An Excerpt of The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce by Tom Gillespie @tom_gillespie @lovebooksgroup #BlogTour

Introducing an Extract/Excerpt of
The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce
By Tom Gillespie

Today I have a very exciting excerpt of an absolutely wonderful book that is full of intrigue. I will have a full review in the summer, so watch out for that too. In the mean-time, please enjoy a bit from the book and also find out about its Scottish author.

THE STRANGE BOOK OF JACOB BOYCE_eBcov (2) (1)

Extract/Excerpt 

A spiralling obsession. A missing wife. A terrifying secret. Will he find her before it’s too late?

When Dr Jacob Boyce’s wife goes missing, the police put it down to a simple marital dispute. Jacob, however, fears something darker. Following her trail to Spain, he becomes convinced that Ella’s disappearance is tied to a mysterious painting whose hidden geometric and numerical riddles he’s been obsessively trying to solve for months. Obscure, hallucinogenic clues, and bizarre, larger-than-life characters, guide an increasingly unhinged Jacob through a nightmarish Spanish landscape to an art forger’s studio in Madrid, where he comes face-to-face with a centuries-old horror, and the terrifying, mind-bending, truth about his wife.

About the Author

Tom Gillespie grew up in a small town just outside Glasgow. After completing a Masters in English at Glasgow University, he spent the next ten years pursuing a musical career as a singer/songwriter, playing, recording and touring the UK and Europe with his band. He now lives in Bath with his wife, daughter and hyper-neurotic cat, where he works at the university as an English lecturer. Tom writes long and short stories. His stories have appeared in many magazines, journals and e-zines. He is co-author of Glass Work Humans-an anthology of stories and poems, published by Valley Press. Visit Tom at tom-gillespie.com

Buy Link

https://amzn.to/2zspp0N

#Review of Summer on a Sunny Island by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #Uplit #Fiction #feelgood #RomanticFiction

Summer on a Sunny Island
By Sue Moorcroft
Rated: *****

I’ve come to really enjoy Sue Moorcroft’s books, so I was so happy to see that I was approved for reviewing Summer on a Sunny Island by Avon. This book was worth the wait.
It is perfect for some escapism at Summer Cottage. There’s sun, sea, sand, a harbour, food and characters with their reasons on why they are on such an otherwise, idyllic, beautiful island. It’s enough to sweep you away in an imaginary holiday of your very own, from the comfort of your own home.

Summer on a Sunny Island cover

Blurb

The #1 bestseller is back with your perfect holiday read!

When Rosa Hammond splits up from her partner Marcus after his gambling problem becomes too much to handle, she decides to take up her mum Dora’s offer of a summer in Malta. Not one to sit back and watch her daughter be unhappy, Dora introduces Rosa to Zach, in the hope that sparks will fly under the summer sun. But Rosa’s determined not to be swayed by a handsome man – she’s in Malta to work and that needs to be her focus.

Zach, meanwhile, is a magnet for trouble and is dealing with a fair few problems of his own. Neither Rosa or Zach are ready for a romance – but does fate have other ideas? And after a summer in paradise, will Rosa ever want to leave?

A heartwarming, escapist book to lose yourself in this summer from bestselling author Sue Moorcroft, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Cathy Bramley.

