Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Extract, Friendship, Giveaway, Mystery, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Cornish Gold at Summer’s End Laura Briggs 4*#Review #Extract @PaperDollWrites #ReturntoCornwall #humour #friendship #community #Ghosts #Mystery #Halloween #Cornwall #BookReview @rararesources #PublicationDayPush #cozymystery #Giveaway #CornishGoldatSummersEnd


Rumours of a ghostly presence haunt Julianne’s Cornish autumn in the series’ charming fourth instalment.

What began as a bit of teenage mischief in the village quickly became stories of spooky lights and ghost sightings in the wood. Being sensible, Julianne is more worried about whether she can finish her kids’ costumes in time for the annual Halloween contest—and whether husband Matt and his eager assistants will be selected for the exclusive Brookshire Garden Design Competition. So when everyone in town begins flocking to the local ‘ghost walk’ tours Julianne assures her wide-eyed children it’s just a case of imagination run wild…until she experiences her own brush with the supernatural, that is.

Real or imagined, Julianne can’t shrug off what she saw, or even bring herself to confide in sympathetic Matt for advice. Best friend Kitty is on hand to help, despite her usual family battles, including that of her cousins’ shady new scheme to profit from the town’s ghost mania. But even Julianne’s friends can’t fully understand her need to find a solution this time, one that leads her on a quirky quest from local lore, to meetings with the village’s ragtag paranormal club, and even a creepy abandoned cottage hiding secrets in the woods.

Join Julianne for suspense, surprises, and (of course) heartfelt moments as book four in the series brings an autumn like no other to sleepy Ceffylgwyn.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Having read Wedding Vows and Cornish Ribbons, I didn’t manage to read books two and three in this series, but it is lovely to reacquaint with Julianne and the villagers of Ceffylgwyn.

Halloween is approaching, and Julianne is engaged in creating appropriate costumes for her children. The village’s ghost walk is gaining popularity, and the village is the victim of vandalism or something more sinister? This story is full of quirky characters, gossipy villagers and community spirit, which this author does so well. In addition, this story has a cosy mystery feel to it, which the Cornish setting and folklore suit.

Family life in Julianne’s household is moving on, and there is a lovely relatability about this. This story is a balance of humour, mystery and poignancy. The plot has twists that keep you turning the pages until all is revealed.

Another heartwarming and humorous book in this series with a touch of supernatural.

Extract From Cornish Gold at Summer’s End Laura Briggs

A huge thank you to Jane for letting me stop by and share an excerpt of my newest release with all her lovely readers! The book is titled Cornish Gold at Summer’s End and is the fourth installment in my new stories about American event planner Julianne Rose’s adventures living ‘across the pond’. In the scene below Julianne and her friend Lady Amanda Harbury discuss the village’s growing interest in a local ghost walk now that Halloween is almost upon them.

The Fisherman’s Rest had a lively lunch crowd, but Amanda had the table nearest to the pub’s little window, sending a quick text as she waited for me. The shopping bags around her were from the local market, with baby Charles’ diapers and bottles of shampoo peeking over their rims.

“I’ve had a busy morning — one of the Cornish tourism sites wants to feature the ghost walk for its monthly calendar,” she said. “Of course, it would be when half our posters were either blown away by the wind or replaced by the paranormal investigators’ fliers. What do you think of that?” she asked, sipping her mineral water.

“I think it’s the last thing I expected to hear of in Ceffylgwyn,” I answered, cutting into my mini cheese and mushroom quiche. “I didn’t know there were secret ghost hunters among us.”

“It’s all to do with that television program, I imagine,” said Lady Amanda. “You know the one — they’re ghost documentarians, or something like that. Youth are always fascinated by a rebel with a camera.”

“If the tourism site wants to feature the ghost walk, it must be pretty popular,” I remarked. “I counted at least twenty people the night I ran into you following along.”

“It’s going splendidly,” said Amanda. “I don’t know what Gerard’s book requires, but I certainly hope it takes him a year or two to finish it. Even locals from Falmouth and Par have come, and half the tourists at that new hotel near Aval Towan — there are even some from the hotels as far as Penzance.” She nibbled her chicken salad sandwich. “We posted an online guestbook on the little website I made, and the reviews are coming from all over the place. Not an army of them, it’s true, but enough that I feel it’s very promising. We can coax people into coming for the day soon, taking a cruise around the coast, having an oggie or two, window shop, then gather at the pub. If we reverse course every other night and start at the inn, it will toss a bit of business to the Silver Perch — Lily Hammond is very excited about that prospect.”

“I’ll bet,” I said. The local hostess’s posh tea houses were the last word in elegance locally, and generally cozy and cute in the eyes of tourists down from London. I could easily imagine the number of trays of cucumber and watercress sandwiches and lemon drizzle cake that would be consumed by hungry patrons ahead of a brisk nighttime ramble.

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

Laura Briggs

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Motivational, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Life’s What You Make It Sian O’Gorman 5* #Review @msogorman @BoldwoodBooks @bookandtonic @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #LifesWhatYouMakeIt

Dreams can come true, you just have to believe…

All new from Irish bestselling author Sian O’Gorman



After 10 years in London, working in a stressful City firm, Liv O’Neill returns home to Sandycove, a picturesque seaside village, just outside Dublin to care for her mother after a fall.

Whilst Liv reconnects with friends and family, she is amazed by Sandycove’s thriving community spirit with its artisan shops, delis and cafes – it’s not quite the place she left behind.

As village life begins to creep under her skin, Liv is forced to confront the things that drove her away.

Can Liv balance her past, present and future and find her own happy place?

And will a handsome young doctor help her make a decision about the life she really wants?

Suddenly her old life in London begins to seem extremely unappealing and Liv is forced to use her family’s past in order to forge a brand new future.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The reader is instantly drawn to Liv, the main protagonist in this heartwarming story of love, life and second chances. Returning to her hometown, Liv finds the sense of community and completeness she’s missed. Family secrets, friendship rekindled, and romance are woven into the plot making it an engaging read. It’s about finding what makes you happy and being brave enough to follow your dreams.

The setting is intrinsic to the story. It’s described with powerful sensory imagery that draws the reader into the world. If you enjoy heartbreak, happiness and soul searching, this story delivers them all beautifully.

