Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

A Perfect Paris Christmas Mandy Baggot 5*#Review @mandybaggot @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Festive #Romance #Friendship #Christmas #Paris #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads #SecondChances #Serendipity

United in grief. Pushed apart by tragedy.

 Keeley Andrews knows more than anyone that you only live once. So when she receives an invitation to spend two weeks in Paris, all expenses paid, she jumps at the chance.

Ethan Bouchard has had the worst eighteen months of his life. He’s ready to give up on everything, including his hotel chain. So when he meets Keeley, it simply isn’t the right time.

As Keeley and Ethan continue to bump into each other on the romantic Parisian streets, they can’t help but wonder whether this is fate telling them to let go of the past and leap into the future…

Head to Paris this Christmas and fall in love under the lights of the Eiffel Tower with best-selling author, Mandy Baggot.

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I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts

This is no ordinary festive romance, but it fills you with emotion and goodwill. I love serendipitous romance, and this is what we have here, but it’s only a fraction of the story which explores, loss, living life to the full, and friendship against a festive Paris setting.

Sensitively told and well-researched this story takes Keely to Paris for a life-changing meeting. It’s an emotional read with many characters whose stories are intricately woven together into a lovely festive story.

This is a must-read for the festive season.

Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Crime, Excerpt, Gangland Crime, ganglit

Nasty Business Gillian Godden @GGodden @lovebooksgroup #Excerpt #lovebookstours

Tony Lambrianu is bold, daring and ruthless, qualities that have propelled him and Jake Sinclair up the ladder in London’s sleazy but lucrative underworld.

And, now that he’s running a fancy West End nightclub, Tony has new-found celebrity status – with a never-ending string of gorgeous women on his arm, he’s become the darling of the tabloids. However, despite his success, he still feels he lacks the respect he deserves and the status he desires. The little boy who lived on the streets is never far away.

Desperate for recognition, he’s driven to achieve more and more. Most of all, he craves the acceptance of Ralph Gold and to become a bigger part of his extensive web of organised crime.

Fearlessly facing up to enemies, winning battles and becoming the undisputed bosses of the London underworld can be a nasty business, but it’s the only business Tony and Jake know. And they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

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Nasty Business – Gillian Godden – Excerpt

The club felt like an empty ghost town and suddenly twice the size. Even though there was excitement in the air, there was also nervous tension, and none of them had much to say to each other.

The bar staff were polishing the glasses and making themselves busy, to pass the time. The waitresses stood at the side of the bar, waiting patiently for some customers. It felt like time had stopped. Everyone seemed bored and restless; even when the music started up, it didn’t seem to make much difference.

‘I can’t stand this anymore,’ said Jake, ‘I feel sick. I’m going to take a look outside to see if there’s anyone around.’ No matter what happened, both Jake and Tony knew they had to put on a brave face and look confident. At this stage there was nothing else they could do.

Moments later, Jake came running back over, nearly tripping up in his haste. His eyes were wide and his face wore a shocked expression. ‘Tony! Tony!’ he shouted.

Tony was still standing at the bar with Sharon. He was drinking a large whisky for Dutch courage. They turned to Jake on hearing him shout and, even in the dimly lit club, they could see the colour had drained from his face.

Jake was out of breath, he was panting and trying to speak at the same time.

‘There’s a queue around the block, loads of people are waiting to come in! Come and see.’

Jake led the way, almost running the full length of the club to get back to the doors. Tony and Sharon followed. Looking past the bouncers on the doors, Tony saw a long line of people patiently waiting for the doors to open. He looked at the bouncers and then back at the queue, then turned to go back inside. ‘Let them in,’ he said.

The three of them went and stood at the far side of the bar, almost in the shadows, and watched as people came flooding through the doors.

A blonde woman wearing a very expensive-looking pink gown walked in first, with a party of similarly dressed men and women hot on her heels. ‘Champagne!’ she shouted at the bar staff. Silver champagne buckets were filled with ice and corks were popped. The staff, recently idle, were now rushed off their feet, trying to keep up with orders. More and more people came through the doors. Many followed the blonde woman’s lead and ordered champagne. She was adorned in diamonds that Sharon assured Tony and Jake had to be the real thing. She sat in the middle of one of the private booths, men and women seated each side of her, as though holding court.

