Tainted Love

by Stephanie Geary


The steam from the boiled kettle rises and I blink myself out of my reverie and slowly go through the motions to make myself a cup of coffee. I add sugar and stir absentmindedly whilst adding a dash of milk from the milk jug. My mind and body are moving in slow motion and I gingerly take my hot cup to the kitchen breakfast bar and climb up onto a stool, my eyes moving around the room but unseeing. I knit my hands together on my lap and bite my lip, wincing at the pain. My mind is trying to figure out today’s events; I know I am in shock, but I need to figure out how my life got to here.

I hear the distinct sound of a cat’s meow and I see Tammy, our tortoise-shell feline enter the kitchen. I wonder whether she can sense that something is wrong; does she know what has happened here today? I get up slowly and go through the motions of feeding her. Tammy is rubbing herself around my legs, but I don’t pay much notice. My mind is elsewhere.

I return to the breakfast bar and take a few sips of my coffee, the bitter-sweet taste hitting my senses and allowing me a moment of clarity. Once I finish my drink I instinctively carry it straight to the sink and wash it up before drying it vigorously and placing it neatly into the cupboard dedicated to mugs. There is never any time to breathe in this house, never any time to relax. Everything must be done as he demands it, whether it be cleaning, talking or even how we dress. My husband is not one to be disobeyed. He makes the rules and we obey them. So I wash this cup up quickly and without delay, any mess of any kind would only bring on a torrid of abuse so I do anything I can to avoid it.

My mind wanders back to the day I met him, and I wish I could go back and tell myself to walk away. I wish I could yell, plead or even beg that stupid naïve girl to run as fast and as far as her legs could carry her. But then I remember, without him there wouldn’t be HER and she is the one shining beacon in the whole of my bleak, ugly world. Our daughter Gabby is coming 8 years old and she is a beautiful, intelligent little girl. She has her fathers looks but her mothers heart and I am very glad of that. I know she sees how her father is; she sees his anger and his violent out spurts. Gabby sees and hears my terror of the man she calls Daddy, but she has never spoken of it. Of all his faults, he has never placed a hand on her. He has shouted at her and spoke viciously about me in front of her, but he has never physically hurt her. Trevor keeps all that special treatment just for me.

When I first met Trevor, he was the most wanted man in the town, every girl wanted to date him. But not me. I had just got out of a relationship with my long-term boyfriend and I was ready to enjoy my single life for a while. Trevor saw me and wanted me. He chased me for weeks before I finally agreed to go on a date with him. He knew how to hook me, knew how to get me to fall in love with him and it didn’t take long. After only a month of dates I was well and truly besotted. He was charming and made me feel special. I would have followed him everywhere. And I did; within a few months I had moved out of my parent’s house and had moved in with him. Within the year we were married. Up until that point he was the perfect partner, he was always bringing me gifts and telling me how much he loved me. It was too much at times, but I liked it.

It was the little things that changed at first; he started coming in later from work and the gifts became less and less. There were less declarations of love and more naggings. He complained that his shirt wasn’t ironed properly or that his dinner was undercooked. The complaining was meant to confuse me, to make me pander to him. I promised to do better. I had got used to the feeling of being special and started to feel useless as a wife. I felt like a failure and told myself and Trevor that I would try better. Each day I was told something else was wrong, until eventually he took a disliking to the clothes I wore. He said it was because he didn’t like other guys being attracted to me and suggested I wore less revealing shirts and I did as he said. I stopped wearing tops with low cuts and wore trousers all the time. Whatever I could do to make him happy I did. The shower of love he gave me came intermittently and it made me eager to get those feelings back. I grasped for any attention he gave me and eagerly lapped it up when he was in a ‘good mood’. In the beginning he never physically hurt me, it was mental abuse I endured at first, but I wasn’t to know that I was being abused until much later. There were good days back then, days when I was made to feel special again, days when I didn’t feel lacking as a wife. I welcomed those days and reminded myself that Trevor loved me and that is why he reminded me when I got things wrong. He was simply looking out for me, or so I thought.

Bit by bit I retreated into our home and stopped seeing other people in my life. My parents, my friends; they all stayed away as they always felt unwelcome and I spent so much time cleaning the house and making sure it was perfect that I never had time to visit them. Trevor preferred that, he liked that I depended on him for company, that I had nobody else to look after me. The more time that went in between seeing other people, the less I missed them. When I found out I was pregnant, Trevor convinced me that I was better off staying in the house to keep me safe and I believed him. I busied myself with online shopping and brought nursery items and decorated our babies room. The days of my pregnancy ticked by slowly, but Trevor’s mental torture went on despite the growing baby in my belly. He bellowed at me when dinner was late on the table, ridiculed my weight as my body grew to accommodate the baby and complained at me when the housekeeping wasn’t done to his standard. From early morning until late into the night I was hoovering, cleaning, dusting, washing, mopping, wiping, scrubbing and drying. Every part of our home was spotless, but he always found fault with something; always found a spot I had missed or faltered over a cushion being out of place. There was no let up. He made me feel so low, I was tired, suffered terrible morning sickness, and my ankles were badly swollen, but I couldn’t rest. If I sat down to catch my breath he would make sarcastic remarks and ‘joke’ that I was lazy.

My naivety stopped me from questioning how he was treating me. I figured it was just his way of showing he loved me. I believed him when he showered me with love on the days he was happy. And I excused how he spoke to me, putting it down to him being stressed by his tiring job.

When Gabby was born I was expecting the whole situation to do a U turn. I thought it would show him what was important, but the birth of our daughter which should have been one the best moments of his life only helped to make him worse. It was evident days after we had come home from hospital that he wasn’t happy and when he was woken up during the night, he swore at me to get her out the room and I spent most of my nights sitting downstairs to avoid disturbing him and igniting his anger. Trevor didn’t spend much time with our daughter and he hated to see me with her, I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time and I wasn’t sure why he seemed so distant with her. Now, looking back I see that it was jealousy. For so long in our relationship he had me at his beck and call and then he had to share my attention with a defenceless crying baby. Those nights when I sat up alone with our baby were some of the loneliest yet beautiful of my life. They were bitter-sweet. I hated not sharing those moments with my husband, but I loved spending those same moments with Gabby. Her small hands wrapped around my finger and held on tight as I held her against my breast to feed. Remembering those dark, quiet nights bring tears to my eyes. I was still adamant that things would get better, that she would win her Daddy’s heart as she had done mine. I was stupid to think that he would come around, stupid to think that I could change him. If anything, he got worse. Gabby has witnessed so much heartache and if I could wish just one thing it would be that I had gotten out when I had had the chance. I should have taken our things and escaped before things went too far. But what is the point of wishing to change the past when it is not possible?

