April 2020 Books #AmReading

Month four of the year, and it’s a different life we are living at the moment. Have you managed to read more, or less? I have found that I am easily distracted from books at the moment, but that’s not so say I’m not going to try! I’ve been reading in bed, in the bath, on the sofa, in the garden, and even while walking! (yes honestly!) Last April, I think I managed around 15 books in a month. Did I hit anywhere near that number this month?

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Only You

Only You by Kate Eberlen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Two young souls meet in Rome and end up striking up a friendship which turns to an intense romance. With a dance background behind both of them, music and dance bring them together more.
Until their pasts catch up with them.
I must confess that it took me a while to get into this book. Written from two perspectives, we learned about Alf and Letty, how they were feeling in Rome, but it took a little while to get in the swing of things. The second section, which jumps back, explaining the whys of the story, gave me a good few Aha! moments. And the conclusion... well, it was what we all would want from a love story.
But, I have to say, I did enjoy it,  once I got into the story.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Booms And Busts by [Le Pard, Geoff]

Booms And Busts by Geoff Le Pard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, I was glad to get back to the adventures of Harry Spittle in his lawyer days!
What a fantastically farcical tale of the mishaps and misadventures that Harry finds himself in, narrowly escaping prison, mixing with the wrong sorts, and with reappearing ghouls from the past. I really enjoyed it, and Le Pard’s way with words, his dry sense of humour, makes the book for me!
Hooray for Harry, the hapless hero!

The School Mistress of Emerson Pass by Tess Thompson

The School Mistress of Emerson Pass by Tess Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a lovely story filled with love, hope and true goodness.
Just the kind of book to read, to surround yourself with positivity.
Quinn Cooper travels to a tiny backwater, Emerson Pass, in the snowy winter, to take up a position as a school teacher, where she can earn money, and send some back to her poverty-stricken mother and sister, back home.
Lord Alexander Barnes has managed to fulfil his dreams. He moved from England to the USA, and has, slowly, built up a small town, Emerson Pass – a place he’s proud to call home. A place his children can grow up happily, despite their lack of a mother. All they need is a school, with a good teacher at it’s helm.
It’s safe to say that neither Quinn, nor Alexander were what the other imagined, but as they get to know one another, it’s clear they need one another.
Their story is entwined with tales of the residents of Emerson Pass, bigotry, racism, honour, respect, love.
A happily ever after that I know is going to spawn some great sequels!

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but the blurb held an interesting premise.
Unfortunately, I found it very hard to get into.
The way the book was written with no regard to traditional structure or punctuation was different, but also confusing.
Nevertheless, each short section detailing a different strong woman’s life was intriguing. I had to read to the end to find out how it all tied together.
But… I just wish there were fewer characters, so I could get to know some in more detail, rather than so many, women, who seemed to blend into each other after a while.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books for an ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Published 2nd May 2020

People Like Us by Louise Fein

People Like Us by Louise Fein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read The Book Thief before, and loving it, this book, People Like Us really appealed to me and I was not disappointed,
A love story, set in Germany, detailing the relationship between Hetty, daughter of a high ranking SS officer, and Walter, a young Jewish neighbour.
The story starts at a time when they were children, and Hetty owes her life to Walter when he rescued her from drowning. It is a time of innocence, when there is no real distinction between Aryan and other races, for the children at least.
As time goes by, and the Nazi regime begins to take hold of the lives and thoughts of the younger generations, friendship turns to forbidden love.
I was engrossed from very early on in the book, and my heart went out to the innocents in the war. All those whose lives were ripped apart because of the thinking of that one man, Hitler, and his henchmen.
Highly recommended,
Many thanks to NetGalley ad Head Of Zeus for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review,

Published 7th May 2020

Marred: Kyle and Violet (Cliffside Bay, #4)

Marred: Kyle and Violet by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been a couple of months since I started the Cliffside Bay series, and what with ARCS and a certain pandemic, it has taken me a while to get back to the books, but I was determined!
This wonderful series of books takes a look at the lives of a group of friends whose lives become entwined in different ways. Each book takes a look at a specific couple, winding threads from previous stories, and planting the seeds for the next ones.
In Marred, we learn more about Kyle and Violet.
Kyle, or Kale, as Violet’s son calls him, is a successful property developer with a ton of money, a portfolio bulging with properties and a reputation as a ladies man.
Violet is a single mother with a conscience. She takes an instant dislike to this man who wants to commercialise her beloved home town, Cliffside Bay, with a holiday resort, but finds herself in a situation where, not only is she working for him, but living with him too.
A wonderful read, where you know the happily ever after will come, but not without its fair share of ups and downs.
Thank you, Tess! On to Tainted!

