Faye has just completed her degree in interior design when she finds herself jobless and boyfriend-less. While debating what to do next she receives a surprise phone call from her old college friend Charlotte who now lives in Sardinia and is married to Italian hotelier, Fabio.
When Charlotte suggests that Faye relocate for a month to house-sit, Faye wonders if a summer break in sunny Sardinia might be the perfect way to recharge her batteries and think about her future.
But then Charlotte tells Faye that there’s something more behind the sudden invitation: her friends Marisa and Alessandro are looking for a designer to renovate a crumbling old theatre they own in the scenic village of Deriu.
The idea certainly sounds appealing to Faye, but little does she know what she’s letting herself in for if she accepts this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity . . .
Faye has taken a chance and changed career directions, having been back to university to complete an interior design degree which she has just completed she is ready to get started in her new career, the only snag she has no work. Her boyfriend left her while she was studying and she is stone cold broke.
When her close friend Charlotte invites her to Sardinia to stay with her and her husband it all sounds too good to be true, so when it turns out the invite comes with strings, house sitting and consulting for some friends who are refurbishing a local theatre style strings Faye has to decide if she is ready to jump into a fire of this size.
I enjoyed the style that Rosanna Ley used to tell the story, Faye’s story being the central string with other characters taking the lead for a chapter here and there, Faye’s parents and characters within the Sardinian village as well. there was a lot of emotional drama and a mystery which slowly unravelled and romance which for me was far too slow to burn and didn’t really fulfil my need to see romance in a novel.
I didn’t really like Faye either, now I know liking a character isn’t essential for enjoying a novel, and for the most part I did enjoy this novel. But I just found Faye really immature, and hard to relate to. I despised her parents, honestly, I couldn’t understand how they got into the mess they did…communication people! I loved our Sardinian characters though, their feisty blunt approach to everything was really refreshing and I had a real soft spot for them particularly Alessandro.
Overall, an enjoyable but slightly slow read with not enough on the romantic side for my liking and a really disagreeable main character.
I have to thank Rosanna Ley and Quercus for the eARC via NetGalley so that I could read and provide my honest opinion.
In Asmara, Eritrea, Yonas Kelati is born into a world of turmoil. At the same time, on the same day, Jude Munroe takes her first breath in London, England.
Thirty Years Later
Blacklisted in his war-ravaged country, Yonas has no option but to flee his home. After a terrible journey, he arrives on a bleak English coast.
By a twist of fate, Yonas’ asylum case lands on Jude’s desk. Opening the file, she finds a patchwork of witness statements from those who met Yonas along his journey: a lifetime the same length of hers, reduced to a few scraps of paper.
Soon, Jude will stand up in court and tell Yonas’ story. How she tells it will change his life forever.
The Invisible Crowd was a surprise arrival through my door, not in either of the genres I normally read it is one I probably wouldn’t have requested purely because my TBR pile is ridiculous but when I read the description and saw what the book was about I knew it was one that I had to read.
Jude and Yonas couldn’t be more different, one having grown up in England, in relative comfort, a barrister with a husband and child. The other having known nothing but war his entire life, torture, and death. Their only similarity is that they were born on the same day in the same year.
The two will be brought together when Yonas’ asylum case falls on Jude’s desk. As the book progresses we don’t just learn Yonas’ story from his point of view, we see what it is like for Jude, juggling life as a barrister, on a low wage, with a family vs her conscious for her client. We also meet all the people Yonas has come in contact with since reaching the country, no matter how briefly.
These chapters where we meet all the additional people were the most valuable to me, these were what made the novel, it showed just how many lives one person can touch, how special someone can be in the smallest ways. How different points of views can see the same thing differently. It helped us form a picture of the kind of man Yonas is, above and beyond the man we see from his own narration.
Now I will admit to having a strong opinion about the state of asylum in this country and some of what comes in this book sent me into long angry rants, because I know it’s true, I know it’s happening and it really angers me that we treat humans this way. Some of what happens in this book is appalling, it’s devastating and it broke my heart. But this is the reality of the world we live in and Ellen Wiles has seen it with her own eyes as a human rights barrister and translated it into what is one of the best novels I’ve read this year, and certainly on this subject.