When Gabby was six months old, I was attacked by my husband. This would be the first of many times that he struck me. That first night I had been feeding Gabby when he had insisted that I come to bed, he made comments that I had been a prude since our daughter had been born and he had a right as a husband to feel loved. I laughed timidly thinking that he was joking, but he wasn’t. I could see in his eyes that he wasn’t in the mood to argue. I told him that Gabby hadn’t finished feeding and he approached me, fire burning in his eyes as he lifted her from me and placed her in her crib. The screams that rose from her tore through me, she was hungry and was venting her frustration the only way she knew how. Trevor shouted for her to shut up and grabbed me by the arm, pulling me roughly up the stairs. My heart was racing, the cries from our daughter ringing in my ears, my stomach churning as I longed to hold her to me, to comfort her. The emotions raging through me were too much and I still thought I could say no. Trevor had never gone this far before, he would stop if I said so. I pushed him away from me, releasing my arm from his grip and told him that I needed to go back to Gabby. Before I had a chance to turn away from him, he grabbed me by the throat and pushed me roughly against the wall. With this free hand he slapped me hard across the face, and his angry eyes bore into me, he told me to never try to push him away again. My head bumped roughly against the wall as his hands tore at my clothes, ripping the material. Our daughter’s cries had faded slightly, could she sense that something bad was happening?
My hands hung loosely at my sides, I knew I should fight but I was in shock. With his grip still around my throat he pulled me roughly into our bedroom and threw me onto the bed. I looked at him pleadingly and tears sprung to my eyes. Raising my hands in defence I told him that I didn’t want this. To my astonishment, Trevor laughed. He laughed at me. Trevor poked fun at my post baby body and told me I was a rubbish wife. The shame I felt washed over me. I looked at this man, the man who I loved, and I didn’t recognise him. All at once I saw the man he was, the bully that had always been hidden from me. I trembled in fear as he covered my body with his, he pulled my underwear aside roughly and raped me on our bed. My mind tried to go elsewhere but the pain was too much, he was so rough with me and I couldn’t breathe. The pain and fear I felt were unmeasurable. Once he had finished he rolled off me and he pushed me off the bed. Trying to keep as much dignity in tact as possible I gathered the bits of material that were my clothes around me and left the room silently. I managed to make my way downstairs, the pain between my legs burning with every step and when I reached the crib I looked down at my sleeping baby. Once I saw that she was okay I let the tears fall. I wanted to scream and shout, but I didn’t want to give Trevor more fuel to come back for more. A part of me died that night, but still I stayed with him.

From that point onwards, my life with Trevor became a nightmare. I no longer saw him as the man I loved, but rather the man I lived with who terrified me more than anyone or anything else. The physical and sexual abuse were daily occurrences; with every strike and every forced sex act I felt another chunk of me fall away. I considered telling my parents, confiding in them but it had been so long since I had seen them I didn’t want to have to tell them what he was doing to their daughter. I should have left but I couldn’t make myself do it. I was too frightened of what he would do to me if he caught up with me. My only concern was my daughter, making sure he didn’t hurt her. Trevor didn’t pay much attention to her as she was growing, didn’t care too much about the milestones she reached or when she started calling him Daddy, but he never put a finger on her. Not that I ever trusted him around her. She was never out of my sight, I made sure she was safe from him every waking day. Not only with what he could or might do to her, but what she witnessed him do to me. There were times when he got a bit physical with me that she met my eye. I would say sweetly for her to go to her room and shut her door and she would obey, looking back occasionally as though she knew what I was going to have to endure. And again, I should have taken her away from it all, but I feared him coming after us and taking her from me for good. She was all that mattered in my dark, relentless torturous days. Gabby was the reason why I got up of a morning, the reason why I could carry on.

The years had been hard for me, but if I kept her safe then that was all that mattered. He could do whatever he wanted to me, but not to her.

Today started like any other, I made breakfast for Gabby and got her ready for school. As we were going out of the door she dropped my mobile phone which cracked the screen. We were rushing out, so I left it on the kitchen counter and left hurriedly, not thinking of what Trevor might say if he saw it. When I let myself in this morning he was sat at the counter, holding my phone. The fear in my stomach, the feeling that is always there revved and churned, causing me to feel sick. The look in his face was both anger and satisfaction. Trevor loved belittling me, loved seeing the power he had over me, loved making me terrified of him.
He threw my phone at me and asked me what had happened, and I started apologising in reflex. Trevor saw the fear in my eyes and jumped up out of his seat and punched me hard in the face. I cried tears of frustration and touched the spot on my mouth that had connected with his fist. I could feel it swelling and could taste the metallic taste of blood. That wasn’t enough for him; grabbing my hair he pulled me to face him and spit into my face. I wiped it away, but this angered him more. Shoving me roughly away from him he asked again what had happened. Crying and shaking I explained that Gabby had dropped it as she had exited for school that morning. The shame creeped over me as I tried to shield myself from him by using my daughter as a reason for him to not beat me. He looked at me, twisting his hands deeper into my hair calling me and our daughter bitches, Trevor’s face showed disgust as he mentioned our names telling me that our daughter needs to learn how to behave and that he should have a harder approach with her…

My thoughts are broken by the sound of the telephone in the hallway ringing. I get up and wipe the tears from my eyes. The caller ID indicates that the number is withheld, and I chose to ignore it knowing that it is almost time for me to leave to collect Gabby from school. I don’t have time to take surveys or sign up for new windows; my daughter needs picking up. It is almost 3pm and I need to get a move on. Walking steadily to the coat-rack I glimpse myself in the mirror and run my tongue over my broken top lip which looks red and sore; a deep cut running up to just underneath my nose. I wonder if I have time to cover it up but realise it would need a lot of work to hide it. If I get asked by one of the moms how it happened, then I can make something up. I have got good at that over the years. I button my coat up and pull my long hair out of the collar, wincing from the pain on my scalp.

Then I head back to the kitchen to collect my car-keys. Tammy eyes me suspiciously from her spot on the floor before turning her head, nestling down and resting herself against Trevor who is lying motionless on the floor. I am sure I should feel guilty for leaving him lying there in his own blood, but at this moment I feel nothing.