The three of them watched as an older man walked up to her, kissed her on the cheek and sat at her side. He was dressed in a tuxedo, and had an air of authority. Everyone seemed to know him. One of the waitresses walked up to Jake.

‘Mr Sinclair,’ she said, ‘that woman over there keeps ordering champagne, but she isn’t paying for it. She keeps telling the bar staff to put it on her account. Do you know her? Does she have an account?’ She looked worried.

Gillian Godden

My name is Gillian Godden an Indie author and a full time NHS Key worker at a local inner city medical centre in East Hull, East Yorkshire, England. My patients come from all sectors of society and no two days are ever the same. My duty of care is to my patients and during the recent pandemic a lot of frightened and lonely people have relied upon us at the medical centre to offer guidance and support. This year is the 72nd anniversary of the NHS and we do everything we can to support out patients when they need us.

When I come home I like to wind down and writing is my escape from the mental stresses of my day. My job is not a 9 to 5 job and I work to support my patients when they need me so my days can be long.

The medical team at the surgery work together to support all our patients during their time of worry and need.

On a more personal note , I grew up in a large family and am the youngest of 7 siblings. Over the years we have lost touch as life moves on. I lived in London for over 30 years and during this time I worked in various London stripper pubs and venues. I have a grown up son who now lives and works in London as a hematology lab technician. He has been working on the Covid 19 testing and this has been a worrying time for us as a family.

Once he left for University 5 years ago I had more time on my hands I was encouraged to write a short story by a local library book competition. First prize was a P&O cruise and 2nd prize was £50, I lost to a pigeon fancier and an addicted crocheter.

My NHS colleagues supported my writing and encouraged me to continue to write, however being a little green and naive I went with a Vanity publisher, much to my cost. This experience did give me a platform to showcase my first book Francesca on Amazon and in the online book clubs. I was totally over whelmed by the response and people messaged me via social media wanting to know more about the characters and how Tony Lambrianu grew up and became so successful in the London Gangland crime world.

To answer their questions I went backwards in time and wrote Dangerous games and Nasty business. These also were successfully received by my now increasing readership, so in order to complete the series I wrote Dirty Dealings.

My readers are still interested in the characters throughout my books and asked for more information on the lives of Julie and Ralph Gold, so as I do everything I can to support my patients in my NHS job I wanted to do the same for my readers, so I am now writing Gold, the story of Julie and Ralph. Although this is a standalone book readers who have read all my other books will soon be able to find out more about Julie and Ralphs life and how they met.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama

In Cold Blood Jane Bettany 5*#Review @JaneBettany @HQStories #CrimeFiction #InColdBlood #BlogTour #BookReview #DIIsabelBlood #FridayReads

No secret can stay buried forever…

As the Whitworth family begin renovations on their new home, their plans are brought to an abrupt end when they discover a body buried in the back garden.

DI Isabel Blood and her team are called to investigate, but as she approaches Ecclesdale Drive, a feeling of unease settles in her gut.

The property cordoned off is number 23. The house she used to live in as a child…

The forensic team estimate that the body has been in the ground for up to forty years – coinciding with the time Isabel’s family lived in the house.

Isabel’s father vanished without a trace when she was fourteen years old. And with her mother remaining tight-lipped about her father’s disappearance, Isabel can’t escape the unnerving sense of dread that it’s his body, buried in the garden.

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I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a fabulous debut crime novel. Its well-crafted plot has engaging and relatable characters and an authentic urban setting. Isabel Blood is a time-served police detective who juggles family and work life with the help of a supportive partner and professional colleagues. She is believable and easy to empathise, essential characteristics for the lead detective in a police procedural.

The East Midland’s setting in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire is familiar to me, as I lived there for many years. The author conveys it’s idiosyncracies thorough dialogue and description so well.

The plot has depth and unexpected twists that keep the reader absorbed and guessing. The ending is suspenseful and concludes the case satisfactorily. Hopefully, there will be more books in this series with its realistic team dynamic, and likeable lead detective.