Extract from Life’s What You Make It – Sian O’Gorman

Chapter One

I really should buy my ex-boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend a drink or a posh box of chocolates to say thank you for getting back together, even if it was just for one night. And I should say an even bigger thank you to her for telling me about it. Because if Jeremy and Cassandra hadn’t met up at one of his friend’s weddings, there is the very real possibility that he and I might have carried on and then everything that did happen wouldn’t have happened and my life would have remained exactly as it was.

I was an Irish girl transplanted to London for a decade, swapping the seaside and village of Sandycove – with its little shops and the beach, the people, the way the clouds skidded in for a storm, the rainbows that blossomed afterwards – for the bright lights, the traffic and the incessant noise of London. My visits home had become sporadic to the point of paltry. There was never enough time for a long trip and so my visits were only ever two nights long. Even last Christmas I’d flown in on Christmas Eve and was gone the 27th. I’d barely seen Mum or my best friend Bronagh and when Mum drove me to the airport and hugged me goodbye, I had the feeling that we were losing each other, as though we were becoming strangers.

London had become a slog, working twelve-hour days for my toxic boss, Maribelle, who drank vodka from her water bottle and didn’t believe in bank holidays. Or weekends. Or going home for the evening. Or eating. Or, frankly, anything that made life worth living. If it wasn’t for my flatmate, Roberto, my London life would have been utterly miserable. Looking back now, I think the reason why I kept going out with Jeremy for six months, even though we were entirely unsuited, was because at least it was something. And if I’ve learned anything about life over the last year, it’s that you should do something, but never the least of it.

‘Olivia O’Neill,’ Roberto would say on a loop. ‘Liv, you need to raise your game.’ He wasn’t a fan of Jeremy, whom I’d been seeing for six months. ‘Leave Jeremy and dump Maribelle and make your own life.’

But how do you do that when you have forgotten what your own life is? How on earth do you find it again when you are the grand old age of thirty-two? I couldn’t start again. But then the universe works in mysterious ways. If you don’t get off your arse and make changes, then it gets fed up and starts making them for you. But anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s zip back to before it all began… before I discovered what really made me happy, took charge of my life and found my crown.

* * *

‘Olivia?’

It was Friday, the last day of May, and I was at Liverpool Street Station. Mum normally called at this time, knowing my route to work and that, by 7.32 a.m., I was always on the escalator, rising up from the underground, before the thirteen-minute trot to my office.

‘Hi, Mum, how are you? Everything okay?’

‘I am…’ She hesitated.

‘Mum…?’

‘I am…’ She stopped again. ‘I am fine… absolutely fine. It’s just we’ve been in A & E all evening… we got home back at midnight…’

‘A & E?’ I was so worried that I didn’t ask who the ‘wewas.

‘It happened the other night in Pilates,’ she said. ‘I reached down to pick up the ball and I felt my knee go.’

My speed walk through the station stopped mid-concourse, making a man in pinstripes swerve and swear at me under his breath. It didn’t make sense. My mother was fitter than me, this walk from tube to desk was the only exercise I did. She was fifty-seven and power walked her way up and down the seafront every evening, as well as the twice-weekly Pilates classes. ‘But you are brilliant at Pilates,’ I said. ‘Didn’t your teacher say you have the body of a twenty-five-year-old?’ I’d moved myself to the side of the newsagents’ kiosk, where I would buy my Irish Times to keep when I was feeling homesick – which was increasingly more frequent these days.

Mum gave a laugh. ‘She said my hips were the hips of a younger woman,’ she explained. ‘I don’t think she said twenty-five-year-old. My hip flexors have stopped flexing and I’m on crutches. It’s not the worst in the world and within a few weeks, with enough rest, I should be back on my feet. The only thing is the shop…’

Mum ran her own boutique in Sandycove, the eponymously named Nell’s. She’d opened it when I was just a toddler and had weathered two recessions and a handful of downturns, but was just as successful as ever. And even when a rival boutique, Nouveau You, opened ten years ago, Nell’s was definitely the more popular.

‘Jessica can’t manage the shop on her own,’ Mum continued. ‘I’ll have to try and find someone for the four weeks. I’ll call the agency later.’

‘Oh, Mum.’ I couldn’t imagine Mum on crutches – this was the woman who had only ever been a blur when I was growing up, coming home from the shop to make dinner for her second shift and all the business admin she had to do. I used to imagine she slept standing up, like a horse. I tried to think how I could help, stuck here hundreds of miles away in London. ‘What about your Saturday girl?’

‘Cara? She’s got her Leaving Cert in a week’s time. I can’t ask her. So… it’s just a bit of a hassle, that’s all.’

I really wished I was there to look after her. Maybe I could fly in this weekend? Just for Saturday night.

‘Please don’t worry,’ said Mum. ‘It’s only four weeks on crutches, and I’ve been ordered to rest, leg up… read a few books. Watch daytime television, said the doctor.’ Mum gave another laugh. ‘He said I could take up crochet or knitting. Told me it was very popular these days. So I told him that I was only fifty-seven and the day I start knitting is the day I stop dyeing my hair.’

‘But you’ll go mad,’ I said. ‘Four weeks of daytime television. Who will look after you?’

‘I can hobble around,’ she said. ‘Enough to make cups of tea, and I can get things delivered and, anyway, I have Henry.’ She paused for emphasis. ‘He was with me in the hospital and has volunteered to help.’

Mum had never had a boyfriend that I’d known of. She’d always said she was too busy with me and the shop. ‘And Henry is…?’

‘Henry is my very good friend,’ she said. ‘We’ve become very close. He’s really looking forward to meeting you.’ She paused again for dramatic effect. ‘We’ve been seeing each other since Christmas and… well, it’s going very well indeed.’

‘That’s lovely,’ I said. ‘Tell him I’m looking forward to meeting him. Very much. Who is he, what does he do?’ I really would have to fly over to vet him… maybe Maribelle might be in a good mood today and I could leave early next Friday?

‘Henry took over the hardware shop from Mr Abrahamson. Henry’s retired from engineering and needed something to do. He’s like that, always busy. He’s been a bit of an inspiration, actually,’ she went on, ‘taking on a business when he’s never run one before. And he’s trying to grow Ireland’s largest onion.’ She laughed. ‘Not that he’s ever even grown a normal-sized one before, but he’s read a book from the library on what you need, gallons of horse manure apparently, and he wants to win a prize at the Dún Laoghaire show in September.’

If anyone deserved a bit of love Mum did and considering I would not win any awards for daughter of the year with my generally neglectful behaviour, I was happy she had someone. And surely anyone who grew outsized vegetables could only be a good person.