The Invisible Crowd is compelling from the first page and will pull your heart kicking and screaming through the turmoil of finding a home, safety, and love.
Sending huge thanks to Ellen Wiles, Lucy Richardson and HQ for the ARC so that I could read and honestly review this novel.
Hey Guys, thanks for stopping by for Natalie K. Martin’s weekend blitz for What Goes Down courtesy of Neverland Blog Tours, you can catch my review below and the blitz schedule aswell so you know who the other blogs are hosting content and reviews this weekend. There is also a fab giveaway that you won’t want to miss at the end of the post.
WHAT GOES DOWN is an emotional, must-read novel of love, loss and second chances. Set in the present day and late 80’s, WHAT GOES DOWN deals with relationships touched by mental illness, and is perfect for fans of Amanda Prowse and Julie Cohen.
Seph Powell has all she ever wanted: a close family, loving boyfriend and her dream career. A gifted artist with a highly anticipated exhibition just weeks away, her life seems to be perfect. Until a man she’s never met claims to be her real father.
Laurel and Tony Powell are devoted parents. Having worked hard to provide everything for their daughter, they’ve created an enviable, picture-perfect family. Until Laurel’s ex-boyfriend, Nico, comes back into their lives.
In the summer of 1987, Nico stole Laurel’s heart with promises of adventure and excitement. But when he disappeared without trace, he left her as a single, teenaged parent. Now, twenty-five years later, he’s back and keen to meet the daughter he left behind.
But Nico’s sudden reappearance shows that nothing is quite as it first seems. And as long hidden truths are exposed, everything Seph thought she knew about her life begins to unravel.
Where do I start with this? I have done little since I finished this book other than think about it and how I was going to write this review. It is a substantially full novel, a lot happens, there is a full cast of characters each with their own nuances, issues, and contribution to the over-arching storyline.
As a summary Seph, a woman in her mid-twenties feels her world come crashing down around her ears when she receives an email from a man named Nico, telling her he is her biological Father and he wants to meet her. She never knew the man she calls Dad wasn’t her biological Father and so begins a tale of two women, Seph as she tries to unravel her life and Laurel, her Mother and how we end up in this position in the first place.
Natalie K. Martin could have settled with weaving a complicated storyline of young love, a neglectful Father and a complicated mess for a young woman to unravel. But she added an element of mental health with members of the family having Bipolar. Regular readers of the blog will know I have Bipolar so am maybe overly critical when I read characters in books who have it. Natalie K. Martin has not only nailed what living with undiagnosed Bipolar is like, but how people react to someone with it, both before and after. Things aren’t always nice and fluffy, people don’t always understand, and sometimes people, especially people you may have hurt, are downright nasty about the illness. Natalie K. Martin has managed to capture this in a way that doesn’t come across as unnatural, but to me felt very real.
I loved this book in a way that is very hard to describe, I felt connected to the characters and loved Nico and Seph with a passion that is hard to put into words. I really hope you all go and pick this book up because it deserves to be read by as many people as possible.
Sending huge thanks to Natalie K. Martin, and Neverland Blog Tours for the eARC so that I could read and honestly review this book.
About Natalie K. Martin
In 2014, Sheffield born Natalie K. Martin left her corporate job in London to experience the world – heading off on travels that took her as far as Cambodia, India and Thailand, and changed her outlook on life for good. Whilst in India, she self-published her debut novel, Together Apart, which became a No.1 bestseller on the Amazon charts. Her second novel, Love You Better, became a bestseller on release in October 2015.
Never one to shy away from tough subjects, Natalie’s books tackle issues that are relevant and relatable to the everyday woman, and all feature true-to-life characters – people who could easily be your mum, sister, or best friend. This is what she calls: Contemporary Fiction with Love. Natalie’s books have been featured in The Daily Mail, Woman’s Own, Pride Magazine and Female First. She has been interviewed on radio including BBC Radio Sheffield and Manx Radio, and has also written articles for Kindred Spirit Magazine, Do What You Love and Your Wellness Magazine.
