Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Retweet pinned tweet to win ANY book of choice!

Last few days to enter!

To celebrate my birthday I'm having a book giveaway! Any book of your choice from Amazon that I can post.Happy reading! The winner will be announced on my birthday 1.10.17!

Terms and conditions

Win a book of your choice (any paperback of your choice to the value of no more than £10)! International too if Amazon able to deliver to you, as I will purchase and post directly from there. Follow me on Twitter and retweet the pinned tweet for a chance to enter win a book of your choice.

I will draw out the name on my birthday 1.10.17 and you can choose the book you'd like to be sent! A happy reading birthday from me!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Blog tour review of 'Our Altered Life' by Charlene Beswick

Review of 'Our Altered Life' by Charlene Beswick

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for 'Our Altered Life' today. This is a novel that will really stay with you.

This book will be released on 29th September.

After a healthy twin pregnancy, Charlene and Mark were shocked to be told that one of their boys had been born with half of his face undeveloped. In seconds, the happy family future they had been planning disintegrated into turmoil and uncertainty.
Laugh out loud funny in places, heart-wrenchingly sad in others, and refreshingly honest at all times, Our Altered Life is Charlene’s wonderful account of how she struggled to forgive herself and bond with a baby she didn’t expect. Follow her transition through grief and anger, challenges and triumphs, loss and acceptance, to love for the life she has now with two children she wouldn’t change for the world.

My review

This book really got to me from the moment I started reading. I opened the Kindle as soon as it arrived and literally couldn't put it down whilst tears streamed down my face. I found it incredibly emotional from the outset and uplifting also. What a beautiful family Charlene has. 'After a healthy twin pregnancy, Charlene and Mark were shocked to be told that one of their boys had been born with half of his face undeveloped.' I admired Charlene for her strength and also her honesty as the book progressed. It's hard to put yourself in their shoes as to how you'd react and Charlene has bravely portrayed this. The book is incredibly raw and personal sometimes felt as if I were reading the personal diary of the family and were intruding. As the story is true it gets to you even more. 

Such a brave and awe-inspiring experience to read. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book as a thought-provoking and uplifting tale of the families love for their beautiful children, Oliver and Harry. The love between the twins was so lovely to read. An ordinary account of their lives written in an extraordinary way to highlight the highs and lows. Many tears were shed when reading this book. It was beautifully written and paced well. It definitely shows that whatever life throws at you, however altered, and despite the difficulties, it can be just as wonderful. 

I loved this authors novel.

More about the author:

Hi, I'm Charlie, mum to twins Oliver and Harry and I am blogging about life as a parent of a child with special needs at Our Altered Life. I chronicle the highs and lows of a life less ordinary and the challenges and adventures we all face. When I'm not writing or working you will find me drinking gin, eating my own body weight in cheese and laminating stuff (you can take the girl out of teaching but you cant take the teacher out of the girl!)

Social Media Links

Review of 'Innocence' by John Brackenridge

Review of 'Innocence' by John Brackenridge

Buy the novel here:

Who polices the police? Nobody. Not in this place.
Cops and criminals are the same. Drug lines and murder. A cab driver is drawn into a world he doesn't understand. He is dragged into hell.
The young policeman spirals downwards. He is the innocent. Drawn into a criminal operation spiraling out of control after a punishment beating goes wrong.
Someone tells tales. The Internal Investigation Department find out about the drug operation. Twists and turns lead to a remarkable and damning conclusion.

Terrifying and unsettling, yet deeply moving, ‘Innocence’ shows the banality of evil through those we believe protect us. It is the story of organised crime perpetrated by police officers. It is contemporary and relevant, a 21st century tale of broken morality. Inspired by true events, 'Innocence' is life.

My review

This was a dark yet thrilling novel about a group of police officers and the corruption that they encounter and become embroiled in. Not my usual 'go to' novel but a deeply thoughtful and powerful one none-the-less. I found the novel to be immensely readable and devoured the novel page after page. Although somewhat dark and gritty, the novel was a page-turner. 

The style of the short choppy sentences sometimes made me stumble when reading and re-reading parts to check I'd hadn't missed anything. But it certainly kept the pace fast. Overall an enjoyable read and I look forward to the authors next novel.

About the author:

John was born in Luton in 1972. He grew up in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, and moved to London in his teenage years to study at Middlesex University.

After working in Our Price Records and an off-licence, John spent the next twenty-three years in public service.

