It was supposed to be a quiet family weekend away. But for Senior MI6 officer Kate Henderson, nothing is ever that simple…
Kidnapped in Venice by a Russian defector, Kate knows she’s in trouble. But all is not as it seems. The spy offers her conclusive evidence that the British Prime Minister is a live agent working for Moscow. Kate’s holiday quickly becomes the start of her next mission.
With proof of the PM involved in a sordid scandal and a financial paper trail that undeniably links him to the Russians, the evidence seems bulletproof. But the motives of the defector are anything but clear. And, more worryingly, it seems that there are key people at the heart of the British Establishment who refuse to acknowledge the reality in front of them.
Kate can trust no one, and this mission will push her dangerously close to the edge… but is that the price to pay for the truth?
I received a copy of this book from Random House UK- Transworld Publishers in return for an honest review.
Betrayal, deceit, political manoeuvring and danger are found in this sequel to Secret Service. Kate suffers from anxiety, but a fast-moving political secret means time off is not an option. Kate’s family life is challenging and entangled with the operation with devastating results.
Authentic characters and a fast-paced convoluted plot make this addictive. It’s claustrophobic and immersive. Kate is a likeable character flawed but on the side of justice. Her internal battles threaten her professional effectiveness. The team dynamic and interagency interaction is complex and gives the story added depth.
The edge of your seat last few chapters give way to an unexpected ending. Realistic but with many loose ends. You understand Kate’s motivation but significant anomalies and questions remain.
The Little Duck Pond Cafe girls are looking forward to a well-earned break in the Cornish seaside town of Pengully Sands, where Sylvia’s sister, Aggie, owns a holiday home. With the glorious golden sands, sparkling azure sea and an ice-cream parlour only yards away, it seems like the perfect location to relax and watch the surfers riding the waves (and maybe even have a go themselves). But when they arrive, the girls find it’s not quite the seaside idyll they were expecting. The house is less ‘holiday home’ and more ‘creepy, dilapidated haunted house.’ Gracie, who runs the ice-cream parlour, has problems of her own and the last thing she needs is a bunch of high-spirited girls arriving to disturb the peace and isolation she craves. And when a handsome stranger looks set to destroy her livelihood, it seems like the last straw. Will Gracie get her happy ending – and maybe even make friends with the girls next-door? This wasn’t the relaxing break the Little Duck Pond Cafe girls were expecting, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be the holiday of a lifetime!
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Book ten of this popular series is my first experience with The Little Duck Pond Cafe series, which reads as a standalone. The girls are on a sabbatical from the cafe. They travel to Cornwall for a luxury coastal holiday, but everything is not as planned.
The dual perspective story contrasts between the girls’ camaraderie and new character’s Gracie’s isolation. There are lots of sad moments interspersed with fun mayhem and romance.
This is a lovely tale of friendship loss and love. Complex characters interact well making you want to read the earlier books in the series.
Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little.
Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’.
Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all – unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.
Her series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. The latest, ‘ A Cornish Summer Holiday Little Duck Pond Cafe’, is out now.
Rosie is currently writing a full-length book, ‘Lucy’s Great Cornish Escape’, which – in a fun twist – will feature favourite characters from the Little Duck Pond Café series.
The first in the electrifying new Forbidden Iceland series, The Creak on the Stairs is an exquisitely written, claustrophobic and chillingly atmospheric debut thriller by one of Iceland’s most exciting new talents.
When the body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.
Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her colleagues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day…
But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it ’s too late
I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.
Atmospheric and chilling from the beginning and tinged with unforgettable sadness. This Icelandic Noir story told from multi-points of view fuses domestic noir and police procedural with a Nordic twist. The well-constructed plot flows effortlessly. This is an addictive story cleverly interpreting familiar contemporary issues.
Authentic and relatable characters make the story believable. The stark and unique Icelandic setting has intrinsic interest for those unfamiliar with it. The emotions and crimes reflect the contradictions of the landscape. Volcanic and Icy. Long nights and midnight sun. The author uses the small town ethos well with resultant conflicts of interest for the police investigation.
