Thursday, 8 April 2021

REVIEW - BATTLE FOR BLUE RIVER - WOLVES OF BLUE RIVER BY ALISHA ROTHROCK

  

Title: Battle For Blue River
Series: Wolves Of Blue River
Author: Alisha Rothrock
Release Date: 20th February 2021

BLURB from Goodreads
It's been a long, rough road for the trio of teenage wolves, the quick-witted Nanny, and the rest of the wolves joining the fight to bring down the Alpha of the Blue River Pack. More challenges lie ahead for Lena and her ragtag pack of misfits. Love, loss, fear, and the burning need for revenge will spur seventeen-year-old Lena Bluethorne into the fight of her life, and this time she must stand alone. The time has come to fight for what is hers, and for the ones she loves. Will Zane maintain his stranglehold on the wolves of Blue River, or is there a new dawn coming for the pack?

Goodreads Link

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK

REVIEW
The cover of this book again fits well with the prior books which I really like. After reading the previous novella’s I was looking forward to reading this one as I couldn’t wait to see what would happen when Zane and Lena came face to face.

The book has a prologue which gives a catch up on what has already happened whilst setting the scene well for what is to come next.

All the main characters are pondering about what will happen when Lena finally faces off against Zane. When Damon is missing, everyone at first thinks he has just gone for a run, but it soon becomes apparent he has somehow been lured or kidnapped. Lena is out of action and in pain. We learn that Lena and Damon are so connected that they can communicate with each other as well as feel each other’s pain. Unfortunately for them, its not just them that know this and Zane plans to use this to his advantage. Ana has to step up and lead the wolves when Lena is incapacitated due to feeling what Damon is being put through.

My favourite characters in this novella were Lena, Nanny and Jane who are really central to everything that is happening. We find out Nanny may have prepared Lena for a lot of things but failed to prepare her to feel her mate’s pain as if it is her own, despite going through it herself. It was Jane that helped Nanny through her ordeal and thankfully she is on hand to help Lena too. The characters I enjoyed not liking were Zane the cruel Alpha of Blue River and Sheila whom it seems played a large part in Nanny’s life. Zane is as cruel in this novella as he has been throughout the series, torturing his son Damon in and effort to weaken Lena. When it comes down to an actual fight, Zane has no intention of making it a fair clean one. In fact, he plans to use someone else for his own gain, though thankfully this actually backfires on him. The book reveals both Lena and Ana are having prophetic dreams, though the path forward even with these dreams are not totally clear and it takes some time for the two teens to interpret them.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were that I had really enjoyed revisiting the Blue River Pack and learning more about the Opal Crescent pack too.

To sum up there is plenty of action, fight training and tension building in this novella, along with more hidden secrets to be unfurled. Alas as in all battles and wars there are casualties and yes sadly, we do lose a well-loved character but its all in context and for benefit and conclusion of the story.


 

 


 

Monday, 5 April 2021

BOOK TOUR - JUST MY LUCK BY ADELE PARKS

  

A compulsively readable portrait of the fragility of friendship, the corrosiveness of sudden wealth, and the dark side of good luck, Adele Parks’ latest domestic thriller will make you think twice about trying your hand at the lottery.

Title: Just My Luck
Author: Adele Parks
Publisher: MIRA books
Release Date: 6th April 2021
 
BLURB supplied by Harlequin Trade 

Be careful what you wish for... 


After spending happy hours, parenting classes and barbeques together for the last 15 years, Lexi and Jake Greenwood have celebrated and shared almost everything with the Pearsons and the Heathcotes, including their lottery numbers. Then one night, the unthinkable happens. Someone has been telling lies – lies dark enough to burn bridges and tear the tight group of friends apart. When the Greenwoods win a stunning $23 million in the lottery with their group’s numbers shortly after their dramatic falling out, the Heathcotes and Pearsons believe they’re entitled to part of the prize... and the three couples will do anything to claim what is theirs. 


Reader beware: the last chapter will change everything.
 
 
 
PURCHASE LINKS
Saturday, April 20

I can’t face going straight home to Jake. I’m not ready to deal with this. I need to try to process it first. But how? Where do I start? I have no idea. The blankness in my mind terrifies me.

I always know what to do. I always have a solution, a way of tackling something, giving it a happy spin. I’m Lexi Greenwood, the woman everyone knows of as the fixer, the smiler—some might even slightly snidely call me a do-gooder. Lexi Greenwood, wife, mother, friend.

You think you know someone. But you don’t know anyone, not really. You never can.

