HQ Digital UK

#OffTheBookshelf #Review Almost Forever: An Emotional Debut Perfect For Fans Of Jojo Moyes by Laura Danks @auradanks #AlmostForever #Romance @HQDigitalUK

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 This is my first ‘Off the Bookshelf’ post, I am so pleased to be able to share with you all my review of Almost Forever by Laura Danks.

Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Cecelia Ahern and Jojo Moyes

Can love truly conquer all?

When a vicious attack leaves Paul in a coma on his wedding day, the doctors fear he will never wake up. But his fiancée Fran will never give up hope.

Fran has always known Paul is the only man for her, from the first moment they locked eyes as children to the day he finally told her he loved her. Paul can’t leave her, not now their lives are just about to begin.

Love will always find a way… won’t it?

My goodness me this is an immensely emotional book to read, the writing is incredibly powerful, raw and heart-breaking. What surprises me most is that this is Laura Danks debut. Which really is unbelievable as this is good – no good doesn’t really justify just how stunning this book is. It pulls at the heart-strings and I can guarantee that you will be reaching for the tissues, especially with lines like this; “Why isn’t my love enough?

Francesca and Paul are your dream couple, child heart sweethearts who after all the years together they are still very much in love. On the day of their wedding, the day starts off just like an other for them. They are getting ready to elope to Las Vegas for Fran’s dream wedding, under the moonlight with her beloved Paul beside her. When tragedy strikes, Paul is maliciously and cruelly attacked by a gang of thugs when he tries to save a woman’s life at the corner shop, leaving him in a coma fighting for his life.

The story is told through Fran’s eyes, we see her go from waking up that morning full of excitement knowing she will be marrying her one true love, to having to see her husband-to-be in intensive care facing an unknown future. I absolutely love how the story goes from the present day to glimpses of Fran and Paul throughout the years. Those memories showing how they met, spending holidays together and touching moments between them are beautiful and takes the reader on a poignant journey through Fran and Paul’s past and really showcases just how much they truly love one and other, which makes the outcome of their story all the more heart-breaking.

The writing is spectacular, Ms Danks has a true gift, she has captures Fran’s emotional state of mind with so much raw realism that you feel every tear, every laugh every turmoil that she goes through. I literally read this in one go, I couldn’t put it down. It grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let me go. It’s mesmerising and compelling, the writing is flawless. I cannot recommend this book enough and I will definitely be reading more from Laura Danks, she is an amazing writer and a kind one too as a potion of her royalties for the sale of this book will be donated to the Stroke Association.

Stunningly beautiful.

Almost Forever is available now from Amazon.

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#Review The Murder Pit (Arrowood Series #2) by Mick Finlay (@mickfinlay2) #BlogTour #MurderPit #ArrowoodSeries #HistoricalFiction #Victorian #Mystery @HQStories

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I have the great pleasure to be sharing my review of The Murder Pit by Mick Finley as apart of this great blog tour.

Where Evil Lies Buried

1896: Sherlock Holmes has once again hit the headlines, solving mysteries for the cream of aristocracy. But among the workhouses and pudding shops of South London, private detective William Arrowood is presented with far grittier, more violent and considerably less well-paid cases. Arrowood has no doubt who is the better detective, and when Mr. and Mrs. Barclay engage him to find their estranged daughter, Birdie, he’s sure it won’t be long before he and his assistant, Barnett, have tracked her down.

But this seemingly simple missing-person case soon turns into a murder investigation. Far from the comfort of Baker Street, Arrowood’s London is a city of unrelenting cruelty, where evil is waiting to be uncovered…

Well, what can I say about this, but utterly brilliant! It has a real Sherlock Holmes come Ripper Street feel to it, I was instantly drawn into the case and was glued right to the last page. As soon as I saw the cover I knew that I needed to read it, it looked so interesting and that was before reading the back blurb and I was not disappointed. I didn’t realise that this was apart of a series, I read this very much as a stand-a-lone and going by the superb quality of this I know that I will be reading more.

What I love about this is that Arrowood and Barnett are well and truly on the side of the regular people, the working and lower classes the people who the mighty Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson would never sully their hands with. The whole country is applauding the ‘genius’ that is Sherlock Holmes, the cream of the aristocratic stock are hiring Mr Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson to solve their mysteries for them. Yet, what about the lower classes? Those that can’t afford Sherlock’s substantial fee’s and those that aren’t deemed worthy of helping. In steps Arrowood!

It’s Victorian London, William Arrowood is a Private Investigator and along with his assistant Norman Barrett they take on the cases that Sherlock Holes won’t. They are approached by the Barclay’s who want Arrowood to find their daughter; Birdie who after marrying Walter Ockwell a pig farmer, hasn’t been in contact with her parents. The Barclay’s are worried that Birdie is in some way being stopped by her husband’s family from contacting them and because she is ‘simple-minded’ and ‘malleable’ they worry she may be being mistreated.

