30 Day Flash Fiction Challenge

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Hi all, I found this cool 30 day challenge via https://www.eadeverell.com/100-days-flash-fiction-prompts/

Thought I would give it a go to get myself used to writing more flash fiction and to practice with my writing in various ways.

The first challenge I have posted on previous post – Day 1.

S xx

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Day 1 – 30 Day Flash Fiction Challenge

DAY 1:  An  impulse  buy  leading  to  intergalactic  warfare.

All of Me

My feet lead me into the local charity store,
My hands pick up the ornamental rock,
My eyes widen as I take in the beautiful colours,
My fingers run over the sharp edges and tap at the smooth parts,
My mouth asks ‘How Much?’
My Ears hear the price
My lips twist into a smile as I know that I am taking this remarkable rock home.
My legs walk me back home, the rock buried deep in my bag.
My mind wanders at where it could sit, and I place it on a shelf near my bed.
My eyelids are abruptly opened from sleep
My senses detect that I am not alone.
My mind whizzes when I see an unfamiliar creature standing in my room.
My body freezes as it draws nearer
My tongue feels dry inside my mouth as I struggle to scream
My limbs are frozen still and I lie paralyzed.
My confusion is immense as I see the creature take the glitzy rock and swallow it whole.
My fear is doubling as the creature reaches forward towards me.
My sight is darkened as pain shoots through my body rapidly and without trepidation.
My heart is racing faster than it ever should.
My palms are sweaty and I feel faint from the wounds inflicted on my skin.
My head spins, I am losing consciousness; the creature looks on and smiles a cruel smile.
My voice is coming back and I squeak the words, ‘Why?’
My brain burns as words from this creature come to my mind, he says ‘your world took from me.’
My life is ending and it says, ‘So I will take you from your world.’
My vision is blinded by bright white light and all at once I am miles from my home.

 

Flash Fiction
by Stephanie Geary

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Hi all,

I bring you a review for fantastic story; I came across a copy of this at a local bookstore and I had heard so many good things about it, so I brought it home with me and I was not disappointed with it at all. 

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Turning a few pages in, it was evident that this story was never going to be a happy one; at least not at first. The trials that these women had to endure, like most of the women in Afghanistan were almost unthinkable at times. I read eagerly, letting the words help to picture the varying years of Afghan history. Thirty years were spanned and I lapped up every single word. The descriptions were so brilliantly done that I could picture the areas that both women were brought up in; I pictured the destruction and the pain, along with the brutality, but I also pictured the humanity and the love. I read and followed a community that was rocked by war, families who were touched by wars unrelenting torture and I read as they tried to live amongst the rubble that had become their lives. I felt the frustration for the women of Afghanistan and the almost intolerable circumstances in which they were forced to live. As the story spanned over the 30 year history, I cried for the women who survived each day painstakingly; the women who were the backbone of every household, the women who held their families together, the women who took the beatings and violence, the women who lived an existence that was overshadowed by a man. It was refreshing to read a story that also showed the families where the male/female roles were more relaxed; it showed the men and women who loved one another, the men and women who fought as equals and it showed the steadfast loyalty that they had for each other. 

I could talk and talk about this book for a long time. Sometimes, I find a book that truly moves me and this book did that. I truly opened my eyes to the history of Afghanistan and it made me so grateful for the life that I am allowed to live freely.

This story was created by a fantastic author, one who is now going to be added to my ‘Favourites’. I have wanted to read his work for so long and I have always added his books to my TBR list but never picked one up. I am so glad I started with A Thousand Splendid Suns….before I go on a bigger ‘writing rampage’ about this book then lets see a little bit about the man himself…


About the Author

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Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. His father was a diplomat in the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught Farsi and history at a high school in Kabul.

In 1976, the Foreign Ministry relocated the Hosseini family to Paris. They were ready to return to Kabul in 1980, but by then their homeland had witnessed a bloody communist coup and the invasion of the Soviet Army. The Hosseinis sought and were granted political asylum in the United States, and in September 1980 moved to San Jose, California. Hosseini graduated from high school in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1988. The following year he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned a medical degree in 1993. He completed his residency at Cedars-Sinai medical center in Los Angeles and was a practicing internist between 1996 and 2004.

