Book Review: The Forest of Allund by Wilbur Arron

About the Book:

42827389._SY475_

Young Mage Alexio Sopholus has returned home after ten years away at the Mage Academy. Although short and slight of build due to childhood sickness, he has found academic acclaim through his studies. Upon arrival in his home of Korpolis, he reacquaints himself with his old human friends and his former home. His only desire is to take up the position of forest caretaker left to him by his deceased master. The Forest of Allund is a place filled with equal parts myth, mystery, and fear. There he meets a wandering Amazon, but most importantly, his large and intelligent animal friends reside there. They all help him guard the forest against outside intruders. Soon the nature of the forces that govern and protect this place is made evident to him as he finds new sources of knowledge and power.

Although he only seeks peace and quiet, he is soon thrust into a war with a new barbarian tribe, the Zilar. They seek total domination of all the lands and are not above using slavery, genocide, and brutal repression to get their way. Alexio is forced to fight them directly using all the powers at his command. Initially successful in his efforts he finds his victories have only made him the object of intrigue by his leaders who fear his power and his popularity. His efforts at protecting the land are met with suspicion, fear, and betrayal by his own leaders.

Seeing the destruction, deceit, and betrayal around him, Alexio is forced to conclude that all his most cherished beliefs, principles, ethics, and morality are all but useless against the foes arrayed against him. To protect himself and his friends he must wage war. It will be a war without pity, mercy, and against the laws of Gods and Men. It may also make him an outcast in his own land.

My Thoughts:

I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first book in the series and follows the journey of a young mage named Alexio Sopholus. Alexio has spent ten years at the Mage Academy and has now returned to his previous home. As the story unfolds, we meet various characters both from his past and those who belong to his life as a mage.

The story follows Alexio as he faces many different enemies and formulates different battle strategies. Sometimes he fights alone, sometimes he has help. I found the use of Greek words at times to be quite confusing as the meaning or references were provided only at the end. I enjoyed the way the author interspersed Greek Mythology and used it as a backbone for the plot. However, a caution to readers, be sure to have some background knowledge of Greek Mythology otherwise it can be difficult to understand the book.

The writing is average with a lot of unnecessary description that didn’t catch my attention as much as I had hoped. However, I did enjoy reading about Alexio’s plans and strategies. I also enjoyed meeting his “friends” in the forest though their names were a little hard to remember. The dialogue between him and his “friends” and the ways in which they helped him out were interesting and very well portrayed during the course of the book. I also liked the fact that Alexio lived by a very specific code and he tried to follow it as much as he could. This was a good addition to the character development of the MC.

On the whole, the book was a good one time read and there were quite a few sections that I enjoyed! I think this book and the author have much more potential. I will definitely look out for more books by the author.

Book Review: Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café by Jessica Redland

About the Book:

58163537._SY475_

Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…

Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a magical winter at the seaside, where love blossoms and lifelong friendships are made.

My Thoughts:

A huge thank you to Boldwood Books, netgalley and the author for giving me this opportunity to read this book. The review is my own honest opinion.

Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café is a delightful read full of heartbreak, family, friendship and the promise of love.

The story follows Hollie as she deals with running the Café that her mother owned and the loss of her parents and brother. Christmas is always the worst time of year for her and the story follows her journey as she navigates it this particular year! We also meet Jake, a lovely person who has seen tragedy and faced a lot of bullying in his childhood. It’s thanks to the love and understanding shown by his grandmother that he grows into the wonderful human being that he is. I instantly fell in love with Hollie and Jake individually the moment I met them in the book.

The story follows these two people are they find each other by chance thanks to a small fluffy dog who brings about tremendous changes in their lives. He not only forges a bond between them, he helps bridge the gap and acts as a catalyst to the breaking down of multiple walls. I truly think that the dog is the true hero of this story!

The author has done a wonderful job with the setting and the characters. The place is described really well and to me it felt magical. There is something welcoming about a café by the sea and the warmth of family and familiarity. As for the others, I loved Angie and her daughter Katie. They brought light to the book and stability to Hollie as an extended and accepted family. 

Be prepared to deal with a rollercoaster of emotions as the characters’ pasts are revealed and as they start to deal with loss and move towards acceptance. Overall this is a lovely book about two people who find their way back to being themselves and in the process find lasting love. 

Book Review: The Summer We Buried by Jody Gehrman

About the Book:

57979381

An unthinkable crime—and the tattered threads of a friendship gone wrong—come roaring back to terrible new life in Jody Gehrman’s riveting psychological suspense, perfect for fans of Joshilyn Jackson.

