HQ Digital Publisher Book Reviews

The German Nurse by M.J. Hollows | #BlogTour #TheGermanNurse #Review |@MikeHollows @HQStories

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Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the blog tour for; The German Nurse by M.J. Hollows. I can’t wait to share my review of this beautiful book with you all, firstly I want to say thank you to Sian at HQ Digital for the invite to this tour. Now, let’s have a look at this book!

The German Nurse by M. J. Hollows

Genre: Historical Fiction, WW2 Fiction

Release Date: 18th November 2020

Publisher: HQ Digital

A powerful and heartbreaking WWII historical novel for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Nightingale and Beneath a Scarlet Sky.

A secret past. A forbidden love. A terrifying choice.

Her past could kill you.

Guernsey, 1940. As war storms through Europe, Churchill orders the evacuation of all military personnel from the island. Boats ferry soldiers and vulnerable young children to England, leaving their parents and loved ones behind to face the invading German army on their own.

Her love could save you.

One of the few remaining policemen on the island, Jack must protect not only his friends and family, but also the woman he loves: Johanna, a Jewish nurse from Germany, whose secret faith could prove fatal to them both.

Her fate is in your hands.

When the Nazis arrive, everything changes. Jack is forced to come to terms with the pain and loss of a world re-making itself around him. And then a list of Jews on the island is drawn up, and he must make an awful choice: write down Johanna’s name and condemn her, or resist and put his family in immediate danger…

Purchase Link – Amazon

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Review

I loved this book, it’s a powerful and emotional read from the start, I was completely taken with Jack and Johanna, they pulled at my heartstring with their beautiful love story, there were times I was in tears.

The occupation of the Channel Islands has always grasped my attention, I have read many books and watched many films set during this time, the Channel Island’s – Guernsey especially – have been my to visit wish list for so long. I haven’t made it there yet, and with certain factors, in my life meaning, I most likely won’t. Thank goodness for books!

The stories that came out of that horrific and hard period will not only break your heart, but you stand back in disbelief that our country deserted them, support and protection were withdrawn and they were alone to face the full force of the Nazi army alone. Those who decided to stand back and allow our Channel Island’s to be occupied and not lift a finger to help them should hang their heads in shame. I do realise that there would have been many factors going on behind the scenes, but still, our Channel Islands were deserted and left to fend for themselves. Even once the war was over, the people of Guernsey and Jersey were still in dire need, they were starving and needing urgent supplies and again they had to wait for the UK to send much-needed aid. I think that was a blight on our history, it was disgusting how the UK deserted them and I look on those incredible people with such awe, the bravery that they showed they way many resisted against Nazi rule, these stories, their stories need to be told and I am so pleased that more and more authors are telling them.

Hmm! I think I got a little carried away there, I think I should talk about this book!

I love the opening, it sets the story up beautifully for what’s to come, you get a sense of what’s to come. Even from those first few pages, you get a real sense of just how much he loves Johanna, it’s in his every move, its the forces that push’s him onwards and its the thing that keeps telling him not to give up keep going. Jack’s undying devotion to her, to keep her safe pulls at the heart, yet saying that I think that the love story is more of a subplot, for me the main story is all about what’s going on with the occupation and how people – Jack – had to cope, how they struggled and how they survived.

This is all about survival, love and family and the contradicting feeling of duty, it’s the story of what a man would do to protect those he cares about most. Once Guernsey has occupied the people of the Island have to make choices to survive, Jack finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place, he has a duty to do to protect his family and yet to do that he would put Johanna in danger.

What is a man to do when everyone he cares about is the danger? Jack is a good man, he is a loyal and dutiful man, a man who is torn, he struggles with his choices but he can’t abide the thought that his choices would come with too high costs for those he loves. Your heart goes out to him, he faces grim times, the author does a brilliant job at portraying Jack’s struggles and hard times with realism and sensitivity.

MJ Hollows is a wonderful author, I have read and loved his previous book; Goodbye For Now (I need to write my review of that one) as soon as I got invited to take part in this blog tour, I couldn’t sign up fast enough. I love the writing, it sweeps you away to another time.

This is a must-read for anyone, but especially for those who love their WW2 historical fiction, I cannot recommend The German Nurse enough.

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About the Author

Michael Hollows was born in London in 1986, and moved to Liverpool in 2010 to lecture in Audio Engineering. With a keen interest in history, music, and science, he has told stories since he was little.

Goodbye for Now is his first novel, which he startd as part of his MA in Writing from Liverpool John Moores University, graduating in 2015. He has also been published in SF anthologies, and is now researching towards a PhD in Creative Writing, working on his next novel.

You can find more at www.michaelhollows.com and on Twitter at @MikeHollows

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Total Blackout (A Jack Tate SAS Thriller, #1) by Alex Shaw| #BlogTour #Review #TotalBlackout #JackTateThriller | @alexshawhetman @HQstories

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Hello, Sunshines, I have the massive pleasure to be today’s stop on this epic blog tour for the brilliant; Total Blackout by Alex Shaw. I am super excited to be sharing my review of the first book in the brand new Jack Tate series, I hope you love the sound of it as much as I loved reading it. Firstly thank you to Sian at HQ Digital for the invite to this blog tour.

Total Blackout by Alex Shaw

Series: Jack Tate Thriller #1

Release Date: September 20th 2020

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Action, Thriller

The start of a gripping new crime thriller series introducing ex-SAS trooper Jack Tate!

