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Book Review: Grannie Panties are Under Rated by Gayle Erickson.

Book Review: Grannie Panties are Under Rated by Gayle Erickson.

Grannie Panties are Under Rated! What a brilliant and captivating title for a book. When I received the review request for this one, I was quite intrigued. Thank you to Author Gayle Erickson for my copy of this book, here are my thoughts on it. 

Description:

Elle Martin has it all. Handsome and successful husband. Check. Daughter and son attending exclusive private high school. Check. Privilege, status, and wealth. Check, check, check.

But there is more to Elle’s story. 

Already struggling to keep up appearances in a social set full of pretension and ultra-competitiveness, Elle’s facade of perfection is threatened when her husband makes an announcement that will force her to confront a dark past she has successfully hidden for years. 

What will happen when long-buried secrets are unearthed and haunting new revelations are discovered? Will Elle be able to find the happy ending she so desperately seeks?

Toggling between the early nineties and the present day, Grannie Panties Are Underrated captures the Gen X experience from latchkey kid to helicopter parent with keen insight and precision. A page-turner full of surprising twists, it is a must read for anyone who has struggled to reconcile the chasm between the person they once were, the person they have become, and the person they long to be.

 

 

granniepants

Published June 6th 2017 by Mile High Publishing House

My Thoughts:

It was most definitely the title that drew me to this book, it such a fun name for a book don’t you think? Then the cover, that is pretty spectacular too. It just drew me in.

I was pleasantly surprised when I began reading to see that half of the book is based in Japan. Elle, the main character has led her younger life by taking risks and not taking the best care of her body, her morals and her mind. However, she did have fun! We hear about this part while she is living in Japan. Japan is a country I am very intrigued about and would love to visit one day, so this part was interesting to me because of that, and also because Elle is a brilliant character, and lives her life without second thoughts while she is there. 

The later part of Elle’s life is when she supposed to be living a high society, “good ‘Mom’ and Wife type life” , tennis club and playdates etc! The 2 versions of Elle didn’t really mesh well, which in turn messes with Elle’s head. 

“Are you happy, Mom? Are you living your dream?”

The book was a fun read with a plot that I couldn’t guess where it was going. The underlying theme that I got from it was that Elle was a mixed bag of personalities, and she has to decide who she really is, how her past and present will define her future. The different knickers she wears will play a part too. The Author is really very imaginative in the different ways we see Elle. Gayle Erickson created the perfect way for her readers to really know Elle, sometimes even better than I imagine Elle knew herself. 

Elle speaks a lot about music references, and there is almost a play list that goes along with the book, so that you can relate to Elle’s state of mind at that time. I liked this idea a lot. 

“The song’s lyrics about a devil being on your back and not being able to leave the past behind certainly portended trouble”

The book is about adventure, life, friendship and working out who you want to be regardless of your past or present. The Author reminded me that the future You can be who you want Her to be! Elle went the very adventurous way around finding this out, I really enjoyed following the story that Gayle Erickson weaved for us and for Elle and the other characters in ‘Grannie Panties are Under Rated’.

 

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

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3 Comments

Posted by on October 21, 2017 in Books

 

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Cover Reveal: Christmas Secrets at Snowflake Cove, by Emily Harvale

Cover Reveal: Christmas Secrets at Snowflake Cove, by Emily Harvale

So, October and Autumn has arrived and also the start of the festive books. I have started to see a few reviews of the upcoming festive books for 2017, and I already have my eye on a few of them. The new book by Emily Harvale is set to be a real cracker. 

Today, I am delighted to be able to take part in the much awaited cover reveal for Emily Harvale’s new book…. (the title is so festively wonderful, wait until you see the cover!).

CHRISTMAS SECRETS AT SNOWFLAKE COVE. 

Christmas Secrets In Snowflake Cove Cover Reveal.jpg

Description:

Christmas is a time for family and friends, miracles and magic, falling snow and roaring fires, fun, laughter and festive feasts. In Snowflake Cove, it’s also a time for secrets to be revealed…


Evie Starr is hoping for more than a sprinkling of magic this Christmas. The family-run Snowflake Inn is virtually empty and the Starr’s financial future isn’t looking bright. But Evie’s gran, Jessie has a secret that might help. Enigmatic, Zachary Thorn is every woman’s dream. He’s also ex-SAS, so his secrets are classified. The Christmas Special of his feel-good, TV show is set in Michaelmas Bay – until a phone call means he’s spending Christmas in nearby Snowflake Cove.