In March 2001, while practicing medicine, Hosseini began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner, which was published by Riverhead Books in 2003. That debut went on to launch one of the biggest literary careers of our time. Today, Khaled Hosseini is one of the most recognized and bestselling authors in the world. His books, The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed, have been published in over seventy countries and sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.
In 2006 Khaled was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Inspired by a trip he made to Afghanistan with the UNHCR, he later established The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

He lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

Source:https://khaledhosseini.com/bio/


About the Book

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A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them.

Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love—a stunning accomplishment


My Review

This was an heart-wrenching, harrowing, eye-opening and at times uplifting story; this book took me on an incredible journey through a land which I was fairly unfamiliar with. The history combined with the story helped to create a thrilling read; I was enthralled by the lives of both Mariam and Laila. I laughed with them; grieved with them and cried with them, always willing them forward and hoping that both would see a brighter, happier future. This book was relentless at times and I felt the pain that was inflicted on these poor women; both physically and mentally. And my eyes were opened to what life in Afghanistan is like, especially if you happen to be the wrong gender. The timeline spanned over 30 years and through that time we saw changes that were brought on by the ever-brutal war. A war that was raged by those in power, a war that affected its civilians savagely. I read with tears in my eyes at the injustice that was caused by the Taliban; the injustices being inflicted upon those who did not follow the same faith, or those that tried to fight back and I read with a heavy ache in my heart for all of the women both in this book and for those who today still live in a world that is limited to them because they are not what is deemed to be the right sex. But to say that this book is solely just about the suffering would not do it justice. This book is more than the violations, more than the forced underage marriages, more than the rape and torture….this book celebrates the strength and tolerance of those women.

Here we have women who born endless children, women who endure torture and beatings within their own homes. They cook, clean and look after children from morning until night; they force themselves to lie with husbands who bully them mentally and physically. These women never lose their faith, they are led around under cover and carry out their duties with pride and in silence. This book is further proof that women are strong, reliable, unbreakable beings. Some of the men depicted in this book may think that they are ‘above’ women in the hierarchy just as it says in their Quran but really these men forget where they would be without these women. It is the women who hold up the household, the women who carry the children, the women who work relentlessly day and night. 

This book gave me a lot of food for thought, it is certainly a book that will stay with me for a long time. I loved Mariam and I loved Laila…

Remarkable writing by the author. His words held me from the start and I will be ensuring that ‘The Kite Runner’ is added to my TBR list.


Conclusion

Well, you have read my review….so could I really give this book anything less than 5 stars!? It is absolutely amazing! A brilliant piece of writing….definately worth reading if you haven’t done already.

5 Stars!!

 

S x

Book Review: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

This month I have been busy haven’t I? 😀

Me Before You was another book, like Fault in our Stars that I had wanted to read for quite a while. I have refrained from watching the film with this one, but only just (Its next on my list of things to after reading this book).

I had an idea that I would like this book after reading such good reviews (spoiler free) and so I opened the first page and set out to find out what people loved about it. The first chapter hooked me and reeled me in! The writing flowed brilliantly; JoJo Moyes has a wonderful way with her words and I found myself falling in love with Louisa. She was a wonderful, bubbly breath of fresh air. I loved her quirky approach and adored how close her and her family were; relating to the family get togethers and the sibling rivalry.

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Lets take a little peek at the author before I leave you my review. 🙂


About the Author

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Jojo Moyes was born in 1969 and grew up in London. After a varied career including stints as a minicab controller, typer of braille statements for blind people for NatWest, and brochure writer for Club 18-30, she did a degree at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, London University.

In 1992, she won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to attend the postgraduate newspaper journalism course at City University.

Jojo worked as a journalist for ten years, including a year at South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, and nine at The Independent where she worked variously as News Reporter, Assistant News Editor and Arts and Media Correspondent.

Jojo has been a full time novelist since 2002, when her first book, Sheltering Rain was published. Since then she has written a further eleven novels, all of which have been widely critically acclaimed.

Jojo has won the Romantic Novelist’s Award twice, and Me Before You has been nominated for Book of the Year at the UK Galaxy Book Awards. Me Before You has since gone on to sell over 8 million copies worldwide.

