Thursday, 1 April 2021

Tall Bones by Anna Bailey


When seventeen-year-old Emma leaves her best friend Abi at a party in the woods, she believes, like most girls her age, that their lives are just beginning. Many things will happen that night, but Emma will never see her friend again.

Abi's disappearance cracks open the fa├žade of the small town of Whistling Ridge, its intimate history of long-held grudges and resentment. Even within Abi's family, there are questions to be asked - of Noah, the older brother whom Abi betrayed, of Jude, the shining younger sibling who hides his battle scars, of Dolly, her mother and Samuel, her father - both in thrall to the fire and brimstone preacher who holds the entire town in his grasp. Then there is Rat, the outsider, whose presence in the town both unsettles and excites those around him.

Anything could happen in Whistling Ridge, this tinder box of small-town rage, and all it will take is just one spark - the truth of what really happened that night out at the Tall Bones....

The cover and synopsis of Tall Bones screamed sinister and thrilling to me so I was keen to see what debut author Anna Bailey had hidden between the pages of this book.

A teenage girl Abi heads into the woods leaving her best friend Emma behind and she is never seen again. In the small town of Whistling Ridge everyone knows everyone’s business but nobody knows what happened to Abi, if she is dead or alive but there is plenty of opinions flowing through the racist and homophobic community and it seems like it is only her best friend Emma who is truly determined to find answers to her friends’ disappearance.

With so many dark secrets hidden amongst the community it isn’t long before they all start unravelling but will Abi ever be found?

This was a dark, troubled and wicked novel that was unpredictable, I never quite knew if we were ever going to find out what really happened to Abi but all the dirty secrets we began to unearth on her family and local town folk sure made for gritty reading. I think the author has thrown every raw and negative issue into the storyline from racism, abuse and homophobia which certainly gave a dark undertone to the novel and the only lightness that shone through was from our only loveable and sweet natured character, Emma!

I did find it took me a while to settle into the structure of the book as it is told from a vast amount of characters points of view as well as moving back and forth in time and this sometimes left me a little mind boggled and did effect the flow of the storyline but as the storyline progressed I did become familiar with who was who and the parts told by them became longer and more indepth so it didn’t jump about as frequently.

All in all this was a gritty debut with an author who shows promise and is not afraid on tackling issues that are unpleasant as well as concealing the truth right up until that pivotal moment.

Kindle                     Paperback

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander


The blog tour for The Littlest Library has stopped here at Rea's Book Reviews today and I think we can all agree that with a title featuring LIBRARY and a storyline set around a Phone Box library this is one that all of us keen readers will be desperate to read!


Just incase you are not sold on the title and the beautifully simplistic cover alone, here are my thoughts on this novel to help you a little more....

Jess Metcalf is perfectly happy with her quiet, predictable life - it's just the way she likes it. But when her beloved grandmother passes away and she loses her job at the local library, her life is turned upside-down.

Packing up her grandmother's books, she moves to a tiny cottage in a charming country village. To her surprise, Jess finds herself the owner of an old red telephone box, too - and she soon turns it into the littlest library around!

It's not long before the books are borrowed and begin to work their magic - somehow, they seem to be bringing the villagers together once more...

The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander had me sold the minute I saw the cover and title! I have always loved the pictures I see over social media up and down the country with little community book swap points in little bird boxes and post boxes and it is something I would love to do if I had a front garden! Having a book which storyline looked to centre around this topic was a first for me so I was looking forward to a fresh new and exciting storyline.

After the death of her dear Grandmother and the loss of her job as a librarian, Jess Metcalf has to make some drastic changes in her life. Needing to sell their home and find a new job it is by chance on a casual drive out she stumbles on a quaint little village and her new life soon begins on a new path but little did she know that with her new home comes the responsibility of an old phone box which could provide her with an opportunity to still share her love of books with the community.

Quite simply this was such a sweet, light hearted and uplifting read that is full of community spirit and new beginnings. Jess has lived her life so close to her Grandmother that she has not quite found her true self so to move to a new home and start a new life with no one around her is a daunting task but she has such a warming nature and of course a love of reading which gives her the tools to interact and make new friends,

There is a love interest weaved in around the storyline that although was predictable it wasn’t without its bumps along the way which kept the excitement flowing. The comings and goings of the local community as they borrowed their books was wonderful to see and insightful to see what went into the running of the little library too.

My only little niggle was that I felt like the ending was a little rushed and ended abruptly but this could be because I was so invested in the storyline and characters, I just wasn’t ready to let them go.

This was a delightful fast paced book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Perfect novel for book lovers who are looking for something light heart and heart warming that is not to challenging and easy to pick up and put down, perfect for this years staycation!

Kindle                Paperback

Thursday, 18 March 2021

The World at my Feet by Catherine Isaac


The secrets that bind us can also tear us apart…

1990. Harriet is a journalist. Her job takes her to dangerous places, where she asks questions and tries to make a difference. But when she is sent to Romania, to the state orphanages the world is only just learning about, she is forced to rethink her most important rule. 