Evie’s best friend, Juniper thinks boyfriend Darren has a secret. Evie knows he does. And Evie’s niece, Raven is hiding feelings for Juniper’s brother – who has a secret crush of his own. But the biggest secret in Snowflake Cove is the identity of Raven’s dad. With snow falling thick and fast and secrets being revealed one after another, will everyone be snuggling up by the fire on Christmas Eve, or are some secrets best kept hidden…? 

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So, you love the title? Tick.

You love the blurb? Tick, You will love this cover. Here it comes……

 

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I think I can confidently say that festive book lovers, will love Christmas Secrets at Snowflake Cove. 

The book is to be released on 1st November, You can preorder it HERE! via Amazon

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this cover reveal, and to Emily Harvale for the amazing book and cover. Can’t wait to see all the amazing reviews this book is sure to get. If you want to follow the rest of this tour, you can find it using the Twitter hashtag #ChristmasSecrets.

Now for the links you will need to look out for it. 

Be sure to follow:

Emily at @emilyharvale

Rachel at @rararesources

Me, of course! Amanda @ChocolatePages

And you should definitely subscribe to Emily’s website emilyharvale.com  and follow her Amazon page HERE!

 

About Emily Harvale:

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart. 

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. 

To catch up with Emily, go to her website at http://www.emilyharvale.com where you can sign up for her Readers’ Club newsletter, join her Readers’ Club Facebook group and/or connect with her on social media.

Facebook.   /    Twitter     /      Instagram     /    Youtube    /    

 

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2 Comments

Posted by on October 17, 2017 in Book Spotlights., Books, Uncategorized

 

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‘TBR’ for Autumn. Books I hope to read this season.

‘TBR’ for Autumn. Books I hope to read this season.

‘TBR’ is a common term for bookbloggers and booklovers. It is my ‘to be read’ list. As with most readers, book lovers and especially bookbloggers, there is always a pile bigger than our bodies that we want to read, whether this be personal choice books, books agreed to read for reviews or blog tours. The whole ‘TBR’ pile is an exciting pile of words, stories and characters that will lead us to a different world for the hours we spend reading them.

booksplace

 

These are the books I hope to read this Autumn. They are a mix of ones I have chosen myself and ones gifted to me by Authors for reviews. In no particular order, lets begin. 

leaves

Grannie Pants are Under Rated by Gayle Erickson.

granniepants

Elle Martin has it all. Handsome and successful husband. Check. Daughter and son attending exclusive private high school. Check. Privilege, status, and wealth. Check, check, check.

But there is more to Elle’s story. 

Already struggling to keep up appearances in a social set full of pretension and ultra-competitiveness, Elle’s facade of perfection is threatened when her husband makes an announcement that will force her to confront a dark past she has successfully hidden for years. 

What will happen when long-buried secrets are unearthed and haunting new revelations are discovered? Will Elle be able to find the happy ending she so desperately seeks?

Toggling between the early nineties and the present day, Grannie Panties Are Underrated captures the Gen X experience from latchkey kid to helicopter parent with keen insight and precision. A page-turner full of surprising twists, it is a must read for anyone who has struggled to reconcile the chasm between the person they once were, the person they have become, and the person they long to be.

Thank you to Author Gayle Erickson for my copy of this book, which I am currently reading and enjoying now. I love the title, as it is so true!! 


 

Jennifer Brown’s Journey by Angie Langley.

jennifer brown

Five feet one and full of fizz, Jennifer Brown lights up the room. She has a gorgeous partner, a wicked best friend, and a boss who doesn’t mind that she’s the worst typist on the planet. She’s loyal, generous and irredeemably ditzy. Everyone loves Jennifer Brown. But can she learn to love herself?

When her world caves in, she needs every ounce of her steely core to step back from the abyss and take charge of her life, reinventing herself first as cook and housekeeper to a saucy sexagenarian, then as manager of a tumbledown country estate with sensitive secrets. Peopled by a battalion of hilarious characters from the caustic, cross-dressing confidant to the besotted ex-boyfriend with a barmy ex-wife, Jennifer Brown’s Journey is a heartwarming, thoughtful, often poignant portrait of the trials of life as a thirty-something woman. Jennifer Brown champions the importance of self-belief, and the value of a bucket-sized glass of wine in a tight spot. And, always in the background, there’s the quiet man with the warm eyes and the velvet vowels. What on earth is Jennifer Brown going to do about him?

The first in a series of three, Jennifer Brown’s Journey is a story of female self-empowerment and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of challenges that many women will recognise. Lighthearted and poignant, the story gives readers a very real sense of a woman, initially rather ditzy, maturing into a redoubtable, self-possessed individual who faces her many challenges with developing aplomb. 

