Lemon by Kwon Yeo-Sun – Blog Tour/Book Review

About the book:

In the summer of 2002, nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on was murdered in what became known as the High School Beauty Murder. There were two suspects: Shin Jeongjun, who had a rock-solid alibi, and Han Manu, to whom no evidence could be pinned. The case went cold.

Seventeen years pass without justice, and the grief and uncertainty take a cruel toll on her younger sister, Da-on, in particular. Unable to move on with her life, Da-on tries in her own twisted way to recover some of what she’s lost, ultimately setting out to find the truth of what happened.

Told at different points in time from the perspectives of Da-on and two of Hae-on’s classmates, Lemon is a piercing psychological portrait that takes the shape of a crime novel and is a must-read novel of 2021.

My review:

I have pondered for weeks since I read Lemon about how I could write a review that would do this complex and intricate novella justice. I am not sure what I expected, but Lemon is not a thriller or a mystery, although there is a mystery within the story. What the novella does is reflect on the aftermath of death, in this case, the death of beautiful Hae-on and the effect her murder has on the people around her.

It contemplates on the grief people experience following a trauma, but it also reflects on guilt and retribution, both of which arise following the death. When you read this book you will not be given an idea of who committed the murder, but rather you will be left to make your own conclusions based on what is said and by whom.

In addition to reflecting on grief and what follows, there is a strong societal bias that impacts on the two suspects in the murder, Shin Jeongjun and Han Manu. Jeongjun is automatically believed in the investigation because he is rich, Manu comes from a very impoverished position in society and is therefore considered to be the prime suspect, in spite of the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that either of them is responsible for the death of Hae-on.

Narrated by Da-on, in addition to school friends Sanghui and Taerim, as the years pass, the constant burden of grief and guilt causes an unravelling that leads to revelations that will blow the story apart without ever explicitly stating it.

This is such an understated and yet at the same time complex novella, that hints at the reality of the situation for all concerned, without ever actually spelling it out.

Many thanks to Head of Zeus for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. Please check out the other stops below:

Purchase links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3C28r4z

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/3mw4AXa

Bookshop.org: https://bit.ly/3DbTxJg

Blackwells: https://bit.ly/2YqvirS

About the author:

Kwon Yeo-sun is an award-winning Korean writer. She has won the Sangsang Literary Award, Oh Yeongsu Literature Award, Yi Sang Literary Prize, Hankook Ilbo Literary Award, Tong-ni Literature Prize and Lee Hyo-seok Literary Award. Lemon is her first novel to be published in the English language.

About the translator:

Janet Hong is a writer and translator based in Vancouver, Canada. She received the TA First Translation Prize and the LTI Korea Translation Award for her translation of Han Yujoo’s The Impossible Fairy Tale, which was also a finalist for both the 2018 PEN Translation Prize and the National Translation Award. Her recent translations include Ha Seong-nan’s Bluebeard’s First Wife, Ancco’s Nineteen, and Keum Suk Gendry-Kim’s Grass.

Follow Head of Zeus:

Twitter: @HoZ_Books 

Instagram: @headofzeus 

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

The Woman in the Middle by Milly Johnson – Blog Tour/Book Review

About the book:

From Sunday Times bestselling author Milly Johnson comes a poignant story about family, responsibility and learning to balance it all.

Sandwich generation [noun]: A generation of people, typically in their thirties or forties, responsible both for bringing up their own children and for the care of their ageing parents.

Shay Bastable is the woman in the middle. She is part of the sandwich generation, caring for both her parents and her children as best she can, alongside supporting her husband, Bruce. With her mother’s and father’s health in decline, very little support from her ‘extremely busy’ sister Paula, her son’s wedding just around the corner and her daughter only in touch when she needs money, she’s certainly got a lot on her plate!

Wife, mother, daughter; she has played all her roles dutifully. That is, until a sudden and shocking loss which sends her spiralling to rock bottom. Forced to put herself first for a change, Shay realises that sometimes you have to fall, to find out where you stand.

My review:

This wonderful novel resonated with me so strongly, it was almost uncomfortable for me reading it to start with because I could identify with it so much. Shay is juggling everything in her life, quite literally, and as with any attempt to juggle metaphorically, occasionally all the balls drop at the same time.

