#BlogTour: The Lighthouse Witches by C. J. Cooke @CJessCooke @fictionpubteam @HarperFiction @RandomTTours #TheLighthouseWitches #CJCooke #RandomThingsTours #5Stars #recommended

Book Synopsis:

Upon the cliffs of a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven, stands a lighthouse.

A lighthouse that has weathered more than storms.

Mysterious and terrible events have happened on this island. It started with a witch hunt. Now, centuries later, islanders are vanishing without explanation.

Coincidence? Or curse?

Liv Stay flees to the island with her three daughters, in search of a home. She doesn’t believe in witches, or dark omens, or hauntings. But within months, her daughter Luna will be the only one of them left.

Twenty years later, Luna is drawn back to the place her family vanished. As the last sister left, it’s up to her to find out the truth . . .

But what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago?

The Lighthouse Witches is available in ebook and hardback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

Wow I did enjoy this atmospheric and gripping gothic thriller. I was a big fan of this author’s first book but this book surpassed all of my expectations and I’d happily call it one of my books of the year.

Firstly I loved the descriptions of the island and especially the lighthouse which were really vivid helping me to picture it in my mind. I have a bit of a thing about lighthouses which always seem full of mystery and magic somehow so I loved learning more about the history of this one. The island is certainly an interesting place with some of the locals giving off some very creepy vibes. It’s a place I’d love to visit and experience for a day but only if I had an immediate way of leaving if anything happened!

The story changes between 1998 when Liv comes to live on the island and 2001 when one of Liv’s daughters comes back to the island to find out what happens. The time changes are quite abrupt at times and it did confuse me to start with, especially as it changed between first and third person too. I soon git used to this though and found I enjoyed both timelines equally which is unusual for me. There is also some flashbacks to the Scottish Witch Hunts which were interesting to learn more about.

Overall, as you can probably tell, I really enjoyed this book which I found very hard to put down. It’s a book that merges a few genres together and does so very successfully. There’s a deliciously creepy atmosphere to the book that helped draw me into the story and was perfect for snuggling up with on cold nights. There are lots of family drama, chilling moments that made my heart beat faster and a truly amazing twist at the end which I didn’t see coming.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Harper for my copy of this book via netgalley. I highly recommend this book!

About The Author:

C.J. Cooke is an acclaimed, award-winning poet, novelist and academic with numerous other publications written under the name of Carolyn Jess-Cooke. Her work has been published in twenty-three languages to date. Born in Belfast, C.J. has a PhD in Literature from Queen’s University, Belfast, and is currently Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, where she researches creative writing interventions for mental health. C.J. Cooke lives in Glasgow with her husband and four children.

#BlogTour: The New Kingdom by Wilbur Smith @thewilbursmith @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheNewKingdom #WilburSmith

Book Synopsis:

A brand-new Ancient Egyptian novel from the master of adventure fiction and global number 1 bestselling author, Wilbur Smith.

In the heart of Egypt
Under the watchful eye of the gods
A new power is rising

In the city of Lahun, Hui lives an enchanted life. The favoured son of a doting father, and ruler-in-waiting of the great city, his fate is set. But behind the beautiful façades a sinister evil is plotting. Craving power and embittered by jealousy, Hui’s stepmother, the great sorceress Isetnofret, and Hui’s own brother Qen, orchestrate the downfall of Hui’s father, condemning Hui and seizing power in the city.

Cast out and alone, Hui finds himself a captive of a skilled and powerful army of outlaws, the Hyksos. Determined to seek vengeance for the death of his father and rescue his sister, Ipwet, Hui swears his allegiance to these enemies of Egypt. Through them he learns the art of war, learning how to fight and becoming an envied charioteer.

But soon Hui finds himself in an even greater battle – one for the very heart of Egypt itself. As the pieces fall into place and the Gods themselves join the fray, Hui finds himself fighting alongside the Egyptian General Tanus and renowned Mage, Taita. Now Hui must choose his path – will he be a hero in the old world, or a master in a new kingdom?

