Book Review On Gazelle in the Shadows by Michelle Peach



About the author ( info gathered from Michelle’s website)

Michelle PeachMichelle Peach is a British,  but has American Citizenship and lives’ in Atlanta with her husband and three children. She graduated from Durham University in Arabic with Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. She has worked in the British Embassy’s in Sana’a and Yemen Arab Republic. Michelle also studied in Damascus, Syria and Lebanon. As well as an author she is a stay at home mum.





Publication date: 20th April 2018

Publisher: Michelle Peach

ISBN: Paperback 978-0-692-11276-2

Also available in Ebook

Pages: 318 pages

Genre: Historical Thriller/ Mystery

Format reading: Paperback

Copy provided by: Kelsey from a book publicity service in exchange for my honest thoughts

Blurb (as seen on the back cover)

In the mid 90’s Elizabeth Booth is a young British college student studying Arabic at Durham University. With some travel and work already under her belt, she excels at her studies and is sent to Damascus to immerse herself in the language. Taken aback by the generosity and kindness of people there, she easily slips into a life in the ancient city. She has friends, her studies, and even a handsome boyfriend. But things aren’t always what they seem. Soon, in a world where mistrust and disloyalty are common place, Elizabeth finds herself navigating a web of lies, betrayals and even murder involving MI6, the British secret service, deadly terrorist factions and the shadowy Syrian secret people.

My Review

Gazelle in the shadows by Michelle PeachBefore I start my review, I would just like to say a massive thank you to Kelsey from a book publicity service and Michelle Peach for asking me to read and to give my honest thoughts on Gazelle in the Shadows and for providing me with a paperback.

The front cover for this book having read it now is perfect for this story. It appears to be done in a charcoal drawing. The sky is shaded dark and gets lighter as it reaches the mountains and the skyline of the buildings. The sun beams down casting the shadows of the buildings on the ground. A woman walks alone in the shadows. Bothe the title and Michelle’s name is done in a swirly font but has the Arabic-ness about it with the odd dot.

Gazelle in the Shadows is set in the mid 90’s and follows the story of young Elizabeth Booth; who study’s Arabic at Durham University. She formerly worked for the British Embassy in the diplomatic service; in far away places like Yemen and Egypt. She is desperate to continue her studies on placement and get away from her family when anything she did was never good enough. Elizabeth is sent to Damascus on her own, with no other student’s on the merit of her pro experience.

On the flight over to Damascus she meets flight attendant Asim and his friend Hassein. They all get along chatting and their kindness shines through when they say they have somewhere she can stay when she get’s there. On arrival they take her deep in to the city to a couple around her mother and father’s age. There is a language barrier but they would round it. The next day Hassein and his driver Naguib come to collect her and Hassein has a heated chat with the man of the house. Hassein tells Elizabeth she can’t stay there anymore as the couple were unhappy with them coming to take her out. On her way out the lady tells her not to lose herself. They show her round the city and take her to another pace to stay in a house full of women. In this time Hassein pick’s her up daily until she starts her studying; showing her round, in private they start a relationship and Elizabeth starts to fall in love. She be friends on of the lady’s in the houses called Fatama and Elizabeth can only see their kindness and not what lies beneath. Are they all really being kind and helpful to Elizabeth? Who are these women? Does Hassein really love Elizabeth? Will he try to convert her from a catholic to Muslim? Will alarm bells start to ring to late? How will she get on at school? Will she make friends? Does anyone know about her previous work with the British Embassy? What has she got her self into?

Gazelle in the Shadows quit literally had me on the edge of my seat, from beginning to the very end. Michelle’s writing left me wanting to find out more after every chapter and I couldn’t help but read on! At the beginning of the story Elizabeth really does have her rose-tinted glasses on because she was so trusting of everyone, mistaking kindness of something that was more sinister and scary than she could every have imagined. I was gripped to her journey and found myself wanting to tell her to wake up and see what was going on. I found that Michelle’s knowledge of the history in that time really shines through the whole book. I really found this interesting because in the mid 90’s I was a young teenager and didn’t really take much notice of the news so this book taught me a lot. Michelle’s detail and description is very good really making me see the story before my very eye’s and awaking all my scenes.