Thank you to Author Angie Langley for my copy of this book. I love the cover, and I think I will find it even more interesting since the Author told me that the story is based on truth!


 

The Accident by Glen Ebisch.

 

the accident

 

Karen Walker is an ex-homicide detective slowly recovering from the trauma of an automobile accident in which she was injured and her husband was killed when a drunk driver struck the car she was operating.

After a year of surgeries and attempts to come to terms with her feelings of guilt, she finds herself living the narrow life of a semi-recluse. Her seclusion comes to an end when an old friend from college, Clarissa Hammett, asks Karen to help in the search for her missing sister, Justine. Karen agrees, and she goes to live alone in the family’s summer home on the coast of southern Maine, which Justine was occupying at the time of her disappearance.

Karen even goes one step further and takes on Justine’s job as hostess in a local restaurant, hoping to learn more about the missing woman’s life from her co-workers. Conversations with the sister’s estranged husband, her present boyfriend, and a mentally disturbed young girl on the beach, lead Karen to believe that Justine’s disappearance was not voluntary and that, if still alive, she may desperately need help. 

Thank you to Author Glen Ebisch for my copy of this book. I am ready for another book of murder and suspense, and this looks to be a good one.


 

A Time for Penance by Robin Storey.

penance

 

She murdered her husband. Now she has a chance to undo her crime.

For 20 years, wealthy socialite Eva Dennehy has borne the guilt of murdering her first husband Charlie, who was planning to leave her for his mistress.

When Eva is offered the opportunity to travel back in time, and undo her crime as penance, she accepts – what does she have to lose? Back in her old life with Charlie, her passion for him surpassed only by her torment at his infidelity, she is more determined than ever to prevent him from leaving her.

But her plan plunges her into a world of crime and depravity, and she soon discovers she has even more to lose this time around.

This taut, gritty novel about jealousy, betrayal and the dark side of love will appeal to fans of suspense, crime and modern noir.

Thank you to Author Robin Storey for my copy of this book. I have only read one book of time travel, and that was The Time Traveller’s Wife. This sounds totally different, very intriguing, and as a big fan of crime and suspense books, I’m really looking forward to reading this one. 


Dear You by Tessa Broad.

dear you

 

Tess Broad wanted children. She longed for them. It wasn’t to be. 

In this candid and moving memoir, Tess writes to the children that never were. She writes to them as their adult selves with openness and honesty and tells them of the childhood she envisaged for them and the mother she believed she would be. She describes her reluctant transformation from the woebegone, wannabe mummy that she once was, to the woman she is now; childless but chilled, sailing through Mother’s Day with a smile on her face. Happy. 

From the ‘trying for a family’ stage to the relentless treadmill of infertility treatment, Tess recounts her story with humour and pathos, taking the reader on her journey with her, sharing her experiences, the roller-coaster ride of IVF, the sudden departure of the husband whose children she wanted to have and ultimately to acceptance that the life she wanted and expected was not hers for the taking. This is a breathtaking memoir that offers a shoulder to lean on for everyone experiencing the uncertainties and pain of infertility.

Thank you to Red Door Publishers and Author Tessa Broad for my copy of this book. I am expecting this book to be heart wrenching, therapeutic and relateable. This will be reviewed as part of a blog tour for Infertility Week at the end of October. 


 

Hiding In Plain Sight, by Susan Lewis.

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Andee Lawrence is in heaven. Well, the South of France to be exact. 

Ex-detective Andee has swapped freelance investigation and a broken marriage, for two months in Provence, renovating a beautiful villa with the new man in her life. Pottering around a small picturesque town on an early summer’s day, she is at peace.

But her world is about to be shattered.

‘Remember me?’ 

Two words spoken by a woman from the back of a car that say so much yet reveal so little.
As the car drives away Andee is left reeling, overwhelmed by shock, confusion, self-doubt and mounting trepidation.

Almost thirty years ago, fourteen year old Penny had disappeared from her family’s life, never to be heard from again. It is the missing child case that has haunted Andee her whole life; And now Penny – Andee’s sister – is back.

The question is: why?

I read the last Susan Lewis book that was published and really enjoyed it. This one sounds like it has a slight carry on story with the main characters missing sister, but also a whole new plot. Susan Lewis’ books come highly recommended to me, so I’m hoping this one will be really good too.


 

leaves

So this is my Autumn reading list so far. It may change, I am a mood reader, so we shall see where it goes. But for now my tbr is looking good. 

