Thursday, 5 December 2019

Book Review - The Boy In The Burgundy Hood by Steve Griffin



Book Review by Pauline Reid  πŸ”₯   The Boy In The Burgundy Hood by Steve Griffin.
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What This Book Is About
Alice Deaton had a new job, in a medieval manor house, 700 years old,  owned by the Trust of England ... she was now ...boss.... the property manager.... this is ... Bramley. The owners (or-kind-of-not-really-owners).. the S-J's who are in their 60s, they didn't have the funds or energy to keep Bramley clean or tidy....  so 
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Alice went through the house, stopping and admiring certain aspects of the interior with great detail, until .... welll she thinks she saw a glimpse of a boy, a boy with the burgundy hood ... no, she was certain she did.... however she kept going, scanning the different sites of the oldie worldly house, getting aquinted to old pieces of furniture and paintings that reminded her of her mother, until she ended up outside to meet the gardener, George, who has special needs, so Alice had to guess what he was saying ... you know how you do? The game..... charades?  This all proved too much for Alice ... ‘Yes, we’ll get a pen and paper next time,’ she said.
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On we go to finding alot of treasures at Bramley, until she finds the painting ... a painting of a woman and a cow..... and then strange things happen with the phone, and then another phone, but this was different, but I'm not going to explain here .... because Steve Grffin, the author, goes into quite a conversational piece, about ... this phone-to-be-precise-bloody-cell-phone..... and certain weird scratches on the fireplace.
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We do actually get to meet the S-J's .... a very odd couple, try hards, and expressions to match, for example, and giving a quote here .... "His eyebrows did that funny thing she’d noticed at the interview, lifting and dropping from left to right like a caterpillar."  ........   ok, did anyone try that, like I did? 😊   .....  and then there was the amusement over THE tapestry, what was it .... ahhhhhh, I can't tell you that, Steve Griffin, the Author,  will though.
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We then read about Alice sleeping in her room and there is someone in the room, now this so called girl wasn't the type of stranger you would want to meet in the dark..... but .... Ghostbusters ❌ .... who are you gonna call?
..... So how does Alice handle the ghost ❌  .... does she don her proton pack?   And wave her Neutrona Wand?
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.... well that's all a teaser and there is plenty more comming up, when I write this I'm only a quarter way through, so if you want to see where this is leading... I don't know myself, so I had better get on with it and see whether Alice the ghost buster turns into, Alice in Wonderland.
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What I Thought About This Book
This is not only a ghost story, but a mystery of something hidden that Alice finds herself delving into that involved a secret door, plus alot of art-gallery-paintings ... one in particular which I wont mention as I don't want to spoil the surprise, plus learning how to clean tapestry (which I knew nothing about, which was very facinating) and because of my love of vintage furniture, there is plenty to satisfy my taste and to top it off a holiday in the Lake District 😍  and even Roman mythology..... however, in saying all this, THIS-IS-A-DARK-BOOK  and nearer the end I had to skip a couple of pages, I've learnt in books to bypass things that physically do me harm .....  so-NOT-for-the-faint-hearted ... 
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Firstly I want to put down here familiar words that take me back to my days when I lived in England.
πŸ’₯ nosy old parkers
πŸ’₯pumps
πŸ’₯ trainers
πŸ’₯ a few hundred quid
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New Word Learnt
Stumpery - a garden feature similar to a rockery but made from parts of dead trees (Wikipedia)
Tauroctony. (Wikipedia)
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There were LOL moments in this book, and I absolutely loved Steve's humour when I spotted  this quote ......  "Whilst they were still working on the business plan back at headquarters, Fran had made her own list of urgent, very urgent and absolutely-bloody-urgent-so-do-it-now tasks."  ..... another one was ...
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"any of the paintings in the dimmest rooms had suffered buckling and draws; quite a few frames had also been ravaged by woodworm (she imagined Bramley as a party house for the little critters – come on over, guys, this is the place to be!)".
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I felt at the beginning of the book when Steve had us as visitors to this old manor that if I was left alone, I surely would have got lost by now, but Steve is such a good host and narrator, that he introduces us to every aspect of the building that you feel you know the map of the building in your head. 
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I loved the breaks in this book, numbered, which I have never seen before, but it gave some sort of order which I enjoyed.
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Star Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Stars 
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Recommendation 
This book comes highly recommended by me and would suit anyone who is into Ghost Stories, anyone who likes Roman mythology, anyone who likes mysteries, anyone who likes the older style mansions and what's in them, anyone who likes vintage furniture, anyone who likes art related articles on paintings and tapestries and anyone who likes humour in their books.  Basically this is an all round book that the majority of genres fall into, so would suit a wide range of readers.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Book Review - Unlocked - Soulla Christodoulou