But I felt that longing for home, that wish to be there. Even if she had Henry and his onions, I wanted to be there too. I restarted my speed walk to the office. Being late for Maribelle was never a good start to the day.

‘So you’re sure you’re all right?’ I said, knowing that going over probably wouldn’t happen this weekend, not with the presentation I had to help Maribelle prepare for on Monday. I passed the only tree I saw on my morning commute, a large and beautiful cherry tree, it was in the middle of the square outside the station and blossomed luxuriantly in the spring and now, in late May, all the beautiful leaves which I’d seen grow from unfurled bud to acid green were in full, fresh leaf. Apart from my morning coffee, it was the only organic thing I saw all day. If that tree was still going in all that smog and fumes and indifference from the other commuters, I used to tell myself, then so could I.

‘I’m fine,’ Mum said. ‘Don’t worry… Brushing my teeth this morning took a little longer than normal, but it’s only a few weeks… I’m getting the hang of the crutches. I’ve been practising all morning. Anyway, how is Jeremy?’ She and Jeremy were yet to meet.

‘Jeremy is…’ How was Jeremy? Just the night before, Roberto had described him as a ‘wounded boy, shrouded in a Barbour jacket of privilege’. But I felt a little sorry for him, especially after meeting his family last New Year’s Eve and seeing how he was treated. I hadn’t actually seen him for a week as he’d been at a wedding the previous weekend and we’d both been busy with work. ‘Jeremy is fine,’ I said. ‘I think. Sends his love.’

Jeremy wasn’t the type to send his love, but Mum didn’t know that. ‘Well, isn’t that lovely,’ she said. ‘Say we’re all really looking forward to welcoming him to Ireland.’

I really couldn’t imagine Jeremy in his camel chinos striding around Sandycove’s main street and speaking in his rather loud, bossy, posh voice. He’d stand out like a sore thumb.

‘And you’ll have to bring that dote Roberto as well,’ said Mum. ‘He probably needs a bit of time off as well, the little pet.’

‘I don’t think we’ll get him over,’ I replied. ‘You know how he says he can’t breathe in Ireland and starts to feel light-headed as though he’s having a panic attack. He says he’s done with Ireland.’

Mum laughed, as she always did when I told her something Roberto had said. The two of them were as thick as thieves every time she came to London, walking arm in arm around Covent Garden together, Roberto showing her all his favourite shops and deciding what West End show we would go to. ‘He’s a ticket, that one. Anyway, there’s the doorbell. It’ll be Henry with some supplies. I’ll call you later.’

‘Okay…’ I had reached my building. If you dislocated your neck and looked skywards, straight up the gleaming glass, my office was up there somewhere on the seventeenth floor. I had to go in, any later and it would put Maribelle in a bad mood and that wasn’t good for anyone.

In the lift, among the jostle of the other PAs, behind some of the other equity managers who, like Maribelle, were overpaid and overindulged, we ascended to our offices where we would spend the next twelve hours.

I thought of Mum at home in Sandycove. The end of May, the most beautiful month in Ireland, and I remembered the way the sun sprinkled itself on the sea, the harbour full of walkers and swimmers all day long, people in the sea as the sun retreated for the day, or the village itself with its small, bright, colourful shops and the hanging baskets and cherry trees, and Mum’s boutique right in the middle. I wished I was there, even just for a few hours, to hug Mum, and go for a walk with Bronagh. To just be home.

The doors opened on the seventeenth floor. It was 7.45 a.m. exactly and dreams of Sandycove would have to be put on hold as I had to get on with surviving Maribelle. I hung up my coat and sat down at my desk and switched on my computer. My screen saver was a selfie of me and Bronagh, taken last summer sitting on the harbour wall at the little beach in Sandycove. Every time I looked at that picture of the sun shining, the two of us laughing, arms around each other, seagulls flying above us, the pang for home got worse. I should change it, I thought. Replace it with something that doesn’t make me homesick, something that doesn’t make me think of all the things I am missing and missing out on. I clicked on my screen and up came the standard image of a scorched red-earth mountain, as far from Sandycove as you could get.

Sian O’Gorman

Sian O’Gorman was born in Galway on the West Coast of Ireland, grew up in the lovely city of Cardiff, and has found her way back to Ireland and now lives on the east of the country, in the village of Dalkey, just along the coast from Dublin. She works as a radio producer for RTE.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Extract, Historical Fiction, New Books, Saga

Wartime Blues for the Harper Girls #Extract #AudioExtract @AnneHerries @bookandtonic @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #HistoricalFiction #Saga #WW1 #WartimeBluesfortheHarperGirls

LONDON 1917

As the Americans enter the War, there is renewed energy in the war effort.  

With husbands and sons fighting for freedom, the women of Harpers are left to tackle the day-to-day affairs at home and work.

With Ben Harper away, Sally fears she is being followed by a mysterious woman. Who is she and what does she want?

Maggie Gibbs collapses seriously ill in the frontline hospitals and is brought back to England close to death. Can she be saved and what does the future hold for her and her broken heart? 

Marion Jackson’s father is on the run from the Police already wanted for murder. She fears he will return to threaten his family once more.
And Beth Burrows is pregnant with her second child, worried and anxious for her husband Jack, who has been many months at sea.

As Christmas 1917 approaches what will the future hold for Harpers, its girls and their men at War?

Amazon UK

Extract from Wartime Blues for the Harper Girls – Rosie Clarke  

Chapter 1

London, April 1917

Sally Harper turned to speak to her husband Ben and saw that he’d fallen asleep again in his chair. His newspaper lay beside him – the headlines declaring that America had entered the war – and the cup of tea she’d poured for him ten minutes earlier, untouched by his side. Despite several warnings to Germany from the USA, its submarines had carried on attacking neutral ships carrying cargo bound for Britain. The American President had therefore signed the declaration of war. The news had delighted Ben, who considered that his country ought to have joined long before this so that they could throw the weight of the United States behind her allies in a common desire to bring peace and stability. He considered himself British these days and thought the way an Englishman would that the Americans had dragged their feet.

Sally had no idea where her husband had been for the past couple of weeks but had immediately seen how tired he was on his return home late the previous evening. He was sleeping soundly and though she ought to be leaving for work soon, there was no reason why Ben shouldn’t snooze in his chair if he wished. He worked long hours in his job for the British War Office. She had hoped to have time to talk about what they needed to do for the best at Harpers, the prestigious store he and his sister Jenni owned in Oxford Street. Jenni had her own ideas, but Sally was their chief buyer and for once she wasn’t in agreement with her sister-in-law. Normally, they got on really well and were the best of friends, but just lately Sally had found that she didn’t agree with some of the things Jenni wanted to do in the store.