I am not sure if he meant what he said to come out so sinisterly, but I pictured him with his hands on our daughter and I saw red. After all the years of torment I saw him for what he was finally and without thinking I grabbed the nearest kitchen knife off the counter behind me and jammed it into his neck. The look of shock in his eyes will live with me forever. He was as shocked as I was. Stumbling weakly, he grabbed at his neck, blood spurting out and onto the kitchen floor. He slumped down and stared blankly upwards, the life draining from him.
I watched as he took his last breath, hardly realising that I was holding mine. The relief I felt when he died was so tremendous I started to laugh. I laughed and laughed until I started crying. Then I waited. I waited until the guilt and panic took over, but I felt nothing. I was glad he was dead.

Tears stung my eyes now but only because I wasn’t sure what my future held. What I did know is that this man in front of me would never ever make me feel worthless again. From this point forward, I would never let a man rule me, never live in fear. Turning my back on him I return to the hall and collect the packed bags for me and Gabby. I really wasn’t sure where I was going but at least I know we would be safe.

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Moving On (A Short Story)

Life flashes by, birds tweet and weather changes but I feel so obsolete. Nobody sees me, but I see them. I see their faces, alive and bright. I am here but nobody sees me, I am here but I am not.

I fight to move, I fight to feel, I fight to live but there is nothing. I am a shell with a hollow centre. I am nothing. I am here, but I am not. My eyes see all, my ears hear everything. My body craves the movement I had before. I see their pain, I see their love, but I fail to show mine. My body screams for a release, my mind screams to be heard and my heart aches for them. I see the pain of her, I see her hands as they caress my skin, the warmth of her touch shooting through my body like shocks of electric.

I want to call out to them, I want to shout her name. I want to tell her that I am here, I want to tell her not to cry for me. I can sense her pain and that makes me ache with love and sadness. My mind is swimming with endless thoughts of life, thoughts of love and memories of laughter and joy. All of it gone in a moment. I was happy, young and I loved my life. Before I was gone, before my life changed I took so many things for granted and adored material things. But now I see that there is only one thing a person can own and that’s love. To love and to be loved is a precious thing. Everyone craves it, everyone fights for it and most of us are lucky enough to have it.

I have tried to grasp where the point of change was, when I went from being alive to being here. Memories swim around my mind. The laughter I had with my friends and the excitement I felt when I finished school for half term. I remember seeing the boy I liked across the road and the vague memory of his shocked expression as I stepped out towards him. Following that came a mixed muddled mess of noise and images. The screams and crying came first, then the realization that I was lying on the floor looking up into the faces of people crowding me, followed shortly by ambulance crew. Everything happened too quickly, even now when I try to remember all of the details it feels like someone has their finger pressed down on the fast forward button. I tried to move, but they had me strapped down onto the board, which was eventually lifted up onto an ambulance. My eyes hurt when I looked up into the light.

Of all the things I remember the most, it’s the pain that sticks out in my mind. I couldn’t originate where the pain was from but I heard words of ‘head trauma’ and risk of internal bleeding thrown around as the vehicle I was in sped towards its destination, blue lights flashing and sounding out a piercing siren which made me feel pain in parts which I never knew existed. I tried to call out for my mom but i couldn’t find my voice and I could only taste the acrid metal blood which soaked the inside of my mouth. There was another voice in the vehicle, separate from the paramedics who were working to save my life. A voice I recognised was talking wildly, sobs separating her words as she spoke. At the time I couldn’t place it but having had time to go over these events over and over again, I now realize that it was my best friend, Zara. She held my hand, although I didn’t feel it at the time. She was talking about an accident and something about how the car had come out of nowhere but I was swiftly drifting into darkness as I realised that she was talking about what had happened to me.

The moment I closed my eyes was the moment I lost, I will forever wish that I fought harder to stay awake, that I used all of my inner strength to keep myself afloat long enough to survive. Since that moment I have been floating on a choppy wave, waiting for something but not knowing what it is. Monitors beep in the distance and signs of life wrap around me, containing me inside my own bubble, a world where only I exist. My eyelids are still closed. Since that ‘moment’ in the ambulance I haven’t opened them again. But I can still see, I can see more now than I could before. I see the love of those around me and hear their sorrow. My body feels nothing, but I ache inside, emotions and feelings weighing me down. I feel as though I am drowning, but there is no relief from my anguish. Time has gone by slowly, but I don’t know how long I have been lying here. Days, weeks, months, I have no way of tracing the time, but the time I wait seems endless, causing me to feel impatient and frustrated. It would feel good to scream, to put all of my energy into opening my mouth and letting the sound roll effortlessly from my lips, but my body is frozen and numb. I can only scream on the inside, but what is the point? It is silent and small and trapped as am I. Nobody can hear me, they can only see my lifeless body lay out before them. I see my mother as she paces around the hospital room. Her eyes are red from crying, lines of mascara tracing down her cheeks. She is clutching a small brown teddy bear, a stuffed toy that I slept with when I was a child and had always refused to throw out. The material on its body is torn and it has a small rip on its right ear from where I wrestled it from my younger brother. My mother hugs it tightly to her chest and her small shoulders rise and drop as her tears turn into sobs. My heart hurts and I try to look away but I feel myself drawn to her. The woman who gave me life, who blew raspberries on my belly when I was young, the woman who helped clean up my cuts and bruises and protected me from the monsters in my room, she was now having to consider a very difficult decision. The only option we have left. Dr. Thompson had spoken to my mother hours earlier whilst she had stood holding my hand, he had informed her of my brain damage and how my lack of blood supply to my brain following trauma had caused irreparable damage. He had stated that they had done all they could and that my body was being kept alive by machines. My mother clutched my hand, squeezing and kneading it as if she could somehow revive me. Great sobs broke from her lips and she fell forwards, putting her weight against my bed and resting heavily on me, begging me without words to open my eyes. The doctors words echoed through me, resonating around my body. It was at that moment that I accepted my fate peacefully. My life was no more but I needed to tell her to live and to go on living. Grief was inevitable after the death of a loved one but I wanted my mother to embrace it and live my life through her.