Book Review by Pauline Reid  πŸ’–  Unlocked by Soulla Christodoulou
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Genre - Short Story
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What This Book Is About
This is about an English lady called, Helen, who meets a man called, Anil who shows her around India, a love story as sweet as butter chicken and as mouth watering as a chapati (although Soulla writes about Naans).
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Helen discovered her husband had been unfaithful after being married 23 years.  Helen plunged into the world of depression, ignoring help, ignoring phone calls, ignoring home made food that was delivered.  Her alone time bought her a soothing routine of sorts. 
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Helen had a craving for chocolate so one day in November she decided go out, it was after purchasing the chocolate that she had a sign that would turn her life around.  This created an excitement a glowing within, to the point where she decided to book a one way flight to India, 2 weeks after Christmas.
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Two months have past, then relaxing in a luxurious resort, she meets, Anil, who invites her to his cousins wedding.   We follow Helen and Anil on the road of discovery, although Anil had invited Helen to the wedding there were plenty of others things he wanted to show her.  We, the readers are rewarded with so many sightseeing objects, cows, people of India, market stalls and the sellers that are driven to thrust things right under your nose.  Rickshaws.  Snatches of conversation that Helen and Anil have ... or at least Anil has with Helen, are very enlightening.....  Helen being measured up for a Sari brings many different aspects of the Indian culture she hasn't seen before ....  and then there is the simmering love between Helen and Anil  that we witness.... waterfalls  and something of a key that will unlock the unhappiness within.
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My Thoughts On This Book
I was given the ARC of Unlocked for an exchange of an honest review.
I was extremely curious with reading the first paragraph of what this book was about.    It kept me wanting more as I inched myself closer and closer to the action. 
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Quote
"As she stood under the spray, the hot water almost scalding her skin, she imagined herself being reborn".  😍
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Quote
"She screamed, releasing all the pent-up sadness, humiliation and unworthiness that had been painstakingly eating away at her like moths on clothes." 😍
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I am in love with Soulla descriptive writing and I picked a couple of quotes as examples.  It was very hard to choose, because all the book can be made out of quotable quotes.   See above for quotes.
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I loved Soullas style, it was soft, it has quality, it has a ...  did you hurt your knee?  I will put a band aid on it.  Its caring, yet there is a quality of truth that's not hard to read.  I also picked up on Soulla fun, sunny vibe of laughter, which has sneaked into this book and I loved it, the "funny scenes" made the short story light and easy to read.  I loved the way Soulla uses food in her writing, and it feels so real that you have a tendency just to almost see the mentioned food materialise through the pages.  I must admit, even I had to buy a can of butter chicken soup to get the taste of India.
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Star Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Stars
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Recommendation
This book comes highly recommended by me and would suit anyone interested in India culture and India, anyone interested in Indian food, anyone interested in love stories, anyone interested in short stories and anyone interested in spiritual awareness.
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Notice Board πŸ“‹
Available on the 3 December 2019, or you can pre order (auto buy) now

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Intermission





Intermission

I thought I would interrupt my usual schedule for something a bit different that caught my eye on Facebook this morning ...

I've written the words down below ....


Not posting below ... but sharing onto my page ... although I don't see it as a promotion ... I don't get paid for what I love doing 🀷‍♀️ ... writer?  Yes, I write the odd bit of poetry here and there, with being a book reviewer I also consider myself as a writer, I read books, turn them upside down, turn them inside out, dissect them into tiny little pieces and then I write up a review giving "my side of the story"  ... I guess it helps with being a sales rep in the past and my typing skills to put them to good use and get into that mindset when needed... the list could go on here .... I have many skills I have picked up upon over the years, these are just a tiny bit of what I love doing.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Currently Reading - The BOY in the BURGUNDY HOOD - A Ghost Story - STEVE GRIFFIN




Currently Reading 

The BOY in the BURGUNDY HOOD - A Ghost Story
STEVE GRIFFIN


A ghost story with a difference.

She’s not afraid of ghosts.

Alice Deaton can't believe her luck when she lands her dream job at a medieval English manor house. Mired in debt, the elderly owners have transferred their beloved Bramley to a heritage trust and Alice must prepare it for public opening in the spring.

But then the ghosts start appearing - the woman with the wounded hand and the boy in the burgundy hood - and Alice realises why her predecessor might have left the isolated house so soon after starting.