Perfect for fans of James Deegan, Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney

Looking for breakneck pace and a relentless hero? Alex Shaw has you covered’ James Swallow 

Total Blackout gripped from page one and didn’t let go’ Stephen Leather

Don’t miss the explosive start to the Jack Tate series.

A catastrophic attack. A country in chaos. A race to prevent war.

British M16 agent, and former SAS trooper, Jack Tate is trying to escape his past when he witnesses a terrorist attack of unthinkable scale. An electro-magnetic pulse knocks out the US power grid, killing anything with a computer processor, throwing the whole country into chaos.

Under the cover of the blackout, a clandestine operation aims to assassinate prominent public figures on US soil. Looting and violence spreads across the country. And Jack Tate’s past comes back to haunt him. As the only intelligence operative on the ground, he is hurled into a mission that will put him – and the people he loves – in immediate danger.

With the fate of the United States on the line, only he can prevent the horror of a new world war.

Perfect for fans of James Deegan, Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney, this is an explosive action thriller you won’t be able to put down.

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Be prepared for one of the most explosive and thrilling new series of the year, The Jack Tate Thrillers is going to be an amazing, exciting whirlwind ride of a series, this book is riveting right from the word go, it’s a brilliant introduction to a new series and a new alpha male hero, who I know is going to distract me for years to come. From this first book, I know that this is going to be around for many, many years to come and I cannot wait to read more if you are fans of Kris Kuzneski and Steve Berry then this is the book you NEED to read.

I’ve been a fan of action/thriller’s for years, yet this is the first book I’ve read by Alex Shaw, I’m not sure how he has passed me by for so long, another case of me living in a bubble and ignoring the world around me, now that I have discovered the excellence that is Alex Shaw I am definitely going to be reading more from this talented author – I know that my bank balance will never forgive, it’s already screaming in protest.

Jake Tate is a brilliant hero, ex SAS he is a man who is made of pure steel, strong, resourceful, stubborn, intelligent a great sense of humour, he sees the world around him in a way that other’s don’t. He has a past which did involve run-in’s with the authorities and yet he is determined to move forward despite the horrors he has seen. But there is another side to our Jack and that is the secret shadowy side, he is now an MI6 agent. His chosen life and career have hardened him and at times he can be as brutal and ruthless and the villain’s, but he has a softer side especially when it comes to his brother; Simon who we soon realise is in danger once all the trouble starts, Jack will do anything to protect his brother, even if that means going to a dark place himself, you could say that Simon is Jack’s achilles heel.

Jack is on holiday in Camden; Maine when he is pulled over by the police who mistake him for the perpetrator they are looking for who is currently wanted for a double murder. It soon becomes clear to Jack that there is more going on then meets the eye, things blow up and go crazy when the USA is under attack, one that takes out everything which is controlled by electronics, but there is only one that Jack is concerned about and that is getting to his brother before the villains do, which leads us on an edge of your seat, thrilling chase to defend the innocent and bring down the villains.

Total Blackout is a fast-paced, action-pack, exciting, intensely sharp and clever thriller which will have you thrown headfirst into Jack Tate’s dangerous world which is full of brilliantly evil baddies, a gun-totting action hero, intriguing and explosive plot which not only shocks you but makes you think. Even though at times there is a feeling of it being a little far fetched, what particularly caught me was that in the world technological world we live in, certain events in this could happen (I doubt it ever would, but with all those masterminds out there, it could) its a sobering thought and thank goodness there are those in the shadows who protect us from such deviltry.

Alex Shaw has written an awesome, blink and you’ll miss it; thriller. This is one of those books where you sit back in awe and say; wow!! Its has blockbuster movie written all over it, this is a must-read!!

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Buy Link

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About the Author

ALEX SHAW B.A.(Hons), P.G.C.E. spent the second half of the 1990s in Kyiv, Ukraine, teaching Drama and running his own business consultancy before being head-hunted for a division of Siemens. The next few years saw him doing business for the company across the former USSR, the Middle East, and Africa.

Alex is an active member of the ITW (The International Thriller Writers organisation) and the CWA (the Crime Writers Association). He is the author of the #1 International Kindle Bestselling ‘Aidan Snow SAS thrillers’ COLD BLOOD, COLD BLACK, COLD EAST, DELTA FORCE VAMPIRE and the forthcoming JACK TATE thriller series. His writing has also been published in the thriller anthologies DEATH TOLL, DEATH TOLL 2, DEATH TOLL 3, CAPITAL CRIMES and ACTION PULSE POUNDING TALES 2 alongside International Bestselling authors Stephen Leather and Matt Hilton.

COLD BLOOD, COLD BACK and COLD EAST are commercially published by HARPERCOLLINS (HQ DIGITAL) in English and LUZIFER VERLAG in German.

Alex, his wife and their two sons divide their time between homes in Kyiv, Ukraine, Worthing, England and Doha, Qatar. Follow Alex on twitter: @alexshawhetman or Instagram @alexshawthrillerwriter or find him on Facebook.

Alex is represented by Justin Nash and Kate Nash of The Kate Nash Literary Agency. @JustinNashLit @katenashagent

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#BlogTour | Darkest Night (Gabriella Darin #2) by Jenny O’Brien #DarkestNight #GabriellaDarinSeries #Review @ScribblerJB @HQdigitalUK

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Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Darkest Night by Jenny O’Brien. I am super excited to be sharing my review of this intense and thrilling book, I hope you love it as much as I do.

Darkest Night (Gabriella Darin #2) by Jenny O’Brien

Series: Gabriella Darin #2

Genre: Police Procedural, Crime Thriller

Publisher: HQ

Format: ebook, paperback

Publication Date: 17th July 2020

DS Gaby Darin has a puzzle on her hands, a puzzle that defies explanation.

