Book Review: The Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson

My first thoughts on this book was that it looked like a really interesting read. I haven’t read that many historical crime fiction, but was totally absorbed and intrigued by the cover of this one. 
Book Description

Spring, 1728. A young, well-dressed man is dragged through the streets of London to the gallows at Tyburn. The crowds jeer and curse as he passes, calling him a murderer. He tries to remain calm. His name is Tom Hawkins and he is innocent. Somehow he has to prove it, before the rope squeezes the life out of him.



It is, of course, all his own fault. He was happy with Kitty Sparks. Life was good. He should never have told the most dangerous criminal in London that he was ‘bored and looking for adventure’. He should never have offered to help Henrietta Howard, the king’s mistress, in her desperate struggles with a brutal husband. And most of all, he should never have trusted the witty, calculating Queen Caroline. She has promised him a royal pardon if he holds his tongue but then again, there is nothing more silent than a hanged man.

Based loosely on actual events, Antonia Hodgson’s new novel is both a sequel to The Devil in the Marshalsea and a standalone historical mystery. From the gilded cage of the Court to the wicked freedoms of the slums, it reveals a world both seductive and deadly. And it continues the rake’s progress of Tom Hawkins – assuming he can find a way to survive the noose…
           

When I decided I wanted to read this novel, I didn’t realise that it was a sequel to The Devil in the Marshalsea, but anyway I decided to give it a go. I am really glad I did, and felt that it didn’t matter that I hadn’t read the previous novel. 
The setting of the novel is in the deep grotty slums of London in the 1700’s. The way the book is written gives you a great picture of this time with the corruption and violence that seems to be all around you. The main character Thomas is such a likable character, and I was rooting for him all the time as we try to discover who actually dunnit?
The one thing I enjoyed about the book was that it is actually loosely based on real events, this to me gives it a sense of reality and truth behind the story.
My overall thoughts is that you will be taken on a fabulous ride with this thriller through grimy London and be guessing all the way! I have enjoyed it very much and look forward to going back and reading The Devil in the Marshalsea.
I have given The Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson 4 out of 5 stars.
Hardback Edition
Published 4th June 2015 by Hodder & Stoughton
Rachel xx
Disclaimer I was given this hardback edition to read and review free of charge from Bookbridgr. All opinions and views expressed are my own.

Book Review: The Awakening by Stuart Meczes

I haven’t read a YA novel in a while and so when I saw this ebook of The Awakening by Stuart Meczes, I couldn’t wait to give it a go. I find YA books quick and easy to read with really great stories. This ebook is the first part of an urban fantasy series called The Hasea Chronicles. The second and third instalments are The Veil Corruption and Without A Heartbeat.

                 The Awakening by Stuart Meczes

Book Description

Alexander Eden is one unhappy teenager. A geeky, social pariah, he’s the victim of constant bullying at school. His home life isn’t much better with a stepfather who resents him and a half brother who is better than him at everything.

But that all changes the day the mysterious and beautiful Gabriella De Luca walks into his life. Everyone wants to know her, to be with her. But she is interested in Alex.
Because Alex is different.

Soon afterwards he is thrown into a world he never thought possible. A world where he and others like him are the last line of defence. A world where an ancient unspeakable evil lurks.
Evil which seeks to consume him.

DILECTI SURGEMUS – SOCII POLLEMUS
(Chosen we rise – Allied we prevail) 

The Awakening by Stuart Meczes
I have never read a fantasy series that has taken my breath away like The Awakening did with me. I have been totally hooked on this series, and as I write this I am halfway through the second instalment – The Veil Corruption. But I had to stop to write this review on The Awakening!
Stuart Meczes has created a brilliant concept of another world called Pandemonium which has endured an ‘endless war’ for centuries combining it with our world where a group called The Chosen protect our world from the evil that is trying to get across. 
The main character Alex Eden starts the story off by being a normal teenager that gets cruelly picked on at school and is subsequently a geeky loner. His life is the same everyday, trying to avoid getting picked on by the school bully. One day his life changes when a new student called Gabriella De Luca shows up in his class. From here on she helps him discover the real Alex and helps him through his ‘Awakening’. 
It is very rare for me to love absolutely everything about a book, but this is definitely one of them. It gives you the story of a journey for a young man, through love, loss and survival. 
I have given The Awakening by Stuart Meczes 5 out of 5 stars.
Rachel xx
Disclaimer: I was given this ebook to read and review free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book cover image and book cover description taken from Tomoson.com.