As she peels back the layers of the mystery, the secrets Alice uncovers at Bramley's heart will be dark - darker than she could ever have imagined

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Book Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris



Book Review by Pauline Reid πŸ”₯ The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
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Genre - Historical Fiction
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What This Book Is About
There is a foreword from the author who says she met Lale Sokolov, the tatooist that would mark the arms of prisoners of Auschwitz.  They meet when Lale was 87, a few weeks after Gita had died.
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This is a love story through a very tragic time....  Gita was 18 when taken to Auschwitz, along with other Jews.
Lale only 24 tatooist, inked identification numbers on arms of both gender. Four digits.... 562 .. Lale looked up, this girl was different.  "Hurry up" .... the next ... the girl, gone.
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Backtracking a bit about how Lales life is like in the concentration camp.....  shoved in a cattle train, little conversation made.  What they all shared was fear, youth and religion.  They were told they were going to work for the Germans .. leaving families,
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As the train stops, Lale only sees men, young like himself.  Two days they were kept on the filth, drenched filled cramped confinement.   As they stopped and trenched through what would become their hell  thoughts came to Lale ... Do as you're told.  And always observe..... we are welcomed to .... Auschwitz.... where work will set you free.  Freedom is certainly what they wouldn't get, ordered to have identification numbers tattooed on their arm, brutal showers where they were treated inhumanely, hair cuts that ended up to be close shaven to almost balding.
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The idea was to keep building the camp, everyone does something.  Lale was ordered at first to be a roofer, finding out many things just by keeping quiet and listening.  Lale was also at an advantage where he could understand German, amongst other languages.
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Lale then has the job of helping Pepan the tatooist with his job too, I'm leaving out quite a large gap here as to how he got there.... but with this new job, comes consequences, it adds to the complexity of survival..... his work somewhat privileged to do, Lale now asks himself will be be taken advantage by his mates?  or would he be seen as a collaborator?
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And then Lale sees her, he knows it's a Sunday, as a privilege to be a tattooist is, he knows the date, Sunday is the only day friendships can be made within and outside the camp.... her name he only knows as 4562.... her name is Gita 😍   ..... so for everyone reading so far, you may very well ask, how did Lale meet Gita?  Love that begins, but will it end?  End in sorrow of such a place? Or will love, serendipity concur all and see these lovebirds as bulletproof?
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My Thoughts
Wow!!!!  (thought, reflect)  Woooow!!!   I was totally addicted to this book.  I couldn't get enough of it.  My eyes just couldn't handle the pressure to read so fast .....I love Historical Fiction, I'm so fascinated by it, now we all know that you can't have history without pain, just as you can't live life itself without some sort of grief.... there is no such thing as living a life in tinted rose filtered sunglasses 😎  ...... if this was a documentary, facts only bulletin, I wouldn't watch it, as some parts of the history are very hairy, but kudos goes to Heather Morris, the author, who blended the right amount of fiction into a factual situation.... no, I didn't feel sad, I was more intrigued, interested, fascinated, inspired by everything written in this book...... poor Lale?   Absolutely Not!!  Given the circumstances I would consider Lale a hero.
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Warning Alert  ❌ If you are a sensitive reader, this could well and truly tip you over the edge, I wasn't surprised to read what I found, nor shocked, I've seen too many movies similar to this book to know what goes on in concentration camps, and so I anticipated what might happen.
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Words I don't want to forget 
πŸ’₯ the death cart = Black Mary
πŸ’₯Yisgadal veyiskadash shmei rabbah - May his name be magnified and made holy ...
πŸ’₯Speak only in Yiddish.
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Notice Board ...   πŸ“‹  ....  There is additional information at the back of the book, including photos of documentation of Lales arrival at Auschwitz  of identification, photos of Lale and Gita in various years, photos of their first baby and their last photo before Gita's death in 2003.  There is also a Q&A that was directed at the author.  A Timeline of The Holocaust. Map and plan of concentration camp.
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Rating 
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  
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Recommendation 
......which comes highly recommended by me.  Definately check this book out if you are into Historical Fiction, if you like love stories with tragedy playing inbetween with a sense of realism.  Not recommended for the squeamish, there are some brutal parts to this book... although written very thoughtfully.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Currently Reading - The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris



Currently reading  
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The Tattooist of Auschwitz  by Heather Morris
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Notice Board  ✍
Funny how this book came to me, this is a personal request to read this one by someone who I follow on Instagram, who has been to the Concentration Camp, Auschwitz, it's in a Polish town called Oswiecim, its 300km from her home city.

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Blurb of this book, copy and pasted from Goodreads.

Based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—a love story in the midst of atrocity.

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a TΓ€towierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Book Review - Full of Grace - Elizabeth Crocket




Book Review by Pauline Reid
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Full of Grace by Elizabeth Crocket
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Genre - Womens fiction - romance
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This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review
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What this book is about
We met the determined self published author, Angela, who was indeed going to write her way, it was going to be her way, or no way.... not her usual romance, but something different ......  so a story developed around a character called ....
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Grace  
Grace has been told by her doctor that she has cancer.  The thing you do is tell the family isn't it?  So a family meeting was born.  
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Rick, Grace's so called "husband" ... the cheater.  Oh Grace knew alright... promises that now Grace has cancer, Rick will end the affair.  
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Then we have Auntie Charlotte, in a home, riddled with alzheimers, all visitors dwindle apart from Grace, she visits Auntie regularly. 