Christine de Bertrand certainly got more than she was expecting from the casual hook-up after a night celebrating the anniversary of her divorce. Arrested at the scene she has no explanation or alibi. She also has no one on her side apart from her ex-husband.

She’s as confounded as everyone else as to the unexplained presence of the dead body in her bed – the dead body of a woman when she’s positive she went to bed with a man…

Amazon / Goodreads

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This isn’t my usual reading type, I can’t explain why but I don’t really go in for police procedural, the ones I have read have been by authors I’ve read before when they have written books in other genre’s, and I have really enjoyed them, which is a little odd that I don’t read more from this genre. But this was completely new to me; New author, new series and a different genre, but there was something about the back blurb which shouted out to me, it intrigued me so much I threw my own rules of – only starting a new authors books at the beginning of their series’ – out of the window and accepted a place on this tour, and am I so pleased that I did as I loved every second of this gripping drama.

I absolutely loved that this is pretty much led by a female police officer, Gabby Darin is a brilliant character, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years time The Gabriella Darin series isn’t made into a TV drama, and we all will be talking about it in the same breath as Vera and the mighty Prime Suspect.

The story starts off with a gripping bang, with a case that will test the detective’s skills and cunning. This is a real twisty case which gets the little grey cells turning. Christine de Bertrand, after a, what should have been a simple one night stand, turned out to be a nightmare, one that she can’t explain, after all, there is no explanation to the fact that she went to bed with a man who was very much alive only to wake with a woman who is very much dead, how can you rationally explain such a weird thing?

DC Gabby Darin has this inkling that there is something more to this case then meets the eye, but when one of their own is targeted and now with so much on the line and more lives at stake can Gabby and her team find the culprit before they strike again?

I have not read any of Jenny O’Brien’s work before this, but oh, my word what an introduction to this clever and hugely talented writers work, her writing is not only suspenseful but there is real confidence in her knowledge of the world she is writing about. I can say this for a certainty though, that this will not be my last Jenny O’Brien book, I can’t to read more from DC Gabriella Darin.

Darkest Night is a thrilling, intelligent and compelling ‘who-dunnit’ which will keep you turning the pages until all pieces of the jigsaw are put into place. With multiple suspects, multiple crimes, one of their very own in dangers way which hitched up the tempo a notch or two and so many twists and red-herrings, you never knew who was behind it all not until all was revealed which kept me glued right up to the very last page.

A real edge of your seat surprising thriller, If you love Lynda La Plant then you want to snap this up, DC Travis has got some real competition in the form of marvellous DC Gabby Darin.

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About the Author

Jenny O’Brien was born in Dublin a very long time ago. From an early age she’d always hoped to write something; to write anything other than her name on the bottom of a cheque and then, with the introduction of automated banking she even lost that pleasure. Therefore she was forced to pick up a pen and pad and start scribbling and since then she’s never stopped.

She writes in most genres except horror, sci-fi and fantasy. The Stepsister, released in 2018 was her first thriller and no one could have been more surprised than her when it stuck in the Amazon bestseller chart for 5 weeks and that with no paid advertising.

Jenny can be found on Twitter at @ScribblerJB and on her blog https://jennyobrienwriter.wordpress.com/

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Blog Tour Schedule

#BlogTour | The Forget-Me-Not Bakery by Caroline Flynn #TheForgetMeNotBakery #Review @flynnromance @HQstories

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Hello, Sunshines, I have the pleasure to be today’s stop on the blog tour and sharing my review for; the Forget-Me-Not Bakery by Caroline Flynn. Why not go and have a look!

The Forget-Me-Not Bakery by Caroline Flynn

Genre: Small Town Romance

Publisher: HQ

Release Date: 17th September 2020

From a small town called Port Landon comes a beautiful sweet romance about finding a place to truly call home.

Paige Henley has always dreamed of owning a bakery, but her busy life in New York City has never left much room for following her heart. So, when she’s given the chance to move to Port Landon to set up her own bakery, she’s ready to take a leap of faith and make her dreams a reality.

When single dad and local veterinarian, Cohen Beckett, enters Paige’s bakery for her grand opening, there is an undeniable connection, and Paige can’t help but notice an unfamiliar feeling in her chest.

But ever since his wife’s tragic death, Cohen has built his own defenses around his heart. The last thing he expects is for a stranger to ignite a spark he thought was lost forever.

Yet Paige has a kindness the whole town finds infectious, and soon Cohen realizes that her gourmet cakes aren’t the only thing impossible to distance himself from.

Will Paige be able to fulfill her dreams and find love in her new home?

Amazon / Goodreads

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This is such a sweet, little small-town romance. It’s perfect for those lazy days when all you want to do is curl up and fall into a non-taxing, easy to read story.

It’s not the wham-bam, hits in you hard in the heart romance, it’s very a predictable, cute boy meets girl type, in fact, think of those cutesy afternoon films what everyone watches at Christmas and you will have an idea, there is nothing essentially wrong with it, the characters are very likeable and it is fun getting to know them and watch them fall in love, the plot is a little samey as other’s in the small town genre but enjoyable none-the-less it just didn’t give me the loved up buzz I usually get.