A trained Yoga Teacher with a love of surfing, Natalie’s backpack is now taking a short but well-earned rest. These days, she can be found in the historical city of Ulm in Southern Germany, where she’s settled with the charming Bavarian man who swept her off her feet in India. Natalie is represented by Jon Elek at United Agents.
UK Only – 1 winner
Prizes: £10 Amazon giftcard, a Stag necklace and a copy of the book
I’m sure most of you already know Shannon over at Reads & Reels, this means that you should know she has recently set up her own blog tour business R&R Book Tours. Shannon is easily one of my favourite people in the blog world she is so cool (I say this because she geeky like me, reads similar books to me, watches the same sort of films to me and so on!) Her aim with R&R Book Tours is to support indie authors which is awesome and this launch party blitz is a coming together of some great indie authors she has supported on her own blog recently and has now brought into her tour fold. I’ve actually got some of these books in my TBR thanks to her reviews so encourage you to check them out! Finally I want to wish Shannon the very best of luck with her new venture and I look forward to taking part and seeing what she brings in!
The Old Man at the End of the World: Bite #1 by A.K. Silversmith
THE GOOD LIFE meets DOUGLAS ADAMS meets SHAUN OF THE DEAD! – Dave F, Amazon
Gerald Stockwell-Poulter couldn’t help but feel it was extraordinary just how quickly his life had changed. One moment he was earthing up leeks in the West Sussex sunshine and the next he was rooted to the spot as Rodney Timmins from the end allotment ambled towards him, arms outstretched, blood pouring from a hole in his neck and a look in his eye which suggested that he was less after help and more after a helping of Gerald.
Now, as Gerald’s life takes a quick turn for the worse, he must do things he has never done before. After 87 largely well-behaved years as a model citizen, less than four hours into the ‘zompocalypse’ and he has already killed a neighbour, rescued a moody millennial drug dealer and forged an unlikely allegiance with a giant ginger Scotsman. And it isn’t even tea time.
Join Gerald as he and his newfound allies navigate the post-apocalyptic English countryside in their hilarious bid to stay off the menu.
About AK Silversmith
AK Silversmith is the author of The Old Man at the End of the World; a series of zombie apocalypse Bites centering on the world of 87-year-old Gerald Stockwell-Poulter.
Bite 2 is coming soon…
She was born in Tasmania in 1983 and now lives in western Ireland where the weather is similar but the zombies are still absent.
I have also put an author interview on my site if anyone is interested in more info.
Zayne finds Serena’s lifeless body off the side of the road one morning. She has been beaten and left for dead. As she recovers, they become the best of friends. It doesn’t take long for Zayne’s feelings to grow stronger. Will the fear of ruining their friendship keep them from taking a chance on love?
About Angie Dokos
Angie Dokos was born a reader and grew to be a writer. Okay, so the reading took a few years, but in the meantime, she was having someone else read to her. She enjoys hiking and loves to travel. She currently lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area with her husband and children.
Seven Hours: Challenge Accepted by Angelina Kerner
One pill every 7 hours. That could be all it takes to give Chanel the chance to finally see the world around her.
Chanel is an independent 19-year-old, despite what her overprotective mother and senator father may think. Being the daughter of a Senator comes with its own problems, one simple afternoon out with friends becomes overwhelming when they’re swarmed by reporters.
Keeping the secret of the experimental treatment close to her chest, she is able to fool everyone but her hawkeyed bodyguard, Leon, that has now been assigned to protect her.
Chanel doesn’t want a bodyguard, but will she get more than she bargained for?
About Angelina Kerner
I wish I could sit down with you and have a nice warm cup of tea or a steaming mug of coffee, but since that’s not possible, how about a cyber-hug? I love hugs and coffee, a lot of coffee.
So, as an introduction, let’s start with, “I love to read and write”. I have so many stories inside my head that sometimes it’s impossible to know what’s real anymore. That doesn’t stop me from enjoying a great novel, though. Reading and writing is not all that I love, though it comes a close second. I love dancing, needlework, spending time with my family and friends, and most of all, the holidays. That’s when my family is all smiles. Smiles are the best, don’t you think?
