Monday, 24 July 2017

Giveaway | The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe

Published by Headline on July 27, 2017

Good morning. Today I'm really happy to be kicking off the blog tour for The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe. For my stop on the blog tour, there's a giveaway to win one of five copies of the book, which is out this Thursday. The giveaway is open to UK residents only and will end at the end of July. Good luck!

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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Giveaway | The Things I Should Have Told You by Carmel Harrington

Good morning lovely readers. It's the start of the summer holidays for lots of you so I hope you all have a great summer, and fingers crossed plenty of reading time. The winner of last week's giveaway was announced on Twitter last night, but today I have the perfect summer holiday book for you to win from one of my favourite authors.

Today's giveaway is for a copy of The Things I Should Have Told You by Carmel Harrington.

This week's prize includes: 
Copy of The Things I Should Have Told You by Carmel Harrington
Camper van pencil case
Paperchase Wishlist notebook

Giveaway begins on the 22/07/2017 and ends at 23:59 on the 28/07/2017. 
Prize is as pictured above. 
Open worldwide.

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Friday, 21 July 2017

Review | The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

Published by Sphere on July 13, 2017

The Summer of Serendipity is the first book I have read by Ali McNamara but it won’t be the last. This was a really magical, summery treat of a read, combining romance and mystery in an enthralling fashion, and I really settled into Ali’s storytelling like I’d been reading her books for years.

Serendipity, or Ren as she prefers to be known as, is introduced to us at the beginning of the book alongside her friend Kiki. Ren is a property seeker and is looking for the perfect home for her latest client. In the small Irish town of Ballykiltara, it doesn’t take long before she has found the perfect home. Except nothing is ever that simple. Known as “The Welcome House”, the place Ren has found is a big part of local legend and it is a welcoming place for all. The owner is unknown and therefore the house is not for sale, but Ren isn’t a quitter and she begins to ask question after question until she can get to the bottom of the Welcome House.

I really loved seeing Ireland revealed right in front of my eyes through Ali’s words and through the way she described Ireland and brought Ballykiltara to life, it was evident that Ireland has meaning to the author and this shone through in her writing. I loved getting to know the place and found the Welcome House gave it another, absolutely fascinating edge that had me hooked trying to learn more about it. Ali’s descriptions and scene setters are charming and full of character. From the woodland walks to the welcoming feel to the place, there was so much to love about Ballykiltara. The scenery sounded absolutely exquisite and contributed to the appealing feel to the book.

Though it took me a few chapters to really settle into this book, this was made easy because the characters of Ren and Kiki drew me in straight away. I loved the dialogue and interactions between them from the start. At first we know little about them. The most evident thing is that Kiki mixes up her words a lot and that complicates matters at times. But only a few chapters in, when one seemingly harmless comment from Kiki sees Ren snap, we begin to see signs that Ren is guarding herself and has a few demons in her past to deal with.

Kiki and Ren were fun characters, kind and entertaining and they made this book a joy to read. Kiki had me laughing many times throughout this book, not just when she gets her words muddled but in general she’s a funny character. Ren is likeable in a different sort of way but I really enjoyed getting to know her character. She is offered one big hunk of a distraction in the form of hotel manager Finn. Of course I also loved getting to know him too. The characters in this book were warm and engaging and overall had The Summer of Serendipity sparkling with feel-good factor.

I’m not sure which I preferred more – the mystery behind the Welcome House or the blossoming romance. I was dying to know more about the Welcome House just like Ren except there seemed to be a whole lot more questions than answers. I loved learning a bit about the history and the folklore. This is not really something I expect to see a lot of in this genre but the author beautifully entwines every aspect of the book to make it fit seamlessly, something which felt special and a bit magical.

If, like me, you have never read a book by Ali McNamara before, then this is definitely a great book to start with as I am now eager to discover Ali’s other books, some I know are already sat on my bookcase. If you have already read Ali’s books than I’m sure you are sold on this one already as her storytelling is a delight to read. I fell in love with Ireland through this book alone and the way the author builds up the sights and places she has created, inspired by real sights in Ireland. The Summer of Serendipity is a wonderfully romantic and atmospheric read – and it is a must-read this summer.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Review | Little Boy Found by LK Fox

Published by Quercus on July 6, 2017

Little Boy Found is an ebook-only publication written by LK Fox, which is the pseudonym for Christopher Fowler, author of the Bryant and May series. I must say I loved the look and sound of this novel from the moment I first heard about it, and I was dying to get my hands on a copy. This is one of the most intriguing books I have read in ages.

The book is told with two main characters. First there is Nick. Nick’s relationship with Ben has gone sour, but he still keeps a much better relationship with Ben’s son Gabriel. When Nick wakes up with a heavy hangover one morning, he rushes to do the school run but after dropping Gabriel off at school another car collides with his. The driver refuses to swap insurance details so Nick takes a photo of the licence plate only later to discover that there is a boy in the back of the car – and that boy is Gabriel.

The other main character is Ella. Ella is a teenage girl who has an obsession with a band and a particular person in that band, the lead singer, of course. A lot of teenage girls could probably relate to how desperate she is to meet her favourite band and how they consume her life. I know that when I was a teenager, music was a massive part of my life, and meeting bands was a highlight of my teenage years. But for Ella, things take a huge turn with massive consequences…

There’s no denying that both Nick and Ella are incredibly interesting characters with big stories to tell. Early on in the book it did feel like I was reading two different books at the same time because their stories felt alien to each other. I couldn’t see the connection. But things become clearer later on and the author well connects their stories together.

Character development is something I thought the author did really well. It is also something hard to talk about for spoilers sake, but I will say this was probably my favourite thing about the book – seeing how the characters change and are impacted by certain circumstances. I was definitely drawn, at first, to Nick’s side of the story a lot more than Ella’s, but soon the author had me obsessing over them both.

There were parts of this book I struggled with though. This book is billed to be unpredictable but yet once I worked out the connection between Nick and Ella, I found it anything but. I don’t necessarily mind when a book isn’t predictable but Little Boy Found was lacking in other things for me too. One thing I loved about the sound of this book was how it was a different take on a missing child story. This was a big reason why the book appealed to me so much, but despite this being a big mystery novel, it lacked believability, something which is a big thing to me when reading psychological novels. Why that genre appeals to me is because the books tend to mess with my mind a lot and leave me unable to think about anything else as the situations within are so plausible. Whilst this book did mess with my mind, it was in a completely different way as I spent a lot of time either trying to work out what was happening or trying to imagine any of it happening and I didn’t manage well at doing either of them.

Despite how I felt about many aspects of this book, I was still drawn to it and never even considered stopping until I had reached the end and found out what was going to happen to these characters. I found so many parts of this book fascinating and it is 100% a book you will feel the need to discuss with other readers as there are so many talking points. Sadly, though, I didn’t love this book like I wanted to.

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