What appears to be a simple case, turns into something very different indeed, as Arrowood and Barnett find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy involving a local asylum, the murder of an old woman; Mrs Gillie, plus threats and violence at every corner as they try to find the truth of what has happened to Mrs Gillie what is going on at the Ockwell farm. But with the Ockwell family, the local police constable and the village all silent and protective of each other it becomes clear to Arrowood and Barnett that this case is far from easy and it will take them on a dark, violent and at times very uncomfortable journey.

I really like how this is written, we see the whole story play out not through the lead character; Arrowood’s eyes, but through the point of view of his assistant Barrett. I think that is so funny how Arrowood genuinely appears to hate Sherlock Holmes, whenever the man is mentioned or another of his cases appears in the paper Arrowood just sees red, which also makes him either reach for the laudanum or whatever tasty morsel he can get his chubby hands on. He truly believes himself to on par as an investigator as Holmes, personally I prefer Arrowood to Sherlock. He isn’t one to search and follow the clues he is more a thinker, he uses his intellect in human nature to solve the crimes – today he would be referred more of a psychoanalyst.

Mick Finlay has written a brilliant story that is engaging, atmospheric and addictive reading and I can guarantee any who loves historical fiction and a good crime mystery will love meeting Arrowood. I do love a Victorian set story and this is one of the best I’ve read, Finley has clearly done unbelievable amounts of research into the Victorian era and more so into how the Victorians used to treat those who had a disability or mental health issue. Which is astounding the cruelty what they showed to them, thank heaven times have changed. His meticulous attention to detail brings the story to life, it is as though the reader has been transported from their armchair to Arrowood’s dark world which is full of conspiracy and lies. The writing is solid, it captures the reader’s imagination with absolute clarity.

Over this is a brilliant introduction to this authors work, imaginative, dark, thrilling, fast-paced, and original. Definitely one that will be pulled of the bookshelf again and again, I can’t wait for the next Arrowood mystery.

Very highly recommended!

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, Thank you Joe and the HQ Stories review team.

The Murder Pit is available from Amazon and I highly recommend you buy it.

#Review Miss Marley; A Christmas Ghost Story, A Prequel To A Christmas Carol by Vanessa Lafaye & Rebecca Mascull (@rebeccamascull) @HQDigitalUK #MissMarley #AChristmasCarol

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Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley

A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

My View

This is utterly breath-taking! There is no other words for this beautiful book, once I closed the very last page, I was left in stunned silence and with tears in my eyes, this is the brilliance of this book the emotions that Miss Marley evokes in the reader is incomparable. It is full of tragedy, sadness and it is heart-breaking, as well as portraying the most beautiful message of just being kind to others, that money isn’t everything in life, what is important is family, love and living life itself.

This is the first I have ever read by the late Vanessa Lafaye and it saddens me to know that I may have missed out on something special, so I am unbelievably honoured that I got the chance to review this book. Ms Lafaye and Ms Mascull (who lovingly finished the book on Vanessa Lafaye’s sad passing) have written an atmospheric, realistic and touching story, the sights, smells and life of Dickensian London is brilliant captured which makes this book even more special.

This is the prequel to ‘A Christmas Carol’ and it tells the story of Jacob Marley through the eyes of his little sister; Clara Belle Marley. The story opens when they are nothing but children who are staving on the streets, after their parent’s died and their cruel uncle foisted them off into the workhouse they have nothing but each other. With Jacob’s intellect and wiles they soon find themselves off the street and into the nefarious world of ‘Money lending’. The story doesn’t he hard facts of life on the streets of the money lending business, it is raw and unashamed-idly real.

As the years go by, the siblings raise themselves from the streets, in due course Jacob meets his soon-to-be business partner; Ebeneeza Scrooge and is from here we see just how Jacob Marley found himself destined to reside for all eternity in chains; as we see in A Christmas Carol. Jacob Marley isn’t entirely a selfish man as he does have his moments when he cares for Clara, but there really isn’t an ounce of kindness in him. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Ebeneeza in a different light to the heartless, lost creature we all know him to be. In this there is a glimmer of goodness in him, but being around merciless Jacob has it’s effects on him, it was interesting to seeing the two men when they were young to see how the famous story began.

But the backbone to this is Clara Belle and her absolute love and loyalty to her brother, she is the absolute opposite to Jacob. Where he is hard, cold and ruthless she is kind, warm, caring and always wanting to help if she can. She has a good heart who tries in vain to change her brother’s ways, she has her own story to tell one that can melt the coldest of hearts, and one that will have you weeping.

Magical, charming, festive, beautifully written, heartfelt, captivating, reminiscent of Dickens himself, this is the perfect Christmas gift and one that I can see becoming a classic in its own right and one that will be repeatedly read year after year.

