The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex today. I borrowed the ebook from the library app that my local area operates. However I’m eager to buy a physical copy because I absolutely love the cover! First things first though let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?

Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .

Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex is an intoxicating and suspenseful mystery, an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.

MY REVIEW

For me a lighthouse holds a definite fascination so I guess I was kind of sold as soon as I knew the setting. Then when I read the description I remembered a mystery that sounded very similar to the one in this story. This was confirmed when I saw it was inspired by real events. The author takes this mystery and moulds it into an atmospheric and absorbing story.

The mystery certainly played its part and brought with it an intriguing edge. However maybe a little to my surprise it wasn’t the main focus. In fact The Lamplighters was a much more character driven story. Even though I went into this story expecting more emphasis on the mystery. I was pleasantly surprised and fully appreciated all the wonderful details that unravelled about the characters. Their fears, hopes and connections with people. This story isn’t straightforward and I loved all the intricacies that showed in places ready to surprise and hook me in even further.

The Lamplighters was a story that I wanted to savour but at the same time also needed to devour. This is a story that held my attention even when I wasn’t reading. The characters were at times flawed which definitely gave them a realistic edge. Emma Stonex brought them to life with her vivid descriptions that flowed effortlessly throughout. Their inner thoughts and feelings were revealed in an engaging way to the reader. Along with showing the day to day life at the lighthouse separated from their loved ones. Grief, secrets and loneliness are at the heart of this book which makes The Lamplighters such an intriguing and at times haunting story.

Rae Recaps… July 2021

Thanks for stopping by!

Well we are now into the summer holidays and I’m trying to keep my children entertained. Wish me luck! 😂 We’ve been to the park a few times, played board games, lots of colouring and built Lego. It’s so tricky tying to think of things to do but also worrying about going anywhere too crowded. We did go to the cinema to see Space Jam: A New Legacy, which the kids really enjoyed. In fact I enjoyed it too although I did go in with low expectations 😂 I have to admit I was also a little worried about being in a cinema but I probably felt safer in there than I do in a shop now 🤷🏻‍♀️

What I’ve been watching…

I started 911 Lone Star mainly because it has Rob Lowe in it 🥰 but it’s actually pretty good.

This month I also watched the Fear Street trilogy which was was lots of fun. Although I did have to hide behind my cushion when the killer was going to jump out 😂 I really enjoyed the nostalgic feel of 90’s slasher films and 70’s/80’s horror films though!

I finally started watching Sleepy Hollow too. Which was recommended to me by Eva. Thank you for that 😍🥰

I’m still (slowly) adding reviews to my 20 Books of Summer 2021 challenge post. So feel free to follow the link and check on my progress.

Of course it wouldn’t be my recap without a couple of Callie photos! 🥰❤️🥰

Now onto…

Here’s what I bought in July…

Kindle

Audiobooks…

Paperbacks

This month I managed to read 18 books.

The Lies I Tell by Joel Hames

Haunted by Tessa Buckley

With Face Aflame by A. E. Walnofer

Captivating the Cynical Earl by Catherine Tinley

The C Word compiled by SpellBound Books

The Housekeeper of Thornhallow Hall by Lotte R. James

Let Sleeping Murder Lie by Carmen Radtke

The Diary of a Nagging Wife by Donna Mensah

That Night by Gillian McAllister

Elle’s A to Z of Love by Claire Huston

Vicki’s Work of Heart by Rosie Dean

Paid in Blood by Susan Handley

The Orchard Girls by Nikola Scott

The Marquess Next Door by Virginia Heath

I also posted the following reviews…

The Garden of Angels by David Hewson

Reading Bingo Challenge 2021 – Update

The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance by Lucy Morris

Tempted by the Tycoon’s Proposal by Rachael Stewart

Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage by Heidi Swain

Summer at Willow Tree Farm by Heidi Rice

Cover Reveal – Camp Death by Jim Ody and Ouija by Zoé-Lee O’Farrell

Q&A- Tally and the Angel by Eleanor Dixon

Well, I guess that’s it for today. Take care and very best wishes.

Rae xx

The Garden of Angels by David Hewson, narrated by Richard Armitage #audiobook #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for The Garden of Angels by David Hewson today. With thanks to the publisher for my audiobook via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

At his beloved Nonno Paolo’s deathbed, fifteen-year-old Nico receives a gift that will change his life forever: a yellowing manuscript which tells the haunting, twisty tale of what really happened to his grandfather in Nazi-occupied Venice in 1943.

The Palazzo Colombina is home to the Uccello family: three generations of men, trapped together in the dusty palace on Venice’s Grand Canal. Awkward fifteen-year-old Nico. His distant, business-focused father. And his beloved grandfather, Paolo. Paolo is dying. But before he passes, he has secrets he’s waited his whole life to share.

When a Jewish classmate is attacked by bullies, Nico just watches – earning him a week’s suspension and a typed, yellowing manuscript from his frail Nonno Paolo. A history lesson, his grandfather says. A secret he must keep from his father. A tale of blood and madness . . .

Nico is transported back to the Venice of 1943, an occupied city seething under its Nazi overlords, and to the defining moment of his grandfather’s life: when Paolo’s support for a murdered Jewish woman brings him into the sights of the city’s underground resistance. Hooked and unsettled, Nico can’t stop reading – but he soon wonders if he ever knew his beloved grandfather at all.

MY REVIEW

The Garden of Angels audiobook whisked me away to the past and what an experience it was. As ever Richard Armitage narrates wonderfully. Giving a rich performance that captured my attention until the very end.

In The Garden of Angels we meet Nico who receives a manuscript from his grandfather, Paolo. This is the beginning of a journey to the past as both Nico and the reader experiences the events of occupied Venice in 1943. I have to admit that I hadn’t much knowledge of Venice during the war so it was definitely a new experience for me. As I listened it was so very easy to be transported to the past and a dangerous one at that.

When Nico reads his grandfather’s manuscript it was such a completely immersive experience. Making it very easy to be drawn into a dark and dangerous world. Even though the transitions from past to present were pretty seamless. I still had to collect myself after some of the events in the past. This was mainly because I had come to care for the characters. Even more so as the stakes became higher with every decision the characters made. Danger was at every turn creating a tension that increased as the story progressed.

I’m trying to be a little on the vague side when it comes to the plot because I would hate to ruin any part of the story. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book so you can discover every little detail for yourself. Even more so if you listen to audiobooks. As I listened it felt as if I had been whisked away to Venice albeit at a very dangerous and dark time! The Garden of Angels was wonderfully rich in detail and the experience of listening definitely gave an extra special depth. Throughout this book the reader is immersed completely in the tangled and often secretive lives of the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this vivid and atmospheric tale. Let’s just say that The Garden of Angels is guaranteed to make it onto my list of top books picks for 2021!

Bingo Reading Challenge – 2021 – An update

Thanks for stopping by! Seeing as though we are now in July and this year seems to be flying by. I thought I’d post an update as to how I’m getting on with my 2021 reading bingo challenge. So let’s take a look…

Over 400 Pages

An Eye for An Eye by Carol Wyer

Novella

A Wedding on Sunflower Street by Rachel Griffiths

One word title

Mine by Kelly Florentia

Listen to an audiobook

Little Bones by N V Peacock

Standalone

The Pact by Sharon Bolton

Set in a place you want to visit

Tempted by the Tycoon’s Proposal by Rachael Stewart

Set in a school

Haunted by Tessa Buckley

Book set in a different country

Uncork My Love by Rich Amooi

Romance

A Match for the Rebellious Earl by Lara Temple

Short story collection

The C Word compiled by SpellBound Books

Author shares your first name

The Summer Island Festival by Rachel Burton

Book by a debut author

The Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift

Author’s surname starts with “J”

The Silent Friend by Diane Jeffrey

I’m not doing too bad so far with thirteen books.

Still need to read…

Written in the decade you were born

A classic you never read

Translated from another language

Graphic novel

Set in the future

Borrowed from the library

Re-read

If you have any book recommendations, feel free to leave a comment!

The Lies I Tell by Joel Hames @joel_hames @SpellBoundBks @zooloo2008 #BlogTour #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Lies I Tell by Joel Hames as part of the blog tour today. With thanks to Zoé at Zooloo’s Book Tours and SpellBound Books for the invite to join the tour and for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

SHE’S WATCHING YOU,

BUT WHO’S WATCHING HER?


From the bestselling author of Dead North, a tense, claustrophobic psychological thriller perfect for fans of Lucy Foley, Claire McGowan and Clare Mackintosh.

Meet Polly.
Meet Emily.
Meet Belinda.

They’re all me.

My name is Lisa and I’m an identity thief. If I’m not inside your system stealing your money, I’ve probably already stolen it. I’m your friend. I’m a thief. I’m gone. I’m in control.

Only now, the tables have been turned. I’m in danger. My son is in danger. And I don’t know where that danger’s coming from.

Any friend.
Any enemy.
Any stranger.
Anyone from the past I’ve been trying to outrun for years.

NOBODY CAN BE TRUSTED.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK :https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08THZRDRW

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Lies-Tell-Know-Whos-Watching-ebook/dp/B08THZRDRW

MY REVIEW

In The Lies I Tell we meet Lisa, an identity thief who finds the tables turned on her. Someone is out there who knows all about her lies and the secrets she keeps. Can Lisa discover who is behind everything before it’s too late?

What follows is a story that to begin with quietly grabs hold. I have to admit that at first I needed a bit of time to get the multiple identities right in my head. Mainly over who was real and who was fake. However after I had that sorted it was pretty easy to be pulled in by the creeping tension as secrets and lies from the past come back to haunt Lisa. I do think in a way this slow and steady build up helped to paint a better picture of Lisa’s character. Let’s just say at first glance Lisa seems to be an irredeemable character. However as the story progressed there was a lot more to this flawed character than meets the eye. Especially as Lisa finds herself being drawn into an increasingly dangerous situation. Lisa still remains flawed however the reader begins to see that there is definitely more to her than is first revealed.

Within the story you get two timelines, the present storyline and another where the reader is shown chapters set in the past. I found these parts especially intriguing. They brought forth even more questions that may or may not be relevant to the present situation. Just like Lisa I couldn’t decide who to trust or to believe. I thought Joel Hames did a great job of keeping the suspense going as to who could be behind it all. This book also made me think about the connections we make on social media along with the information we may give out inadvertently. The Lies I Tell is an intriguing story with a very tangled web of secrets and lies at its heart!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A Londoner in exile, Joel Hames lives in rural Lancashire with his wife and two daughters.

His works of fiction include the bestselling Sam Williams trilogy Dead North, No One Will Hear and The Cold Years, and the standalone psychological thriller The Lies I Tell.

When not writing or spending time with his family, Joel likes to eat, cook, play the piano, and make up excuses to avoid walking the dog. There’s the MMA thing, too, but he doesn’t like to show off.

You can find out more about Joel and sign up to his mailing list through social media or his very own website:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/joelhamesauthor/

Twitter https://twitter.com/joel_hames


Website: http://www.joelhamesauthor.com

Haunted by Tessa Buckley @rararesources #BookBirthdayBlitz #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be taking part in the book birthday blitz for Haunted by Tessa Buckley and sharing my review today. With thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite to join the tour and to the author for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Alex doesn’t believe in ghosts, but he is about to have his beliefs challenged…

When Jimmy Devlin asks the twins to investigate the strange things that have been happening at The Priory, Alex seizes the opportunity to prove to his sister that there is no such thing as ghosts. However, it soon becomes clear that unquiet spirits are not the only problem facing the Devlin family.

Are the family servants hiding secrets? Has a valuable ring been stolen, or just mislaid? And what has happened to Jimmy’s missing elder brother, Harry? As the twins and Jimmy try to solve the many mysteries of The Priory, they discover they are dealing with a very dangerous enemy…

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eye-Spy-II-Tessa-Buckley-ebook/dp/B074CCDN3W/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Eye-Spy-II-Tessa-Buckley-ebook/dp/B074CCDN3W/

https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/young-children/haunted/

MY REVIEW

In this book we meet siblings, Alex and Donna who are soon caught up in a mystery involving their friend. Strange occurrences have been happening at The Priory where their friend, Jimmy lives. Alex firmly denies that ghosts are to blame whereas Donna is much more open to the possibility of a more supernatural answer. Both eager to prove the other wrong they jump at the chance to investigate!

The story itself had a great mystery with the big questions being is everything actually down to ghosts? Or is there a more earthly reason? Even though this is book two in The Eye Spy Series it easily reads as a standalone story. There were a few mentions of the first case that Alex and Donna were involved in but nothing that would confuse new readers like myself.

I decided to read Haunted with my two children, 8 and 6. Both were equally interested in listening to me read the story. However I think on the whole my 8 year old was the most intrigued. Haunted is aimed at 9-12 years old so this was very close to his age. He did read a few pages here and there but he found a few of the words quite tricky. So this book could be suited to an 8 year old if they were at a more advanced reading level. I liked the fact that the words used within the story were words that he might not have necessarily come across in books before so that was another positive thing for me.

I thought the brother/sister relationship was portrayed brilliantly. As they investigate there are typical arguments and disagreements. However when it comes down to it they really are there for each other. The main issue they have is their disagreements over whether ghosts are real. I thought the addition of the question over a supernatural element was great. With a few spooky moments dotted here and there to intrigue any child. I found the writing throughout to be descriptive and certainly set the scene. Haunted is a story with a solid mystery and a likeable set of characters.

Author Bio

Tessa Buckley was an inveterate scribbler as a child, andspent much of her time writing and illustrating stories. After studying Interior Design, she spent fifteen years working for architects and designers. She took up writing again after her young daughter complained that she couldn’t find enough adventure stories to read. This led, in 2016, to the publication of Eye Spy, the first in a series of detective stories for 9-12 year olds, designed to encourage reluctant readers. The second book in the series, Haunted, was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2017.

Tessa lives with her husband and a large white cat called Pippa. in a town on the Thames estuary, which inspired the seaside setting for the novels. She also writes about health and nutrition, and family history, which has been her passion for many years.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/Tessa-Buckley-Author-101751741568714

The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance by Lucy Morris @LMorris_Author #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance by Lucy Morris today. With thanks to the publisher for my copy via Netgalley. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

A challenging wife

For a warrior Viking

When Thorstein Bergson rescues a beautiful woman from a storm-tossed long-ship he little expects to broker a powerful marriage alliance with her. This high-status ice queen is not the comfortable wife this warrior chief is seeking. But maybe the bitter-sweet pain in Gyda’s eyes hides another woman beneath? The one he tasted that first night when she’d kissed him with such pent-up longing…?

MY REVIEW

Oh I loved this book! There was something so engaging and special about it. From the characters and their gorgeous chemistry. To the story with drama filled moments and romance that played out perfectly. Gyda was the perfect heroine. Strong, determined and more than willing to stand up to Thorstein! It was so lovely to see her kind heart and independent nature shine through. Now, if I’m being honest I think I fell a little for Thorstein. He was very wary of falling in love after a disastrous marriage and this gave him some serious trust issues. However I couldn’t help but like him especially the way he looked after the people in the settlement. I loved the way his character developed even though he fought his feelings for Gyda every step of the way.

The pacing was great throughout and I found myself completely caught up in Thorstein and Gyda’s story. From a fiery first meeting that definitely gave the wrong impression. To the way slowly but surely something begins to blossom between this pair. However it wasn’t all plain sailing, let’s just say that there were plenty of misunderstandings along the way. This all brought drama and emotional conflict. Which all combined to create a thoroughly entertaining story with their connection simmering away. The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance reminded me of how much I love Viking romances. I definitely need to read more of them and especially anything by Lucy Morris. I know I’m repeating myself but I really loved this book!

With Face Aflame by A.E Walnofer @aewalnofer @zooloo2008 #BlogTour #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for With Face Aflame by A. E. Walnofer and sharing my review today. With thanks to Zoé at Zooloo’s Book Tours for the invite to join the tour and to the author for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

Born with a red mark emblazoned across her face, seventeen-year-old Madge is lonely as she spends her days serving guests and cleaning rooms in the inn her father keeps.

One day, she meets an unusual minstrel in the marketplace. Moved by the beauty of his song and the odd shape of his body, she realizes she has made her first friend. But he must go on to the next town, leaving her behind.

Soon after, while she herself is singing in the woods, she is startled by a chance meeting with a stranger there. Though the encounter leaves her horribly embarrassed, it proves she need not remain unnoticed and alone forever.

However, this new hope is shattered when she overhears a few quiet words that weren’t intended for her ears. Heartbroken and confused, she flees her home to join the minstrel and his companion, a crass juggler.

As they travel earning their daily bread, Madge secretly seeks to rid herself of the mark upon her cheek convinced that nothing else can heal her heart.

Set in England in 1681, With Face Aflame is the tale of a girl who risks everything in hopes of becoming the person she desperately wants to be.

Buy Links


Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Face-Aflame-Walnofer-ebook/dp/B07C6P48GV

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Face-Aflame-Walnofer-ebook/dp/B07C6P48GV

MY REVIEW

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I first picked up this book. I knew the character of Madge would go on a journey with a minstrel and a juggler. However after that I wasn’t quite sure what would happen next or even which direction this story would take. Even though Madge spends her days working in her father’s tavern she lives quite an isolated life. Only really interacting with her father and cook, Babs. However after overhearing a distressing conversation Madge flees from her home.

What I found in this story was that Madge not only goes on a journey by road but she also goes on a journey of self discovery. Along the way she learns new things about herself and this is what made With Face Aflame so engaging. It only took a few pages before I was caught up in Madge’s life. Seeing her hopes and dreams but also her struggles with self confidence and doubt in her looks. I couldn’t help but like Madge and wonder how life would turn out for her.

The story itself moves at a lovely pace and I was eager to read more. Wondering where Madge’s journey would take her next. The characters all brought something to the story but a special mention has to go to Keaton. I loved the friendship between Madge and Keaton. As he gently offered reassurance and care to Madge. I found this added a wonderful uplifting feel to the book. By the end of the story it felt as if I was saying goodbye to friends. With Face Aflame is a delightful coming of age story!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A.E. Walnofer spends weekdays mobilizing the soft tissue and synovial joints of patients, and weekends typing out stories that are incessantly brewing inside her head. There are lots of these tales and she hopes to share many more of them with you in the future.

Follow her at:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aewalnofer/
Website: www.aewalnofer.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aewalnofer

Tempted by the Tycoon’s Proposal by Rachael Stewart @rach_b52 #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for Tempted by the Tycoon’s Proposal by Rachael Stewart today. With a big thank you to the author for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

A second chance…

With the single dad?

When hotelier Sophia Lambert finds billionaire Jack McGregor’s runaway daughter, a thank you dinner sounds harmless. Until Sophia finds herself tantalizingly attracted to Jack… The deeply desirable single dad re-awakens long-buried emotions in Sophia, but his jet-set life is beckoning. Unless Sophia can tempt him with her own proposal: to keep his feet on the ground…

MY REVIEW

In this book we meet Sophia, a kind hearted hotel manager. Sophia was instantly likeable and became even more so when I discovered her heartbreaking backstory. The kind that made me really hope she would get her happy ever after. Step forward Jack, a billionaire single dad who doesn’t do relationships. Could this pair actually be perfect for each other though? Well, let’s just say it didn’t take me long at all to become lost in their story. Seeing not only the connection between Jack and Sophia but the sweet friendship that Sophia forms with Jack’s daughter, Lily. I have to admit the addition of Lily definitely upped the cuteness factor!

The pacing was spot on, in fact I pretty much raced through this story. One of the main reasons was that Tempted by the Tycoon’s Proposal had such a light and engaging feel to it. Even though there was an instant attraction between Sophia and Jack the author did a wonderful job of drawing me in even further. With a chemistry that blossoms even though both characters fight against it. I was willing them to overcome any obstacles as feelings of guilt and hurt from the past threatened their future. Tempted by the Tycoon’s Proposal was such a wonderful story. Featuring warm and engaging characters along with a sweet, simmering romance. I couldn’t ask for more!

Captivating the Cynical Earl by Catherine Tinley @CatherineTinley @rararesources #BlogTour #Review

Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for Captivating the Cynical Earl by Catherine Tinley as part of the blog tour today. With thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite to join the tour and to the author for my copy. First things first let’s take a look at the description for the book…

The cool, aloof earl

And the enchanting lady

For Jack Beresford, Earl of Hawkenden, emotional entanglements are the path to pain. But when his brother brings his new wife and her best friend to his country home, everything changes. Lady Cecily Thornhill is both vibrant and beautiful, and Jack finds himself increasingly captivated by her sunny nature. Yet he must resist her charms, for in a month she’ll be gone—unless his frozen heart thaws before then…

Purchase Link

https://books2read.com/captivatingearl

MY REVIEW

In Captivating the Cynical Earl we meet Cecily and Jack. What a first meeting they had! Let’s just say that Cecily instantly finds herself at odds with Jack but also very intrigued. What follows is a story filled with friendships, family drama and romance.

I have to start by saying that I loved the connection between Jack and Cecily. There was such an electric chemistry between them. From moments of simmering tension to the more sweeter, heartfelt moments. This all combined to draw me even further into the story. Catherine Tinley also did a wonderful job of developing the characters personalities. Especially in the case of the brooding Earl. The reader really gets the chance to see his personality shine through with every moment spent with Cecily. Then we have Cecily who was instantly likeable with a caring yet determined personality. I was definitely impressed with the way she stood up to Jack and also in how she looked out for her friend.

I found the setting of the country house to be a perfect fit for the story. Really helping to bring all the characters together in close contact. It was so lovely to get to know not only Cecily and Jack but the newlyweds, Tom and Nell. All of these characters together created an extra special charm that made this book even more inviting. The slow burn romance worked so well and I found Captivating the Cynical Earl to be a beautiful, engaging story!

Author Bio

Catherine Tinley is an award winning author of historical romance. She writes witty, heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her first book, Waltzing with the Earl, won the Rita Award for Best Historical Romance 2018, while Rags-to-Riches Wife won the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romance 2021.

She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, Sure Start, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now manages a maternity hospital. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cats, and dog and can be reached at catherinetinley.com,on facebook, twitter, and instagram.