The New Kingdom is available in hardback and ebook now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

The New Kingdom is another gripping and entertaining page turner from one of my favourite authors. I have loved this series from the start and am so pleased to see it continuing!

I’ve always loved learning more about ancient Egypt so this series appealed to me from the start. The author has clearly done his research, with the vivid descriptions helping to transport me back to ancient Egypt as if I was actually there watching it all unfold. I loved learning more about ancient Egyptian culture and how different it is to modern day life. I particularly liked meeting some of the gods they used to worship and learning a little bit about them.

There are some great characters in this book who I enjoyed following throughout the book. Hui is a fantastic main character who seemed really believable. I warmed to him early on and was soon completely on his side. I thought it was very interesting to follow him through his warfare training and to see this learning process. The the combination of old and new characters in this story was great to see and I enjoyed getting to know new characters while enjoy seeing some of the original characters too. There were some characters that I absolutely loved and others who I loved to hate which always make the book more fun.

Overall I loved this book which I thought was a great addition to the series. There was lots of action and always something happening to keep me glued to the page. The ending was brilliant and I can’t wait to read more from this series soon.

Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Zaffre for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

Wilbur Smith is a worldwide phenomenon. His readership has built up over fifty-five years of writing.
Born in Central Africa in 1933, Wilbur became a full-time writer in 1964 following the success of When the Lion Feeds, and has since published over forty global bestsellers, including the Courtney Series, the Ballantyne Series, the Egyptian Series, the Hector Cross Series and many successful standalone novels, all meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide.
The establishment of the Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation in 2015 cemented Wilbur’s passion for empowering writers, promoting literacy and advancing adventure writing as a genre. The foundation’s flagship programme is the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize.
For all the latest information on Wilbur visit http://www.wilbursmithbooks.com or facebook.com/WilburSmith

Mark Chadbourn is a Sunday Times bestselling author of historical fiction novels about the Anglo-Saxon warrior Hereward, published under his pseudonym James Wilde. His Age of Misrule books, under his own name, have been translated into many languages. As a screenwriter, he’s written for the BBC and is currently developing series for Lionsgate and several of the streaming networks. He began his career as a journalist reporting from the world’s hotspots.

#BlogTour: Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin @Annecdotist @InspiredQuill @ZooloosBT #MatildaWindsor #AnneGoodwin #ZoolooBlogTours

Book Synopsis:

This book will have you breaking your heart one minute and laughing out loud the next.

In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect.

Henry was only a boy when he waved goodbye to his glamorous grown-up sister; approaching sixty, his life is still on hold as he awaits her return.

As a high-society hostess renowned for her recitals, Matty’s burden weighs heavily upon her, but she bears it with fortitude and grace.

Janice, a young social worker, wants to set the world to rights, but she needs to tackle challenges closer to home.
A brother and sister separated by decades of deceit. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart?

Told with compassion and humour, Anne Goodwin’s third novel is a poignant, compelling and brilliantly authentic portrayal of asylum life, with a quirky protagonist you won’t easily forget.

Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home is available in paperback and ebook now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

Matilda Windsor is coming home is a beautiful, absorbing, heart breaking read that will definitely be staying with me.

Firstly I have a bit of a fascination with the old Asylums so I always find them interesting to read about. It’s thankfully hard to imagine in these days such a cold, final method of care for mental health patients as there used to be – especially as some of the patients didn’t actually have mental any mental health problems which I always find quite shocking. As such I enjoyed reading about the transition from the old style asylum to the softer community approach we have now.

The author clearly has some experience in this field which made this story seem very real and my heart broke for Matilda and all the other patients, especially those who had spent so long in the asylums that they were unable to live outside of a care setting. I absolutely loved Matilda as a main character and enjoyed following her story throughout the book. Her story is heartbreaking and I often wished I could reach into the book and give her a hug. I loved the descriptions of the imaginary world she has created and felt glad she had that to take her away from her everyday life. The different characters help offer different views of the care system which I thought was a good touch as it helped me to understand more about the history of asylums and the mental health care that used to be available. It was especially interesting to see the reasoning behind the old Asylums and the attitudes towards the patients.