The room had brightened considerably once I accepted that I was moving on, but there was no sun coming in through the windows, there was only a small circle of light which had appeared on the opposite wall. It was bright and beautiful and bathed the area in so much light that I just wanted to touch it. Nobody else could see it, or if they could, then they weren’t taking much notice of it. There are four people in the room, including me. My mother stood near me, clutching my teddy to her. Behind her stood my stepfather, his hands clasped onto my mothers shoulders, his eyes low, searching the floor as though he’s looking for answers which he won’t find. We have always had a close relationship, my real father never played a part in my life and I never missed him as Alan made me feel like his daughter every single day. The pain in his eyes hits me in the chest and I long to hug him to me. On th opposite side of the bed is Dr. Thompson, his stance and straight face showing sympathy and patience towards my parents painfully hard decision. The responsibility lies solely with them and I will them with all of my being to let me go. Not just for me, but got them. I want them to live for me; I want them to go on and be happy and to remember me as I was, not how I am now. My stepfather squeezes my mother to him and nods in the direction of the doctor and mouths the words, ‘we’re ready’.

The light is slowly growing and the room takes on a white-washed look. It’s as if someone has turned up the brightness. The features of the people around me become more difficult to make out and, against the white light they’re forms appear like silhouettes. Dr. Thompson mutters a few words to my parents, but I don’t catch what he is saying. Condolences maybe? All I am focused on is that circle of light which is now big enough for me to crawl through. The tunnel it opens up is stunning to look at; there are a hundred different swirling colors, all of them bright and sparkling. The tunnel is long and as the hole gets bigger, I see that there is an end to it, there is life there.

The machines in my room stop beeping and the ventilator which has been pumping up and down rhythmically and endlessly now stops and stands silent. My mother looks down at me and holds onto my hand, tears trailing down her cheeks. Behind her, still holding her tightly is Alan, his face taut and struggling to control his emotions. His face is pinched in pain and he tries unsuccessfully to hold himself together, trying not to cry, but he cant control it and he swiftly covers his face with his hands and sheds tears for me, his little girl. Maybe we aren’t connected by blood, but I know he holds me in his heart as though I am.

I am suddenly aware that I am no longer lying down on the hospital bed, but I am standing up. My parents are next to me, both lost in their sadness, neither noticing that I am inches from them. Looking down at my body, I see what they see. Wires snake across my body, leading up to the now silent machines. My head is wrapped in bandages, pieces of my blonde hair streak across my damp skin. Purple circles are evident around my closed eyes. The colour of my skin appears grey and dull, even in the blinding whiteness of the room. Small is the word that comes to mind, I look small; lying tucked up in the clean white sheets that cover my final bed.

My gaze is drawn back towards the circle of light, which is now big enough for me to walk through. The end of the tunnel is easy to make out and I see beauty and happiness there. There are hundreds of people waiting there, smiling and waving; calling me to them. I see faces I recognise, great aunts whose funerals I attended when I was a kid, an uncle who died when he was my age and plenty more faces that I recognise from my childhood onwards and from photographs I had seen. The field they stand in is full of pretty flowers of all colours and my eyes pick out animals amongst the group who wait for me. Behind one of my great aunts I spy a dog I recognise, his brown familiar fur gently ruffling in the breeze. Everyone looks happy and everyone is smiling. There is no pain there; I know I will be safe forever. I see it, I hear it and I feel it. I breathe in the rich lavender scent, carried on a light breeze that blows my hair and cools my skin. I feel alive and ready for my new life.

I turn back, looking at my heartbroken parents, both of them lost in their grief, both unable to speak through their pain. Words can not describe how I am feeling. Happy and excited about my next chapter, but sad and angry about having to leave my old one behind so soon. I love my parents, I love my life but I know I cannot stay. Stepping back towards my parents, I feel deep sorrow for having to leave them behind. Maybe I can stay; maybe I don’t have to leave. I look back towards the tunnel and see my Grandma Poppy approaching me. We hug each other tightly, both jubilant about seeing one another again and I know then that I will see them all again. My parents will live their lives and when the time comes, I will welcome them to their new home. My heart sings for that moment. Granny Poppy holds her hand out to me, eager to take me with her. With as much energy as I can muster, I walk back to my parents, wrap my arms around them, hold them tightly to me and whisper, ‘I love you.’ My breathe comes out like a breeze and blows my mothers fringe. She looks up and her eyes meet mine, I know she can see me, because she starts towards me. Holding out for my Granny’s hand, I walk towards the tunnel, breathing in the rich floral aroma.

I take one last glance at my mother. She is watching me leave, her arms clinging to my oblivious father. Smiling at her, tears steaming down my face, I raise my hand and wave at her. My mother smiles lightly, her face also wet from tears. As her words of love follow me down the long tunnel, I know that everything will be okay.

This isn’t the end for me, it is only the beginning.

The End.

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I am a Writer, I am Me.

Hi There, My name is Stephanie, although you can call me Steph as all my friends do.

I have been writing on this blog for over a year now. It has helped me to have a voice, something which I use to share my views, share my book reviews and to showcase some of my writing work. I am a big lover of creative writing and enjoy reading short stories and poems by other writers; but I also love to write my own pieces too. I have shared some of my short stories on this very blog with some positive feedback, which has helped to build me as a writer.

This isn’t my first soiree into the world of blogging though, Oh No, I started my first blog a couple of years ago when I was a mum of none and when my world didn’t include early morning routines, school runs or dedicating time to my little rascals. My posts lacked character, they had no flow and I didn’t make a lot of sense at times. I rambled for a lot of the posts that I wrote and I treated it more like a diary than anything else, which is all well and good but who wants to hear me talk about what I had for breakfast or how often I dyed me hair?

I also never did any socialising or engagement with other bloggers so my blog was never read…or if it was then I never knew about it. I managed a few weeks before I switched my mind to my other love; photography.

(I have run a very successful photography business the past 10 years or more)

10 years later, 2 kids heavier and full of life experience that I wish I hadn’t got, I have decided to give it another go. I have now got two blogs, 1 on Blogger and 1 on here. I wanted to keep both separate.

My Blogger account (https://stephgearycreativejuice.blogspot.co.uk) is more of a personal accounted diary with stories of my lovable tear-aways, my husband and our 11 week old pug, Harry.

Whereas my WordPress Blog will be more for my creative writing content. I will post short stories, poems and reviews of books and films. I know a lot of bloggers aim to gain money from their blogs (not that it wouldn’t be nice) but I do it more so I can get my work out there. I have enjoyed writing for as far back as I remember and I am having such a good time thinking about what content to create next.