Gazelle in the shadows is a very poignant and thought-provoking story that keep’s you gripped to the very end.

                                                       Marie’s Book Boutique gives 

                                       Gazelle in the Shadows by Michelle Peach

                                                                   5 Sparkly Stars


What’s On My Bookshelf Tag!


Hi guy’s,

Firstly, I must say a massive thank-you to the lovely Eleanor from Not So moden girl

for tagging me! Please do pop over to her amazing blog! As soon as I saw this tag I knew it sounded like fun to do!

Here’s the rules

*Link to me so I can see everyone’s answers Naty’s

*Also link back to the person who tagged you!

*Name one book for each category; try not to repeat books to make this more fun!

*Tag at least 5 people. 

Time to get on with the tag!

A library book

I’m actually ashamed to say this but I don’t really go to my local library to borrow book’s, I already have more than enough to read at home!

A book you got as a gift


This book was brought for me, when I wanted to start reading poetry and she knew that I loved Winnie the Pooh! I treasure this book very dearly and is one of my very favourites!

A Childhood book

marie- WBDAs you can see The Little Red Hen by William Stobbs is a much adored book of mine when I was little and one that I loved being read to!









A magical book

I don’t have anything magical on my bookshelf. Even though I have read the Harry Potter book’s they were borrowed from a friend!

A romantic book

A Gingerbread Café Christmas has romance all tied up in a bow!IMG_3029












A Steamy book

Sorry guy’s I know this book is so original but I do own them! Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L.James

An old book

This make’s me sad… I don’t own an old book! I wish I did!

A book that makes you laugh

IMG_3473I laughed a lot reading all about Jennifer’s journey!











A book that makes you emotional.


A book whose ending you disliked 

I really can’t think of one that I disliked really!

A book you wish had illustrations

I’m quite happy to just read the words to be honest. Illustration’s aren’t over important to me. I’m more about the front cover and the story it’s self.

A book or genre you like to read when its raining.

I’ve picked two book’s for this one! If it’s raining I love nothing better that to be transported somewhere hot!


Ok guy’s that’s all my answers. It’s now time for me to tag people (there’s no pressure thought!)



Rebecca (The Book Whisperer)



And you of course!

Book Review On Old Boyfriends by Debbie Macomber


About the author (as seen in the book)

Debbie Macomber

When Debbie Macomber first decided to write a novel, people called her a hopeless dreamer. As a young, dyslexic mother of four active children, on one believed she had what it took to write a book, except Debbie. She wrote- for years. But each time she completed a story and mailed it off to a publisher the manuscript was returned, stamped ‘rejected’. As tough as it was to keep her spirits alive, Debbie never gave up. But all her perseverance paid off and Debbie’s heart-warming novels have made her a New York Times bestselling author with sales of over fifty-one million novels worldwide.






Publication date: 1st August 2007

Publisher: Mira Books

ISBN: Paperback 9780778301813

Pages: 400 pages

Genre: Family Saga/ Romance/ Fiction

Format reading: Paperback

Copy provided by: My own brought

Blurb ( as seen on the back cover)

When Susannah Nelson turned eighteen, her parents sent her to school abroad. She said goodbye to her boyfriend, Jake- and never saw him again.

Years later, Susannah finds herself regretting the paths not taken. Returning to her parent’s house and her girlhood friends, she also returns to the past- and discovers that things are not always as they once seemed…

My Review

Old Boyfriends by debbie macomberThe front cover for Old Boyfriends just jump’s out at me. I really like the way the lilac flowers are draping over the top, with falling petals floating down and a butterfly hovering over the ‘e’ of Debbie’s name. Which leads me on to the deep maroon colour of Debbie’s name it shimmers in the light and who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle! The backing colour is a pale blue and with the title being a darker blue, you’d think it wouldn’t work but it does. On the bottom left hand side there’s a single pink rose in a vase in front of that a basket a of freshly cut  purple flowers. Just beside that are a some secateurs two coffee mugs and a mobile phone. Behind that is another more short and rounded vase with blooming flowers in a mixture of pale pink, darker pink and white. I really like the relaxed feel of this cover and certainly had a part to play in me picking it up apart from being a Debbie Macomber book of course!!