I did enjoy it, it was a nice stop-gap between other heavier books I am currently reading, the story flowed easily and the characters are very likeable, my heart went our to Cohen he lost apart of his self when his wife died and left in its a place was this thirst for revenge of some sort even though he knew it was a tragic accident, hulking that heavyweight around isn’t the easiest especially with the addition of a confused little boy. I liked the friends to lovers trope romance that occurred between Paige and Cohan, both are looking for a fresh start and both are lonely, theirs is a sweet relationship and I really liked how they connected instantly.

This s all about find a place to call home, a story of second chances and moving on, I liked the premise of it, there’s not really a lot more I can say about it, it’s sweet, heartfelt, with lots of emotion, the plot is steady and moves along at a gentle pace and the characters are relatable and well developed but it is a little too cutesy for my liking. I would go as far in saying this would be a perfect young adult, coming of age romance or it would be a great starter for those coming into the sweet romance genre.

I believe this is the first book by Caroline Flynn, and just because this one didn’t quite hit the spot, I will happily try her books again as I did like her easy reading, writing style.

If your looing for a more passionate and sexy romance then this isn’t the book to read, but if you want to just float away on fluffy cake filled clouds then give it a go.

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About the Author

Caroline Flynn is a Canadian writer from Northern Ontario. She doesn’t have to imagine what small-town life is like–she lives it every day. Caroline loves everything book related, whether it’s reading them or writing them, and she’s the dog-mom of an eccentric brindle boxer named Jazz (who makes a special appearance in The Forget-Me-Not Bakery!). Caroline uses her coffee addiction to fuel her writing passion, and the truth is, she can’t imagine devoting her life to being anything other than an author.

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Blog Tour Schedule

#BlogTour | Katie’s Cornish Kitchen by Rosie Chambers #KatiesCornishKitchen #Review @RosieCbooks @HQDigital

Posted on Updated on

Hello, Sunshines on this rainy grey day, I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of; Katie’s Cornish Kitchen by Rosie Chambers as apart of this blog tour. I am late in posting as my day was supposed to last Friday, but with Wifi issues, I am yet again behind. But, here it is, better late than never, right?

Katie’s Cornish Kitchen by Rosie Chambers

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: HQ Digital

Format: Ebook, Print, Audio

Kindness, community and cake are all on the menu at Katie’s Cornish Kitchen

Pre-order the new feel-good romance from Rosie Chambers

After the heartbreak of being jilted by her fiancé, Katie Campbell has been mending her broken heart in Bali. She has local restaurant owner and new friend Agatha to thank for providing a listening ear in her moment of need. When Katie confides she’s worried about going back to what’s left of her life in London, Agatha has just the opportunity for Katie – to manage her old café in the beautiful, picturesque village of Perrinby in Cornwall.

Although reopening the café and making it profitable won’t be easy, Katie is determined to make the most of her fresh start. She quickly makes new friends in florist Jay, waitress Talia and handsome neighbour Oscar, and focuses on making the café a welcoming place for the community – from hosting floristry workshops to pizza-making nights and even the local knit-and-natter group. But, with the café under threat from the local property developers circulating just as she’s starting to grow closer to Oscar and finally feeling at home, can Katie find the recipe to make her Cornish Kitchen a success?

Escape to Cornwall in this heartwarming romance – perfect for fans of Julie Caplin, Phillipa Ashley and Debbie Johnson

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This is a really sweet and uplifting story of second chances, fresh starts and how important good, true friends are to a person just when they need it most. I am a sucker for a second chance story, it’s always so satisfying when all comes well for them in the end and this is no different.

I really liked it, yes it was predictable from the off but, with so much uncertainty in the world we need light, enjoyable good fun and a romantic escape, don’t we?

Katie suffers the worst betrayal, jilted by her no-good fiancé she decided to do what any down on her luck not quite bride to be done and tries to fix the fractured heart in sunnier climes. In Katie’s case, she goes to Bali where she meets an old friend; Agatha who is running her own restaurant out there. Personally, I think this part of the story is a little slow, but still a great opening.

Seeing just how down and vulnerable Katie is Agatha offers her friend the second chance she needs, she offers Katie he opportunity to run her old café in Perinby, which is a beautiful little village in Cornwall. Katie knows this is the fresh start and soon agrees, to be honest, who wouldn’t snatch such a chance up? But, can Katie not only find her feet and allow herself to love and live again but also to make a success of the café?

I was instantly pulled into Katie’s world, in fact, that happened from the cover and back blurb alone. I adore this cover, it is so pretty and striking and it works really well with the story, it fits in with Katie’s adventure perfectly, which is another thing I love, I think that matching the cover with the actual story engages us, readers, even more, it’s a visualisation of what is going to happen in the story – now whether that was purposely done by the art department with this book or it’s just my overactive imagination picking up on things that aren’t there, I don’t know, but blimey it perfect!

I love the close-knit circle of friends that Katie soon collects; Jay, Talia and Oscar are so different, and to be honest, you would never think that such an eclectic group of people could be such good friends but they are and they bring a burst of energy and a little quirkiness to the story, which I really liked and I loved getting to know them as the story unfolds. I do like a strong and eclectic mix of supporting characters, I think that when they are written with such clarity and realism as Jay, Talia and Oscar are, they bring a whole new depth to the story.

Like Rosie’s previous book ‘The Year of Chasing Love‘ this is the perfect feel-good, thoughtful, relaxing weekend read, one that you can settle down on a dull rainy day and just allow yourself to be pulled in and escape whatever is going on in your world for a few blissful hours.

I love Rosie’s writing, she has a really easy to read writing style that makes the reader instantly drawn into her stories. I loved the descriptions of Cornwall, every scene is so beautifully written and so clear you can see Katie’s little café in your mind, it’s like you are falling into Katie’s Cornwall.

