Blog No 178 – Book Review – The Sister Returns by Joanna Rees

As I’m passionate about historical fiction, i did accept this offer to write a book review for Joanna Rees latest book, The Sister Returns from the Stitch in Time Series. Joanna is another new author to me, yet I was eager to commence this novel

The book is available in most bookstores and online retailers now. Congratulations to Joanna for a magnificent book.

Book Description

To have a future, she must confront her past….

It’s 1929 and after running away from her family in Lancashire, becoming a dancer in London and having a riotous time in Paris with her best friend Nancy, would be fashion designer Vita Casey is now living a much more sedate life in New York with her baby son Bertie, far away from her real brother, Clement and her nemesis Edith.

When the disastrous events of the Wall Street Crash change their destinies, Vita and Nancy flee to Los Angeles, where Nancy is determined to make it in the talkies. Schmoozing their way into the ranks of the Hollywood elite, Vita is starting to think that she can begin to fulfil her fashion ambitions. But when the love of her life, Archie is hired as a writer in Nancy’s new movie and Clement exacts his ultimate revenge, Vita’s past and present collide.

She has no choice but to tell the truth and try to reclaim what is rightfully hers before it’s too late.

to think that she can begin to fulfil her fashion ambitions. But when the love of her life, Archie is hired as a writer in Nancy’s new movie and Clement exacts his ultimate revenge, Vita’s past and present collide.

She has no choice but to tell the truth and try to reclaim what is rightfully hers before it’s too late.

About The Author – Joanna Rees

Joanna Rees, aka Josie Lloyd and Jo Rees, is the bestselling author of numerous novels, including rom-coms, blockbusters, and big-hearted adventures such as The Tides of Change and A Twist of Fate. Based in Brighton, Joanna is married to the author Emlyn Rees, and with whom she has three daughters. They have co-written several novels including the Sunday times number one bestseller Come Together, which was translated into over twenty languages and made into a film. They have written several bestselling parodies of their favourite children’s books, including We’re Going on a Bar Hunt, The Very Hungover Caterpillar and The Teenage Who Came To Tea. As Josie Lloyd, Joanna has written the novel The Cancer Ladies Running Club. When she’s not writing, she likes running along the seafront with her dog.

Book Review

I have not read the first and second books in the Stitch in Time series, yet I’m eager to get hold of both copies. This book had me hooked from the beginning to end and now I am wondering why there’s not a book four in the making. The book does have an unexpected ending but could be explored more in another novel.

This book commences in the early 1930’s in New York and continues to Los Angeles and then returns to the UK. The novel follows the lives of two women and a baby boy.  Vita & Nancy are best friends and Vita is the mother of baby Bertie.  The story unfolds about Vita being a single parent and how Nancy is a fiancée and yet doesn’t become a married woman.

Nancy chases her dream of becoming a movie star in the talkies and Vita returns to work to be a fashion designer. Throughout the book you learn more about Nancy & Vita’s families, which is not always a bed of roses. Love appears to be troublesome and revenge has been added to mix to provide some excitement.

This book was compulsive reading, and I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and its characters. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction will love this book and author. This book gets 5 stars from me.

Some of Joanna’s Other Books

Stitch in Times Series

  1. The Runaway Daughter
  2. The Hidden Wife

Joanna’s Social Media and Random Things Tour

Blog No 177 – Book Review – Daisy and the Dazzling Dachshunds by Janey Clarke

Have you ever chosen a book by its cover or is it just me! Seeing the book cover with several little cute dachshund dogs provoked my curiosity. I’ve accepted a further offer to write a book review for Janey Clarke’s latest book Daisy and the Dazzling Dachshunds. Janey is another new author to me, nevertheless, I was excited to commence this novel.

The book is available in most bookstores and online retailers now. Congratulations to Janey for a marvellous book.

Book Description

The discovery of a murdered woman with a rescued dog and her puppies on Bodmin Moor, hurtles Daisy, a shy retired librarian and her oddball friends, into another dangerous, yet comical escapade.

