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The Fascination by Essie Fox #Review #Giveaway

   Today be prepared for a dark, Victorian gothic novel! The Fascination by Essie Fox is published on June 22nd by Orenda . For the chance to win a print copy of The Fascination see the foot of this post for details. Victorian England. A world of rural fairgrounds and glamorous London theatres. A world of dark secrets and deadly obsessions… Twin sisters Keziah and Tilly Lovell are identical in every way, except that Tilly hasn't grown a single inch since she was five. Coerced into promoting their father's quack elixir as they tour the country fairgrounds, at the age of fifteen the girls are sold to a mysterious Italian known as ‘Captain’. Theo is an orphan, raised by his grandfather, Lord Seabrook, a man who has a dark interest in anatomical freaks and other curiosities … particularly the human kind. Resenting his grandson for his mother’s death in childbirth, when Seabrook remarries and a new heir is produced, Theo is forced to leave home without a penny to his

Bubblegum and Blazers by Isabella May #Review


I am happy to be featuring Isabella May on the blog today with her latest novel, Bubblegum and Blazers.  I thoroughly enjoyed Isabella's Costa del Churros , Oh! What a Pavlova, The Cocktail Bar, and The Ice Cream Parlour so I was interested to see where she would set her next book.  Just like most of us, it seems it is staying at home in the UK!

When Ali, Blake, Charlotte, and Grant sign contracts to star in a Back to School reality TV show, LOVE is the very last thing on their minds:

Ali flies to the UK from New Zealand, intrigued by the golden opportunity to advance her amateur social media influencer career.

Blake carpe diems the moment with both hands after a constant flurry of bad luck.

Charlotte jumps at the chance to relive her sporting glories of the past - and take a hiatus from her humdrum marriage.

And Grant is just relieved to get away from his failing second-hand music shop.

But once the advances hit their bank accounts, it soon becomes apparent that producer Jock’s Pied Piper-style offer to change their lives is distinctly lacking in sherbet fizz!

In fact, the only sweet thing about this gig for the former students and the rest of their Bubblegum and Blazers competitors, may just be the packet of candy in their pockets.

Re-enacting their past is a rollercoaster of revelations, retaliation, and unlikely romance in a gold-fish bowl of mayhem where Raphael (Agony Uncle of the school sweet shop) and his rhubarb and custards reign supreme...

 My Thoughts

Based on a reality TV show format, there are plenty of opportumities for humour and this romcon has them in abundance. There is quite a cast of characters who all have their own reasons for wanting to be on the programme. Reuniting years after they have left school, but back in their school setting can't help but give some a misstep. It took me a while to work out just who was who but was rewarded with some surprising characters and a most amusing plot.

    There is a story from the past to uncover and some retribution for wrongs carried out. I liked hearing their views on their past school friendships which had been seen through the filter of adolescence. Of all the characters, I would say that Ali was a favourite as she was quite vulnerable but hid behind a facade. There are plenty of allusions to the 1990's and the description of all those retro sweets was always a delight. This is a fun read with plenty of fizz!

In short: A trip back down memory lane has surprising consequences for some.

About the Author

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury's ley lines however, she's unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic, as well as a Pranic Healer.

After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children's publishing... selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!

All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel - both feature extensively in her cross-genre novels, fused with a dollop of romcom, and a sprinkle of magical realism.

You can follow Isabella here: Website| Twitter| Facebook 
                                             | Instagram
Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks to Isabella May and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.
Check out the rest of the tour! 

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