The Daughter of Victory Lights – Kerri Turner

Welcome back everyone, this review is a week behind schedule since I never go around to writing this review let alone scheduling it last week!

I was a little confused initially trying to remember what period I was reading at the time. I mean, you started in the 50s, went back to the 40s, then jumped around a little (always moving forwards in time) before making a massive jump to the 60s in Part 2.

This jumping around didn’t make sense to me until well into Part 2, roughly 3/4 of the way through the book. The first part of the book follows Evenlyn Bell, while the second part followed her daughter. Which explains where there was such a jump in time from the end of Part 1 and the start of Part 2.

Although I found that Part 2 was very anti-climatic and let the book down compared to Part 1. You must wait until the end of the book to find out why her daughter was raised away from her. What happened and why her father is so odd. None of it made sense and I almost lost interest in the book because of it.

I did push through. And I kind of wish I hadn’t. Although the writing and the story were good the ending just sucked. It could have been so much better but it just…ended! Nothing to it! Just blah.

I still rated it 4 starts because the writing was well done, and the overall story was good. I just didn’t enjoy some of the execution. It wasn’t to my tastes but I can see how some would enjoy it.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce.

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The Lawson Sisters – Janet Gover

Welcome back everyone, I’m finally getting onto some Aussie author’s and I’ve been lucky enough to start it with a good one! YAY!

To give you an idea on why I was surprised in the location for this book, I’ve only ever known the Hunter Valley to be a place for wineries and breweries. Having it as the prime location for a horse breeding set story was a bit of a shock for me.

Although I know some of the locations by name, and I’ve visited some, I’m not familiar enough with the region to know how accurate the descriptions were. Since the author spent time in the region while writing it, I’d assume they are on point.

Some people have marked this story as a romance, yet I feel it fits under women’s fiction a bit better. Purely because it felt like the majority of the story focussed on the sister’s relationship, their grief and their family stud farm.

The focus on the emotional growth and development of all the characters (Liz, Kayla and Mitch) is amazing. By having little snippets of the past shown it allowed me to add a little bit of knowledge and context to how the characters are feeling today as I went. They were also timed perfectly and only showed the tiny bit that would add value.

My only problem was figuring out who’s point of view, and when, I was reading at any given point in time. It only took me a page or so to figure it out, but it still tripped me up and took me longer, and more brain power, than I would’ve liked.

If it had character names and say a year at the start of each chapter, I think that would’ve really helped keep me fully involved in the story rather than trying to figure out who, and when, I was following. This would’ve been especially important the first time since I wasn’t expecting to be thrown into the past, so it took me a few pages to figure out I was reading about the past, not a dream or something.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce.

The Cake Fairies – Isabella May

Welcome back everyone, you’re in for a wild ride of Rach Random Resource tours over the next couple of months! Think 13 reviews over 2 months! How crazy am I?

I start off this crazy two months with a story about love, second chances, family and screen addictions. Together this sounded like it was going to be a great story with lots of positive messages and a chance for me to reflect.

Instead, I found the first half of the book to be very slow paced with every conversation and thought fully played out. While the second half you were lucky to get half the conversation explained let alone all the thoughts. I think if there had have been a happy pacing medium found throughout it would have felt more engaging.

With the slow pace that suddenly turned to a fast pace it felt like either the Isabella didn’t want to cut anything out, but also didn’t want to give us a mammoth sized book. Or, she was reminded to hurry up, or maybe she got bored writing so in depth. I mean, I can’t imagine how much time and effort that would have taken so I totally get it if she got bored or tired with writing in such detail!

Yet I think the main reason I found myself in a bit of a slump with this book is because the characters core personalities seemed to change at the drop of a hat. I get that under pressure and unknown circumstances people can react weirdly. But that’s usually out of fear or panic. Although these feelings were there when you read Polly and Annabelle’s thoughts, there seemed to be a larger shift that felt weird, unnatural and inconsistent.

Although I didn’t find the writing style suited me, I loved the messages Isabella spoke about throughout the book. Using cake to get people to connect, explore their emotions, realise their screen addictions and generally make changes for the better is genius. I don’t believe the effects would be so apparent with all the gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegan friendly etc etc etc requirements in todays day and age. I mean, they didn’t even leave a little card out with the cakes letting people know what they contained.

But one can wish the effects would’ve been as popular as they were in the book!