As the plot progresses, more and more issues in Shay’s life seem insurmountable and challenge how she approaches them. The overall theme of this story is kindness, as with all of Milly’s novels and the ensuing warmth will make you smile and find humour in the happier moments, whilst also empathising with the more poignant issues.

Shay is the glue that holds her family together, but she always puts others first, rather than looking after herself. Torn between being needed by her parents and her adult children, who all rely on her for various reasons, she feels the pressure as the filling in a sandwich that is squeezing her from all sides. Once she gives herself permission to put herself first, by heading back to her childhood and the darkness she has been burdened by, she is able to move forward and resolve her other issues one by one.

I loved the characters in the book, with the exception of a couple, but the one I warmed to the most was Dagmara, a kick-ass pensioner with endless wisdom, warmth and humour, and just the person Shay needed to be on her side. Everyone needs a Dagmara!

This was such a relatable story in which kindness and honesty triumph, and where putting yourself first at least some of the time is actually the right thing to do.

The Woman in the Middle by Milly Johnson is out now, published by Simon & Schuster in hardback, eBook and audiobook. Milly will be joining My Weekly for a virtual event on Thursday 21st October at 7pm – register for free here.

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster, Ed PR and Milly Johnson for my invitation to take part in this blog tour. Please check out the other stops on the tour below:

Purchase links:


About the author:

MILLY JOHNSON was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. A Sunday Times bestseller, she is one of the Top 10 Female Fiction authors in the UK with millions of copies of her books sold across the world. In 2020, she was honoured with the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award and was a featured author in the Reading Agency’s Quick Reads and World Book Night campaigns.

A writer who champions women and highlights the importance of friendship and community, Milly’s characters are celebrations of the strength of thevhuman spirit. The Woman in the Middle is her nineteenth novel.

Making Waves at Penvennan Cove by Linn B. Halton – Blog Tour/Book Review

About the book:

For once, things are going well for thirty-year-old Kerra Shaw. She has a fulfilling job helping small businesses in the local community, she is within a few minutes’ walk of all the people she loves best, and most importantly, she has finally got together with her childhood sweetheart, Ross.

It’s not all plain sailing, though, because they have to keep their relationship a secret. The feud between their families still rages on, and Kerra doesn’t want to pour fuel on its flame and risk losing everything.

But Kerra should know better than anyone that secrets don’t stay hidden for long in a community like Penvennan Cove…

An uplifting and feel-good romance novel for fans of Lucy Coleman, Jessica Redland and Lisa Hobman.

My review:

This is the second book in the Penvennan Cove series by Linn B. Halton, and as a follow-on from the previous book Coming Home to Penvennan Cove so really should not be read as a standalone. I really would recommend that you read the first book. This series is a gentle series dealing with life in a Cornish coastal village, with romance and intrigue perfectly interwoven into the heart of a warm and welcoming community.

I loved returning to Penvennan Cove. I really enjoyed the first book and wanted to find out more about the lives of Kerra and her lovely childhood sweetheart Ross (who gave me massive Ross Poldark in a contemporary setting vibes!). This book continues the story where the first book ended, with Kerra and Ross keeping their relationship under wraps because their families have been at war for years, and because they want Kerra’s father Eddie to accept that Ross is nothing like his father Jago. Unfortunately things do not run smoothly when Jago arrives in Penvennan Cove from his home in Spain.

The characters in this series are really beginning to feel very real to me. I love Sy and Tegan, Drew and Felicity, and Ripley the cat, but I loved how we got to see more of Mrs Moyle and Arthur in the village shop this time. Also I have to give an honorary mention to the beautiful Bertie, the miniature schnauzer. As the dog mum of two miniature schnauzers, he was a lovely part of the story, and I have to say I loved the creative way in which Kerra and her neighbour Drew resolved the issues between Ripley and Bertie.

The sense of community is so strong in this series, and I love the way in which Kerra is able to help out so much of the village with her creative ideas and financial backing of the community. I liked the way in which she comes up with ideas that will help the village, from buying a house to rent to a young local who is priced out of accommodation by the tourist market, to setting up a community hub website enabling the locals to help one another, and keep even the most house-bound of people connected.

