This House is Haunted by John Boyne

this house is haunted

Story Outline:

1867. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.

When she finally arrives, shaken, at the hall she is greeted by the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her mysterious employer. The children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, a second terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong.

From the moment she rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence which lives within Gaudlin’s walls. Eliza realises that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall’s long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past

 

My Review:

I came across this book because someone I knew had read it, they told me it scared them to the point that they slept with the lights on after reading it. Being a curious creature I had to find out for myself whether it was truly as scary as they described it.

I am pleased to report my sleep has not been interrupted by spectral accuracies and I have not been scared out of my wits. What I have found however is a wonderfully written ghost story. Whereas I did not feel like there was a presence watching me as some books have induced in the past, I did find myself feeling rather sad. This story of loss and death puts me in mind of Wuthering Heights in its style. Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did and I think anyone who enjoys a suspenseful story will also get lost in its pages as I did.

Having had a psychic gift since around the age of seven, stories such as this have always been interesting and entertaining. Some of what Eliza Caine has been through I can relate to and some of it I am glad I have not. The author’s talent for chilling a reader to the bone with mere words is a talent that I am glad I have had the privilege of experiencing.

I hope that people enjoy this sometimes unnerving and sad tale as much as I did.

Little Woodford by Catherine Jones

little woodford

 

Story Outline:

Little Woodford has a sleepy high street, a weekly market, a weathered old stone church and lovingly tended allotments. A peaceful, unexciting place, the very heart of middle England.

In Little Woodford, no one has fingers in more pies than Olivia Laithwaite, parish councillor, chair of the local WI, wife, mother and all round queen bee. So, of course, it’s Olivia who is first to spot that The Beeches has been sold at last.

Soon rumours begin to swirl around the young widow who has bought this lovely house. Why exactly did she leave London with her beautiful stepdaughter and young sons? Are they running from someone? Hiding something? Though if they are, they won’t be the only ones. Sometimes the arrival of newcomers in a community is all it takes to light a fuse…

Perfect for fans of Rebecca Shaw, Jill Mansell and Emma Burstall.

 

My Review:

Reviewed for Netgalley and Head of Zeus

On the surface, Little Woodford looks like any ordinary English village, but below the surface of Little Woodford, there are secrets and betrayals.

This was recommended by a friend who enjoyed it and upon completing it I understand why. It is a very accurate portrayal of village life. All the characters that you expect to find are present. The socialite, the town gossip and the ever-present and calming church influence. What I didn’t expect and thoroughly enjoyed was the depth of these characters and how they were all connected to each other. Some more obvious than others.

Catherine Jones has taken village life and placed it under a microscope for us all to see the true nature of people, both good and bad. I always find books such as these interesting to read.

The characters are extremely well written and come alive on the page. I felt as if I was right there on the page with them going through all that transpired. For me, the story flowed at a good pace, with so many things going on it was hard not to read this in one sitting. There are so many intertwining characters and situations happening that you just want to keep reading to find out what happens.

The one issue I have with the book was that the story jumped from one character to another without not a lot of warning. It would be better for the reader if there was a subheading with the characters name. But not a major issue but some might find it takes away from the flow of the story.

All in all a wonderfully entertaining and thought-provoking tale of life.

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin

secrets at maple syrup farm

Story Outline:

Secrets…we all have them.

Clay’s inheritance of Maple Syrup Farm came at the perfect time. Leaving city life behind he headed for maple-tree surrounded Ashford, Connecticut. Getting the farm in working order again might be back-breaking work – but it seems to be the only way for Clay to finally forget about the girl who once broke his heart…

Lucy’s had enough of rules and the stress of planning her life down to the very last detail. Looking for an adventure she stumbles upon Maple Syrup Farm and its gorgeously gruff owner. This could be the perfect place to hide out…!

But the tranquillity and warmth of Maple Tree Farm is enough to heal even the most battered of hearts. There are very few problems in life that can’t be cheered up by maple syrup!

The new standalone novel from bestselling author of the Gingerbread Cafe trilogy and The Bookshop on the Corner, Rebecca Raisin.

 

My Review:

Like the previous book of Rebecca’s (The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées) that I had the pleasure of reading. This book was not just a story of budding romance but a book that captures the imagination and engages all your senses. I have never been a huge fan of romance in the past as it conjures up all sorts of images of heaving bosoms and manly protrusion, but it is not the case with this authors books. She writes her characters in such a way that the readers grow to love them as you get to know each of them.

I loved this book so much that I did not want it to end. My heart actually felt like it was going to break because I have to leave these characters behind. I truly wish that these people were real and the town of Ashford was an actual place. You do not just read Lucy’s story, you live it with her. Lucy’s adventure is one that will grab you by the heart and leave you wanting more. From her personal struggles being separated from her mother and wondering how she will make it through a whole year on her own. To finding a love she was not looking for and becoming part of a community that welcomed her with open arms. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry but more importantly, it will leave you feeling like Lucy, you have found friends for life.

Rebecca Raisin is a true master storyteller of the romance genre. Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm was a truly joyous experience I hope to repeat in the future.

The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées (The Little Paris Collection, #3) by Rebecca Raisin

rebecca raisin

 

Story Outline:

What is French for falling in love?
When Del leaves small-town America to compete in a perfume competition in Paris, she thinks it is just the next step on her five-year-plan. It’s an exciting opportunity. What started out as just a dream for Del and her twin sister is nearly in her grasp. If she wins this competition, they are on their way to opening their very own perfume boutique!