Daisy is on a mission to find the murdered woman’s killer, linking events to the puppy farm, and is suddenly thrust into a world of explosions, shootings and kidnappings!

Furthermore, family secrets come to light and Daisy discovers an unexpected revelation that will change her life forever. This newfound knowledge is difficult for Daisy to cope with and somewhat hinders the situation that befalls herself and her friends. And if that isn’t enough, the return of her ex-husband poses even more problems.

Daisy enlists the help of Cleo her cat, and Flora her puppy, both rescue animals, in her search for the puppy farm. However, the question remains, even with all the help she has, can Daisy manage to outwit the villains and save herself and the puppies from harm?

About The Author – Janey Clarke

Scottish born, I now live on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset with my husband, and Monty our enormous cavalier spaniel. As a lifelong sufferer from EDS, I cope with my restricted mobility by dictating all my novels. Changing primary schools, meant that I was unable to read until given special lessons. This gave me a deep love of reading and I devoured books. After extra training I specialised in teaching children with reading difficulties. Still an avid reader, I love cozy mysteries, where the murder doesn’t scare me to death!

Book Review

This book is full of warmth, mystery, and cute little animals. Such a joy to read a novel with so many entwining stories that keeps you engrossed in a book

Daisy recently separated from her husband and moves into an area with other retirees. She wants to establish a new life and continue her hobby of painting. In the adjacent properties are her newfound friends, all with quirky personalities.

Alongside her friends, she tries to locate a puppy farm, resolve a murder, ascertain her family, continue to build relationships, and look after abandoned pets. While all this is going on her ex-husband makes an unwanted appearance. You will learn more throughout the book about Cleo that cat and Flora & Lottie the dachshunds. Furthermore a little sprinkling of fur and four paws, always creates an entertaining novel

I could certainly relate to some of the individuals and even visualise some of the antics played out. This book was compulsive reading and had me smiling at situations. I would recommend this book to other avid readers for an unexpected treat

Janey’s Other Books

  1. Daisy and the Deadly Dagger  

Janey’s Social Media and Random Things Tour

Blog No 176 – Book Review – The Island House by Mary Considine

As I have an enthusiasm for books, I’ve accepted a further offer to write a book review for Mary Considine’s latest book The Island House. Mary is a new author to me, nevertheless I was keen to commence this memoir.

The book is available in most bookstores and online retailers now. Congratulations to Mary for such a truly inspirational book.

Book Description

Mary and Patrick’s dream was to live in London, have 2.4 children, the nice house, the successful jobs. But life had other plans, and in one traumatic year that all came crashing down.

Bruised and battered, Mary finds herself pulled towards Cornwall and dreams of St George’s Island, where she spent halcyon childhood summers.  So, when an opportunity arises to become tenants if they renovate the old Island House, they grab it with both hands.

Life on the island is hard, especially in winter, the sea and weather, unforgiving.  But the rugged natural beauty, the friendly ghosts of previous inhabitants, and the beautiful isolation of island life bring hope and purpose, as they discover a resilience, they never knew they had.

It has been empty now for six years, and it is full of ghosts. Every wall is patterned with black mould, in lacy fronds or lumpy stripes; every window in the house is broken.

We pile bedding, blankets, coats on to the bed and the cats climb in with us, mourning their lost comforts. We listen to the wails of wind and the menace of waves through the broken glass and breathe in the spores and the damp, clinging together, our family, in the faint warmth of the bed.

We are entirely happy.

About The Author – Mary Considine

Mary Considine

Growing up in the flat landscape of Bedfordshire, Mary Considine fell in love with Cornwall and the sea on her first visit as a small child. Distracted by the badlands of London, she spent the 90s writing and directing plays on the London and Edinburgh Fringe, and scriptwriting. Work included Angels, Time Out Critics Choice; The Other Half, commissioned by the Carlton TV screenwriting initiative; and a short film The Hand Job, shortlisted for the Lloyds Bank/Channel 4 short film competition. The noughties were spent teaching drama in secondary schools in the hills of North Yorkshire and, in pursuit of her now husband, back in London, before realising her impossible dream of moving to St George’s Island in 2010. 

