#BookReview By Lou of Should I Tell You By Jill Mansell @JillMansell @headlinepg #HeadlineFiction #RandomTTours #ShouldITellYou #BlogTour #Fiction #BookRecommendation

Should I Tell You
By Jill Mansell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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I am so pleased and excited to be on the blog tour for Should I Tell You By Jill Mansell. Readers are in for a treat! Whether you’ve read some of her books before or not (they are complete within themselves), this is an absolutely brilliant, heartwarming, joy of a  book to pick up. Discover more in the blurb and praise more of my thoughts in my review, followed by a little about the author….

Thanks to Random T. Tours for inviting me and to Headline Books for gifting me a copy of the book.

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Blurb and Praise

The most heart-warming novel you’ll read this year … from the Sunday Times bestselling author of AND NOW YOU’RE BACK

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Should I Graphic 8 Amber, Lachlan and Raffaele met as teenagers in the seaside home of kind-hearted foster parents. Arriving in glorious Cornwall was the best thing that ever happened to them – and now, as adults, their bond is stronger than ever.
But Amber has a secret. She’s in love with Lachlan. She can’t confess her feelings because that would never work. Restless Lachlan dates a lot and definitely isn’t the settling-down type. Surely it’s better to keep him as a friend than to risk losing him for good?
Raffaele has his own dilemma. He had the dream girlfriend in Vee, until it all went horribly wrong . . . and he still can’t understand why. Is Vee hiding something from him?
Now their widowed foster dad Teddy thinks he’s found love again. Younger, charming and strikingly beautiful, is Olga as perfect as she seems? Or will she end up breaking Teddy’s heart?
Against a backdrop of sparkling seas and sunny skies, the unexpected is always just around the corner. Welcome to Lanrock!

Review

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Lachlan is an ambitious chef in high demand by the media as a journalistic interview is conducted and more is found out about his popularity and his passion for what he does in the kitchen and that he has for his valued customers. He likes London, but Peggy wants him to follow her to Cornwall, which is painted beautifully in telling readers all it has to offer. She puts up an excellent argument for why she wants him down there to cook his Michelin Star food. She seems a fun, yet formidable woman. Within just a few pages in, my interest has piqued so much that I need to keep reading voraciously on.

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A wonderful idyllic scene is created when we learn about Teddy and a cruise to Greece, it oozes with all the holiday vibes that make you wish you were there too. It’s great that Jill Mansell has tackled the theme of the solo traveller (which Teddy is), in such a positive way and including all the fun of sharing photos back home, in this case to Amber and Lachlan. This pleased me, deeply. It depicts, and rightly so, the joy that can be had. There’s also the potential of romance for Teddy.

Once the scene is set, you learn more about Amber (who works at Lanrock Glass) and her earlier life and how she is intrinsically linked to the Penhaligon’s. It is at this time of her life, when she also met Lachlan and Raffaele and what is forged is a strong bond. This isn’t a story that jumps from one timeline to another, so don’t mistaken it for that, it rather gives a great background to what comes next and so readers can delve into the characters lives that then, rather compellingly, wraps around the reader until the very end, when it then lets you go, but still leaves a lingering heartwarming feeling.

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Things get really intriguing about the characters lives, the secrets and the relationships, especially as you can delve deeper into Vee’s life and what is going wrong. There’s also a mysterious letter that appears like a bolt from the blue that leads to revealing more about Raffaele’s life. As the book continues and it’s pretty hard to put down with all the unravelling of this beautiful, scenic book that has secrets that are offered up to inquisitive and curious readers.

Jill Mansell has linked characters up so well and it is so compelling unearthing more about them all. There is also, amongst possible relationships, relationship issues and general life, some really great humour, charm and warmth. The book then, apart from the warm feeling I said about earlier, leaves you hoping there will be another book to come from this excellent author.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jill Mansell Author Pic (1) Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including The One You Really Want and Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay.  Take a Chance on Me won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology in the NHS, but now writes full time. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including The One You Really Want and Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay.  Take a Chance on Me won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology in the NHS, but now writes full time. She lives in Bristol with her family.

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#BookReview By Lou – The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures By Holly Hepburn @HollyH_Author @TeamBATC @harriet_col #simonschusterUK #TheLittleShopOfHiddenTreasures

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures
By Holly Hepburn

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I am excited to present my review of The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures. It has layers of history, romance, poignancy and chips away at you to make you curious amongst the cosyness.
Check out the blurb and my full review below. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for gifting me a physical copy of The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures and for inviting me onto the blog tour.