Katie’s Cornish Kitchen is an adorable, feel-good, inspiring, hopeful and hugely enjoyable book all about grabbing your future and taking the chance for happiness. The characters are well developed and full of quirky charm. It’s well-paced with sadness and happiness and a few surprises are thrown in for good measure, I thoroughly enjoyed!

This was an Arc copy from the publisher via Netgalley, which I voluntarily reviewed as apart of this blog tour, thank you Sian at HQ.

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Link

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About the Author

Rosie Chambers loves writing uplifting, feel-good stories set in sun-filled locations around the world. Her stories are filled with fun, friendship and foodie treats, which Rosie hopes will bring a smile to her readers’ faces.

She’s always in the market for quirky stationery and is never happier than with a pen in one hand and a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit in the other. A YEAR OF CHASING LOVE is her debut novel.

Find out more about Rosie and her books on Twitter: @RosieCbooks

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Blog Tour Schedule

#BlogTour | The Woman In the Painting by Kerry Postle #TheWomanInThePainting #Review @kerry_postle @HQDigitalUK

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Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; The Woman in the Painting by Kerry Postle. I can’t wait to share my review with you all, I hope you love it as much as I did.

The Woman In The Painting by Kerry Postle

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: HQ Digital

Format: ebook/paperback

Release Date: 23rd July 2020

‘She’s beautiful,’ I told him. ‘Hair like skeins of silk; deep, brown eyes that sparkle in the light like jewels; beautiful lips, deep pink, and as juicy as ripe fruit.’

Ideas rippled in the pools of his eyes. ‘I must paint her,’ he said

1508. In Rome, artists are everywhere and feted as gods. But the most celebrated amongst them, a man who can paint beauty itself, is Raphael. When he touches brush to canvas, his subjects burst to life; he takes base metal and turns it to glistening gold.

When Raphael meets Margarita Luti, a baker’s daughter, he is beguiled and inspired in equal measure. As his muse, her face becomes that of a thousand Madonnas, but it is his portraits of her which reveal his full talents – and which will become his downfall.

For Raphael is wanted for greater things than a mere baker’s daughter. He is soon promised to the niece of a cardinal, a man upon whose connections and commissions the artist’s future relies. Without his good will, Raphael will be ruined.

Raphael must make a choice between his love for Margarita and his future as an artist – a choice that will have devastating consequences.

Inspired by a heartbreaking true story, this stunning and evocative novel is perfect for fans of Debbie Rix, Kate Furnivall and Dinah Jefferies.

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After reading the previous by Kerry Postle, I was really looking forward to reading this one and I can happily say, I was not disappointed. It was a little slow-paced for my liking, there are long-winded chapters that did carry on a little too much, which I think could have been shorter and still told the overall story, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Set in 1508; the Italian Renaissance is in full swing, artists are revered and loved by all this tells the story of maybe not as a well-known artist, but one of the very best; Raphael, a man whom people think has been touched by God himself for the beauty he creates on the canvas. When Raphael meets alluring and utterly beautiful Margarita, the daughter of a baker he is enthralled and transfixed by her, she becomes his muse and also his downfall. He may love her dearly but a mere bakers daughter isn’t good enough for the likes of the great Raphael as he is promised to another, a woman he doesn’t want but a woman who has the connections that any artist needs in this era to be able to further his career.

But will he give up the woman he loves his human heart or will his artist’s one win and he does as expected of him?

I learned so much about Italian art from this, I have read a few other stories that feature Italian artist’s from the Renaissance, so I had heard of the artist mentioned in this book. I loved this is inspired by the true love story of Raphael and Margarita, their story was one of love, passion and heartbreak. It is obvious from reading this, that this story and the history is a real love of Kerry’s, her passion for those Renaissance artists shines through, the research and attention to detail are fabulous it’s clear and vivid. But more than that, after reading this it does leave you intrigued by the artwork mentioned.

I was intrigued by the sound of this as soon as I read the back blurb, I am fascinated with this era there is something about Italian history that really pulls you in and captures the attention. This is a beautifully poignant and compelling book that will leave the reader feeling all the love of any Renaissance artist.

This was an arc copy via the publisher, which I voluntarily reviewed as apart of this blog tour.

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About the Author

Kerry loves art, history and literature.

In her debut novel, ‘The Artist’s Muse’, she explores the artist Egon Schiele’s relationship with his model Wally Neuzil and shows that it isn’t only Schiele’s paintings of Wally that shimmer and shock.

Kerry’s second novel, ‘A Forbidden Love’, is set during the Spanish Civil War and tells a rousing and ultimately uplifting story: that when war has taken everything away from us we are still left with our humanity.

With the author’s third novel, ‘The Woman in the Painting’, she returns to the world of art. Set in Rome at the start of the 16th century the author shares with us the heartbreaking story behind the artist Raphael’s portrait of his lover, Margarita Luti. Known as ‘The Baker’s Daughter’, this portrait hides a secret…

For more about Kerry Postle visit; http://frockfriday.co.uk/

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Blog Tour Schedule

#Review |The Girl with the Amber Comb by Linda Finlay #TheGirlWithTheAmberComb #BlogTour @HQStories

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Hello, sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of this gorgeous book with you all; The Girl With The Amber Comb by Linda Finlay. This post was scheduled to be shared in March, but as we all know one thing leads to another and we fall behind, way behind in this case…..Oops! So, here it is ridiculously late, sorry! But, I hope you all enjoy it anyway.