The most heart-warming and beautiful book I have read, perfection!

This was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Joe at HQ Digital UK for my copy.

Miss Marley is available at Amazon and I urge everyone to buy it, highly recommended!

#Review – Love and Lies at The Village Christmas Shop by Portia MacIntosh (@PortiaMacIntosh) #Blogtour #Christmas #Romance #LoveAndLiesAtTheVillageChristmasShop @HQDigitalUK

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I have the great pleasure to be the last stop on this great blog tour, and to be sharing my review of Love and Lies At The Village Christmas Shop by Portia MacIntosh.

Blast the Michael Bublé, wrap your hands around a cinnamon latte and enjoy this warm, hilarious Christmas novel!

Ivy loves Christmas. As owner of Christmas Every Day, the year-round festive store, you’d expect nothing less!

The only thing missing in Ivy’s life is a dash of romance – something her twin sister Holly will not let her forget…

When her mother passed away, Ivy vowed to take over the running of her mother’s store and keep the Christmas spirit alive in the idyllic seaside town of Marram Bay.

But all this changes when an enigmatic businessman moves to the town, threatening to bulldoze her beloved shop to make way for a holiday complex.

Can Ivy save her shop before Christmas? Could there be a different side to the newest resident of Marram Bay that would make all her Christmas wishes come true?

The brand-new laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from bestseller Portia Macintosh. Perfect for fans of Zara Stoneley and Tilly Tennant.

My View

Well this is splendid, what a great way to get yourself into the festive spirit! I will admit that this is ashamedly the first book I have read by Portia MacIntosh, where have I been to let this wonderful author pass me by? Anyway, I will definitely be seeking out more of Ms MacIntosh’s work because this was wonderful.

For Ivy there is nothing better in this world than Christmas, she loves it’s, breathes it and lives it everyday something that she shared with her dear late mother. So it will comes at no surprise that she runs a Christmas shop; ‘Christmas Everyday’ which used to belong to her mother. Situated in the little Yorkshire town of Marram, Ivy has vowed that she will always be here and run her mother’s shop as she would have wanted it to be run.

I really like Ivy, she gave up a lot for the Christmas shop and her family, she gave up a brilliant carer as a chef, everything she has done has been for the shop and her family. She is a glorified book worm, she is more than happy sitting quietly in a corner reading. She is by far one of the most selfless women, she has given up her dreams of being whisked of her feet by a handsome stranger, her entire life solely revolves around the shop and I for one can relate to her. At times Ivy was so real to me it was like reading about myself, I have never related to a character as much as I have Ivy she spoke to me on a level I have never experienced before, I understood her. This for me is what makes this book such a winner, Ms. MacIntosh has created this real and likeable young woman who is very normal. There are no airs and graces about Ivy she is a normal, working class young woman who is in need of a boost of self confidence.

But all is not fine in the shop, Ivy is struggling to get people through the door other then at Christmas. After all not everyone is like he and her late mother, some are like her Christmas hating twin sister; Holly. Honestly you never have though that these two completely different women were even related let alone, twin sisters, they are like chalk and cheese and in many ways I think people will relate to Holly just as much as Ivy. She believes that there is more to life then Christmas trees, decorations and carol singing and she worries that her sister has given too much for their mothers Christmas shop legacy, I can see her point of view too. When Ivy finds out that he land lord is selling the shop to a mysterious stranger who wants to turn her precious mothers shop into holiday lets she now must fight for her mother’s legacy and for herself, especially once she meets the very man who could change her whole life.

Seb and Ivy are such a cute couple, even though they are in competition there is a lot of flirting, giggles and good natured bantering between them. He is a sexy, confident and kind man who knows what he wants and will do what ever he can to get it, even though that does sounds as though he is ruthless, but to me I think it’s more the fact that he is a charmer and everyone falls under his spell.

I have to say that even though Seb is mightily attractive and a decent man, I was more drawn to the rough around the edges, heavily tattooed and a but scruffy Gaz, and it has nothing to do with the fact that as soon he appeared in the book I envisioned Tom Hardy, oh, alright it has more or less everything to do with that  😉 he’s a bit gruff, but there is something very enticing about him.

Love and Lies and the Village Christmas Shop is a light-hearted, witty and seasonally perfect romance. The plot is fun, easy to read and entertaining, there is a lot of laugh-out-loud moments to be had, especially from the witty banter from all character’s. The cast of character’s are each brilliant in their own way, each one has his/her own style and quirkiness that you will instantly love. Ms. MacIntosh’s writing is a real joy to read, there is a lot of passion for the story and the character’s that really comes through in the story.

An utterly charming and feel-good festive romance that will have you reaching for the hot chocolate and fluffy socks and settling in for the night.

This was an ARC copy via the publisher for this blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Love and Lies and The Christmas Village Shop can be purchased from Amazon.