Since I have discovered Debbie’s book’s, I have been hooked on her story telling ever since! You can check out another review I did on Thursdays at Eight

Susannah Nelson; teacher of fifth grade student’s in Seattle, where she lives with her husband Joe. They have two teenagers Brian; who still lives at home and Chrissie away at college. Susannah classes herself as happy in her marriage; so why is she dreaming of her teenage boyfriend Jake? Joe notices Susannah isn’t her self an thinks she hasn’t dealt with the death of her father. As school is about to break up, she get’s a call from her mother long-standing housekeeper; informing that she doesn’t think her mother Vivian is dealing with the loss of her father or coping that well living on her own. So Susannah decides she has to make a trip for the summer to her home town of Cornvil to try to persuade her mother to go to like in assisted living; for her own safety. And try and work out what happened to Jake. Joe offers to go with her but she insists this is something she has to do for her self.

Returning back to her home town which holds so may memories from the death of her brother; in a car accident, back when she was abroad at boarding school and her father not letting her return for her own brother’s funeral to her brother and boyfriends Jake’s sudden lack of care. Susannah’s father was a well-known Judge and her mother a stay at home mother and wife. What ever her father said goes, and no one dared to argue with him apart from Susannah. Vivian make’s thing’s hard for her daughter and is not only adamant that she isn’t going to live in assisted living but that she has also been talking to her dead husband. Susannah is not only concerned about her mother but also that there has been someone in the house taking a few of her brother items. Can Susannah persuade her mother to leave the family home and go into assisted living? How will Susannah feel packing up all the belonging’s of her parent’s? Who is sneaking around in the house? Is it Jake? What will she find out about her father? Will finding out what happened to Jake be determent to her marriage to Joe when her find out what she has been up to? Will she find out much more than she bargained for?

On her return back to Cornvil, Susannah bump’s into her childhood best friend; Carolyn and they reconnect instantly. Carolyn was sent to the same boarding school and was there through her bother’s death and Jake. Carolyn now run’s the family mill business and hire’s a new guy in town to take care of the garden’s. She is quit taken with him but being his boss can she step over that line? She feel’s something is awfully familiar about him, she just can’t work out what. Both women open up to each other about the past, learning thing’s that happened in the past and piecing them together. Will Carolyn take the plunge and ask the dishy mysterious gardener out? Why is he so familiar to her?

Old Boyfriends is another sensational read from Debbie Macomber!!! As with that last book of Debbie’s that I read this book was just un-put downable. She has packed this story full of family discovery’s, mysterious going’s on, old friendship’s reconnecting, some you’d rather forget and a woman looking for answers. The mystery element to this story really pulled me in hook line and sinker!!!! I really didn’t see the ending coming either which mean’s this story isn’t predictable at all!

Debbie’s way of writing has a way of wrapping it’s self around me like a cosy blanket on a cold day when I’m reading; which is why I couldn’t put this book down! I really enjoyed every single part of this story from Susannah finding out about her past to her friendship with Carolyn and everything else in-between. What a joy to read Old Boyfriends was and if you’re a fan of Debbie’s book’s or if you are yet to discover her books you also won’t be disappointed.

                                                        Marie’s Book Boutique give’s 

                                                 Old Boyfriends by Debbie Macomber

                                                       Sensational 5 Sparkly Stars



Book Review On Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva







Publication date: 11th February 2018

Publisher: Independently Published

ISBN: Paperback 9781980220916

Also available in Ebook format

Pages: 52 pages

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Self-help

Format reading: Paperback

Copy provided by: Author

Blurb (as seen on the back cover)

You can change how you think.

My Review

Firstly I would like to thank Lana for getting in contact with me asking if I would read and review her book; I was delighted to accept. Also another thank you for not just sending me a paperback copy but signing as well; in exchange for my honest thoughts.

I think the cover of Happier Thinking is perfect! It doesn’t really need  to have fancy illustrations and using a happy turquoise colour as the covering colour works great! The title and authors name is white which stands out great against the turquoise.