Tainted: Lance and Mary (Cliffside Bay,…

Tainted: Lance and Mary by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book 5 of the Cliffside Bay series and I am not tired of it at all.
In fact, since I came into it so late, I am lucky that there still a good few for me to read!
This story focuses on the last of the Dogs, Lance, and his relationship with Mary, who tumbled into the lives of the Cliffside Bay gang when her father, Dax, married Lance’s housekeeper, Flora.
We get to learn, as we do in each story, more about these key characters, as well as taking deeper looks into the lives of the established pairs. And then there is always the introductions of fresh blood, that give you good indications of the stories that may be to come.
I loved that Tess Thompson dealt with the issues around losing a baby, mid-pregnancy. Miscarriage, in all its different forms, is an awful thing to go through. I know. Been there done that. But it is handled with kid gloves, and you end the story with a huge helping of hope.
Tess’s books are always filled with positivity, no matter what bumpy ride the characters may take you on, to get to the end of their journey.
I can’t wait to get to the next one, now!

A Springtime Affair

A Springtime Affair by Katie Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Katie Fford’s books have kept me company through much of my adult life, from the end of university, marriage, kids, and now, as we live in this surreal world of COVID-19.
I was smitten with the story of Helena and her ‘not romantic at all’ relationship with her evil, about to evict her, landlord, Jago, as well as the tale of Gilly, Helena’s mother, who has side away from love after her divorce.
Needless to say, there’s definitely a happy ending, with a few wrong ‘uns thrown in, along the way.
I love how Fford writes in a way that makes the reader lose themselves in the story, forgetting reality while being immersed in her lovely stories.
Definitely a great feel-good romance!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Missed: Rafael and Lisa (Cliffside Bay, #6)

Missed: Rafael and Lisa by Tess Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This time we are venturing into the world of the Wolves, and their romantic pursuits.
The Wolves are a secondary pack of men who have, for various reasons, ended up in Cliffside Bay and have been mentioned in the previous 5 books, so it is easy to see how their stories slot into the adventures of the Dogs.
This time we are given more of an understanding about Rafael and his dark past, and Lisa, with her disturbed background, and hopes and dreams.
I knew they were going to get together. I knew all was going to be fine at the end, but Thompson took her scenic route, as always, to get us to the end.
Another wonderful addition to the Cliffside Bay series!

Cliffside Bay Christmas by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I do love these little novellas that Tess Thompson has written, to add a little splash of extra spice into her Cliffside Bay Series!
Here we get to become involved in the expansion of the Dogs and their families, with not one, but two births, and all during the season of Christmas!
A lovely, easy read that you can devour in one sitting.

Healed: Stone and Pepper (Cliffside Bay, #7)

Healed: Stone and Pepper by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book seven of the Cliffside Bay series, and Tess Thompson takes us on another romantic journey, uniting a pair who are destined to be together, even though they don’t quite know it yet!
We follow one of the Wolves, Stone, and his developing feelings for Pepper.
Another tale of heartbreaks, and emotional upheavals that result in that Happy Ever After!

11. So I managed eleven. That’s not so bad, is it, and I managed to read lot’s of Tess Thompson’s series which was on my Kindle FOREVER!

I have omitted an arc I read as well, and I have been dipping into craft books and online courses, as well as writing, and popping in to school to do the Covid-19 version of my day job, so I don’t think eleven books is to be sniffed at!

So, how has your reading month been? Seen anything you like the look of?

Stories For South Asian Super Girls #BookReview @PinkLadoo @Rajo_rani

I know I have been reviewing books on a monthly basis, but sometimes a book comes along with a background to it that just begs to be singled out, and I came across such a book this week.

I was extremely excited to take delivery of this inspirational book, by an equally inspirational woman.

Raj Kaur Khaira is a British-born, raised in Canada woman of South Asian descent, Sikh by religion.

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At ten, she was horrified at the reaction to her sister’s birth by other family members, who were saddened that there wasn’t a boy this time.

Over the years she became a true activist for women’s rights, and her interest in the harmful impact of sexist South Asian and non-South-Asian customs and traditions on both boys and girls spurred her on to do something more.

Raj founded The Pink Ladoo Project in October, 2015.

Pink Ladoo

This project was a mission to encourage families to celebrate the births of their little Princesses, as well as their little Princes.