The Girl With The Amber Comb by Linda Finlay

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: HQ Stories

Format: Print/ebook

‘Sure to delight’ Dilly Court

A heart-warming tale from the Queen of West Country Saga, LINDA FINLAY.

Orphaned at birth, Eliza lives with her beloved Grandparents in a waterlogged Somerset cottage surrounded by willow beds where she ekes out a living making laundry baskets and eel traps. Although poor she is content, until childhood friend Clem, regales her with tales of his adventures along the river and she begins to wonder what life is like beyond the Droves.

When fate brings handsome, wealthy Theo to her workshop she is instantly attracted and a rosy future beyond the Droves beckons. Only things don’t go to plan and naive Eliza finds herself in Lavender House where she is expected to care for gentlemen in a way she never imagined. Forced to flee for her life, she ends up in a woollen mill run by a corrupt foreman, working for crumbs and pennies with only her grandmother’s comb in her pocket.

Now she knows what matters in life – but is it too late? And will she ever be able to return home to those who love her?

Set amongst the stunning wetlands of Somerset, this tale of triumph and tragedy will delight fans of Rosie Goodwin and Dilly Court.

Amazon

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This is a cracker of a story!! If you love your nitty-gritty; Dickensian-esque saga’s, then this is the book you have to read. I hadn’t read any of Linda Finlay’s books before this, honestly, I must walk around with my eyes shut while living in a bubble. How Linda’s books have passed me by, who knows, but I will certainly be seeking out more of her work.

Set in Victorian Somerset the story opens to young Eliza taking on the bulk of the families basket making business after the death of her greatly loved grandmother (or grammer) At seventeen she wants more in her life than to make laundry and eel baskets all day while caring for her grandfather (gramfer) She cares deeply for her gramfer and she loved her grammer so to lose her and to see how her gramfer struggles really break her heart.

When handsome Theo arrives at her little workshop she falls in love with him, he is the very embodiment of every girl’s dream; handsome, charming, wealthy. But as you might expect, all won’t be roses and happiness where he is concerned. One thing leads to another and Eliza first finds herself in the questionable Lavender House where she ends up fleeing to save her life and then she ends up in a wool mill with nothing to her name but the clothes on her back and her most prized possession; her grandmother amber comb.

Anyone who has read a review of mine, or follows me on social media will know how much I love historical’s where the leading character is from a working-class background, honestly, it is such a breath of fresh air to read a book set in the Victorian era where the whole focus isn’t on the aristocracy or the well-to-do families of the time. The leading lady is a very down-to-earth, liable and relatable young woman who has stars in her eyes and big dreams and wishes in her mind. But she is also a very loyal, caring and a genuinely lovely person wants to do the right thing as much as she wants an adventure.

There isn’t a single word I can say against this book, I loved the characters; whether good or bad each one brought something to the story, there is a realism that instantly grabs you and transports you to the era, the historical detail is so brilliantly researched yo the plot is engaging, I swear you will age ten years while reading it as you follow Eliza on her and at times unsavoury journey from her being a naïve little country miss from Somerset to a world-weary woman aged beyond her years. You will laugh and cry in equal measure, your heart will weep for Eliza at times and then burst with joy in other moments, but this is what you want from a historical fiction; you want to be bombarded with every human emotion as you read this young woman sorry tale.

It is without a doubt that The Girl with the Amber Comb is an engaging, captivating, authentic, richly detailed and beautifully written book. I would say one thing though – nothing bad, I promise – only I wouldn’t say it was a women’s fiction saga, I would say it’s more for those who are first starting to explore historical fiction, for those who are just dipping their toes into the historical fiction/saga waters and find that they love the genre, maybe even a young adult. It’s an easy to read book, one that you can dive into and instantly becoming carried away and one that you can easily devour in a weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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About the Author

Linda Finlay was brought up in Surrey and as a child loved creating stories. She won a competition run by the Leatherhead Advertiser then foolishly declined their offer of a job as a trainee reporter (oh, the ignorance of youth!) Married with two children, making up stories was a highlight of their upbringing.

Trained as an Image Consultant, she has an avid interest in people especially the synergy between appearance and perception, especially the effect this has on self-esteem. A move to the spectacular Devonshire coast combined with her passion for local history inspired her to write her Victorian sagas while her training enables her to create the vivid, colourful characters she so enjoys writing about. She is a shameless eavesdropper – so beware your conversations might not be as private as you think!

Linda has just begun her tenth novel set against the rich West Country background and incorporating a traditional local craft.

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I just want to make a brief apology to Linda and the team over at HQ Stories – for not posting this review on my day of this amazing blog tour. I think many will agree with me when I say the last few weeks/months have been a bit on the weird side and I’m afraid I have let things slide a little and now I am drastically playing catch up.

So, for all those who missed out on the blog tour, why not check out each of these amazing blogs which participated in this tour and show them some love?

#Review | Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay (Swallowtail Bay, Book 1) by Katie Ginger #SpringTidesatSwallowtailBay #BlogTour @KatieGAuthor @HQDigitalUK

Posted on

Hello Sunshines, I hope everyone is safe and well?! I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of the charming book with you all today; Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay by Katie Ginger. This post was scheduled to be shared in March, but as we all know one thing leads to another and we fall behind…..Ooops! So, here it is ridiculously late, sorry! I hope you all enjoy it!

Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay by Katie Ginger

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance

Publisher: HQ Digital UK

Escape to the cosy seaside town of Swallowtail Bay, the perfect place for a fresh start – but is Stella’s new beginning over before it’s begun?