I am not saying that I am great at writing short stories or poems for that matter and I am sure some will think that they are a bit rubbish (that is me letting my un-confidence break through a little) but I am going to put my work out there anyways. Any positive critic is very much welcomed, I am learning all the time – whether it is based on my blog or on my writing. 😀

My WordPress Blog is definitely a working progress. I will learn and tweak it as I go.

S x


Featured post

New Books, New Year

Books Books Books!

blog stuff

I am currently in between Blog Tours, so I have plunged into the pile of books that I have wanted to read for a while now. 

I ventured to my local 2nd hand shop (Thrift store) and purchased 6 books for £1! Thats right! I paid just £1 for all 6 of these books…I couldn’t believe it when she told me how much they were…..I was that shocked that I handed extra money over to go towards the charity.

Two thoughts went through my mind…..

1 – Damn, that was cheap…

2 – I wish I had picked up more books…

I love a new book and love reading a new story, which is why I enjoy blogging so much. It helps me to connect with so many fabulous authors…I love reading new stories, meeting new characters and feeling all the emotions that only books can conjure.

The first selected book from the pile was this beauty:

book cover
Those who are regulars to my blog will know that I reviewed John Green’s Book, Turtles all the way Down last year and I really really enjoyed it. I have wanted to read ‘The Fault in our Stars.’ for some time now and will admit that I have watched the film first, which isn’t generally something that I do. I much prefer to fall in love with the characters in the book before having it tainted by the characters I see on screen.

I am very excited to get started with this book and I will leaving my review right here for you all as soon as it is done. 🙂

Hope you are all having a fab evening.

Chow for Now
S x

#Blogtour Book Review: Sadie’s Wars by Rosemary Noble


Sadies Wars.png
Hi All

I have a confession to make, I created this blog post and scheduled it for the #blogtour slot which was dated for the 9th December. But, with illness, family drama and Christmas/New Year festivities, I completely forgot to check back in to make sure that it had posted. Unfortunately it didn’t, in fact I couldn’t find any trace of it, so I am figuring I didn’t save it properly at the time. 😦

This is a big apology to the Blogtour host, Rachel and the author, Rosemary for the delay in sharing this review. I am so very sorry for not posting this sooner. But here it is in all of its glory….better late than never right? 😉 

As always I need to thank the Blogtour host, Rachel (www.rachelsrandomresources.com)and the author, Rosemary Noble for allowing me the honour of a copy of this book. It was a really charming little number and one that I read through fairly quickly. It was an enjoyable read. 

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This is Book 3 in The Currency Girls Series but can easily be read as a standalone story.

Before I tell you more about this book and give you my views on it, lets see a little bit about the author. 

About the Author

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I worked as a librarian, mostly with young people, so books have been my life, ever since I first stepped into a library and found a magical treasure trove. My other love is social history. Retirement gave me the opportunity to travel to Australia where I discovered stories that deserved to be written. I found a new career as an author which gives me immense pleasure. I write for myself but am delighted that others enjoy my books.

Social Media Links –


About the Book

sadies wars1

An astonishing tale, spanning continents, where truth is stranger than fiction. This historical saga of an extraordinary Australian pioneer family continues into a new generation.

Sadie is brought-up amongst the vineyards of the Yarra Valley while her work-obsessed father reaps riches from the boom years before the Great War.

With post-war depression looming, Sadie’s only option is to flee from her disastrous marriage, seeking refuge in Cleethorpes, a small seaside town in northern England.

Years later, when her sons are in RAF Bomber Command, she receives a letter from her long-lost brother which forces her to confront the past and her part in her family’s downfall.

Can old wounds be healed?
Will she find new love?
Will this second war destroy everyone she saved?

My Review

This story was very easy to get into; I did struggle to figure out who each of the characters were at first, having not read the first books in this series, but it didn’t take long to get into it. This book does very well as a standalone novel, but I enjoyed reading it so much that I will definately be looking at purchasing the previous books. The shifting between timelines and the historical touches between the two World Wars helps to create a very warming, yet thrilling story.

Despite the various battles she is struggling through, Sadie; the main character, continues to move forward daily; she continues to get through each day despite her fears and trepidation. There were some tear-jerking moments too; I really feel that I am connected to a book when it brings me to tears. It says a lot about the writing and character of the story if it can compel you to feel emotions from just the words that are written. And Rosemary, the author, has a lovely writing style. It is easy to read and flows in a way that makes it enjoyable.

I got to the end of the book and was amazed to find that this was based on true life, which made the story even more special. For those who are looking for a book with character and charm, look no further. This saga, which spans both Australia and England is a real gem of a story and you won’t be disappointed when you start to read it.


Rosemary Noble has done brilliantly in creating this story. Her research skills and writing style have helped to create a very enjoyable reading experience. The character interaction and the depth in which they were written created people who were both believable and likeable. I would 100% recommend this book to anyone who likes a story with heart.

Rating – 4 out of 5 

If you liked what I wrote and would like to hear more, please check out the reviews from the fellow bloggers on this tour.

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Thanks for reading.

S x

A bit of a break from reading and reviewing…

Although I like to think of this blog as one that is specifically for blogging about the books that I read; I also like to put a little bit of me into some posts too.

Earlier blog posts show some of my writing that I have done over the years. Because some of you may not realise this, but I am not just a lover of reading stories, I also like to write them too.

One of the biggest dreams I have is to one day write my own book and to see it get published. I have a couple of stories that I have been writing for a while now and I can often be seen typing notes out on my iPhone and staring off into space as I consider one of my many ‘characters’ personalities. I would love to have more time for writing though. With work and kids and responsibilities, I always feel like there is never enough time in the day. I envision a time when I can give up my day job and just use my time to write my story and to blog more often.

In the meantime, I am going to write more stories, share more of my short pieces and hope that one day I can look at publishing some of my work.


S x

Book Review: #BookBlog – The Lights of Time by Paul Ian Cross

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#BlogTour – Monday 3rd December

Hi All, Another Blogtour, another day! I am seriously loving all of the books I have been invited to read, but this one blew my mind. It was intense and exciting from the first word! I was honoured to be asked to read it and to include it on my blog. 

Thanks as always must go to the fantastic Blogtour host, Rachel (https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com) for inviting me along. As mentioned in the past, I have always been a sucker for a good front cover and this pulled me in instantly by the way it looked. Thanks also must go to the author, Paul Ian Cross (http://www.pauliancross.com) who brought this amazingly inventive story to life. 