Overall I really enjoyed this book which had a great pace to it. I quickly grew fond of Matilda and found the book hard to put down as I wanted to find out more about her life. I think this would be a great book club read as I feel there would be lots to discuss.

Huge thanks to Zoe from Zooloo’s blog yours for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

nne Goodwin grew up in the non-touristy part of Cumbria,where this novel is set. When she went to university ninety miles away, no-onecould understand her accent. After nine years of studying, her first post onqualifying as a clinical psychologist was in a long-stay psychiatric hospitalin the process of closing.

Her debut novel, Sugarand Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret forthirty years, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her secondnovel, Underneath, about a manwho keeps a woman captive in his cellar, was published in 2017. Her short story collection, Becoming Someone,on the theme of identity, was published in November 2018. Subscribers to her newsletter can download a free e-book ofprize-winning short stories.

#BlogTour: The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen @antti_tuomainen @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #TheRabbitHouse #AnttiTuomainen #TeamOrenda #RandomThingsTours

Book Synopsis:

Just one spreadsheet away from chaos…

What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.

And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.

But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…

Warmly funny, rich with quirky characters and absurd situations, The Rabbit Factor is a triumph of a dark thriller, its tension matched only by its ability to make us rejoice in the beauty and random nature of life.

The Rabbit Factor is published in ebook and hardback on the 28th October 2021. You can pre-order your copy using the links below.

My Review:

The Rabbit Factor is another fabulously entertaining, quirky read from one of my favourite authors. I’m always incredibly excited to read a new book from him as his books are always marvellously entertaining and his quirky storylines never fail to make me smile.

Henri was a great main character who I really enjoyed following throughout the book. He’s a very warm, likeable character who I quickly warmed to. I absolutely loved his relationship with Laura and it was lovely to watch it develop. I thought the author had created a lovely balance with the storyline with the darker moments being interspersed with some romantic scenes and some hilarious laugh out loud moments which I startled my husband with on a few occasions. I soon found the book hard to put down as I was so invested in the characters and had to keep reading to find out what on earth would happen next.

Overall, as you can probably tell, I loved this book which helped to lift my spirits in an emotional week. The author has a great way of describing the scene so that I felt like I was actually there watching everything unfold and the action seem quite realistic – even when it gets slight mad! The book had a great pace to it and even in the quieter moments I still really enjoyed the story as these moments helped me get to know the characters better. This book was recently commissioned to become a film and I’m seriously excited to see it on the big screen soon!

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Orenda for my copy of this book. Highly recommended by me!

About The Author:

Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. In 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards. Palm Beach Finland was an immense success, with Marcel Berlins (The Times) calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’. His latest thriller, Little Siberia, was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger, the Amazon Publishing/Capital Crime Awards and the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award, and won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

About The Translator:

David Hackston is a British Translator of Finnish and Swedish literature and drama. Notable publications include The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy, Maria Peura’s coming-of-age novel At the Edge of Light, Johanna Sinisalo’s eco-thriller Birdbrain, two crime novels by Matti Joensuu and Kati Hiekkapelto’s Anna Fekete series (which currently includes The HummingbirdThe Defenceless and The Exiled, all published by Orenda Books). He also translates Antti Tuomainen’s stories. In 2007 he was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Translation. David is also a professional countertenor and a founding member of the English Vocal Consort of Helsinki. Follow David on Twitter @Countertenorist

#BlogTour: Bernie And Boatie by Natalie Reeves Billing @BoatofHope @BillingReeves @RandomTTours #BernieAndBoatie #NatalieReecesBilling #RandomThingsTours #BoatOfHope #5stars #recommended

Book Synopsis:

Get ready for a life-changing adventure!