Her unease was partly due to the fact that Jenni seemed grumpy and distracted, which was probably down to problems in her own life rather than disagreements between them. Jenni now lived in her own apartment and had an entirely independent life after work. She was trying to negotiate a divorce from her husband, who was a General in the American Army, and Sally believed that it was proving difficult for her, though Jenni didn’t speak of it much. The problem at the store was simply that Jenni believed they should just fill the shelves of Harpers’ departments with whatever they could get, regardless of quality, including substandard goods, but Sally was wary of lowering standards too much. Yes, Jenni was right to say it was expected when there was a war on. People had to accept less than they’d been able to insist on in normal times and would be grateful for whatever they could get. While Sally agreed to a certain extent, she still felt they had to be careful. However, she was just the buyer and she needed Ben’s backup if she wanted to fight her corner. Jenni was part owner so therefore her opinion carried a lot of weight and if she insisted, Sally must, of course, give way. It would help if she knew what Ben felt about it.

He’d carried on with his war work throughout these past months, leaving Sally to run the store with the help of the manager, Mr Stockbridge, and various supervisors, though Jenni was a big help now she was living in London. It was her stubborn refusal to return to America that had widened the rift between her and her husband, and her feelings for Mr Andrew Alexander, a brilliant surgeon, that had made her ask for a divorce. Something her husband seemed reluctant to grant.

Jenni’s problem with her husband was perhaps the underlying cause of her recent moods, but the problem with Harpers was ongoing. As the war bit ever deeper, and Britain was more and more reliant on home-produced goods, it was becoming harder to find enough decent stock to fill their departments. Of late, one or two of their regular suppliers had let them down, supplying either poor-quality materials that Sally had had to return or sending only partial orders. Sally wasn’t sure which annoyed her the most. Jenni said she was too fussy and that they needed to keep their shelves stocked even if some goods were not as good as they were accustomed to selling.

‘We’re in the middle of a war,’ Jenni was fond of reminding her. ‘If a customer complains, remind them of that fact, Sally. It’s not your fault the Government has ordered manufacturers to cut down on production of certain goods – or that we can’t get enough imported goods these days.’

‘No, it’s the Kaiser’s and our Government,’ Sally had replied the last time Jenni had brought it up. ‘Why they had to start fighting and ruin everything, I do not know…’

Jenni had simply laughed at her frustration. ‘That’s men all over! It’s centuries since your last civil war, not so very long since ours back home in America – and that’s even worse, when you fight your own people. Shortages are annoying, Sally but it isn’t like you to let it get you down?’

‘I know—’ Sally had sighed deeply. ‘I think it is just Ben being away so much of the time – and Jenny has been a bit fractious recently. It must be because she misses Ben. She is far more aware of the fact that he isn’t home now than when she was just a baby.’

Their lovely little daughter was now a lively toddler of three years and into all sorts of mischief. Named after her aunt, she was everyone’s little darling. Sally was no longer able to take her to work and settle her in a cot in her office, because she wanted to be into everything. Pearl, her nurse, still came in a few days a week, but also worked three days at the hospital, where the wards were overflowing with injured men sent home from the war. Mrs Hills, Sally’s housekeeper, was very good with little Jenny, but whenever she could, Sally tried to work from home. However, that was not always feasible and sometimes she did take the little girl into the office. Jenny loved it because all the staff fussed over and she was thoroughly spoiled, not least by her adoring aunt and namesake.

‘She’s an absolute imp but adorable,’ Jenni had replied, because she loved her niece and was always indulging her with little gifts and treats of all kinds. ‘If Ben being away is getting you down, you should tell him, Sally. I’m sure if he knew, he could cut down on these trips. I mean, have you any idea what he does when he is away?’

‘None at all…’ Sally had frowned. ‘He says the official title for his job is logistics controller – whatever that is.’

‘It means he’s buying and moving stuff on behalf of the Armed Forces, as you well know,’ Jenni had replied with a frown. ‘But why can’t he do that from an office in London?’

‘He says that he needs to prod officious store managers into sending what is needed for the troops,’ Sally had said and made a wry face. ‘Ben says that if he simply puts a chit in for them to send ammunition to a certain location, it might take weeks for it to be actually sent. By going himself and overseeing the packing and transportation, choosing the men escorting it himself, he gets results in a tenth of the time…’

Jenni had nodded her agreement. ‘Yes, I can see how that would work. We like to get on with things back home, Sally. You English tend to take your time – and the amount of red tape is maddening.’

‘Yes, Ben is forever complaining about that…’ Sally had laughed. ‘You two are so alike in so many ways. Did you know that?’

‘We’re both Americans,’ Jenni had shrugged and then smiled. ‘And we did have the same father. I suppose we may think alike in many ways…’

‘You do…’

Jenni had just laughed, clearly pleased to be compared to her brother.

Now, on this sunny morning, Sally’s thoughts were interrupted as Ben opened his eyes and smiled at her. ‘You look pensive,’ he said and yawned. ‘Something wrong, sweetheart?’

‘In a way… but it needn’t concern you, Ben…’

He held out his hands to her, indicating she should sit on his lap. ‘Come and tell me what is wrong, Sally.’

‘Oh, just a little niggle concerning Harpers. It’s the quality of some of the stock these days… it isn’t what we’re used to, Ben.’

‘Ah…’ He nodded but looked resigned. ‘I know just what you mean. I made a stink about some boots that were delivered to an Army depot while I was there. The leather was not up to standard and they will probably fall to pieces after a couple of weeks of marching. I sent them back, but the quartermaster was furious. He said he’d been on to the suppliers every day for months to get them and what was he going to do now…’

‘What did you say?’ Sally was interested.

‘I went to see the factory myself and inspected what they were doing. We sorted out the problem between us and we’ve been promised replacements for next month.’

‘How did you manage that?’

‘Part bribery, part threats,’ Ben said. ‘It is a game we play all the time, Sally. They will pass off faulty goods if they can, but if you put your foot down hard, they normally come through. I threatened to take the contract away from them unless they pulled their socks up sharpish.’

‘Could you do that?’

‘Yes.’ Ben’s mouth set hard. ‘I’ve done it before now. Men need decent boots to march in, Sally – just as they need to get their ammunition when they require it and to be sure that the rations they receive are enough to keep them fighting fit.’