A tapestry of betrayal, evil and sadness makes this story resonate.
Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva moved to Trondheim, Norway to study my MSc in Globalisation when she was 25. After moving back home having completed her MSc, she knew it was time to start working on her novel. Eva has wanted to write books since she was 15 years old, having won a short story contest in Iceland.
Eva worked as a stewardess to make ends meet while she wrote her first novel. The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller. Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík, staying at home with her youngest until she begins Kindergarten.
At last, a book that is easy to read and tells it how it is! The book was written to assist authors to maximise their success when submitting work to agents or publishers, to help authors consider their priorities and preferences for getting work into print. To advise authors on how to identify the agents and/or publishers they want to approach. It should also assist with editing their manuscript fully prior to submission. The book offers advice about how to prepare a submission package to give an author the best chance of success. The road to becoming a successful author is not easy, but it is rewarding. Let this book take you on the journey.
Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.
Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fifth novel in the series, Hunter’s Secret, is published by darkstroke. Her first non-fiction book, Let’s Get Published is available now.
British doctor Lea Holm has come to New York to work in her chosen field of emergency medicine. She loves her new life in this exciting city and can’t wait to get started with her research project. The last thing she needs are distractions.
But then she meets famous actor Ricco Como in her building – a distraction if ever there was one. He’s gorgeous and sweet, and there’s an immediate connection between them. Lea tries to resist temptation, but when he comes to her for help dealing with his steadily worsening migraine she can’t turn away from his plight.
As Ricco’s health takes a turn for the worse, their lives become more and more entwined. But can their growing attraction withstand the strain of his ill health, and can he let Lea be more than just his doctor?
**This novella series contains detailed descriptions of long-term health conditions, cheating and a bereavement.**
The series is set in New York City and was written before COVID-19. It makes no reference to recent events.
Character Interview with Dr Lea Holm By Cecilia Fyre
We had the rare opportunity to catch up with Dr Lea Holm, the new girlfriend of actor Ricco Como. Lea is a doctor at Bellevue Hospital. She’s originally from London, England.
Hi Lea, thanks for agreeing to talk to us. I don’t think you’ve given many interviews like this so far?
No, this is my first, actually. I’m quite nervous.
No need, we won’t ask you anything incriminating. [Lea laughs nervously.] Now, do you want to tell us a little about yourself?
Let’s see. There isn’t much to tell. I recently moved to New York, from London. I work in an ER in the city, and as a researcher on a pain study. That’s why I came to Bellevue Hospital in the first place, to work on that study.
Is this your first time living in Manhattan?
I don’t actually live in Manhattan now, I moved to Queens. This city is insanely expensive, even worse than London! [laughs] My little flat is cute, but even out there it’s expensive. But yes, to answer your question. I’ve never lived in the States before.
So, let’s get to the juicy details, the questions our readers are eagerly awaiting: How did you and Ricco meet?
Well, when I first moved to New York I did live in Manhattan. I knew someone who knew someone who wanted a lodger for a few months. That guy lives in Ricco’s building, and I met Ricco in the hall one day.
Was it love at first sight?
Not really. We had coffee soon afterwards, though. So I guess we at least liked each other.
What is it like being with someone famous? Is it harder than dating normal people?
Oh yeah! [laughs again] It’s a lot harder, because so many people are interested in Ricco’s private life. So we kind of try to stay out of the spotlight, you know? But it’s also hard for other reasons. He works really long hours, and is often away for work. And I work long hours too. So we don’t always see each other as much as we’d like.
I bet that sucks especially. Being with a guy like Ricco and not being able to see him much?
I’m used to people who are passionate about their work. Doctors are like that as well, so we have that in common, which helps, I think. And when we do get to spend time together it’s really special. We try and make the most of it.
Okay, let’s do a few quick-fire questions to close off the interview. One word answers only!
Is Ricco a good kisser?
Who does the dishes, he or you?
The dishwasher! [she claps her hand to her mouth] Sorry that’s two words.
Are you messy or neat?
Ricco – neat. Me – not!
Who gets to choose the TV station, or the Netflix show to watch?
