Book Review: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl @rararesources

thumbnail_The Forgotten Secret

Synopsis

The Forgotten Secret

A country at war

It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is thumbnail_cover from fbbrewing and before long Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

And a long-buried secret

A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.

For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-ebook/dp/B07H2PMPR3

US – https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-ebook/dp/B07H2PMPR3

Review

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Thank you to the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I want to start off by saying I really love the cover for this book, I’m not sure what it is about it but I’m definitely a fan! Now what really got me excited about this book was the fact it was told in dual timelines, I was a bit apprehensive that I wouldn’t be able to follow, or would get far too involved in one-time timeline and not want to go back to the other but that really wasn’t the case in this book.  I really wanted to know what was going on in both timelines so switching between the two seemed like a fair compromise!

Another great part of the book for me was seeing both Clare’s and Ellen’s confidence grow throughout their stories, there is no doubt about it that they are both facing very different situations but their personal growth and development shine through. I also liked how it all wrapped up, it a great sense of closure which I was concerned about. The only sort of downside to the book itself was that it was a bit short for my liking, I wanted more! Oh well guess it’s not the worst problem to have, I will just have to go find another book from this author!

Rating: 4/5

Would I read again: Yes

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

About the Author

KATHLEEN MCGURL lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and elderly tabby cat. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She thumbnail_Kathleen McGurl author photobegan her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

Social Media Links 

Website: https://kathleenmcgurl.com/

Twitter: @KathMcGurl https://twitter.com/KathMcGurl

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathleenmcgurl/

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Book Review: Happy Ever …After by Seb Earl

BOok REview_ Happy Ever ... After

Synopsis:

When Emily wakes up in the middle of her bed, shaking and sweating from yet another Happy ever ... afternightmare, she knows it will not stop easily. The sexual assault she suffered eight years ago has left an enduring mark on her mind.

In the immediate aftermath, she moved back to live with her parents and, since then, they have happily provided sanctuary. But at what price? Emily is not free, and her inner doubt and anger are increasing their stronghold over her life.

Thrust into action by her best friend, Sarah, Emily finally finds the courage to move out and start a new life on her own. She soon meets Olivier, a charming French man.

As she realises how her future happiness depends on her ability to face the past, Emily begins the slow, and at times painful, journey to finding inner peace.

But can she truly put her ordeal behind her? And is everything exactly as it appears?

Review:

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Going into this book I prepped myself for a really hard hitting emotional read, as Emily faces her past and tries to move on with her life. Unfortunately, I felt that it just missed the mark. Now don’t get me wrong I did enjoy the story, while it was a bit choppy at times, I could see where the story was going, most of the reasons behind the decisions and emotions and I really liked the character of Sarah who just wants the best for Emily. Emily, on the other hand, I just struggled to like. I really couldn’t find the connection I wanted to really understand her as a character and she just kind of annoyed me at points.

The book itself was a slow start for me as I struggled through the first few chapters and while it did pick up I still never really found myself ‘lost’ in the story, there was definitely enough to keep me interested, just not enough to quite drag me in.

What I did like about the book was that it was able to show different aspects/personalities of secondary characters and I really liked how the author was able to add the next door neighbors as just that little bit extra to keep the story going. Also as everything ties up in the end and it just being a really satisfying ending I did feel it redeemed itself quite a few points. It just took a little bit to get there. While this is not a book I would read again, I would still be interested in reading any of the author’s other novels.

Rating: 3/5

Would I read again: No

Would I Recommend: Maybe

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

Book Review – The Cornish Village School – Second Chances by Kitty Wilson

 

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Synopsis

Ex-ballerina and single mum Sylvie is in trouble. Juggling her ballet classes in the nearest Second Chances (The Cornish Village School #2)town, preparing shy Sam for his first day at Penmenna Village school and trying to finally move out from the farm she shares with her cantankerous Uncle Tom means life is anything but easy.

Television Journalist Alex is facing challenges of his own. Seeking a calmer environment for his newly adopted daughter, Ellie, he’s swapped reporting in war zones for the school PTA in quiet Penmenna, where his best friend Chase has persuaded him to start laying some roots.

Fireworks ignite when Sylvie and Alex meet but as Ellie and Sam become instant best friends, will they be able to keep things strictly platonic for the sake of the children?

Review

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

So I didn’t actually realize that this is the second book in ‘The Cornish Village School’ but I can safely say that it does read well as a standalone book. Also on a somewhat related note, I now do really want to read the first book in the series!

