#BookReview by Lou- Happy Publication Day for At First Sight by Hannah Sunderland @hjsunderland143 @ElliePilcher95 @AvonBooks #RomanticFiction #Fiction

At First Sight
By Hannah Sunderland

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Beautifully written and heartwarming – At First Sight is a romance with great drama, to really sink into and lose yourself in an uplifting, yet emotional rollercoaster of a read. It is entrancing and hard to put down. So it’s very worth getting a lovely cup of tea/coffee/glass of wine etc and getting comfortable for this wonderful book.
Thanks to publisher Avon Books for inviting me to the cover reveal months ago and then to invite me to review.

At First Sight

Blurb

Two strangers. Two chance meetings. One extraordinary love story…

Nell and Charlie feel a spark when they meet by chance in a cafe. But they don’t trade numbers, or surnames, so there’s no way they’ll meet again.

But the next day, Nell’s phone rings at work. Somehow, impossibly, Charlie is on the other end. And he needs her help.

Nell is about to save a life, fall in love … and risk everything for a perfect stranger.

Tender, thought-provoking and joyful, Charlie and Nell’s unique love story will capture your heart and give you hope. Perfect for fans of The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh and The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver.

At First Sight (2)

Review

Charlie and Nell catch that first sight of each other. The connection oozes off the page!
Life however, hadn’t been easy for Nell when she was with Joel as events swept through their lives, tearing them apart, but love isn’t that simple as he complicates matters and the water had been muddied, when she was trying to move on. Charlie is also quite the mysterious man to unravel. He is, in contrast, very lovely, but has a secret surrounding him. It adds to the intrigue as the “will they, won’t they?” question mounts. It’s written all very compellingly and more than I expected as romance simmers and boils over, but with emotional times in Charlie’s life, it just gets deeper and complicated goes up another notch with his reactions to anything about his family start to show. All this and Charlie’s sudden disappearances make for an tension to build, that hooks and reels you in further and further to the end as curiosity builds and an absolute need to know how it all ends as it twists and turns and keeps you guessing. These are lives that are easy to get caught up in.

With powerful romance, some mentions of loss, grief and suicide, fabulous characters this is an absolutely terrific read to settle into and be whisked away for awhile in a wonderfully written romantic story that has so much hope attached to it.

Social Media and Buy Links

Twitter – @hjsunderland143   Buy Links: Waterstones          Amazon

#BookReview by Lou- Happy Publication Day for At First Sight by Hannah Sunderland @hjsunderland143 @ElliePilcher95 @AvonBooks #RomanticFiction #Fiction

At First Sight
By Hannah Sunderland

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Beautifully written and heartwarming – At First Sight is a romance with great drama, to really sink into and lose yourself in an uplifting, yet emotional rollercoaster of a read. It is entrancing and hard to put down. So it’s very worth getting a lovely cup of tea/coffee/glass of wine etc and getting comfortable for this wonderful book.
Thanks to publisher Avon Books for inviting me to the cover reveal months ago and then to invite me to review.

At First Sight

Blurb

Two strangers. Two chance meetings. One extraordinary love story…

Nell and Charlie feel a spark when they meet by chance in a cafe. But they don’t trade numbers, or surnames, so there’s no way they’ll meet again.

But the next day, Nell’s phone rings at work. Somehow, impossibly, Charlie is on the other end. And he needs her help.

Nell is about to save a life, fall in love … and risk everything for a perfect stranger.

Tender, thought-provoking and joyful, Charlie and Nell’s unique love story will capture your heart and give you hope. Perfect for fans of The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh and The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver.

At First Sight (2)

Review

Charlie and Nell catch that first sight of each other. The connection oozes off the page!
Life however, hadn’t been easy for Nell when she was with Joel as events swept through their lives, tearing them apart, but love isn’t that simple as he complicates matters and the water had been muddied, when she was trying to move on. Charlie is also quite the mysterious man to unravel. He is, in contrast, very lovely, but has a secret surrounding him. It adds to the intrigue as the “will they, won’t they?” question mounts. It’s written all very compellingly and more than I expected as romance simmers and boils over, but with emotional times in Charlie’s life, it just gets deeper and complicated goes up another notch with his reactions to anything about his family start to show. All this and Charlie’s sudden disappearances make for an tension to build, that hooks and reels you in further and further to the end as curiosity builds and an absolute need to know how it all ends as it twists and turns and keeps you guessing. These are lives that are easy to get caught up in.