Bernie and Boatie face an epic journey across the stormy seas, which will test their friendship and their mettle to the max. Will they overcome their fear and make it to the island across the ocean? All aboard the #BoatofHope

This book follows the real-life journey of Bernie Hollywood, OBE as he undertakes his greatest endurance test yet for charity. As part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge Race, Bernie will be rowing solo for up to 90 days across the Atlantic Ocean in 2022. The story tells the tale of a young boy and his boat who face multiple ups and downs at sea. Together they discover there’s nothing to fear and a problem is halved when it’s shared with a friend.

Bernie And Boatie is published in ebook and paperback on the 12th October 2021. You can pre-order your copy or find out more about the Boat Of Hope charity by clicking on the link below.

My Review:

My little girl is a huge fan of this author’s books so you can imagine her excitement when she received a copy of Bernie And Boatie. It quickly got ripped open and I think I’d read it six times before she’d gone to bed – almost able to know the book off by heart.

Natalie really knows how to write books that capture children’s imagination and draw them into the story so they soon become firm favourites. My kids were soon sitting in cardboard boxes in our sitting room pretending to go on their own sea adventure.

I thought the story was well written, showing kids the dangers that Bernie may face at sea, managing to spark their interest without scaring them. The story is told in a gentle rhyme similar to Natalie’s other books and accompanied by some bright, beautiful full page illustrations that were just stunning to look at. My daughter and I spent ages looking at them and finding little details which we’d missed before. I particularly liked the inclusion of the famous Beatles statue and that the author herself was featured cheering Bernie on at the end. Each picture includes a rainbow which I absolutely loved as I have a thing about rainbows (as you can probably tell from my blog name). I thought this was a nice touch as they are known for being a symbol of hope – perfect colours for the boat of hope!

There is an important message hidden in the story to tell people that they aren’t alone and to encourage people to talk to other people if they have a problem. My initial thought was that this would go over my five year olds head but when I asked her she said the book was about helping people and being a friend to others so the message obviously gets through.

Overall we absolutely loved this book and I’m already thinking about giving it to friends children for Christmas, as well as a copy to my children’s school. Proceeds from this book and donations towards Bernie’s real life Atlantic challenge will go towards mental health charities aimed at helping children with their mental health.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Natalie for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

Natalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool lass with a dark sense of humour, which often spills onto the page. She loves to write spooky, fantastical stories for young audiences, and dabbles in poetry, contemporary fiction.Natalie spent most of her early career in the music industry as a performer and professional songwriter. This lead, almost inevitably, to storytelling.Natalie is an Arvon Foundation friend and is a student of the Golden Egg Academy. She is mentored under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, with her Bubs Literacy project. She is published in several anthologies with her poetry and flash fiction, including the Writing on the Wall, Read Now, Write Now, and is involved in several collaborations with fellow writers across poetry, song, and scriptwriting.Her new book, My Mummy is a Monster (part of the Monstrous Me collection) will be available in March 2020 and Carry Love in June 2020Connect with Natalie on Twitter @BillingReeves.

#BlogTour: One More Christmas At The Castle by Trisha Ashley @trishaashley @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours

Book Synopsis:

This Christmas will be the most special of them all…

Elderly widow Sabine knows this will be her last Christmas in her beloved home, Mitras Castle. Determined to make it just like the ones she remembers from her childhood, she employs Dido Jones of Heavenly Houseparties to help with the big day.

Dido is enchanted by the castle as soon as she steps through the imposing front door. And as Christmas day approaches, her feeling of connection to the old house runs deeper than she first thought. But when the snow begins to fall and Sabine’s family arrive at the house – including Dido’s teenage crush Xan – tensions rise around the castle’s future and long-buried mysteries begin to unravel…

As past secrets come to light, can this still be a magical Christmas to remember?

Last Christmas At The Castle is available in ebook and hardback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

I’m a huge fan of this author and I always look forward to her Christmas books each year, so you can imagine my excitement when I was invited on the blog tour for Last Christmas At The Castle. Once again the author has written a feel good, absorbing and festive read which will help get readers into the festive spirit.