Living in Surrey with his wife and five children, John is an avid cyclist and cook. He is studying Druidry.
He is currently working on his second novel, a fringe comedy performance piece, and a comedy script for radio.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Review of Angie Langley's 'Jennifer Brown's Journey'

Review of 'Jennifer Brown's Journey' by Angie Langley

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

But can she learn to love herself?

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

What on earth is Jennifer Brown going to do about him?

Buy the novel here:

My review

The author writes with such ease that it was easy to slip into the life of Jennifer Brown and thoroughly love this story.

This novel is light-hearted but touches on thoughtful subjects, making it an all rounder. Jennifer is easy to love due to her kind hearted nature and as her world comes crashing down she really has to dig deep. Jennifer is truly witty and I loved her finally standing on her own two feet. I've not worked in an office before but I can completely picture some of the scenes from the story! Fantastic! This is the kind of novel you can put your feet up in the bath and just enjoy. What a pleasure to read. I will look out for more books from this author.

More about Jennifer Brown...

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

About the Author
Angie Langley has a background in entertainment and venue management and she’s worked with artists in the US, the UK and Europe. She's also a lyricist who collaborates and manages the talented Scottish Composer & Musician, Tish Tindall. Angie also works as a TV producer with Avant-garde Films where she brings her extensive portfolio of creative expertise to bear behind the camera, creating projects across a range of programming that includes factual, reality, feature drama and drama serial. Jennifer Brown’s Journey is her first book, inspired by the highs and lows of a distant past that has given her the strength to tackle each day with a smile.

At Home

Angie is fortunate enough to live in a delightful 17th-century thatched cottage on the banks of the River Avon in Wiltshire, which not only provides her with inspiration to write, but also enables her to pursue her other passion, photography. Angie is currently putting the finishing touches to book two in the Jennifer Brown's series. Watch out for updates on this eagerly awaited sequel!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Review - My Husband's Wife by Amanda Prowse

 Book review of 'My Husband's Wife'

 Buy the book here:

Once a week, Rosie Tipcott counts her blessings.
She goes to sit on her favourite bench on the north Devon cliffs, and thanks her lucky stars for her wonderful husband, her mischievous young daughters, and her neat little house by the sea. She vows to dedicate every waking hour to making her family happy.
But then her husband unexpectedly leaves her for another woman and takes the children. Now she must ask the question: what is left in her life? Can Rosie find the strength to rebuild herself? More importantly, does she even want to?

I'm a bit late on writing up this review as I read the book a while ago, but better late than never! The reason being that I then moved on to another of Amanda's books 'The Idea Of You,' and then totally forgot that I hadn't typed up and posted my notes for this one. I loved this book just as much however as 'The Idea of You,' so I'm pleased to be finally publishing this review!.

My review 

This book was certainly a page-turner that had me gripped until the very last page. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and became immersed into Rosie's life, that my life was put on hold until I finished! The author is incredibly skilled at taking you on a journey of emotions as you follow the story of Rosie after her husband leaves her for another woman. Prowse is able to have you laughing one minute and reaching for the tissues the next. What an emotional book!

Rosie is such a beautiful character with an amazing heart. Prowse writes characters that are very relatable and realistic and this is what gives her such a special writing gift. I loved where the story is set in north Devon, a beautiful place that I have become familiar with which gave the story an extra interest. Fast paced and with a satisfying ending, I would recommend this story.

More about the author:

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author who has published sixteen novels in dozens of languages. Her recent chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’ and ‘My Husband’s Wife’ have sold millions of copies around the world.

Other novels by Amanda Prowse include ‘A Mother’s Story’ which won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award and ‘Perfect Daughter’ that was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016. Amanda’s latest book ‘The Food of Love’ went straight to No.1 in Literary Fiction when it was launched in the USA and she has been described by the Daily Mail as ‘The Queen of Drama’ for her ability to make the reader feel as if they were actually in the story.

Now published by Lake Union, Amanda Prowse is the most prolific writer of contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also score the highest online review approval ratings for several genres.

A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda Prowse is a regular panellist on the Channel 5 show ‘The Wright Stuff’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She makes countless guest appearances on BBC and independent Radio stations where she is well known for her insightful observations of human nature and her infectious observational humour.

Become friends with Amanda on Facebook: AmandaProwseAuthor and follow her on Twitter: @MrsAmandaProwse or Instagram: MrsAmandaProwse. For more information on her books, lifestyle and inspirational advice see

Amanda's ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can't possibly read another book until the memory fades...