This is such a lovely gentle romance, that feels very authentic, and as with real life, the course of true love never runs smoothly with stumbling blocks and intrigue to overcome along the way. This story provides massive feel-good vibes that left me desperate to know how things are going to progress in the third, eagerly anticipated book in the series.

Many thanks to Jade Gwilliam at Head of Zeus and Linn B. Halton for my invitation to take part in this blog tour. Please check out the other stops below:

Pre-order link:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3yhGP8T

About the author:

From interior designer to author, when Linn B. Halton’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic. Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. Linn writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Follow Linn:

Twitter: @LinnBHalton

Facebook: @LinnBHaltonAuthor

Instagram: @linnbhalton

Follow Head of Zeus:

Twitter: @HoZ_Books

Instagram: @headofzeus

Facebook: @headofzeus

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

The Cosy Cottage in Ireland by Julie Caplin – Blog Tour/Book Review

About the book:

Snuggle up in your favourite armchair and take a trip across the Irish sea for comfort food, cosy cottage nights and a heartwarming romance…

Talented lawyer Hannah Campbell is after a change in her workaholic Manchester life – so on an uncharacteristic whim she books herself a place at the world-renowned Killorgally Cookery School in Country Kerry. But on her first night in Ireland, sampling the delights of Dublin, Hannah can’t resist falling for the charms of handsome stranger Conor. It’s only when Hannah arrives at her postcard-pretty home at Killorgally for the next six weeks that she discovers what happens in Dublin doesn’t quite stay in Dublin …

Nestled amongst rolling green hills and breath-taking countryside, the cookery school throws Hannah and Conor together – for better or worse.

My review:

This is the eighth book in the ‘Romantic Escapes’ series, which I have to say is my favourite book series because I have loved each and every one of the escapes. I think I’ve valued them even more since going away has been so restricted. Although each of the books has a link with one of the others, the link is not enough to make each book need to be read in the correct order, these work perfectly as standalone books.

I loved Hannah, and her decision to attend a cookery school simply because of her need to be the best, and solely made because another talented lawyer at the firm could bake perfectly and she couldn’t. That competitive streak is something that I could really identify with! I loved her first unforgettable meeting with Conor, and the hilarious second meeting that she never expected to have. Although their initial meeting was so dramatic, their romance was a definite slow burn due to miscommunication and misunderstandings along the way.

The setting in County Kerry sounded so beautiful. The descriptions of Ireland really captivated me, and there goes another destination I need to add to my bucket list! I have to say I could picture the cottage and really want to live there, complete with sea view.

I can guarantee, with all the food being cooked, reading this will make you feel very hungry.

The creepy neighbour was the perfect balance of mean and menacing. The other characters were wonderful, some slightly difficult, and some with fantastic banter that really made them entertaining, and I loved the way everyone rallied round when disaster struck. I also enjoyed the fact that Hannah used her legal skills to their best advantage.

I’m hoping that I have worked out where we are going on the next ‘Romantic Escape’. Fingers crossed for that, but I’m sorry, I’m not going to share, my lips are firmly sealed! You’ll have to read it and see if you can work it out too.

Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources, One More Chapter and Julie Caplin for my invitation to take part in this blog tour. Please check out the other stops on the tour below:

Purchase link:


About the author:

Julie caplin, formerly a PR director, swanned around Europe for many years taking top food and drink writers on press trips (junkets) sampling the gastronomic delights of various cities in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Copenhagen and Switzerland. It was a tough job but someone had to do it. 

These trips have provided the inspiration and settings for her Romantic Escapes series which have been translated into fifteen different languages.

The first book in the seven strong series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Social media:

Twitter: @JulieCaplin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JulieCaplinAuthor/

Instagram @juliecaplinauthor

Cover Reveal for My Lucky Night by Olivia Spring

I am so happy to be involved in this cover reveal. As you may have seen I reviewed Olivia’s most recent publication My Ten Year Crush yesterday, so I feel very lucky to be part of the cover reveal for the next book in the series.

