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JB Johnston (UK)

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Secrets of the Pomegranate
Secrets of the Pomegranate
by Barbara Lamplugh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book, 31 July 2015
Secrets of the Pomegranate is one of those books that held my interest from the first page with what was literally an explosive start! Centred around the effects of the Madrid bombings, this harrowing tale of family secrets and the unconditional love of family makes for at times a harrowing and sad tale of two very different sisters whose love for one another rescues them both in very different but at the same time similar ways. The secret they share must be protected but at what cost?

This book is rich in interesting characters from different cultural backgrounds who add a wealth of colour and dimensions to this book. Barbara Lamplugh has painted such a vivid picture of Spain that the reader is instantly transported there. Hell, I even bought some pomegranates! Told from the perspectives of Alice and Mark, Deborah's son, I liked how each saw Deborah's situation and the emotions that each felt around what had happened to Deborah. We gain an insight into Deborah's life in Spain through diary entries and gain a greater understanding into just what sort of woman Deborah was and I loved her spirit, strength and courage. But there's also a vulnerable side to Deborah too and like Alice, the reader is given a glimpse into the 'other' Deborah. I just loved this beautifully written book and simply could not put it down. And, I'm not afraid to admit that the raw emotions in the book reduced me to a blubbering idiot. Highly recommended.


Discovering Delilah (Harborside Nights, Book 2)
Discovering Delilah (Harborside Nights, Book 2)
Price: £3.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful......, 31 July 2015
Whilst same sex romance books are not usually the genre I'd reach for, I felt that it was definitely worth a read as I love Melissa Fosters books. Romance and sex cannot and should not be boxed into one nice little package of man loves woman, woman loves man. Love is more complicated than that and I feel Melissa Foster has captured the true picture of love here in Discovering Delilah. Like anyone who is struggling to make sense of their sexuality, Delilah is portrayed here as not someone who just wants to sleep around and totally immerse herself in the gay scene, but as any other young woman her age............she is on a journey of exploration and a search for love. Whilst I am not altogether sure about her involvement with Janessa, I can totally understand the relationship and what it provides Delilah with.............the confidence to go after Ashley.

In Discovering Delilah we share in Delilah's pain about her parents and the guilt that seems to consume her on a daily basis. It is heart breaking to see how she struggles with 'coming out' (like Delilah I hate that phrase too) and sharing with the world just where her feelings lie. I have a number of gay friends so understand the difficulties and dilemma this created for them. This book's over-riding message is to look deep within yourself, follow your heart and be whoever you want or need to be. Life is too short to be an imitation of what others expect of you. With lots of hot hot hot passionate scenes, Discovering Delilah is a super sexy read and at the same time a compelling love story. I love the complexity and diversity of all of the characters in the series, although this book can be read as a standalone. I will admit to shedding a little tear towards the end when Delilah makes a startling discovery about her parents. But, no spoilers here! Go read the book. Its great!


The Girl With A Twirl
The Girl With A Twirl
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read, 28 July 2015
The Girl With A Twirl is a fun little book that is bound to keep all wannabe ballroom dancers twirling around the room with excitement. Mabel is a sourly sort of kid who feels she doesn't have too many positive things going for her. Like everyone else, she has embarrassing parents although Mabel is pretty sure that none are as bad as hers! She also needs a dance partner for a big upcoming dance competition but where on earth is she going to find one amongst a town full of oldies! Mabel thinks her life sucks! However, a trip to her auntie's house soon begins to unravel a lot of mysteries (a bit like auntie's crochet), and Mabel finds herself intrigued by the dance legend 'The Silver Shadow!' Who on earth is this mysterious whirlwind who sweeps Mabel off her feet...........literally! What a dancer! And, what secrets is her dear, sweet old Auntie hiding from her?
This great book is one that every young reader will love. Aimed specifically at young females with or without a passion for dancing and all things ballroom, parents will have just as much fun reading this with their daughter. The book has lots of cringe-worthy moments for poor Mabel and lots of humour too. With a few life lessons thrown in too, such as 'Don't judge a book by its cover' this is an enjoyable book for the intended target audience.