I started writing stories for teen girls because I started writing in high school and I understood teen girls… or at least I thought so at the time. Throw in a hot guy, romance, and drama to get the perfect hypnosis formula for girls and some boys. Later, as I grew up, my characters grew up with me. I write a variety of books for all ages, mostly fantasy and chick-lit. An odd combination? You be the judge.
Currently, I divide my time between my family, work, writing, and a lot of cats. I’m also a new mother and you get to read about my journey on my blog once a month!
Quincey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson (Glass Vault #1)
Some see it… Some don’t…
People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie, along with her friend August, go on a pursuit to search for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with their disappearances?
A book that intertwines horror elements and retellings, with humor and darkness
About Candace Robinson
Her name is Candace Robinson, obviously. She’s just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. Her days are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books. She lives just outside of Houston, Texas with her husband and daughter, where it feels like the hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it’s 30 degrees and the next it’s 70 degrees! She is also the author of Hearts Are Like Balloons.
Not everything is as it seems in what appears to be an average family. When danger lurks so close to home, skeletons emerge, and the darkest of secrets surface, causing twisted desires to become reality. Aggravated Momentum offers the perspective of some very diverse and unique characters, including fun, witty personalities to fall in love with, along with an intellectual killer to die for. You may be surprised as to whom exactly you can relate. Is it the cold, calculated murderer, who’s name is yet to be revealed? Markie or Kam, the independent sisters, guilty of nothing more than getting tangled with the wrong people at the most inopportune times? Or, the cowardly snake curled in a hidden corner? Who are you, exactly? And, more importantly, who are they? The deeper you dig into the psyche of another, the more breath taking are the secrets you will find.
About Didi Oviatt
Didi Oviatt is a small town gal who married a small town guy. Within a few years of experiencing a new families bliss, she discovered that she had a thirst to write. Now, after digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee(coming soon), Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. Along with a six piece short story collection called the Time Wasters.
And don’t fret: there are two more Lamian novels in the works.
Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist by Theresa Braun & Mr. Deadman
From the time we are young, we fear the monster under the bed or in the closet, making it impossible to sleep without a nightlight. Then, we hear stories of Bigfoot, and maybe even the Mothman around campfires. When we are adults, we wonder if there might actually be supernatural creatures lurking in the shadows. Are these tall tales and urban legends only metaphors for what horrific things humanity is capable of—or do monsters exist?
Go to some terrifying places with this cast of authors. You will be dragged into mystifying realities where demonic fairies hide, where devil monkeys lure carnival-goers to their demise, where Goatmen seek to destroy their prey, and where the goddess of death puts out a hit on victims of her choice. These shocking tales will have you biting your nails and locating that childhood nightlight. Because, in the end, we all know monsters do exist.
Title: Deadman’s Tome Series: N/A Author: Various Genre: Horror Anthology | Short Stories Publisher: N/A Publication Date: 1 July 2017 Review Format: N/A Other Formats: Paperback Pages: 148 Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US
I’m so pleased to welcome Pat Abercromby to my blog today, she has written a post about writing a book from a carers point of view. Check out more about the book below along with this wonderful guest post.
When you realise you have just one life left to live, how do you make peace with the mistakes of your past?
Fran should be looking back on her life with pride. She’s risen to the top of the job ladder, having left behind a council housing estate in post-war Glasgow, to forge a colourful, fulfilling career and enjoy all the trappings of success.
But instead, Fran is consumed by regret. A shocking revelation has cast her life, and her thirty-year marriage, asunder. She finds herself the full-time carer for her husband, a man she now accepts, she has never loved. The sacrifices she has made, the personal freedoms she has lost, have left Fran crushed. Her free-spirited friend Iona is her one salvation. Their friendship has survived the storms of conflict and loss since childhood, their deep affection for one another the only constant remaining in Fran’s life, a life she no longer recognises as her own.