Happier Thinking is a tinny little book at 52 pages long and in it Lana shares things that has led her to think happier. She hasn’t been train professionally in this area but give’s the reader clear idea’s on way’s to adapt you way of thinking. In each chapter Lana give’s helpful tip’s with scenario’s; so the reader can clearly understand. Lana does make it clear that what works for her may not work for everyone and her tips can be adapted to suit the individual person. She also explains there is ‘no quick fix’ because you are trying to change your thinking pattern which takes time.

I found Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva to be a nice handy read and can see this to be something to referred back to when you need a little nudge in to reminding yourself to thinking happier. Even thought I felt I knew some of what Lana was saying; I did find the tip’s helpful and inspired me into incorporating them into my daily life. Plus the book is handy to just pop in my bag! If you’re looking for something in-depth on this subject, I don’t think it’s the right book for you. But if you looking for helpful tip’s with scenario’s to give you that nudge you need it’s pretty handy!

                                                       Marie’s Book Boutique gives

                                              Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva

                                                                  4 Sparkly Stars

4 stars




Taking the plunge and entering a writing competition

Hi lovely book folk,

As some of you may know, I like to write; stories (Romantic comedies, women’s Fiction) and poems (but mainly stories). I don’t profess to be any good, by any means. I mean I’ve never had anything published, but still it’s a big dream of mine. ( maybe one day!)

In the past I had thought about entering writing competition’s, but never actually had the balls to do anything about it. I think it’s the fear of writing something completely shit and then someone saying ‘ Sorry love, your writing sucks!’ That would be the worst! But having said that, you could spin that another way; by asking for feed back in order for me to prefect my craft, leaning from my mistakes. As the famous quote say’s ‘ If at first you don’t succeed try try again!’ Wise words!

So when I saw that the National Centre For Writing  and the local paper were running a competition last month (July), I thought I would give it a go. The theme was ‘ What does Norfolk mean to me’ ( which is the county I live in, in the UK). It could either be a poem or piece of creative non- fiction or a short story/ flash fiction and could be up to 300 words. This particular competition was free to enter.


Off I went with my pen, notebook and I put my creative head on; jotting down my ideas when they came to me. After much deliberation I plumped of doing a poem, even though I write the odd poem here and there they are not my strongest point by any means. My poem was very short, but I knew it said everything I wanted it to, and sent it in. Needless to say I didn’t get anywhere ( I didn’t really expect to really, because lets face it I’m still trying to perfect my craft and there are a lot  more talented writers out there than little old me). And yes I was sad I didn’t get anywhere, I’m not gonna lie, but I gave it my best shot, and was proud I finally had the guts to give it a go. I did however learn something from entering this competition and that is I believed in myself; for the first time since I stared writing.( which was my positive spin on the whole experience!)

I suppose what I’m trying to say to any aspiring writers out there like myself is to give writing competitions a go and to believe in yourself ( Which is pretty key!). This is something that gets me, however this time I pushed that fear aside and made way for believing in me! All anyone can ask for is that you do your best, and having some belief. (Which is pretty spot on for life in general. Oh look at me being the oh wise one!!!!!!!)

It’s all about the winning (well maybe a bit!) but is defiantly about the taking part!!


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experience and that maybe I’ve inspired people to also take the plunge in entering a writing competition themselves! If I can do it so can you!!!!

If you have any thought’s or comment’s you know I love to hear them!!!

Book Review On Thursdays at Eight by Debbie Macomber



About the author (as seen in the book)

Debbie MacomberWhen Debbie Macomber first decided to write a novel, people called her a hopeless dreamer. As a young, dyslexic mother of four active children, no one believed she had what it took to write a book, except Debbie. She wrote- for years. But each time she completed a story and mailed it off to a publisher the manuscript was returned, stamped ‘rejected.’ As tough as it was to keep her spirits alive, Debbie never gave up.

But all her perseverance paid off and Debbie’s hear- warming novels have made her a New York Times bestselling author with sales of over 51 million novels worldwide.