Firstly I love a good Christmas read. There’s nothing nicer than snuggling up as the weather gets colder and reading to get you into the festive spirit. As the books says it’s never too early to get excited for Christmas and I wholeheartedly agree with that! This book helps to bring to life all those magical Christmases you had as a child and hope to recreate with your own family. I loved all the wonderful descriptions of a traditional family Christmas with friends, family and lots of yummy food. Just a warning, don’t eat this book whilst hungry!

The author’s wonderful descriptions made me feel like I was actually there experiencing everything alongside the characters. I felt like I could really imagine the beautiful countryside and could see the characters doing the ice skating on the lake. The characters were all fabulous creations who I enjoyed following throughout the book. I especially loved Dido who definitely warmed my heart with her attempts to always see the best in people and wanting to make everyone happy. I wasn’t sure about Sabrine however as she didn’t seem a very nice person and seemed to use her money to try and manipulation people to do what she wants so she can get her own way.

Overall I really enjoyed this book which has made me very excited for Christmas. I was quickly drawn into the story and found the book hard to put down as I so wanted to find out what would happen next. The storyline was surprisingly gripping with lots of secrets and surprisingly revelations being revealed. I thought the ending was wonderfully heart warming and I felt very sad when the book ended as I had to leave the characters and the castle behind.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Transworld for my copy of this book via netgalley.

About The Author:

Trisha Ashley’s Sunday Times bestselling novels have sold over one million copies in the UK and have twice been shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan award for Romantic Comedy. Every Woman for Herself was nominated by magazine readers as one of the top three romantic novels in the last fifty years.

Trisha lives in North Wales. For more information about her please visit http://www.Facebook.com/TrishaAshleyBooks or follow her on Twitter @trishaashley.

#TunesForTuesday: Midnight Mustang by Josh Taerk @JoshTaerk #MidnightMustang #JoshTaerk #SingerSongwriter #TwitchStreamer #NewMusic

Good afternoon everyone today on Tunes For Tuesday I’m featuring the lovely Josh Taerk and his new song Midnight Mustang.

I first discovered Josh on twitch where I soon grew to love his streams with Josh’s enthusiasm and fantastic originals. Despite there normally being a few people in his streams Josh greets everyone personally and manages to remember little things about their lives which makes you feel included in his streams. He’s often joined by his brother and dad who are also fantastic musicians and there is such a lovely vibe when they all play together.

Josh was nice enough to answer some questions for me so you can find out more about him by reading his answers below!

You can follow Josh on social media or watch him on twitch by clicking on the links below.

How To Listen:

Josh’s music is available on all major music streaming platforms which you can access using the links below. He also has a lot of beautiful covers on his YouTube channel which is definitely worth listening to. I’ve out the videos for Midnight Mustang and I’m here, my personal favourite original of Josh’s, below.


Tell us a little about yourself

I was born and raised in Toronto Canada. My favorite color is black (I know it’s a shade but it still counts). My favorite food is meat-filled ravioli or tortellini. I prefer t-shirts over dress shirts, jeans over dress pants, and boots over shoes. I love anything Disney (yes that includes Marvel), and for as long as I can remember my dream has been to play music and connect with people through that music.

What first got you into music?

I have to give credit to my parents for this one. Through my mom and dad, I was introduced to Michal Jackson, Eddie Van Halen, The Who, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Hall and Oates, and from as early as I can remember, I wanted to play onstage like the people coming out of my parents’ speakers. We even have a video of me at 5 years old using a tennis racket as a guitar, playing a song I had written that day. Music was always a way for me to process the emotions I was feeling and the things I was thinking. Whenever I was happy, sad, confused; music was my way of working through it while feeling like someone out there understood what I was experiencing.

Who inspired you to make music?

The first time I really paid attention to the words in Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” I think I was 10 years old. That song just hit me differently that day and I saw the images and felt the feelings running through those lines “Roy Orbison singing For The Lonely, Hey that’s me and I want you only, Don’t turn me home again, I just can’t face myself alone again”. I was crying before I got to the chorus. It was my first real introduction to how cinematic and emotionally impactful the stories we tell through music can be.

