Review: The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais #witchesmoonshynemanor @BiancaM_author @Harper360UK @RandomTTours

Synopsis

A coven of modern-day witches. A magical heist-gone-wrong. A looming threat.

Summoned by an alarm, five octogenarian witches gather around Ursula when danger is revealed to her in a vision. An angry mob of townsmen is advancing with a wrecking ball, determined to demolish Moonshyne Manor and Distillery. All eyes turn to Queenie—as the witch in charge, it’s her job to reassure them—but she confesses they’ve fallen far behind on their mortgage payments and property taxes. Queenie has been counting on Ruby’s return in two days to fix everything. Ruby is the only one who knows where the treasure is hidden, those valuable artifacts stolen 33 years ago on the night when everything went horribly wrong. Why didn’t clairvoyant Ursula see this coming sooner? Wasn’t Ivy supposed to be working her botanical magic to keep the townsmen in a state of perpetual drugged calm, all while Jezebel quelled revolts through seductive bewitchment?

The mob is only the start of the witches’ troubles. Brad Gedney, a distant cousin of Ivy, is hellbent on avenging his family for the theft of a legacy that was rightfully his. In an act of desperation, Queenie makes a bargain with an evil far more powerful than anything they’ve ever faced. And things take a turn for the worse when Ruby’s homecoming reveals a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

In a race against time, the women have nine days to save their home and business. The witches are determined to save their home and themselves, but fear their aging powers are no match against increasingly malicious threats. Thankfully, they get a bit of extra help from Persephone, a feisty TikToker eager to smash the patriarchy. As the deadline approaches, fractures among the sisterhood are revealed, and long-held secrets are exposed, culminating in a fiery confrontation with their enemies.

Funny, tender, and uplifting, THE WITCHES OF MOONSHYNE MANOR explores the formidable power that can be discovered in aging, found family, and unlikely friendships. Marais’ true power is her clever prose that offers as much laughter as insight, delving deeply into feminism, identity, and power dynamics while stirring up intrigue and drama through secrets, lies and sex. Both heartbreaking and heart-mending, it will make you wonder: why were we taught to fear the witches, and not the men who burned them? Above all, it will make you grateful for the amazing women in your life.

My Review

Moonshyne Manor is the home of witches Ursula, Jezebel, Ivy, Tabitha and Queenie who also run a distillery. They each have their own unique gift and although they have different personalities they are bound to each other by sisterhood and love. However, Moonshyne Manor is under threat when a mob turns up threatening to demolish their home and Queenie discloses that they have fallen behind on the mortgage payments. However, they hope that things will sort themselves out when Ruby who has been away for thirty three years returns. But Ruby’s return isn’t what they hoped it would be. The sisters must now save their home with the help of a newcomer and outsider Persephone and revisit the magical heist that went wrong many years ago.

When I first started reading I wasn’t sure about this book but things became clearer as the book progressed. What we know from the beginning is that the Manor is under threat of being demolished because there are mortgage payments outstanding. Persephone, who is much younger than the sisters appears and wants to help them secure their home. This is the first time an outsider has been allowed into the inner circle but there is something about Persephone that is different At the same time Ruby is due to return home. From the beginning there is a lot of mystery surrounding Ruby, where she has been and why she has been gone for so long. The imminent arrival of Ruby also raises mixed feelings with the sisters, some believe she is the answer to all their problems and some are a little uncertain about her return. The reason for Ruby’s absence becomes clear as the story unfolds as it is connected to a heist many years ago when the sisters were trying to recover a magical artefact. The consequences of the heist not only affected Ruby but also the sisters immensely. It’s clear from the outset that the men in the town have had their eye on Moonshyne Manor for many years. Rather than let its inhabitants live in peace their one goal is to get their hands on it and raise it to the ground.

My favourite thing about the book was the characters. The sisters were colourful, different, eccentric, smart and had a combination of characteristics. However, the one thing that bound them together was the idea of family and sisterhood. It’s clear that they are really protective of each other and truly care for each other. They’re not keen on outsiders until Persephone comes along and they realise that there is room in their inner circle for another. When I was reading the storyline I was getting Practical Magic and Witches of Eastwick vibes with a hint of witchy Golden Girls. I loved the snippets from The Moonshyne Manor Grimoire that included spells and recipes.

If you’re a fan of books that include witches, magic, sisterhood and feminism then this is a book you’ll enjoy.