Publication date: 1st January 2001

Publisher: MIRA Books

ISBN: Paperback 9780778301172

Hardcover 9781551668116

Also available in Ebook and Audiobook

Pages: 384 pages

Genre: Family Saga/ Romance/Fiction

Format reading: Paperback

Copy provided by: My own brought

Blurb (as seen on the back cover)

Every Thursday at eight, four women meet to talk and share their lives…

Having just suffered a heart-breaking divorce, Clare is bitter and angry. Then she learns some devastating news about her ex- husband.

Elizabeth, in her late fifties, is recently widowed and finds herself back in the dating game. And that means putting the past behind her.

Twenty- something Karen longs to be an actress- if only her parents didn’t want her to be more like her respectable sister.

Julia is Turning forty. Her kids are finally in their teens and she’s just started her own business. Now she finds out that she’s pregnant.

My Review

I really like the spring look to this front cover; with the daffodils and snow drops that are creeping on to both sides of the cover creating a border around the author’s name. Debbie’s name is coloured in an orange/gold which sparkles in the light. The title is done in a handwriting font in pink which looks really nice against the pale green backing. At the bottom of the cover a cafeteria, a steaming cup of coffee with croissant on plate, a notebook, calendar and pen. All in all it’s a very eye pleasing cover.

Thursdays at eight by Debbie Macomber is a heart-warming story based around four; very different women; who’ve come together after they all attend the same journal writing class. When the class was complete they decided to carry on meeting up on a Thursday’s at eight for breakfast at Mocha Moments to catch up with each other.

Claire is a recently divorced single mother of two teenager boy’s; Mick and Alex. She thought her life was set, she had a family, home, business and a husband; Michael. Untill Michael has an affair and leaves; leaving Claire heartbroken, angry and bitter. Mick is loyal to his mother and want’s nothing more to do with his father, where’s Alex is more torn between the two, and is meeting up with his Michael. Claire lands herself a part-time job at a rival Ford dealership to her ex’s Chevrolet; which makes Michael twitchy! But when Alex promises his father her will collect him from the hospital one day; only he had forgotten he has an exam. Alex has to ask his mother is she will agree to pick Michael up. Claire reluctantly agrees only doing for Alex’s sake. On her arrival she get’s one hell of a shock; sending her head in a spin. But what is wrong with Michael? How is Claire supposed to deal with what she is now faced with? Will she ever find her own bit of happiness? Is Mick going to make up with his father?

Elizabeth is a widow of 6 years, mother to two grown up children and grandmother of two. She works at the local hospital as an administrator; where a much younger doctor with a reputation with the lady’s suddenly start’s hitting on her. With her daughter, husband and grandchildren about to move to the other side of the state and her son about to move out she find’s herself alone (apart from the Thursday at eight lady’s). Will Elizabeth agree to go out with the dishy younger doctor? How will she copy without her family close by? Will she find her own happiness?

Karen is the younger of the lady’s; struggling single actress trying to make her big break. It’s been her dream to be a famous actress since she was a little girl; which she has never given up on. Her parent’s don’t share the same dream, making her study hard to get her degree in the hope she retain a respectable job. There becomes a teaching shortage in the state and Karen gets called on to become a substitute teacher as she has a degree. This is surly going to impress her parents and keep them off her back. Her sister Victoria on the other hand has it set; married to up and coming attorney and is about to have her first child. Giving their parents something to boast about to their friends. Is Karen’s parent’s ever going to accept her for her? Will she find romance when she least expects it? Has Victoria really got the perfect life?

Julia is in her 40’s married to husband Peter and they have two teenage children; Adam and Zoe.  Now the children are older she has just taken the plunge and started her own knitting shop; which had been a dream of hers for a very long time. When Julia suddenly can seem to get over the flu, she visit’s her doctor; he congratulates her on being pregnant. She is shocked and has a range of different emotions about to becoming an older mother, but Peter is ecstatic. She is undoubtedly worried how they will be able to manage, and how will she be able to run the shop with a baby in toe. When they break the news to their children it doesn’t go well. Will Adam and Zoe come round? Will Julia find a solution for the shop when the baby comes? Will the family manage financially? Can she keep her business?

