This colourful novel of adventure, family, and courage shows young Billy McTaggart coming of age as a tapper in a British railyard during the bitter years following World War II. Bullied for his small stature but endowed with a sharp mind, the fierce ambition of his sweetheart Meg, and the love of his Mam, Billy navigates a rapidly changing world where steam engines give way to rock and roll, Elvis, and the Beatles. Everything changes for Billy in one breathtaking moment when he uncovers an amazing secret hidden inside a rail car. Romance, loss, pain, and elation follow his path up and out of England’s rigid class system. Through it all, Billy maintains his generous spirit and sense of what is right. Billy Tapper Zillionaire captures the humanity of simple relationships for an accidental bystander to history growing up in the 1950s and 60s.
Born in Scotland and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Gary Finnan splits his time between Sonoma Wine country in California and his farm in Aiken South Carolina, along with his wife Eva and two daughters. Gary is an award-winning inspirational author.
Sarah Parsons has a choice ahead of her. After the trip of a lifetime she’s somehow returned home with TWO handsome men wanting to whisk her away into the sunset.
Pulled in two directions across the globe, it’s making life trickier than it sounds. Her gorgeous American, Josh, wants to meet Sarah in Hawaii for a holiday to remember. Meanwhile silver fox, James, plans to wine and dine her in London.
It’s a lot to handle for this Aussie girl, who had totally sworn off men!
Join Sarah after her adventure in One Summer in Santorini, for the heart-warming and uplifting third novel in The Holiday Romance series.
I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter and the Author in return for an honest review.
The love triangle that left us guessing at the end of One Summer in Santorini is back, and it’s decision time for Sarah. You need to read book one to find out how she meets James and Josh, but there is enough backstory to clue you into her dilemma.
The story takes place in London with James, Hawaii with Josh and then New Zealand and Australia. The travel is descriptive and gives this romantic comedy its edge. Sarah is a little like a child in a sweet shop wanting both, having both and then not sure which she likes best. However, her emotional journey is insightful. She decides, but is it who you thought? I confess to being slightly disappointed with her choice, but it’s the right one for her.
The characters are flawed and relatable there are lots of humorous moments which are easy to visualise and then there’s the romance what more do you need? Lovely.
I’m a writer and traveller with a lengthy bucket list and cheeky sense of humour, and many of my travel adventures have found their way into my books. I’m also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover, and a coffee snob, though my writing is mostly fuelled by copious mugs of strong, milky tea (no sugar).
Nick and Lesley’s desire for a better life in the countryside was a long-held dream. Unforeseen events and a leap of faith forced that dream into reality, but moving to rural Ireland was only the beginning of their story. Foreigners in a foreign land, they set about making new friends, learning the culture and expanding their collection of chickens and unruly dogs. But their dream home was in desperate need of renovation, a mammoth task they attacked with the aid of a DIY manual, dwindling funds and incompetent enthusiasm. With defunct diggers, collapsing ladders, and shocking electrics, what could possibly go wrong? Will their new life live up to expectations, or will the Irish weather, dangerous roads, and a cruel twist of fate turn this dream into a nightmare?
I received an audiobook from the author in return for an honest review.
Living the country dream in Ireland was how we left Nick and Lesley at the end of book 1. Book 2 details what life is like and the ups and downs of renovation. The honesty and humour are the unique selling point of this series. It’s not just the good bits it’s the bad bits too. There are many poignant events in this memoir that make the listener empathise.
For anyone who’s ever renovated their home, you’ll be agreeing with Nick’s observations and chuckling at the mistakes and the near disasters. Add in the peculiarities of an unfamiliar country and its a recipe for misunderstandings and subsequent laughter.
The animals are still front and centre in Nick’s life, and there are many anecdotes some hilarious, some sad in this story. What shines through is the sharing of a dream, the courage and the innate sense of humour of the storyteller and his wife.
I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment. The narration is first-class brings the characters to life.
Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs. In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in 2020.
Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.
Can love really be found when you stop looking for it…?
As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.
But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.
Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfill Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.
Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it…
Escape to Hedgehog Hollow this summer with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting, feel-good read.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Love, hate, families and relationships are all explored against the delightful setting of Hedgehog Hollow.
The flawed and relatable characters are the driving force of this story. Samantha is lovely, always willing to help. Her outlook on life makes her loved by everyone, except her mother? This relationship is distressing. You empathise with Sam and marvel at her resilience. Sam’s interaction with Thomas is particularly poignant, and more than a little serendipitous.
Gentle romance and genuine heartbreak make this an emotional story. Angst tempered with lighter moments means this is a heartwarming and uplifting to read.
Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.
By order of the king!Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious—even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Reminiscent of Robin Hood this is a passionate tale of courage deceit and love. Eleanor likes being a widow her husband’s death allowed her to determine her own life, but now the King’s decreed she is to be married. Hugh never looked for marriage or a place to call home, but it seems he now has both. Too bad that his bride hates him, but there’s passion simmering under the hateful looks, so maybe they have a chance for happiness together?
A plot full of historical detail and intrigue with likeable well-developed characters make this an absorbing read.
Growing up in Richmond- Upon-Thames, Melissa Oliver used to walk past the old Mills and Boon offices as a teen, and wistfully sigh that one day her dream of writing for them will come true. Amazingly, after all these years, it finally has…& now she can bring all those stories out onto the pages of her books. Melissa lives in south-west London with her gorgeous husband and equally gorgeous daughters, who share her passion for castles, palaces and all things historical.
Bologna: city of secrets, suspicion . . . and murder
A dark and atmospheric crime thriller set in the beautiful Italian city of Bologna, perfect for fans of Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin and Philip Gwynne Jones.
When the body of a radical protestor is found floating in one of Bologna’s underground canals, it seems that most of the city is ready to blame the usual suspects: the police.
But when private investigator Daniel Leicester, son-in-law to a former chief of police, receives a call from the dead man’s lover, he follows a trail that begins in the 1970s and leads all the way to the rotten heart of the present-day political establishment.
Beneath the beauty of the city, Bologna has a dark underside, and English detective Daniel must unravel a web of secrets, deceit and corruption – before he is caught in it himself.
Tom Benjamin’s gripping debut transports you to the ancient and mysterious Italian city less travelled: Bologna.
I received a copy of this book from Little Brown Books – Constable and the author in return for an honest review.
Private Investigator Daniel’s intuition and experience make him an insightful and tenacious detective. He explores Bolgona’s radical past in this politicised murder mystery, searching for past connections with the present murder. The investigation is complex and intriguing as authentic characters come to life in a vibrant setting rife with inefficient bureaucracy, corruption and evil.
Tom Benjamin started off as a reporter before moving to the press office at Scotland Yard and running drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He moved to Bologna where his work as doorman at a homeless canteen inspired him to create English detective Daniel Leicester in a series that serves up equal helpings of the local cuisine and ubiquitous graffiti; the city’s splendour, decay, and danger.
Kat swore off dating many years ago, after her marriage ended in a catastrophic mess. Having moved to the Canary Islands for a fresh start, she has never had much time for romance, channelling all her energy into managing all-male dance troupe – the Heavenly Hunks.
With golden beaches, sparkling blue water and relaxing after work with a glass of sangria – or three – for Kat, it’s summer all year round. But despite life being postcard perfect, Kat can’t help but wonder if she is missing out on the most important thing of all… love.
The dancers are all well-known for their flirtatious antics and aren’t looking for anything serious… except Jay. Sitting by the pool, watching the sun reflecting in the water, Kat feels like she can tell him anything.
Handsome, caring and a good listener, he ignites a fire in Kat’s heart that scares her witless. But her relationship with Jay should stay strictly professional… right? There is absolutely no way that she can be his boss and his date.
As the temperature rises, will Kat be able to take the plunge, let go of her past and find romance in paradise?
I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.
If you’re looking for some sunshine and a little romance, this story is for you. Kat’s the manager of an all-male exotic dance troupe in the Canary Islands, sound interesting? Well, it is, but she’s more of a mother than a lover, keeping her relationships strictly business until Jay joins the group and threatens the status quo.
Kat fled to the islands, in the wake of a disastrous controlling marriage. Jay makes her take a look at her life and risk dating again with some hilarious and sometimes poignant results. Jay’s past threatens his future happiness, but his attraction to Kat is hard to ignore.
The story balances fun and more serious moments in a relatable holiday setting. With believable characters and gentle romance, it’s easy to lose yourself in this story. A must-have Summer read.
Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016.
Her third novel, Who Needs Men Anyway? became a digital bestseller in 2018.
Lady Lydia Barton cannot seem to avoid Owen Wolfe since he returned after being wrongly transported for stealing her family’s jewels! But Lydia has more pressing problems―like her impending arranged marriage. Until Owen makes her father a counter-offer for her hand. Is Owen purely after her society connections? Or does Lydia dare hope that the charming stable boy she once loved is still within her ruthless, wealthy new husband?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The attraction, hurt and tension radiate from both characters who meet again with their situations reversed. Lydia feels Owen betrayed her by stealing from her family. Owen was innocent, but he was still convicted and sent to a penal colony. Now an unconventional success has he returned for revenge?
