Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Unravelling by Helen Forbes





Well, my Bookaholics friends, you know I like crime books and the book I bring you today is a cracker. Seriously, I'm blown away. Unravelling by Helen Forbes draws you in from the first exciting sentence to the very last word. I am going to start by giving you the blurb as come context.

Kate Sharp’s family is a mystery. Her mother, Ellen, disappeared into the shadows of Craig Dunain psychiatric hospital when Kate was a child. When her grandmother dies, Kate is desperate for answers. What were the circumstances of her mother’s life and death? Who is her father? Kate’s not the only one trying to uncover the truth. The remains of two bodies with murderous injuries have been found buried in the forest next to the former hospital. And someone else is searching for answers, and he will stop at nothing to find them. As the tale of Ellen’s tragic unravelling unfolds, the secrets that led to her death are exposed, along with the shocking truth about Kate’s father. Unaware of the danger stalking her, Kate continues her search. Will she find the answers? And can she save her own life?

Forbes is an outstanding wordsmith and this is apparent throughout the book. I do workshops on writing a killer first line and this first line is going to make it to the workshop as being a perfect example. I am hoping the author and publisher will forgive me but I just had to share it here. 

'The sway of the noose was mesmerising against the shimmering light that danced between the branches'.

From the minute I read that line, I was hooked and knew I just had to read on. This is writing which invites and tantalises drawing you in word by perfectly crafted word. 

The tense plotline is also superb with highs and lows which had my emotions all over the place and I genuinely wanted to know the secrets that had shaped Kate's Life. Kate is a troubled character but realistic and interesting. I think the author has drawn her well and takes the reader deep inside her head an her soul. We certainly know her by the end of the book.

Page-turner may be a cliche but it certainly applies in this case. I found myself reading way past the point of a sensible bedtime as I wanted to know what happens.

Well done to the author, I am going to search out more books by her. 

You can buy the book from any bookstore or from Amazon via the links below. These are affiliate links and I will receive a few pence if you purchase via the link. 

 


I was given a review copy of  this book as part of the Reading Between the Lines Blog Tour. At no pint was I asked to provide a positive review and my review is based on my reading and enjoyment of the book. 



 

Monday, 12 July 2021

Scent of Water - Words of Comfort in Times of Grief

Good morning, Bookaholics. As you know I review a variety of books on this blog but today I bring you one which will bring comfort to those who are grieving. As I write this, it is a year to the day that my cousin died suddenly, his wife having died a few days earlier. So, I write this from a place of grief myself, knowing the truth of what is contained within its pages. When I say this book is suitable to buy as a gift for anyone who is grieving, I can relate to what they re going through. Grief is not something which disappears overnight and Scent of Water acknowledges that. It does not dismiss grief but provides words to support those who are in the midst of their grief. 

Penelope, herself, went through a great loss, seeing her mother being swept away by an out of control car. This plunged her into a two year period of overwhelming grief. She is honest about her feelings and shares her story at the beginning of the book. The fact that she has walked where the reader walks gives this book greater clarity, sincerity, and meaning. The book is unapologetically Christian and is, in fact aimed at the Christian market. This means that God is very squarely at the centre of every short section.

The book is broken into sections, the first being for the special days where the loved one who has died will be missing. These include Birthday's, Christmas, and New Year. The next section contains 25 weeks of short devotionals which can be read in any order. Each has a bible verse and a short prayer, acknowledging every emotion and every stage of grief. These do not shy away from  the difficult times or difficult emotions but help the reader to acknowledge them and to bring them to God in heartfelt prayer. 



This could not have been easy for the author to write; I applaud her generosity in pouring her raw feelings onto paper in order to help others. And help it will. It will allow those grieving to acknowledge their own feelings and, at the same time, will soothe like a literary balm.

I can highly recommend this book if you know anyone who is grieving. You can order copies from the authors website 

I am honoured to be kicking off the blog tour for this book. I was given a copy from the publisher in return for an honest review. At no time was I asked to provide a positive review and my review is based on my reading of the book. 


That's it for another week my Bookaholic friends. See you soon and until then keep reading and keep writing.






Monday, 28 June 2021

Book Review: Beyond the Hills by Maressa Mortimer

 


Good morning Bookaholics, the book reviews are coming thick and fast at the moment. With good reason I may add as I've been reading so many good books. Today's is a cracker. I am honoured to be kicking off the Between the Lines book tour for this book. 

Having read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Walled City, the first book in this series, I was on tenterhooks waiting for this one. You can see my review here. With such anticipation there is always a worry that the second book may not live up to the first, but my worries were needless. This book has managed to be even better than the first - a difficult feat. I should start by saying that this is a Young Adult book but I believe Adults would enjoy it just as much. 

The premise of Beyond the Hills is that, Macia, a young girl in the city of Elabi, receives a letter from a 'friend'. Friendship is strongly discouraged in Elabi and the content of the letter shocks Macia to the core setting her life on a different trajectory. She is challenged to think, and starts to delve into a forbidden book - The Bible. As her faith grows her priorities change and she starts to question her well planned out life in Elabi.

