Monday, 21 October 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

✨✨ Jaffareadstoo is thrilled to be part of this exciting Blog Tour ✨✨ 

Paperback 17 October 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and to Random Things Tours for my invitation to this blog tour

Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying just the right side of scandal.

Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina's orbit one night and can never let her go.

Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, this is an epic novel of passion, heartache and loss.

My thoughts..

In 1925, Selina Lennox is one of the Bright Young Things who scamper from decadent party to decadent party, living life at top speed, and whose champagne lifestyles are distinctly at odds with those who haven’t been born to a life of privilege. There’s a great sense of history within the story and the author recreates those hedonistic years following the Great War to perfection. It was such a sad time when so many young men failed to return, lost in the mud and mire of Northern France, and yet for those left to pick up the pieces, there was also a sense of fragility as if living life at top speed made up for their sense of loss.

However, an inadvertent meeting between society girl, Selina and the impoverished artist/photographer, Lawrence Weston will change the course of both their lives forever. Selina and Lawrence’s story is so beautifully described that right from their very first meeting the poignancy of their situation is revealed, and as the story slips effortlessly between two very different time frames so a story of loss, heartbreak and earth shattering love starts to be revealed. I can’t possibly do justice to the beauty of this story as there’s just so much to share about all the special little details, especially about Selina's young daughter Alice, whose own story, in 1936, forms quite a chunk of the narrative and whose aching vulnerability breaks your heart. ♡

As I have come to expect from this talented author, the writing and historical research in The Glittering Hour is impeccable, but it's not just the strong sense of history that draws me to this author's writing, it is her rare talent to hold the reader in the palm of her hand, and the way that she brings life to characters who, very quickly, become as familiar as friends, and whose loves and losses strike a resonance within your soul. I was so emotionally connected with both the story, and the characters, that I couldn’t put the book down, or stop thinking about it when the story ended.

There’s a shimmering sense of glitter to this story which makes it so very special, and in a year when I have read well over 150 books, The Glittering Hour is right up there at the top of my list and is, without doubt, one of my reads of the year.

About the Author

Iona Grey has a degree in English Literature and Language from Manchester University, an obsession with history and an enduring fascination with the lives of women in the twentieth century. She lives in rural Cheshire with her husband and three daughters. 

Twitter @Iona_Grey #The GlitteringHour



Amazon UK

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Hist Fic Saturday ~ The Women's at Hitler's Table by Rosella Postorino

On Hist Fic Saturday

Let's go back to ...WW2

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Harper Collins
ebook 1 August 2019
Hardback 14 November 2019

Translated by Leah Janeczko

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

East Prussia, 1943. Hitler hides away in the Wolfsshanze – his hidden headquarters. The tide is turning in the war and his enemies circle ever closer.

Ten women are chosen.
Ten women to taste his food and protect him from poison.

Twenty-six-year-old Rosa has lost everything to this war. Her parents are dead. Her husband is fighting on the front line. Alone and scared, she faces the SS with nothing but the knowledge every bite might be her last.

Caught on the wrong side of history, how far is Rosa willing to go to survive?

What did I think about it..

Towards the latter years of WW2 Hitler was becoming increasingly paranoid and even though he was hiding himself away in the Wolfsshanze in East Prussia, the fear of being poisoned was never very far from his mind. In this fictional account ten women are chosen to act as food tasters and so protect Hitler from poison.

Rosa has recently moved from the city to live with her parents-in-law in a supposedly safer environment but soon after her arrival she is chosen to be one of Hitler's food tasters and Rosa realises that she has merely swapped one danger for another far more insidious threat. The SS collect Rosa from her home in a rural community and take her, and others, to Hitler's lair where they are given high quality vegetarian meals as Hitler didn't eat meat, but sumptuous and plentiful though the food was, Rosa couldn't begin to relax enough to appreciate the food on offer.

This is far more than the story about the food on Hitler's table, it's about the horrors of war and the absolute terror of living life with no idea if each day was to be your last. Rosa's somewhat troubled relationship with the other taster women, who see her as a city girl, and Rosa's very real fear for the life of her soldier husband makes the story all the more poignant.

The Women at Hitler's Table is inspired by the true story of Margot WΓΆlk, who was the only survivor of the 15 original women who were chosen as food tasters. Margot only revealed her story, and her horrific wartime experiences, when she was 95 years old. This fictional account is a fitting tribute to her courage and fortitude, and of the immense pressure that the taster women faced on a daily basis.

About the Author

Rosella Postorino is an internationally bestselling author and an editor. She speaks fluent English, Italian, French, and German. The Women at Hitler’s Table is her first novel to be translated into English.

