Book Review And Blog Tour: Another Day In Winter.

ARIA_LOW_ANOTHER DAY IN WINTER_EIn her latest book, Another Day In Winter, Shari Low gives a masterclass in how to seamlessly weave multiple plot lines into one exciting, charming and emotional story.

Just as she did in the first book in this series, One Day In December, she takes four characters, in this case Shauna, Tom, Chrissie and George, and tells their stories over a 24 hour period.

Opening the book is like being pulled into a whirlwind; once the words start spinning around you, there’s no way out of the vortex – at least until you reach the end, feeling slightly windblown but very happy.

Here’s the blurb:

One day, four lives, and a wintery web of secrets and lies.

On a chilly morning in December forever friends Shauna and Lulu touch down at Glasgow Airport on a quest to find answers from the past.

George knows his time is nearing the end, but is it too late to come to terms with his two greatest regrets?

His grandson Tom uncovers a betrayal that rocks his world as he finally tracks down the one that got away.

And single mum Chrissie is ready to force her love-life out of hibernation, but can anyone compare to the man who broke her heart?

It again starts with a long cast list but I’ve learnt not to be daunted by this and to put my faith in Shari’s skills as a storyteller. She’s never let me down. I would love to see how she plans her books. I imagine something like the police investigation boards you see on TV sometimes, with little photographs of suspects and lots of red squiggly lines which eventually all point toward the same conclusion. And that’s what ultimately happens, the individual tales nearly touch, converge, pull away again but the reader knows where it is heading – or at least they hope they do. The only trouble is, it creates a battle between wanting to read it as quickly as possible to find out the ending and slowly savouring every page.

Her characters feel real, which means I laughed and cried along with them. While the main four are all new, it was lovely to see some familiar faces from book one return – a bit like meeting old, cherished friends again.

Not to jinx anything but this engrossing tale has all the makings of a best-seller. I really hope there is at least one more in this series (and then spring, autumn and summer follow). That’s not asking too much, is it?

Format: Kindle.

Price: £2.48 (via Amazon).

My rating: Five stars.

To find out more about Shari please visit her Facebook page , website or follow her on Twitter.

With thanks to Aria (via NetGalley) for the ARC and the opportunity to be part of the tour.

Also, don’t just take my word for it, find out what the other fabulous bloggers on the tour thought.

Another Day in Winter blog tour poster (2)

 

Advertisements

Book Review: Bloody Brilliant Women.

BloodybrillwomenMark recently bought Freya the children’s book, Fantastically Great Women Who Made History, written by Kate Pankhurst.

After reading it with her I remember thinking two things ‘yay for Mark’ and ‘I wish there was something like this for adults’.

BEHOLD, Bloody Brilliant Women.

Journalist and presenter Cathy Newman has plugged a gap in the market and I, for one, am incredibly grateful.

I can’t remember learning about any women in my humanities lessons, although I’m sure there were some – it was 30ish years ago and my memory isn’t what it was.

This book goes further, though, not just highlighting already well known women in Britain but “…the pioneers, revolutionaries and geniuses your history teacher forgot to mention”.

It’s a lively book that isn’t just readable but relatable. It’s also funny in places and definitely makes you think. Suggesting the Bayeux Tapestry could be a precursor to the Daily Mail’s ‘side bar of shame’ is just one example.

It reminds me of a book version of the fantastic programmes by Lucy Worsley or Kate Williams which are as engrossing as they are engaging. In fact, I hope it can somehow be made into a tele series. We need it.

Here’s the blurb:

A fresh, opinionated history of all the brilliant women you should have learned about in school but didn’t.

In this freewheeling history of modern Britain, Cathy Newman writes about the pioneering women who defied the odds to make careers for themselves and alter the course of modern history; women who achieved what they achieved while dismantling hostile, entrenched views about their place in society.

Their role in transforming Britain is fundamental, far greater than has generally been acknowledged, and not just in the arts or education but in fields like medicine, politics, law, engineering and the military.

While a few of the women in this book are now household names, many have faded into oblivion, their personal and collective achievements mere footnotes in history. We know of Emmeline Pankhurst, Vera Brittain, Marie Stopes and Beatrice Webb. But who remembers engineer and motorbike racer Beatrice Shilling, whose ingenious device for the Spitfires’ Rolls-Royce Merlin fixed an often-fatal flaw, allowing the RAF’s planes to beat the German in the Battle of Britain? Or Dorothy Lawrence, the journalist who achieved her ambition to become a WW1 correspondent by pretending to be a man? And developmental biologist Anne McLaren, whose work in genetics paved the way for in vitro fertilisation?

Were it not for women, significant features of modern Britain like council housing, municipal swimming pools and humane laws relating to property ownership, child custody and divorce wouldn’t exist in quite the same way. Women’s drive and talent for utopian thinking created new social and legislative agendas. The women in these pages blazed a trail from the 1918 Representation of the People Act – which allowed some women to vote – through to Margaret Thatcher’s ousting from Downing Street.

Blending meticulous research with information gleaned from memoirs, diaries, letters, novels and other secondary sources, Bloody Brilliant Women uses the stories of some extraordinary lives to tell the tale of 20th and 21st century Britain. It is a history for women and men. A history for our times.

Maybe, because I had been reading Freya’s book, I assumed it would take a similar format; an extended look at one woman at a time. That’s not the case. The eight chapters are on broad themes such as education, women between the wars and a final one bringing things up to the present.

Once I had worked out that I wasn’t just reading a really long introduction, it was fine, possibly even better because it features many, many more bloody brilliant women – although it did require a higher level of concentration than the hour before bed afforded.

As I was reading this book, I felt the might of their power behind me and, as a result, I felt empowered. I definitely think this should be required reading for high school students, of both sexes.

I will be getting a paper copy for Freya’s book shelf because, even if history lessons have improved since my day, I think it will be essential reading when she’s older.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £9.99.

My rating: Four and a half stars.

With thanks to Harper Collins UK/William Collins for the ARC (via NetGalley) in return for an honest review.

Book Review: Coming Home To Maple Cottage.

maplecottageComing Home To Maple Cottage is the final book in the latest series by Holly Martin – and definitely the one I’ve been waiting for.

I bought the first two but simply couldn’t wait until publication day to find out Isla and Leo’s story so turned to NetGalley to get an early fix.

The story is just as good as I hoped it would be; a rollercoaster of a tale full of heart and humour – and exactly what I’ve come to expect from Holly, who writes with such wonderful warmth.

Here’s the blurb:

Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.

Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.

As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.

But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?

While I think this book would work as a standalone, I definitely felt more connected to all of the characters knowing a bit more of their backstory from The Holiday Cottage By The Sea and The Cottage On Sunshine Beach. While I enjoyed all three, I think because Isla and Leo’s story had been teased in the other two, this was the one I was most looking forward to.

As always, Holly creates a cast of eclectic, likeable characters who can all see how much Isla and Leo belong together – and do their best to help them along.

Little Elliot provides a fair few comedy moments – along with the indomitable Agatha –  as well as provoking a few tears too.

While I’m happy to know how Isla and Leo’s story concludes, I’m sad that there are no more books in the series.

The only consolation is that hopefully, even as I type, Holly is hard at work on her next book.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £1.99 (via Amazon).

My rating: Five stars.

With thanks to Bookouture for making me very happy by letting me read the ARC (via NetGalley) in return for an honest review.