Me! Always, always me! [laughs]
And that’s the end of the interview. Thank you so much for taking the time for us, and all the best to you two!
Lea stepped out of the elevator and heard a weird, humming sound. No, not humming. Purring. Looking around her she spotted a black cat in the crevice under a nearby radiator.
“Hey, who’re you?” she murmured.
Big, green cat eyes stared at her out of the gloom, the jet-black body obscured in the shadows.
“Are you running away?” She crouched down and held out a hand. For a moment the cat looked like it was going to hiss at her. But then it slunk over, belly close to the marble floor. It was still purring.
Truth be told, Lea wasn’t really a cat person. She preferred dogs. Or maybe, in the tiny New York apartments, a cockatiel would be nice. Though this kitty was pretty cute. Its coat was fluffy, and it was a little on the chubby side. Well cared for, certainly. Of course, it would be, in this swanky Little Italy apartment building where the cheapest unit cost well over three million dollars. And whoever the cat belonged to was probably looking for it. So Lea braced herself and picked it up.
The elevator servicing the apartments on this floor was hidden away in a nook at the end of the hallway. As Lea stepped out from that little space now, the cat hanging relaxed in her arms, the door at the opposite end of the hallway opened. A man peered through it. “Carl? Man, if you slipped out, I’ll…sh*t…oh.”
He spotted Lea and opened the door wider. She felt foolish asking since he had pretty much confirmed it. “He yours?” She nodded at the cat in her arms, who had wriggled onto his back, head lolling, looking at her with those weird, slitted eyes.
“Yeah, he is,” the man said. “Little f**ker… sorry.”
She hid her smile as the color rose in his face. “Did he give you the slip?”
He nodded. Lea walked the length of the hallway, taking the opportunity to study him. Brown hair to just over his ears, tousled and standing up in places like he’d just woken up. His eyes were very blue, slightly slanted, and returning her gaze openly. Nice cheekbones that gave his features a certain finesse. He had boyish good looks that could only be helpful in his line of work. He wore a black T-shirt and grey sweatpants, and despite his handsome face, his smile was a little shy and very ordinary. Lea already knew who he was.
Despite what she might have said to Carmine about not caring for the famous people living in his building, now that she found herself face to face with one her heart jumped in her chest and her hands that were still clasping the cat began to sweat.
When she reached him, she held out her arms, uncertain of what to do. He smiled again, then disentangled the furry creature from his cozy spot.
“Thanks a lot.”
Lea returned his smile. “No problem.”
He wrestled for a moment with the cat, who was trying to crawl onto his shoulder. Once the cat had settled, looking very much at home, he extended his hand. “I’m Ricco.”
Lea was about to say, I know, but then decided against it. She shook his hand. “I’m Lea. Nice to meet you.”
Ricco gestured behind himself. “D’you wanna come in for a coffee? Thanks to you my afternoon won’t be wasted looking for this monster now.” He patted the animal, who purred.
Lea shook her head. She could’ve kicked herself. “I’m sorry, I can’t. My shift starts in less than an hour.” She glanced at her watch. She’d rushed out to run some errands she’d forgotten about all week and was running late now.
“Oh, okay… maybe another time.” He seemed disappointed, but Lea found that hard to believe. Why’d he care one way or another?
She banished the cynicism. “Definitely.”
Ricco was still looking at her, and the intensity of his gaze made Lea feel uneasy. He seemed to notice and lowered his eyes, retreating into his doorway. Lea turned to retrace her steps to the door furthest from his.
“See you later,” he said. Lea glanced around and he gave her a one-handed wave. She waved back and began to dig in her bag for the house keys. His door fell shut. Lea inserted her key into her own door, then stopped and glanced back down the corridor. Her heartbeat rather fast and her hands shook. She couldn’t understand why that should be so. She’d never cared a fig about celebrities.
Cecilia Fyre is the pen name of a romance author trying out something new.
She likes sunny, crisp autumn days. Cups of hot cocoa with little marshmallows floating on top. The roaring of the sea. Laughing until your face hurts. The silence when you curl up with a good book.