Sally nodded and smiled at him. She supposed she’d always known that what he was doing was important work, but she’d never seen it in terms of men’s lives before, but now she understood more of what he had to do. ‘No wonder you look worn out when you get home sometimes.’

‘It isn’t always easy,’ Ben said with a smile. ‘It involves a lot of driving from one end of the country to the other and hundreds of forms to fill in – and that’s when everything goes to plan. When it doesn’t, I have to spend ages trying to find the right person and that is sometimes more difficult than it sounds.’

‘And then I worry you with my trivial complaints…’

Ben pulled her on to his lap and kissed her. ‘Nothing you do or say is trivial to me, my love. Is anything else worrying you?’

‘What happens if I can’t find enough of the right stock to fill our shelves? Harpers is a big store, Ben, and our stockroom is getting emptier by the week – soon we shan’t have any reserves.’

‘Remember what you did to raise money for the wounded?’ Ben asked. ‘You bought seconds cheaply and sold them for very little, giving a contribution to the fund for wounded men. Do something similar again… take the poor-quality goods but at a lower price and make a thing of civilians sacrificing for the sake of our men over there…’

Sally nodded, looking at him with respect. It was more or less what Jenni was saying. ‘Yes, that could work. Those boots you rejected for the Army for instance—’

‘Would probably last civilians for a few months – bought cheaply enough they would be fine.’ He grinned at her. ‘I think a certain factory manager would be delighted to sell them to you very cheaply, Sally…’

‘Good. I’ll get on to it in the morning,’ she said, smiling and feeling much better than she had in a while. ‘Yes, I can just see the signs we’ll put up – and for each pair of substandard boots we sell, we’ll give something to the wounded fund again…’

Rosie Clarke

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire. Rosie’s brand new saga series, Welcome to Harpers Emporium began in December 2019.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Mystery, Romance

Summer at the Chateau Jennifer Bohnet 5*#Review @jenniewriter @BoldwoodBooks #Secrets #Friendship #Life #Family #Brittany #Chateau #BookReview #BlogTour #Secrets @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #mystery #Relationships #SummerattheChateau

Every end has a new beginning… All NEW from bestselling author Jennifer Bohnet.


When Pixie Sampson’s husband tragically dies, she inherits the beautiful Château Quiltuin in Brittany, Northern France.

But unbeknown to her, she also inherits a mysterious lodger, Justine Martin and her 4-year-old son Ferdie. 

Heartbroken and with her adventurous Mum, Gwen in tow, they travel to France to put the Château on the market but are soon drawn into a quest to seek the Château’s secrets.

Who is Juliette? Why is she living at the Château? How did she know her husband?

Over the Summer months, the Château fills with family and laughter and secrets are discovered and old wounds begin to heal.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The setting, in a chateau in France, guarantees my escape from rainy England, but this book has so much more to give me. It’s a multi-generational family story of loss and secrets leading to ultimately uplifting forgiveness and healing.

Pixie and her mother travel to the chateau to give Pixie respite from the shock of her loss. She doesn’t realise her emotional rollercoaster is just beginning. A heartfelt story with gentle humour to lighten the mood and a multi-layered plot that hides a myriad of secrets. Each revelation has an emotional impact as the fallout is explored in a way that allows character development. The result is an engaging family drama with relatable female protagonists and a well-plotted mystery.

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

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Extract from Summer at the Chateau – Jennifer Bohnet

Pixie Sampson’s thoughts were all over the place as she lay in bed at nine o’clock on the Wednesday morning after the funeral, trying to summon the energy to get up and face the world. 

She’d spent the three weeks since her husband Frank’s death in a kind of stupor, more dead than alive herself. Married for thirty-five years, the shock of Frank’s accident had thrown all the known certainties of her life up in the air, leaving her struggling to accept the inevitable changes his death had brought. Becoming a widow at fifty-nine because of some teenage joy-driver had never featured in her life plan. 

Widow. How she disliked that word. But she had no option other than to accept it. To, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ as the faded poster pinned to the kitchen wall of her grandparents’ Devonshire home had urged her as she was growing up. She’d learnt that lesson well. So well in fact, her friends called her stoical in the face of a crisis, which made her smile. If they only knew how hard she had to work to keep showing that face to the world. To keep the pretence up. 

Her name, Pixie, alone had given her more opportunities than she wanted to learn stoicism in the face of torment. Why her mother had thought it a good idea to christen her daughter with such a childish name was beyond her. Her twin brother had rebelled against his name, Augustus, which he’d shortened to Gus by the time he arrived at secondary school and proceeded to thump any boy who dared to call him anything else. All her mother had ever said when Pixie complained bitterly about her name and ask ‘why’ was, ‘You were so tiny when you were born, you looked like you’d jumped out of one of the illustrations from the Flower Fairy books.’ 

‘But you could have given me a sensible proper name to fall back on and call me Pixie as a nickname.’ 

Gwen had just smiled at her. ‘Didn’t want to,’ and had wafted away to her pottery studio in the garden, to make and paint more Devonshire gnomes and pixies that the tourists seemingly couldn’t get enough of. 

Pixie sighed. She wished Gus and his family hadn’t re-located to Wales a few years ago, she missed them all so much, especially her godchildren, Charlie and Annabelle. At least her mother still lived reasonably close. 

Five years ago, Gwen had finally been persuaded by the twins to move from her isolated house on Dartmoor and live nearer Pixie and Frank. Protesting loudly, she’d finally decided on a cottage down near the coast in the South Hams, situated on the outskirts of a large village with lots of amenities like a doctor, supermarket, bank, cafe, post office, et cetera, all within walking distance. 

It had taken just six months for Gwen to become a part of the community: she’d joined the WI, was welcomed into the church choir, went OldTyme Dancing once a week and had even started to paint again. She told people that moving to the village was one of the best decisions she’d ever made, never mentioning how anti the move she’d been when Pixie and Gus had first suggested it. 

Eighty-four next birthday, she was still as irrepressible and independent as ever, but Pixie had sensed her mother was beginning to struggle with certain things. Not that Gwen would ever admit it. Maybe the time was coming when another move was needed? Not to a home, Gwen had made the twins promise years ago that they would never put her ‘out to pasture’ as she put it. With her brother and his wife living with their family too far away in Carmarthenshire, Pixie knew helping Gwen would be her responsibility, which, loving her mother as she did, was something she willingly accepted. Would daily visits be enough or should she invite Gwen to live with her now that she was a widow? 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Humour, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Italy Ever After Leonie Mack 4*#Review @LeonieMAuthor @BoldwoodBooks #Extract #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour @rararesources #RomCom #Romance #Summer #Family #SecondChance #Italy #holidayromance #MondayBlogs #ItalyEverAfter

Escape to the sun and head off to Italy, with the wonderfully warm and ever-so-page-turning Leonie Mack!