Author Bio

Bianca Marais is the author of the beloved Hum If You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh (Putnam, 2017 and 2019). She teaches at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies where she was awarded an Excellence in Teaching Award for Creative Writing in 2021. A believer in the power of storytelling in advancing social justice, Marais runs the Eunice Ngogodo Own Voices Initiative to empower young Black women in Africa to write and publish their own stories, and is constantly fundraising to assist grandmothers in Soweto with caring for children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. In 2020, Marais started the popular podcast, The Shit No One Tells You About Writing, which is aimed at helping emerging writers become published.

Book Review: Daughter Of Darkness by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr #DaughterofDarkness #HouseofShadows @katharinecorr @lizcorr_writes @HotKeyBooksYA @instabooktours

Synopsis

The Underworld awaits . . .

Deina is trapped. As one of the Soul Severers serving the god Hades on earth, her future is tied to the task of shepherding the dying on from the mortal world – unless she can earn or steal enough to buy her way out.

Then the tyrant ruler Orpheus offers both fortune and freedom to whoever can retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld. Deina jumps at the chance. But to win, she must enter an uneasy alliance with a group of fellow Severers she neither likes nor trusts.

So begins their perilous journey into the realm of Hades. . . The prize of freedom is before her – but what will it take to reach it?

My Review

Deina is a Soul Severer. Her role is to help guide the dying from the mortal world to Hades and the underworld. Essentially helping to bridge the gap between the land of the living and the land of the dead. For every soul that she helps to cross over she becomes one step closer to earning her own soul back. When Orpheus offers the Soul Severers the chance to earn gold and their freedom to whoever can bring his wife Eurydice back from the underworld, Deina knows this is an opportunity she can’t pass up. However, she has competition from her fellow Soul Severers who also want the same. Will Deina succeed in her mission and as her journey unfolds with her fellow Soul Severs what is the real reason behind Orpheus’ task.

So to say that this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year would be a little bit of an understatement. As soon as this book was on my radar I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy and get reading. I am a big fan of Greek mythology, Greek retellings and anything that includes the Greek Gods. What initially struck me when I started to read is that this is a YA Greek fantasy novel that I wish had been around when I was younger because there was nothing like this available and the only books that covered Greek mythology were reference books, but nothing with a fictional element.

From the outset I was transported to Deina’s world. The descriptions were rich, detailed and the world building was amazing. I loved the storyline. Essentially we have a main character who is trying to obtain her freedom as well as that of her friend Chryse by undertaking a task. A task which isn’t easy, her safety isn’t guaranteed and could result in her position not changing. One of the main competitors among the other Soul Severers is Theron who Deina has history with but what happened between them isn’t apparent from the beginning but is explained further on in the book. It was hard not to like Deina as a character. She is fierce, strong, determined and knows what she wants which is freedom. At the same time she wants to make sure that Chryse is not left behind showing that she is also a selfless person. I loved the dynamic between Deina and Theron because at the start they appear to be enemies and really get under each other’s skin. However, when they interact there is something else bubbling under the surface that hints that there is more to their relationship than meets the eye.

What I loved about this book is that it’s based around Greek Mythology and we get to see different Greek Gods make an appearance such as Orpheus, Eurydice and Charon. Some of my favourite scenes were when Deina met Hades and when the Soul Severers encountered Cerberus. One of my favourite aspects of the story was that having read many reference books on Greek Mythology the story perfectly portrays how the Gods were known tricksters and in some ways could be quite cruel. They would draw people or other beings into their games and then watch from a distance to see what would happen next. As for that ending wow, just wow. I couldn’t believe the way the book ended and when I read the epilogue my little heart was very sad. I knew this book was going to be a duology so I can’t wait to read the next book.

A book I would highly recommend to anyone who loves Greek fantasy stories that includes adventure and where Greek mythology comes to life with the turn of each page.

Author Bios

Katharine and Elizabeth Corr are sisters originally from Essex, now living in Surrey. When they both decided to write novels – on account of fictional people being much easier to deal with than real ones – it was obvious they should do it together. They can sometimes be found in one of their local coffee shops, arguing over which character to kill off next. Katharine and Elizabeth are authors of the enthralling A Throne of Swans duology and the spell-binding trilogy The Witch’s Kiss.

Book Review: Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah #monstersbornandmade @tanviberwah @ed_pr @SourcebooksFire @CourtInABook

Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Koral and her older brother Emrik risk their lives each day to capture the monstrous maristags that live in the black seas around their island. They have to, or else their family will starve.