I’m not one to comment on this normally, but I feel like a little LGBTQ+ (I honestly don’t know how many letters and in what order they are meant to go so I’m sorry if I’ve forgotten anything) rep would have worked in this story. Annabelle or Ivy were prime candidates for this rep to be woven in in a way that added value to the story, so I really wish that had have been explored. It would’ve made total sense and I kept expecting it.

Overall, the messages and story were great. It was just those little inconsistencies that I struggled to connect with. I’m the type of reader who really needs consistency, so I do struggle when it’s missing.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Perfect Match by Zoe May. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic.

Cake, cocktail, churros, ice cream and travel obsessed, she also loves nothing more than to (quietly) break life’s rules.

The Cake Fairies is her fifth novel.

Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley – Kelly Miller

Welcome back everyone, I’m continuing this week with another regency novel. This one is less of a romance than the Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquis and more of a reflection on what’s important in life.

At the beginning of the book Kelly gives a brief introduction to the language she’s chosen to use for the book, great idea! By setting me up with the expectation that the language is going to be different to what I’m used to hearing every day I wasn’t shocked and the transition to comfortably reading it wasn’t too long.

Based on my limited knowledge of the original Pride and Prejudice, which this is meant to be a continuation of, I’m assuming the choice of language was deliberate to ensure it remained as true to the original story as possible.

Given the blurb I was expecting Darcy to have a kind of three ghosts of Christmas experience. Yet Kelly surprised me by having the angel of death be surprisingly human and compassionate. By bringing more characters than just Darcy and Elizabeth into the fold Kelly was able to weave a story that reminded me of so many life lessons. The type that most people can only learn through experience.

By incorporating a raft of characters into this story Kelly was able to include more life lessons and considerations than would’ve been possible with just Darcy and Elizabeth. It felt so well done without being over the top that it really worked.

The key themes I felt expressed throughout were those of love, acceptance, forgiveness, thinking before acting and their impacts on others when either displayed, or not displayed. The little twist at the end was such a sweet touch that left me feeling really happy with how everything was left.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Cake Fairies by Isabella May. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Historical fiction author Kelly Miller discovered writing late in life, but it has quickly become a favorite pastime. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she may be found playing the piano, singing, reading, or walking. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets.

Single All the Way – Elaine Spires

Welcome back everyone, after a busier November than I’d anticipated I’m kicking off the Christmas month with a book set over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This one ended up being a bit of a disappointment to me. I went into it expecting a romantic comedy and was left quite underwhelmed. The story itself was mostly fine. It was the delivery that didn’t quite do it for me. However, as an inspiring, life lesson kind of read this is amazing.

The first thing I need to say about this book was that its chapters were “days”, meaning some chapters took me an hour or so to read. I think this could have been done better if the days were “parts” to the book, and the character’s points of view were the chapters.

I think this would give the reader a cleaner point where they could stop reading rather than hoping they remember what was said when they put it down halfway through a conversation because you don’t know when the next natural break is.

The next point I was to talk about is the amount of characters used. Usually, the books I read follow one or two characters and might alternate their points of view between those two characters. Or, you might have a few other characters thrown in, but the point of view sticks to the main two characters.

In this book I couldn’t figure out who the story was meant to be about and (if I can remember correctly) the point of view alternated between 10+ characters. The only other book I’ve come across that uses to many characters is Game of Thrones, and George R.R. Martin has a chapter to each character, titled as the character’s name, making it easier to follow. In this case the character changes happened at mini breaks in the chapters and because of the amount of characters used, I often struggled to figure out who I was reading about.

The final thing I want to mention is the feel of the book. When I finished this book, I left it feeling like “romantic comedy” is the wrong way to market it. Instead, I think it should be marketed as a story that shows the trials and tribulations people face in their everyday life. The key messages I felt resonating with me were that of acceptance and love for all — including yourself, forgiveness, honesty and communication.

Even though it wasn’t quite the fun read I thought it would be, I finished it with more of a life lesson, key take away kind of feel. If you want to read about how different people face a range of issues (sexuality, grief, guilt, family secrets, being single later in life etc) then this is an inspiring read I urge you to read.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Lasairiona E. McMaster’s The Good in Goodbye, the sequel to Intimate Strangers. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels.

Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.

Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019! 

Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

A Forgiven Friend – Sue Featherstone

Welcome back everyone, we’ve got the final review for October with a Rach Random Resources tour.