The storyline is well written, strong, absorbing, trips along at a rapid pace, and makes you think. Mortimer uses words to good effect, drawing the reader in and making them feel as if they are in the heart of the story. Macia's character is expertly drawn, well rounded and believable. I felt as if I was inside her head and her heart and was rooting for her at every step. Like the first book, it is set in an alternative reality to the one we know and the reader gets to find out more about Elabi. Despite it not being real, I felt as if I was there walking the streets, exercising at the gymnasium and inside the counsellor's office with Marcia. There is a strong sense of place and time and for this the author is to be applauded. 

Given that the forbidden book is a bible it will come as no surprise that this is a Christian book. However, the faith is well handled, adds to the story, and would not put off non-Christian readers. I feel there is something for everyone. 

I will finish by saying this is a well written story which makes you think. You will find yourself grateful for the freedoms that you have in your own life and country. 

I hope there will be a third book in this series. 

You can buy the book from any bookshop or online retailer or via the affiliate links below. 

   


I you want to find out other perspectives of the book you can follow the book tour, details which are on the image below. 




I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for review purposes. At no point was I encouraged to write a positive review and my review is based on my own reading and enjoyment of the book. Thank you to Lynsey Adams of Between the Lines promotions for inviting me to be a part of this tour. 

That's it for another week my Bookaholic friends. See you again soon and until then, keep reading and keep writing. 



 



Sunday, 30 May 2021

Stories from the Heart for the Older Generation

 


Good morning, Bookaholics. Today I bring you a different book, which is packed full of inspiring stories from Nigeria. Whilst this isn't the sort of book I usually read or review, I was intrigued enough to want to read it. 

Stories From the Heart by Olusola  Sophia Anyanwu is essentially a book which teases out life's issues through the medium of story, an example being the story of a promiscuous lecturer and a young female student. This allows the reader to examine their own heart in response to the stories. Each story covers a different topic, each of which has an associated bible verse.  This is a Christian book meant for a Christian readership and each story comes from a Christian viewpoint. 

The book is written in Nigerian English which I initially struggled with, however, the stories themselves carried me through as the storytelling is strong and the stories interesting and very much rooted in life. Overall I enjoyed reading this book and would like to extend a hearty congratulations to the author on the publication of this short story collection. I do believe it will appeal to her intended readership of older readers. 

I was given a copy of this book as part of a blog tour. At no point was I asked to provide a positive review and the review is unbiased and based on my reading of the book. 

That is it for another day my bookaholic friends.  I will be back soon but until then keep reading and writing.

You can buy the books by clicking on the images below.

You can find out more about Sophia and her books below. 

https://www.austinmacauley.com/book/stories-heart


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stories-Heart-Olusola-Sophia-Anyanwu/dp/1398419303/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=9781398419308&qid=1621854822&sr=8-1

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57925652-stories-from-the-heart




Monday, 17 May 2021

Not Knowing But Still Going - Book Review

 


Good morning my Bookaholic friends, today's review is for a bit of a different book to my usual, but well worth your attention just the same. 

When I was offered this book to review I was intrigued by the premise; my interest was piqued to want to know more. We all feel we know the story of Noah, not only well but, intimately, so what more can be said. Quite a lot it would appear as Jocelyn-Anne Harvey has managed to put a unique spin on a familiar tale by telling it from the point of view of the women on the ark, and she then throws in another unique twist by using a mixture of both storytelling and facts. By this point in the process I was not just intrigued but hooked and wanted to read the book. 

I don't often start a blog with a picture of the author holding his or her book but there is a reason for it in this particular post. The picture of the author is on a beach and the journey of this book started on a beach. The idea was born when 2000 tonnes of wood were washed up on a beach in the author's home town and started her wondering about Noah's Ark. I love this story as it shows us that ideas for books can come from anywhere and God can often be found in the strangest of circumstance. 

In order to make the book more intimate, Harvey has named Noah's wife and daughter-in-laws which means that by the end of the book they seem like valued friends. The author tells their stories with skill and slowly, throughout each chapter, reveals a little more of their character and what their lives would have been like. I could feel their emotions in an almost palpable sense. There is careful attention to detail and the reader gets a sense of them through their support of their husbands, the provisions they chose to take on the journey, and the tasks they may have carried out whilst on the ark, and there is so much more to it than that. The storytelling element of the book is both powerful and enjoyable.

However, there is so much more to this book than the story. It is packed with historical facts which are both fascinating and enlightening. The book is extremely well researched not only using the Bible but also historical and contemporary articles. These facts enhance the narrative and lift it to another level. You may be thinking at this point that the research may make the book less than interesting but nothing could be further from the truth. A skilled writer, Harvey presents them in such a way that they are brought to life. I found myself amazed at the things I did not know and genuinely wanted to know more. I am in awe of the amount of research that the author must have done to bring this book to fruition.