With powerful romance, some mentions of loss, grief and suicide, fabulous characters this is an absolutely terrific read to settle into and be whisked away for awhile in a wonderfully written romantic story that has so much hope attached to it.

Social Media and Buy Links

Twitter – @hjsunderland143   Buy Links: Waterstones          Amazon

#BookReview by Lou of The Sister Surprise by Abigail Mann @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollins

The Sister Surprise
By Abigail Mann

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Scottish countryside, tracing a sister and an unexpected romance, all wrapped up with great humour that will bring a smile and a giggle, and is sure to lift the spirits; is what The Sister Surprise brings to readers. This is the second novel by Abigail Mann who wrote the much talked about debut novel – The Lonely Fajita. Each book is complete within themselves.

Thank you to One More Chapter – Harper Collins UK publishers for The Sister Surprise.

The Sister Surprise

Blurb

The next hilarious, uplifting book from Abigail Mann, author of The Lonely Fajita.

Journalist Ava takes a DNA test hoping to discover her roots. Instead, she finds out she has a half-sister … whilst on a live stream watched by 100,000 people. Her boss thinks it’s the perfect click-bait story. Ava just wants to go to Moira’s tiny Scottish village and meet her.

But when Ava arrives undercover as a volunteer farmhand, she realises Moira – who’s her pig-wrestling, chatterbox polar opposite – might not be delighted by the news. And the longer Ava stays in Kilroch, with its inappropriately attractive reverend and ties to her hidden family past, the more complicated this surprise is going to get…

The perfect funny, heartwarming read for fans of Marian Keyes, Beth O’Leary, Sophie Ranald and Mhairi McFarlane.

‘Abigail Mann is a sparky new talent on the scene’ Milly Johnson

‘If you like Beth O’Leary, this is absolutely the book for you!’

The Sister Surprise

Review

Ava Atmore is a very quirky 27 year old journalist at Snooper who has a cuddly cat and quite the mother to live up to in some ways, with her high expectations and her occasional jibes. It is fun however, getting to know her mum and family friends Ginger and Rory.

There’s some humour mixed in with bites of popular culture and the guessing to who are Ava’s relations, as light-hearted conversations between the characters progress.

Family Trees, Family Connections, DNA can be absolutely fascinating and this is what Ava bravely embarks on, with the brave part being it is all there for the world to know, on a live-stream! Her family is interesting and especially since she finds a sister she never knew she had up in Scotland. The Scottish references of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Irn-Bru etc add a bit of fun and also may interest people to Google them, if they are unfamiliar. People in their late 20’s to late 30’s will have a nostalgic flashback to Matt Baker in his Blue Peter days, referenced as Ava travels up to Scotland to find her sister.

Ava is very much a city girl and it shows, which is quite amusing with her pre-conceptions and questions, as she tries to acquaint herself with the countryside and animals, so it is fun seeing her learn. There are many comical parts to the books, which makes it pretty uplifiting in what is a meandering book, which then picks up interest again when she finds her sister, Moira and her family story starts to all be unwrapped. There is also a lovely romance simmering away for Ava.

All in all, it’s a story with very good, proper humour and is a good read for escapism and a bit of a journey into the countryside.

#Interview by Lou with Backstories Author – Simon Van Der Velde @SimonVdVwriter #ShortStories #Backstories #Charities

Interview with Simon Van Der Velde
Author of Backstories

Today I welcome Bestselling author – Simon Van Der Velde, whose new book, is Backstories for a Q&A session. It is already becoming a success story in itself for this debut short-story teller with his book rapidly reaching Amazon no 1 bestseller – for lit shorts new releases. The book is available now.
What a priveledge to be able to interview him.

Backstories
is a highly original collection of 14 intimate short stories about famous and infamous people who you may know. These tell their stories, fictionalised, but with enough fact so you, the reader, can guess who the narrator is. I rated it 5 stars and was hooked into each story from beginning to end.

You can find out more  Here First, check out what he has to say in his interview/Q&A session with me as we talk about Backstories, Writing, Desert Island Books and Music and Emerging From Lockdown. You can also find buy and social media links and the charities this book supports at the end.

Backstories

What or who inspired you to write short stories and do you have a particular routine to your writing day?