We start of the book by being introduced to Sylvie and her son Sam as they are heading off for their afternoon visit to the beach, I really loved the pure excitement from both of these characters as they initially set off for the beach, it’s where they meet both Alex and Ellie and begin an almost instant friendship. (Living pretty close to the beach I can safely say I do not take advantage of visiting as much as I really should and after reading the first few chapters of this book I really wanted to get out and visit!)

This was a great character-focused book with a lot of different relationships coming in to play, there was quite a focus on the children as well as the friends and family of Sylvie and Alex which made it just that little bit more than a simple romance book. There were a few ‘secrets’ in the background but mostly I really enjoyed it being a straightforward romance book. I think perhaps there could have been a bit more focus on some of the place descriptions but it doesn’t take away from the story at all. For me, it was a great sweet little read that had me smiling all the way through.

Rating: 4.5/5

Would I read again: Probably

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Greek Affair by @LinnBHalton @rararecources

Synopsis

More than just a holiday romance?
Her daughter, her job and divorcing her untrustworthy ex are Leah’s main priorities. She isn’t really
bothered that her life might be missing a few things. But after winning a prestigious travel blogger
award, she’s inundated with offers to review glamorous holiday destinations. Lying around drinking
exotic cocktails and being paid for it! What could be better?
Perhaps a romantic trip to idyllic Greece to find the one man who might make Leah risk her heart
again…

Purchase Link – http://smarturl.it/AGreekAffair

Review

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Thank you to the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is such a great little feel-good kind of book and was a perfect read for over Christmas! What immediately made me want to read this book was the fact it was set in Greece as well as following the life of a single mom travel blogger, because let’s be honest how great is it to fantasise about being paid to travel to new and exotic places with a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure!

The story follows Leah and her daughter Rosie as they navigate their new world as such after winning a travel blogger award. The story itself did not start of how I was expecting and carried on very much it’s own path throughout the book, which is great, as you never completely know the direction it will go. In regards to the characters, you really got a sense of Leah and her struggles and it was great for all the ways it was able to really include Rosie as well. You really did end up rooting for these characters. There are a few what I like to call bonus characters as well, which really help to spice up the story. I did feel like the entire story had a satisfying ending and concluded all of the stories I wanted concluding.

I also really enjoyed the writing itself as it had some truly great descriptions of Athens and Greece which of course just really makes me want to go and visit. Maybe next year New Zealand is a little too far to pop over for a quick visit!

Rating: 4/5

Would I read again: Yes

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

Giveaway!

Giveaway to Win Rose wine and chocolates (UK only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box
below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and
will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I
reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or
over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose
only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’
information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of
the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494173/?

About the Author

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’ Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency. When she’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 writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Social Media Links –
Website: http://linnbhalton.co.uk/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LinnBHalton