Then when I was 15 my buddy asked me if I’d heard Counting Crows and proceeded to play me “Round Here”. “Step out the front door like a ghost, Into a fog where no one notices, The contrast of white on white, And in between the moon and you, Angels get a better view, Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right”. I started devouring Counting Crows music, started listening to Springsteen again, and told myself that I wanted to write music that spoke to people the way these songs spoke to me.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

I consider myself a storyteller before anything else, and that’s how I approach every moment of inspiration when it comes. I’m a big believer in letting that story lead, tell me how it wants to sound, and where it wants to go. This leads me to mix everything from Pop to Rock, Folk to Country, and just about everything in between; pulling from all the different styles of music that I love to bring the songs to life in a way that honors the story being told.

One of my favorite things to do is talk to people who have taken my music into their lives and hear what the stories mean to them. The fact that these songs speak to them and that they’re able to relate these stories to moments in their lives means more to me than I will ever be able to put into words.

What is your creative process like?

It’s very organic and the songwriting process starts differently every single time. I get my inspiration from real life, the things I’m feeling, experiencing, and/or the things people very close to me are going through. Sometimes it will start as a melody I hear in my head, a guitar part that I start playing, a word or phrase someone says that hits me in just the right way at that moment. I love it because it always keeps me on my toes. The trick is recognizing that moment of inspiration and following it where it wants to go.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate with Taylor Swift. I think she is a brilliant storyteller and an awesome songwriter. I would love to write and perform a song with her.

If you could go and open a show for any artist, who would it be?

That’s a tough one. I would say it would probably be a tie between Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift. Both are creative and immensely talented people. I think I would have a lot of fun being on tour with both.

What is one message you would give your fans?

Follow your heart. We get a million chances to do a million different things in life, but we only get 1 chance to live it to the fullest.

What is the most useless talent you have?

I have an iron stomach. I can digest absolutely anything you could throw at me which has come in handy when touring and the only place to stop for breakfast is a gas station, haha.

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

Always, I love singing in the shower. Before anyone ever heard me sing in public, I would have full-on concerts in there. It changes depending on what I’m listening to at that moment. Lately, it’s been a lot of Switchfoot, Jimmy Eat World, and Mayday Parade.

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

I think I would have been an actor or teacher. I was in plays up until I was a teenager and loved taking on different characters.

Thanks so much for answering my questions Josh!


You can now listen to all previously featured Music Monday artists on a special playlist I’ve created on Spotify. I’m in the process of creating one for Tunes For Tuesday too.

Thanks for reading and happy listening!

#BlogTour: Stronger by Poorna Bell @poornabell @booksbybluebird @midaspr @CheltLitFest #Stronger #PoornaBell #CheltLitFest

Good morning everyone I’m excited to be on a special blog tour to celebrate The Cheltenham Literature Festival which is happening the 8th – 17th October in various venues around Cheltenham. The event truly has something for everyone with talks from author’s from all genres, proof parties for bloggers and exciting events for children which I’m taking my kids to.

There are still some tickets available so if you’d like to have a look at the program please follow the link below.

Book Synopsis:

If you are the girl, the woman who feels like she is never enough, that she will never be as strong, as good, as capable, I am here to tell you that you are enough. I am here to tell you that while it shouldn’t have been your burden, you can write a different story.

Stronger will change what you think you know about strength and, most importantly, empower you to go on your own journey to discover what strength looks like for you.

Now a competitive amateur powerlifter who can lift over twice her own bodyweight, Poorna Bell is perfectly placed to start a crucial conversation about women’s strength and fitness, one that has nothing to do with weight loss. In Stronger she challenges the notions taught to us as girls, and examines how all of us can tap into our reservoir of inner strength to make us our strongest selves mentally and physically. Describing taking up weightlifting after the death of her husband, she shows how discovering her own strength helped her to find the confidence that physical pursuits can amplify – the confidence that has been helping men to succeed for centuries – and that women can find too.