In an oceanic world swarming with vicious beasts, the Landers-the ruling elite, have indentured Koral’s family to provide the maristags for the Glory Race, a deadly chariot tournament reserved for the upper class. The winning contender receives gold and glory. The others-if they’re lucky-survive.

When the last maristag of the year escapes and Koral has no new maristag to sell, her family’s financial situation takes a turn for the worse and they can’t afford medicine for her chronically ill little sister. Koral’s only choice is to do what no one in the world has ever dared: cheat her way into the Glory Race.

But every step of the way is unpredictable as Koral races against contenders who have trained for this their whole lives and who have no intention of letting a low-caste girl steal their glory. When riots break out and rogues attack Koral to try and force her to drop out, she must choose-her life or her sister’s-before the whole island burns.

My Review

Sixteen year old Koral and her brother Emrik are maristag hunters. Their goal is to capture maristags, breed them, train their off offspring to tolerate land and then sell them to the Landers to compete in the Glory Race. Whilst attempting to catch a maristag Emrik is injured and they are unable to catch the last maristag of the year. Koral realises that they will not have enough money to provide for their family or enough money to pay for her little sister Liria’s medication so Koral decides that she has no other option than to take part in the Glory Race which also brings her face to face with her ex-boyfriend Dorian who she hasn’t spoken to in 2 years when he left her without any explanation. Will Koral win the Glory Race and will be still be able to participate despite others plans to sabotage her?

The synopsis for this book intrigued me from the beginning because it sounded really interesting and had a very Hunger Games feel to it. The storyline was well plotted and easy to follow. It was written in so much detail that at times it felt like I was catching maristag and taking part in the Glory Race with Koral. When I started reading I was transported to Koral’s world which is not a world I would want to live in because it’s all about survival and hierarchy. Where the hierarchy is concerned Koral is quite far at the bottom and the only way for her and her family to survive is for her to catch maristags. I really liked Koral as a character. She is determined but she’s also very capable because she is one of the main people that catch maristag and therefore she is probably the best person to take part in the race and be successful. Whether she is or not you’ll have to read the book to find out. Although Koral is set on winning the Glory Race amid other complications she also has to deal with the fact that one of her opponents is Dorian. It is clear that Koral has conflicting feelings for Dorian which is understandable as she still doesn’t know the reason he left but this becomes clear as the story progresses. Knowing that this was a South Asian inspired fantasy and that the main character and others would look like me made me love this book even more. When I came across the paragraph where one of the characters is described as wearing a sari, this really made me smile.

The book ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger so I’m intrigued to see if there will be a second book as I am intrigued to see more of Koral’s journey.

An action packed YA fantasy novel!

Author Bio

Tanvi Berwah is a South Asian writer who grew up wanting to touch the stars and reach back in time. She graduated from the University of Delhi with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Literature of English and lives in India. This is her debut novel.

Book Review: Janet Jackson’s Yorkshire B&B by Becky Papworth @beckypapworth1 @rararesources

Synopsis

Yorkshire lass and dental receptionist Janet Jackson has just taken a big risk. Using all her savings, she’s turned her spacious garage into a Bed and Breakfast, slapped a sign on it and without any experience at all, is now awaiting her very first guests.

With a moody teenage daughter and a crazy sister to contend with she’s already got her work cut out. The trouble she soon discovers, is that guests have undesirable habits, annoying pets and endless demands. ‘Is it bloody worth it?’ she asks herself a dozen times a day. Janet gradually learns her trade – but not without being tested to her limits. The question is: will she come through the experience with her bank balance, cottage and her sanity intact?

Hugely entertaining but a word of warning: if ever you’ve thought of running a B&B, read this hilarious debut novel first– you might want to think again!

Purchase Links
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janet-Jacksons-Yorkshire-B-ebook/dp/B0B77SK3QK/
US – https://www.amazon.com/Janet-Jacksons-Yorkshire-B-ebook/dp/B0B77SK3QK/

My Review

Having converted the garage/annex into a B&B, Janet decides to take a leap and advertise it. Throw in a colourful array of guests, noisy neighbours, planning enquiries, running her own household with teenager Chloe, her free spirited sister Maureen, her daily job as a dental receptionist and Janet is going rushed off her feet. With no experience in managing a B&B how will Janet cope.

