Monthly Archives: April 2022

With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher – Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

A brand new timeless romance with a sprinkling of magic from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author.

‘A complete joy to read, and once I’d started I genuinely couldn’t stop. I was entranced and beguiled from start to finish by this beautiful story. Carrie has single-handedly converted me to magic realism’ Jill Mansell.

‘A spellbinding and enchanting read with a charming cast of characters, With This Kiss is guaranteed to sweep you off your feet and have you rooting for Lorelai’s happy-ever-after right up to the final page. I adored it’ Holly Miller, The Sight of You.

‘Spellbindingly romantic – With This Kiss is utterly captivating. A feat of magical and mystical storytelling’ Laura Jane Williams, Our Stop.

‘A gorgeous story with plenty of heart’ M. A. Kuzniar, Midnight in Everwood.

* * *

If you knew how your love story ends, would you dare to begin?

From the outside, Lorelai is an ordinary young woman with a normal life. She loves reading, she works at the local cinema and she adores living with her best friend. But she carries a painful burden, something she’s kept hidden for years; whenever she kisses someone on the lips, she sees how they are going to die.

Lorelai has never known if she’s seeing what was always meant to be, or if her kiss is the thing that decides their destiny. And so, she hasn’t kissed anyone since she was eighteen.

Then she meets Grayson. Sweet, clever, funny Grayson. And for the first time in years she yearns for a man’s kiss. But she can’t…or can she? And if she does, should she try to intervene and change what she sees?

Spellbinding, magical and utterly original, With This Kiss is one love story you will never forget.

* * *

About the Author

Carrie Hope Fletcher is an actress, singer, author and vlogger. Carrie’s first book, All I
Know Now, was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and her debut novel, On the Other Side, also went straight to number one.

Carrie played the role of Eponine in Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre in London’s West End for almost three years. She has since stared in and received awards for a number of productions including The War of the Worlds, The Addams Family and Heathers: The Musical. She will soon star in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella in the lead role.

The magic in this book comes from the relationships within it and so I will focus most of my review on those.

What I Thought

First up is between the main character Lorelai and her best friend Joanie. Joanie is the one person that Lorelai has trusted with her secret and she has got Lorelai’s back throughout- even when Lorelai is trying to push her away. I liked the mention of soulmates in the book not just being romantic ones and Joanie definitely fits the soulmate bill.

Next between Lorelai and her grandmother and mother. The familial relationships in the book start strained by the weight of Lorelai’s secret, but I enjoyed how they developed throughout and would have loved some more time spent with these. The quiet moments that Lorelai spends with her parents after seeing how her love is set to die had a healing air about them, especially when she is going through her grandmother’s belongings with her mum.

Then Lorelai and Riggs. Riggs is the son of the owner of the cinema where Lorelai works and he is not at all keen on taking over the family business. Lorelai’s relationship with him is designed to show us how kind she is and he is the catalyst for a number of the revelations she has in the story.

The other random men she meets felt like plot devices – but both James and Darren seemed nice so I did feel a little sorry for them when she kissed and ran, although it was necessary for her to test out what the power of her kisses means. Lorelai is such a helpless romantic at heart so her reactions with these men did seem a little out of character.

Finally Lorelai and Grayson. A love story has to have a desirable love interest, and Grayson is definitely that. From his late entrance to book club, to his hairy hobbit feet and relationship with his brother it makes sense for him to be the person that Lorelai turns her life upside down for.

The writing wasn’t always as engaging as I was hoping for and with perhaps a little too much focus on tell and not show. This was definitely a romance first and foremost with the main focus on the relationship – at times to the detriment of some of the other plot points that were introduced such as the book club and Lorelai’s desire to write scripts.

We have lots of flashbacks included that build up a picture of why Lorelai makes the decisions she does but she did frustrate me a little at times – she definitely is responsible for much of her own heartbreak, not that this is uncommon. There was one point where I thought she only cared about saving one person in a vision of a catastrophic accident, so I was relieved when it was eventually mentioned that she had taken steps to save the others her vision would have affected too. Not sure how keen I would have been on her as a character if that hadn’t been the case.

Overall this was a super easy and enjoyable read, and I can see it making a cute romance film (or musical) in the vein of Last Christmas. Author Carrie would make a wonderful Lorelai.

Content warnings: misgendering (apologised for), suicide, traumatic scenes of predicted deaths (think Final Destination), kissing without consent.

With thanks to HQ for the gifted ARC for the purposes of an honest review. Do check out what everyone else thought.

Dread Wood by Jennifers Killick – The Write Read Ultimate Blog Tour – Book Review

About the Book

Turn the lights on. Lock the door. Things are about to get SERIOUSLY SCARY!

The brand new must-read middle-grade novel from the author of super-spooky Crater Lake. Perfect for 9+ fans of R.L.Stine’s Goosebumps

It’s basically the worst school detention ever. When classmates (but not mate-mates) Hallie, Angelo, Gustav and Naira are forced to come to school on a SATURDAY, they think things can’t get much worse. But they’re wrong. Things are about to get seriously scary.