Twenty years ago, Tansy was drawn to Selene’s hard edges, her grit, and her knack for survival. Since then, the confused tangle of guilt about covering up a murder shattered their friendship, and even now, at thirty-eight, Tansy has never come to terms with what happened that night.

But now, Selene is back, demanding her old friend repay her. Selene’s daughter, Jupiter, attends the college where Tansy works as a guidance counselor. Selene is convinced that Jupiter’s boyfriend, Colton, is abusive, and wants Tansy to intervene. As she is drawn back into the intensity of Selene’s world, Tansy discovers the ugly truth about Colton. But Tansy suspects there’s far more to the story, and now she’ll finally have to confront Selene once and for all.

My Thoughts:

A huge thanks to NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books and the author for approving my request to read the eARC of the book. 

The Summer We Buried follows Tansy’s first person narration as we meet her and the various other characters through her experiences. The story starts of with an encounter between Tansy and Selene, an old friend. Their friendship was complicated and filled with a secret buried deep down. 

The author starts off alluding to this secret and builds up the story around Selene’s request, expectations and personality. We also see the influence she has on people around her through Tansy’s eyes. The story starts off quite slow and picks up momentum towards the middle.

Tansy, having ignored a secret from her past for a long time is forced to revisit the last summer that she and Selene were together, even as she navigates meeting Selene’s younger brother and her daughter. There is some mystery to the plot, but not enough to be intriguing. Some of the plot lines could have been further developed to include details and situations that help us understand the characters better. I found Tansy’s relationships and past to be under-developed as there was not enough of an explanation. There are just enough facts about what has happened. There are also some plot lines that do not get a proper conclusion leaving us to wonder as to what happens in the end.

However, all this does not take away from the fact that the book kept me hooked until the end. I got the chills in some sections and was even able to empathize with some of the characters’ feelings. Selene’s daughter, Jupiter is in an abusive relationship that she wants to save her from. She turns to Tansy for help in spite of their broken friendship. There is a lot of negativity, some abuse and a budding romance that make the story interesting to read. With all the troubles the characters face, we also see that a mother can do anything for her child and that love knows no bounds.

I would love to recommend this book to those who enjoy a good psychological thriller as the book touches upon some aspects of the human mind that makes us pause to think about people’s actions and the reasons behind them! This is definitely worth reading at least once.

Book Review: The Billionaire’s Revenge by Margarette Grey

About the Book:

Available Now-2

Brandon is back with a vengeance in a bolder, sexier story, filled with dark secrets and passion for Alayna that you’ll never forget…

I died a long time ago. I was broken, lost, and damaged by my past. That is until I met Alayna—the most determined, impossibly passionate woman alive.

She plucked me out of the dark, unbound me from my worst fears, and showed me that life is more than just surviving.

She is my saving grace.

But I destroyed that too by abandoning her when she needed me the most. Now she can’t bring herself to look at me, even without the mask I hid behind.

I am the reason why we fell apart.

Nevertheless, my plans to destroy my enemies will save us both. In the search for the truth about our intertwined pasts, we will find a way back to each other.

What Alayna and I had shouldn’t have ended this way.
But since it did, my revenge begins…

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in The Mask series by author Margarette Grey and continues on from where Book 1 ended. Alayna managed to bring Brandon out of his shell and instill confidence in him to accept how he is. However, having disappeared for an year now, Brandon is back and there is tension in the air. Add to this love mixes, secrets, mysteries and Alayna’s life in danger and we have a great plot line.

The author has done a wonderful job in taking the story forward, keeping it fast-paced and to the point. There is a lot happening and many of our favorite characters are back and even better than they were in the first book. This story is deeper and is even better than the previous book.

I truly enjoyed reading about Alayna and Brandon’s journey as they navigate their circumstances and fight their love for all the wrong reasons. It seems inevitable for them to be together, but I guess life is just not that simple. This series is definitely worth reading and I am looking forward to reading more about their journey!

