Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Florence Grace by Tracy Rees

Paperback: 535pages.                                                                                                 

Genre: Historical Romantic Fiction
Publisher: Quercus, June 2016
Source: Lovereading Reader Review Panel
First Sentence: The Damn pony had bolted again.
Favourite Quote: Love is a strange and mystical force. It leads you down avenues you would never otherwise tread. It is always-always -about so much more than the coming together of two people.
Review Quote: Florence is such a strong, intriguing character and the plot is so clever, real and truthful.  The whole book feels so very wise, as if it contains half the answers to life (Joanna Courtney, author of the The Chosen Queen).
My Opinion: When I was recently offered the opportunity to read and review this title, despite never having read the authors previous novel, it sounded interesting so I jumped at the opportunity. So I have now discovered another writer of historical romantic fiction that I can turn to when I am in the mood for this genre.  
The heroine of the novel is a spirited young Cornish girl who one day finds herself unexpectedly part of a wealthy London family and she is thrown into a complete change of lifestyle. Not an easy or happy transition for her, but true to character Florence survives, to find out how you will just have to read for yourself. 
An enjoyable relaxing read that left me feeling contented, just what I needed. Recommended to anyone that enjoys finding a story to loose themselves in away from the stresses of the modern world. 

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

Florrie Buckley is an orphan, living on the wind-blasted moors of Cornwall. It's a hard existence but Florrie is content; she runs wild in the mysterious landscape. She thinks her destiny is set in stone.

But when Florrie is fourteen, she inherits a never-imagined secret. She is related to a wealthy and notorious London family, the Graces. Overnight, Florrie's life changes and she moves from country to city, from poverty to wealth.

Cut off from everyone she has ever known, Florrie struggles to learn the rules of this strange new world. And then she must try to fathom her destructive pull towards the enigmatic and troubled Turlington Grace, a man with many dark secrets of his own.

Author Profile

Tracy Rees was the winner of the Richard and Judy 'Search for a Bestseller' Competition and her first book, Amy Snow, was a Richard and Judy and Kindle bestseller. A Cambridge graduate, she had a successful eight-year career in nonfiction publishing and a second career practising and teaching humanistic counselling before becoming a writer. She lives in Wales.

Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Amazon Author Profile      Tracy Rees - Twitter Profile    

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

Ebook:  4314kb Print 383pages                                                                                                
Genre:   Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Yule Press March 2016
Source: The author in return for an honest and unbiased review. 
First Sentence:  "You're...what do you mean you're not coming?"
My Opinion:   A very emotional story line evolving around three protagonists, Nate, Adam and Jenna.  As in her previous novels the author's writing flows as she narrates the story first person via the characters of Nate and Jenna. A thoughtful novel with young Adam, a troubled little boy, looking for happiness in his life, the character that causes Nate and Jenna to examine their own past lives, current situations and to wonder about their futures.  If you enjoy contemporary fiction this should not disappoint, as you will laugh, cry and feel involved with all the characters by the time you finish reading.   

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

Three people longing to find love. Connected by one big lie.
Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast.
9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he?
Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam - except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad ... only she’s about to meet Nate - her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.
The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?

Links to my earlier reviews   

 Pandora's Box  Falling For You   Little Miracles   and  Finding You

Author Profile

Born in Chiswick, London, UK.  Giselle Green was brought up in Gibraltar from the age of seven to eighteen when she returned to the UK to study Biology at King's College London, followed by an MSc in Information Science at the City University. She is also a qualified Astrologer, with a particular interest in medieval astrology.
Giselle now lives in Kent with her husband and their six sons.