Traditionally, at the birth of a boy, orange sweets called Ladoos are distributed to family and friends, yet nothing for the birth of a girl.

But why?

The Pink Ladoo Project strives to challenge this belief, and they asked for Indian sweet makers, and families to make/purchase/order pink ladoos, so that the arrival of a girl could be celebrated equally. Pink, not just because of the Western link with girls, but also because the colours pink, and red, signify Strength, Power, Luck and Celebration in our culture.

The Project has taken off hugely and there are many thousands of followers. It not only lauds the births of girls, but also celebrates and shares stories of female empowerment, from the story of a mother giving away her daughter at a wedding, to an occasion when three granddaughters carried out the traditionally male ritual of carrying the casket at their’ grandfather’s funeral.

I truly applaud this practice and have my own personal story to share…

When my mother was due to give birth to her first child, she was in a country away from her own family, the UK, so her mother flew over from Kenya to be here to support her.

The pregnancy hadn’t come about easily, or as quickly as some wanted, but finally, the big day arrived and so did I.

A girl.

My Pops was overjoyed. He was the first one to hold me as I had been born by c-section. I was his first child, and the first thing he could truly call his own.

My mum and grandma were so happy too.

Except, joy was marred when a woman arrived at our house, pretty much mourning the fact that I had been born a girl, especially since my grandma had flown all this way…

My Pops gave her a piece of his mind and told her she should be ashamed, being a woman herself, saying those things.

He went on to give sweets out to the family, even though eyebrows were raised, as 43 years ago this was not the done thing… But that’s my Pops. ❤

They went on to have the prodigal son, my brother, and no one complained then!

When my own first child was born after a long struggle with fertility issues, a boy, my mum did whisper to me, “We were happy with what ever grandchild you were going to bless us with, but I am secretly glad it was a boy, so no one can put any pressure on you at all…”

They would never think negatively, but were so aware of the thinking of the majority of the community.

I went on to have my Lil Princess, and actually, she was celebrated by everyone, as the first girl in two generations within my in-laws family, so her arrival was a blessing of a different sort!

Ritu

Read more about the Project here.

From this project, for Raj, the idea stemmed to create a collection of phenomenal South Asian women, from the past, as well as the present, to inspire the South Asian Super Girls of today.

What a fabulous idea!

Raj collated the details of many women, some already known, some lesser known, but no less inspirational, and created this collection of biographies coupled with some absolutely fantastic artwork from a team of amazing South Asian women artists.

What I loved about this book was that each woman is discussed in short snippets, easy for a child to digest, and at the end, there is a page for the girl herself to write her own biography, and draw her own fantastic portrait, because we all have it within ourselves to be Super Girls!

Lil Princess is reading it now. I devoured it in a sitting, and learned about women I had admired in the past, as well as some I hadn’t heard of. From the old school royalty of India, Noor Jahan, Jhansi ki Rani and Razia Sultan, modern day celebrities, like Jamila Jameel, Lilly Singh and Meera Sayal, we are introduced to Pritam Kaur Hayre, a woman who emigrated to Canada at 50, and with no English, helped to gain rights for workers on farms, and was even vice president of the Canadian Farmworkers Union, and Jayaben Desai who also instigated protests against the working conditions in factories, and so many more.

I thoroughly recommend this book as something for all South Asian young girls, (and older ones too,) to readm as well as women from outside of the Asian community, as we definitely need to be reminded sometimes that the Female of the species is pretty damned special!

Honestly, I think each school should have a copy of it!

And there are so many more out there…

I want to mention our home grown Super Girl, Sukh Ojla, who is an extremely funny female Indian comedienne who also talks about her own anxiety and depression via her Social Media…

And within my own life, I count my own mother as a huge inspiration to me. She has taught me so much about life, and how to live it to the fullest. Her greatest advice to me was to “never lose yourself” and she has been there, my biggest supporter in my blogging and writing adventures too.

So, if you want to see a review by me, here you go…

Stories for South Asian Supergirls

Stories for South Asian Supergirls by Raj Kaur Khaira My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An absolutely wonderful, inspirational collection of biographies celebrating the South Asian superwomen out there, some already known and some lesser-known, but no less inspirational.
What a brilliant book to show our girls what they can aspire to be!

And it is available to purchase far and wide, in major book sellers, and from Amazon too. Click here to purchase.

The Girl In The Corner by Amanda Prowse #BookReview @MrsAmandaProwse

I’m back with another review!