This is the first book of Debbie’s I’ve read and I have to say what a beautiful writing style she has! Thursdays at  Eight is such a heart-warming story, about four different women coming together and become the best of friend’s. They share there lives and are their for each other through good and tough times. Each chapter except Thursday meeting’s relates to each lady (Part journal, Part story) which really give me a great insight to their life’s and therefore giving me a connection with them. I adored the lady’s friendship, and how they become the best of friends, all accepting each other for how they are. This is a book I read quite quickly because I just needed to know more about them and how there journeys turn out. It a really a good read and I will defiantly be looking out for more of Debbie’s delightful books!

                                                       Marie’s Book Boutique gives

                                            Thursdays at Eight by Debbie Macomber

                                                                  5 Sparkly Stars



Book Review On A Year at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn


A Year at the star and sixpence by holly hepburn

About the author (as seen in the book)

Holly HepburnHolly Hepburn has wanted to write books for as long  she can remember but she was too scared to try. One day she decided to be brave and dipped a toe into the bubble bath of romantic fiction with her first novella, Cupidity, and she’s never looked back. She often tries to be funny, except for when faced with traffic wardens and border control staff. Her favourite things are making people smile and Aidan Turner.

She’s tried many jobs over the years, from barmaid to market researcher and she even had a brief flirtation with modelling. These days she is mostly found writing.

She lives near London with her grey tabby cat, Portia. They both have an unhealthy obsession with Marmite.



Publication date: 29th December 2016

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

ISBN:  Paperback 978-1-4711-6314-2

Ebook 978-1-4711-6315-9

Also available in Audiobook

Pages: 528 Pages

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Format reading: Paperback

Copy provided by: My own

Blurb (as seen on the back cover)

Roaring fires, cosy nooks and friendly locals- welcome to the perfect village pub…

When sisters Nessie and Sam inherit a little pub in a beautiful country village, they jump at the chance to escape their messy lives and start afresh.

But when they arrive at the Star and Sixpence, it’s not quite what they imagined- it’s pretty much derelict, ruined by debts, and it’s going to be a huge job to get it up and running again.

Determined to make the best of this new life, Sam and Nessie set about making the pub the heart of the village once again. But the sisters’ past soon comes back to haunt them, and the fresh start they needed feels very far away indeed…

My Review

front cover for a year at the star and sixpenceI have completely fell head over heals in love with this front cover design. The blue sky is blue, with white fluffy clouds, on top of that is the title. There are two blue-tits one resting on the s of Sixpence and the other looks like it just flown off the ‘and’. To the right there’s a white tree in blossom on a green opposite the pub its self. A picket looking fence curves round the bottom left to meet the pub. The pub is a glow with light shining through the window’s making it look so inviting. Then just beyond the pub is more of the village. Holly’s name is blue and ties in with the sky.

I have to admit I read this book last year, along with The Picture House By the Sea which if you fancy a read can check out my review Here

Two sisters Nessie and Sam, leaps at the chance to leave there life’s behind them to make a new start for themselves at the Star and Sixpence. The pub was left to them after their estranged father passed away. There father was a serous drinker and has left the pub not only in debt but in a lot of disrepair.

When they arrive they know that together they can bring the pub back to being the hub of the community. But the village’s are very sceptical, about their arrival! Will they be able to bring the Star and Sixpence back to life? What have the sisters ran away from? Is Nessie and Sam’s past about to come to them? Can they change the villages minds about them? How will they deal with village life? Is there romance in the village air?

A Year at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn is another winner in my eye’s! I couldn’t put this book down, always saying to myself’ just one more chapter!’. I loved how the reader follow’s the sisters threw out a year, which was just lovely and charming in every way possible. This story is packed to the rafters with drama (lots off), Village life (which just reminded me of a village I once lived in), quirky characters and a touch of romance! What more could you ask for in a book! This is defiantly a book I can see myself reading again and again! Just writing this review is making me want to curl up with it now. Highly recommended!!!!!!!!!

                                                  Marie’s Book Boutique gives

                             A Year at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

                                                      A Superb 5 Sparkly Stars