Arriving in Paris, watching the sun glinting off the Seine and wandering the Champs-Elysees, Del discovers the most perfect perfumery she’s ever seen. Yet, as the competition dawns Del realises that whilst she might have had the best nose in her small village, her competitors seem to know more than she could ever have dreamed. This competition isn’t going to be easy…

Del has the romance of Paris to sweep her away from her worries, but as the competition heats up, so does her desire for that which she cannot have! If only the dashing owner Sébastien didn’t smell so seductive, look so handsome and make her heart flutter like it never has before. They say love smells as sweet as a red rose in bloom, but Del would tell anyone that true love can’t be bottled – it’s beautiful and unique to everyone…even herself. With everything on the line for her future, can Del really let a little attraction get in the way of securing her dreams?

 

My Review:

Reviewed for NetGalley and HQ Digital

Due for publication 30th March 2018

Seeing as it is “the month of LOVE” I thought I would read books with a romantic touch to them. Rebecca Raisin’s book was the perfect way to start.

I have not read any of the authors books up to this point so I had no idea what to expect. What I discovered was an amazing heartfelt tale of loss, friendship and belief in your own abilities and finding the strength to change your life even when it feels you are making all the wrong decisions.

It is not just a tale about all those things, it is also a journey of the sensory kind, all the aroma’s Del’s experiences in the challenges set out for her make it a story not just for the eyes alone. I was so drawn in immediately to this adventure. I too could smell and see what Del could. There is nothing that pleases me more as a reader than to be able to connect to a character that way. It is also an emotional journey. Del had me laughing, crying and sometimes cringing.

The characters are bold, heartwarming and inspiring, I even had a soft spot for the not so nice Clementine who eventually showed her true colours when things didn’t go the way she planned. It is a rare thing for me to like a mean character but in this case, I did.

There are so many reasons you will fall in love with the story but I will let you find out for yourself. All I will say is once you read one Rebecca Raisin books you will want to read more.

The journey has started

cropped-daises1

 

The following posts involves my thoughts on God so if that does not interest you then keep scrolling

As some of you may know this year I have made it my choice to come back to the person I was in the past. The one that did not let people and the way they looked at life get me down.

I decided one way to help me was to stay away from politics of any kind. 15 days into the new year and that is still working for me, I see political based posts, news stories etc and instead of reading them and getting involved just skip right past.

The second way was to find my faith again. Now when I mean faith I do not mean going back to church or anything like that. I mean reconnecting with God in my own way. I started out by reading Conversations with God Book 1 by Neale Donald Walsch. I read two of his books in my twenties and they made sense to me. But like everyone in their twenties life happens and you put things as deep and confronting as your relationship with God on the back burner for another day. On re-reading the first one it all came back to me. His words made sense.

For someone who was born with a disability, I have had many different feeling about why am the way I am. I never blame anyone for my condition but I often think why me when the rest of my family can walk. The truth of it is I am the way I am because that is the way my soul wanted to live this life. Not because in a past life I was bad or anything remotely like that, my soul wanted it this way so it chose this way. My mind and my soul often battle with each other over a lot of things and this is another area I am working on.

Another aspect I found rather interesting in the book was relationships. We all have relationships whether they be family, romantic, friends, work. In the book, God states that we enter any relationship with an expectation that the other person will give us something. That is the incorrect motive for entering any relationship. We should enter a relationship not wanting something from someone else but instead find out what this relationship shows us about ourselves and how we grow whilst in these relationships.

It has been fascinating and thought provoking thus far. I debated whether to share this because that is a very personal thing for me to share but I thought even if one person gets something out of my thoughts then that can only be a good thing.

 

Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 1 by Neale Donald Walsch

conversations with god book 1

My Review:

I first came to this book in my mid to late twenties. Having seemingly lost all faith in everything around me. I was at a period in my life asking all the big questions but never seeming to get the answers. Then this book suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I read it, took on board the messages within and then life happened again, lessons learned were soon less important than what was going on externally around me.

Fast forward 20 years or so later and life had come full circle and still, the same things were dragging me now more than ever. No surprise up popped this book again. This re-read for me was more of an easing of my soul than a revelation. There comes a point in everyone’s life when certain things just do not seem to sit well with you anymore and you need to find another way of looking at things. The lessons relearnt will hopefully stay with me and help me see things from a different perspective than what I do now about the world around me and ultimately myself.

I do honestly with all my heart and soul believe the dialogue between Neale and GOD to be genuine. Of course, there will be many that say this is just the workings of a great imagination to make a profit, like all those who have gone before him. That in itself may be true but if you read this book you get a sense of self and you know yourself what is true and what is false if you feel it within yourself.

People may think you have to be religious to read this and the other books in the series but that is not the case. I had lost my belief in GOD the first time I read the book, for me it was a case of GOD saying to me through the book, you may have lost your faith but I am right here…see here I am. I am far from a religious person as you can ever get but I believe in something bigger than myself.

If you have ever questioned what life is about and you have an open mind to the possibilities of what all this that we call life could possibly mean, then you may just enjoy and even learn something. If you check the book out after reading this review then I am glad, if you read this review and think it is a load of hogwash then I am also glad. We are all individuals and we all have to travel our own paths, either choice is the right one for you.