Her husband’s new brush with death will give Fran the chance to reflect on what she has left, the choices she has made and the two men she has loved and lost.
Can Fran find a way through the ruins of her marriage and find inner peace, to make the most of what remains of her life’s journey?
Writing a book from a carer’s point of view.
The statistics for unpaid carers looking after a family member are staggering. One in eight adults are carers, and the total number of carers of all ages currently stands at seven million people. Every day, another 6000 people take on a caring responsibility which equals over two million people each year. 58% of carers are women and 42% are men At least 1.5 million carers are looking after someone with long term mental health issues like dementia. 50,000 of carers looking after someone with mental health issues are children or young adults.
Before I became a carer myself, I was vaguely aware of these numbers but like most things in life, until you are affected by the experience yourself, it is easier not to think about it too much. My husband had a serious stroke in 2007 which left him almost blind, unable to walk and needing a wheelchair and a year later suffering from epileptic seizures which have resulted in vascular dementia. His life changed in a heartbeat, but so did mine. Almost overnight I had to give up my career to become his full-time carer. It was a while before I could accept that this was a forever change and that he was never going to get better. Through joining a stroke club and a carer’s support group I met many other carers ( most of them women) and came to realise that many shared the same frustrations, limitations and loss of identity that I was experiencing. Caring for someone, particularly someone with physical and mental health issues is an all-consuming 24/7 task. There is simply no time to be, or even remember the person you once were.
I was luckier than most because my husband was a Mason and they paid for him to go into respite care for four weeks of every year which gave me the opportunity to have a decent break. But I needed those breaks throughout the year just to catch up on sleep and relax a bit. It was only after he had to go into full-time residential nursing care two years ago, that I had the head space to consider writing Just One Life. It bothered me how many carers are unsupported and not acknowledged for the sacrifices they have had to make to look after their partner or family member.
Because I am a carer and have experienced many of the frustrations my main character Fran goes through, trying to meet the needs of someone whose core personality is reduced to that of a needy and tiresome child, I think I was able to bring some honest dialogue between them into the story. Carers often feel guilty because sometimes they completely hate the cared for person for being so utterly dependent and then torture themselves with feelings of pity and helplessness for the shocking quality of life that once healthy person now has. That is just the way it is, we can only do our best. Another thread in the story is about friendship. Carers more than anybody need friends to talk to, someone who understands their frustrations and does not judge. Preferably someone with a sense of humour!
This story, Just One Life, is dedicated to all carers and to friendship.
About Pat Abercromby
Living in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, Pat Abercromby has enjoyed a varied career – from recruitment consultant to journalist in Saudi Arabia and massage therapist – eventually setting up a training school for Seated Acupressure Massage. Today she continues to work within the field of corporate wellness with her business partner Davina Thomson with their joint company Wellbeing Direct. She also co-wrote and published Seated Acupressure Massage with Davina Thomson in 2000. In her spare time, Pat enjoys being an active member of her local creative writing group, classical music and the outdoors.
Soho 1984: Two people meet and their worlds are changed forever. An unexpected meeting – a look that means their lives will never be the same again. In “There Is Always More To Say”, Lynda Spiro chronicles the lives of the couple through friendships, marriage, fleeting moments and snatched time. It is a passionate account about a connection between two people that never dies even when tested by distance and when life throws the unexpected at their feet.
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances. If there is any reaction both are transformed.” C G Jung
There Is Always More To Say is a book about friendship, about love, and for me it was about fidelity aswell. Our narrator is a woman, who is telling her story in the form of a stream of consciousness or a letter or something else of this ilk. We never know her name or the name of the person she is talking to. Just Me and You.
Also very cleverly is that all of the accompanying cast have androgynous names meaning we don’t know the sex of the friends meaning that the story has to be taken as it is given and no judgements made.
The two characters meet while working in a London cafe in 1984, after a brief relationship, they go back to their lives, with “you” returning to the USA. They only see each other twice in the next 30 years but there is semi-regular contact and it is our narrator’s thoughts and feelings about this friendship that we are taken through.