Licking her wounds from her divorce, Stella impulsively buys a gift shop and two holiday lets in glorious Swallowtail Bay, hoping for a fresh start with her King Charles Spaniel Frank.

When the neighbours meet her with a warm welcome, Stella knows she’s found the new home she was looking for. Even gorgeous but grumpy local Miles can’t take the shine off things. But then her ex-husband announces he’s getting married again, and someone in the village starts gossiping about Stella…

Is Stella’s dream over already? Or, with her new friends behind her, can Stella fight back and save her new life – and find the happy ever after she’s been waiting for?

Fans of Cathy Bramley, Debbie Johnson and Jenny Colgan will fall in love with Swallowtail Bay!

Amazon

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This is such a great introduction to a new-to-me authors work and even better I have started reading her work at the start of a brand new series, how better could a person get?!

I will admit that even though I have heard a lot of great things about Katie Ginger’s work, this is actually my first of her books I have read and I am so pleased to say that she well and truly lived up to such great expectations and I will certainly be seeking more of her books out in the future, as I think her cheerful and feel-good writing is exactly what we need to cheer us all up in these weird days we have found ourselves in.

After her divorce, Stella and her gorgeous King Charles Spaniel; Frank, makes a dash to the beautiful village of Swallowtale Bay, where she rather impulsively buys the local gift shop plus two-holiday lets and plans to make a whole new life for herself in this quietly charming and idyllic village. There she meets a single mother and fellow divorcee; Lexi who currently works in the shop next door and as you can expect with two women having so much in common they soon make the best of friends. And Miles who is a grouchy grumbling grump, a man who is a little peeved as he had his own eyes on the very shop Stella has bought.

All s pretty much OK for Stella and her newfound way of life, that is until someone in her new home starts spreading gossip about Stella, anyone who has watched an episode of Emmerdale of Midsummer Murders will know that gossips spread like wildfire in these cosy little villages and to top it all her ex-husband is getting married and has invited her to his wedding….well, that isn’t uncomfortable, is it?

Will Stella go to this wedding? Will she get to the bottom of the gossip and who is behind it? And more than that will she be able to find her happiness in the new home she has found for herself?

I absolutely love a book which has a real friendship for life feel to it, yes there is love in there too but it is the unbreakable bond between true friends that I really loved, This is what we need more of from books, we need that added layer of good strong female friendships that the reader can relate to instantly.

This book is full of good-natured banter, romance, I love the small village community that is so strong within Swallowtail Bay, nothing is perfect but this group of intriguing and highly likeable individuals come together, I love that and it was such a joy getting to know Stella, Lexi and Miles, I am very excited to see what comes next in this series.

Overall, am enjoyable, non-taxing easy read story that is all about friendship and love, a cosy little drama that will pull at the heartstring far more times then I can count.

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About

I live in the South East of England in a lovely little town by the sea and spend my time working, running around after my kids, walking our King Charles Spaniel, Wotsit, and writing!

Writing has been a dream of mine since I was little. I wrote my first story about a mermaid when I was 9 and was thoroughly delighted to show it off to my teacher, having written a whopping four whole pages, complete with illustrations. After a couple of life-changing experiences over the last few years, I rediscovered my passion and knew I had to give it my all and try my luck at getting a book deal. In January 2018 I was lucky enough to secure a deal with Harper Collins, Digital HQ Digital!

My debut novel The Little Theatre on the Seafront was published in September 2018, and is a funny, heart-tingling contemporary romance. In 2019 it was shortlisted for the Katie Fforde Debut Novel of the Year Award. Summer Season on the Seafront, the second in the Seafront Series, was published in 2019.

Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Website

 

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I just want to make a brief apology to Katie and the team over at – for not posting this review on my day of this amazing blog tour. I think many will agree with me when I say the last few weeks/months have been a bit on the weird side and I’m afraid I have let things slide a little and now I am drastically playing catch up.

So, for all those who missed out on the blog tour, why not check out each of these amazing blogs which participated in this tour and show them some love?

#BlogTour | Arrowood and the Thames Corpses (Arrowood Mysteries) by Mick Finlay #ArrowoodAndTheThamesCorpse #Review #ArrowoodMysteries @mickfinlay2 @HQStories

Posted on

Hello Sunshines, I hope you are all safe and well! I am super excited about being today’s stop on the amazing blog tour, I have been so looking forward to this book and I can’t wait to share my review of Arrowood and the Thames Corpses by Mick Finlay. As always take a seat, grab a cuppa and enjoy!

Arrowood and the Thames Corpses

Series: Arrowood Mysteries #3

Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery

Publisher: HQ Stories

Format: Print, Ebook, Audio

The most exciting historical crime fiction thriller of 2020 for fans of Sherlock Holmes

South London, 1896.

William Arrowood, Victorian London’s less salubrious private detective, is paid a visit by Captain Moon, the owner of a pleasure steamer moored on the Thames. He complains that someone has been damaging his boat, putting his business in jeopardy.

Arrowood and his trusty sidekick Barnett suspect professional jealousy, but when a string of skulls is retrieved from the river, it seems like even fouler play is afoot.

It’s up to Arrowood and his trusty sidekick Barnett to solve the case, before any more corpses end up in the watery depths . . .

Amazon

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Am I excited about this book, or what? The long-awaited latest instalment of the fabulous Arrowood Mysteries is back, I have been waiting with baited breathe for this book and it was well and truly worth the wait. Mick Finlay has sealed his name as one of the best historical mystery fiction writers of the time, this is a gripping, atmospheric, richly detailed, gritty, darkly funny and realistic mystery.