The film adaptation of Me Before You starring Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games) and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) was released in June 2016 and was a huge box-office success. The screenplay was written by Jojo.

Jojo lives (and writes!) on a farm in Essex, England with her husband, journalist Charles Arthur, and their three children.


About the Book

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Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?


My Review

If I aspire to do anything in my life, it is to create a book like this with a story that creates a plethora of feelings.

Could I give this book anything less than 5 stars?

I know some dislike this book as they feel like it glorifies suicide or that it is too insensitive but  all I saw was a heart-breaking story of a young man who has had his life cruelly limited and who is feeling suffocated by the life he is now forced to live. I read the pain he felt and understood the anger he had towards a life he was now having to endure.  And yet I also felt the ache his mother must have felt as she tried to reach out to her son. I related to this and thought about my own two young sons. 

Louisa was a wonderful character and I fell in love with her and her family. They were a fantastic family unit and I related to the many arguments or issues that they faced between them. The sibling rivalry between Louisa and her sister made me smile as I could see me and my sister. The jealousy and rivalry is there, but beyond that is a deep love that no friends can penetrate.

I loved the character interaction in this book; I fell in love with Louisa, I loved her family and I enjoyed the flirting between her and Will.

I laughed at this book, I cringed at this book (the race-course trip) and then towards the end I cried! Not just teary eyed, I mean…big, ugly sobs! I was distraught and read a loft of the final words through bleary blurred vision.

This was both wonderfully charming and achingly heart-breaking all in one!


Conclusion

This is only ever going to be a 5 star book for me! Amazing!

S x

Book Review: Home by Karen Dionne

Another book that I have read, devoured and finished the last few weeks is one that I picked up from the local bookstore. I loved the look of the front cover from the start and on reading the synopsis on the back of the book, I was eager to read more. 

This book was a rollercoaster of emotions; we were escorted on a thrilling and haunting story of survival. A story that opened my eyes to the world of hunting and which had me torn in terms of how I felt about our heroine, Helena – we were transported from the present to the past and we watched as she lived in a world far removed from what the average person lives in. I read each page eagerly and found myself finishing it within a few days, as I found myself not wanting to put it down. 

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Before I leave you my review of this astonishing read, lets see a bit about the author first.


About the Author

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Karen Dionne is the USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of The Marsh King’s Daughter, a psychological suspense novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wilderness published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in the U.S. and in 25 other languages.

She is cofounder of the online writers community Backspace, and organized the Backspace Writers conference in New York, as well as the Salt Cay Writers Retreat held on a private island in the Bahamas.

She is a member of the International Thriller Writers, where she served on the board of directors as Vice President, Technology.

Karen has been honoured by the Michigan Humanities Council as a Humanities Scholar for her body of work as an author, writer, and as co-founder of Backspace. She enjoys nature photography and lives with her husband in Detroit’s northern suburbs.

Source     http://www.karen-dionne.com/about-karen/


About the Book

You’d recognise my mother’s name if I told it to you. You’d wonder, briefly, where is she now? And didn’t she have a daughter while she was missing?

And whatever happened to the little girl?

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Helena’s home is like anyone else’s. With a husband and two daughters, and a job she enjoys. But no one knows the truth about her childhood.

Born into captivity and brought up in an isolated cabin until she was 12, Helena was raised to be a killer by the man who kept her captive – her own father.

Now he has escaped from prison, and Helena knows, instinctively, that he is coming for her. To keep her family safe she must find him, before he finds her. Even if it means returning to the darkest parts of her past.

Even if she has to go home . . .


My Review

Wow! What can I say? What an absolutely thrilling read! From beginning to end I was swept along by this astonishing story. Helena’s life now is the complete opposite to what it was when she was growing up in the marshes with her controlling father and nervous mother. Amongst the horrors she witnessed was a love for a father who she both feared and respected in equal measures. At times I cried at the pain her mother must have been in both physically and mentally; And I wanted to shake Helena so hard when she was a child at times, and yet I understood that to her life in the Marshes was the ‘norm’. So loving her father was as easy breathing air. Through manipulation and careful control, her father had her believing everyone of his words, which resulted in her seeing her mother as weak and pathetic. As she gets older and as we delve deeper into Helena’s past we see how the control starts to waiver and what occurs is the most explosive storyline which has you breathless with anticipation. I read eagerly and sped through each page, wanting to find out how the story concluded. 

