Days of Wonder – Keith Stuart ★★★★★

Blurb; Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah’s diagnosis with a heart condition that will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen, that time is coming.

Hannah’s heart is literally broken – and she can’t bear the idea of her dad’s breaking too. So she resolves to find a partner for Tom, someone else to love, to fill the space beside him.

While all the time Tom plans a final day of magic that might just save them both.Days of Wonder is the stunning follow-up to Keith Stuart’s much-loved debut A Boy Made of Blocks – and a book to fall in love with.

My Review; Oh Wow. Here is a list of words to describe this story… Beautiful. Powerful. Emotional. Heart-warming. Bold. Touching. Heart-breaking. Wonderful. Outstanding. Brave.

This story had me feeling a whole range of emotions from happy to sad. I actually cried towards the end and not many books make me cry… However, A Boy Made of Blocks made me cry too. This is such a beautiful story filled with love, hope, family and friends. Also a great community coming together.

I absolutely loved every single character in this book. Days of Wonder is told through father (Tom) and daughter (Hannah). Hannah is one brave, determined and lovely girl. A character that makes you feel proud. A girl her age shouldn’t have to face what she has had to cope with. Tom is one devoted father wanting the best for his daughter no matter what.

This story contains a powerful message that life has to go on… Life is what YOU make it and it’s good to lose yourself into books, theatre, art, music or whatever your form of escape is. Keith sure knows how to write beautiful, tear jerking stories that are real page turners. I absolutely fell in love with this book. It will stay close to my heart!

Days of Wonder has earned a well deserved place in my top 20 books of 2018! A well deserved five stars. Highly recommend. A must buy. A must read… But you may want some tissues.

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*CONTENT POST* No Place Like Home – Rebecca Muddiman.

Book Blurb;

What would you do if you came home to find someone in your house?
This is the predicament Polly Cooke faces when she returns to her new home.The first weeks in the house had been idyllic, but soon Jacob, a local man, is watching her.
What does he want and why is he so obsessed with Polly?
In a situation where nothing is what it seems, you might end up regretting letting some people in.

About the Author;

Rebecca Muddiman was born and raised in the North East and worked in the NHS for many years. She has published four crime novels – Stolen, Gone, Tell Me Lies, and Murder in Slow Motion. Stolen won a Northern Writers Award in 2010 and the Northern Crime Competition in 2012. She is also a screenwriter and was selected for the London Screenwriters Festival Talent Campus in 2016.
Most of her spare time is spent re-watching Game of Thrones, trying to learn Danish, and dealing with two unruly dogs. Sometimes all at the same time.

Rebecca’s five favourite crime series’s;

Lisa Gardner – FBI Profiler;

Lisa Gardner is one of my favourite writers of any kind of book. I love all her books in each of the different series she writes. But if I had to choose, I’d pick the FBI Profiler series as my favourite, mainly because it includes The Third Victim which is not only one of my favourite books ever, it was the one that introduced me to Lisa Gardner, as well as being the book that got me hooked on crime fiction, eventually leading to me writing it. Because of all that, I named the main character in my series, DI Michael Gardner, after her.

Karin Slaughter – Grant County;

Like Lisa Gardner, Karin Slaughter writes different series and weaves them together seamlessly. They’re all brilliant, and even the ones that are like doorstops I can read in a couple of days because I just have to read one more chapter, and then another, and another. The reason for singling out the Grant County series is, again, because they were the ones that introduced me to Slaughter, but also because it includes Skin Privilege. It might not be the best book of the series as a whole, but, without giving anything away, it made me cry for about three days afterwards, and led me to accuse my mam and sister of having hearts of stone for not shedding any tears at all. Always the sign of a good book.

Thomas Harris – Hannibal Lecter;

This series probably needs no introduction or explanation, and even if the later books don’t stand up as well as the earlier ones, The Silence of the Lambs makes up for it. I came to the books late, after having seen the films. I saw The Silence of the Lambs first, when I was way too young to watch it, and wanted to be Clarice Starling more than anything. (Later I wanted to be Dana Scully. I think, basically, I just wanted to join the FBI and was sorely disappointed when I discovered I wasn’t allowed.) I also love Hannibal, the TV adaptation of the books, and how they’ve reworked the books, making familiar stories new again. Also, Mads Mikkelsen is clearly the best Hannibal Lecter ever and I’ll eat the liver of anyone who says otherwise.

Kate Atkinson – Jackson Brodie;

Kate Atkinson is just brilliant, regardless of what she writes. If I could write half as well as her, I’d die happy. I read some of her more literary work before I came to the series and wondered how her style would adapt to a crime series. As expected, the books are both literary and page turners as the same time. While reading, I’ve found myself laughing out loud and then crying, sometimes at the same sentence. Amazing stuff, also adapted brilliantly for TV with Jason Isaacs as Brodie.

Janet Evanovich – Stephanie Plum;

Up to book number twenty-five and still going strong, the Stephanie Plum series are comedy-crime novels about a bounty hunter in New Jersey. They’re very funny, often ridiculous, but always have a proper mystery at the heart of them. The second crime novel I ever wrote was a comedy-crime, long before I came across these books. I was told no one would ever publish such a thing, mostly because no one knew how to market them and bookshops didn’t know which shelf to put them on. It sounded like nonsense to me, and having seen how successful this series is, I have to assume people were making excuses and my attempt at comedy-crime was just rubbish.


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*BLOG TOUR* Telegrams & Teacakes – Amy Miller ★★★★★

Blurb; There was no denying it, being cheerful was a challenge. You just had to be grateful for small mercies: a sunny day, a night without an air raid, an extra rasher of bacon from the butcher.’

England, 1942: 23-year-old Betty runs away from Bristol to make a new life for herself. Betrayed by her husband, Betty flees to the seaside town of Bournemouth, where she has fond memories of childhood holidays. There, she finds a small family bakery, in desperate need of a new shop girl…

At the Barton Bakery, Betty finds a sanctuary with shopkeeper Audrey Barton, but Audrey is fighting battles of her own. Her husband is at war and in grave danger, she is heavily pregnant, and her customers are horrified by the demands imposed by rationing.

Audrey’s stepsister Lily receives a letter from a man she once loved very much, a man she thought was lost to her forever. He offers her a new future with him, but one that will mean sacrificing so many of her hopes and dreams…

As Winston Churchill tells the country to ‘never give in’, the women of the Barton Bakery struggle on to keep their families, homes and loved ones safe in a time of turmoil.

My Review; BRILLIANT! I am loving this series. This is book three in the Wartime Bakery series. It takes you right back to the olden days. Those times have always fascinated me and how everyone pulls together to cope and survive. This story is just that, but also heart-breaking in parts.

Telegrams & Teacakes is easy to read, beautifully written and I loved it. Audrey and the bakery just feel like family and home in these books! I also enjoyed the introduction of the new character Betty but will she be able to move on and continue with her life within the bakery?

A series best read in order but all read well as a standalone. A well deserved five stars. Highly recommend. I look forward to book four… Fingers crossed.

Amazon Link UK

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