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When I read this book, I came away with one word on my lips….’wow’

The story was a thrilling, science-fiction rollercoaster ride that had you plunging deep into the essence of the book with each word. I was in awe of how well the story flowed and the fact that the story centres around time-travel had me hooked…..I have come away wanting more….

But…before I give you more on this book; lets see a little bit from the author. 

About the Author

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Paul Ian Cross is a multi-award-winning children’s author and scientist from London, UK.

Paul works in clinical research (developing new medicines) and he’s also involved in science communication; presenting science to non-scientists. He enjoys his science career but he also has a real passion for writing stories! He likes introducing children to the wonders of science, especially reluctant readers. By introducing science creatively, he aims to spark their interest; allowing them to gain confidence with their reading. As a previous reluctant reader himself, he understands how hard it can be. But it’s all about making reading fun and interesting!

Paul’s nephew Hayden influenced his decision to become a writer. He loved seeing Hayden’s reaction when his sister Michelle first read one of Paul’s stories to him!

In his spare time, Paul likes to visit new and exciting places. One of his favourite places is Scotland, especially the Isle of Skye.

Paul’s debut picture book, Praxx and the Ringing Robot, won second prize in the ‘Picture Books 5 and Younger’ category at the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards 2017. The book trailer also won first place in the ‘book trailer’ category at the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards later that year.

Paul’s second book, Planet Scrabbage and the Vegerons, won an honourable mention in both the ‘Picture Books 6 and Over’ and ‘Health’ categories at the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards 2018.

And that brings us to now… Paul is currently working on several new books. Paul’s debut upper middle grade novel will be published in 2018. The Lights of Time is the first novel in a brand-new series: The Chronicles of Engella Rhys.

Paul hopes you enjoy reading his stories as much as he enjoyed writing them!


About the Book

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Engella Rhys is alone, adrift and on the run. Pursued by a secret agency, known only as the Hunters, she must stay ahead to stay alive.

As she travels through space-time using dangerously experimental technology, she only has one wish: to be reunited with her lost parents. After a close shave with a Hunter on the streets of New Shanghai, Engella escapes to find herself on a deserted beach. When she meets a kind stranger, who offers her food and shelter, Engella feels safe and protected for the first time in years.

But who is this woman? And why did their paths cross at the most convenient of times?

Engella soon discovers their lives are intertwined in more ways than she could ever imagine.

Purchase Link


My Review

I will reiterate what I said previously….WOW! This book was absolutely fantastic from  beginning to end. I was completely pulled into the world of Engella; I loved the time travel elements finding myself captivated as I delved deeper and deeper into the book and despite the various jumps through time, the book never became confusing and I was able to follow the story easily.  I had so much fun reading this story and found it very difficult to put it down.

Engella is such a likeable character, I saw how determined she was and felt the emotions as she aimed towards her main goal. I felt her fear of the Hunters and read with a racing heart as she avoided capture. I was happy with how the story panned out, but not happy that it was over. I am so glad that this isn’t the end of this story and that there is more to come. I cannot wait to read more about Engella and see where she goes from here. I loved the interaction between the other characters and the dialogue flowed easily. This was a true page-turner and a book that kept you guessing….definately one to add to the TBR list. 


Fantastic! Amazing! Brilliant! A book that held me captive from page 1! GIve this book a go! You will not be disappointed! I look forward to seeing more from Paul Ian Cross.

Rating – A Big Well Deserved 5 out of 5 stars for me!! Fantastic! I think this book may be on my list of books to read again… 🙂

If you would like to read more reviews from this tour, please check out the bloggers named below.

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Thanks All
S x

Book Review: #Blogtour – The Merest Loss by Steven Neil

Blogtour – Wednesday 28th November

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Hi All

I have been mega busy behind the scenes reading book after book, enjoying myself and disappearing into different worlds; falling in love and finding happy ever afters. The posts on my blog may sometimes be weeks apart but always know that I am working hard to bring you reviews of the books I come across.

Here we have a spectacular, captivating story; set in the beautiful historical England between the 1800’s with a sprinkling off enchanting, post-revolutionary Paris. This book had me gripped from the very first page; the characters were likeable with every word I read.

Big thanks must as always go to the wonderful Blog Tour Host, Rachel (www.rachelsrandomresources.com) who organised this tour with fantastic enthusiasm….and also to the man who wrote this charming novel, Steven Neil (https://twitter.com/stevenneil12)

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Before I jump in and excitedly tell you about this book, lets see a little bit about the author who brought this story to life.

The Author

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Steven Neil has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. In his working life he has been a bookmaker’s clerk, management tutor, management consultant, bloodstock agent and racehorse breeder. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100016617465298 https://twitter.com/stevenneil12

About the Book
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A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English
hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.

When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet?

Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father?

The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery.

The Merest Loss is historical fiction with a twist. It’s pacy and exciting with captivating characters and a distinctive narrative voice.

My Review

I confess that the world of Horse Racing, especially in a novel isn’t generally a topic that I would think about reading. But the topic blended in brilliantly with the story; I loved the character of Harriet. Yes, she comes across as trapped in her life and love, but there is something very likeable about her and found myself warming to her more and more as I read through the pages; the mystery surrounding her son and who his father was had me gripped from the start and I turned each page greedily.

The pace moved along at a reasonable rate, giving us plenty of description and information but not over-doing so. I found myself getting more and more submerged into this world and I couldn’t wait to see how the story panned out. I walked around my home with the book glued to one hand as I cooked my children’s tea and as I waited for my son to come out of school. The imagery that Neil’s words created was spectacular; helping to create a world that I wanted to be a part of.  I got pretty emotional towards the end of this story as I became quite invested in it; I was not disappointed with how the story concluded. Beautifully written from Page 1!

Steven has a wonderful writing style and I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.


This story was very likeable – I loved the characters and the interaction that they had. Steven Neil is a wonderful author and I enjoyed reading his work. I look forward to seeing what he has coming up next. 

Rating – 4 out of 5

If you liked my review and would like to see more about this book, why not check out the other bloggers who are included on this tour?

