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Celebrations at the Chateau By Jo Thomas

Celebrations at the Chateau‘Celebrations at the Chateau’ is the latest book by Jo Thomas, so sit back and enjoy an extract from the story.

‘It’s like . . . Hogwarts!’ I say, peering through the early- morning autumnal mist. At least, I think it’s me who says it out loud.

Tiredness and shock has mashed my brain and blurred my vision. But I’m pretty sure it’s what we’re all thinking, for once, all on the same page, as we sit inside the hire car.

‘I’m waiting for Frank-N-Furter to come and meet us,’ says my eldest sister Nellie, short for Elinor, but no one calls her that and she doesn’t mind.

‘Who?’ I ask, questions whizzing round my brain, like eggs in a blender, turning to froth.

‘Never mind, you’re too young!’ says Lizzie, my middle sister, short for Elizabeth, but no one calls her that and, yes, I think she does mind.

‘Er, not that much younger than you!’ Nellie reprimands.

‘It’s fine,’ I say. ‘Let’s just find out where we’re sup- posed to be and what’s going on.’

And they both close their mouths, like bickering children who have been silenced.

‘And Hogwarts is a lot bigger,’ says Nellie, but quieter. She would know, bringing up three boys.

‘But just as creepy,’ says Lizzie. ‘This is . . .’ She carries on staring at it from behind the steering wheel, through the big metal gates.

‘This is a joke, right? Someone’s idea of a practical joke! Wait until I find out who’s responsible for this!’ Nellie shakes her head.
But who would do that? Especially not now, not with our grandfather only just buried. Tears, which seem to have been constantly ready to spill for the last month, prickle again.

‘Or someone’s got their facts wrong, which is more likely!’ Lizzie likes to have facts and answers. She works on logic. ‘An overnight ferry crossing, on choppy waters, then driving on the wrong side of the road for over an hour in a hire car for a wrong address!’ she says, sound- ing fearsome. I just know that someone is going to be in big trouble if this turns out to be the case.

We sit in the car, the heaters blowing on our cheeks, looking at the listing iron gates and the long tree-lined drive to the left, covered with fallen late-autumn leaves. And beyond that, shrouded in mist, is what I can only describe as . . .

‘It’s a castle.’ I say what we’re all thinking.

‘A château,’ Lizzie corrects.

‘Yes, a château,’ I agree. ‘I’ve seen one on television with Dick and Angel.’

‘Who?’ Lizzie asks.

‘Daytime telly,’ Nellie confirms.

Lizzie tuts and purses her lips.

Neither of us says any more. Lizzie doesn’t do day-time TV. In fact, I don’t think she does telly of any sort. She just works and she isn’t happy about taking time off to be here. We all sit and stare through the gates.

Lizzie grips the steering wheel. ‘Check the satnav again,’ she instructs, jabbing a short painted fingernail at my phone.

I do as I’m told. ‘You have arrived at your destination. You have arrived at your destination,’ it repeats, grating on our nerves.

We all look around and behind us, but there’s nothing else. Just these gates, the long tree-lined drive, a field of brown and white cows to the right of it and a farm- house with lights on. And, beyond the gates, this building, glowering at us with a Gallic glare. Suddenly, there is a flickering of lights from a window in the turret closest to us – there’s one on each side of the building. Again they flicker and go out, flicker and go out.

We look at each other nervously.

‘Are you sure we own this?’ I ask again, hoping there’s been a big mistake.

You can buy ‘Celebrations at the Chateau’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Let Me Sleep By Laura J Sillett

Let Me Sleep’’Let Me Sleep’ is the latest book by Laura J Sillet.

Tormented by nightmares of a screaming woman, Nico Jakes opens his eyes to an unfamiliar world. Forced into hiding by a global war, a society has made its home underground. Suffering from psychological trauma, Nico learns that his lost memories hold the key to the survival of the entire community. Frustrated, confused, and under the watchful eye of his protective brother, Nico submits to an unconventional drug treatment to unearth a crucial secret, before an escaped traitor can exploit it. But the descent into his mind also opens the flood gates to Nico’s past, bringing back forgotten lovers, enemies, and tragedy. With dreams warped by drugs and memories tainted by lies, Nico soon realises that he cannot trust anything, not even himself.

When I initially started this book, I found it a bit hard to get into. To understand the premise of the story and all the roles of the characters but once I got into the book, I found it to be a fascinating read.

This story is a dark, dystopian tale set in the future in 2031 and seen through the eyes of Nico, the hero of the story who’s having to save the world by going into his dreams and revisiting the world that he wants to forget and has to piece together his memories.

The story is set in the past and present and at times, I did find it a bit confusing at times to understand which era the story is set in. Nico initially comes across as quite an unlikable and nasty character who has to face up to his past and his memories are unreliable, so he’s unsure as to what is real and what is not.

As the story progresses and Nico deals with his issues, we see him progress in personality and life and this makes for interesting reading in such a bleak world.

A compelling and dark story riddled with suspense, despair and drama, ‘Let Me Sleep’ is a fascinating story of recovery and hope.