What has dragged their teacher underground? Why do the creepy caretakers keeping humming the tune to Itsy Bitsy Spider? And what horrors lurk in the shadows, getting stronger and meaner every minute…? Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. But it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on detention. Someone has been watching and plotting and is out for revenge…

About the Author

Jennifer Killick is the author of Crater Lake, the Alex Sparrow series, and middle-grade sci-fi adventure Mo, Lottie and the Junkers. She regularly visits schools and festivals, and her books have three times been selected for The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and Lego. When she isn’t busy mothering or step-mothering (which isn’t often) she loves to read, write and run, as fast as she can.

Twitter: @JenniferKillick

What I Thought

This book was so much fun. It’s a Middle Grade horror that crosses The Breakfast Club and One of Us is Lying with Tremors and Arachnophobia. There’s even faint echoes of IT! – Club Loser is the first chapter title.

I really liked the cast of child characters and the creepy adults and their motives were not something I would have guessed. There were some cute piglets at risk too and I love the idea of having farm animals at school. I was not as keen on the Spiders – but they definitely are scary to me so – horrifying monsters brief achieved.

The teacher overseeing the detention calls it a Back on Track session (Teamwork, Respect, Attitude, Curiosity, Kindness) and it is interesting to see all these qualities at play.

Naira, Gus, Hallie and our narrator Angelo all seem likeable though, so what was it that got them all a detention? And most importantly will they all get out of it in one piece?

It’s spooky when what is being sacrificing is chickens… but are children next on the menu?

The story wrapped up and the ending gave us the promise of a sequel. Reading this has reminded me how much I enjoyed Point Horror books when younger. I’m off to catch up with Jennifer’s other horror series Crater Lake now.

Thanks to The Write Reads Tours and the publisher for a gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. Do check out what everyone else on the tour thought too.

May Day (Seekers Book 1) by Josie Jaffrey – BBNYA Winner – The WriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour – Book Review

I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.

BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website or twitter @bbnya_official.

The sign-ups are now open for BBNYA 2022 for authors and panelists. Click here to enter:

About the Book

If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.

It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.

When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.

To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.

Body bags on standby.

May Day is the first book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, an urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England.

About the Author

Josie is the author of multiple novels and short stories. Most of those are set in the Silverse, a pre- and post-apocalyptic world filled with vampires and zombies.

She is currently working on a range of fantasy and historical fiction projects (both adult and YA). Ultimately, she hopes to be a hybrid author, both traditionally- and self-published.

After finishing her degree in Literae Humaniores (Classics) at the University of Oxford, Josie wasn’t sure what to do with her life.

She slogged through a brief stint working for an investment bank in London during the 2008 credit crunch, then converted to law and qualified as a solicitor specialising in intellectual property. She worked at a law firm for five years before moving to a UK-based international publisher in 2016. Whilst she loved law, in the end she didn’t love it quite as much as writing, which she now does almost full time.

Josie lives in Oxford with her husband and two cats (Sparky and Gussie), who graciously permit human cohabitation in return for regular feeding and cuddles. The resulting cat fluff makes it difficult for Josie to wear black, which is largely why she gave up being a goth. Although the cats are definitely worth it, she still misses her old wardrobe.

What I Thought

This is the first Josie Jaffrey book I have read, and it won’t be my last. Oddly enough crime is one of the genres I gravitate toward the least which is odd because I do usually enjoy them when I read them, and this was no different.

To be fair add vampires into a book and you’ll probably have me reading a book about football! It’s also refreshing to see a good urban fantasy set in the U.K. – namely in Oxford.

The story starts with a pretty literal bang as a body plummets to the ground, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest he didn’t jump of his own accord and that Silvers ‘Jaffrey’s name for Vampires’ are involved.

The characters that inhabit the world were fully realised and spoke in the type of snarky, witty banter I enjoy. Just look at how Jack’s existing enemy and initial Prime Suspect and is first described to us:

“KILLIAN DRAKE IS an unmitigated bastard. He’s rich and powerful, which is a bad place for any man to start, but he’s also arrogant and elitist, which makes him a particularly wanky breed of wanker.”

This gives you both a sense of Killian’s character but also Jack’s. The writing was pacy and engaging and Jack slots nicely into the ‘detectives with unresolved pain driving them’ category.

The book reminded me of Sarah J Maas Crescent City crossed with the tv shows Moonlight and True Blood. I saw another reviewer mention Veronica Mars and that vibe fits too so if you like any of the above then do pick this series or this author up. Like I said at the beginning I will be looking to read the rest of this series – book 2 Judgement Day is already out too – and will peruse her back catalogue too.

Do check out some of the Goodreads reviews for content warnings – of which there are a few – as is common in both urban fantasy and crime.

I haven’t read the other books in the running for the prize but I can definitely see why this one won.

Check out the reviewers sharing what they thought about Book 2 on the tour too.

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