About the book:

She hates Christmas. He’s about to change her mind…

Cassie isn’t a fan of Christmas. After a string of unlucky incidents during the festive season—including getting dumped—this year she decides to spend the day at home. Alone. No men. No complications.

But then her nightmare boss demands she track down this year’s most coveted Christmas gift—and the only person who can help is an annoyingly sexy Frenchman she’s just met.

Nicolas might look hot, but Cassie can tell he’s also arrogant, irritating and in love with himself. Exactly the kind of guy she hates. Plus, he’ll only help her find the gift if she helps him with something in return…

Could Cassie’s festive fortunes finally be about to change? Can she learn to love Christmas again? And will Cassie get lucky in more ways than one?

Set against a gorgeous London backdrop with sparkling lights, Christmas markets and mistletoe, My Lucky Night is a fun, sexy enemies-to-lovers romcom novella that will give you all the feels! Ideal for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Mhairi McFarlane.

Read as a standalone novella or as book two in the My Ten-Year Crush series.

Pre-order links:

Publication day is 11th November 2021.

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3F9vCvW

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/39W6ZVi

About the author:

Olivia Spring is a British, London-based writer of contemporary women’s fiction, sexy chick lit and romantic comedy. Her uplifting debut novel The Middle-Aged Virgin, which was released in 2018, deals with being newly single in your thirties and beyond, dating, relationships, love, sex and living life to the full.

In addition to The Middle-Aged Virgin, Olivia has published The Middle-Aged Virgin in Italy, Love Offline, Losing My Inhibitions, Only When It’s Love and the sequel When’s The Wedding?

Olivia’s seventh novel, My Ten-Year Crush, was published in September 2021.

When she’s not writing, Olivia can be found enjoying cupcakes and cocktails and of course, seeking inspiration for her next book!

Social media:





And now for the cover reveal…

I really can’t wait for this book, and what a perfect Christmassy cover! I love it!

Cheltenham Literature Festival Blog Tour: The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker – Book Review

As part of the celebration of Cheltenham Literature Festival, I am taking part in this blog tour. The book that I have read is The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker. I will tell you more about the book and share my review of this incredible debut novel with you in a little while.

On Monday 11th October as part of the programme at the festival, at 6:30pm a discussion entitled Girlhood, Interrupted will be taking place. The books that will be discussed are The Melting by Lize Spit, and The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker. The discussion will be about the powerful portrayals of early trauma in the two books and they way it could shape adult lives.

I must admit, I have been absolutely blown away by the debut novel by Nancy Tucker, and found it incredibly thought-provoking. If you’re in Cheltenham for the festival, why not go to the talk, I’m sure it will be fascinating.

The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

About the book:

‘So that was all it took,’ I thought. ‘That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn’t so much after all.’

Chrissie knows how to steal sweets from the shop without getting caught, the best hiding place for hide-and-seek, the perfect wall for handstands.

Now she has a new secret. It gives her a fizzing, sherbet feeling in her belly. She doesn’t get to feel power like this at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer.

Fifteen years later, Julia is trying to mother her five-year-old daughter, Molly. She is always worried – about affording food and school shoes, about what the other mothers think of her. Most of all she worries that the social services are about to take Molly away.

That’s when the phone calls begin, which Julia is too afraid to answer, because it’s clear the caller knows the truth about what happened all those years ago.

And it’s time to face the truth: is forgiveness and redemption ever possible for someone who has killed?

The First Day of Spring is a compelling and important novel about victimhood, adversity and redemption.

My review:

This book is very loosely based on the true story of Mary Bell, an 11 year old girl who was convicted of the murder of two young boys of four and three years old respectively. As a child Mary was unwanted by her mother and had been neglected. As a result she was considered violent and disruptive at school and when playing in the street. When Mary was released from her detention at the age of 23, she was granted lifelong anonymity, which has also been granted to her daughter and granddaughter.

The First Day of Spring focuses on Chrissie, an 8 year old girl who has a mother who is rarely at home, and a father who spends time in prison. Chrissie is permanently hungry as her mother does not feed her, so she spends much of her time trying to get other parents of children to feed her. The chapters alternate between Chrissie as a child, and Julia who is Chrissie living under a different identity, a young mother struggling to do her best for her daughter whilst constantly worrying that Social Services want to take her daughter off her because of her past.