Have you read any of these? Which do you think looks good. 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 1, 2017 in Books

 

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BookReview #BlogTour: The Sinking Chef, by Sylvia Ashby & #Giveaway.

BookReview #BlogTour: The Sinking Chef, by Sylvia Ashby & #Giveaway.

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for the new book by Sylvia Ashby, The Sinking Chef Pot Love 2. Thank you for much to Jenny NeverlandBookTours and Author Sylvia Ashby for my copy of the book and for my space on this tour. 

sinking chef

Description:

Ashley has a YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. It’s filmed right in her kitchen, so she doesn’t go out much. When James calls with an offer to take her to lunch – the same James that got her fired from her dream job three years ago – she accepts. Against her better judgement, of course.
Now Ashley has all kinds of secrets and things are only going to get worse.

The Sinking Chef (Pot Love 2) is a light, enjoyable and easy to read romantic comedy. With Sylvia Ashby’s gift of humour there is plenty to laugh and smile about, but the book does have its serious moments.

The Sinking Chef Cover-1

Published April 17th 2017 by Vangtorp Volumes

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Pot Love series, but I didn’t actually realise this until I had already read the book, so I think it is safe to say that it is fine as a standalone. I didn’t feel anything was missed out or that I was confused at all. Although, as always reading the first book first is better! There is also a free Pot Love book on Sylvia’s website which has recipes. (I assumed that was where the ‘2’ in Pot Love 2 came from. Duh me!).

As regular readers of ChocolatePages would know, I do enjoy a good foodie book, and more recently I have taken a liking to books involving social media. When I read the description of this book a cookery channel on youtube and humorous, I was pretty sure I would enjoy the book. I did enjoy reading The Sinking Chef, very much. Ashley is a very likable character who I could relate to and often I would cringe for as she makes silly decisions which seem to make her life easier for the moment, but both she and I will know will make things much harder for the future! I wanted to shout at her that I could see what will happen if she does this that and the other. Ashley is like the girl next door, or the insecure girl that we are or were at one point. I think every woman will be able to understand part of Ashley. 

As a chef, we have a few lovely recipes added in and also a few laughable ones too…… (Pot Noodle… shh!). No, really, as a Chef, Ashley is talented and I found the food talk quite delectable.

Ashley is a funny character as she tends to ‘read on the internet’ about everything and more often than not finds a reason or explanation for whatever it is ‘on the internet’.

“I’ve read on the internet how to recognise it. This particular one is called the silent treatment

The Sinking Chef involves love, life, laughs and a good dose of scrumptious foodie talk. The Sinking Chef was an easy, funny read that gave me butterflies in my stomach on more than one occasion! I definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more of Sylvia Ashby’s work.


CHEF BLOG BANNER

Don’t forget to visit the rest of the brilliant bloggers on this tour. If the book sounds good to you, then enter the blog tour giveaway to win 1 of 3 prizes which include an Amazon gift voucher and ebooks of The Sinking Chef. You can enter the rafflecopter giveaway on any of the blog tour sites and on here on ChocolatePages. Good Luck.


giveaway-badge

 

The Sinking Chef giveaway 

INTERNATIONAL

RAFFLECOPTER – CLICK HERE!

1st prize: £25 Amazon voucher and an eCopy of the book

2nd and 3rd prize: ecopy of the book


 

Links:

Twitter/@bysylvia_a

www.sylvia-ashby.com

Goodreads.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 
9 Comments

Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Books, Giveaways

 

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Book Review: My Sweet Revenge, by Jane Fallon.

Book Review: My Sweet Revenge, by Jane Fallon.

A great big thank you to Irena (here and here) for very generously sending me this copy of My Sweet Revenge from across the seas. Irena is a good friend, a brilliant blogger and a fellow book lover. So go check out her twitter and blog too. Irena also wrote a review of My Sweet Revenge, which was the cherry on top of me wanting to read this book. You can read Irena’s review here. 

 

sweet revenge

Published January 12th 2017 by Penguin

Description:

I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.

Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’.

I want it to hurt.

Paula has had Robert’s back since they got together as drama students. She gave up her dreams so he could make it. Now he’s one of the nation’s most popular actors. And Paula’s just discovered he’s having an affair.

She’s going to remind Robert just what he’s sacrificing. And then she’s going to break his heart like he broke hers. It will be her greatest acting role ever.