TV journalist Lou feels battered and bruised after her divorce from Phil, the father of her daughter Edie. Her confidence and sense of fun have steadily been drained away, and she isn’t sure who she is any more.

When the opportunity arises to accompany Edie on a music camp in Italy for a month in the summer, Lou jumps at the chance for new adventures, new horizons and new friends. The hazy warmth of the summer sun, shining brightly over the stunning Lake Garda, slowly brings Lou back to life. 

Nick Romano, Edie’s music teacher, loves being home in Italy, but coaching his students for their concert in Milan, is bringing back difficult memories. His blossoming friendship with Lou is the perfect distraction, although a summer fling would be easier to conduct without the scrutiny of his mother Greta, not to mention the interference of his extended Italian family.

As the summer passes, full of sunshine and breath-taking scenery, gelato and delicious feasts, Lou and Nick get ever closer. But as the time for farewell creeps up on them, will they be able to say goodbye and leave their memories behind in the Italian sun, or can a summer romance last a lifetime?

Leonie Mack is back with a sizzling, sun-baked love story.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I love romance set in Italy, and as this one is set around Lake Garda, somewhere I’ve visited, I couldn’t resist it.

Just about to be divorced Lou, is still reeling from the fallout, we meet her ex in the opening chapters, and he is not likeable. Her confidence is low despite her career in front of the TV cameras, and it’s clear she is a kind and loving woman who doesn’t value herself. Her latest meeting with Mr (Nick) Romano right after her latest confrontation with the ex is unsettling for them both and makes her wonder whether helping out on the school music camp in Italy is sensible.

The chemistry sizzling between Lou and Nick gets hotter in beautiful Lake Garda, and there are lots of nearly moments that are romantic. The conflicts to their possible relationship are both internal and external, but they are good for each other, and you want them to find happiness together.

The musical setting adds authenticity to the story and is integral to Nick’s backstory. The balance of humour, poignancy and romance is good, and the ending is romantic and uplifting.

Leonie Mack

Leonie Mack is a debut novelist whose first book My Christmas Number One was published by Boldwood in September 2020. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings!

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Extract from Italy Ever After – Leonie Mack

Damn him. Phil was winning this game. His look was tolerant. His eyes were warm, even vaguely fond. Lou was losing. Her jaw was clenched so hard she felt like a petulant child with braces. She smoothed her hand down her tailored skirt. Confronting him in her work clothes was supposed to remind her she could deal with him like an adult. But really, she wanted to run home and change into her sweats, as she usually did after her shift. 

‘She’s eleven, Lou. This is her last summer before secondary school. Can’t you let up a little?’ 

He was the voice of reason, too? Phil never raised his voice because he never needed to. He was the kind of man who spoke and it was done. He was attractive, too – even now at forty-four – which meant he’d never had to stay single for long. She couldn’t blame the woman who’d become his girlfriend only a few months after their separation – except that she could blame her and she would. It was the right of a nearly officially ex-wife, right? 

‘All Edie wants to do is play music. Elite tuition and orchestra rehearsals is her idea of paradise. I’m not forcing her to do anything.’ 

His lips twitched. ‘And a few weeks in the Italian sunshine is your idea of a nice free holiday?’ 

Strike one. She would have been satisfied to hear him behaving like the juvenile ex-husband, except that he was an expert at pressing her overdeveloped sense of her own inadequacy button. 

‘It’s not a holiday for me. I’m going as a chaperone and I have to pay my own way. The only reason I’ve volunteered is because Edie is one of the youngest kids going. Most of the parents are looking forward to the three weeks of childcare before the competition’ 

‘You can always send her to us. You know that. You don’t have to martyr yourself.’ 

Lou choked on his sympathy, wishing he would do the same. She took a deep breath. She should have accepted by now that Phil’s wiring where she was concerned would never change. 

‘Can we get back to the point? Edie wants to go and it’s a unique opportunity. This youth music festival only happens every four years. She’ll get to play in an orchestra under a professional conductor and participate in a competition.’ 

Phil held up a hand. ‘I did read the information you emailed me. But I fail to see why our eleven-year-old has to participate in a very expensive competition. You’ve already forced my hand with the school choice. I’d say you’re pretty low on credit with me at the moment.’ 

Lou recoiled. She needed ‘credit’ to get Phil to consider her opinion about their daughter? How was an ex-wife supposed to earn credit? Not only was she forced to serenely ignore the practical difficulties of having day-to-day responsibility for their daughter alone, but Phil still required her to manage him to make sure they did their best by Edie. Good God, it was miserable. 

Phil looked at her with his unflappably perfect haircut and warm eyes with their distinguished crinkles that on her would be called crow’s feet. It was clear why she’d thrown herself at him twelve years ago when she’d been a young and stupid graduate with too little understanding of the world’s faults – and far too little contraception. What was less clear was how she was supposed to deal with him now. 

‘You know how much she loves playing the violin.’ 

‘I know, she does little else.’ 

Edie practised especially diligently at Phil’s because it meant less time with the obsequious girlfriend. 

‘I’m still not sure I want to encourage her obsession.’ 

‘Then you’ll be happy to know the camp takes that into account. Although they rehearse every day, there’s also time dedicated to outdoor activities and confidence-building. I think we can both agree that it would be good for Edie to have some confidence outside her musical talent.’ 

The faintest glint in his eye was the only clue that he was feeling the pressure. But Phil never backed off. Instead, he calmly went on the offensive. ‘So, you plan to make Edie do a high ropes course while you sit in the sun at Sirmione sipping an Aperol Spritz?’ 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow Jessica Redland 5* #Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources#Friendship #UpLit #Secrets #FamilyDrama #MentalHealth #Relationships #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers

Every family has its secrets, and at Hedgehog Hollow there is no exception…


It was always Samantha’s dream to run her beautiful rescue centre, Hedgehog Hollow, full-time. But just as her wish comes true, she becomes a victim of her own kindness when she finds herself with a house full of guests – all with their own problems and secrets – looking to her for support.