Country Affairs
Country Affairs
Price: £2.00

5.0 out of 5 stars I'm moving to Tippermere!, 7 July 2015
This review is from: Country Affairs (Kindle Edition)
I first became a fan of Zara Stoneley when I read her brilliant book Stablemates so I literally jumped into this book as I just knew it would be good. And, I was right! Full of fantastically interesting and sometimes complex characters, it is a real romp! One can't fail to be charmed by a certain Irish blacksmith. Actually, there are a whole host of dishy men in this book! Whats not to love about that!
I love the character of Lottie and being a wannabe country girl myself, I could picture myself as Lady of the manor too! Oh if only! Great things are expected from Lottie from her crafty and sometimes manipulative grandmother. However, its very hard not to love the old dear as she swigs another Gin! I found her to be a really likeable character. She's not as old and infirm as she sometimes likes to make out! Lottie is being pulled in many directions with her grandmother on one side and the handsome Rory on the other.
Being the second of the Tippermere books, it was nice to see the characters develop further and nothing of the first book was lost with the story and the characters just getting better and better. Don't panic if you haven't read the first book in the series, Stablemates, as this book can be read as a standalone. However, I'd suggest reading it anyway just because its a damn good book! With Country Affairs, yes there is a bit of ohhh laaaa laaaa and sometimes the steam was rising from my kindle but it was all good clean fun with this wonderful bonk buster! If this is how the country set behave then get me out there!! Fast! Jam packed with horses, dogs, beautiful countryside, crazy characters and a wonderful sense of community, I've said it before and I'll say it again...........please let me live in Tippermere!


The Last Gatekeeper: 1 (The Chronicles of Fane)
The Last Gatekeeper: 1 (The Chronicles of Fane)
by Katy Haye
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars he Last Gatekeeper is a fantastic Young Adult fantasy book and the first in a ..., 7 July 2015
he Last Gatekeeper is a fantastic Young Adult fantasy book and the first in a series. Set in England, we meet Zan who is different from other young people. She lives an isolated lifestyle with her parents as she and her mother suffer from a condition that makes them ill around anything electrical. This is an actual illness! Anyway, Zan and her mother are at loggerheads constantly and Zan feels she does not fit in anywhere. However, the disappearance of her mother soon sees Zan on a journey she did not think possible.

This is a great book to kick off the series. It is paced well throughout and I enjoyed Katy Haye's writing style. Aimed at older teens, I think this book will keep readers gripped. As a young adult, this book would have been right up my street. Fantasy, love, good versus evil and a fight to do what is right against all the odds. As though that is enough for one teenager to deal with, Zan must save the world! So, not your average teenager! Although, like any teenager, Zan also has to deal with moral issues around love, sex, friendship, fear and just not getting on with parents. I found her to be a likeable character who was sassy and yet vulnerable all at the same time, with the heart of a lion.

I sat up the early hours to finish this book and its only left me thirsty for the next book in the series. Well done to Katy Haye for an excellent debut novel and I look forward to the next installment.


Walking in the Rain: How do you cope when your worst nightmare comes true?: Volume 2 (Drumbeats)
Walking in the Rain: How do you cope when your worst nightmare comes true?: Volume 2 (Drumbeats)
by Julia Ibbotson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, 27 Jun. 2015
Walking in the Rain is the second book in the Drumbeats trilogy and follows Jess on the second phase of her life now that she has returned from Ghana. Simon, who broke her heart so badly is now back on the scene and suddenly showing an interest again. Jess is determined to continue with her studies and make a career for herself. However, Simon has other ideas and Jess suddenly finds herself swept away by his enthusiasm and killer smile! She would do anything for him. However, Jess soon finds that she is given less and less opportunity to make important decisions about their lives together. Simon, it seems has it all worked out.

Jess goes into her marriage with Simon with enthusiasm although I felt this was on a purely superficial level. I think that Jess knew deep in her heart that everything that Simon wanted for them was a polar opposite to what she wanted. In the first book in the trilogy we see Jess as an adventurer, as someone who is taking charge more and more and this was perhaps possible for her because she was away from her domineering family's influence. However, now she has returned to England, Jess soon learns to put her own needs last and desperately tries to make sure Simon is happy. She becomes a product of all that is expected of women in the 1960's.

Throughout the book, Jess remembers her times in Ghana with a yearning for what once was. Simon is blind to her needs and ambitions and Jess finds herself putting her own dreams to one side as Simon has more difficulties that she could ever imagine and it soon becomes apparent that he is almost a full time job himself, needing constant reassurance and to be cared for. He is extremely needy and so selfish. Jess herself has her own problems to contend with but will she get what she needs from Simon? Julia Ibbotson has written his character so well and he made me want to scream throughout the entire book. I tried to have some sympathy for him at times but simply couldn't. He was infuriating and sometimes I got a little mad at Jess for not standing up to him more. However, I could also see why she didn't. She was in an impossible position.

I really enjoyed this book. I felt for Jess as she is so torn in doing what is expected of her and following her own dreams. It is a book about the loss of one's self and searching for a way to your own dreams. So many different issues are explored in this book - love, trust, abuse, mental illness, betrayal and feeling lost and alone and of course hope. A really great read and I look forward to the next installment in the story.