In these pages, Poorna tells not only her own story but those of a range of women, investigating intersections of race, age and social background. Part memoir, part manifesto, Stronger explodes old-fashioned notions and long-held beliefs about getting strong and explores the relationship between mental and physical strength.

Whether you’re into weightlifting, running, swimming, yoga or don’t consider yourself to be sporty at all, Poorna shows how finding strength can work for you, regardless of age, ability or background.

Stronger is available in ebook and hardback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

Wow what an amazing, uplifting and insightful book this was. I must admit I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started reading this book but I was more than pleasantly surprised as I absolutely loved this book.

In her inspiring memoir the author discusses the subject of strength, not just of body but of mind and attitude too. I found the discussion about societies attitude to exercise exceptionally fascinating. As someone who’s perhaps a little exercise shy at times I’ve always been told I have to do certain exercises and make myself exhausted in order to get fit. Exercise isn’t about enjoyment but about working hard. The author completely dispels the idea arguing that you should do do exercise you enjoy which I found very inspirational and has encouraged me to restart Zumba classes soon as I used to love them.

The author discusses other barriers to exercise that may exist including what sports are still considered appropriate for girls to do, which doesn’t include strength training. I know this to be true as I have a friend who’s very into CrossFit who keeps getting comments about being careful not to get muscular arms as it is unfeminine. It’s a shame that these stereotypes still exist in the modern day. I often found myself agreeing with the author as I read as some of the examples she uses are very relatable and likely to have happened to you or someone you know.

Overall i really enjoyed this book which I thought was very well written and researched. Its one of those books that I’ll be encouraging everyone to read and I hope that PE teachers or sports coaches might read it in the as I feel it could help younger children get into sports.

Huge thanks to Midas publicity for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book.

About The Author:

Poorna is an award-winning freelance journalist of fifteen years and a digital editorial expert, having previously worked as UK Executive Editor and Global Lifestyle Head for HuffPost. She freelances for The Times, The i Paper, Grazia, The Guardian, Red magazine, and Stylist among others.

Poorna is an experienced public speaker across ministerial health summits, corporate and consumer events, including Twitter, Ad Week, NHS, ITV and Oath. She’s also spoken on Channel 5, ITV and BBC News, as well as regularly on TalkRadio and BBC 5 Live.

Named one of Balance magazine’s top 100 wellness personalities two years running, she’s also been a judge for Mind Media Awards, Own Media Awards, British Book Awards, Sony World Photography and First Women.

#BlogTour: Fire & Fury For The Tobacco Girls by Lizzie Lane @baywriterallat1 @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #FireAndFury #TobaccoGirls #LizzieLane #RachelsRandomResources

Book Synopsis:

As war rages, everyone has to do their bit…

Bristol 1941

As the clouds of war grow bleaker both at home and abroad, the Tobacco Girls are determined to do their bit for King and Country. To that end Maisie Miles and Bridget Milligan become voluntary ambulance drivers.

As well as coping with the frequent air raids, Maisie is kept on her toes with three new junior employees one of whom is particularly testing.

Bridget’s heart becomes torn between family loyalty and American tobacco tycoon Lyndon O’Neill III, the man she loves.

Meanwhile Phyllis Harvey has joined the WAAF, opting to serve overseas whilst trying to escape her past. Her letters home are upbeat and her friends are initially envious of descriptions of sunshine and blue sea. The truth she hides is that life on the island of Malta is fraught with extreme food shortages, daily air raids and the fear that tomorrow might never come.

The future appears far less certain as the reality of war bites into The Tobacco Girls’ lives.

Fire & Fury is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

Fire and Fury is a fascinating, gripping and emotional read that I found hard to put down. It is the third book in the fantastic Tobacco Girls series which in my opinion keeps getting better and better!

Firstly it was great to be back with the Tobacco girls and I was quickly thrown back into their lives. I’ve grown very fond of them over the series and they have started to feel like old friends to me so I found myself very invested in their story. I soon felt I had to keep reading as I cared about what happened to them. They are a great group of girls and I loved reading more about the friendship that has grown between them. Each girl is slightly different and they all bring different things to the story which makes for very interesting reading.