A fuller biography appears on her website here        

Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Goodreads Author Profile       Amazon Author Profile     Giselle Green - Twitter

Author's Official Website - Giselle Green   Facebook Profile - Giselle Green Author

Thursday, April 28, 2016

We Never Asked For Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Hardback: 294 pages
Genre:Contemporary Fiction 
Publisher: Mantle 2015
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentence: It wasn't too late to turn back.
Review Quote: I was hooked from the first breathtaking pages of We Never Asked for Wings, caring about this exquisitely vulnerable family, hoping right along with them on every page that each heart-rending, impossible choice would lead them somewhere better together -- Lisa Genova, New York Times best selling author of Still Alice
My Opinion: This has been one of my favourite reads this year, with its forceful theme of family life in difficult circumstances and how a young girl learns how to become a Mother to her children. The protagonist Letty at first did not seem to me to be a very likeable young lady, but I soon found myself beginning to care for her. As the story progresses Letty realises that she can change despite the mistakes she has made in her life. The parallels made between human behaviour and the flight pattern of birds, which I found absolutely fascinating.

A very moving and compelling read, which I cannot recommend highly enough, definitely a good choice for book club discussion. 

' We Never Asked For Wings' Précis Courtesy of Goodreads

For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now fifteen, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life.

Navigating this new terrain is challenging for Letty, especially as Luna desperately misses her grandparents and Alex, who is falling in love with a classmate, is unwilling to give his mother a chance. Letty comes up with a plan to help the family escape the dangerous neighborhood and heartbreaking injustice that have marked their lives, but one wrong move could jeopardize everything she’s worked for and her family’s fragile hopes for the future.

YouTube Trailer

Author Profile

VANESSA DIFFENBAUGH was born in San Francisco and raised in Chico, California. After graduating from Stanford University, she worked in the non-profit sector, teaching art and technology to youth in low-income communities. Following the success of her début novel, The Language of Flowers, she co-founded Camellia Network, a non-profit whose mission is to connect every youth coming out of foster care to the critical resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive in adulthood. She currently lives in Monterey, CA, with her husband and four children.

Photographs and biographical information courtesy of the following sites.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh on Twitter    Vanessa Diffenbaugh Author - Facebook 

Instagram - Vanessa Diffenbaugh     Amazon Author Profile    Goodreads Author Profile

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Larkswood by Valerie Mendes

Paperback: 400 pages                                                                                                 

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Orion 2014
Source: Charity Shop
First Sentences: It is early Spring in the woods. Almost dawn.
Review Quote:  If there's a beautiful old house on a book's cover, I want a family saga of richness and breadth, a mystery that runs through that family like a San Andreas fault, captivating characters and gorgeous atmosphere. And this has it all .... Scrumptious storytelling. (Kate Saunders SAGA MAGAZINE)
My Opinion: I read this is October 2015 and sadly never got round to reviewing properly. I know I thoroughly enjoyed it. 
Proof of this is that I stayed awake to finish the last 100 pages when I should have been asleep! Recommended to anyone that enjoys a family saga with plenty of drama and intrigue.

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

In the tradition of THE FORSYTE SAGA, a sweeping historical novel that spans three generations, telling the dark secrets of a family torn apart.

Larkswood House. The very name suggests birdsong, peace and elegance. It is home to the Hamilton children - Edward, Cynthia and Harriet - who enjoy the freedom and excitement of privilege. But in the glorious summer of 1896, with absent parents and a departed governess, disaster strikes the family, leaving it cruelly divided.

More than forty years later, on the eve of the Second World War, Louisa Hamilton, newly presented at court but struck down with glandular fever, is sent to Larkswood to recuperate. There, for the first time, she meets her grandfather, Edward, home after decades in India. Haunted by terrible memories, the arrival of his granddaughter begins to gladden his heart.

But as Louisa begins to fall under the spell of Larkswood, she realises it holds the key to the mystery that shattered her family two generations before. Will she find the courage to unravel the dark secrets of the past? And can Larkswood ever become home to happiness again?

Author Profile

Photo Courtesy of Oxford Times

Valerie Helene (née Barnett) Mendes was born in Buckinghamshire, Enland in October 1939. She attended North London Collegiate School and the University of Reading,
She is a novelist, children's writer and poet, best known for her teenage fiction novels, Girl in the Attic and Lost and Found.
In 1970 she married Jameson Peter Mendes.
Their son Samuel Alexander "Sam" Mendes, is a well-known director and producer

Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Goodreads Author Page     Valerie Mendes - Wikipedia     The Oxford Times