I need a drink. I drive to our local. Sod it, I’ll leave the car at the pub and walk home, pick it up in the morning. I order a glass of red wine, a large one, and then I look for a seat tucked away in the corner where I can down my drink alone. It’s Easter weekend, and a rare hot one. The place is packed. As I thread my way through the heaving bar, a number of neighbors raise a glass, gesturing to me to join them; they ask after the kids and Jake. Everyone else in the pub seems celebratory, buoyant. I feel detached. Lost. That’s the thing about living in a small village—you recognize everyone. Sometimes that reassures me, sometimes it’s inconvenient. I politely and apologetically deflect their friendly overtures and continue in my search for a solitary spot. Saturday vibes are all around me, but I feel nothing other than stunned, stressed, isolated.

You think you know someone.

What does this mean for our group? Our frimily. Friends that are like family. What a joke. Blatantly, we’re not friends anymore. I’ve been trying to hide from the facts for some time, hoping there was a misunderstanding, an explanation; nothing can explain away this.

I told Jake I’d only be a short while, and I should text him to say I’ll be longer. I reach for my phone and realize in my haste to leave the house I haven’t brought it with me. Jake will be wondering where I am. I don’t care. I down my wine. The acidity hits my throat, a shock and a relief at once. Then I go to the bar to order a second.

The local pub is only a ten-minute walk away from our home, but by the time I attempt the walk back, the red wine has taken effect. Unfortunately, I am feeling the sort of drunk that nurtures paranoia and fury rather than a light head or heart. What can I do to right this wrong? I have to do something. I can’t carry on as normal, pretending I know nothing of it. Can I?

As I approach home, I see Jake at the window, peering out. I barely recognize him. He looks taut, tense. On spotting me, he runs to fling open the front door.

“Lexi, Lexi, quickly come in here,” he hiss-whispers, clearly agitated. “Where have you been? Why didn’t you take your phone? I’ve been calling you. I needed to get hold of you.”

What now? My first thoughts turn to our son. “Is it Logan? Has he hurt himself?” I ask anxiously. As I’m already teetering on the edge, my head quickly goes to a dark place. Split skulls, broken bones. A dash to the hospital isn’t unheard-of. Thirteen-year-old Logan has daredevil tendencies and the sort of mentality that thinks shimmying down a drainpipe is a reasonable way to exit his bedroom in order to go outside and kick a football about. My fifteen-year-old daughter, Emily, rarely causes me a moment’s concern.

“No, no, he’s fine. Both the kids are in their rooms. It’s… Look, come inside, I can’t tell you out here.” Jake is practically bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet. I can’t read him. My head is too fuzzy with wine and full of rage and disgust. I resent Jake for causing more drama, although he has no idea what shit I’m dealing with. I’ve never seen him quite this way before. If I touched him, I might get an electric shock; he oozes a dangerous energy. I follow my husband into the house. He is hurrying, urging me to speed up. I slow down, deliberately obtuse. In the hallway he turns to me, takes a deep breath, runs his hands through his hair but won’t—can’t—meet my eyes. For a crazy moment I think he is about to confess to having an affair. “Okay, just tell me, did you buy a lottery ticket this week?” he asks.

“Yes.” I have bought a lottery ticket every week for the last fifteen years. Despite all the bother last week, I have stuck to my habit.

Jake takes in another deep breath, sucking all the oxygen from the hallway. “Okay, and did you—” He breaks off, finally drags his eyes to meet mine. I’m not sure what I see in his gaze, an almost painful longing, fear and panic. Yet at the same time there is hope there, too. “Did you pick the usual numbers?”

“Yes.”

His jaw is still set tight. “You have the ticket?”

“Yes.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes, it’s pinned on the noticeboard in the kitchen. Why? What’s going on?”

“Fuck.” Jake lets out a breath that has the power of a storm. He falls back against the hall wall for a second, and then he rallies, grabs my hand and pulls me into the room that was designed to be a dining room but has ended up being a sort of study slash dumping ground. A place where the children sometimes do their homework, where I tackle paying the household bills, and where towering piles of ironing, punctured footballs and old trainers hide out. Jake sits down in front of the computer and starts to quickly open various tabs.

“I wasn’t sure that we even had a ticket, but when you were late back and the film I was watching had finished, I couldn’t resist checking. I don’t know why. Habit, I suppose. And look.”

“What?” I can’t quite work out what he’s on about. It might be the wine, or it might be because my head is still full of betrayal and deceit, but I can’t seem to climb into his moment. I turn to the screen. The lottery website. Brash and loud. A clash of bright colors and fonts.

The numbers glare at me from the computer—1, 8, 20, 29, 49, 58. Numbers I am so familiar with, yet they seem peculiar and unbelievable.

“I don’t understand. Is this a joke?”

“No, Lexi. No! It’s for real. We’ve only gone and won the bloody lottery!”


Excerpted from Just My Luck by Adele Parks, Copyright © 2021 by Adele Parks.
Published by MIRA Books
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adele Parks is the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty novels, including Lies Lies Lies and Just My Luck, as well as I Invited Her InJust My Luck is currently in development to be made into a movie. Her novels have sold 4 million copies in the UK alone, and her work has also been translated into thirty-one languages. 
 