Her stories are about people. Some of them are strange, some think they’re boring. They all have secrets, they’re all scared sometimes. Cecilia writes about life, about love. About how hard it is to do it right. Usually, there’s a happy ending, or at least there might be one, someday.
But life’s not all sunshine and roses, and that’s why Cecilia tells her stories.
The five novellas are: Book 1 – Heart and the City Book 2 – Unexpected Truth Book 3 – Been There Before Book 4 – Wish The Pain Away Book 5 – A Thousand Little Pieces
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Giveaway Link above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Say, wouldn’t it be a gas if all of us here are pretending to be something we’re not?’
1957: Iris Bailey is bored to death of working in the typing pool and living with her parents in Hemel Hampstead. A gifted portraitist with a talent for sketching guests at parties, she dreams of becoming an artist. So she can’t believe her luck when wealthy socialite Nell Hardman invites her to Havana to draw at the glittering wedding of her Hollywood director father.
Iris is thrilled to escape to a faraway city by the sea. But she soon realizes that the cocktails, tropical scents and azure skies mask a darker reality. As Cuba teeters on the edge of revolution and Iris’s heart melts for troubled photographer Joe, she discovers that someone in the charismatic Hardman family is hiding a terrible secret. Can she uncover the ugly truth behind the glamour and the dazzle before all their lives are torn apart?
I received a copy of this book from Random House UK, Transworld Publishers – Black Swan in return for an honest review.
This story captures the thirst for glamour and the diminished role of women that epitomises the 1950s. Intelligent but naive Iris inwardly rails against her life but feels ill-equipped to alter its path. A talented portraitist who works in a typing pool marriage is the only way out. Meeting socialite Nell is unexpected. Nell’s surprise invitation means Iris can escape for a while.
Clever use of visual imagery brings pre-revolution Cuba to life. Lies, mystery, politics and secrets are interweaved into this glitzy yet tawdry story. Some characters have more depth than others, but all make up a cast of players that give insight into the final months of Havana before the revolution.
Iris’ character development is significant as she experiences the facets of humanity and the turmoil of a country on the precipes of political change.
Rachel Rhys is the pen-name of a much-loved psychological suspense author. She is the author of the Richard and Judy bookclub pick, Dangerous Crossing and the bestselling A Fatal Inheritance. Rachel Rhys lives in North London with her family.
Fran hates her hometown, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway. She returns home to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer. As past friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants… Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…
I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.
An adrenaline-inducing beginning guarantees the reader’s attention from the start The main protagonist, is desperately searching for her family amidst a raging firestorm. The story rewinds to the days preceding the firestorm, and you begin to see what life’s like in Ash Mountain.
Character-driven, this is an addictive intricate story. Each of the characters is believable and ordinary. This authenticity makes them fascinating. The town’s dynamic relationships; family, friends and frenemies are interweaved to form its ethos.
The story slips back in time thirty years to illuminate currents events and motivations. Dark satirical humour enlivens the plot which explores terrible abuse and betrayal from Fran’s past. The final chapters are immersive and intense.
This story is an enthralling balance of humour and poignancy exploring contemporary issues of abuse, prejudice and catastrophic disaster.
Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1.
Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst CaseScenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph.
Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband.
‘I absolutely adored this book. It gave me all the feels! A charming read full of warmth and heart.’ ***** Kim the Bookworm
Bea Winters is in desperate need of a fresh start. Being bullied at work is not her idea of fun and she longs to follow her dream of becoming a published author. When an advert appears in her local paper to work in a publishing house in the sleepy village of Bloomsdale, it sounds too good to be true.
She strikes up an instant friendship with gorgeous aspiring author, Eddie Richards and her dashing millionaire boss Scott Summers
But all isn’t as it seems in the sleepy village of Bloomsdale.
How does the local clairvoyant know her name? Who does the little black dog that keeps appearing belong to and why does she keep bumping into the mysterious Charlie?
As she starts to unravel the truth, it seems that everyone in Bea’s life is keeping secrets. An uplifting romantic comedy that will warm your heart.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Winters’ Gift offers its readers something different. Bea is a likeable protagonist flawed but easy to empathise. Her life’s not easy, especially at work. With a little supernatural nudge, she embraces an opportunity for a new life and job.