2018. Ellie is a gardener. Her garden is her sanctuary, her pride and joy. But, though she spends long days outdoors, she hasn’t set foot beyond her gate for far too long. Now someone enters her life who could finally be the reason she needs to overcome her fears.

From post-revolution Romania to the idyllic English countryside, The World at My Feet is the story of two women, two worlds, and a journey of self-discovery that spans a lifetime.

I am not quite sure what I was expecting when I sat down to read Catherine Isaac’s new release The World at my Feet but this book blew me away. I have taken so much time deliberating over this review working out how to give it the justice it deserves without giving away those dreaded spoilers!

Ellie is a successful Instagram influencer with followers following her daily tips on gardening and soaking up those picture-perfect images of her garden. From the outside in Ellie looks like she has a wonderful fulfilled life but what people are unaware of is that Ellie hasn’t stepped outside her garden gate in years.

The novel begins like so many books I have read and enjoyed with its easy uplifting storyline but then something completely unexpected is dropped on us and the story then takes on a whole new depth and direction and I was completely compelled from that moment on, unable to put my kindle down. I became so invested in Ellie’s life, she had such a beautiful nature and there was an air of vulnerability to her too which made me warm to her even more. By the end of the novel I couldn’t bare to let Ellie go.

The author has clearly undertaken extensive research into the subject matters of this book and the way she has poured everything into this storyline highlighting situations I was never even aware of, I found it devastating and hard hitting. The pure honesty and raw struggles of another subject that is a major part of this book also opened my eyes and my heart really went out to Ellie.

This is by far my favourite book by this author and I would urge you all to be careful when thinking of reading reviews for this book because I think it was because I was so oblivious to what lay ahead when the true heart of this storyline began and I believe that was why this had such a big impact on my enjoyment of this novel. It was a novel that broke my heart into millions of pieces and piece by piece Ellie’s strength and determination and the support and love of those around her gradually put those pieces back together again.


Paperback                   Kindle

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Magic Marmalade by Petra Quelch


Imagine you didn’t have to travel the ordinary way of transport. You could get from one place to the other quickly and without any delays. Wouldn’t that be fantastic? Mabel Bloom doesn’t like to travel the ordinary way. She dislikes buses, cars, trains or even planes. But one day she receives a very important invitation from the Other Side of the world, so she turns to her grandpa for help. Grandpa sends Mabel a recipe which, when made correctly, will give her the power to travel a very unusual way. And Mabel’s extraordinary adventure begins

About the author

Hi there! I am the author of Magic Marmalade and Lottie Sparkles Magical Discovery. I love everything sparkly, glittery, magical and mysterious.

Aside from all the glitz and glamour, I am a collector of books, pens, tea sets and a huge fan of chocolate.

I have two little girls, also known as “The Little Book-Fairies with a BIG imagination.

Most days, I find myself conjuring up stories for children or reading books in my favourite spot by the window.

Website: https://www.petraquelchauthor.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chronicleofbooks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/acaseofbooks?lang=en

For the first time on this blog we are taking a look at a book for the little bookworms out there.

Magic Marmalade is the latest book by Petra Quelch which takes us on a magical little journey with Mabel as she learns how to travel in an extraordinary way to the other side of the world.

The book is aimed towards 3-5 year olds and at only 30 pages the children’s attention will be captured and will make for a wonderful interactive read with highlighted sounds, Creaking, Clashing and Clunking to make it a more engaging read.

The illustrations are so sweet and boldly coloured especially little Mabel. The magical touch is something that children all love.

The ending definitely felt like it was left open for a sequel so hopefully there will be more to Mabel’s magical adventure for children to look forward to.

Monday, 1 March 2021

The Castaways by Lucy Clarke






It should be like any other holiday.

Beautiful beaches.

Golden sunsets.

Nothing for miles.

You’ll never want to leave.

Until you can’t…

I love Lucy Clarke's novels but it has been 2 years since we were last able to lose ourselves in her last release so I was desperate to read her new release The Castaways.

Sisters Erin and Lori take a holiday of a lifetime together to Fiji but after an argument between the pair Erin doesn't take their morning flight with Lori. When devastation strikes and the plane disappears Erin spends the next 2 years desperately trying to find answers and locate the plane to know if her sister is missing or dead.

You can always count on Lucy Clarke to deliver an unpredictable storyline surrounded by the danger of water and once again the author has managed to pull the wool over my eyes with a shock revelation which I didn't see coming at any point. Although I have to say that this time there was also one part that I had already predicted but that didn't effect my enjoyment of the novel I just had a little fist bump to myself when it was revealed to congratulate myself

The chapters were short and sharp alternating between Lori's point of view which was written in the past and Erin's point of view which was told in the current day and I  was equally invested in both of the sisters. I love a good castaway story after reading On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves, I love to watch how the characters discover survival skills to stay alive and also to watch as time goes by the personalities of castaways begin to change as hunger and survival instincts kick in and they have to work out who to trust and who is a threat.

I love how the author also explores the incredibly strong bond that the sisters have but that she also shows the importance of not becoming suffocated by that bond and living a life through each other but to take your own path and live your own life knowing that they are always there for love and support.