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Book Review: That Deplorable Boy by Jasper Barry @rachelsrandomresources

#Blogtour – Sunday 11th November

The Deplorable Boy.pngHi all, 

Hope all of you beautiful people are well today; thankyou so much for taking the time to read this post, it really does mean a lot. 🙂 – I have been super spoiled with the book that I am about to introduce you to. A follow on from Jasper Barry’s first novel in this series, The Second Footman (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17167018-the-second-footman), this 2nd book was just as enthralling and very ‘difficult-to-put-down’.

The wonderful blog host, Rachel (https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/) asked me to take part as she knew that I had enjoyed the first book so much. Some might say that the size of the book is off-putting, but I find this even more of an attraction and I couldn’t wait to dive right in. I loved the character interaction between Max and Marquis de Miremont in the first novel, so I was eager to see how there story progressed. 

I know you are all on tender hooks as you wait to read my review, but first let me give you a little bit about the author.

About the Author

Jasper Barry graduated from Cambridge with a degree in English and has worked in
advertising, then in journalism. Jasper lives in London with too many books and three
obstreperous cats.

Social Media Links –




About the Book

Is Max Fabien the loyal secretary and faithful lover of the marquis de Miremont? Or a handsome trickster who regards lying as an accomplishment and any sexual quarry as fair game?

Miremont’s heart tells him one thing, his jealousy another. But his obsessive passion for Max must remain a dark secret. And, when his estranged wife brings their eighteen- year-old daughter to Paris to make her debut, the strain begins to tell.

The once-calm atmosphere of the Hôtel de Miremont swirls with gossip, mistrust and danger and Miremont is faced with an impossible choice.

Meanwhile the secrets of Max’ past continue to haunt him. Has the time has come for him to claim his not-so-rightful destiny?

That Deplorable Boy is the second part the Miremont series, charting the course of a gay love affair between an aristocrat and a former servant in Belle Époque France. Rich in period detail and set in the grand châteaux of Paris and Burgundy, the novels explore the suffocating social codes of the time and the conflicts and perils they bring for those who must live outside them.

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Deplorable-Boy-Jasper-Barry-ebook/dp/B07BMZ1VPB

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/That-Deplorable-Boy-Jasper-Barry-ebook/dp/B07BMZ1VPB

My Review

Its hard to not like this book; the chemistry as always between the two lovers is easy to envision as you read through the pages. Sure, there are a lot of pages to get through, but this helps to create such a beautiful picture and allowed me as a reader to really understand each character and what they were feeling. There were times when I felt that some parts were a little too lengthy, but its not something that I would underrate for; I enjoyed the interaction between Max and Marquis de Miremont as I did with the first book. The difficulties they faced in the first book to be together are still there and I read with interest as the couple inevitably still wound back to one another, despite trying to ‘limit’ there time together, so as not to rouse suspicion from those around them, especially Miremont’s family who unexpectedly come to stay at the Hotel de Miremont.

We find in this novel that Max is still struggling with his own demons, but he realises the strong pull that the Miremont has on him. Whereas Miremont himself has to deal with the ‘green-eyed-monster’ in him, which I read with interest.

This book is charming, both in the way it looks and in the way it is written. I found myself reading hours of my days away, as I read each page greedily, not wanting to put it down and wanting to see how the story concluded. I was not disappointed.


Over 400 pages were read over a week and I enjoyed it just as much as the first book in this series. The writing flowed well and the author did amazing work. I love Max’s character. Sure, he is a little damaged, but he has a good heart….he just needed someone to help open him up…and unwittingly, he found that with Miremont.

Very good story! Well worth a read! I hope this isn’t the last I hear from this engaging couple. 

Rating – 4 out of 5

S x

If you liked my review, please check out these others.

That Deplorable Boy Full Tour Banner


Book Review: Designer You by Sarahlyn Bruck #Blogtour

#Blogtour – Saturday 20th October

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Hi all

Welcome back! Today I am so honoured to be bringing you a review of a book that I was sent by the lovely Rachel (RachelsRandomResources). This story was heartbreakingly honest; I felt the pain and grief that was portrayed on the pages and was moved by the awful realisation that life has to go on. The author, Sarahlyn Bruck (www.sarahlynbruck.com) has an amazing way in which she brings this story to life. 

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Before I tell you more about this wonderful story, lets hear more about the author.

The Author

Designer You sarahlyn_bruck.jpgSarahlyn Bruck writes contemporary women’s fiction and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. She is the author of DESIGNER YOU, published by Crooked Cat Books on August 31, 2018. 

Sarahlyn teaches writing and literature at a local community college and also coaches writers for Author Accelerator.

DESIGNER YOU is Sarahlyn’s debut, and she is hard at work on her next book. Want the latest updates?

Follow along for news, events, and announcements at http://www.sarahlynbruck.com.

You can sign up for her monthly newsletter there, too.

Website: www.sarahlynbruck.com

Social Media Links –

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

About the Book

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Pam Wheeler checked every box:
Happy marriage? Check. Fantastic kid? Check. Booming career? Check.

So when her husband dies in a freak accident and their DIY empire goes on life support, Pam must fix the relationship with her troubled and grief-stricken daughter and save the family business.

Pam and Nate were a couple who just couldn’t get away from each other, sharing not only their bed, but also a successful lifestyle empire as DIY home renovators, bloggers, podcasters, and co-authors.

When Nate dies in a freak accident, Pam becomes a 44-year-old widow, at once too young and too old—too young to be thrust into widowhood and too old to rejoin the dating pool.

Now the single mother of a headstrong and grief-stricken teenager, Pam’s life becomes a juggling act between dealing with her loss and learning how to parent by herself. On top of all that she also must reinvent herself or lose the empire that she and Nate had built so carefully.

It is time for Pam to seize the opportunity to step up as a mother, come out from behind Nate’s shadow, and rise as the sole face of the Designer You brand, and maybe, possibly, hopefully, find love again.

Purchase Link – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DH6B38H/

My Review

I loved the subject matter in this book; the honest approach was a breath of fresh air and I adored reading about the characters. The interaction and dialogue was very well written and the overall story was beautifully handled. I have suffered loss in my life and this book spoke to me and I related so easily to all the emotions that were felt by both Pam and daughter. They struggle to survive after Nate’s death; each of them lost in their own grief, just trying to hold on to what they have but feeling lost all at the same time. I can relate to this so much and it was humbling to read a story that spoke to me in that way. I was able to believe in these characters, I was able to feel the emotions that were seeping from them and I read with tears in my eyes as they fought against one another.