This book focuses on a dark time in the war and I enjoyed following the girls as they tried to juggle their work, volunteer work and their personal lives. It was interesting to learn more about what life was like on the home front and the bravery of the woman who stepped up to help the war effort. Phyllis’s posting to Malta helped the reader to experience the war from another point of view and I found it fascinating to learn more about Malta during the war.

Overall I really liked this book and can’t wait to read more in this series The author’s writing style helps draw the reader into the book and there was always something happening to keep me glued to the page. I felt sad when the book ended and I had to leave all the fabulous characters behind.

Huge thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Bold wood for my copy of this book via netgalley.

About The Author:

Lizzie Lane has written over fifty books a number of which have appeared in the top thirty best selling paperbacks and the Heatseekers charts. Her pet interest is WW2, how little people carried on regardless against the biggest upheaval the world had ever known. She mentions at one stage about how it seemed Britain was sinking beneath the weight of weaponry and allied soldiers from all over the world.Born and raised in Bristol, a number of her family were involved in the tobacco industry which at one time employed 13,000 people in the city. This is the inspiration behind her latest series, The Tobacco Girls which is set against those five years of war and follows their lives and loves, their hope for survival and better times to come.

#BlogTour: Always In December by Emily Stone @EmStoneWrites @headlinepg @RandomTTours #AlwaysInDecember #EmilyStone #RandomThingsTours

Book Synopsis:

Josie Morgan never looks forward to December. It’s always a reminder of the life she lost, twenty years ago. Now, she always switches off the radio when Christmas music comes on. She always wants to tear down the tinsel her flatmate insists on pinning up. And she always posts a letter she knows will never be read.

Max Carter
 never expected to find himself stranded in London just days before Christmas. He never expected it would be so hard to say goodbye to a woman he hardly knows. Then again, he never expected to fall in love.

But, this December, when Josie’s letter leads her to Max, a chance encounter will change their lives in the most remarkable way. And their story is only just beginning . . .

Always In December is available in ebook and paperback now. The ebook is currently only 99p. You can purchase your copy using the links below.

My Review:

Always in December is a romantic, uplifting read that will stay with me for ages. When I first started reading I was anticipating a cosy Christmas read to help get me into the festive spirit but this book is far more than that.

Firstly I did love Josie and enjoyed following her through the book. She’s a very realistic, likeable character who I wish I knew in real life. She’s definitely been through a lot in her life but I loved the way friends and family came together to help her through the harder moments. Max was an interesting character who I wasn’t sure I liked at the beginning as he seemed to be holding a lot of himself back but as the book went on he grew on me and I found myself hoping for a happy ending for the two of them.

The author has a great way of setting the scene and the festive atmosphere in the book as we follow Max and Josie on their whirlwind romance was wonderful to read about. I so enjoyed the fabulous descriptions of the festive dates spent ice skating and drinking spiced cocktails. The gathering of friends and family was also very touching and helped portray the sense of anticipation there is on the run up to Christmas.

Overall i really enjoyed this book which took me through every emotion as I read. I found myself smiling and laughing one moment to crying the next. It was interesting to follow the couple throughout the year as they try to go from a Christmas romance to something more serious. I liked how realistically the author described their relationship at this stage and I felt I had to keep reading to find out what happens. The author touches on some deeper subjects in the story which I felt were well dealt with and which made the book slightly more serious in places. The pace in the book gradually increases as the story goes on and I found the last third of the book near impossible to put down. The ending was beautiful and I found myself crying as I finished. It’s hard to believe this is the author’s debut novel and I very much look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Headline for my copy of this book via netgalley.

About The Author:

Emily Stone lives and works in Chepstow and wrote Always, in December in an old Victorian manor house with an impressive literary heritage. Her debut novel was partly inspired by the death of her mother, when Emily was seven, and wanting to write something that reflected the fact that you carry this grief into adulthood, long after you supposedly move on from the event itself.