Review

The book is set on a Maltese island, where the main characters, Yorkshire girl Rosa and Cornish guy Zach, who she is seeing on a date that isn’t really a date.
Rosa and Marcus have split and she is escaping it all in Malta, except  her mother would really like for her to have a summer romance and is trying to play cupid and has set her up with a date, in this idyllic setting with sun, coastlines and harbour and other gorgeous views. It’s almost dreamy and is very easy to slip into and escape the outside world for a bit. We may but not be able to physically go on holiday, but with this book, we certainly can in our imaginations and still return with a positive effect. The book does however carry substance. Sue Moorcroft balances it out divinely.
Zach has secrets from Rosa about not talking to his father and his grandad having dementia, who his nanna cared for.
On the night out readers meet Elsa from Edinburgh and Luccio who Zach met whilst during volunteer work for a youth organisation and has been lured into hanging out with a not so pleasant crowd.
Dory is an interesting character who is a food writer. The mediterranean food sounds delightful. This is a book that could truly make you hungry. Over delicious sounding food and wine, Rosa’s mother possibly taints the relaxed atmosphere a little by probing into the date that wasn’t a date, or as Rosa will stand firm about in her belief.
It’s interesting to read about Marci and Zach’s parents and Rosa’s parents with connections to the army and with how Dory became famous and has a bestselling Sunday Times book. It’s also interesting to read the grittier, not so wonderful parts too with Luccio heading towards trouble and with Dory’s publication issues. Elsewhere there are relationship anxieties and a disclosure of a miscarriage. It’s all sensitively written and doesn’t go too heavily into details. The book never loses that totally relaxing feel.

It’s fun seeing the relationships between the characters and seeing them develop, seeing the moving on process and romance develop and the interactions.

About the Author

Award winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. The Wedding ProposalDream a Little Dream and Is This Love? were all nominated for Readers’ Best Romantic Read Awards. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.

The Christmas Promise was a Kindle No.1 Best Seller and held the No.1 slot at Christmas!

Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.

You can follow Sue on Twitter @SueMoorcroft, find her on Facebook and visit her website.

Great books from 2019 – Happy New Year and Happy Reading #HappyNewYear #2019books #2019wrapup #MyYearinBooks #BestBooks #MustReads #amreading #readingforpleasure #books #CrimeFiction #Thriller #FamilySaga #Saga #Historical #Kidslit #YA #NonFiction #Fiction #Fantasy #UpLit #Bookish

Great Books to check out and read from 2019

I have read and reviewed so many books this year. I have decided to follow the trend of compiling an end of year list of what I would consider “The Must Read or Top 2019 Books. The list will be in no particular order, but will be broken down into genre. Here you will find great Children’s Books and Young Adult books, followed by all types of crime fiction; followed by general fictional books; followed by family saga/historical fiction; followed by fantasy; followed by non-fiction/autobiographical/biographical.
Firstly, I would like to say a few thanks:

I am incredibly grateful to everyone however who contacts me through my blog or Twitter, interacts with me, sends me books to review, either personally or through publishing houses. I am grateful for the generosity of authors, publishers and bloggers for sharing my reviews on their social media platforms and websites. I thank publishers and authors for considering me and for giving me the responsibility of reviewing their books. Reviewing someone’s work is something I don’t do lightly. A lot of thought goes into it all and also I am so conscious that what is in my hands at that moment is someone’s hard work and, whether I’ve met the person/people face to face or not, I am always aware of them being human too. I must say that I do love writing my blog and I appreciate every opportunity I have ever had that has come with writing it.

I also thank those authors, publishers and bloggers who have been kind and generous in other ways too, such as help with the community library I currently lead. You know who you are and I am eternally grateful.

Now onto the lists. I hope people find something new, some inspiration or are perhaps reminded that they want to check out a book. The books on the list are all on my blog, so feel free to check out the full reviews. The books can be borrowed from libraries, bought from bookshops and are also e-books on the various e-book platforms.

Children and Young Adult Fiction


Princess Poppy – Please, Please Save the Bees by Janey Louise Jones
Timothy Mean and the Time Machine by William A.E. Ford
The Hangry Hamster by Grace McCluskey
Leo and the Lightning Dragons by Gill White
Toletis by Rafa Ruiz
The Age of Akra by Vacen Taylor

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty
10 Things to do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keefe (YA)

Crime Fiction , including Thrillers and Political Thrillers

Absolution by Adam Croft
Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver
In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone

Nothing to Hide by James Oswald
The Poisoned Rock by Robert Daws
Death at the Plague Museum by Lesley Kelly
The Killing Rock by Robert Daws
In Plain Sight by Adam Croft
Sealed with a Death by James Sylvester
Hands Up by Stephen Clark
The Silence of Severance by Wes Markin
A Friend In Deed by G.D. Harper

General Fiction

 


