romance · Short Stories

Open Water – Caleb Azumah Nelson ★★★★

Blurb; Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists – he a photographer, she a dancer – trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.

My review; This is such a beautiful, delicate, raw and heart breaking read. It’s a short read at just under 150 pages but one that will impact you. No wonder it has won a Costa award. Its a romance/love story but also details what society is like for a young black man the issues he faces daily and how that impacts his life, feelings and relationships. A story that will be hard to forget. A well deserved four stars.

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Adventure · Comedy · Short Stories

*BLOG TOUR* Gerard Philey’s Euro Diary: Quest For A Life – Brendan James ★★★★

Blurb; ‘Could there be a world of interest and adventure beyond the Midlands? A world of confidence, sex and excitement? A better life – a better me?’ These are the questions Gerard Philey grapples with over New Year, 1995. Sitting in his rented Black Country room, reflecting on his thankless teaching job and miserable love life, he courageously decides to abandon his humdrum existence and embark on a quest for Euro-fulfilment, fun and fitness on the Continent.

After a shaky start in Brussels, events manoeuvre him to Amsterdam where chance encounters shift his world well and truly into fifth gear. He samples the trials and tribulations of new relationships, alongside managing a sex shop in the city’s Red Light Area – on top of the challenges of fat-free living and international travel!

Through his bittersweet diary, we see how Gerard steers a laugh-out-loud course through farcical episodes and fanciful characters…and how entanglements from past and present draw him unwittingly into a criminal underworld where events ultimately take their toll.

My Review; Now I’m going to be honest here if I wasn’t on this tour this isn’t a book I’d choose for myself. BUT I am so glad I got to read this short read. Loved the diary format of the story so easy reading note it’s called a diary duhh. Loved the main character Gerard who’s just had enough of the same things everyday and being a teacher so off he goes on his adventure. Now parts had me giggling away. This story really has it all. Gay best friend. Dodgy dealings. Romance. Even a sex shop. A story that made me smile with a very likeable main character. This will stay with me a long time, pretty hard to forget. Enjoyed every page and diary entry. A well deserved four stars from me. Highly recommend. Glad to be on the tour for this one otherwise I would have missed this gem.

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Adventure · Children's · Short Stories

*BLOG TOUR* Dreams in a Jar – Kate Staves ★★★★★

Blurb; What if you could keep a little piece of your dreams to hold on to forever? Put on your favourite pyjamas and get ready for a magical journey through the land of dreams, collecting trinkets and souvenirs as we go! In this story, a flower isn’t just a flower…it’s a pixie hat! A rusty old bolt isn’t just a rusty old bolt…it’s a piece of a rocket ship that blasted past a star! Let’s collect up all of these precious treasures together and keep them somewhere safe…I know, how about in a special jar? A sweet, rhyming adventure story to share with your little dreamer.
For ages 2-8.

Charlotte aged 7: I loved this story. Loved all the pictures and adventures she went on through her dreams. I have lots of dreams too so maybe I should start a dream jar. I could read this myself and I really enjoyed it. I’d like to take it into school so I can share it with all my friends and maybe we could all make dream jars.

My Review; What a beautiful book for little ones. Both boys and girls. Beautifully illustrated throughout. Not too long but not too short either. My 6 year old could read this herself but I also read it to my 4 month old and 4 year old who also enjoyed it. A beautiful story all about dreams. Makes a good conversation after about your own children’s dreams. The dream jar idea is a good one but would be filled with lots of different things. My eldest enjoyed it. As a parent I would highly recommend this book. Full of imagination. A well deserved five stars.

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