Read With Me

Book Review: Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson

As soon as I saw the title of this book Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson, I knew I would love to read it. With Green Beans in the title I knew it would involve gardening of some sort, and I wasn’t wrong. 
I requested to read this book from NetGalley, due to the title only, before I even read the description. I am so glad I was successful. Due to it being an ebook, I’m afraid you will have to make do with another picture of my trusty Kindle! It is getting quite a few shots in these days.
        
Book Description

When Izzy Fraser’s long-term boyfriend walks out on her, she’s left in a bit of a pickle. Yes, she has the house of her dreams, but she now has a crippling mortgage to pay on her own.


So she takes matters into her own hands and, having always been a keen gardener, decides to set up Izzy’s Organics, delivering crates of fresh fruit and vegetables to local villagers.

Along the way she meets all sorts of characters, including the very handsome Erik and the very Grumpy Dan. But can Izzy sort the wheat from the chaff? And will her new business sow the seeds of change that she wants? 

The main character in this book is Izzy Fraser, she gets dumped by her cheating boyfriend and has to start making money to pay the mortgage on her gorgeous little house that she inherited from her Aunt. Izzy knows nothing about growing vegetables but she is very determined to start her own vegetable delivery box business, and somehow make her land pay for itself. 
Along the way Izzy has the help of her best friends Anna and Jess and the attention of Erik and Dan. There are lots of other characters in this book as well that you will grow to love. 
A beautifully written perfect summer holiday read that will leave you laughing and cringing in places for poor Izzy.
I have given Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson 5 out of 5 stars.
Publication date 19th May 2015
Rachel xx

Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge in exchange for a honest review. All opinions and views expressed are my own. Book cover image and Book Description taken from NetGalley .com for purpose of this review only.


 *I am a part of the Amazon Affiliate scheme so if you click on a link to Amazon and buy, I will receive a little bit back, so thanks if you do

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Book Review: Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate

The lovely people at Netgalley and The Little Brown Book Group UK have let me read a proof ebook copy of Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate. It combines two of my favourite things, reading and cooking. Prepare to never look at a cookbook in the same way again!
                

Book Description

Kelly Madigan seems to have it all: a fabulous boyfriend, a supportive – if eccentric – family, and a flourishing career as a cookbook ghostwriter. But after finding a letter from her recently-deceased mother, criticising her stable but unexciting life, Kelly knows she needs to make a change. When a mysterious new writing opportunity in London presents itself, she jumps at the chance to get away from it all. 

Enter Natasha Spencer – Oscar-winning actress and health nut, not to mention a total nightmare. She’s working on a new cookbook and has asked for Kelly’s help. What Kelly didn’t factor in was meeting Natasha’s dishy MP husband, Hugh Ballantine.
I absolutely loved reading this book, it tingled my taste buds and made me drool with all the lovely recipes especially the banana bread one. Some of which the author has included at the back of the book as an extra little snippet which is fab!
Before I read this book, I never realised what hard work goes into being a cookbook ghostwriter. The main character Kelly has to redo the same recipe over and over again for Natasha Spencer her boss day after day to get the recipe correct. As a reader this gave me sympathy for Kelly and made me dislike the character of Natasha from the start, who gave Kelly very little information to go on, yet expected food miracles from her. Although I don’t condone the actions of Kelly with Natasha’s husband Hugh. There was a little bit of me that was rooting for them in this twisted affair. 
The only thing I would change about this great read is that I would loved to have seen Kelly’s dad included more into the story line. He is such a funny character and we don’t hear too much about him and his eccentric ways. 
A perfect light-hearted, funny romantic read for the summer, very enjoyable.
I have given Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate 4 out of 5 stars.
Publication date 4th June 2015 by Little Brown Book Group UK
Rachel xx

Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge in exchange for a honest review. All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book cover image and book description taken from Netgalley.com for purpose of this review only.