Book Review: Life After Death by Jackson Baer

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Synopsis

The Childs family faced the unthinkable… now they have a second chance.Life after Death
~~~
The Childs family has endured a terrible tragedy, but the FBI’s shocking discovery has turned their lives upside down.

His kids have all moved on from the death of their mother, as has Isaac from the loss of his wife, but now that the FBI has finally solved the case, the Childs family must face the loss of Ramie all over again.

Each has their own relationships and their own lives, but all are upended due to unforeseen circumstances. As they maneuver these new lives, they must deal with love, heartache, and jealousy as a family, and the choices they face will not be easy.

Their decisions bring out the best in some… and the worst in others.

Review

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Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Life after Death is the second book in the America family series. It begins nearly straight after the events of the first book and as I started it pretty much as soon as I finished the first read just like a continuation.

From the first book which I reviewed here I had come to sort of expect the way in which the story would be told, there would be mystery, suspense and a lot of focus on the psychology of the characters as they navigate the new challenges in their life. Without wanting to give much away I will just say there is a lot to unpack with a whole lot more surprises along the way.

For me I enjoyed this book a little bit more than the first, in fact I have given it a whole extra half a star :), I think the author really gets into the flow of writing in this book and I got to admit I was more than a little bit invested in pretty much all of the characters, which led to me spending a  good portion of my time yelling at them internally not to do that. I was able to manage to guess more of what was going to happen within this book but it still made for a really enjoyable read.

Rating: 4.5/5

Would I read again: Yes

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

 

Book Review: Not Perfect by Elizabeth LaBan

Synopsis

From Elizabeth LaBan, the acclaimed author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife, comes Not Perfecta captivating and very funny novel about a wife and mother’s fall from grace, and why keeping up appearances is not her biggest secret.

Tabitha Brewer wakes up one morning to find her husband gone, leaving her no way to support herself and their two children, never mind their upscale Philadelphia lifestyle. She’d confess her situation to her friends—if it wasn’t for those dreadful words of warning in his goodbye note: “I’ll tell them what you did.”

Instead, she does her best to keep up appearances, even as months pass and she can barely put food on the table—much less replace a light bulb. While she looks for a job, she lives in fear that someone will see her stuffing toilet paper into her handbag or pinching basil from a neighbor’s window box.

Soon, blindsided by catastrophe, surprised by romance, and stunned by the kindness of a stranger, Tabitha realizes she can’t keep her secrets forever. Sooner or later, someone is bound to figure out that her life is far from perfect.

Review

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

DNF at 34%

This is a book that has been sitting on my NetGalley shelf for far too long, I remember requesting it, I just never got round to sitting down and reading it.

The blurb itself is really intriguing and what initially drew me to the book. I was hoping for a story about a woman picking up the pieces of her shattered life while not only trying to maintain the image of a perfect life but hiding from a secret from her past. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like this book managed to pull this off and instead I found myself more angry with Tabitha then perhaps I should have been. Tabitha starts of fairly okay as a character she is clearly trying and using whatever ways necessary to keep food on the table and a fairly stable life for her two children. However, as time went on it just sort of showed that she was really just trying to keep up appearances as opposed to doing whatever she could to work her way through the situation. Sure no one knows how they would react when things get tough but her thought process and actions annoyed me to the point I wasn’t enjoying the book itself and decided to stop at 34%. Now the writing itself was good if a bit slow paced and the premise really was intriguing I just couldn’t, bring myself to finish the book.

I am not however averse to trying any other book from this author, or even giving this book another chance when I am in a different head space but for this read through attempt, unfortunately, it was not my cup of tea.

Rating: 2/5

Would I read again: Perhaps, but probably not

Would I Recommend: No

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Christmas Spirit by @Susan_Buchanan @rararesources

Today I’m really excited to be taking part in the Blog Blitz for ‘The Christmas Spirit’ by Susan Buchana. Tis the season for feel-good christmassy stories and this one doesn’t disappoint!

Synopsis

Christmas is coming, but not everyone is looking forward to it. The Christmas Spirit

Rebecca has just been dumped and the prospect of spending the holiday period with her parents is less than appealing.

Eighty-two-year-old Stanley lost his beloved wife, Edie, to cancer. How will he cope with his first Christmas without her?

Jacob’s university degree hasn’t helped him get a job, and it looks like he’ll still be signing on come New Year.

Workaholic Meredith would rather spend December 25th at home alone with a ready meal and a DVD box set. Can anything make her embrace the spirit of the season?

The enigmatic Natalie Hope takes over the reins at the Sugar and Spice bakery and café in an attempt to spread some festive cheer and restore Christmas spirit, but will she succeed?

Review

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The Christmas Spirit is a great feel-good story revolving around the four main characters; Rebecca, Stanley, Jacob and Meredith, all at different stages of their lives and all looking at facing a rather tough holiday season for their own personal reasons.

What I loved about this story was that all the characters had their own unique voice, as well, of course, being able to all interact and intertwine within each other’s lives. Natalie being the glue doesn’t play as much of a part as I expected her too but I think I liked it better that way, it gave me a chance to really get to know the characters as well as see how they are able to navigate the problems and challenges they are facing with only the gentlest of nudges into the right direction. I also really loved that the book got to include so many awesome recipes for Christmas cakes! It really helped the book have that feel good feeling around it!

I think I would have liked the story to be a bit longer as some of the character development seemed a little rushed and I would have enjoyed seeing a bit more of the thought processes before some decisions and change of hearts but I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a book for the festive season!

Rating: 4/5

Would I read again: Yes

Would I Recommend: Yes

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

 

Giveaway

Giveaway – Win e-copies of Sign of the Times and The Dating Game (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for the fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494170/?

 

Author Bio

Susan Buchanan lives in Scotland with her husband and their two children. She is the
author of four novels: Return of the Christmas Spirit, The Christmas Spirit, The Dating Game, and Sign of the Times. She is currently working on books five and six: The Proposal and Just One Day. Susan is also a proofreader, editor, and translator, and when not working, writing, or caring for her two delightful cherubs, loves reading, the theatre, quiz shows and eating out – not necessarily in that order!

Social Media Links
Facebook – www.facebook.com/susan.buchanan.author
Twitter – susan_buchanan
Blog – Sooz’s journal – www.susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk