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Assembling the Wingpeople -book tour

Thank you so much to Love Book Tours for a copy of Assembling the Wingpeople by Nicky Bond.

This book focuses on three main characters who are past middle age and seem to be questioning what to do with their life, now that they aren’t young anymore. With romances, old friendships and jobs adding more turbulence than clarity, it takes a high school reunion for our characters to decide on how to move forward.

The two main characters I loved were Bea and Tilda. They have a wonderful friendship, and despite not being close to each other due to Tilda moving away, they still managed to lift each other up from afar. I loved Tilda’s journey in finding herself and how settling into a new town doesn’t always mean settling down. I certainly related to getting a flat on your own but struggling to make it your home!

The character I struggled with, however, was Stewart. He truly is loathsome and I honestly wished he wasn’t in the book. Not only was his attitude towards to women in his life truly reprehensible, but he is extremely spoilt and entitled. Wanting to sack his cleaner because he didn’t recall her working hours, treating Rosie like dirt despite the fact she was holding his business together and thinking Tilda owed him her time when he was pretty much a stranger to her left me with no sympathy at all towards him. In fact, he reminded me of all the men I’ve come across who like to be the focal point in a woman’s life but have no reason to be that at all. He is aggressively upfront and I truly felt sorry for all the other characters who had to deal with him.

Stewart aside, Bea and Tilda made up for his presence and I truly loved how Freya was able to slip in without there being a threat to anyone’s friendship. There is a lovely reflection on how mature adults meet new people who their friends know, and how it is naturally a bit awkward but they’re able to build up to a good relationship with each other.

I think, in conclusion, books like these are valuable for realising that it’s not just young people who make new friends and begin new adventures, but people of any age, and it gives a great insight to the social expectations older people face when beginning new lives or changing careers.

Final rating: 3 stars.

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The Book of Uriel -book tour

Thank you to The Write Reads and Elyse Hoffman for a copy of this book in return for a review. Today is my stop on the tour and I absolutely loved reading this book in preparation.

The Book of Uriel follows a little boy (Uriel) whose home and family have been destroyed during World War Two. As Uriel is Jewish, his family were hunted down and killed and you witness first hand the brutality and evil of the Nazis.

Uriel is tasked with finding the Archangel Michael, and what I love most about this book is it doesn’t try to turn what happened during the Holocaust into some sort of fairy tale. The book is very true, heartbreakingly so, but has this amazing second plot to it which shares Jewish beliefs and stories.

Uriel is mute, but the author is very clever in making his personality shine through. What I love especially is that although Uriel is tasked with this big thing of finding an Archangel. he isn’t turned into a warrior or a ‘chosen one’. He still remains a little boy with a lot of innocence, and the small acts of him messing up a bookshelf or laughing at birds during this dangerous time makes my heart ache.

There are some moments that made my blood run cold, and you do get the full horrifying reality of Nazi Germany. It is especially hard to see Uriel’s rescuer, Uwe Litten, fight with his morals but also work with the Nazi’s even though at times he had no choice. The relationship that builds between Uwe and Uriel is a powerful one, and you’ll find yourself holding your breath many times.

About the author:

Elyse Hoffman strives to tell historical tales with new twists: she loves to meld WWII and Jewish history with fantasy, folklore, and the paranormal. She has written six works of Holocaust historical fiction: the five books of The Barracks of the Holocaust and The Book of Uriel.

Rating: three and a half stars.

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My last time in the World of Mages

Waiting for Any Way the Wind Blows was excruciating -I’m not known for patience. However reading Rainbow Rowell’s third and last (although please write a fourth!) instalment of the World of Mages was something else entirely.

Having gotten through Simon’s depressive episodes in Wayward Sons, I wasn’t prepared for the triple dose of angst that this book brought. My heart was already cut up by their almost break up and I wanted Simon and Baz to sort their relationship out quickly. It took many angsty chapters, me aggressively drinking tea to cope and having to take breaks because oh my goodness, these two are such wild fires that you can’t even read about them without being scorched.

The plot itself was a good wrap up to the last two books. I liked that Agatha got a good amount of scenes without having to be a damsel in distress, and I absolutely adore Shephard and Penny’s growing relationship. Penny was absolutely BAMF and I’m actually a little afraid of her, but adore her nonetheless.

Although I believe there could be more stories to this series, AWTWB is a good ending and I like that it doesn’t close the door fully. It gives fans something to think about and leaves that world open to interpretation.

I fully adored my time with this book. I cried, I laughed, I threw tantrums when characters were being frustrating and I was fully invested. Thank you so much to Rainbow for creating a series that I could fall in love with so easily.

Simon and Baz Playlist

Never Enough -Loren Allred

Could Have Been Me -The Struts

Too Much To Ask -Niall Horan

Hold On -Cord Overstreet

Carry On Wayward Son -Kansas

Still Falling For You -Ellie Goulding

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An open letter to the Neurotypical World

Dear Neurotypicals,

Before I was diagnosed, when you thought I was just like you, you tried to tell me a) that I could be anything I wanted to and that b) words would never hurt me if I didn’t let me.

That was before you knew I was autistic.

As soon as you knew, that’s when the trauma began. It’s when I began to be verbally abused by teachers, ableist parents and children who would copy their parent’s actions. I became the trouble maker in class because I wouldn’t communicate or sit in the way you wanted me to. My way of communication didn’t matter, which was strange because you are a world that prides yourself in learning different languages, but you didn’t want to learn mine.

To some, I was a marvel, constantly used as inspiration porn because I “hadn’t let my autism hold me back” when as a matter of fact, if I wasn’t autistic I might not have achieved half as much.

I was nineteen when I realised the lesson of “you can be anything you want to be” was a complete lie, when I was fired for being too anxious. The reality? I didn’t verbalise the same way as my neurotypical boss, I didn’t use the right facial expressions and I couldn’t overcome burnout and chronic fatigue to be the bubbly extrovert they wanted me to be. I didn’t get fired because I was anxious, I got fired for being autistic.

In 2016, your world pushed me to attempt suicide. I had no support system, no one I could turn to who would understand and no one who could fix the issues I was facing -everyone I knew was neurotypical, you see, so how could they fix the issue of their world not being accessible to me? That year I learned that the second lesson was a lie. Words do hurt, and so do actions. I heard every whisper about me and my personality, saw the eye rolls and the laughs. I shouldered the comments of “everyone gets tired, it’s not a case for special treatment” when pressing burnout and the implications of masking to fit social standards meant I needed different accommodations. It took from the age of 16 to 21 to realise this would never get better: I would face ableism wherever I went. I would face it from the people who were nice to me, the people I called friend, and family.

I was a traumatised child having grown up in an ableist system, now growing up to venture out into the even more ableist society. I was not meant to win.

In my late 20’s I honestly tried. I became an activist and advocate for my community and I began trying to educate people and push for better accommodations. My advocacy lasted a few months before I gave up in defeat, as my words were used against me and I would have to prove myself as valuable before anyone would even begin to care about what I needed to survive. I became a nuisance because I was being so obviously different as I was trying to not mask -but it seems neurotypicals would rather you use a trauma response to get by then understand. I ended up quitting a lot of things, and received the response that it was expected of me to quit. I’d hung on for so long, screaming into the abyss and it was only when I’d fallen that neurotypicals would admit they knew I needed help all along.

Nowadays, I cannot fight for myself. I’m a burntout shell having survived 20 years of ableism and trauma. I battle pain daily because I don’t have the accommodations to manage it, and I’m no longer able to mask my obvious lack of social skills and major anxiety. I’m well aware that such a blatant show of neurodiversity could cost me a lot in life -I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop and for people to decide I don’t fit in. I stand to lose everything for being different.

When I see an article about another young autistic committing suicide, I’m obviously heartbroken but I’m not surprised. This world is in no way accessible and we are thrown into trauma and abuse from a young age. Our community is finally having the conversation about “what does an untraumatized autistic person even look like?” but all these important conversations are still happening solely in the autistic community. With no education and no progress from neurotypicals in properly understanding autistic people and casting aside old abusive stereotypes, languages and practices, the age autistic people commit suicide at is getting younger.

Neurotypicals like to shudder away in horror when we mention the S word, but to that I would say get a fucking grip. You all created this world, you started the pathway to our deaths.

I don’t plan on reaching 40. How can I? By 16 I was already experiencing daily burn out and being ostracised to a major degree. By 18 I knew I would never fit into neurotypical spaces and by 21 I was fully aware I had suicide ideation. At 26 I have constant chronic pain, chronic depression that started as a teenager has depleted my memory and capacity to handle even the basics of adult life, and I have the constant knowledge that if I even try to educate people and ask for help, no neurotypical will listen.

You were never going to give me the tools I needed to live a full life, only enough to put me into this half state of survival. And the sad truth is, I’m not alone in feeling like this.

I don’t expect this letter to invoke change. I don’t expect teachers, doctors, police or employers to start to fully educate themselves. I definitely don’t expect autism mum blogs to delete their blog and start respecting their child. All I can hope from this is that one person reads this letter and understands we are being let down constantly and something needs to change.

I hope for an ally who will be outspoken enough, that it will invite more educated allies to speak out and help us. Maybe then, we can get a break.

I’m proudly autistic, but I’m also dying in your world. I hope you can fix it so that one day, you’ll finally see what a happy, healthy, untraumatized, fully supported autistic person looks like.

Luce x

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Recipe for Mr Perfect by Anni Rose

In a time where it seems like the most hyped up books are about fairy-tales, warrior princesses or aliens jumping into parallel universes, it is a huge relief to pick up a book and realise it’s just about normal life. Much like your own life, in fact.

I cannot tell you what a relief it is to read about a woman who works in an office, hates cheery people on a Monday, and just wants to sit in her flat and watch Bridgerton with her cat. The fact I can relate so hard to this book makes it instantly brilliant. Although I don’t have a cat, I do have a baby Yoda doll and we have spent many evenings watching Daphne and the Duke fall in love, so I get the appeal.

The story follows multiple characters throughout work, relationships, drama and finding your dreams. The focus is mostly on Jess, Maggie and Sarah who work with each other and get to know the ins and outs of each other’s relationships.

It may be a book on finding Mr Right, but it is the down-to-earth realness of the group that makes me love this book the most. Office chats over fresh coffee, ringing IT when the equipment breaks and wondering if the pot plant is still alive might seem like such trivial things, however its these things that feature so heavily in the fabric of reality and so gives the book life. If asked, why should I read this book? I would happily tell anyone that it will get how you feel in your day to day life, and you will be thankful for it.

The romance aspect of this book is done slowly but brilliantly. I mean, a dashing stranger rescuing you from an embarrassing moment and then rushing off before you got his name? It does seem very Regency level romance, but instead of being silly it just makes you settle in with a glass of wine and the hopes that these two characters will bump into each other again soon. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a sucker for a good slow-burn.

I love how this book also touches on real life issues, such as how creatives are working in office roles and doing their passions on the side to pay the bills. How dating apps can be a complete failure, and how the post always needs to be in by four at the latest (this bit made me laugh so hard, it really is like that.) I loved that none of these people are boastfully successful or on top of everyone else, and there’s that special bit of insight into working life, of how your colleagues can be open enough to be work friends but private enough for you to never see the inside of their house. It’s those little touches of reality that make me really appreciate Anni’s writing.

A special thank you to Love Book Tours, Anni Rose and Choc Lit UK for a spot on the tour and a copy of this book.

Final rating: four stars.

You can order Recipe for Mr Perfect here.

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Shadow of Exposure by Jeremy Moran

First of all, I would like to thank Pegasus Publishers for sending me this book in return for an honest review. Secondly, I would like to say to them that I’m sorry I cannot speak about this book with excitement or hype, as my relationship with this book was not meant to be.

I really wanted to love it after reading the blurb. On a hype after binge watching all the James Bond films, I wanted to read a crime that had passion and fear with lots of risks being taken.

When I saw that the main character was a woman, I was sold. Finally, we have a woman taking on bad guys and exposing them! Unfortunately, Collette wasn’t a character well rounded enough to be interesting. She had credentials and was good with computers, but was then a prop for all the other characters to move around as they so wished. Collette was a chess piece to the story and it left her character flat, with no spark that might redeem her later on.

Turning to the writing, there was such a misogynistic tone to everything the male characters did. They were either forceful or dramatic, brash and rude to their female colleagues or were imitating business men of the fifties. Whatever their intention, it made the plot and its players overbearing, dry and tasteless. The constant exclamative tone tired me out and I felt that this wasn’t just drama anymore, but a lot of frustration given to characters who had little else to offer.

My biggest peeve was that I wasn’t thrilled by the adventure. There were no plot twists or anything to keep me excited. If someone died, I’d seen it coming three chapters ago. The clunky dialogue bored me as much as the action scenes and all in all, I would have loved to leave the ending well alone just like a Schrodinger’s cat scenario. Did the heroine survive in the end? Who knows, the book went back in the box and there it will stay.

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Children of Moonstone Beach – book tour

Thank you so much to Blue from Kaleidoscopic Tours for the review copy of The Children of Moonstone Beach.

About the book

Four unlikely friends are thrown together on a beach far away from their homes in London amidst the chaos of the COVID pandemic as it hits the UK. Troubled, lost, sad and with hearts searching for more, they unknowingly kick-start a chain of events which sees them swept up into a new and spellbinding world.

Review

My first impressions on reading the blurb was that this would be a look into the pandemic and how it affected the children, though the main focus is on their magical adventure amd the pandemic is quite innocently referred to as the virus. I found it to be quite a sweet story as both the children and tone were quite young.

The scenery was lovely, as was the illustrations, and I definitely think this book would be lovely to read to children themselves as it was quite easy for an adult to flick through.

I did love how the dog, Jessica, had her own character and personality and the bond that Libby shared with her. They were quite a sweet group and reminded me a little of Enid Blyton’s old tales but with magical creatures.

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟

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The Secret World of Delia and Mingli

First of all, thank you so much to Kelly at Love Book Tours for the copy of this book in return for a review.

The Secret World of Delia and Mingli is a very sweet book. It follows Delia and her elephant friend (a plush toy come to life) as they navigate the world of Imagine Nation to get rid of Delia’s bad dreams.

I found all aspects of the book lovely for small children. There was a clear message of friendship and not judging people (or in Delia’s case, monsters and rabbits) by what they look like and that there is logic to getting over a fear.

I think this story will be very helpful for children to face their fears and be comforted by Delia’s adventure.

It was a bit confusing on what the characters were doing. At times they were trying to get to the castle to get rid of Delia’s nightmares, but in other paragraphs it was focused on Delia getting home. This was made clear in the end, however, and the ending was so cute. I especially loved the illustrations throughout.

Final rating: 🌟🌟🌟

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Book Blitz! The Entrant (Antigravity Racing League Book One) by Rock Fosberg

Happy release day to Rock Fosberg’s new novel!

About the book 

The ARL race crafts run on sonic speeds just a few metres from the track and race massive rollercoaster circuits all across the galaxy. It is the biggest sport under the federation.

Zane Silvering, the son of an ARL legend, races in a local antigravity league and dreams of making it big in the galaxy.

On his eighteenth birthday, after being kicked out of his team, an ARL team offers him a position as a substitute. Despite the warning signs, he seizes the opportunity, and boards a massive spaceship, the mobile base of a team competing for the galactic championship.

But the life of an ARL racer isn’t as easy as he thought. The crafts are raw and powerful, the competition relentless—also inside his team—and the game sometimes gets dirty. Just to get to race, he has to beat some of the galaxy’s best racers.

And there’s more to the team than racing: a group of them run secret missions for the enigmatic owner. Soon Zane works night-shift as their getaway pilot.

When the day and night jobs meet, he must step out of his father’s shadow, and race, not only for the glory, but for his life.

If you like underdog stories, awe-inspiring galactic trekking, and high-adrenaline racing, The Entrant will keep you strapped to your seat until the finish line.

Author Bio


Rock Forsberg is a science fiction author. He loves awe-inspiring stories and started writing so that he could create epic worlds and stories of his own. He has also written songs, poems, and short stories, both in English and in Finnish. He considers writing to be a long game, with a lifetime of learning, and dozens of novels to write.

A dual citizen of Finland and Australia, he splits his time between Helsinki, Finland and Sydney, Australia. If he not writing, he’s reading, keeping fit (he’s a health geek), playing guitar, or enjoying time with his family and friends. 

Buy Links

Amazon 

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A Rush of Wings by Laura E Weymouth

Thank you to Laura for this gifted ARC in return for a review ♡

About the book

Rowenna Winthrop has always known there’s magic within her. But though she hears voices on the wind and possesses unusual talents, her mother Mairead believes Rowenna lacks discipline, and refuses to teach her the craft that keeps their Scottish village safe. And when Mairead dies a sinister death, it seems Rowenna’s only chance to grow into her power has died with her. Then, on a fateful, storm-tossed night, Rowenna rescues a handsome stranger named Gawen from a shipwreck, and her mother miraculously returns from the dead. Or so it appears.

Review

This retelling is unlike anything I’ve read before. Finally, the heroine is not a princess or a chosen one (well, not exactly) but an outcast herself. After losing her mother, Rowenna is a lost soul with a dark secret and an unpracticed power.

I loved that she wasn’t good, but not evil either. Rowenna is sharp and salty, with a firm will and a lot of courage and she certainly made for interesting reading.

I loved how she viewed hardship, how her “I made my bed, now I lie in it” mentality took her through the story. Rowenna was definitely a strong centre to the book and wasn’t overshadowed by love interests or other lead characters which makes a nice change.

Weymouth’s writing is brutaly honest, and she doesn’t coddle her readers. Each death and disaster is told with clarity and not dressed up or softened. Weymouth is clear in what she wants you to feel, and feel you do. I’m definitely a fan of her work for making me feel many emotions, mostly at the same time!

There are some shocks, though not outlandish, that tie in perfectly and the pacing is on point with every event. If this book was a meal, it would be a five course masterpiece with cherries on the top.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