Twitter @HarperCollins

Friday, 18 October 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Perfect Dress by Louisa Leaman

πŸ‘—I'm thrilled to host today's stop on this perfect blog tourπŸ‘—

e-book 17 October 2019
Paperback 6 February 2020

My thanks to the publishers for my proof copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of this blog tour

The Whispering Dress is no ordinary wedding dress shop. At this shop every gown is different. Every gown has its story. This shop is a treasure trove of history, filled with gowns from every decade for every type of bride. After all, the most important dress of a woman’s life should surely have something distinct to say.

Something bold for the shy and retiring.

Something simple for the woman who is unafraid to stand out.

And something dazzling for the bride who wouldn’t normally dare to be different.

Fran Delaney matches dresses to brides, influenced by the memories, photos and letters she has collected of the dress’s previous owner. But when Fran meets Rafael Colt, who has reluctantly inherited a gorgeous couture gown, his disinterest in the dress and his refusal to talk about his family history means the dress lies unmatched. To find the right bride for the dress, Fran must untangle the mystery surrounding the cynical but captivating Rafael and his dark family history.

What did I think about it..

Fran Delaney has the most beautiful wedding dress shop, called The Whispering Dress, where she lovingly stores her vintage gowns just waiting for the right bride to connect with the perfect dress. Fran sources the dresses from boot sales and house clearances, and does all she can to discover, not just the history of the dress, but also about the bride who once wore it on her special day. The  interior of The Whispering Dress sparkles with glittering tiaras whilst gossamer sleek veils shimmer in the light of an Art Deco chandelier. However, taking centre stage are the beautiful vintage wedding dresses, which are made from tantalising tulle and sensuous silk, all just patiently waiting for the perfect bride.

When Fran finds an exquisite couture wedding dress in a house clearance, not only does it bring her into contact with the less than charming, but incredibly handsome, Rafael Colt, but also the discovery of the dress reveals a very dark secret at the heart of the Colt family.

Inspired by a collection of wedding dresses in an exhibition at the V&A Museum in London, the author has given us a very polished first novel, and from the very start of The Perfect Dress I was lost in the story. I loved learning more about the lure of vintage wedding dresses and reading of the history behind each one, rejoicing when a dress found a new bride. And even though the mystery at the centre of the novel allows a more detailed look into the Colt family, I think it is the magic of the wedding dresses themselves which gives the story its heart and soul.

The story has moments which made me smile ,and others which are unashamedly romantic, I mean who couldn't fall for the handsome Rafael, but most importantly it also reminds us that it's not all about the Wedding Day being perfect. What is so vitally important, beneath all the gloss and glamour, is the relationship between the two people who are being married.

The Perfect Dress is a perfect read for all those who enjoy a good love story.

My Perfect Dress 

© Jaffareadstoo

Matching the dress to the bride is perhaps one of the most romantic aspects of choosing a wedding dress and I can remember going to the bridal store with my mother and even though it's over forty years ago every aspect of that shopping trip is stored away in my memory.

I had a definite idea of how I wanted to look, I'm an incredibly unfussy person, so I knew that I didn't want flounces and endless petticoats, and as this was 1979, not quite the era of the meringue dress,  it was still possible to find simple elegance. I would have loved to have worn my mother's 1940's wedding dress but sadly that wasn't still in one piece as my mother, ever thrifty, had used the silk of her dress to make little girlie dresses for me!

I knew as soon as stepped into this dress, and it was the first I tried, that it was the perfect one for me, I loved the Edwardian style, it was just beautifully elegant, and even now, forty years later, I still love looking at it and remembering the perfect dress I wore on my perfect, snowy Wedding Day in December 1979

The author, Louisa studied Art History at Leeds University before becoming a teacher working with children with special needs. After winning the Times Education Supplement’s New Writer’s Award, she turned her hand to writing books for children. In my opinion she currently has one of the coolest jobs writing content for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and her first book, The Perfect Dress, was inspired by the V&As large wedding dress collection.

Twitter @louisaleaman #ThePerfectDress


Thursday, 17 October 2019

Blog Tour ~ The Museum of Lost Love by Gary Barker

πŸ“– Delighted to be part of this blog tour today πŸ“–

World Editions
1 October 2019

My thanks to the publisher and Random Things Tours for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of this blog tour

In Zagreb is an unusual museum: it displays mementos of broken relationships. Each exhibit describes a unique story of a broken heart, of love gone awry.

When Katia and Goran visit the museum, Goran stumbles upon an exhibit that seems to be addressed to him, from a girl he met in a Sarajevo refugee camp at age fourteen. A reminder of two days spent together while he and his mother and brother waited anxiously for visas to America to escape the war.