We are then thrown into the Hospital where Grace has introduced to what Chemo and Radiotherapy is all about for 5 weeks.... and boy, did she get to know, with the effects kicking in hard.  
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Then Hope arrives... days and weeks drag on as Grace spends her time at the hospital with added drama of Rick the idiot (for more reasons than meets the eye). Grace's stunt with the hospital finished she keeps in touch with William a patient she has meet, they meet almost every day to catch up ... but there is no pretence in their conversations, there is truth.... however her friend died, just as she was starting to get to know each other.  Hope packed her bags and left just a day before Grace's operation, which she had and came out of it unscathed.  
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Her rocky marriage to Rick was an off and on again stepping stone game, in the end after some counseling Grace decided that Rick should move out. Marriage Counseling didn't seem to work, well  not really for Rick sake.  Then Grace meets Tiffany... yes, THE Tiffany ... is she as grand as the name? or is it an explosion of Grace "attitude problem again?"  
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Grace learnt a secret from Auntie Charlotte, that could have rung true, but with alzheimers, who could tell whether it was true or not... on asking Hope, a rock was launched into the pond, with no ripples but a huge Tsunami which hit Grace. 
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Then the doubts flooded back with, Rick. Rick invited Grace to his birthday party πŸŽ‚ at his new flat.  Readers ....  will Grace and Rick be able to figure out their own true selves?  Will Grace be as full of herself as she was at the beginning?  ... you will have to keep reading to find out ....
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Angela
Rethinking some words in place of others turmoiled and troubled Angela.  
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Would she leave sarcasm in when told of a tragedy?  She leaves them in.
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 Briefly disturbed every now and again by the builder on the roof.  Angela leaves her typewriter for a break.  
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He wasn't married of course, Angela asked him, so it looks like this is was going to be a free ride on a boat.  The boat really thrills Angela. 😍 .  They hit it off so well, that Angela accepted an invitation to go to Barbados on holiday with him.  A romance is budding in the distance as kisses were exchanged. 
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Mark the roofer comes daily now for lunch.  Peanut butter sandwiches is his thing.  The relationship was getting deeper and Angela was having fun.  A recent night out she hit the jackpot.  Money delight with all the bells and whistles.... and then on a plane ... something happened.... a promise of an engagement, with clapping hands, future mother in law yells out the classic .. "drinks all round."
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  Life was going sweet for these two lovebirds, until one day, a knock on the door, a female who announced some pretty harsh news.... and that's when the happy ever after turns into a Halloween party of hell (although this girl is a look alike)... they all had to work through some problems... but they all ended up being flattened and came out more of a birthday cake instead. πŸŽ‚........now here's the thing, this birthday cake had a wedge in it, in the shape of ... Lorna!   Cunning as she is, is she going to be the wedge?  Or is Mark going to see the wedge full of twist and turns, hooks and rough edges and dispose of the rotten wood?  Readers ... you will have to keep reading, Angela's, and Mark's life and see where the wedge is placed.
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My Thoughts on this book
Beware of the beginning as we dodge F Bombs.  I'm not a lover of swearing in my books, we get enough of this, unfortunately thrown at us in real life, involuntary....  so I was taken aback with the shock of them hitting me like a torpedo at the beginning of this book... well, truth be told dodging them everywhere.
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This book to me was like a cup of coffee..... I needed more of it (apart from the swear words, that is).  
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So you know how this goes, it is was a piece of Grace ... a piece of Angela.  All the while I was thinking, this is like watching a TV series, Grace part of the TV series, and Angela butting in every now and again talking to herself.
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I wasn't that keen on Grace at the start, she had an "attitude" problem, but hey 🀷‍♀️ what can you do, I was stuck with her during the whole entire book πŸ™„ ...  but gradually.. I don't know, in her odd little way, I grew to like her a tinsey winsey bit... and then nearer the end of the book, she won trumps.
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I was much more comfortable with Angela, she would be cool to hang out with, that one.
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This book taught me something, something I certainly wasn't expecting and that is, that as you grow older you appreciate more the people around you, your family, your partner in life and try not to complain like Grace, who only saw the negative in life and living in limbo, to just get on with life and to think ... there is always someone worse off than yourself.
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Rating System 
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars
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Recommendation 
This book would suit anyone dealing with cancer, or have been involved with someone who has/had cancer, anyone who likes life lessons, anyone who likes hidden messages of life written into their stories, anyone who has been through hardship of any kind and anyone who likes love triangles.... and anyone who likes romance.

Book Review - The Boy In The Burgundy Hood by Steve Griffin

Book Review by Pauline Reid  πŸ”₯   The Boy In The Burgundy Hood by Steve Griffin. . What This Book Is About Alice Deaton had a new job...