Blog Tour – Book Review: We Belong Together by Beth Moran

Book Blurb:

9781838893484

Eleanor Sharpley has been living a lie…
Needing to escape her London life quickly, Eleanor throws her things into the back of her car, and heads to her erstwhile best friend Charlie’s family farm.
But Charlie isn’t there. Instead she finds Charlie’s grieving brother Daniel, her eight-month old daughter Hope (a daughter Eleanor had known nothing about), and a crumbling and unloved Damson Farm.
Damson Farm lies at the edge of the village of Ferrington, with the river Maddon flowing at its heart. But Ferrington is a village divided by more than just a river – it is split in two by an age-old feud – between the Old Side and the New Side. Eleanor has run from her problems, straight into a family and a world that has problems of its own.
But Damson Farm has magic too, and as winter gives way to spring, the old farm starts to come to life under Eleanor’s love and care. The orchard starts to blossom with daffodils and bluebells, and the sound of bees busy in their hives fills the warming air. Can Eleanor bring Daniel and the feuding village of Ferrington back to life too, or will her secrets catch up with her first?

Purchase Linkhttps://amzn.to/3g55WF3

About the Author:

Beth Moran
Beth Moran is the author of three previous romance novels, including Making Marion. She regularly features on BBC Radio Nottingham and is a trustee of the national women’s network Free Range Chicks. She lives on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest. Beth’s first novel for Boldwood, Christmas Every Day, was published in September 2019.

Social Media Links:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bethmoranauthor
Twitter https://twitter.com/bethcmoran
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bethmoranauthor/
Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/BethMoranNewsletter
Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/beth-moran

My Thoughts:

We Belong Together is a heart-warming story that is well worth the read! The story follows Eleanor as she escapes to her best friend’s family farm to hide from her demons. At the farm, she encounters situations that she did not expect and in the midst of all the secrets, some mystery (this was unexpected) and the good she tries to do, she finds love!

I loved reading about Eleanor, her secretive past (that is hinted at a lot), he relationships and friendships with people. I also enjoyed reading about Daniel and all the people of the village. The characters are pleasure to read about and are very well thought out. The vivid descriptions by the author make it so easy to imagine the village, it’s surroundings and experience the place along with the chanracters.

This is a light read that can be read anytime but would be best for a lazy summer afternoon. I fell in love with the story and enjoyed it completely. This is the first book by the author that I have read and I am definitely looking forward to reading more!

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book!

We Belong Together Blog Tour

Book Review: Cruel Stakes (Vampires and Vices #2) by Nina Walker

About the Book:

56965807._SY475_

Cross your heart and hope to live.

I should leave them alone and be done with vampires. I finally have my mother back, I’m dating the perfect guy, and I’ve parted ways with Adrian Teresi.

But I have an opportunity to help the hunters and hopefully learn something that could save more humans. Not to mention, I need answers about the venom burning through my veins.

So I go back to The Alabaster Heart to strike another deal with the vampire prince. The game of cat and mouse that follows is expected, and maybe even a little fun, but nothing prepares me for the day that our games end—and the consequences begin.

My Thoughts:

Cruel Stakes picks up where Blood Casino ends. Eva is at odds with what is happening and no longer wants to trust the vampires, especially Adrian Teresi. However, having been bitten, she is driven to find out more regarding her newly heightened senses. In the hope that this information will help with her position among the hunters, Eva once again strikes up a deal with none other than Adrian.

This story was a little less exciting than the first, but it drew me in none the less. There was more action and so much more romance in this book. The author focused a lot on the workings of the vampires giving us a glimpse into their minds. Eva is her usual rebellious self, torn between her long time crush on Felix and her growing attraction to Adrian.

This book shows us some rather negative sides of some of the characters and is filled with some unexpected twists. All this in the end ensures that the reader is in for a BIG shock thus justifying the title and everything that happens in Book 2. There are some unlikely friendships and bonds that form that the reader just wont see coming. This is what I liked most about the book, the elements of surprise which were very well executed!

I am truly excited for and looking forward to Book 3 which I am sure will take us on a big roller coaster ride if these two books are anything to go by!

Book Review: Earth 101 by Emae Church

Book Blurb:

A missing girl. A world of secrecy. A quest to expose the truth.

Jayne knows they’re gone, but no one else will acknowledge what’s happening.

One by one, they’re systematically erased from existence. No explanations. No missing person’s reports. No search parties.

Something sinister is afoot. Jayne can feel it in her bones. But uncovering the truth will prove difficult, especially when she discovers who and what is behind the devious plot.

As she searches for answers, she grapples with the lingering effects of a head injury, an unexpected forbidden romance, and a strange new reality that changes everything.

Will she uncover the truth, or will she be the next innocent victim?