The story was well written; the flow was brilliant and helped to create an easy reading experience. I enjoyed the character interactions and loved how immersed I became in the story as I read deeper into the book. Sarahlyn has a real talent for creating believable characters and I was left satisfied as I read the final pages. One thing I would have loved to have read was more romantic interaction between Pam and Charlie, but I understand that this was more than an romance story; this was a story about surviving grief and learning to ‘live’ again after losing your soul mate.

My Conclusion

I really enjoyed reading this story; it was heartfelt and honest with very likeable characters. This was lazy sunday afternoon reading at its best. Go take a look, you won’t be disappointed.

My Rating – 4 out of 5

If you liked my review, why not go check out the reviews of everyone else in this tour.

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Thanks All

S x

Book Review: The Unexpected Inlander by Kellyn Thompson

Hi All

I always love reading books from new authors; someone who really creates an amazing story. And I can tell you, my lovely readers that this book was EPIC! I was approached by author Kellyn Thompson and I was so glad that this was one book/review exchange request that I accepted!

This book truly gripped me from the very first page; from the sci-fi feel, to the romantic interactions between the two characters, this made for a remarkable read!

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Before I share my review with you all, then I am going to tell you a little bit more about the author.

The Author

Kellyn Thompson is a science nerd who loves playing out the what-ifs that arise in her mind when she reads the latest scientific publications and studies. Building on that, she started writing short stories, and one of those ideas turned into her debut novel, The Unexpected Inlander. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, hiking, and trying to teach her cats the value of love, empathy, and intact fabric on furniture.

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About the Book

Agent Christopher Rockford has been the best assassin in the agency for eight years, and he loves his job. He loves his solitary lifestyle. He loves eliminating criminals. He loves his comfortable life as a member of society’s wealthy coastal upper class.

But in pursuit of a target, he meets Jenna, a mysterious civilian who belongs to society’s lowest and most shunned group. Being around her is fun and intriguing, but it forces him to see things through her eyes—causing him to reconsider the world around them and The Order he so obediently serves. As he falls in love with her, he fears telling her the truth about his profession may cause him to lose her.

But Jenna has her own secrets to keep.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Inlander-Kellyn-Thompson-ebook/dp/My

My Review

This story had a real nice flow to it and I loved the writing style of the author. I felt like I could believe both the story and the characters as I read from page to page. I was intrigued from the first page and soon found out that I didn’t want to put it down until I had read to the last page. I loved the character interaction and the dialogue was easy to read and helped create a very believable story.

I loved the fact that the author played with segregation in the future. It was a subject that didn’t seem completely unbelievable and I read with both horror and fascination at the world that Kellyn created. There was plenty of action, twists and excitement to keep me reading. I enjoyed reading as the romantic connection between Chris and Jenna deepened, some of the scenes were lovely to read but at times I was frustrated with how regimented and compliant Chris was when it came to his job; the deeper I got, the more frustrated I got. I liked to see that he softened in character though as he fell for Jenna more and more. The fact that I got so invested in the story just shows how well this was written and I would 100% recommend you guys to go and use the purchase link above and check it out for yourself. 


This book was enthralling and exciting from the very first page! If a book grabs you from the start then it is generally a winner! Give this a go! I guarantee you will not be disappointed. 

Rating – 4 out of 5 

Thanks for reading all.


S x

Book Review: The Warrior’s Bride Prize by Jenni Fletcher #Blogtour

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Hi All

Another day, another #blogtour post! And if you love your romance novels with a sprinkling of history then look no further! This one was a real page turner.

A big special thanks must go as always to the wonderful Blogtour Host, Rachels Random Resources! She really does have a knack for sharing the most amazing books! And of course, I must thank the author, Jenni Fletcher for sharing her imagination with us.

Rachels Random Resources – https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/
Jenni Fletcher – https://www.facebook.com/JenniFletcherAuthor/


The Warriors Bride Prize is everything you would wish to find in a Mills and Boon book and the historical settings help create a enjoyable reading experience. But before I tell you more about this book, lets find out a bit more about the author.

About the Author

Jenni Fletcher was born on the north coast of Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire, where she writes Medieval, Roman and Victorian romance novels.

She studied English at Cambridge University before doing an MA on Women and Literature in English and a PhD on Victorian & Edwardian literature at Hull.

After realising that she was better at writing than teaching, she worked in a number of administrative jobs whilst trying to finish her first book, which was rejected.

Thinking there must have been some mistake, she then wrote another, which was fortunately accepted by Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Her favourite Jane Austen novel is Persuasion and her favourite Brontë is Anne. If she had to choose a romantic hero it would be John Thornton, but maybe that’s just because she’s Northern.

Social Media Links –

FB https://www.facebook.com/JenniFletcherAuthor/
Twitter @JenniAuthor

About the Book

Daughter of a slave…wedded to the warrior!

Livia Valeria is furious when she’s ruthlessly gambled away by her intended bridegroom. Luckily, it’s tall, muscled and darkly handsome Roman centurion Marius Varro who wins her as his bride!


Livia must hide her Caledonian roots, but when Marius faces a barbarian rebellion at Hadrian’s Wall she must make a choice: her heritage or the husband she’s falling for…

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK  https://amzn.to/2NWoZSS
Amazon https://amzn.to/2NWoZSS
iBooks  https://apple.co/2udYkZI
WHSmith http://bit.ly/2Nbne3b
B&N http://bit.ly/2ug1pbF

My Review

I won’t lie, I love a good romance novel. I love knowing that ultimately at the end we are going to get the couple together, but I love reading the journey to that point! This book delivered exactly what I wanted from it. I enjoyed reading the romance scenes, loved getting to know the characters and absorbed the dialogue and historical settings easily. The story was well written and had a great flow to it, making it easy to read. It was evident from the first page that this book was going to be a ‘page-turner’ and I wasn’t wrong, as I had it finished within the same day.

I loved the characters, especially the relationship between Livia and Marius. I would have liked to have seen more from the battle that took place at the end but I was very happy with how the story concluded. The writing style was really well put together, helping to create an easy and enjoyable reading experience. I will definately be keeping my eye open for any further work by this author. Jenni has a wonderful way in which she writes, really opening up the imagination and providing the reader with easy to imagine scenes.


This book was a fabulous lazy day read, I loved the character interaction and enjoyed the story from the very first page.  If you are a sucker for romance, then you wont go wrong with this one!

4 out of 5!

Thanks All

S x







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