As you can tell by the length of time between this and the last review, my reading has been little and often, rather than steaming through books, but you can thank the time of year for that!

Anywho, where was I? Oh yes! My review!  I was pleased to receive a copy of Amanda Prowse’s new book, The Girl In The Corner via NetGalley, and as a complete fan of her books, I was not disappointed in the slightest with this one either!

Let me give you a little info on the book first.

The Girl in the Corner by [Prowse, Amanda]

Rae-Valentine and Howard were childhood sweethearts. They’ve shared twenty-five peaceful years since they were brought together by Dolly, Howard’s larger-than-life sister. But now, on the night of their wedding anniversary, Howard reveals a shocking betrayal that leaves Rae reeling.

Heartbroken, she takes Dolly on her would-be anniversary trip to Antigua and the two women drink and dance and talk like they haven’t in years. But in the break from real life, Rae realises her choices have always been made for her, and suddenly she’s questioning not only her fragile marriage but also her one-sided friendships. Is she really the pushover everyone else sees?

When Howard comes looking for reconciliation, Rae has a choice to make: keep the peace, as she always has, or put herself first for once and find out who she really is.

And my review…

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Yet another wonderful page-turner by this wonderful author, Amanda Prowse.

I was hooked within mere pages, wanting to read the story of the rather exotically named Rae Valentine, who had an extremely unexotic life.

Much like a lot of women out there, Rae Valentine finds herself in an almost prescribed role of wife, mother, carer, cook, cleaner, general dogsbody, then a shock admission from her husband sends her life spinning off axis.

Will she forgive him?

Will she sink back into that corner, content to be an observer, and the good old Rae Valentine expects, or will she finally take her own steps into the centre of the room?

Beautiful, believable writing, hinting at a life we can relate to, a person we probably know, and an ending that has left me wanting Amanda to get writing on a sequel!

Thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. This title is expected for publication in December 2018.

See my review on Amazon here.

Buy The Girl In The Corner here.

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Find Amanda and more abouther and her amazing books here.

How To Fall In Love Again (Kitty’s Story) By Amanda Prowse – #BookReview #RituReviews @MrsAmandaProwse

Another Monday, another review!

If you remember, a while back, I reviewed two amazing books by best-selling author, Amanda Prowse: Anna and Theo. They were part of a One Love Two Stories set, where you read the same story from two perspectives.

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I’m still fangirling!

Read my reviews here:

Anna

Theo

Well, just as I was getting over the fantastic story, she only went and published a third book that links with them!

This one is entitled How To Fall In Love Again (Kitty’s Story) and is about a secondary character from the previous two books, whose life is entwined with both Theo and Anna.

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First, the official blurb:

Amanda Prowse, queen of heartbreak fiction, asks if you can ever find love in your twilight years, after living a lie?
Kitty Montrose is packing up her house, and the memories that go with it. Under this roof, she’s seen her children grow up, her grandchildren arrive, and her marriage come and go.
Kitty knows better than most that the twists and turns of life can bring joy, despair, and everything in between. But when she was a little girl, she had hoped for more. She dreamed of finding her true soulmate. Someone to laugh with, cry with, and share her twilight years.
Then Kitty meets Theo, an old flame. The timing was never right for their lives to intertwine. Can Theo and Kitty find a way to fall in love again? Or is it too late for them both?

My take:

Kitty is a young girl, brought up in a perfect family. Her parents dote on her, the housekeeper like an extra mother figure. Her cousins are the brothers she never had.
The dark shadow of depression threatens to cloud the happiness of their family, so Kitty seeks solace through her passion for swimming, escaping to the pool whenever she can.
Being sent to boarding school to be spared the visions of her haunted mother and long-suffering father, she meets several characters who will shape her life to come.
Angus and Theo.
First love and friendship.
It’s easy to confuse the two.
Pregnancy, marriage, another pregnancy, revelations, the loss of loved ones, the finding of new special folk, and a story that comes full circle in the end.
A beautiful tale filled with hope that shines through the difficulties Kitty faces.