I found this such a compelling read, and everything stopped around me while I read it. It really made me think about the impact that Chrissie’s lack of a stable home life had on her, and lead to her committing such horrific acts. It’s very easy to condemn a child when they commit such a heinous act, but are they merely a victim themselves too, of circumstance? I felt that this novel made me look at this differently than I perhaps have in the past.

I found my heart going out to Julia, who was so desperate not to fail as a mother, but convinced that her past would prevent her from being a good mother to her daughter, and almost intent to punish herself for her past, feeling that she did not deserve to be a parent because she had deprived other parents of their children.

With such a sensitive subject matter I really felt that I would feel differently about the characters than I ended up feeling. Seeing things as a whole, and seeing the daily struggles that Chrissie had simply to exist, even down to her confused ideas about death, really flipped my perceptions of the characters. This was such a delicately presented and thought-provoking debut novel that will stay with me for a long time.

Many thanks to Midas PR and Cheltenham Literature Festival for my invitation to take part in this exciting blog tour. Why not head over to the other blogs and check out their posts relating to the festival below:

Purchase link:


About the author:

Nancy Tucker recently graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Experimental Psychology. She currently works in an NHS mental health unit.

Her memoir of her childhood struggle with anorexia, The Time in Between, was published in 2015. Her follow-up, That Was When People Started to Worry, an examination of young women’s mental health, was published in 2018. The First Day of Spring is her first work of fiction.

My Ten-Year Crush by Olivia Spring – Blog Tour/Book Review

About the book:

The first kiss wrecked their friendship. Could a second chance lead to love?

English teacher Bella isn’t having much luck with her love life. No matter who she dates, no one seems to measure up to Mike: the ex-bestie she shared a drunken kiss with ten years ago, which led to the end of their friendship…

When Bella comes face-to-face with Mike at their university reunion, sparks fly. He’s smart, funny and even hotter than before, and despite trying to fight her feelings, Bella still can’t get him out of her head.

But after what happened the last time she stepped out of the friend zone, Bella isn’t in a hurry to be rejected all over again.

Should Bella risk more heartache by telling Mike how she really feels? Could the attraction be mutual? Or is it finally time to put her past behind her and say goodbye to a second chance at love, forever?

My Ten-Year Crush is a fun, sexy, friends-to-lovers romcom about second chances and stepping out of your comfort zone. Ideal for fans of Beth O’Leary, Mhairi McFarlane and Lindsey Kelk.

Order now and join Bella on her rollercoaster romantic adventures!

My review:

I have read and loved all of Olivia Spring’s novels, and if you also like your rom-coms to be funny and very sexy, I’m sure you’d love them all as much as I do!

My Ten-Year Crush, her latest novel is, in timeline terms, technically a prequel to all of her other novels. It is a standalone, although does briefly feature Sophia, the main character of Olivia’s first novel The Middle-Aged Virgin, but at a point in time before that story occurs.

I loved the main character of Bella in this story, she lacks so much confidence and has no self-belief at the start of the story, but as things progress she gains in both. Mike was the perfect hot ex-bestie, and it was clear to everyone but them that the sparks were flying. This was a lovely friends-to-lovers story, with a heavy dose of fate throwing them together just at the point that Bella was ready to put the previous ten years pining for Mike to one side.

There were several laugh out loud moments in this book, which had me giggling, (especially the situation in the empty classroom!) and it was a real rollercoaster of a story, with some sensitive moments as well, which really explained what made both Mike, and Bella’s Dad react in the ways that they did to situations.

I really loved the side characters. In addition to Sophia, Bella also had a friend from uni, Melody, and her cousin Cassie, all fighting in Bella’s corner and doing what they could to help her. I’m thrilled to see that Cassie gets her own story next month, with the release of My Lucky Night on 11th November 2021.

My Ten-Year Crush is a wonderful rom-com about taking chances in life, and having no regrets about words unsaid and actions not taken.