Encouraged by Katia, a therapist, to reconnect with his lost past, Goran confronts the youth he lost during the Yugoslav Wars. Similarly Katia, adopted by Americans at one week old after her birth mother was murdered in a gangland killing in Brazil, heads back to Brazil to uncover her own family history.

Meanwhile Tyler, a military veteran and one of Katia’s patients, attempts to put the Afghan war behind him, and finds love in unexpected circumstances.

Drawing upon his own experiences working in conflict zones, Gary Barker’s powerful novels dive deep into human love and longing. Crossing continents, and set against backdrops of war, deprivation, and violence, The Museum of Lost Love is a soulful testament to the resilience of the human heart.

What did I think about it..

This is an interesting idea for a book as not only does it explore the lives of three very different characters but it also gives us a glimpse into the poignant exhibits which are to found in the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb.

I found this to be a story of several parts, initially that of Tyler who is an Afghanistan veteran, struggling with therapy, and trying to come terms with the way his life has evolved, and of his tentative relationship with his young son, Sammy. And then running alongside is the story Katia and Goran who are in a relationship but they each have deep emotional issues in their past which need to be properly addressed.

Whilst the character driven element of the novel works well, especially the author’s exploration of the intricacies of their individual lives, I think what worked best for me was the haunting and very personal exhibits which were found in the museum. Reading of love both lost and won, and of the poignant reminders, be they written or physical, made me realise the importance of keeping special such memories alive.

The Museum of Lost Love is a perceptive story which took me to places I can only visit in my imagination and which reminded me that, if we let it, love can tear us apart.

About the Author

Photo credit: Andy DelGiudice

GARY BARKER is an author, researcher, and human rights activist. He is founder and director of Promundo, an international organization that works with men and boys in more than 25 countries to achieve gender equality and end violence against women. He has been awarded an Ashoka Fellowship and an Open Society Fellowship for his work in conflict zones. His previous novels include Luisa’s Last Words, Mary of Kivu, and The Afghan Vampires Book Club (co-written with Michael Kaufman). Barker lives in Washington, DC. 

Twitter @WORLDEDBOOKS #MuseumOfLostLove

Book Review ~ The Rival by Charlotte Duckworth

 ✨✨ Happy Publication Day ✨✨ 

17 October 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book


Living in her home in the remote countryside - the perfect place to get away from it all - Helena is a career woman with no job and a mother without a baby. She blames Ashley for destroying her life. But is what happened really Ashley's fault?


When Helena hires Ashley to work for her, she's startled but impressed by her fierce ambition. They form a dream team and Helena is proud - maybe this is the protΓ©gΓ©e she's always wanted to have? But soon Helena realizes that nothing will stand in the way of Ashley's drive to get to the top. And when Helena becomes pregnant, everything she has worked so hard for is suddenly threatened, with devastating consequences...

What did I think about it..

Ashley really, really wants the life that Helena has and is determined to get exactly what she wants and the way she tries to get what she wants forms the basis of this clever, psychological suspense novel, which has all the elements needed to keep your attention absolutely gripped from start to finish.

Helena hires Ashley to work for her and at first everything seems to be going well. Ashley's fierce ambition, whilst it doesn't exactly endear her to her colleagues, means that the company goes from strength to strength however, pretty soon substantial cracks start to appear in the partnership and it becomes obvious that there will only be one winner. I've never worked for a corporate company so haven't experienced that cut throat environment where rivalry dominates but the author describes the claustrophobic nature of working as part of a competitive team really well so that I was soon engrossed in the backroom shenanigans. The story moves along at a cracking pace and the tension is invariably cranked up really high especially when the rivals really start to affect each other's work/life balance.

The story is divided well into THEN and NOW and we get the differing points of view of both Helena and Ashley which adds a clever ambiance and which kept my attention focused. I read The Rivals in a couple of sittings as I couldn't put the book down and I wanted to see exactly how it would all play out. I wasn't disappointed by the outcome.😊

Charlotte Duckworth has spent the past fifteen years working as an interiors and lifestyle journalist, writing for a wide range of consumer magazines and websites. She lives in Surrey with her partner and their young daughter. 

Twitter @charduck


Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Book Review ~ The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

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Headline Review
17 October 2017

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

2019 Life changed beyond recognition for Alice when her son, Eddie, was born with autism spectrum disorder. She must do everything to support him, but at what cost to her family? When her cherished grandmother is hospitalised, a hidden box of mementoes reveals a tattered photo of a young man, a tiny leather shoe and a letter. Her grandmother begs Alice to return to Poland to see what became of those she held dearest.

WWII Alina and Tomasz are childhood sweethearts. The night before he leaves for college, Tomasz proposes marriage. But when their village falls to the Nazis, Alina doesn't know if Tomasz is alive or dead.