This was another great tension building adventure by Lucy Clarke which kept me intrigued the whole way through. The authors impeccable writing style provides pure escapism and the dual narrative worked perfectly around this storyline.

I definitely recommend this book and I hope the author doesn't make us wait quite as long for her next novel.

Kindle                           Paperback

Thursday, 18 February 2021

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin


Life is short. No-one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on the terminal ward. But as she is about to learn, it's not only what you make of life that matters, but who you share it with.

Dodging doctor's orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eight-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.

To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, of finding the person who is everything.

As their extraordinary friendship deepens, it becomes vividly clear that life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot kept appearing on my Twitter feed and when I popped over to read the synopsis, I loved the sound of the original concept and was desperate to read this one.

The storyline follows the new friendship that develops between two hospital patients, 17 year old Lenni who was my favourite character and dear 83 year old Margot who are both in hospital and realise between them they have lived 100 years. The pair embark on a task of painting a picture of each year of their lives telling us their story along the way.

One Hundred Years of Lennie and Margot is not like any book I have read which made this such a fresh and exciting read that I was completely captivated by. The characters were well and truly brought to life and it isn’t long before they feel like friends talking to us which only makes the emotive side of this novel feel more raw. I loved both Lenni and Margot they were both wonderful and engaging characters who have lead eventful lives but Lenni sure was my favourite. Lenni had such a wicked dry sense of humour which had me chuckling away especially with her conversations with Father Arthur, she definitely wasn’t one to worry about voicing her opinion or questioning certain beliefs! Her illness has made her grow up so quick and she is certainly wise for her years but the way she deals with her dad in relation to her illness showed a maturity that no teen should have at her age and this really broke my heart.

Margot’s life story was one that has been a rollercoaster of events and there was a certain part of her life that was incredibly sensitive and the author delivers this topic with such gentle care.

This is undeniably a remarkable debut and without a doubt this book will be a big hit for 2021. The characters wit and friendship build the reader up into a false sense of security only for the poignant parts to then really hit home and leave an ugly crying reader with a pile of crumpled tissues!


Hardback                        Kindle

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

The Promise by Lucy Diamond


When faced with the sudden death of his brother, Dan’s mission is clear. He puts together a project to help pick up the pieces and support his grieving sister-in-law Zoe, plus her young children. This is Dan’s promise - to ensure his family’s happiness, and to try and live up to the man his brother was.

But tying up loose ends brings a shocking secret to light, and calls into question everything Dan knew about his older brother. With more than just his promise on the line, Dan is faced with an ultimatum: Should he tell the truth and risk his family’s fragile happiness, or will his brother’s secrets end up becoming his own?

Lucy Diamond has been a favourite author of mine since I read Summer at Shell Cottage, I then looked forward to each future release and she has never disappointed me. I was excited to see she had a new novel due for release entitled The Promise, wasting no time I popped over to read the synopsis to see what Lucy was going to treat us to in this novel and it was the first time I have ever been nervous and hesitant to read one of her books.
After the sudden unexplained death of Dan’s brother Patrick, he deals with his grieving process by wanting to step into his brother shoes and so he draws up a plan to take over all the jobs he used to do and support his sister in-law Zoe and her three children with chores but if Zoe hasn’t already had the most life shattering news already Dan has uncovered something else that is set to break her heart into even more pieces.
Phew…… That was a hard book to read and I know this is going to be an incredibly hard review to write too. Since losing my husband to the Thames I have avoided all books to do with references to lost lives to it and anything that is too heavy on the loss of a loved one but reading this book was an emotional journey for me.  
The storyline is told from Dan, Zoe and Lydia’s points of view so we are able to see how each character is affected by the death of Patrick and how they are dealing with their grief. Each of the characters in this novel were so well developed they felt so alive which made me feel emotionally attached to them.
The thing I often find in novels is the death of a character is brushed over with rose tinted glasses but in The Promise Lucy Diamond has explored the reality of losing someone in a tragic way capturing honest and raw emotions of grief and looks at how once someone dies it is all to easy for everyone to put them on a pedal stool and only see the good in that person never dare to mention or highlight any weaknesses or wrong doings that they had and especially when things come to light after the passing of a loved one. The author also explores the way people act around a new widow often ignoring them as they don’t know what to say but with emotions high sometimes can feel like you are being blamed or judged so the novel sheds light on these reactions.
There were no slow point to this novel there was so much packed into the storyline and with secrets being unravelled throughout the book it made it such an addictive and captivating read, a novel that just kept on giving. The issues that were tackled were dealt with so beautifully with tender care. The author was clever in the way she delivered the circumstances surrounding Patricks death as we know from the opening of the book that Patrick is found in the Thames but we don’t know what happens so we are in the dark with so many questions in our mind, was it an accident, was it suicide the same questions that Zoe and Dan will always roll around in their head but never have the answers too so we are in the dark all the way through the storyline with them but we are given the one thing they desperately need at the end which is the last piece of the puzzle- the closure that they need.
This was a heartfelt poignant read that really resonated with me and will be a novel that will never leave me. SO beautifully written this book will appeal to those who look for a story of love, loss and secrets.

Hardback                                Kindle