There were always books in our house, so I guess writing is an ambition that goes right back to childhood.  I do love novels too, but sometimes I feel there’s greater power and truth in the shorter form.

Backstories (2)The best ideas come in that fuzzy place between wake and sleep.  Ideally, I roll out of bed and start writing – often in my ‘office kimono’, with those ideas still fresh in my mind.

You are clearly fascinated in the human soul and bearing all, what inspired you to delve into the deeper and sometimes darker corners of life to create your characters?

I’m not much use at parties.  I find the superficial boring. Give me the truth every time.

You have a particular writing style and don’t let on too easily who the narrator is of each of the stories. Was there a particular reason or inspiration for this?

The longer I write, the more I see that a story is a collaboration between reader and writer.  Readers aren’t interested in writers showing off how clever they are, readers want to be engaged – to be an active part of the process, and in Backstories they absolutely are.  Let’s call it an interactive reading experience.

What was your favourite short story in this collection to write and why?

I love the Guitar which was the inspiration for the collection – and Past Time and Jive Talkin – but in the end I think All Over Now is my favourite, probably because it was hell to write and rewrite and throw away and start again over and over and over, but in the end I really feel I did the character justice – and at is what I aim to do – to do justice to these great men and women – and give a human insight into the bad guys too.

In couple of sentences, how would you describe your book?

Let’s call it an interactive reading experience – or as someone said – the thinking person’s masked singer.  Certainly, I’d say it’s the most original book of the year.

Music notesWhat are your top 3 Desert Island books and music?

Waiting for the Barbarians, The Heart of The Matter –
and for music – Springsteen’s Thunder Road
                                 gets me every time

What is your next writing venture?

Backstories II, Backstories Musicians, Backstories Leaders.pen and paper pic

And last question, because let’s face it, it’s hard to avoid…. What is the main thing you are looking forward to getting back to, when it is safe to do so?

A few glasses of decent whisky with friends

Thank you very much to Simon Van Der Velde for giving me the opportunity to interview. It was a pleasure having you on my blog.

Buy and Social Media Links

This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth.

Amazon – Backstories              Audible

Goodreads-Backstories   

BookBub-Backstories

http://www.simonvandervelde.com/

#Review by Lou of Another Life by Jodie Chapman – A #BetweenTheCovers book pick @jodiechapman @Ells85 @MichaelJBooks

Another Life
By Jodie Chapman

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The book is a pick for Between The Covers on BBC 2, presented by Sara Cox. It has many themes of life, including love and loss as it takes readers on a journey of Nick and Anna’s lives. It starts in the most shocking way, that will be sure to make you gasp in what is a mix of nostalgia and closer to present day as it sweeps through relatable characters lives. It is gripping and emotional all the way through and is sure, in its beautifully written style, to tug at your heartstrings. It’s a very good, strong debut novel.

Check out the blurb and my full review below. Thank you very much to Ellie Hughes for sending me a proof copy to review.

AnotherLife

Blurb

She could be the girl dancing on tables one night, and the next she’d be hiding in the shadows.

Just when I thought I understood her, she would melt away and become a completely new person, and I’d have to start all over again.

That’s how it was with Anna.
_______

Nick and Anna work the same summer job at their local cinema. Anna is mysterious, beautiful, and from a very different world to Nick.

She’s grown up preparing for the end of days, in a tightly-controlled existence where Christmas, getting drunk and sex before marriage are all off-limits.

So when Nick comes into her life, Anna falls passionately in love. Their shared world burns with poetry and music, cigarettes and conversation – hints of the people they hope to become.

But Anna, on the cusp of adulthood, is afraid to give up everything she’s ever believed in, and everyone she’s ever loved. She walks away, and Nick doesn’t stop her.

Years later, a tragedy draws Anna back into Nick’s life.

But rekindling their relationship leaves Anna and Nick facing a terrible choice between a love that’s endured decades, and the promises they’ve made to others along the way.

AnotherLife

Review

Be prepared to be shocked, have your emotions being pulled and have your attention grabbed from the minute you open the book!!!
Another Life is sure to send many readers on quite a life journey! This tells a searing and heart-wrenching story of Nick and Anna as it flips through time, mainly the 2000’s and 1990’s, but also delves into the late 1980’s and 2010’s. It bares an intensity that bores into you as you read in quite a spectacular way, it does take a bit of concentration, but is easy to follow with all the very fast year changes (although maybe a bit too much), but there is a sense of grounding because  of all the connecting themes and the main characters. All those time-frames are woven together to tie life experiences of love, loss, hope all together within these central characters in this substantially, well-plotted book.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s there are brilliant cultural and society references that will whisk you back there, such as Fawlty Towers and Marty McFly and that time travelling car on the TV and Woolworths on the highstreet, it gleams some nostalgia all around in so many ways. So, if you have a desire to travel back in time like Marty McFly, as Nick really wished he could, this book will do it, at least on the page and in your mind.