She now lives in North Devon with her husband, Patrick, and seven horses.

Book Review

I found this book to have both heart and soul, it was very inspiring indeed. This book provides an insight into Mary & Patrick’s life. Commencing in the city of London and moving onto St George’s Island, Cornwall.  Along the way, there’s moments of endearing friendships, compassionate family members and willing volunteers.

You’ll observe the evolution of pigs, ducks, dogs, and bees. The creating of being self-sufficient from the island. The restoration of an old property and the conservation of the island. The book elaborates on the history of the island and its inhabitants.

Mary & Patrick’s life does experience some personal challenges, both happy and sad moments, which you’ll learn more throughout the book

This is a beautiful written memoir, and I would recommend this book to any avid reader or book club reading lists.

Mary Considine Social Media and Random Things Tour

Blog No 175 – Book Review – Surf, Sweat and Tears by Andy Martin

Who doesn’t like a fiction book, I’ve accepted an offer to write a book review for Andy Martin’s latest book, Surf, Sweat and Tears. I was intrigued to learn about the life of Edward George William Omar Deerhurst and his passion for surfing.

The book is available at @orbooks https://www.orbooks.com/catalog/surf-sweat-and-tears/Congratulations to Andy for a thought-provoking book.

Book Description

This is the true story of Ted, Viscount Deerhurst, the son of the Earl of Coventry and an American ballerina who dedicated his life to becoming a professional surfer. Surfing was a means of escape, from England, from the fraught charges of nobility, from family, and, often, from his own demons. Ted was good on the board, but never made it to the very highest ranks of a sport that, like most, treats second-best as nowhere at all. He kept on surfing, ending up where all surfers go to live or die, the paradise of Hawaii. There, in search of the “perfect woman,” he fell in love with a dancer called Lola, who worked in a Honolulu nightclub. The problem with paradise, as he was soon to discover, is that gangsters always get there first. Lola already had a serious boyfriend, a man who went by the name of Pit Bull. Ted was given fair warning to stay away. But he had a besetting sin, for which he paid the heaviest price: He never knew when to give up.

Surf, Sweat and Tears takes us into the world of global surfing, revealing a dark side beneath the dazzling sun and cream-crested waves. Here is surf noir at its most compelling, a dystopian tale of one man’s obsessions, wiped out in a grisly true crime.

About The Author Andy Martin

Book Review

This book had touched so many emotions with me and has left me questioning whether Ted is alive or dead. You must read the book to establish your own conclusion, however, expect to be intrigued

I felt Ted was emotionally wounded originated from his childhood. He showed signs of vulnerability, low self-esteem, and rejection, throughout his life. One consistent thing in his life was surfing and his passion took him around the world. Even with surfing, Ted, stride to be better and was accepted in the surfing world as an athlete. His knowledge of the sport was incredible and still to this day it suggests that Ted is still remembered in the surfing community. Ted’s emotions have impacted his life in one way or another, leading him down a road that conveys happiness to him but unfortunately may have ended his life.

If you have a passion for surfing or like a true story, I suggest you read this book. I have a better understanding of surfing terminology and for the sport itself. I am glad that Andy wrote this book about Ted, as the world needs to read Viscount Deerhurst life story to enable history to be told. Ted if you are out there, keep riding the waves.

This book was compulsive reading, and I would thoroughly recommend this book.

Andy’s Martin Other Books

  1.  With Child: Lee Child and the Readers of Jack Reacher
  2. The Boxer and The Goalkeeper:
  3. Stealing the Wave: Sartre vs Camus
  4. Walking on Water

Andy’s Martin Social Media and Random Things Tour

Blog No 174 – Book Review – Through the Water, Darkly by Victoria L Short

As I have a passion for books, I’ve accepted a further offer to write a book review for Victoria L Short latest book Through the Water, Darkly. Victoria is a new author to me, regardless I was eager to commence this historical romance novel.