The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami
A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft
Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls
Let it Snow by Sue Moorcroft
Summer at the Kindness Café by Victoria Walters
Secret Things and Highland Flings by Tracy Corbett
Sunshine and Secrets – The Paradise Cookery School by Daisy James

Family Saga/Historical Fiction

Bobby Girls coverHeady HeightsTime will tell book

Bobby Girls by Johanna Bell
Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F.Frost

Time Will Tell by Eva Jordan

Fantasy

The Blue Salt Road Joanne HarrisThe Old Dragon's Head Coveer

The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M. Harris (YA and Adult)
The Old Dragon’s Head by Justin Newland

The Longest Farewell by Nula Suchet
Zippy and Me by Ronnie Le Drew
First in the Fight 20 Women Who Made Manchester by Helen Antrobus
The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler

I have some books to review already and working on them for 2020.
I’ve plenty of exciting things to be blogging about in 2020 and hopefully many more exciting opportunities will crop up in the future. I will also be publishing brief resumes of great theatre shows from 2018 and 2019, most of which are still running, going to tour nationally in the UK and some of which come back every so often, so could be ones to look out for in the future.
For now, I hope you enjoy what I have for my 2019 resumes and all else that is on my blog. I hope you all had a great Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2020. Thank you too for following and reading my blog, without such, it wouldn’t exist. I love writing my blog and always grateful to those who give me opportunities to review and to write and to talk to people and to those who read what I write. Thank you!!!!

As I didn’t do this in 2018, here is a quick run down of the best books I read then. 
Fiction – Stealth by Hugh Fraser, Antiques and Alibis by Wendy H. Jones, The Wrong Direction by Liz Treacher, A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft.
Non -Fiction – An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe, Charles Dickens by Simon Callow, Fill my Stocking by Alan Titchmarsh.
Young Adult – Tony Plumb and the Moles of Ellodian by J.M. Smith
Children’s books – The Treasure At the Top of The World by Clive Mantle.
Reviews can be found on my blog. Please note the Christmas books are reviewed within one blog post with quick reviews.

Happy New Year 2020

 

Bookmark pic

Review of Congress Has A Library by Mary Therese Grabowski – A book to spark imaginations and a love of the adventure of libraries @1marytherese #SpiritofAmerica #CongressHasALibrary #Librarytales #USA #BookTasters #Kidslit

Congress Has a Library
by Mary Therese Grabowski
Rated: 4 Stars ****

 

About the Author

MaryTherese(MT) Grabowskidoesn’t just bleed red. Red, white and blue to be more precise! This only daughter of six childrenborn into an Air Force family has a patrioticgene that has only strengthened with life experiences.Grabowski’s imagination gave her apassion for writing and storytelling.After graduation from Wesleyan Collegewith a degree in Communications,Grabowski spent the next twenty yearsin broadcasting. First on the air in radioand then as a reporter and television newsanchor. The military and government weretwo of this award winning journalistsbeats, so telling those stories not onlyhoned her skills it made her passion forpatriotism and writing to help keep peopleinformed grow. She was lured from the broadcast newsbusiness into the military advocacy worldwhere she spent six years defending Robins AFB Georgia and our United States AirForce at the local, state and national levelsas the Executive Director of a non-profit organization. It was during this time that something life changing happened. Herthen 12 year old niece wanted to go to Washington DC on a trip. Grabowski told her niece that they would vacation to D.C. later in the year for a fun, but it would bean educational trip! One day during the Presidential Campaignin 2008 Grabowski and Sam were listening to the radio in the car when a storycame on about Barack Obama winning the Democratic Nomination. The news story was discussing who his potentialcabinet members might be. Grabowskiasked Sam, “Can you tell me who makesup The President’s Cabinet?” Samantha without hesitation responded, “Why do I care who makes his furniture?” Needlessto say Grabowski almost wrecked the car. This bright, well-educated niece wasserious. Grabowski quickly learned thatmost students do not seriously learn about government until they are a sophomorein high school. To the author, that was alarming as in two years, students will be eligible to vote.After a restless night of sleep, thecharacter America Johnson and The Spiritof America Series was born.