Many thanks to Olivia for my invitation to take part in the blog tour. Please check out the other stops below:

Purchase links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3y4XkpN

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3zvoMwZ

Follow Olivia:

Follow Olivia on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @ospringauthor #MyTenYearCrush

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18210898.Olivia_Spring

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/olivia-spring

The Village Inn of Secret Dreams by Alison Sherlock – Blog Tour/Book Review

About the book

Brand NEW from the bestselling author of The Village Shop For Lonely Hearts.

After escaping her parents’ unhappy marriage to sleepy Cranbridge a long time ago, Belle Clarke dreams of staying at The Black Swan Inn forever.

But with the rundown Inn threatened with closure, Belle may be forced to leave, unless a buyer can be found … quickly.

So, when her oldest friend Pete Kennedy returns from working abroad with a plan to save the Inn, Belle should be overjoyed. The trouble is, Pete has some rather radical ideas for the renovation which Belle disagrees with.

But when a snow storm hits, Belle and Pete are forced to put aside their differences and work together to help the village.

Can Belle realise her dreams to stay in Cranbridge and can Pete ever stop running from his past?

As they try to save The Black Swan Inn, secrets are revealed and just maybe they’ll finally find out how they really feel about each other.

My review

This is the third book in the Riverside Lane series, and although it is a standalone, I think you would get a lot of enjoyment from reading the other two books in the series, The Village Shop for Broken Hearts and The Village of Lost and Found. I was so excited to read The Village Inn of Secret Dreams and to finally get to read Belle’s story.

In terms of literary worlds built cleverly by their authors, I love the fictional Cranbridge where the story is set, and I think it is one of my absolute favourites. It makes me think of Bourton on the Water, where a shallow river runs through a picturesque Cotswold village. I think the feeling that shines through this series by Alison Sherlock is the perfect sense of community spirit. It is something that is lacking in my own life, and I feel that although I’m an introvert, I’d love to be in a community where everyone looks out for one another.

I really felt that I had been transported into Cranbridge from the very first page, and was even a little late leaving to attend a wedding because I couldn’t put the book down and wanted to read just another page…and another…and another!

The sizzling chemistry between Belle and Pete was obvious to everyone apart from them, but they both had grief to work through before they could effectively begin again. Belle found herself embracing colour, and Pete found that he had spent 3 years running away from a dilemma that was easily rectified. It was a journey they both needed to take before they were able to move forwards.

I loved the renovations at the Black Swan Inn, and I particularly enjoyed the problematic chef Andre, but loved it all even more when Pete stopped to listen to Belle about what would work best for the village.

Addressing grief, loneliness and poverty, the strength of the community shone through as it always does in Cranbridge, which added to the red-hot romance, to make this the perfect end of the year read. It certainly made me feel very festive. I really hope we get to return to Cranbridge again!

Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources, Boldwood Books and Alison Sherlock for my invitation to this blog tour. Please check out the other stops below:

Purchase link

About the author

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold village and the first title was published in July 2020.

Social Media

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/alison.sherlock.73

Twitter https://twitter.com/AlisonSherlock

Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/AlisonSherlockSignup

Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alison-sherlock

Snug in Iceland by Victoria Walker – Blog Tour/Book Review

About the book:

Rachel Richards is stuck in a rut. Her boyfriend Adam barely notices her most of the time and her life in London isn’t as exciting as it should be. When the company she works for, Snug, asks her to oversee the opening of a new store in Iceland, she jumps at the chance for a change of scenery. Exploring Reykjavik with the help of Icelandic tour guide Jonas, Rachel discovers that life is out there waiting to be lived. As she falls in love with Iceland, she begins to see what is important to her and wonders whether the life she left behind is what she wants after all…

My review:

I am such a sucker for stories set amidst snow and ice, and this trip to Iceland was just perfect. I’ve never been to Iceland before although it is definitely on my bucket list, and having read this book, it’s moved up quite a few places on my list.

Snug sounded just like the sort of store I’d be drawn to for all my hygge needs! I love the descriptions of Reykjavik and it really made me desperate to pack a bag and go right away!