2019 In Poland, separated from her family, Alice begins to uncover the story her grandmother is so desperate to tell, and discovers a love that bloomed in the winter of 1942. As a painful family history comes to light, will the struggles of the past and present finally reach a heartbreaking resolution?

What did I think about it..

Alice's grandmother, Alina, is seriously ill in the hospital when she makes a frantic request for Alice to find her precious memory box. The contents of the box sends Alice off on a journey to modern day Poland in order to discover more more about a man named Tomasz. That this man was once very special to Alina is never in doubt and as their relationship  evolves so a desperate story of survival during wartime starts to be revealed. The story moves forwards and backwards in time so that we get Alina's story during the momentous years of WW2 whilst at the same time getting to know Alice and her own somewhat troubled family challenges.

The Things We cannot Say is a heartbreaking story about wartime and what it was like to live during a time of great hardship and the author makes this feel so much more special because she has used the events of her own family history in order to give the book a very authentic feel and an altogether different perspective on the utter and heartfelt tragedy of wartime separation which captures both your attention and imagination.

To say too much about the way the story evolves would be to do this author a complete disservice as this is one of those special books which needs to be read without spoilers, that way the author's fine attention to detail, meticulous research and skilful story telling can be appreciated to the fullest extent.

There's a very captivating section at the end of the novel which highlights the journey the author made to Poland to see for herself the places where her grandmother once lived, and as is so often the case with this generation who witnessed so many horrific things there are things which cannot be said, however, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to hear their words, or forget what they endured for our freedom.

Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today bestselling women’s fiction author of five novels, including Me Without You and The Secret Daughter. Her most recent release is Before I Let You Go. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, 2 children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Twitter @Kelrimmerwrites #TheThingsWeCannotSay


Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Blog Tour ~ Tangled Roots by Denise D Young

πŸ“– Delighted to be part of this Blog Tour πŸ“–

Tangled Magic series #1

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book
and to Rachel's Random Resources for my invitation to this blog tour

A beautiful witch lost in time. A brooding farm boy with magic in his blood and a chip on his shoulder. Dark secrets and shadowy magic. Paranormal romance with a time slip awaits in the first book of this new series.

Cassie Gearhart casts a spell in the forest in the summer of 1974. The next thing she knows, she wakes up to find the world irrevocably changed.

It’s 2019, for one thing. For another, all of her coven members have vanished, leaving behind only one man who holds the key to their secrets.

Nick Felson has sworn off magic, until a confused Cassie knocks on his door in the middle of the night, somehow missing forty-five years’ worth of time. But Nick knows falling for the captivating witch means letting magic back into his life—and that’s one line he swore he’d never cross.

Can Cassie unravel the mystery that transported her decades into the future? And can Nick resist the powerful magic and heart-pounding passion that swirl in the air whenever he and Cassie are together?

The Tangled Magic Series is intended for readers 18-plus who enjoy fast-paced reads, wild and witchy. 

What did I think about it..

A dash of magic, and a love which transcends time, is the focus for this story which is the first in The Tangled Magic series. In 1974, Cassie Gearhart is running away from something when she gets caught up in powerful magic and for her protection she gets caught in time. When circumstances allow, Cassie returns only to find that it’s no longer 1974, but 2019. Her inadvertent meeting with Nick Felton, a man with more than enough troubles of his own, opens up not just a hint of magic but also a powerful physical attraction which gives the story an altogether different direction.

Paranormal fantasy isn’t my usual genre so it’s been a completely new experience to read of magical spells, deep seated feuds, and long buried secrets, however, the author maintained my interest throughout, and I raced through the novella in just a couple of hours.

I have enjoyed getting to know the characters, and especially liked the way that the author weaved them into the story with enough detail to make them come alive in my imagination. And whilst the relationship between Cassie and Nick initially felt a little rushed, overall throughout the course of the novella,  it works well, and there’s a nice amount of passion sizzling between them.

The author has an obvious passion for story telling and weaves the story together with her own brand of spellbinding magic.

Equal parts bookworm, flower child, and eclectic witch, Denise D. Young writes fantasy and paranormal romance featuring witches, magic, faeries, and the occasional shifter.

Whatever the flavor of the magic, it’s always served with a brisk cup of tea–and the promise of
romance varying from sweet to sensual.

She lives with her husband and their animals in the mountains of Virginia, where small towns and tall
trees inspire her stories. She reads tarot cards, collects crystals, gazes at stars, and believes magic is
the answer (no matter what the question was).

If you’ve ever hoped to find a book of spells in a dusty attic, if you suspect every misty forest contains a hidden portal to another realm, or if you don’t mind a little darkness before your happily-ever-after, her books might be just the thing you’ve been waiting for.

Twitter @ddyoungbooks #TangledRoots