Revenge is sweet. Isn’t it?

cake

 

My Thoughts:

Firstly, isn’t the cover of this book amazing and make you feel like cake every time you look at it?! The main character works in a bakery! Plus there is the play on “sweet revenge” of course! This is the type of book I would read without looking at the blurb. (#CakeLove!). But I did read the blurb, and that made me want to read it even more.

The main character Paula has been married to Robert for many years, but all is not as it seems when she finds out he is having an affair with a co worker. Paula makes a decision that I imagine would make a good book club discussion – she decides not to confront him, but to make him fall back in love with her, and when he does, only then will she tell him she knows and she is leaving! (No spoilers, we know this straight away). The tale continues with the way she inflicts her revenge! These ways are quite ingenious, and with the help of her boss Myra they come up with quite a few funny and empowering ideas. 

We also meet the dastardly mistress! She is as to be expected unlikable! But then so is Robert, the cheating Husband. I guess reader’s opinions will be affected by how they consider cheating on your spouse, I took a dislike to them both straight away. 

I loved reading Paula’s plans and ideas and how she became stronger throughout the book. It is kind of a personal journey for her to better herself, to become the person she wants to be, while reminding Robert what he will loose. It was a good bit of escapism reading, putting myself in someone else’s position, when something horrible happens, but instead of rolling over and falling apart, Paula becomes stronger. I can’t imagine many women I know going this way about when they hear their spouse is cheating with their co worker, watching him go to work and stay back late every day with her!! But it is fiction, and that is the point of letting the fictional characters do, what some of us would imagine doing. The slow cold dish of revenge! I loved it. 

This is the first book I have read by Jane Fallon, but I will be sure to looking out for more of her books. I know she has already written quite a few, so any recommendations on her other brilliant ones would be appreciated. 

Have you read this book? Or any other of Jane’s? Could you hide the facts you had found out of an affair? Or could you plan out a devilish plan of revenge? I’m intrigued to know. This would be a great bookclub book! 

Minions-humor-Quotes

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Twitter/JaneFallon

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 17, 2017 in Books

 

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Book Review: Where There’s Smoke, by Cathy Cole.

Book Review: Where There’s Smoke, by Cathy Cole.

Thank you to Author Cathy Cole for my copy of this book, ‘Where There’s Smoke’. I liked the title of this straight away, and the blurb convinced me that this would be a book I would enjoy. Here are my thoughts.

 

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Description:

Firefighter Jo Woods is struggling to hold onto her job and her sanity. Banished to the backwater town of Mourne Lough, she vows to stop making waves, admit her family’s death was an accident, and that the guilt she feels is plain old survivor guilt.

Then she finds the roses and everything changes.

The killer hasn’t stopped. He’s here. In the same town. Stalking her. And once again, no one believes her.

After seven years of avoiding family and friends, Jo is alone and friendless in a strange town. In order to survive and, more importantly, bring the killer to justice, she must overcome her fears and embrace her new life. And she must do it quickly, because the killer has his sights set on her and he’s willing to kill anyone who gets in his way.

Enter Ian “Coop” Cooper, who sets Jo’s pulse fluttering and her antenna into overdrive. Does she dare trust him?

One thing Jo is clear about: this killer destroyed her life once before. No way is she going to let him do it again–no matter what it takes.

 

where theres smoke

Published March 10th 2017 by Fireborn Publishing

 

My Thoughts:

The plot of this story revolves around fire fighters. Jo Woods is the only lady fire fighter in her new branch. We start off getting the impression that Jo has to escape from something. I liked the way we don’t know exactly what she is ‘getting away’ from, or been pushed away from. But we do know her past employers didn’t think she was suited there! So, aside from the mystery in the story, the killings, the fires and deaths, there is also a mystery with the characters. We learn more about Jo as the pages turn, and we also meet the handsome new guy who lives near Jo. Coop comes across as ‘different’, what we and Jo have to decipher is if that is good different or bad different! 

The Fire Fighter talk seems researched and accurate without bogging the reader down with details. I think the Author spoke of how things work regarding smoke, fire and fire fighting was authentic and just enough to create a well rounded plot.

This is very much a murder mystery with a ‘whodunit’ style. I like to guess the killer anyway, but the Author gave me plenty of scope to guess with a few different characters being on my suspect list. 

Jo is caring, closed and comes with issues but she is a fire fighter – so she is made and trained to save people, which makes this plot hard on her. I wasn’t sure what to think of Jo at first, but as we learn more about her, I found her to be not only likable, but quite a unique human being, in a good way. 