I wasn’t a fan of the topics of hunting and killing animals, but I understood that this was needed to help shape the story for the reader. Some scenes were hard to read and felt strong sorrow for Helena’s mother; a young girl who was cruelly snatched away as a child and who was forced to live a cruel, dark and torturous existence.

This was a very powerful read, and I am so excited to see the re-telling as this is now being turned into a motion picture! I definitely recommend this book!! You would not be disappointed at all. 


Conclusion

Wonderful writing from a very talented writer. This was a story that I loved from the first page.

5 stars!

S x

Book Review: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Hi All

I have had a great ‘reading’ start to the New Year. Already I have finished 3 books and I am way onto my 4th! There is something so relaxing about slipping into another world, or meeting new characters. I find myself looking in like a spectator and cheer on the heroines or ‘rage’ at the ‘bad guys’.

I love taking part in book tours, but I have taken a break away from those a little whilst I go over some of the MANY books that I have in my TBR list. 

One of the first I chose was ‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green.

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This was a book I had wanted to read for quite a while. I had shuffled it around in my ‘TBR list’ for sometime, but I had spoiled it a little by watching the film first, something I don’t generally do….So I picked this up and within a few days I had finished it. All I was left able to say was WOW; What a fantastic read! I had tear stained cheeks and I found my heart racing.

Here is a little about the author before I leave my review.


About the Author

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John Green’s first novel, Looking for Alaska, won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award presented by the American Library Association.

His second novel, An Abundance of Katherines, was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

His next novel, Paper Towns, is a New York Times bestseller and won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best YA Mystery.

In January 2012, his most recent novel, The Fault in Our Stars, was met with wide critical acclaim, unprecedented in Green’s career. The praise included rave reviews in Time Magazine and The New York Times, on NPR, and from award-winning author Markus Zusak. The book also topped the New York Times Children’s Paperback Bestseller list for several weeks. Green has also co-authored a book with David Levithan called Will Grayson, Will Grayson, published in 2010. The film rights for all his books, with the exception of Will Grayson Will Grayson, have been optioned to major Hollywood Studios.

In 2007, John and his brother Hank were the hosts of a popular internet blog, “Brotherhood 2.0,” where they discussed their lives, books and current events every day for a year except for weekends and holidays. They still keep a video blog, now called “The Vlog Brothers,” which can be found on the Nerdfighters website.

Website: –  www.johngreenbooks.com


About the Book

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Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love


My Review

I knew I would love this book way before I turned to the first page. I had already watched the film so already knew what to expect. And yet what I got was a gorgeous, charming, heartbreaking story that pulled me in deep from the very first paragraph! I loved Hazel’s strong will; I loved Gus’ charming personality and I felt the connection that both of these characters had. The dialogue is strong and easy to follow; it flows easily from each character and I found myself falling deeper into their world; eager to see how their story would pan out.

I love John Greens work, having read ‘Turtles all the way down’ a few months back! He has such a wonderful way in which he writes, a great flow that helps the reader to be drawn deeper into the story. I loved the character interactions within this book and believed each connection and felt each feeling that was described.

We have Hazel and Gus; two young people who have lived within ‘Cancers grasp’ and yet they see a way to find light and love around each other. The story is heart-breaking to read at times, but it is also funny, charismatic and heart-warming. I enjoyed reading their story and despite the very real, very relatable subject, I came away feeling in awe of people who go through this pain/illness in real life. The words that John wrote painted a very realistic picture. The two characters lit one another up, creating very likeable people who I ‘shipped’ from the start.

I would 100% recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet already!


Conclusion

This was a fantastic read; I loved the character interactions and the very real, heartbreaking subject that revolved around Hazel and Gus’s worlds. 

This is a definate 5 Star Book! Please, if you haven’t already, give this book a go! But, please be warned….tissues are needed. 😀

S x

New Books, New Year

Books Books Books!

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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:

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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

#Blogtour

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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 –

https://twitter.com/chirosie
rosemarynoble.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/RosemaryJaneNoble/


About the Book

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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.


Conclusion

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

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