Healed by Love (Love in Bloom: The Bradens)
Healed by Love (Love in Bloom: The Bradens)
Price: £3.34

4.0 out of 5 stars Liked this one a lot!, 21 Jun. 2015
What do you do when you fall for your best friend's sister? You run like hell and join the army. That's exactly what Nate did. But, as Jewel blossomed into a beautiful young woman, Nate could no longer keep his feelings for her in check. Jewel herself has feelings for Nate and the passionate feelings her evokes in her hit like a thunderbolt. The complication? Nate feels responsible for her brother Rick's death.
Healed by love explored some hard hitting issues, such as grief, loss, guilt,trying to move on, forgiveness of ones self and others and of course love. Jewel, although younger than Nate is wise beyond her years after taking on the responsibility of looking after her family. Yes at times the story took on a very serious note but all that added to the powerful story that it was. It was passionate, sad and hopeful all at the same time. Poor Nate's survivor guilt is all consuming and that just makes him a more believable character because as we know, the horror of war is about more than physical scars. Nate is sexy yet sad and the type of character that makes you go weak at the knees!
This book is the beginning of a great series and could most definitely be read as a standalone novels as can all of Melissa Foster's books. Highly recommended.


A Way from Heart to Heart
A Way from Heart to Heart
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing, 10 Jun. 2015
A Way From Heart to Heart immediately shares with us Kate's terrible grief at hearing her beloved photographer husband is killed in Afghanistan. Her fighting against the urge not to check the news when she hears that a photographer has been killed and being told the news by his cold and stuffy best friend Paul is heartbreaking. Life can change in an instant, and it certainly does for Kate. Widowed with a young son now, the only constant in her life remains Paul who comes to take her son George out once a month. However, Kate is blinded by her dislike for Paul and fails to see that he has remained in her life, a background presence. Although he adores his Godson George, that is not the only reason he continues to be a part of their lives.

Kate is a successful model who has come from very humble beginnings and wants to put something back into the world to try to help young girls who like her, had no one to care. Against her better judgement she asks journalist Paul for help. Surprised by her ever changing opinion of Paul, Kate can't seem to reconcile her opinion of Paul with how he is making her feel. Paul himself has hidden depths and Kate must re-evaluate her view of him. However, that is so difficult to do at times as Paul's personality appears to change almost instantly. A protective mechanism perhaps?

I really enjoyed this book. It explores so well the engulfing pain of grief and the almost crushing fear of moving on. Each character in the book develops at just the right pace, giving the reader insight into what makes them so fragile. I become so caught up in their story that I was desperate that both find happiness - preferably together! Full of great secondary characters too, who couldn't fail to fall in love with little George. His hero-worshipping of Paul is kind of sweet and its easy to see why Kate is so desperate to protect him. I loved that Kate initially had such a dislike for Paul and a preconceived idea of what he was like. But, was this feeling towards him really a subconscious way to protect herself just as Paul may be doing? The book resonated so many issues with me that I found it difficult to put down. It explores, grief, fear, love and how the past can and does shape us and our actions. Sometimes its easier to take a step back than to take a leap of faith. Easier, but not always the right thing for our hearts. A recommended read! A story told in a gentle, quiet and beautiful way.


Under The Stars
Under The Stars
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb read!, 8 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Under The Stars (Kindle Edition)
I have always been a huge fan of Linn B Halton and jump at the chance to read and review one of her books. There's not many of hers that I haven't read. I just love her easy flowing writing style. Under the Stars did not disappoint.

The book flows at a nice, constant pace. It doesn't speed along too quickly, leaving the reader wondering what happened. Its told from the perspective of the main character Katherine, and the two men in her life - James and Mark. Both James and Mark are astrologers. Katherine has been following Mark's readings for many years and has become quite reliant on them to guide her through her daily life. However, when Katherine suddenly finds herself unemployed and embarking on a new career as a writer, she finds herself depending more and more on Mark's readings. However, throw into the mix the handsome James, assistant astrologer to Mark and suddenly, Katherine finds that the guidance she received from her horoscopes has a different approach and one she does not feel comfortable with. What no one predicts is that Katherine's heart will be won over and she will find love in the most unlikely of people.

Katherine soon finds her new lifestyle suits her quite well and she starts to embrace herself in village life now that she finally has the time. She joins a local writing circle and her life begins to go in directions she had never thought possible. Unfortunately she soon becomes the centre of some unwanted media attention and a whole new set of problems! This book has some lovely, heartwarming characters throughout who really add to the story. This is a super read and one I'd recommend.


Death Sentence
Death Sentence
by Sheryl Browne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody brilliant!, 6 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Death Sentence (Paperback)
I will write a fuller review when I have more time but just wanted to say that this is edge of seat stuff. Loved it! Bravo to Sheryl Browne for a magnificent book yet again. Everything I read of hers is fantastic!


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