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures cover pic

Blurb

**The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley and Katie Fforde.**
Originally published in four parts this is the full story in one package. 

When Hope loses her husband, she fears her happiest days are behind her. With her only connection to London broken, she moves home to York to be near her family and to begin to build a new life.  

Taking a job at the antique shop she has always admired, she finds herself crossing paths with two very different men. Will, who has recently become the guardian to his niece after the tragic death of her parents. And Ciaran, who she enlists to help solve the mystery of an Egyptian antique. Two men who represent two different happy endings.

But can she trust herself to choose the right man? And will that bring her everything she really needs?

The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, author of Coming Home to Brightwater Bay

Review

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures cover picHope Henderson is into antiques and needs a job. What can be more perfect than a vacancy at The Ever After Emporium – Purveyors of Treasure Great and Small in York. Her love of antiques started at Portabello Market in London, but then she moved to York where she finds the antique shop founded in 1902 where the proprieter is James T. Young Esq. What makes it seem all the more perfect is the post is part-time and no experience is required.

Charlotte is Hope’s sister, grappling motherhood with her daughter, Amber who is of a young age that she keeps growing out of things, something many parents with toddlers (and older kids), will be able to relate to. 

There’s an interesting Egyptian puzzle box that belonged to Will’s mother in the emporium that piques at the curiousity of Hope and will readers alike. This is where the plot begins to thicken, now it’s already captured my attention by its relative cosyness, which I am sure many readers will be able to feel and be reeled in even further between the past and present, linked with a letter written around an exhibition to Egypt in the early 1920’s. This note, secretly hidden away, sends Hope on an adventure of investigative research into Tutenkhamun, Lord Canarvon and the exhibitions. So, although this is a fictional story, it does mention real people and real excavations. The author intertwines fact and fiction well and holds interest. This book, what with all the interest in the Canarvon Family due to the location of Downton Abbey, may then find you wanting to investigate these exhibitions yourself too and that’s where good writing comes in, to pique interest that much.

On-top of the mysterious letter and the history is also deep poignancy about grief. What is said is incredibly truthful and wise words indeed within this book that has certain interesting nuances within it.

There’s also quite the love story to follow through this book too that keeps you guessing what the ending is going to be and what choices are going to be made. There’s also some great humour with certain film references and more general humour, between Hope and her sister Charlotte, creating some great sisterly fun. There’s also some really heartwarming moments among other characters too.

This is ulitmately a lovely book that is heartwarming and a joy to read.

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A Christmas Carol – By Charles Dickens Adapted By Dave McCluskey, Narrated By Liam Scott- @demccluskey1 #Audible Version #Christmas #AChristmasCarol #ChristmasReads #Classics #ChristmasClassics

A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted By Dave McCluskey
Narrated By Liam Scott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I have a review of the audio version (available on Audible) of a re-telling of A Christmas Carol. Thanks to Dave McCluskey for gifting me a free code to access this for honest review purposes. To listen to this for yourselves, I have a link after the review…

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Blurb

A classic Christmas tale, lovingly recreated in this beautiful audio book.

The reviled Scrooge is visited by three spirits who teach him the real meaning of life. 

The tale has been turned into rhyme, making this a delightful new twist to the story you know so well. Could it be a new addition to your Christmas traditions? 

Review

There are many re-tellings of A Christmas Carol and I am sure you know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the 3 spirits visiting him, but this has been done differently. It is in rhyme.
Each time a new version is produced, I admit, I have reservations, but listen, even though with an air of trepidation and hope that whatever is produced is done well and does the original text by Charles Dickens justice. This one is surprisingly done well. At just over an hour long (bearing in mind the book itself is actually surprisingly short), this is easy to fit into anyone’s day for some family entertainment for Christmas.

The piano music in the beginning sets the atmosphere and is pitch perfect. It has been adapted well by Dave McCluskey, who has clearly paid attention well to the original as it is all very recognisable. This is re-written in quite a bit of rhyme to it and is easy to listen to and makes this accessible to many ages, which brings me onto the narrator. Liam Scott narrates all the parts well, bringing atmosphere and all the characters to life with some good voice acting. From his opening lines and then throughout, he has a good, strong rhythm, heard with all the pronouncing of the words, sometimes emphasising certain words. The rhythm that is set brings good pace and interestingly sounds between being Shakespearean in some places and Pantomime in others places.
Throughout the story, Liam Scott reads this iconic Christmas tale with conviction. Each character is brought to life by Liam Scott by the different voices he does, Ebenezer Scrooge sounds his age and the ghosts sound haunting enough. There is also some humour in this tale of ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Still to Come.

This is overall a pretty good adaptation and may become part of people’s ways of listening to this well-known story and for those who have not yet read or listened to the original text, then this may encourage people to do that too.

To listen click on the link that will take you to Audible – Amazon – A Christmas Carol

#BookReview By Lou – Every Day In December By Kitty Wilson @KittyWilson23 @0neMoreChapter_ #ChristmasRead #Christmas #December #EveryDayInDecember #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #RomanceFiction

Every Day In December
By Kitty Wilson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Follow two lives, each with their ups and downs within them each day in December. A poignant romance for Christmas. Check out the blurb and the rest of my review below.

Every Day In December

Blurb

Every Day In DecemberTwo people. One month to fall in love.

Belle Wilde loves December. Yes, she’s just lost her job and Christmas is not a good time to find yourself ‘financially challenged’. And yes, her parents are still going on about the fact that she really should have it all together by now. But Belle believes that in December, magic can happen.

Rory Walters hates December. Whilst it looks like his life is together, he’s still reeling from a winter’s night five years ago when his life changed forever. Now back at home, he’s certain that this will be yet another Christmas to endure rather than enjoy.

But as midnight on December 31st draws closer, Belle and Rory’s time together is coming to an end. With a little help from a Christmas miracle could Belle find the one thing she really wants underneath the mistletoe?

Review

Each chapter leads readers into each day in December and into the main characters – Belle and Rory’s lives. Belle has fallen on hard times, which leads her into a different path in life. This is only the surface of her life. Going deeper in, she has had rough upbringing. She has far, far got her life sorted.
Rory’s life is also not going so well either and he has a lot going on, yet he seems destined to be with Belle, even if it is a slow-burner of a romance.

Belle shows that she has a passion for Shakespeare in inspires others as she talks about him to students and shows just how very relevant he still is, through the themes that he wrote about, which are still universal today.

There is also the equation of Belle’s God-daughter whom she has a close relationship with  and this brings a lighter dynamic to the story.

The book is also poignant about December and how the closer you get to Christmas holidays, the harder it can feel in if something bad has happened in your life. There are ups and downs that the main characters have to overcome.

There is some Christmas cheer to be found amongst the poignancy of Every Day in December.

#Review By Lou – Silenced By Jennie Ensor @Jennie_Ensor @HobeckBooks #Thriller #CrimeFiction

Silenced
By Jennie Ensor

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I am delighted to be on the blog tour, thanks to Hobeck Books who invited me, with my review of the powerful thriller – Silenced by Jennie Ensor. Take a look at the synopsis and my review below, as well as the stunningly creepy, dark, yet atmospheric cover. Find out after all that, a little about the author too.

Silenced cover

Synopsis

gang culture, gang culture fiction, urban fiction, crime fiction, urban crime

gang culture, gang culture fiction, urban fiction, crime fiction, urban crime

gang culture, gang culture fiction, urban fiction, crime fiction, urban crime

DI Callum Waverley of the Met’s Major Investigation Team 55 is put in charge of his first murder investigation after a 15-year-old girl is stabbed outside a council estate controlled by the Skull Boys gang. Callum believes that the gang leader, V, ordered the murder. Witnesses are scared to come forward and he struggles to make headway.  Luke, who lives in the estate’s shadow, is drawn into the Skull Boys. Excluded from school, he befriends Jez, a troubled girl being exploited by the gang’s hitman, Zom. Callum becomes the target of escalating intimidation, seemingly from the Skull Boys. He suspects someone in his team may also be involved. Silenced is a gritty crime novel set in north London which delves into the heart of gang culture in 21st-century Britain.