Those who haven’t read an Arrowood mystery – then you are really missing something – each book is a stand-alone story so anyone can pick up any of the books without worrying about whether they have missed something. William Arrowood is a London Private Detective, not to be mistaken for the famed Sherlock Holmes, Arrowood takes on those cases that the celebrated Holmes wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. There are some cracking moments especially with Arrowood as he continues his secret loathing and one-sided feud with the much-acclaimed detective, he hates that Holmes has the fame and the respect of the city and he loves to compare his superior brain and knowledge with Holmes. As before the whole saga is told through the eyes of Arrowood’s assistance; Norman Barnett who is a man of the world he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and he is loyal and protective of his boss.

Set in London 1896; Private Detective William Arrowood is approached by a Captain Moon and his daughter Suzie who are reaching out for help, their boat; The Gravesend Queen, a pleasure steamer which runs tourists and locals down the river and back again. Their family-run boat is being targeted with what they believe for the intention of running them out of business and to take over their routes. So Arrowood along with his loyal sidekick; Norman Barnett take on the case, but soon it becomes apparent that there is more going on than mere route wars, as the deeper the investigate the ore dangerous it all becomes especially when a line of skulls and corpses or found tied to a boat, who put them there and is it connected to what is happening with Captains Moons’ boat?

It hooks you from the off, with each you are pulled into the dark and grimy Victorian world which is full of dingy working-class life and strife, plus the vivid description of just how desolate, grimy and harsh Victorian London really held my attention, it’s raw, honest and brilliantly engaging. If you love your murkier historical mystery crime fiction which has the slightest Sherlock Holmes essence and a large spoonful of Ripper Street and the best characters in the genre, then Arrowood is the book and series you need to read.

The writing is impeccable as is Finlay’s flawless research into the era, I cannot say a single negative word against this amazing book or it’s a hugely talented author. It is memorable as it is thrilling and I am already waiting for the next instalment from the remarkable Arrowood series.

There is a real buzz about it that I can’t quite describe, I don’t have the adequate words but believe me when I say that this really is an absolute stonking great book, a huge joy to read; in other words, pure brilliance!!

This was an arc copy via the publisher which I voluntarily reviewed as apart of this blog tour, thank you Sian and the HQ team. Xx

Arrowood and the Thames Corpses is available now from Amazon.

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Blog Tour Schedule

#BlogTour | A Year of Chasing Love by Rosie Chambers #AYearOfChasingLove #Review @RosieCBooks @HQDigital

Posted on Updated on

Hello Sunshines – and Happy New Year!! My first blog tour of 2020 and it’s a real charming one; The Year Of Chasing Love by Rosie Chambers. So, sit back grab that cuppa – or health drink – and enjoy!

One moment can change a lifetime…

The last thing top divorce lawyer Olivia Hamilton ever expected was to be served her own divorce papers! To escape her marriage troubles, she agrees to go on a year-long trip to find the ultimate guide to love.

Travelling the world, surrounded by stories of love and happiness, it’s not long before her thoughts turn to Nathan, her soon-to-be ex-husband, and she starts to take note of her own lessons in love…

But with Nathan over a thousand miles away, will it be too late?

Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Philippa Ashley and Caroline Roberts.

The year of Chasing Love is the debut novel by Rosie Chambers, and I definitely see great things in her future, and I am looking forward to seeing what comes next from this new author. This is a sweet, little contemporary story, one that will leave you smiling and feeling in a sunnier mood.

The story opens when top divorce lawyer; Olivia is presented with her own divorce papers. Not just shock and horror for her, but she also sees this as bad for her career.

After years of putting her career first, of building up her steely reputation she has unfortunately neglected to look after her home life, she has neglected her husband. Nathen has been patiently waiting and wanting them to move forward with their married life and now she is at the top of her game, Nathen decides enough is enough and files for divorce. Olivia is shocked, obviously, she isn’t naïve enough to think that everything was hunky-dory but she thought that she and Nathen were rubbing along happily enough and so for him to want to tear up their marriage is a real blow for her. She wants nothing more than to stick her head in the sand and delve further and further into her work but the fates are all against her as her boss forces her to take a long-overdue sabbatical hoping that it will make her take the breath she needs to actually take stock and put some perspective in her life before it’s too late.

Now she is left with a year with no work, no husband and she is fast sinking into despair that is until brilliant best friend Rachel turns up and offers her the chance to turn her life – or the year – around, by travelling around the world as she research’s the ultimate guide to love, she travels around Malta, Hawaii, Copenhagen and Singapore and finally landing in the city of love the most romantic place on earth; Paris, but will her travels be her saving grace? Swill Olivia finally be able to allow herself to be happy and will she find the love and the life she is secretly searching for?

I really enjoyed this, I did think at first it started off a little on the slow side for my liking, but it soon picks up the pace, A year of Chasing Love is such a relatable story, it’s one that is so relevant for today where there are so many women in top positions they do unfortunately have to pick between career and family, and when the career path is chosen family and those we love are unfortunately pushed aside. It’s a simple story which has a lot of heart, it’s a delightful and heartwarming story, the characters are wonderfully portrayed Olivia especially is very relatable even though at first I did find it difficult to warm to her but she soon won me over.

Overall, this is a charming little story about finding happiness and love and allowing yourself to let go a little if you love your easy-peasy, none taxing feel-good stories then this is the book for you.

This was an arc copy via the publisher and Netgalley, which I voluntarily and honestly reviewed as apart of this blog tour.

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Blog Tour Schedule