Jane Bettany

I am the author of In Cold Blood, a crime novel published by HQ (HarperCollins) featuring DI Isabel Blood and set in the fictional Derbyshire town of Bainbridge. The book won the 2019 Gransnet and HQ writing competition, which was for women writers over the age of 40 who had written a novel with a protagonist in the same age range.

In Cold Blood is my first novel, but I have been writing short stories and non-fiction articles for over twenty years, many of which have appeared in women’s magazines, literary magazines, newspapers and online.

I live in Derby, UK and have an MA in Creative Writing.

Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Cover Reveal, Literary Fiction

Everything is Beautiful Eleanor Ray #CoverReveal @eleanorraybooks @PiatkusBooks @rararesources #EverythingisBeautiful #preorder #FridayMotivation

Sometimes it’s impossible to part with the things we love the most…

When Amy Ashton’s world came crashing down eleven years ago, she started a collection. Just a little collection, just a few keepsakes of happier times: some honeysuckle to remind herself of the boy she loved, a chipped china bird, an old terracotta pot . . . Things that others might throw away, but to Amy, represent a life that could have been.  

Now her house is overflowing with the objects she loves – soon there’ll be no room for Amy at all. But when a family move in next door, a chance discovery unearths a mystery long buried, and Amy’s carefully curated life begins to unravel. If she can find the courage to face her past, might the future she thought she’d lost still be hers for the taking? 

Perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant and The Keeper of Lost Things, this exquisitely told, uplifting novel shows us that however hopeless things might feel, beauty can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Pre-order Links:

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Publication Date: 4th February 2021

Eleanor Ray

Eleanor Ray has an MA in English Literature from Edinburgh University and works in marketing. She lives in London with her husband and two young children.
Eleanor was inspired to write Everything is Beautiful by the objects her toddler collects and treasures – twigs, empty water bottles and wilting daisies. She is currently working on her next novel.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance

The Night of the Flood Zoe Somerville 4*#Review @zessomerville @Hoz_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #LiteraryFiction #Norfolk #Flood #1950s #Romance #ComingofAge #Secrets #Crime #FridayReads #FridayThoughts #TheNightoftheFlood

Summer, 1952. Verity Frost, stranded on her family farm on the Norfolk coast, is caught between two worlds: the devotion of her childhood friend Arthur, just returned from National Service, and a strange new desire to escape it all. Arthur longs to escape too, but only with Verity by his side.

Into their world steps Jack, a charismatic American pilot flying secret reconnaissance missions off the North Sea coast. But where Verity sees adventure and glamour, Arthur sees only deception. As the water levels rise to breaking point, this tangled web of secrets, lies and passion will bring about a crime that will change all their lives.

Taking the epic real-life North Sea flood as its focus, The Night of the Flood is at once a passionate love story, an atmospheric thriller, and a portrait of a distinctive place in a time of radical social change.

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set on the Norfolk coast in the early 1950s The Night of the Flood is an atmospheric and at times claustrophobic historical story. Centred around a historic natural disaster, the author interweaves a believable fiction of complex emotional relationships and secrets.

It focuses on the five young adults all inexorably changed by WW2 and railing against their allotted roles in life. Peter, shackled to the failing family farm. Verity, an ambitious woman who wants more from life than marriage and domesticity. Arthur, a former evacuee who has journalistic ambitions he may never realise. Muriel is a less distinct character known to all whose role increases with the story’s progression. Finally, there is Jack, an American stationed at the local airbase, who is the catalyst that forever alters the young lives.

The story is sad and suspenseful, the protagonists’victims of society’s expectations and individual flaws. The coastal historical setting reinforces the story’s authenticity. Relatable characters engage the reader’s emotions in this insightful story.

Zoё Somerville -Image Credit Jonathan Pearce

Zoe Somerville is a writer and English teacher. Having lived all over the world – Japan, France, Washington – she now lives in Bath with her family. After completing a creative writing MA at Bath Spa, Zoe started writing her debut novel, which is inspired by her home county, Norfolk, and the devastating North Sea flood of the 1950s.