The book is available in most bookstores and online retailers now. Congratulations to Victoria for a truly incredible book.

Book Description

What if their future lay in her past?

Caroline Curtis is an avid horticulturalist, who is injured during the restoration of a local country estate. She wakes in a familiar body, but a different time, and with mixed memories of her twenty-first century life and those of a seventeenth century lady, which causes difficult conflicts not only in herself but the people around her. The first English civil war is over, and the king deposed. The Prince of Wales is fleeing the country, and, as Caroline fights to change the future of the man with whom she has fallen in love, she begins to realise that time is not a straight line.

About The Author – Victoria L Short

Photo Credit Victoria L Short

I’m a mother to two teenagers and since moving from London the Suffolk five years ago I found I had some spare time, so I started to write. I wrote a little novella Our story coming home, which being my first I tend to cringe lol. Then in 2018 I re-produce my late grandfather WW2 logbook, A Stoker Logs, HMS Whelp, The Forgotten British Pacific Fleet. my grandfather served as a stoker on HMS Whelp, alongside Prince Phillip as the ships second in command.

My latest novel is an 80k romance time-slip called Through the water, Darkly which I super proud of. In-between writing and running a household I work in the film industry doing hair, makeup and wardrobe.

Book Review

This book is sprinkled with romance, historical facts and an out of body experience.

The book commences in the 21st Century when Caroline retrieves a work-related accident, and she suddenly experiences an out of body experience living in the 17th Century. She finds love with Nicholas, Lord Trevilian and becomes Lady Trevilian and Mistress of Debden Manor.

Throughout the book, Caroline struggles with culture and equal rights as she knows how the world has evolved in the 21st century. Caroline manages to appear too forward with her use of the English language in the 17th century, this can get her into trouble at times. Her knowledge of 21st century medical issues can improve the lives of people back in the 17th century. Caroline develops some very touching friendships and in one specific friend shares her horticultural knowledge to empower her.

Caroline foresees the future and attempts to change the course of action for love but is unable to delay the inevitable.

This book was extremely obsessive reading, and I must admit that I cried at the end. I would thoroughly recommend this book.

Victoria’s Other Books

  1. The Forgotten British Pacific Fleet. A Stoker’s Log

Victoria’s Social Media and Random Things Tour

Weekly Blog No 94 – Bullet Journal Update

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Sometime ago I mentioned that I was going to commence a bullet journal in Weekly Blog No 77. I failed my attempt after a couple of months and here’s why.

  • It was time-consuming drafting and redrafting pages.
  • At times my pages look quiet childlike and although they were organised, I didn’t feel professional when pulling out my bullet journal to schedule an appointment.
  • I was never ahead with my monthly calendars
  • I was constantly going backwards and forwards, flicking through with pages. As my monthly calendar was always between other pages.
  • I was becoming stationary obsessed for washi tape and colour pens etc

I want to explain to everyone even though this was not suitable for me, I do like the principal of a bullet journalling. I had no problem filling in the content of the pages, it was setting up the pages that was time-consuming. With the knowledge that I gained along the way. I have maintained a moleskin book for recording various other important information to me, which is my one stop shop.

I have listed books read including specific authors pages. Now when I’m out shopping I can remember, which ones I have read. I recently created a moving out list of tasks, which I’m able to refer too. I have a yearly record of energy bills etc so that i can track the costs. I have an instant list of medical appointments to refer too. Lists of birthday gifts given and received. All the things you don’t remember necessary or even log. Yes you may log some of this stuff in a diary, but youre not going to keep 2 years of dairies in your handbag to retrieve the information. As you see, I’m able to utilise my moleskin in a different way, all inspiration from a bullet journal.

I have seen some amazing bullet journals on social media and kudos to all those people for their effort, discipline and creative genes. Thank you to the bullet journal community.