I really like Rachel as a main character, and I enjoyed learning all about what she needed to do to set up the new store in Reykjavik. Her instant friendship with Gudrun felt effortlessly perfect, and I loved the sense of immediate sisterhood between them. I thought Jonas was adorable and I loved their instant connection. I really did not like Adam at all so I was rooting for Rachel and Jonas pretty much as soon as they met. I mean, who wouldn’t fall for a hot Icelandic guy with a wardrobe of cute Icelandic knitwear?

This really was a book that made me ignore the world around me and escape from the comfort of my armchair. I love it when I get to travel in my reading! It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel by Victoria Walker but it is, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources, Ever After Books, and Victoria Walker for my invitation to take part in the blog tour. Please check out the other stops on the tour below:

Purchase links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Snug-Iceland-heart-warming-romance-Northern-ebook/dp/B09F7WQ56C

US – https://www.amazon.com/Snug-Iceland-heart-warming-romance-Northern-ebook/dp/B09F7WQ56C

About the author:

Victoria Walker lives in the Malvern Hills with her husband and two teenage children. She is an avid reader of contemporary romance but tempers this addiction by being a member of a book club where she is often surprised by her enjoyment of other genres. She also loves sewing and knitting and Scandinavian dramas.

Social media:

Twitter -@4victoriawalker

Instagram – victoriamakes

The Spy Who Inspired Me by Stephen Clarke – Blog Tour/Book Review

About the book:

For legal reasons, The Spy Who Inspired
Me does not mention J*mes B*nd.

Which is a shame, because it is a
comedy based on the idea that I*n Fl*ming’s famously macho spy might
have been inspired by a woman…

It is April 1944, and chic armchair naval officer Ian Lemming (sic) is accidentally beached in Nazi-occupied Normandy. With no access to a razor or clean underwear, and deprived of his cigarettes, Lemming just wants to go home. But he is stranded with a young, though hugely experienced, female agent called Margaux Lynd, who is on a perilous mission to unmask traitors in a French Resistance network.

So, as she bullies him across France, Lemming receives a painful crash course in spy craft, and starts to fantasize about a fictional agent – male of course – who would operate only in the most luxurious conditions, and lord it over totally subservient women. A world-famous spy is born…

Stephen Clarke said: ‘In World War Two there really were female undercover agents who were ten times tougher and braver than Ian Fleming. I thought it would be great fun to send him (or rather, someone very like him) on a dangerous mission with one of these women who would show him what real spies got up to.’

Stephen Clarke has combined his knowledge of French history with a fondness for Ian Fleming’s novels (despite their old-school machismo) to create The Spy Who Inspired Me, set in the complex background of real Occupied France.

My review:

Having read some of the Merde series of books by Stephen Clarke, and loving historical fiction (and in particular wartime fiction), I jumped at the opportunity to read this book. I loved the premise of this spy spoof novel, that Ian Fleming, or should I say someone with a very similar name found inspiration for his world famous spy in the actions of a female spy he was accidentally stranded with in occupied France.

Never having read the James Bond novels I can only base my knowledge of James Bond on the movies which I have grown up watching. Although action packed and humorous, the movies have until recently years been packed full of sexism and misogyny. This book is a refreshing take because although at the beginning of the story, the Ian Lemming that we first meet is sexist, and completely misogynistic, but as a character his growth is exponential. I found myself immensely irritated by his attitude in the restaurant, choosing what his dinner date should eat without even giving her own preferences any consideration. As the book progresses I found I started liking him more and more. By the end of the book he has so much humility and such a grudging respect for Margaux that it was no surprise that he found her so inspirational, but he learns the hard way in so many funny situations.

This was a funny and entertaining story which kept me hooked to the very last page.

Many thanks to Helen Richardson, pAf and Stephen Clarke for my invitation to take part in the blog tour. Please check out the other stops on the tour below:

Purchase links:

About the author:

STEPHEN CLARKE is the bestselling author of the Merde
series of comedy novels (A Year in the Merde, Merde
Actually, Dial M for Merde et al) which have been
translated into more than 20 languages and sold more than
a million copies worldwide. Stephen Clarke has also written
several serious-yet-humorous books on Anglo-French
history, such as 1000 Years of Annoying the French (a UK
number-one bestseller in both hardback and paperback),
How the French Won Waterloo (or Think They Did), and The
French Revolution & What Went Wrong. He lives in Paris.