AUTHOR LINKS 



 
 

 

 
 
 


Friday, 2 April 2021

REVIEW - THE HISTORY OF SWEETS BY PAUL CHRYSTAL

 

Title: The History of Sweets
Author: Paul Chrystal
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Release Date: 31st March 2021

BLURB from Goodreads
We all know our sweets. We all remember sweets - objects of pure delight and the endless cause of squabbles, fights even, hoarding and swapping; a chance to gorge, suck, crunch and chew. But they're by no means just a nostalgic thing of days past, and it's not only children who love and devour sweets - gobstoppers, bulls eyes, liquorice, seaside rock, bubble gum and the like; grown-ups of all ages are partial to a good humbug, or a lemon sherbet or two - in the car, (annoyingly) at the cinema or while out walking - wherever and whenever, the sweet is there, the sweet delivers and the sweet rarely disappoints.

Sweets then are ubiquitous and enduring; they cross age, culture and gender boundaries and they have been around, it seems, forever. This book tells the story of sweets from their primitive beginnings to their place today as a billion pound commodity with its sophisticated, seductive packaging and sales, advertising and marketing. It explores the people's favourites, past and present; but there is also a dark side to sweets - and this book does not shy away from the deleterious effect on health as manifested in obesity, tooth decay and diabetes. It delves into sweet and lollyshops in supermarkets and markets, retro sweet shops, fudge makers, vintage sweets on line, sweet manufacturing, chocolate, the grey line between sweets and 'medicines' ancient and modern. It goes round the world sucking, licking and crunching sweets from different countries and cultures and it examines how immigrants from all nations have changed our own sweet world.

REVIEWS
I do like reading a non-fiction book every now and again, I love learning about the history of everyday items, clothes or in this case sweets. I didn’t expect the book to go so far back in time as it did.

One interesting fact was that in ancient India pieces of sugar cane juice were boiled and when eaten called khanda, the original candy! Before sugar was available honey was used as the basis of sweets. Sweets were used as offerings in religious ceremonies. Sweets, comfits and sweetmeats were the essential finale to a perfect medieval feast.

Liquorice was originally used for its medicinal and thirst-quenching properties. It was given to Roman Legionnaires for them to consume on long marches. Still on the subject of liquorice, in 1899 a salesman dropped a tray of samples and thus Liquorice Allsorts were invented and they are still in existence and quite popular even now, many years later.

I really enjoyed reading about my local area which is quite famous as being the home of Pontefract Cakes/Pomfret Cakes, I’m a bit ashamed to say despite living in this area all my life I hadn’t heard the story of the significance of the whole different images stamped on the liquorice pennies. In fact, it’s a bit of a tourist attraction, as the museum contains information about it and there is a Liquorice Fair during a couple of weeks in July in Pontefract. I did know that Farmer Copley’s grew liquorice root, though didn’t know they are the only ones left doing so in the UK!!

It was fascinating reading about the rather controversial sweets such as candy cigarettes, which I do remember from my childhood. At the time smoking was not considered as so bad for you and not as taboo as smoking is these days. Smoking was heavily featured on TV and in Movies so naturally children emulate their parents and screen idols.

Then all the different names for what we now call “Jelly Babies” started out as “Peace Babies” were sent to troops in 1918. They were also called “Unclaimed Babies” after the “foundling babies” left on the steps of a church or hospital. I honestly didn’t even know that the different coloured jelly babies had names, such as “Baby Bonny” for the pink, raspberry flavoured one and “Bumper” for the orange coloured/flavoured one. I had already heard of and tried the “Jellyatrics” ones that were first made in 1999. As the name suggests these are not made in the shape of “babies” but made in the form of older people, hence the name. Then in 2017 a range of tropical flavoured babies were brought out, including mango

I absolutely loved reading about the history of Needlers sweet factory of Hull as my mum and some of her sisters actually worked there when they left school. So, it was a great conversation starter with her and certainly a trip down memory lane. So much so I have bought the book about Needlers Sweet Factory, sadly all the photographs in that book are of the earlier years of the factory and not covering the years my mum worked there. The History of Sweets actually mentioned the names of the different machines, such as Cyclone Pulveriser, Lightening Twister, and the Eureka being just three of them mentioned.

The book really does contain some fantastic facts and the release years of all the different sweets. It covers the rationing during World War 2 and how sweets were re-introduced by giving away freebies to encourage future sales. I loved looking at the timeline of sweets from 1866 to 1977. For instance, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk came out in 1905, Maltesers were 1936 and in 1976 Marathons were created but have since changed name to Snickers. This book is an interesting read that I could go on and on about. I loved reading and remembering old sweets from my childhood that are no longer available too, like Neapolitans, my grandparents had them every year at Christmas.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book where it was amazing any children survived with some of the ingredients put in sweets!

Summing up I found the book really interesting.