The witty retorts and simmering passion between Lydia and Owen make this a slow burn romance as they overcome their emotional angst, caused by their past. Lydia is in immediate danger, and Owen uses intelligence and streetwise skill to save her from the marriage from hell. Lydia has known little love and finds trusting Owen difficult. Her character develops favourably, as realises Owen was a victim of deceit.
The characters are believable, the setting authentic and the story the perfect escape.
When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.
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A controversial new property development is planned in Whitstable which will encroach upon the green open space of the downs, to the dismay of Whitstable residents who view this as the thin end of the wedge with regard to local wildlife conservation.
A campaign springs into life, spearheaded by a friend of Pearl’s family, Martha Laker. A committed environmentalist, Martha is no stranger to controversy herself. She has also managed to divide opinion across town, with the locals viewing her as their fearless champion while establishment figures seeing only an interfering agitator.
Tensions escalate between the developers and Whitstable residents, straining Pearl’s close relationship with London-born police officer, DCI Mike McGuire, who harbours concerns that the local campaign will spiral out of control. Pearl’s loyalties are torn, but the protest duly goes ahead – and newspaper headlines claim a moral victory for the residents in this David and Goliath battle.
But the victory is short lived when Pearl discovers a dead body on the downs…
I received a copy of this book from Constable in return for an honest review.
How have I missed this series? It has complex characters that bring the story to life and an authentic coastal setting. The murder mystery plot has many suspects and twists and a contemporary edge to it.
Pearl is a restauranter and private investigator who lives in Whitstable in Kent. Her relationship with McGuire, a Detective Chief Inspector, is challenging but rewarding. The family dynamics are believable, and there’s a host of supporting characters, who bring the story to life.
The author’s use of sensual imagery makes the characters, location and story easy to imagine and the story enjoyable.
This is another series that I will be seeking out.
“Julie Wassmer was born in the East End of London, studied at Kingston University and had a variety of different jobs before she finally settled down to become a professional television drama writer.
She worked on several TV series, including ITV’s London’s Burning, C5’s Family Affairs and the popular BBC soap, EastEnders, which she wrote for almost 20 years.
In 2010, her autobiography More Than Just Coincidence was published by Harper Collins/True. The book entered the Sunday Times Best Selling Non Fiction Top Twenty and went on to become Mumsnet Book of the Year.
In 2015, Julie’s debut crime novel, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, was published by award-winning publisher, Little, Brown Book Group. Six other books have since followed in the series with more on the way, and the television rights to the series have been optioned by the TV production company, Buccaneer, the makers of Marcella, starring Anna Friel.
Julie moved to Whitstable twenty years ago where she shares a home with her husband, Kas, and three cats, Charlie, Lily and Maisie. She also spends a great deal of time campaigning on environmental issues.
Murder on the Downs is the seventh book in the Whitstable Pearl Mystery series. …
When Jinnie Cooper is dumped by her fiancé, and exiled to a job in an antiques shop in a sleepy Scottish village, little does she know a battered old lamp is about to shake up her life.
Genie Dhassim grants wishes. But he also wants a few of his own to come true. Letting him explore the outside world proves nerve-wracking as Dhassim has an uncanny knack of putting his pointy-slippered foot in it.
As Jinnie grows closer to her employer Sam, Dhassim discovers his time on earth is running out.
Can both Jinnie and Dhassim find true happiness? Or are those wishes that cannot be granted?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Everyone needs a little magic in their life and Jinnie more than most. Losing her job and her lover, left her broke and heartbroken and having to move to a village on the outskirts of the city she loves. This story is character-driven. All the characters are believable and relatable and add to the story’s ambience. Then there’s the gene, who makes her life unpredictable but helps her start to live again.
Humour, poignant moments and romance characterise this lovely story, which isheartwarming and magical. The perfect escape from life’s troubles.
Audrey Davis is a Scottish-born former journalist, now resident in Switzerland. Her newspaper career saw her cover events in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands, as well as working for a London-based movie magazine writing reviews and carrying out interviews.
She self-published her debut romantic comedy novel A Clean Sweep in June 2017, following an online Open University course in Writing Fiction.
Audrey followed up with a short, darker prequel A Clean Break before beginning work on a rom-com novella trilogy with a ghostly twist – The Haunting of Hattie Hastings. Again, reviews across the board were excellent, and it was combined into a standalone novel in November 2018.
A Wish For Jinnie is her third standalone novel.
Apart from writing, Audrey enjoys travel and spends a lot of time in Edinburgh. She is an avid cook, watcher of scary movies and reluctant gym-goer.