Giveaway – The Wishing Chair Collection by Enid Blyton

The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton is my favourite childhood book of all time. I believe I was 8 or 9 when I got it for Christmas and I couldn’t put it down. There is something about Enid Blyton’s books that turn me back into a kid. The adventures she used to write about were were just amazing and took you on a journey far, far away. I still have my own copy today, but the one shown below is the copy I want to giveaway to one of you, my readers.        
           
The Wishing Chair tells us of the story of brother and sister Peter and Mollie, who are out looking for a birthday present one day and come across a strange little shop. In this shop they find the magical Wishing Chair which ends up taking them on adventures with their pixie friend. They meet many witches, goblins and wizards amongst other creatures along the way.
This beautiful hardback edition I’m giving away contains 3 storybooks in 1. They are:
  • Adventures of the Wishing Chair
  • The Wishing Chair Again
  • More Wishing Chair Stories 
It is over 500 pages long and will keep any child occupied for a good few hours. 

To enter this giveaway please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Due to postage costs this will be a UK only competition. Good luck.

Rachel xx

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

There is one prize of a hardback copy of The Wishing Chair Collection – the prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter.com from all valid entries and be notified by Twitter. The winner will have 7 days to respond with a valid UK postal address before a new winner is selected. Open to all UK entrants aged 18 or over only. Facebook and Twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway. 
Entry to this competition confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

More competitions at www.theprizefinder.com

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U, ME AND THE KIDS

Book Review: The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

I requested to read an ebook copy of The Bones of You by Debbie Howells from Netgalley for one of my Bank Holiday reads. My initial thoughts of the cover image shown further below was that I am going to be in for a deep, dark, mystery, psychological thriller type of a book. I was not disappointed, and if you decide to read it neither would you.                                             
Book Description

When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she’s stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate’s daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic—girls like Rosie don’t get into real trouble—Kate’s sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed.
Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons—graceful mother Jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister Delphine—the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie’s life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead.
Weaving flashbacks from Rosie’s perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love.
The book starts of with a rather creepy intro from Rosie, telling us that she is looking at the movie of her life. This suggests that she is dying and her life is flashing before her eyes. We hear Rosie’s side of the story throughout the book, and get to know her character this way.
Rosie’s mother Jo calls Kate to tell her that her daughter is missing. Kate and Jo don’t really know each other very much, but through the disappearance of Rosie and then the finding of her body, Kate becomes Jo’s rock. Jo’s marriage crumbles through the book, and she becomes a depressed pill taking alcoholic. Kate is with her every step of the way trying to make sense of what is happening while watching her own daughter Grace go off to university and her husband Angus heading up to York for work. 
I didn’t particularly like the character of Kate in the beginning, she seemed to be a bit of an interferring busy body, but as the book goes on I can see why. I am not quite sure I like the parts of Rosie telling her story from the grave either. This narative can be a bit confusing. 
I do like the author’s style of writing designed to tease the reader, drawing you in, thinking yes I know what happened, then throwing another spanner in the works changing your line of thinking. This keeps the reader very much engaged with the story.
This book is a good read for anyone looking for a mystery suspense who dunnit novel. 
I have given The Bones of You by Debbie Howells 3 out of 5 stars. 
Expected publication date 30th June 2015 by Kensington Books
Rachel xx

Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge in exchange for an hoenst review. All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book cover image and Book Description taken from NetGalley.com for purpose of this review only.