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Book review - The Boy With The Thorn In His Side - Chantelle Atkins

Book review - The Boy With The Thorn In His Side - Chantelle Atkins

‘I don’t have my headphones on yet, but the music is always in there. I have a constant walking soundtrack to my life you see. There is a song for everything.' In the decade of grunge and Britpop, 13 year old Danny is a music fan in the making. He is also on a mission to deter unsuitable men from his beautiful single mother. With his best friends behind him, a soundtrack in his head and first love on the horizon, things are looking good, until local nightclub owner Lee Howard comes on the scene and sweeps Danny’s mother off her feet. What do you do when your mother is dating a real life monster and no one can see it but you? A dark and powerful drama about friendship, music and the choice between escaping and fighting back.

Buy the book here:

I am a huge fan of Chantelle Atkins' writing. I have read several of her books and started this novel a while ago. I then read another of Chantelle's books, the fabulous 'The Tree of Rebels' and returned to finish this book. I couldn't help myself but dip into the book as soon as I had it on my Kindle, so I found it hard putting it aside and was so pleased to return to it again. The beginning of the book is so intense. I felt like I was there in the kitchen looking at that knife. What a great start to a novel.

The novel follows the story of young Danny who finds himself in the self-prescribed position of protecting his mother from undesirables. Then enters Lee, and Danny's world comes crashing down. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole novel and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is written incredibly realistically and you can really feel the angst of being a teenager. I loved that the story was set in the 90s, a period I am familiar being a teenager in too. As the world around Danny unravels spectacularly, you can't help but feel for him. Incredibly written, this is another of Atkin's books that hit the mark. 

I love her writing and can't wait for the next.

More about Chantelle:

Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to both reading and music, and is on a mission to become as self-sufficient as possible. She writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere, This Is The Day and has recently released a collection of short stories related to her novels called Bird People and Other Stories.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Book giveaway! Win a book of your choice!

To celebrate my birthday I'm having a book giveaway! Happy reading! The winner will be announced on my birthday 1.10.17!

Terms and conditions

Win a book of your choice (any paperback of your choice to the value of no more than £10)! International too if Amazon able to deliver to you, as I will purchase and post directly from there. Follow me on Twitter and retweet the pinned tweet for a chance to enter win a book of your choice.

I will draw out the name on my birthday and you can choose the book you'd like to be sent! A happy reading birthday from me!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Review of 'A Pearl for My Mistress' by Annabel Fielding

Review of 'A Pearl for My Mistress' by Annabel Fielding

A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downtown Abbey.
England, 1934. 
Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady's maid in a small aristocratic household.
Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.
Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…

Buy the novel here:

My review of the novel:

What a well-written and interesting story this was to read. I really warmed to Hester, the lady's maid. I think she was a strong character and Fielding told her story beautifully. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the story, which swept me right back to 1934 as if I were there. It is an era I'm not that familiar with, which made an interesting read. The world Hester is flung into is deeply vivid and poignant. The descriptions were elaborate and well researched, although at times slowed down the story but provided a deliciously rich read. At times I despised the treatment that Hester received and felt angry with the situations sometimes caused by Lucy, and others out of both of their control. Hester and Lucy didn't understand each other very well at all and this was frustrating to read. The language used is very fitting to the ambience of the novel making it feel very genuine.

A thoroughly riveting but slow burning novel that I immensely enjoyed. Although historical novels are not really my go to choice of novel, I really found this to be a beautifully told book that I would recommend. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Short reviews vs long reviews

The reason my reviews are getting shorter and shorter...

I've realised over the last few months that my reviews are getting shorter and shorter. They used to nearly rival a novel, but then slumped down to essay length and now are probably just a couple of paragraphs. The arms hurt to type, simple as that. It's not that I don't have billions of thoughts to say about the books I read, I just struggle to write them all down. I'm getting the grips with dictation software for my novel writing but it is very time-consuming, so I limit everything else I write so I can concentrate.

So which do you prefer, short or long reviews? My sister once said to me that all the long essay reviews on my novel were off putting to readers wanting to leave a short review as they felt pressured to leave something longer and therefore just didn't bother. I wonder how true this is. I've encouraged some people (that might otherwise not leave a review at all) to leave a short sentence review instead. This is to balance out the long reviews and hopefully encourage others that just want to leave one line too. Personally, I've loved reading the long reviews and thoughts on my books. They make me feel so special and that the reader has really 'got' what I was trying to write. The suggestions the readers leave have been particularly helpful too to improve myself as a writer. I have very much appreciated every review I have received. I hope, in my short couple of paragraphs I leave for others, that I can capture the same. I'd rather leave a shorter review than no review at all. Any thoughts on this?