AJBM_SHH

Review

The book begins with a short but pointed dedication to librarians (or in other words library staff.

This book will delight fans of this series as it continues onwards into Spirit of America, book 5. The book also appears to be a good stand-alone story too.

The main characters – Benny and America have a school assignment to do and are supposed to investigate books in the library and think libraries are dull, which is typical of people’s thinking in so many places. This book may be based in America and written by an American author, but the thinking is the same as in the UK and other countries in the world. This children’s book sets out to challenge this. It says to children how cool libraries are because there’s more than meets the eye to them and even the most important people in the world, in this case, the President of the USA has a library. The library sparks amazing imagination as readers enter the character America’s dreams and the wonderful world of libraries that she had not expected. This is a great part of the book to acquaint children (and adults reading it to their child) with libraries and their importance and demonstrates why in the age of technology, libraries are still relevant today, but all in story form.

The book comes together quite well as a way to explain what a library really is and why they should be used. There was a little excitement about there being more to a library than what is seen at first. I felt there could be a little bit more drive and excitement there. The library coming into jeopardy was a good decision.  It became more immediate and adds to the pace.

I think the book will serve a valuable purpose. Having worked in libraries I know how challenging it is to keep libraries relevant and to show how important they are, so it is good that authors are getting behind them.

Readers should read on to find out what the Benny and America think of books. Do they still think libraries and books are boring? Read the book to find out.

There are good illustrations throughout the book to assist in telling the story, it isn’t a picture book though. There’s plenty of reading to be done, but not too much for children.

There is a fun quiz at the end of the story, which is worth a look to see how many answers you can get right.

With thanks to Mary Therese Grabowski for allowing me to review her book and for BookTasters for giving me the opportunity to choose from a range of books to review.

Blog Tour Review of Toletis by Rafa Ruiz – For Ages Seven to 107 #Toletis @rafaruizmad #RafaRuiz @Neemtreepress #RandomThingsTour @AnneCater #AlenaHomiga #BenDawlatly #Spain #UK #Environment #Climate #Adventure #Fiction #Kidslit #YA #Education

Toletis
By Rafa Ruiz
Rated: 4 Stars ****

It is with great pleasure that I present to you my review of Toletis by Rafa Ruiz. The book for people ages 7 to 107 because it has important themes of friendship, the environment and there’s plenty of adventure and some humour, complete with illustrations. This is a book that adults and children can read alone or enjoy together and gain something from it. It is a book to inspire everyone at every milestone in their lives.

Today is happily my turn on the Random Things Blog Tour I was invited on.

FINAL Toletis BT Poster

About the Author

Rafa Ruiz Author PicRafa Ruiz is a journalist and author who has a staunch commitment to culture, art and the environment. He spent 25 years at Spanish newspaper El País and is a partner-founder of the Press Association for Environmental Information (APIA). He has written numerous children’s books, and he codirects the Mad is Mad art gallery in Madrid which gives space to up-and-coming artists. He is one of the partner-founders of the Press Association for Environmental Information (APIA).

 

Toletis Elena Hormiga PictureElena Hormiga is an illustrator with a sense of humour. She studied and worked as an engineer and later turned to illustration

 

 

Ben Dawlatly PictureBen Dawlatly took an MA in Hispanic Studies and Translation Theory at UCL. He translates both technical and literary texts. However, his real calling is in fiction and poetry.

 

Blurb

Trees are disappearing and adults don’t care. Toletis, his dog Amenophis and friends Claudia and Tutan are on a mission to turn their little valley town, set deep in the mountains, luscious green again. The odds are stacked against them. Can they succeed… with some very unusual help?

Toletis is a positive role model for boys

Toletis is a quiet, sensitive and caring boy who isn’t afraid to show his emotions. His character is a perfect antidote to the expectations of a “typical” boy: loud, boisterous and destructive. This is definitely a book for parents who reject the saying “boys will be boys”.