You can buy ‘Let Me Sleep’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Rabbit Factor By Antti Toumainen

The Rabbit Factor‘The Rabbit Factor’ is the latest book by Antti Toumainen.

What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal. And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…

Seen through the narrative of Henri, this book is a quirky story that entertained me. Henri is a mathematical and logical man who has been left an amusement park by his deceased brother who also leaves behind a huge amount of debt.

Using logic and his calculations Henri has to save his brother’s failing amusement park as well trying to pay off the loan sharks that are threatening his life.

Henri is a mild mannered character who keeps his feelings in check. He’s a loner who’s unhappy in life and once he’s given an amusement park to look after and rescue, Henri finds a new meaning to his life and finds people that he connects with.

This story is a fascinating one, it’s a quirky storyline that has the reader smiling and giggling throughout. I loved Henri, he’s smart he’s odd but at the core of it all, he has a huge heart.

With a fantastically bright and fun cover, ‘The Rabbit Factor’ is a story of new beginnings and friendships, that made for really enjoyable reading

You can buy ‘The Rabbit Factor’ from Amazon.

Love Life By Nancy Peach

Love Life‘Love Life’ is the latest book by Nancy Peach.

Palliative care doctor, Tess Carter, is no starry-eyed heroine. After all, if your dad left without a backward glance and you found your last boyfriend in bed with another guy, you wouldn’t believe in romance either. And the voices in Tess’s head – you know, the ones that tell you you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough – well, these voices are very loud. Very loud indeed. Especially when the disagreeable son of one of her patients starts challenging her every decision. Edward Russell might have a big job and a posh voice, but Tess is determined not to let him get to her, especially if she can get her inner monologue to stop with the endless self-sabotage. And Edward, it turns out, may be less of a prat than he first appears…

If you’re looking for a story that will tug at your heartstrings but will have you smiling then ‘Love Life’ is just the book for you.

The story is mostly seen through the narrative of hospice doctor Tess, who’s getting over a messy break up. When a new patient comes into the hospice called Mary, her son is a fond memory from Tess’s past. Unfortunately Edward does not remember Tess and is more concerned about his mother’s health than Tess. As Edward comes to terms with his mother’s health, they form an unlikely bond together.

There is also an inner dialogue that Tess has with Jane Austen as well as television who narrates the downfalls in Tess’s life. Tess’s life is complicated as she deals with self worth, heartbreak and an ongoing eating disorder battle.

The story is set in a hospice and this makes for bittersweet and warm reading as people come to terms with their mortality with humour whilst their relatives struggle with it.

This story is a heartfelt one that made for tender and fun reading that really struck a chord from the first page to the last. Filled with vibrant characters, all dealing with their internal struggles, ‘Love Life’ is a beautiful tearjerker about life, love and new beginnings.

You can buy ‘Love Life’ from Amazon.

Make Yourself At Home By Ciara Geraghty

Make Yourself At Home‘Make Yourself At Home’ is the latest book by Ciara Geraghty.

Marianne left home when she was fifteen following a family tragedy, one that changed all their lives. She never planned to return. But when her carefully controlled life falls apart, she has no choice but to return to Ancaire, the ramshackle house overlooking the Irish Sea, where her mother, Rita, a flamboyant artist and recovering alcoholic still lives. As her mother invites her to pull up a chair and make herself at home, alongside the friends, family and neighbours who wander its rooms. Marianne discovers that sometimes home isn’t a house, it’s a place in your heart.

Ciara Geraghty is back with another Irish turbulent rollercoaster of a story about addiction, dysfunctional families and new beginnings.

The story is seen through the narrative of Marianne, a professional accountant who’s marriage has broken down and her addiction to shoplifting has been exposed. She’s now back living with her mother Rita, her grumpy Aunt Pearl and her foster brother Patrick, a brooding character, who’s quietness annoys Marianne.

Rita is a recovering alcoholic and is using her own battle to help others with her ‘Get Well Soon’ which others face their own addiction. The group is mish mash of colourful characters all complex and troubled in their own way and fighting their demons. Shirley is fiercely outspoken and protective of her 2 boys, Ethel an elderly woman lives with the guilt of alcoholism, whilst Bartholomew and Freddy are eternally sniping and flirting with each other.

The story flows at an interesting pace as Marianne adjusts to being back home and revisiting old memories and less happier times. Her relationship with Rita is turbulent as she remembers her mother as a drunk and not the kind soul who is now always trying to help others. As the story progresses, we see the relationship strengthen as both women become support for each other and Marianne forms an unlikely friendship with the ‘Get Well Soon’ group. We also see Marianne deal with the unexpected as she had spent most of her life in control and this makes for interesting reading as she has to step out of her comfort zone.

Filled with Irish wit and charm and plethora of personalities that made for laugh out loud and emotional reading, the latest book by Ciara is a real page turner and heartwarming story.

Beautifully written, ‘Make Yourself At Home’ is a sentimental and tender story filled with relatable characters, about family upheaval, heartbreak and the fear of letting go.

You can buy ‘Make Yourself At Home’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.