This was such a fun, short and quirky book. From the beginning I was thrown into Janet’s world where she’s converted her garage/annex into a B&B but hasn’t taken that step into the world of providing accommodation to visitors. Janet’s world from the outset is truly chaotic but was also funny and memorable to be in. At the same time she’s dealing with the B&B she’s dealing with her daughter Chloe who is a typical teenager and her sister Maureen who is probably one of the most unique characters I’ve ever met. One thing is for sure I wouldn’t want to be in Janet’s position and don’t think I could run a B&B or deal with the issues that Janet has to deal with. Initially Janet’s first booking doesn’t really go to plan and she questions whether or not this is something she wants to do but instead of giving up she carries on and makes her B&B a success. Having and running the B&B is definitely new to Janet and she’s still trying to find her feet. At times it did feel like Chloe and Maureen didn’t appreciate how much Janet was dealing with and everything felt like it was on Janet’s shoulders, until they started to help out. Janet was quite a quirky character. I loved how she intended to call the B&B Lavender Cottage but then when she realises that the name is spelt wrong on the business cards she decides to change the name of the cottage to Lavander Cottage. I really liked that the chapters were short and punchy. In each chapter we are given an insight into what is happening in Janet’s personal life but also we learn more about the B&B guests, some of whom were perfect guests and some who were a complete nightmare.

A light hearted and fun read!

Author Bio


Becky Papworth has spent 20 years making people laugh as a TV Producer on shows
like Have I Got News For you, Rab. C. Nesbitt and Citizen Khan. She’s hoping to entertain some readers with this account of running a B&B, much of it based on her actual experience, she’s not saying which bits…

Social Media Links
https://twitter.com/beckypapworth1
https://www.instagram.com/beckypapworth/

Book Review: Petra And The Sewer Rats by G.J. Kemp #PetraAndTheSewarRats @TB5Publishing @RandomTTours

Synopsis

‘You saved one girl, Papa,’ Petra said. ‘Just one girl. The rest are living in the alleys. Starving, freezing, no clothes and with no hope whatsoever.’ 

‘I still don’t understand why this is bothering you so much?’ Ernest said.

Petra turned her head and stared out of the window.

A privileged woman who knows little of the real world gets thrown deep into the underbelly of the town of Fairacre. A town ruled by men. 

A story of discovery and determination, Petra and the Sewer Rats is a tale of a young woman who dares disobey the town’s rules to save its unwanted orphans. Will Petra’s father, Ernest, still love her? Will her best friend, Nat, stay by her side? Or will they abandon her when she needs them most?

My Review

This is a novella in the Acre series that centres on the character Petra. We are first introduced to Petra in Juno and the Lady as the leader of the Sewer Rats. This book gives the reader an insight into who Petra really is, her beginnings and how the Sewer Rats were created.

It won’t be a surprise to anyone that has read my previous reviews that this series has become a well-loved fantasy series for me. Ever since I read Juno and the Lady I knew that this was a series that I was going to like and look forward to reading. Like the other books the storyline in this one grabbed my attention from the outset. Although this is a novella it was packed full of so much information and so well constructed that I feel like I know Petra as a character better and now understand what motivated her to create the Sewer Rats. Petra is feisty, determined and fair. After her first encounter with the girls who will later be known as the Sewer Rats she sees how unfairly they are treated and wants to change that despite knowing she lives in a world where men rule. Although Petra is part of the upper hierarchy she is still judged by the fact that she is female which also dictates what she can and cannot do. However, as soon as Petra gets an idea into her head she will do whatever it takes to make it a reality. What I love about this series in particular is that there are main novels and also novellas that centre on different characters that are featured in the main story which also helps the reader to get to know individual characters better.  

If you haven’t read the Acre series then you are truly missing out on a fantastic world!

Author Bio

Finding the love for writing later in life, GJ spends most of his free time going for walks and dreaming of story ideas. He hopes to one day have a small place on the oceanfront where he can walk his dogs on the beach. 

For more information please visit gjkemp.co.uk

Book Review: Hello, Stranger by Rachel Marks #hellostranger @Rache1Marks @MichaelJBooks

Synopsis

From their very first date, Jamie and Lucy know they’ve met THE ONE. They’re as different as night and day. Jamie’s a home bird, while Lucy’s happiest on holiday. He has a place for everything – she can never find her keys. Yet, somehow, they make each other happier than they ever thought possible. 

So why does this story start with them saying ‘goodbye’? And does this really have to be the end. . . ?

My Review

Lucy and Jamie have been in a relationship for some time. They are complete opposites but they just work. When the book starts Lucy has decided they should break up but Jamie clearly doesn’t want to. Why did Lucy and Jamie break up? What led to this decision? Should Lucy and Jamie give their relationship another go or are they better off apart.