The ‘big’ real life stuff

One of the things I love most about Toletis is that it touches on big real life events such as the death of a family member in a wholesome and loving way. Sad events in the book are neither taboo nor overly sad; they are expertly touched upon in a way that is both matter-of-fact and empathetic.

Toletis encourages a love of nature

It’s easy to be drawn in by the immersive storytelling and beautiful illustrations. Toletis spends much of the book exploring the hills and valleys around his home, foraging, planting trees and doing all of the things every child should. The book gives just enough detail – the smells, the sounds of the hills are so clear you’re almost there yourself.

Toletis has a good sense of justice

Toletis has a good sense of justice. When trees are cut down to put a wide road through the town, he hatches a plan to stop it. He knows what is wrong in the world and isn’t afraid to step up and change it. 

Toletis Cover

Review

Travel along with the playful mist and meet Toletis who has a love of trees and to get to know them all as well as grow one, especially an apple tree. The book goes into the fascination of this in a lovely amount of detail and enough to feed the curiosity of young minds. Toletis’s friend Tutan also has a deep interest in wildlife and tries to imitate birds such as hen harriers, swifts, tawny owls and more and also animals such as pigs, horses, dogs and more.

In Spring time, also meet the Treenie-weenies, who are all the souls of the trees that had been felled, who then inhabit other trees. There’s an issue though – the town isn’t planting more trees and the Treenie-weenies are bored. Read on to find out what they do in the end. It certainly wasn’t what I expected, it was even better.

In the book you can join Toletis at his school and learn the Wobbegong language, which his teacher doesn’t understand and is reminded to write in English, but he speaks it with Aunty Josifina as they play with words and language and just have fun with it.

It is soon Summer time and there’s more people to meet and things to do.

Meet Alexander Atherton Aitken who comes to see Toletis, Tutan and Claudia on a farm. There visitor just isn’t used to farm animals. There’s fun and tall tales to be had and later in the chapter Lian – AAA as Alexander was shortened to has tales of his own to tell about Julian and whether he went to war or not and whether he was the Lian or not. Read on to find out what happens next and about the mysterious house.

Autumn arrives and Toletis promises hazlenuts for his mum and goes “nutting” a tree. There’s some natural child thoughts about how Toletis imagines his mum not being around anymore. It seems dark, but lots of children, including me, has thought and imagined this in childhood. In this case it sweetly makes Toletis appreciate his mum even more. There’s also a parts of growing up as he looks at his dad’s legs and compares them with his own, just to see if they’re the same. Children will relate to this as they try to make sense of things as they grow. There’s comfort to be gained by this part in the stories.

Behold the rickety mansion that belongs to Claudia’s Granny Ursula with her animal-like eyes. It is atmospheric and a feast for the eyes with its antique furniture and cakes, lots of cakes and then a further surprise of something else edible on the third floor. Read further to find out what…

Enter the Wide Road where people move too fast through their surroundings, never really paying attention to it as they speed along the road, that is also being widened by workmen. Toletis is different. He properly observes the surroundings. It highlights what plant species grow on road verges and their importance. There’s a stark contrast between the hard asphalt and the beauty of the green verges and the destruction of them and the speed on the roads and what harm can be done.

Winter brings a coldness that can almost be felt, as can the comfort of wintry foods. It also gives time for old photographs to come to the fore, which bring intrigue, beauty and fun that is so illustravely written.

Throughout the book there are adventures to have, friendships and a real care for the immediate environment, which is beautifully written. This may not be a book that immediately comes to people’s minds so quickly and yet there are important messages within it and it is a lovely story for children to explore this lovely vivid book alone or with and adult.

There are interesting illustrations throughout the book to assist in telling the story, which will appeal to many children of the ages 7 plus as they are now so used to reading books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates, Storey Treehouse series that all have illustrations through them too.

The book will appeal to boys and girls alike and has Toletis, the main character having the qualities of being a positive role model to both. It shows a sensitivity as well as still having humour and adventure throughout it.