First off, I want to note that this book is written by two authors which might explain one of my problems with the book. Before I go into the negatives though I want to talk about the positive points!

Rather than being a romance (like so many of my other books) it’s a straight up story about the friendship between two women. There aren’t too many books that explore this dynamic, so it was interesting to read this, especially since both points of view are written.

Unfortunately, other than the writing being well written there’s not much else I can say that’s good about it.

I wasn’t drawn into the story, although I think this has more to do with this being the 3rd book and there was no set up or recap at the start to tell me who’s who. It felt like each other had chosen a character each and written their side of the story without checking that they were writing the same thing when they wrote about the same interaction from both sides. There were at least 2 instances where this happened and the phrases they said differed, and even their reactions and movements were different for each character.

I also found Teri hard to relate to given she was so self-obsessed. But then again, I guess that lack of self esteem and her personality as a result was one of the things the authors wanted to explore. Instead I constantly found myself wishing I could bitch-slap her and yell at her to calm the F down and let other people get on with their lives without her needing to be the constant centre of attention.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I’ll be reviewing #Jerk by Kat T. Masen. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape are both former newspaper journalists with extensive experience of working for national and regional papers and magazines, and in public relations.

More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism – Sue at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity University.

The pair, who have been friends for almost 30 years, wrote two successful journalism text books together – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction (both published by Sage), before deciding to turn their hands to fiction.

The first novel in their Friends series, A Falling Friend, was released in 2016. A Forsaken Friend followed two years later, and the final book in the trilogy, A Forgiven Friend, published on November 19.

Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, and the most ‘gorgeous granddaughter in the whole world’, loves reading, writing and Nordic walking in the beautiful countryside near her Yorkshire home.

Susan is married and lives in a village near Leeds, and, when not writing, loves walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. She is also a member of a local ukulele orchestra.

Check out their blog Book Lovers Book List

Sue’s Twitter

Susan’s Twitter

You, Me, and the Movies – Fiona Collins

Welcome back everyone, although this isn’t a Christmas story like last week’s review. It’s begins around Christmas. I’m calling it that it’s still in the spirit of this season!

I’m just gonna put it out there. This book is classified as a romance, but it felt more like a self discovery story to me. Yes, this centred around a romance. But I honestly felt like I was reading Arden’s story of growth, pain, change and her friendships.

Arden had her ups and downs, just like anyone does. Her life took unexpected turns that didn’t give her the big amazing life Mac imagined she’d have. But she kept going. She lived for her son. She had the courage to change in the face of adversity, for her son. She found the courage to renew friendships she thought she’d lost and didn’t deserve.

Those actions speak so much louder to me than the romantic connection and memories from her time with Mac. With each chapter swapping between the past and the present, you get a sense of who Arden was, while experiencing who she is now.

I may have imagined it, but it felt like the chapters written about the past were written in a reflective style. Whereas the ones set now felt like there were written in the moment. If I did imagine it then I’m sorry! But I did feel like there was a difference in the writing style which helped to grow and develop the story.

The main thing I loved about this story was the deep meaning and value of friendships that’s displayed throughout the book. The messages coming through during these times were so intense that it caused me to reflect on my own friendships, past and present, to see how I could be a better friend to others.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I go back to a typical Christmas book with Lucy Coleman’s Magic Under the Mistletoe.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Welcome back everyone, we move from a Christmas love story to an award-winning fiction novel. I was given this one for Christmas last yr and was sceptical about reading it but lots of people I work with assured me I’d love it.

The way people raved about this book I expected it to be profound and almost soul inspiring. Yet I was left hanging without ever finding out what was going on with Eleanor. It’s obvious something is wrong, but it’s never explained what it is.

For a book that felt like it was going to have a strong message around mental health awareness it felt like it missed the mark by a long way. Other than the fact that she suffers yet also feels many of the same feelings as others there’s nothing unique or informative about what she’s going through. I would’ve loved to have found out what exactly she was suffering with and then seen those around her support her in a way that shows mental illness can’t hold you back.

In the end the only reason I finished the book was because I’d been assured that all Eleanor’s oddities would be explained because it’d be shoved in my face so much it’d be impossible to miss. If I had have known that I wouldn’t get any answers I would’ve DNF. But I was assured all the answers would be given to me.

If you’ve read it and can help me out, please do. Because I honestly think there was so much missing.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Saturday I’ll be reviewing A Cosy Christmas in Cornwall by Jane Linfoot.