” ‘Everything’s going to be alright’. It was a mantra inside my head. ‘Everything’s going to be alright’ ” 

My only slight critique is that the cover didn’t draw me in. I spent time after reading the book examining the cover, and I can see why it is how it is. I just personally would have made it a bit different. But as they say ‘ don’t judge a book by its cover’! and in this case, I whole-heartedly agree – the plot, writing and characterisations are far better than the cover implies, in my humble opinion.

Cathy Cole’s style of writing is excellent with great descriptive words that really paint a picture in the readers imagination.

“The tea un-furred her mouth but did nothing to silence the army of men inside her head, battering at her skull with what felt like hammers”

I recommend this book to everyone, but especially those who love to guess the culprit, and those who like a good crime thriller.  

 


For links to the book and to make contact or find out more about the Author, I have added all the direct clicks below. Happy reading, and let me know if you have read this book, are planning to read this book. Or if you have any great recommendations or book reviews you think I would like. Please leave a comment below, I always read them and always reply.

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Twitter/CathyCole66

Facebook/CathyColeAuthor

 
7 Comments

Posted by on September 10, 2017 in Books

 

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Book Review: Broken Branches, by M Jonathan Lee.

Book Review: Broken Branches, by M Jonathan Lee.

Thank you very much to M Jonathan Lee and Hideaway Fall Publishers for my copy of Broken Branches and the rest of the great bookish goodies that Hideaway Fall very generously sent out to a group of bookbloggers, myself luckily included.

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Jonathan Lee is the first Author to be signed by Hideaway Fall, and I think they have started off on a winner. I have read quite a few book reviews for Broken Branches, and all have been glowing. Some are mentioned in the book trailer too, which you can see below.

I went into Broken Branches with high hopes, but also with not too much information on the plot. You can see what I thought below, and also the links if you fancy the book or reaching out to the Author.

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Description:

‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

broken branches

July 27th 2017 by Hideaway Fall

My Thoughts: 

The story revolves around the main character Ian, we hear his point of view from when he is a child and in alternating chapters as an adult. Ian learns from a young age that his family are thought to be ‘cursed’. Throughout the book, this ‘curse’ takes a centre stage in Ian’s life, and the big tree in his garden (and on the cover of the book) is a  significant factor in Ian’s unhappiness and state of mind. As I read, I considered (I think as the Author intended) about ‘curses’. Is it supernatural? is there a psychological element? Is it family induced? 

The cover of this book becomes creepier as you read more of the story. The black, child-like branches and the red door will become more significant the more you read. 

Jonathon M Lee is an Author with a talent for great descriptive writing. His words flowed effortlessly across the pages and gives the reader a great depth of feelings for the simple things he describes. The plot of the story is steady, so the descriptive way the Author writes is a big part of why this book is so good.

“The tree’s branches reminded Ian of a giant claw, and they waved eerily in unison with his mother, swaying backwards and forwards in perfect synchronicity.”

The relationship between Ian and his Wife Rachel is interesting. We hear about how they were as a couple early on in their relationship, and how they are now, through to how they are at the end of the book. It made me reflect on how things happen in life, how they affect people and relationships differently. Neither is right or wrong, just different. 

I had no idea how the ending would be until a few pages before when it came with a punch. Then it made me think back over what I had already read and consider it all again. I love it when a book does that. 

I highly recommend this book, and look forward to the next that I hope M Jonathan Lee will write and Hideaway Fall will publish. 

 

truth rokn branches

 

Links:

Twitter/@MJonathanLee

Twitter/@HideawayFall

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2017 in Books

 

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Book Review: Option B; Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant.

Book Review: Option B; Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant.

On a little browse of that addictive site called Netgalley, I came across this book. A book which is not an average read for me, but the title struck me as a book which could be inspiring. So thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

stronger

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy

by Sheryl SandbergAdam Grant,

From Facebook’s COO and Wharton’s top-rated professor, the #1 New York Times best-selling authors of Lean In and Originals: a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.

After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.

Option B combines Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart—and her journal—to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl’s loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.

Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.

We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.

 

optionb

Published April 24th 2017 by W H Allen

My Thoughts:

When I first started reading this, I bookmarked a lot of pages to remind myself of what the Author said. Yes, the tale started off sad where Sheryl tells us about the death of her beloved Dave, the Father to her two children and how grief stricken they all were. But over all of the sadness is hope and resilience. The Author gives us so many examples of how we can help ourselves when the really tough times come, and also how we can encourage others not to feel awkward around us. (which is something all of us can understand).

The Author’s personal experience is of the premature death of her Husband, but she tells us many other examples of human suffering, and how the so many of us have lost our ‘Option A’, so we have no choice but to live with ‘Option B’. This book encourages the reader to really make the most of what we have left and to try to change our thinking and attitude that we won’t always feel so hopeless and grief stricken.

grief

The Author herself has many advantages over the average reader that has gone through loss and suffering. She has money, an extremely supportive boss and employment and she also has a host of great supportive friends and family – all of which make things easier. But I think that even without these things the book can still be inspiring and helpful in times of desperation and hopelessness.

Some of the things she suggests seem obvious now, but not so when the suffering hits hardest. For example, she includes studies that psychologists have done about writing lists of things we are grateful for.  Then the Author speaks about things which are not so obvious to, like the five stages of grief and how they don’t stay in the same order all the time. You are not done when you have gone through each stage, and that’s ok! Confidence, anger, tears and loneliness are all spoken about, all of which are of course very common human emotions, but how many of us know the best way to deal with them?  

The writing was easy to read and each chapter spoke of a different issue. (Examples include – Building Resilience Together, Taking Back Joy and Finding Strength Together).

I found this book helpful, therapeutic and would recommend it to anyone who is going through a hard time, or needs to help someone else through a hard time. The Author writes truthfully from her own experience, but also adds in evidence from psychologists and others’ experiences. This is a book I will keep close to me in times of need. 

Thank you Sheryl, Adam….and Netgalley! 😉

sheryl

 

 

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Books

 

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Book Review: Jane of Manchester by J G Dow.

Book Review: Jane of Manchester by J G Dow.

My latest read is Jane of Manchester. When asked by Author J G Dow to read and review, I was intrigued by the blurb and encouraged by the reviews on Goodreads. The cover gives little away, so I went in optimistic. Here is what I thought.

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Description:

Jane’s life on the face of it isn’t really too bad…she has great friends like party girl Natasha who’s always up for a laugh and her close pal Polly, always there for her and of course her loving parents, but things could still be better… 

Most people she knows are either married or have kids and she has been single a while now and wonders if a good man is ever to be encountered again. The single life is far from a quiet one for Jane however, as she is constantly getting dragged to night clubs and bars by Natasha and the crew as well as enduring a particularly boozy weekend away at the seaside! 

Jane loves a lot about her life, disregarding rude plumbers in her flat and dealing with annoying superiors and a smug sister, but as a certain someone takes her eye, is everything about to change and get a whole lot more serious or is the single life determined to keep her captive a while longer yet.

jane of man

Published January 9th 2017 by Dow Books

My Thoughts:

Jane of Manchester is based, as you may well guess on the main character Jane, who comes from and lives in Manchester. (U.K). The book is totally from Jane’s point of view and totally all about her life, her friends, family and social life. It is simplistic and diary style. There is not an awful lot to the plot, the Author (I think) concentrated on development of character, which was done well as I had a good image of Jane in my head. 

Jane is likeable and I somehow felt addicted to what she would do next in a kind of Big Brother style way. I don’t mean that in a creepy way, but in a reality tv kind of way. Jane is “normal”, has a “normal” life and “normal” relationships. What I did like about her is her love for food, though she has rather a lot of takeaways. 

“…never wanting to turn down the chance of a good meal”.

Jane of Manchester is a very easy read, the kind of book you could whizz through, but not really the kind of book that would keep you thinking. It is very light and breezy.  Perfect for a beach read or, as I did to listen to on audio as I was doing other stuff! 

Links:

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2017 in Books

 

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#Blogival 2017. Guest Post from Author of ‘Porcelain, Flesh of Innocents’, Lee Cockburn.

#Blogival 2017. Guest Post from Author of ‘Porcelain, Flesh of Innocents’, Lee Cockburn.

Welcome to my spot on the celebration month of Blogival. If you haven’t heard of Blogival, it is a celebration of all the Clink Street Authors. I participated last year too, and it is a wonderful way to celebrate all the brilliant Authors from this publishing group. Thank you very much to Rachel Gilbey for organising this and getting me involved. Last year during Blogival, I found an Author that I really liked – Lee Cockburn. Ms Cockburn writes very dark thriller stories, and I love them! 

The first book I read by Lee Cockburn was Devils Demise. I have to say it was the darkest most disturbing book I have read in a while. Then I read her next book, Porcelain, Flesh of Innocents. This one was equally dark and equally brilliant. I have wondered what makes an Author choose to write about such dark and unsettling topics, so I was very happy when Ms Cockburn explained it to me. Today I bring you a guest post from this talented Author, whereby she explains to us, why she writes about disturbing topics!

devil

 

You can read my review for Lee Cockburn’s first book ‘Devils Demise’ 

HERE!

 

Lee’s latest book Porcelain, Flesh of Innocents was published by Clink Street Publishing on February 21st 2017. There are some bloggers who are writing reviews of her book especially for Blogival, so be sure to check them out too.

 

Calendar

 

You can read my review for Porcelain, Flesh of Innocents 

HERE!

Description:

Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks is back and in charge of tracking down a sadistic vigilante, with a penchant for torturing paedophiles, in this unsettling crime thriller by a real-life police sergeant. 

High-powered businessmen are turning up tortured around the city of Edinburgh with one specific thing in common — a sinister double life involving paedophilia. Leaving his ‘victims’ in a disturbing state, the individual responsible calls the police and lays bare the evidence of their targets’ twisted misdemeanours to discover, along with a special memento of their own troubled past — a chilling calling card. Once again heading the investigation team is Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks, along with her partner Detective Constable Marcus Black, who are tasked not only with tracking the perpetrator down but also dealing with the unusual scenario of having to arrest the victims for their own barbarous crimes. But with the wounded piling up the predator’s thirst for revenge intensifies and soon Nicks discovers that she is no longer chasing down a sinister attacker but a deadly serial killer.

Vivid, dark and deeply unsettling Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents is the perfect next read for serious crime and police thriller fans.

porcelainPublished February 21st 2017 by Clink Street Publishing

 

I am happy to welcome Ms Cockburn to ChocolatePages where she explains to us why she writes about disturbing topics. It is a question I have wondered about, so thank you and I hand you over to the talented Author of Devils Demise and Porcelain Flesh of Innocents, Lee Cockburn.

Why I write about disturbing topics?

This is actually very hard to answer, as I find myself recoiling a little when I read my own work, just at the level of violence and the graphic detail involved.  I suppose I wasn’t prepared to leave it to the imagination of some people, because that might not stretch far enough to reach, what is the harsh reality of the crimes portrayed in my first two novels.

I actually regret the first chapter of my first novel Devil’s Demise being quite so brutal, taking the advice of a female colleague that it wasn’t brutal enough and that I hadn’t explained what was going on in full detail.  So me being me, I had to prove a point and I think I took it too far, as it makes me uncomfortable reading it, and I wrote it!  However, I always knew she was going to live and the book is about her strength and will to live and her fight against the perpetrator.

The sequel Porcelain Flesh of Innocents is equally harrowing, another uncomfortable read, but again highlighting the crimes that go on on a daily basis against the most vulnerable amongst us, the victim’s silent in their torment, trusting, fearing the threatening lies they are told, to ensure their silence.  However again this is another story of the victims taking back control of their lives, and the consequences of the crimes committed against them and the lasting damage they have to live with.

Book three, the title a secret I’m afraid, I promise to try and bring some happiness to the main characters, although the first chapter is another hard hitting and terrifying start to the book, with graphic scenes and more tragedy to endure (apologies).

I may write brutal and graphic books, but I think I am genuinely a kind, humorous, fun loving decent person and don’t know where the dark side I write about comes from, I presume fear of the topics I have chosen. 

I set out to write an exciting, gripping and slightly scary book, with tension and suspense throughout, and love scenes that don’t end after one line, as this is something that annoys me when I am reading, as a little titillation goes a long way to the enjoyment of a book for me (although I might take this a little too far sometimes too!).

To some people my books will shock, to others they seem to love them, the more graphic and violent the better, and I am well aware that you will never please everyone, although I do try.  The erotic scenes are probably an indulgence on my part, some people say it detracts from the story line, and they may be right, but I think a little personal interaction and passion is an exciting little interlude from the suspense and horror of the actual plot.

One critique given, suggested that officers would never think of lust and desire when they are on a case, I disagree, because if they are on cases all the time, then there would never have time to think about things like that?  The officer’s work is high pressure, full on and you practically live in each other’s pockets day in and day out, and of course there would be attractions and liaisons between colleagues, the nature of the job would lead them to steal away precious moments together, as all they ever seem do is work!.

I digress, I hope this has explained a little why I write what I write, and you will either like it or not, happy reading, and make sure you lock the door.

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Thank you very much Lee for explaining that to us. I am very happy that there is a third book on the way, and I am intrigued as to the title and plot this time. I guess we will have to patiently wait and see. 

Here are the links for Lee’s books and for Lee herself. Take a look at these and remember to check out all the rest of the posts for this summer’s Blogival.

 

Goodreads

Barnes and Noble

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Twitter/lee_leecockburn

 

 
 

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