Review

A teenage girl is brutally and shockingly murdered, shaking up the North London community to the core and becomes DI Callum Waverley’s first case. All the teenager was trying to do was try to get home. This a book with pace and so many layers. On the face of it, it’s a standard police procedural, but when you really get into it, there’s much, much more. This is about a community that feels silenced from talking to the police, not even the victim’s own mother wants to. They are all perpetually scared of the Skull Crew and what they might do to silence them. It takes a lot of work for the new DI to penetrate through the wall of silence and unravel the clues as to what happened. DI Callum Waverely also has his own demons to battle and has to push through them to solve the case.

There are themes of exploitation too and as well as exploring this, it also explores people within families who just don’t seem to care enough that their kids are being taken in by gangs when they are at their most vulnerable or acting out or thinking this would be a better way of life etc. This really goes deep into the depths of society, not just with this aspect, but also just how easy it can be for some to fall into being used by gangs and how hard it is to change your life around and escape, once so deep into them. There’s so much depth into the behaviours, morals and injustices that are created by society and are still in existence in Britain in 2021.

There are also themes of love, family, betrayal, violence, alcoholism, loss. The writing is dark, yet has an air of sophistication in all that it deals with, including the impact of crime, not just on the victims and witnesses, but also on those working in the police force, especially those investigating it, which brings a different angle to a police procedural. 

This is one powerful and intensely gripping and gritty book!

#BookReview By Lou – The Arctic Curry Club By Dani Redd @dani_redd @AvonBooksUK #TheArcticCurryClub #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #Food #Community #UpliftingFiction

The Arctic Curry Club
By Dani Redd

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Arctic Curry Club, Dani Redd, Heartwarming, Xmas Romance, Love, Contemporary Romance

One of the recent books that was gifted in in a lovely care type package with flavoured coffee that has long since gone, although a bit strong for me but loved this touch and drank it all the same, was The Arctic Curry Club. It’s different and yet uplifting and good for foodies and people exploring different settings for that Christmas, wintry feel. Find out what it’s about in the blurb and then my honest review… Please note, the opinions are my own and not influenced by anything I was gifted.

The Arctic Curry Club

‘For my whole life I had been looking for home. But why would that be in a place that I’d left? Perhaps I had to keep moving forward in order to find it…’

Soon after upending her life to accompany her boyfriend Ryan to the Arctic, Maya realises it’s not all Northern Lights and husky sleigh rides. Instead, she’s facing sub-zero temperatures, 24-hour darkness, crippling anxiety – and a distant boyfriend as a result.

In her loneliest moment, Maya opens her late mother’s recipe book and cooks Indian food for the first time. Through this, her confidence unexpectedly grows – she makes friends, secures a job as a chef, and life in the Arctic no longer freezes her with fear.

But there’s a cost: the aromatic cuisine rekindles memories of her enigmatic mother and her childhood in Bangalore. Can Maya face the past and forge a future for herself in this new town? After all, there’s now high demand for a Curry Club in the Arctic, and just one person with the know-how to run it…

A tender and uplifting story about family, community, and finding where you truly belong – guaranteed to warm your heart despite the icy setting!

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Review

The Arctic Curry Club is mosty about trying to discover your roots and where you feel like you actually belong. Maya is part English and part Indian. She has a boyfriend who is the opposite to her. He is fit and sporty, she is plump, small and also full of anxiety about so much. 

The book is set between England, India and the Arctic. Her boyfriend leads her to the Arctic where he really feels he belongs with the husky dogs and sleds etc. She is more unsure and her anxieties rise as she becomes increasingly scared of getting lost. Later they come across someone running a tour guide business, which she becomes involved in, or at least coaxed to, to cook Indian food. One issue is she doesn’t really know how to, which sends her in a different direction, to find out more about her Indian roots, which she can’t recall too much of, not since a family tragedy.

Later, she opens up her mother’s cookbook and starts to make a go of things, trying to fit in and become part of the community, who start to rally around and friendships are soon forged and her confidence grows with this and her new job as a chef. It is fun reading about how she adapts some recipes, depending on what ingredients she can get, especially from Norway, shows an element of fearlessness in the kitchen to experiment, even if it doesn’t always work out as planned first time. This is where the uplifting side of Maya’s life comes into the story, along with that friendly community feel.

At the back of the book, there is an interesting note from the author about how she spent time in both India and the Arctic Circle. The story itself shows how she became inspired by these places to write a fictional uplifting story. The settings, especially the Arctic make this book quite different for the universal themes to occur in.