Review of Bookends by Jane Green @JaneGreen @PenguinUKBooks #uplit #chiclit #review #UK #US #bookshops #books #friendship #kindness #food

Bookends
By Jane Green
Rated: 4 stars ****

About the Author

JANE GREEN IS THE AUTHOR OF TWENTY NOVELS, INCLUDING SEVENTEEN NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS, ONE COOKBOOK, AND VARIOUS SHORT STORIES.

She is published in over 25 languages, and has over ten million books in print worldwide. She has been part of the ABC News team, has had her own radio show on BBC Radio London, and has made regular appearances on TV and radio.
She contributes to a number of newspapers and magazines, and has a weekly column in The Lady magazine, England’s longest running weekly magazine.
A graduate of the International Culinary Institute in New York, Green is an avid cook, amateur decorator, and passionate gardener. She is also a regular storyteller for The Moth.
A resident of Westport, Connecticut, she lives there with her husband, a small menagerie of animals, and (too) many children.

Blurb

On the shelf, but still best friends . . .

Bookends CoverCath is scatty, messy and guarded. While Si is impossibly tidy, bitchy and desperate for a man of his own. They are total opposites – but equally unlucky in love. And they’ve stuck together through thick and thin. Because that’s what best friends do.

So when their beautiful friend Portia – the undisputed queen of their group of friends at university – steps back into their lives, after a ten year gap, her reappearance tests both Cath and Si’s friendship to the limit.

What does Portia want? Will she be a force for good in their lives, or something darker? And will Cath and Si ever get lucky in love?

 

Review

This isn’t a brand new book, it is one I have read a few times and felt like reviewing as I raided my shelves in my book cupboard. Being published in 2000, it has topical themes and all the themes of life don’t really change and it still feels as fresh and relevant as it did then. It can still be bought and may be on some library shelves. It is interesting that the cover has changed a few times over the years. Below are some of the UK (top 3) and US (bottom 2) cover versions.

This story takes readers on life’s journey with main character Cath along with Si – her great friend, Josh – her transient friend and Portia – her soulmate. This at the beginning is how she saw these main people who are in her social circle at university.

Portia is the first character to be really introduced. She comes from a rich background and Cath had assumed all was perfect when they were students, except its readers will soon learn that was perhaps not quite so. Cath, Si and Josh drift away from her as she hurt other friends of theres.

Si is a film editor in Soho and wants to find his Mr Right. Whether there is the perfect romance for him or not, you’ll just have to find out by reading the book. He certainly looks for it and I always find myself rooting for him.

Josh works within mergers and acquisitions and within this circle of friends. He is also married to Lucy, but is suspected of having an affair.

Cath is single after a 2 year distasterous relationship where she decides not to open herself up to love ever again, although whether she sticks to that vow she makes to herself or not remains to be seen.

Si is like a great best friend, he is written a bit like on a wish list of friends. He is written as caring for Cath and a lover of fashion and tries to perk her up on Bond Street, London. He also has a wonderful sense of humour. He can be moody at times and that would be frustrating. The characterisation of Si is excellent.

Lucy and Cath set up a bookshop together that’s made of so many people’s dreams. Lots of lovely books and a cafe area with the most scrumptious sounding cakes and pastries. What’s not to like? A book about frienship and how everyone interacts with each other and their lives and this lovely bookshop. The book is simply so wonderful and that is why I wanted to re-read it.

There’s romance and twists and this book is compelling. It’s one to devour and is so hard to put down once started, everything about it is so divine. The more the book goes on the more the characters almost enthrall and then there’s Portia who is mysterious and the question of what she really wants builds. She has some sort of effect on everyone’s lives one way or another.

There’s really shockingly sad heartbreak that is handled so sensitively and so believable. I won’t say to whom or what it is as it would spoil the story.

This book has everything in it. I enjoy Jane Green’s books but thus far this is my favourite of hers and one I am certain to return to again.

Uplit is the latest buzz word in literature and this book has kindness, friendship and although there is heartbreak, there are enough elements that will lift people’s spirits too.

Jane’s latest book is called The Friends We Keep and was published on June 4th 2019.