About the Author:

Earth 101 is the debut novel from Emae Church, an emerging author, based in the South-West of England, who enjoys the adventure of life with two lovely children, when not saving the world

Follow her at:
Website: https://emae.church/blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmaeChurch

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earth-101-Time-Emae-Church/dp/1916300308

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Earth-101-Time-Emae-Church/dp/1916300308/

My Thoughts:
Note: I am reviewing this book as a part of the blog tour conducted by Zooloo’s Book Tours! Thanks a lot for including me in this exciting tour!

Earth 101 is a YA sci-fi novel that introduces the reader to aliens that look like humans and takes us on an unexpected journey into outer-space. The story starts off with an introduction to our main protagonist Jayne. Weird things are happening around her, friends are disappearing and no-one seems to remember them once they are gone. Only Jayne remembers them! This is an unexpected and intriguing situation to be in. As she tries to uncover the truth, the reader follows her as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and love.

I love how Jayne is full of emotions and extremely thoughtful. Her love for her family and friends is seen quite evidently. Having recently been in an accident, she is also dealing with the trauma of the same. The other characters in the book are interesting and well developed. Everyone has a role to play and I love how the author has brought out the interpersonal relationships among the characters. This helps the reader to understand them and relate to them.

At first, I found it a little difficult to get into the book, the idea of people disappearing without an explanation was confusing. However, as the story progresses, a lot of the plot is revealed and then it becomes more gripping. The concept of aliens living among humans and other planets with inhabitants is intriguing and well delivered in this debut novel by the author. Without revealing too much, I would also like to include that there is time travel and a visit to the time of the dinosaurs! Imagine that!

By the end of the book, I was excited and thoroughly satisfied with how the story turned out. I cannot wait to read the next book (if there is one) and recommend this to all sci-fi fans out there! Give this book a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Book Review: An Ordinary Life by Amanda Prowse

About the Book:

54443692._SY475_

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a tale of love, loss—and one last extraordinary dance.

Christmas Eve, 2019. Ninety-four-year-old Molly lies in her hospital bed. A stroke and a fall may have broken her body—but her mind is alive with memories.

London, 1940s. Molly is a bright young woman, determined to help the war effort and keep her head up despite it all. Life becomes brighter when she meets and falls in love with a man who makes her forget everything with one dance. But then war forces her to make an unforgettable sacrifice, and when she’s brought to her knees by a daring undercover mission with the French Resistance, only her sister knows the secret weighing heavily on Molly’s heart.

Now, lying in her hospital bed, Molly can’t escape the memories of what she lost all those years ago. But she is not as alone as she thinks.

Will she be able to find peace—and finally understand that what seemed to be an ordinary life was anything but?

My Thoughts:

Amanda Prowse brings to us yet another powerful story of first love, loss, war and the endurance of a woman through all of this. This is a story that brings out all the emotions and one of the few books that made me shed a few tears.

Molly’s story starts off in the 1940s in London and goes on until 2019, as she lies in the hospital thinking back to her life. We follow her as she experiences her first love, the loss of her love, her efforts to contribute to the war effort, her experiences with different people and in the midst of the war. In all this, she gives birth to a wonderful baby boy, born out of wedlock and shunned by her mother. With no other choice, Molly requests her sister and brother-in-law to care for her baby while she earns enough money to support herself.

As time passes, Molly becomes a wonderful aunt to her son, who never learns of the truth, but loves her as much as any child could love a mother. Carrying the weight of her decisions, the separation from her son and the horrors of the war, Molly, a very very strong woman faces a life filled with so many secrets. She perseveres on, working for a living whether it is playing her part in the war efforts or supporting herself after the war ends.

The bond Molly shares with her sister is a strong one and something that is great to read about. The strength, support and even jealousy all come together showing us a glimpse into each of their thoughts and in the end how they are there for each other. This is a wonderful example of what family is all about and the bonds that siblings share. The author brings to us the irony of the whole situation under the guise of the character having lived “an ordinary life”!

Amanda Prowse’s writing is powerful and will draw the reader in from page one. There is no stopping until the reader gets to the bottom of it all, finds out all the secrets and how the story ends. This book will stay with me for a long time and I highly recommend it to all fiction lovers out there. The book cannot be put into any one genre, it encompasses so many and in the end is just worth it!

Book Review: The Christmas House by Victoria James

About the Book:

57202506._SY475_

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Victoria James is back with a heartwarming story about three generations of women trying to reconcile for the holidays.

It’s Christmas in the small town of Silver Springs which is bursting with holiday spirit. The downtown shops boast twinkling lights, and the town square features an enormous Christmas tree. Every Christmas Eve for the past fifty years, Ruby Harris, the owner of the historic B&B, The Christmas House, has opened her doors to strangers in need, showing them the compassion once denied to her.