Now in some ways this sounds like a beautiful and moving friendship, it has survived miles and decades, and I’m sure we can all vouch for the fact that friendships like that are hard to find. On the other hand some of the things that are said in regards to our narrators husband in comparison to this “friend” I found quite wrong, hence my comment above about this book being about fidelity aswell.
I believe there was definitely an emotional affair happening here and I found it very uncomfortable to read someone so oblivious to the fact they were cheating on their partner or not caring. All of the things they said they were getting from their “friend” I get from my Husband and it made me feel very awkward and very sorry for the Husband.
This is obviously a very one-sided story and it’s told like this on purpose. I sometimes wondered if maybe it was just a diary rather than something meant for the “friend” to see. It was very repetitive the way a diary would be with constant reminders of when they met and other facts that we already knew.
It would be interesting for another book to be written with the story from the “friend” perspective because I wonder if things are as they played out in this story. I wonder if our narrator is caught up in a bubble of their own making, the grass is always greener with the first love kind of thing.
This was an interesting book, it’s a short read and gets you thinking.
A huge thanks to Lynda Young Spiro for the eARC so that I could read and honestly review this novel.
A loving mother. A perfect family. A shock wave that could shatter everything.
Freya Braithwaite knows she is lucky. Nineteen years of marriage to a man who still warms her soul and two beautiful teenage daughters to show for it: confident Charlotte and thoughtful Lexi. Her home is filled with love and laughter.
But when Lexi’s struggles with weight take control of her life, everything Freya once took for granted falls apart, leaving the whole family with a sense of helplessness that can only be confronted with understanding, unity and, above all, love.
In this compelling and heart-wrenching new work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse, one ordinary family tackles unexpected difficulties and discovers that love can find its way through life’s darkest moments.
I didn’t anticipate going in how difficult this would be to read. My own struggles with mental health and having friends who struggle with anorexia much of this book cut close to the bone for me and I found myself needing to stop and take breaks at regular intervals feeling myself struggling often.
Lexi is a seemingly happy and healthy fifteen year old girl, that is until her parents discover her secret life. She has been skipping meals and purging with a strongly held belief that she will grow fat if she doesn’t. As her anorexia takes more of a grip she struggles with the physical ramifications versus the mental ones. Amanda Prowse hasn’t held the punches here and has perfectly described the struggles, the deceits, and the life of someone with anorexia. Whilst some of what Lexi went through I didn’t recognise as it was different from what my friends have been through, as with all mental illness there is no size fits all and I felt an affinity with this young girl who was battling her mind and her body.
Her parents were very well written, as people who loved their daughter dearly, but despite this did almost everything wrong. Lockie her Father is a bull in a china shop, he wants to punish and and take the hard line. He takes a long time to accept that anorexia is a mental illness, although once he does he is the one that realises what kind of treatment she needs and should have and ends up battling for her to get it.
Freya was awful, just awful, as someone who grew up with a mental illness she would have been my worst nightmare as a mother. She was full of love but she had no backbone. She wasn’t willing to fight for her daughter to get the treatment she needed, to be treated by the right people and ultimately is probably the reason that Lexi ends up so sick. I spent so much of the book shaking my head and tutting at the decisions she was making, my mind had a running commentary of “why aren’t you doing?”. It really has been a long time since I have disliked a character as much as I have disliked Freya. She wasn’t a bad person she was just a complete marshmallow when it came to handling this awful illness.
This is a truly harrowing read, but this is what this illness is like, it tears through lives and those living with it become consumed. Mental illness is real and harsh and anorexia has devastating physical affects. Amanda Prowse has written a book which could probably have been a biography for thousands of families here. I would recommend thinking carefully before reading if you have any mental health issues especially related to food or self harm as this is tremendously hard to read.
A huge thanks to Amanda Prowse for the eARC of this book in return for my honest review.
Book & Buy Links
Title: The Food of Love Series: N/A Author: Amanda Prowse Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Fiction | Mental Health Publisher: Lake Union Publishing Publication Date: 1 December 2016 Review Format: eBook Other Formats: Paperback | Audio Pages: 364 Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US