Happy reviewing everyone. I apologise for only being able to leave a couple of paragraphs now, I will try my hardest to capture the essence of the book in those few words.

Emily x

Friday, 1 September 2017

Review of 'Fortune's Wheel' by Carolyn Hughes

Review of 'Fortune's Wheel' by Carolyn Hughes

Buy the novel here:

Plague-widow Alice atte Wode is desperate to find her missing daughter, but her neighbours are rebelling against their masters and their mutiny is hindering the search.
June 1349. In a Hampshire village, the worst plague in England’s history has wiped out half its population, including Alice atte Wode’s husband and eldest son. The plague arrived only days after Alice’s daughter Agnes mysteriously disappeared, and it prevented the search for her.
Now the plague is over, the village is trying to return to normal life, but it’s hard, with so much to do and so few left to do it. Conflict is growing between the manor and its tenants, as the workers realise their very scarceness means they’re more valuable than before: they can demand higher wages, take on spare land, and have a better life. This is the chance they’ve all been waiting for.
Although she understands their demands, Alice is disheartened that the search for Agnes is once more put on hold. When one of the rebels is killed, and then the lord's son is found murdered, it seems the two deaths may be connected, both to each other and to Agnes’s disappearance.

My review

I'm not really a massive historical fiction fan, but my goodness did the storyline draw me in straight away to this novel. Fantastically researched and vivid in detail, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book. It was clear from all the minute details that Hughes knows her history. I haven't really read much about the time period before and found reading about the lives of the characters very interesting and somewhat horrific! Although all the horrific-ness made this all the more interesting to read. The book contained a large amount of characters and sometimes I felt confused by the different people, but then the author always returned to the overarching story plot enabling me to get my bearings. 

I was fascinated by the lives of Alice and the villagers during and after the plague swept through. As the mystery surrounding the missing Agnes heightened, I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was happening.

Great historical novel. I really enjoyed reading this book.

More about the author:

Carolyn Hughes was born in London, but has lived most of her life in Hampshire. After a first degree in Classics and English, she started her working life as a computer programmer, in those days a very new profession. It was fun for a few years, but she left to become a school careers officer in Dorset.

But it was when she discovered technical authoring that she knew she had found her vocation. She spent the next few decades writing and editing all sorts of material, some fascinating, some dull, for a wide variety of clients, including an international hotel group, medical instrument manufacturers and the Government.

She has written creatively for most of her adult life, but it was not until her children grew up and flew the nest, several years ago, that creative writing and, especially, writing historical fiction, took centre stage in her life.

She has a Masters in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University, and a PhD from the University of Southampton.

Buy the novel here:

Review of 'Prayers Were No Help,' by Paul Lawrence

 Review of 'Prayers Were No Help', by Paul Lawrence.

 Jack's wife, Cindy, died after an agonizing fight with pancreatic cancer. Jack retreated to his home and the bottle, unsure if he wanted to continue without her.

When his parents threatened to come to his house, Jack escaped to the family's lake cabin, to be free of phones, TV, and the internet and to finally make a decision.

But Jack didn't count on the presence of a mysterious stranger named Toby at the lake. At first, Jack was rude and obnoxious, but Toby's persistence tore down his defenses.

After one week of intense, emotional confrontation, Jack overcame his grief and depression and began a new way of living.

Bothered by the fact that he never really thanked Toby, Jack returned to the cabin, only to find that Toby was not who Jack thought he was.

The start of this short novel really grabbed me. I really felt for Jack as he found out his wife was dying and how hard they both tried to fight to save her. It read like a true account and I had to remind myself that it was a fictional story. I really wanted to learn more about his wife and their relationship, but the main part of the novel was about Jack and his coming to terms with her death afterwards. The first part had me fascinated so I was sad it was over so quickly, but I'd invested in Jack enough to stay with him as he continued his journey alone.

The novel really explored how people come to terms with death in different ways. It revolves around how Jack turns to God to help him and takes himself away from the world of technology. I haven't read Christian fiction before, but I enjoyed this as a fictional story. It wasn't too preachy, just a gentle spiritual approach to the Christian element which I really warmed to. Both readers that enjoy fictional stories and Christian novels would enjoy this special book.

Buy the novel here:

About the author:

Paul Lawrence is my pen name. I'm a retired computer security analyst. I've published technical articles for (and been paid for doing so) and am a chapter author for AVIEN Malware Defense Guide for the Enterprise. I am retired and live in Richardson, Texas with my wife of forty-five years, two disobedient dogs; chick magnet Bentley and neurotic bone burier Jack, and lots of books.