Weekly Blog No 69 – Reading Books

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Books are a marvellous pastime of mine. I do have my own little library and assortment of books from fiction to construction.

My personal library has been back and forth to Canada with me. I believe I brought back about 300 books on my return to the UK last year and I’m sure its nothing to some peoples collections. The UK retail pricing for books is outstanding compared to Canada.  I can buy 3 paperback books for the same price as one in Canada. I’m grateful to the UK for competitive pricing. I have since added more paper hoarding to the collection and seem to have added more in the 8 months in the UK than my whole 6 years in Canada.

I have attempted this blog like a Q&A scenario for a change

Who is your favourite author and why?

I have to say Dilly Court, she also writes under the name of Lily Baxter. I have only read Dilly Courts books to date. She has me completely immersed in her work from start to finish. She is consistent, I’ve enjoyed every book so far.

What was the last book you read?

“Ragged Rose” by Dilly Court published Feb 2016, so you will find it on bookshelves now. A story of secrets, heartache, poverty, love and 20th century history. Incredible read.

Which book are you presently reading? 

“Me Me Me” by Charlotte Crosby

The book is about Charlotte’s life as a child leading into her reality tv career on Geordie Shore. I know Charlotte is like marmite, you either love her or you don’t. I do find her hilarious and her one liners always has me in giggles. I would give her parents a trophy for their dedicated love & support for their daughter.

Your reading material does seem quiet varied?

Yes that is very true, my genres are from historical romance, autobiographies to true crime only to name a few. I would say that I consider myself diverse but not diverse enough.

What other authors do you read?

Katie Flynn

Maureen Lee

Pam Weaver

Rosie Goodwin

Gemma Townley

Danielle Steel

Your choice of authors seems more about historical romance?

I do enjoy cultural history, a lot of my reading material does involve the Irish, which I can relate to coming from an Irish Catholic family.  I am extremely passionate about history so by reading this material, I do learn something new too and widen my knowledge base.

You also said you read autographies too, why?

I love to read about life experience,  good or bad. No one has a perfect life. We all tend to make a lot of assumptions about things and people, therefore reading these types of books can broaden your opinion to be more open-minded.

Is there any books that you read recently that touched you in some way ?

Yes most definitely  “Sins of the mother ” by  Irene Kelly

OMG the book had me in tears, what an incredible woman on so many levels. She deserves happiness and her family too and I hope she is achieving that.

This is one book that I would give to people who are constantly negative about their life and don’t appreciate what they have now or had previously.

Is there any books you are waiting to be published?

Yes last year I read “The New Arrival” by Sarah Beeson MBE

Again amazing insight into nursing in the 70’s and how her career developed arriving in Hackney, London from Staffordshire. A dedicated nurse who writes about her career progression. The follow up book is going to be the next stage in her career.

Do you have a favourite book?

Yes, ” The diary of a young girl” by Anne Frank. It should be on every child/adults reading list.

Do you prefer a book or e-book reader?

I like a physical book but I do like an e-book reader when I’m on holiday for convenience. I could not bring myself to read all books on a e-book reader, call me old-fashioned at heart.

Are you likely to read a book and then watch the movie or vice versa?

No not anymore. I had read the book “lovely bones” by Alice Sebold. I bought the book after seeing it on Richard & Judy’s Book List, it was a great book. I was so disappointed when I had watched the movie. I’m sure if I hadn’t read the book and had just watched the movie instead, there wouldn’t have been an issue. I kept comparing the movie to the book. Following that movie, if I have read the book I won’t go see the movie or if I have seen the movie I won’t read the book.

Is there any books that have captured the world, which you haven’t read?

Yes Harry Potter collection, which has never caught my desire.

Another one is ” Fifty shades of grey” by E L James. I think I’m the only person that hasn’t read this book.  I just don’t have the craving to read this book although I have heard mixed reviews.

I am open to new authors or books, which you would recommend. Please send me your recommendations.