Some of the arguements about women’s roles and the friend who is old enough to look after themselves over even the simplest of tasks, but doesn’t, hold up pretty well and I am sure many readers will find relatable. Nick, well, he is well-written and depicts this guy who doesn’t always get things right and he doesn’t always know what to say or do. This sort of guy is pretty relatable throughout all of time; as is Anna with her desires in life and her experiences. This is beautifully depicted with the complexities of life throughout in the circumstances the characters find themselves in to their families, relationships and friendships to their personality types.
There’s an intensity and urgency in the need to escape from certain people. places, situations. There is Nick who has seen some dark times in his and his family’s life, who needs Anna to be his constant, his rock. She is strong, but also has her own challenges. There’s the tugs of religion in Anna’s life that set her in a bit of a quandry because of all the rules. There is a desire to lead Another Life from each of them as each have been through a lot of challenges in their lives, mostly brought in by their environment and some of the people around them. 

If you like David Nicholls’ books, you’re sure to enjoy Another Life!

Lillian White’s Journey by Karen Kelly @karenlindakelly #Fiction #Romcom #Uplit

Lillian White’s Journey
By Karen Kelly
Rated: 4 stars ****

Be prepared for humour in Lillian White’s Journey. It’s bursting full of fun, heartwarming entertainment. It is brimming full of life and there’s a wedding which may or may not go ahead….
Find out more in the blurb and my review below.
Thanks to the author Karen Kelly, who kindly got in touch with a request to review her book and to send me a copy.

Lillian White's Journey pic

Blurb

On the morning of her wedding, Lillian White awakes with a hangover from hell, a naked stranger and no recollection of the previous night. As her eyes become focused the panic sets in as the once intimate, romantic Bridal Suite resembles the aftermath of a wild, drunken party. Unread messages flood her inbox from her soon Husband-to-be but with only hours to spare, can she still go through with the wedding?

Lillian White's Journey pic

Review

Right from the prologue, I had a good vibe about this book. Readers meet the main protagonist, Lillian White on the morning of her wedding to Robert Lomax, who sounds very handsome and the man of her dreams. The book gets off to a flying start, not by its humour, but also the intrigue as to who exactly was in bed with her. Then comes a bit of back story that will be relatable to many singletons to some extent or another. Lillian has been on some pretty funny dates and some right disaterous ones.

Tom and Jess are in a relationship and they are friends with Sam, Sally and Lou, who know secrets about Tom’s lovelife, that soon comes out to Jess with a revelation from Tom.The friendship between them and Lillian is heartwarming and absolutely lovely.

As one romance ends, there’s sizzling intrigue to see if another begins… It turns out jogging has its hazards, but then again, the paramedic who comes to the rescue, resembles the man of a lot of women’s dreams!

The book is set in Sedley, Cheshire and sounds idyllic, with the sound of a woodpecker for an alarm clock, which knows no bounds and will have the tendency to hammer away, even when on holiday time, as Lillian is, from her family’s business – The Whyte Shed. Readers can then travel with her in her snazzy new job as an Air-hostess and those first day nerves of training, which would be familiar to many people. There’s plenty that pregnant women and women who have had babies, will recongnise and it is written with good wit, as much as, at the same time readers will be able to empathise and sympathise with Lillian. It’s what makes this book so good and so easy to get caught up in. The book moves at quite a pace and once again, Lillian is off to work for a bit, leaving baby Freddie and an excellently stocked goody cupboard and fridge behind, with Sam, so he can be looked after. Later she and Freddie land in Florida and the situations they get into adds further humour. Lillian’s relationships with men are complicated though, as is the wedding day.

The book is as down-to-earth as you can get and is highly entertaining, addictive and engaging. It’s perfect for these brighter days with the promise of more warmth. It would make a lovely relaxed few days to read with a glass of wine, or whatever beverege, in the garden or lounging on a sofa.