When I first started to read this book my first thought was that the author had written one of the most amicable breakups I’ve ever seen in a book. But then that made me question why were Lucy and Jamie breaking up when they seemed perfect for each other. They’re opposites but it works between the two of them. They push each other to try new things. For example, Lucy’s quite adventurous when it comes to going on holiday and Jamie pushes himself out of his comfort zone to take on board new experiences. They both get along with each other’s families. They fit into each other’s lives like a complete jigsaw puzzle and as an outsider looking in they have a perfect relationship. However, there is one subject that they have different views on and it’s quite an emotional and thought provoking subject. It makes them question what they truly want and what they are willing to sacrifice to make their partner happy. Even if it means making themselves unhappy and creating a big void in their relationship where that subject is concerned. I loved the story and the writing style so much so that I found it difficult at times to stop reading. The story moves backwards and forwards in time where the reader is given a glimpse into how Lucy and Jamie met and how they have got to where they are today. This isn’t just a romance novel but is also a story about relationships, sacrifice and approaching those difficult subjects in a relationship. As much as it was clear that Lucy and Jamie loved each other immensely they found they had to tackle certain subjects head on to decide whether or not they had a future.

By the time I had finished reading I had mixed emotions. I laughed with the characters, cried with them and felt like I had truly been on an emotional rollercoaster with them. When I turned the last page I felt like I knew both Lucy and Jamie as good friends and that I had been with them and part of their journey. I was quite anxious when I was reading as to how Lucy and Jamie’s story would end. I’m not sure how I thought it would end because the more I read my mind kept changing as to where the story would go. However, I was happy with the ending and it’s what I would have wanted for both of them. The ending for me was bittersweet and realistic.

This was a heart breaking read and is a book and story that I will never forget.

Author Bio

Rachel Marks studied English at Exeter University before becoming a primary school teacher. Despite always loving to write, it wasn’t until she gained a place on the 2016 Curtis Brown Creative online novel writing course that she started to believe it could be anything more than a much-loved hobby. She lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and their three children. Hello Stranger is her third novel.

Book Review: Girl In The Red Coat by Gemma Owen-Kendall #girlintheredcoat #hyggebooktours @GemOwenKendall @hyggebooktours

Synopsis

What if the girl in the red coat fell in love with the wolf? Girl In The Red Coat is a contemporary retelling of the classic tale Red Riding Hood. Grace was once a quiet teenage girl until when she turns sixteen and moves to a new town to live with her grandparents to start college. This is where Grace’s life changes when she meets Daniel and encounters mysterious appearances from Ben. As well as a complicated love triangle, Grace learns that wolves and witches (spellcasters) do exist.

Book Links/Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08T48JCHJ

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56705075-girl-in-the-red-coat

My Review

The book starts by giving the reader a glimpse into 1884 and introducing the reader to werewolves Constantine and Magnus. Both Constantine and Magnus are in love with Florence but Florence’s affections lie with Constantine. After a dream that ends in the death of Constantine and Magnus in reality, Florence flees. Fast forward to the present day and we meet 16 year old Grace who is nicknamed Red Riding Hood because of the red coat she wears that was gifted to her by her grandmother. Grace is staying with her grandparents and starting a new school. It’s at this school that she meets Daniel and the mysterious Ben. Grace finds herself drawn to both equally but which one is the right one for her and which one has ulterior motives. Is history about to repeat itself or can Grace stop this from happening.

My first impression of this book was that it was a quick, short and easy read. However, I loved the fact that it was packed full of so much information and backstory. The reader is given important background information as to what happened before and how Florence, Constantine and Magnus are directly linked to Grace, Daniel and Ben. This is one aspect that I truly liked. So although this was a short read the author has done a fantastic job in giving quite a lot of detail and not cutting out important information. This is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood but the author has taken that story and reimagined it with a fantasy element. Grace’s character is very interesting because I think we’ve only scratched the surface of her character and who she is. Although this is a retelling, the story is also about Grace learning about her heritage, learning about her lineage but also dealing with all of this and the fact that she is a teenager. For example she finds herself in a love triangle where she feels drawn to Daniel and Ben but at the same time she can’t decide which one she has stronger feelings for. However, this becomes clearer to Grace as the story develops and she quickly realises which one is good for her and which one isn’t.

This is the first time I’ve read this author’s work and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story. I am looking forward to the second book in the series and what is in-store for Grace next.