Bea’s adventures in Bloomsdale are numerous, some funny some sad as she learns the secrets of her past and a real-life family drama unfolds at the publishing house.
Vibrant characters and a lovely balance of humorous and poignant moments make this an engaging story, especially with its supernatural twist.
Florence Keeling adopted for her pen-name her Great Grandmother’s name, chosen because of the shared birthday of April Fool’s Day. She is married with two teenage chidren. Born and raised in Coventry, England she now lives just outside in Nuneaton. Reflected Destinies is her first novel.
Florence Keeling also writes for children under the name of Lily Mae Walters.
Everyone’s favourite bus goes on a summer adventure full of sunshine and the promise of romance…
Charlie has a new helper on her bus, her free-spirited and loveable cousin, Delilah, who’s paid a visit to the charming Cornish village of Porthgolow and is helping out on Charlie’s adorable cream tea bus.
When the Director of a new TV series filming further along the coast tells Delilah that the bus would be the perfect addition to their onsite catering, she takes him a bit too literally. Charlie and Delilah find themselves caught up in the filming of a lavish period drama and it isn’t long before Delilah finds herself drawn to the handsome male lead.
But Delilah has made a habit of making rash decisions and it’s one of the reasons she’s hiding out in Cornwall. Could this be one impulsive step too far, or is a change of direction the start of something quite unexpected…
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
It’s lovely to be back with Charlie and her Cornish Cream Tea Bus. This time her cousin Lila is running from her imploded life in London. Charlie and Lila are close but have very different personalities. Impulsive Lila soon ruffles Charlie’s organised life with the best of intentions. A contract with a film company on location challenges Lila’s career plans and her emotional future. Meeting the actors and film crew engages Lila and draws her into a glamorous world. It has an intrinsic interest and is so enjoyable for the reader too.
The romance between Lila and Sam is lovely understated but powerful. It tugs on the heartstrings when circumstances and misunderstandings pull them apart. There are some sublimely romantic scenes balanced with many equally humorous ones. The best friend drama is an added conflict. I have to admit I am firmly in Team Lila who undergoes significant positive character development in this story.
The beautiful setting believable characters and engaging plot make this an enjoyable, effortless read.
Happiness is finally within reach for best friends, Amber, Dominque, Debra and Zya. But fate has other plans…
Pregnant and widowed, Debra is engaged to suave and charming Italian heartthrob Roberto. So why does her heart race when she thinks about her therapist, Brian? Has she said yes to the wrong man?
Dominque has found the love and acceptance she always longed for with Tad. But devastating news soon threatens their future together.
Successful fashion designer Zya has discovered her own unexpected happily ever after with Tina . . . until her daughter, Ashanti is bullied and becomes the focus of a police investigation and the media. Now Zya suddenly stands to lose everything she holds dear.
Finally, together with the only man she’s ever loved, Amber is determined to not let anything come between her and Patrick—not even her jealous and vindictive identical twin sister. But someone is watching . . . waiting for the right moment to destroy her . . .
Will the women get their happy ending, or is it déjà vu all over again? Find out in the dramatic and suspenseful second book of the Unbroken series.
After 35+ years in operations for various businesses (including her own), Melody pursued her dream of writing a novel. Having written for business publications, local magazines and even publishing a poem, Chemo’s not for Sissies, during treatment after her first cancer diagnosis, it was time to finish the novel that was started many years ago. When she started writing, “Facade: Things Aren’t Always as They Appear,” she had no idea where her characters were going to take her. “The story basically wrote itself. It was like a movie projector playing in my mind,” is how she describes her experience. It soon became apparent, their voices were not to be silenced… “The Unbroken Series” was born. “Deja Vu: Here We Go Again,” Book II, to be released June 23, 2020, followed by C’est la Vie, Book III, in December.
Melody lives with her husband in her native home state Florida. She’s blessed to be alive today after two cancer diagnoses and enjoys watching her grandchildren grow up; something she doesn’t take for granted.