When Ruby invites her family home for the holidays, including her two adult grandchildren, Charlotte and Olivia, she hopes they will be able to put the past behind them. However, her plans for reconciliation implode as the women unravel secrets from the past that force them to confront the impact they’ve had on their dysfunctional family. As Charlotte grows closer to Wyatt, the neighbor next door and a friend from the past, old memories resurface that the women would rather forget. they’re reminded of a man they want to forget.

As the clock inches closer to the New Year, can the magic of the season bring the family closer? Or will a surprise guest threaten their tentative truce and test newly formed bonds?

This light-hearted Christmas tale draws inspiration from Victoria James’s own historical fixer-upper, offering plenty of warmth and holiday cheer.

My Thoughts:

The Christmas House is a lovely story of a dysfunctional family, with a whole lot of secrets who come together for Christmas. This is a story of second chances, unraveling the truth and finding your peace with the past. 

The reader is introduced to Ruby, the current owner of The Christmas House and the matriarch of the family. We are told her story as flashbacks interspersed with Charlotte’s story. Charlotte and her younger sister Olivia have dealt with their father leaving (without any explanation), being left at their grandmother’s doorstep and hardly any contact with their mother. The characters are wonderful and each one has a story to tell that we discover as the story progresses.

Charlotte has grown up resenting her parents and confused about everything that has happened. In addition, she feels the loss of the one friend she has in Wyatt when he suddenly disappears from school. In the present, she turns up at her grandmother’s place only to discover that Wyatt lives here with his teenage daughter. As sparks fly, old emotions and memories surface and Charlotte has to confront her feelings. Additionally, she has to deal with the recent fallout with her younger sister and try to find middle ground to reconcile.

With everyone’s emotions running high, there are so many decisions to be taken and chances to be considered. It is not everyday that one gets to rekindle an old love which could just be the one. The story is a roller-coaster of emotions and it will make you laugh, cry and eventually be happy. New bonds are formed, old ones are renewed and a family comes together for Christmas in the hopes of reconciliation. This is definitely worth a read especially for those who believe in second chances and strong family bonds and it is happening at The Christmas House!

Book Review: Going Greek by Sue Roberts

About the Book:

Sun, sea and a sizzling romance… the perfect holiday, right? Wrong.

After a work party gone disastrously wrong, Samantha suddenly finds herself jobless and jilted. So when her sister invites Sam to stay at her little whitewashed farmhouse on a Greek island, Sam leaps at the chance to escape. Before long, she’s trundling up the cobbled driveway, almost colliding with sexy neighbour Spyros.

It isn’t all sunshine and smiles though. For every afternoon spent lounging by the pool, cocktail in hand, there is a morning spent adjusting to life with boisterous six-year-old nieces. When Spyros invites Sam to explore the island with him she’s tempted, but with his carefree, live-for-the-moment attitude, he couldn’t be more different to Sam with her five-year plans and high-maintenance hair. One drink, as friends, couldn’t hurt though? Over glasses of fruity Greek wine and honey-sweet baklava, can he – and the other charming locals – help city girl Sam to appreciate the simple pleasures the Greek life has to offer?

Just as Sam is considering ditching her designer gear for good though, she runs in to an old flame from home, and suddenly her London life comes hurtling back. Can her smooth-talking ex convince Sam to return to the concrete jungle, or will the lessons she’s learned from her Greek escape persuade her to stay?

A fun, fabulous and completely laugh-out-loud summer read perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella.

My Thoughts:

Going Greek (the new title of the book) is a totally apt name for this book. The story follows Sam as she visits her sister and family in Greece while trying to take some time off due to a scandal. Being a prominent TV presenter, everything she does and says brings her under public scrutiny. We follows as Sam spends time with her family, explores a part of Greece and sets out on a path towards love. The characters are wonderful and the highlight of this book are definitely Sam’s nieces! They steal the spotlight with their innocent yet naughty ways! They are an absolute delight!

The author does a wonderful job in bringing the place to life, giving the reader a glimpse into the beauty and tranquility of the place. In addition, we are exposed to some of the culture and food which is a wonderful experience for a reader. With an ex-boyfriend and a potential new boyfriend thrown into the mix, be prepared for a light hearted drama filled ride!

This is a perfect summer read that will help the reader to escape to an exotic place. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and finished the book in one sitting. A huge thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book!