When her self-absorbed cousin, Chloe, unexpectedly turns up at the farm – swiftly handing over her baby to Samantha to care for – trouble is definitely brewing. Especially as Chloe won’t tell anyone why she’s left her husband, James…

As Samantha juggles new hedgehog arrivals, family dramas and her own health challenges, it soon becomes clear that she needs to start putting herself first for once. Little does she know that life-changing secrets from the past are about to unravel and turn their lives upside down…

Return to glorious Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a heartwarming, emotional but uplifting story of family, friendship and moving on from the past.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has a serious focus and is full of family drama, which has emotional and physical consequences for lovely Samantha. Hedgehog Hollow is full of hedgehog residents, and Samantha’s house is full of humans who need emotional support from her. The story is a dual viewpoint of Samantha and her cousin Chloe. If you’ve read previous books in this series, you’ll know Chloe is not particularly likeable. This book explores her story and past secrets, which shed light on her attitude and motivations.

This is an emotional story, and it immerses the reader in the characters’ lives. Chloe’s insights make her more understandable, but she is still not my favourite person. Samantha is everyone’s friend, and whilst this is admirable, you want her to take care of herself too.

This is another absorbing instalment of life at Hedgehog Hollow with characters you are invested in and an enticing mix of humour, poignancy and romance.

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland writes uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community set in Yorkshire where she lives. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and her Hedgehog Hollow series takes them into beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

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Extract from Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – Jessica Redland

Chapter 1 

Samantha 

I sat on Thomas’s bench with a mug of tea in one hand, the other hand stroking Misty-Blue’s warm belly as she lay sprawled across my lap. 

‘Listen to that,’ I said to her, cocking my head to one side. ‘Isn’t it so peaceful?’ The only sounds were the chirp of birds, the buzz of insects and Misty-Blue’s gentle purrs. 

‘No babies crying for once,’ I added, not that I really minded. Archie and Lottie were adorable. Their parents, Paul and Beth, were also great house guests. They couldn’t have done more to help with the cooking and cleaning despite Beth still recovering from a near-fatal fall down the stairs at her flat and Paul, Josh’s dad, having Hodgkin lymphoma – a type of blood cancer. 

Closing my eyes, I tilted my head back towards the sun. It was a bright, warm Sunday in the middle of June, so Paul and Beth had taken advantage of the gorgeous weather and driven Archie and Lottie to the coast. Josh – owner of Alderson & Son Veterinary Practice – had been called out to a goat emergency an hour ago so I was on my own at Hedgehog Hollow, enjoying a rare and precious moment of tranquillity. 

After a few minutes, I opened my eyes and sipped contentedly on my tea. My heart fluttered as the diamonds on my engagement ring sparkled in the sun. We hadn’t made any plans for when we’d marry yet. It didn’t feel right to set the date until Paul had been through the next round of chemotherapy later this month and we were, of course, still hoping a stem cell donor would be found. 

Everyone had been thrilled at the announcement of our engagement. We’d invited our closest family for afternoon tea last Sunday so we could share the news. After that I’d called my best friend Hannah, who excitedly squealed down the phone. 

I tried my cousin Chloe next but she didn’t answer. Loyalty towards her after years of close friendship meant it didn’t feel right for her mum – my Auntie Louise – to hear first so I held off phoning her, trying Chloe repeatedly over the next few days but without success. On Thursday, fed up that messages to get in touch urgently had seemingly been ignored, I phoned Auntie Louise, who was also delighted. Then I texted Chloe: 

* To Chloe 

Josh asked me to marry him! I’m so excited. I’ve been trying to get hold of you all week as I ideally didn’t want to tell you my big news by text but you haven’t responded to my messages and I’m worried. I hope you’re okay. HOT TIP! There’s a woman on a farm in Huggleswick who is always here for you. You know where she is if you ever need her xxx 

So far, she hadn’t responded and I was determined not to let it dampen my excitement. If Chloe had decided to have an epic strop, I wasn’t going to bend over backwards this time. I’d waved the white flag plenty of times and now it was her move. 

I’d also sent a quick text to Mum: 

* To Mum 

I hope all’s well with you. Just letting you know that Josh asked me to marry him and I said yes. Not planning to set a date yet. Sam x 

She hadn’t responded but I hadn’t expected her to, although I had hoped she might, even if it was just one word: ‘congratulations’. I wasn’t going to let her dampen my excitement, either. 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

Life’s A Beach Portia MacIntosh 5*#Review @PortiaMacIntosh @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #RomCom #BookReview #BlogTour #LifesABeach

Sun, sea and inescapable exes…
Peach is excited to hear that her sister, Di, is getting married. Of course, she would have preferred her little sister to be engaged to someone she’s known longer than a week – and the fact that his name is Charles doesn’t bode well – but who is she to judge?! Afterall, her own love life is non-existent, and who doesn’t love a destination wedding…?

Whisked away to the gorgeous Italian coast, Peach assumes her role as chief bridesmaid and, despite her reservations about the groom, she tries to ensure everything goes to plan.

But weddings are never straightforward affairs… throw in some unexpected guests in the form of ex-boyfriends and one night stands, and soon enough there is more drama than a reality tv show.

Can Peach keep the show on the road, or might she end up in a whirlwind romance of her own…?

Escape to the stunning Italian coast with bestseller Portia MacIntosh.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Penelope’s world is a non-stop rollercoaster of fun, misunderstandings and romance in a glamorous Italian island setting. Told from Penelope’s viewpoint, the reader experiences her self-deprecating humour and innermost emotions, which makes her easy to empathise with and like. Relatable characters enhance a plot that is full of secrets and twists.

It’s a perfect beach read addictive but lighthearted. Perfect for those of us who like our romance full of conflict, fun and passion.

Portia MacIntosh

Portia MacIntosh is a bestselling romantic comedy author of 16 novels, including The Plus One Pact and My Great Ex-Scape. Previously a music journalist, Portia writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real-life experiences.

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Extract from Life’s A Beach – Portia Mackintosh

Your wedding day is easily supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life – but if you want to make absolutely sure it is, you can always spend £2,500 on a horse-drawn Cinderella-style carriage. 

‘It’s top of the range,’ the hotel wedding coordinator assures me. ‘It’s a gorgeous ivory fairy-tale pumpkin carriage, with a stunning white upholstery interior – it even has a little crown on top. It’s always in incredibly high demand.’ 

‘It sounds beautiful,’ I reply. 