Author Bio

My name is Gemma Owen-Kendall from a town called Grimsby, I like to say I’m part unicorn and part Harley Quinn. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager and have always loved reading. One of my all time favourite authors is Stephenie Meyer who of course wrote The Twilight Saga. I’m a big supporter of local writers within my area, every Tuesday evening I run a writing workshop at a Cleethorpescoffeeshop called The Globe. This is also where majority of my imagination has been created over the past few years.

Twitter Handle: @GemOwenKendall

Instagram Handle: @gemma.authorpage

Facebook Handle: http://www.facebook.com/innocenttimesauthor

Book Review: Coco Rules: Life and Style according to Coco Chanel by Katherine Ormerod & illustrated by Carolina Melis @OMaraBooks @Lovebookstours

Synopsis

Coco Rules takes 30 quotes from the inimitable Coco Chanel and translates them into modern, practical style rules to live by.

With her trademark acerbic wit and no-nonsense attitude, Coco Chanel has always been a wonderfully entertaining source on matters of life and style. Coco Rules gathers her words of wisdom on both fashion and empowerment and uses them to provide solutions to many of the style-based conundrums you might encounter, as well as inspiration on how to be the very best version of yourself – strong, fearless and confident – no matter what you wear.

Written by acclaimed fashion journalist Katherine Ormerod, each rule is accompanied by a bold and stylish illustration from Carolina Melis.

Buy Links https://amzn.to/3S9UA4X

My Review

I did read this book in one sitting but also used it as an inspirational quote book. This was such a cute little book and such a joy to read. As well as having practical style tips the book also includes quotes from Coco Chanel herself. One of my favourite quotes of all time is featured in this book which is ‘In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different’.The book does have some great style tips but what I took away from reading this book is that you should pick your clothing, accessories etc that suits you and create your own style. Just because something is fashionable or has a label doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good fit for you. Everyone has their own unique style and as Coco Chanel perfectly explains the only way to find that style is by trying new types of clothing, dressing an outfit up or down or just being a bit out there and being adventurous. I’ve taken quite a few style tips from this book and will definitely be using it as a go to guide in the future.

A book about fashion, quotes to live by but ultimately discovering your own identity through fashion as explained by the famous Coco Chanel.

Book Review: The Newlyweds by Mansi Choksi #thenewlyweds @mansi_choksi @iconbooks @RandomTTours

Synopsis

Twenty-first century India is a culture on fast forward, a society which is changing at breakneck speed, where two out of every three people are under the age of thirty-five. These young men and women grew up with the internet, smartphones and social media. But when it comes to love, the weight of thousands of years of tradition cannot so easily be set aside.

An extraordinary work of reportage, The Newlyweds is a portrait of modern India told through the stories of three young couples, who defy their families to pursue love. The lesbian couple forced to flee for a chance at a life together. The Hindu woman and Muslim man who must escape under the cover of night after being harassed by a violent mob. And the couple from different castes who know the terrible risk they run by marrying.

My Review

The Newlyweds follows the journey of three couples. Neetu and Davinder are from the same village but are from different castes. As they are from the same village they are considered to be related so they have no choice but to elope. Arif and Monika are from different religions and fall in love. Arif is Muslim and Monika is Hindu. They too are aware that no one will accept their relationship and so decide to elope. Preethi and Reshma were friends until they realised they loved each other as more than friends. Their story considers how society in India considers LGBTQ relationships and details the struggles they have faced to be together.

This was definitely an eye-opening read for me and it was actually quite a quick read. Although the book is fairly short the author has done a thorough job in detailing the lives of the three couples and what they have been through. What made the stories even more real was that there were pictures of each of the couples in the book which helped me to connect with them. Instead of just words on a page these were real people and this was their very real story. What I enjoyed about this book is that the author has looked at a diverse range of couples. She’s covered inter cast marriages, marriages between two people from different religions and a relationship between a same sex couple which is rarely talked about in India. It was interesting to read about how the couples were defined by not only what their parents believed was right for them but also what society believed was right for them. It was clear the couples didn’t have a choice in how to live their lives and who to have a relationship with and the only way to have a choice was to go against their parents, family and society. Although the couples were born and raised in the 21st century they were still heavily governed by tradition, culture and societal rules. Some rules of which are from a bygone era.

A thought provoking read where tradition, culture and religion clash with hearts and feelings.

Author Bio

Mansi Choksi is a writer based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Mumbai, India. The Newlyweds is her first book.