In addition to the above the book also draws parallels between Noah's story and our own lives today - not shying away from the current pandemic. It does not focus on the pandemic but it is mentioned. Backed up with bible verses it allows you to examine your own life and your relationship with God. It encourages you to be introspective and to apply the lessons learned to your walk with God in your everyday life. It does so, not only through the text but in the chapter contemplations and journal pages at the end of each chapter. This is not a read it and put it to one side type of book. It is designed to be read and applied whatever your current circumstances. The addition of prayers at the end of each chapter helps you to focus on God. Whilst I read it straight through for the purposes of this review, I did go back and read a couple of chapters the way the book was intended. This proved to be a powerful exercise that truly made me search my heart. 

It is obvious that the author's Christian faith is strong and this shines through on each page. This may be, on the surface, just another story of Noah, but it is a far cry from that. It is deep, thought provoking and powerful. It is also a great encouragement that whatever your circumstances, even if you do not know what lies ahead, you should keep going and trust in God's love and that he has everything under control. 

I believe this is the author's first book and, if so, I congratulate her. Jocelyn Anne-Harvey is definitely one to watch and I would categorically have no hesitation in buying more books when she writes them. 

You can buy the books from any Bookshop, Barnabas Christian Bookshop,  Eden, or from Amazon via the links below.

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More about the author.

Jocelyn-Anne loves the Lord, learning and literature. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester, and her flash fiction has been published. Having taken the leap from her senior HR role in the UK Government, Jocelyn-Anne can identify with those walking through uncertain times, and she is passionate about supporting others through theirs and helping them develop. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in a coffee shop with friends, exploring coastal paths or trying out recipes.

I would like to thank the Publisher, Instant Apostle for a review copy of this book. At no point was I asked to provide a positive review and the review is based on my reading of and enjoyment of the book. Please note these are affiliate links and I will receive a few pence from the sale of each book. 

That's it for another day Bookaholics. See you soon with another enlightening blog post. I would encourage all Christians to read this book you won't regret it. I, for one, cannot wait to read it again, in the manner in which it deserves, and to strengthening my journey with God in the process. 


 



Monday, 10 May 2021

Leah: Unnoticed. Unwanted. Unloved. Should be read

 



Hello,  my Bookaholic friends. Today's blog comes from a completely different angle as I was honoured to be the editor of this book and to support Amanda while she wrote it. When Amanda approached me and said she wanted to write a book about Leah and she was hoping that I would agree to edit it, I was thrilled. Firstly, I know Amanda is a woman who has a passion for bringing out the story of the women in the Bible; women who can often be forgotten. I also know she is a faithful woman of God herself. 

Secondly, I agreed with her that Leah's story was one which needed to be told. Personally, I think she had a jolly raw deal and dealt with it beautifully, maintaining her faith in God through many heartaches and trials.  When I first saw the manuscript it was obvious that this was the vision that Amanda also had for the story. Yes, like any book, there were changes to be made, but we worked together to ensure the final product was polished and told Leah's story in the best way possible. Amanda is a confident and outstanding storyteller, yet was willing to make changes to strengthen the narrative.

This process has meant that Amanda has brought Leah's story to life. The characters leap off the page and into your heart and you will find your emotions being pulled in every direction. This is a book which will appeal to Christian women, and yet I feel non Christians will also enjoy it. Many women will find something of themselves in the pages.

Well done, Amanda, and congratulations on the release of your book. 


You can also buy it from all bookshops, including your local Christian bookshop. 

If You would like to find out more about Amanda and her books, you can do so here

I am delighted to be part of the Reading Between the Lines Blog Tour for this book.  You will be able to find out more about Amanda and the book all this week. Details are in the image below. 




That’s it for another day Bookaholics.  If you get the book, you won’t regret it. See you soon but until then keep reading and keep writing. 

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Walled City by Maressa Mortimer

 


Good morning bookaholics. I know many of you are allowed out again and will be catching up with the things you couldn’t do for some time. However, this means you can once more grab a coffee in your favourite cafe and sit down and relax with a good book. There’s always a reason to read. The book I bring you today is well worth reading. 

A young man, Gax, enters unseen in the dead of night to Elabi, a city where all is not as well as its inhabitants want you to think. With every aspect of their lives controlled, no one in Elabi is allowed to think for themselves and each one believes this is for their own good. With a hierarchical system everyone aspires to climb, no one wants to step out of line. However, Gax is a man with a mission, that mission being to change the hearts and minds of those who live in the city.

This is not the usual sort of book I read but I can tell you I was spellbound and could not wait to find out what happened next. A beautifully written book, it is set in an alternate reality, but one which the author sets to perfection. Maressa Mortimer had me almost believing I was there. The characters pop off the page and each and every one of them is individual and lifelike. I found myself loving and hating them in turn. I could feel the tension inherent in living such a tightly controlled life and was rooting for the characters, Gax especially, every step of the way. 

This is the first in a new series and I cannot wait for the next one. Whether this is your usual reading matter or not, I would  encourage you to read it.  You may very well find yourself hooked as I was.

That’s it for another day my bookaholic friends. See you back here soon but until then, keep reading and keep writing.