My Review:

After surfacing from the book hangover of both Anna and Theo, I was thrilled to find out there was a third book, that linked to their story; that of Kitty.
Amanda Prowse has a way of telling the story from different perspectives, which makes you see a situation in totally separate lights. I was hooked from start to finish, and it was exciting to read parts of the entwined story which you remembered so clearly from the previous books, yet, they were written in a way that added another dimension to the knowledge you already had.
I rooted for Anna through her story, I wanted to champion Theo through his ups and downs, and I cried for Kitty, and cheered for her happy ending!
I shan’t give anything away (no one wants spoilers!) but suffice to say, Kitty’s story kept me gripped!
Even though I have been busy nursing my unwell father, this book was unputdownable! (don’t worry, no fathers were neglected during the reading of this book!)
How To Fall In Love Again (Kitty’s Story) can be enjoyed as a stand-alone, but personally, I recommend reading all three – it just adds to the experience!!

 My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reviewed on Goodreads and Amazon.

Buy How To Fall In Love Again here

Buy Anna here

Buy Theo here

About Amanda:

Amanda has always obsessively crafted short stories and scribbled notes for potential books, but it wasn’t until she was forty that she began writing full time. The result was Poppy Day, the story of an army wife, whose incredible love for her husband gives her the courage to rescue him from hostages in Afghanistan. This was followed by the number 1 bestseller What Have I Done? Amanda now has ten novels and four novellas published.
All of Amanda’s books in the No Greater Love series share common themes in that they are contemporary love stories, the main characters are women, just like you and I, who find themselves in extraordinary situations for love.
Her new series is the No Greater Courage series, tales of women facing the trials that life throws at them and having to dig deep to find the will and strength to succeed. This series includes the A Mother’s Story and Perfect Daughter, which continue to receive brilliant reader and press reviews.
Amanda’s ambition has always been 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…
Currently, Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband and their 18 & 19-year-old boys Josh and Ben.

Follow Amanda on Twitter @MrsAmandaProwse, or join Amanda on Facebook.

Check out her website: http://amandaprowse.org/

#BookReview – Victor by Sacha Black @sacha_black

I’ve been reading plenty this year, but recently, events beyond my control meant that I was so tired, I couldn’t stay awake long enough to read more than a couple of pages of any book every night.

Now, usually, I can’t read in a moving car. Trains and planes are fine, but reading in a car gives me headaches and nausea.

This time, however, I tried to read, and, lo and behold, no headache or sickness!!! I managed to plough through a WHOLE book in the car on my way to see Pops!

And that book was none other than the sequel to Sacha Black’s Keepers, named Victor.

Read the review of book one here!

Victor (The Eden East Novels Book 2) by [Black, Sacha]

Here’s the info.

When Eden East kills someone, she expects them to stay dead. It’s only polite, after all.
Exhausted from battle and finally bound to her soulmate, all Eden wants to do is attend university and spend time with Trey. When her demon-ex, Victor, suddenly returns from the afterlife, Eden’s convinced he’s out for revenge. The last thing she expects is for him to ask for help, especially when he’s being controlled by evil forces.
But when an enchanted lock and key go missing, she’s no longer sure who she can trust. If Eden can’t find them in time, not only will her life, and her heart, be torn apart, the very world she lives in could be destroyed – forever.
Victor will transport fans of The Red Queen, The Young Elites, and The Lunar Chronicles to a world unlike any other…
The Eden East Novels:
  • Book 0 – Sirens (coming soon)
  • Book 1 – Keepers
  • Book 2 – Victor

And here’s my review…

Star rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It’s been a while now since Keepers was published. I devoured that and was waiting eagerly for the next instalment, Victor.
And I can honestly say I was not disappointed at all.
The story picked up from the end of Keepers and within moments of opening the first page, I was right back in the action.
Beautifully written, with evocative language, Black kept me on the edge of my (car) seat the whole way through the book. I could feel the emotions and picture the scenes within my mind.
I loved the developing relationship between Eden, the protagonist, and her Balancer, Trey (who, might I say, is a hero of dreams!)
The constant reappearances of the should-be-dead Victor had me racing through the pages.
And the ending… Oh My!
Trutinor, what is going to happen?! (Don’t worry, no spoilers here, but WHAT AN ENDING!)
I am now going to be constantly checking for news of book three! Hurry up Sacha Black!

Reviewed on Amazon – Here and Goodreads – Here

Buy your copy here.

If you don’t know Sacha, why not?

She is blogging event organiser extraordinaire, being the birth mother of the Annual Bloggers Bash and Awards, and an author of four books, two fiction, and two non-fiction, with more due soon! And she is a loving wife and mother too, to top it off!

Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories,  self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.
Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.
When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

Find out more about Sacha and her books here.

I do love Sacha, she has been ace at giving me, ahem, gentle nudges when it came to getting that first draft finished too!

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My interactive peeps!

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