‘If you do decide to have your wedding here, we can make arrangements to suit your big day – whether you want picking up from home, taking to the church, or here if you would prefer one of our non-religious ceremonies, which I highly recommend. Churches can be so drab. Of course, there is an additional cost per mile, but we can get down to things like that later. Shall we head inside?’ 

Annette is the wedding coordinator at The Chadwick Hotel in York. We’re currently standing outside the five-star hotel, admiring the Grade II-listed building from the gravel pathway that leads up to it. 

It’s a gorgeously warm sunny day. The kind where you can comfortably get away with wearing a strappy sundress, but not quite hot enough to leave you looking a mess – a few degrees hotter than this and my long, straight blonde hair would be half frizzy, half stuck to the sides of my face hair instead. Today is just perfect though, so it’s sundresses, sandals, straight hair and smear-free make-up. 

‘Yes,’ I reply excitedly. ‘Let’s do it.’ 

‘So, the hotel has actually been open for more than a century. As you can see, it boasts an ornate terracotta façade, typical of high Victorian architecture, and the stone cupola makes for a stunning backdrop for outside photos.’ 

I smile and nod because, if I’m being honest, I have no idea what any of that means. It is a gorgeous old building though, surrounded by large gardens full of flowers, huge ponds with grand fountains at their heart, and trees in all directions. It’s hard to believe we’re so close to the city, and impossible not to get carried away, thinking about pulling up in front of the huge doors, having my photo taken with my dad, and then coming back out here after tying the knot to take gigabytes worth of photos with my future husband and everyone we love. 

‘Beautiful,’ I say simply. There’s just no other word for it. 

Once inside the large lobby, Annette picks up a wedding pack that’s waiting for me at reception, before leading me past the grand wooden staircase that sits in the centre of the room. I marvel at the spectacular light that hangs at the centre of the atrium, a large double drum chandelier suspended high above, captivating me so powerfully I nearly bump into a hotel employee coming the other way. 

‘Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry,’ I blurt. ‘I was mesmerised.’ 

‘No worries,’ he says with a laugh. 

Annette laughs gently. 

‘You’d be surprised how often that happens,’ she reassures me. ‘Come, let me show you the function room.’ 

‘The function room’ sounds like a rather bland concept. Well, many places have a function room, from restaurants to town halls, so the only real expectation I have is space for tables. But this function room surely deserves a grander title, because it is everything. It’s maybe three times the height of a regular room, with enormous arch-shaped windows that flood the place with the most beautiful natural light. 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff Della Galton 5*#Review @DellaGalton @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Family #UpLit #Romance #Dating #RealityTV #Dreams #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers

There’s someone out there for everyone… you just need to know where to look…

All NEW from bestselling author Della Galton.

Unlucky in love Poppy Allen is the producer of a brand-new TV show, ‘Date for a Day’ – think ‘Take Me Out’ meets ‘It’s a Knockout’!

Lovelorn contestants must perform a series of seaside challenges to win the hand of the starring lady and a ‘Date for a Day’.

Left heartbroken when Stephen, her childhood sweetheart eloped with her best friend on her hen night – Poppy has no plans to risk her own heart again. Besides, she’s far too busy filming contestants against the backdrop of the beautiful Bluebell Cliff Hotel and the stunning Jurassic Dorset coastline.

However, when sabotage on set threatens to stop shooting, Poppy discovers soulmates can be found in the most unexpected places…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set on the Dorset coast, this book focuses on Poppy, a film producer and a pilot for a reality TV dating show. This is topical contemporary fiction, and whilst I am not a fan of reality TV, going behind the scenes with Poppy and her film crew makes this absorbing reading.

Poppy is career orientated after being practically jilted at the altar. She has a supportive family who we discover lots about and good work friends, particularly Dave, her camera director. At the heart of this story is a lovely gentle friends-to-lovers romance that is heartwarming. There is also plenty of family drama which adds to the story and shows what a loving and loyal person Poppy is. The filming of the pilot of the Dating reality show is interesting full of humour and conflict, which adds authenticity to the story. The setting at Bluebell cliff brings cameos from some well-known characters and a wonderfully described setting.

This is a lovely, uplifting story, with family drama, glamour and romance.

Extract from Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff – Della Galton

Poppy Allen took a gulp of the fresh, brine-scented air and shielded her eyes against the winter sunshine as she looked out across the strip of pale sand. It was warm for February and the sea was flat and calm. She wasn’t the only one making the most of the stunning early-morning weather. Out in the bay, a small boat towed a waterskier in a black wetsuit past Old Harry Rocks. He bounced across the navy sea and Poppy could hear the distant drone of the boat’s engine beneath the mewling cries of the gulls. 

Her ankle boots sank into the powdery sand as she twirled slowly around. Wow, this was a beautiful location to film. In her mind’s eye, she saw a pair of chestnut horses cantering in slow motion through the surf into a sunset that painted the sky pink and gold and turned the sea all around into a mirror of rose-tinted glass. 

Which way was west? She checked her smartphone. Oh God, it was perfect. The sun would set over Brownsea Island. They might be able to use this very stretch of beach for that part of her show. 

People raved about Dorset’s beaches. Bournemouth drew the crowds, but, in her opinion, Studland Beach was better. It was wilder, with no neat prom and no pier. Just a backdrop of sand dunes dotted with scrubby grass that stretched away into the distance. It was so much more romantic than its staid sister, Bournemouth, certainly for what she had in mind. 

Date for a Day, a new kind of dating show, was Poppy’s brainchild. Billed as a cross between Take Me Out and It’s a Knockout, it involved seven contestants participating in challenges to win the attention of the picker. Netflix had commissioned a pilot that would be shown in the autumn. Poppy was determined to make it a hit. Being a producer was all she’d ever wanted to do and she was passionate about her work. 

Poppy turned back towards the chain ferry, which was docking again. It came from Sandbanks three times an hour and the crossing took four minutes. From her flat on Poole Quay, it was quicker to come by ferry. The alternative was a very scenic forty-minute drive (on a good day) through Wareham and the Isle of Purbeck. 

The ferry disgorged a handful of cars from the 9 a.m. crossing. She had got the one before. She never slept much past dawn anyway. Dave would probably be on this one. It had been tricky to get him to agree to such an early start, especially as he was – technically – working for nothing today. This was a pre-recce excursion, prior to bringing in her full crew. She could have done it by herself, but she wanted a sounding board and Dave had agreed to keep her company after she’d caught him in a weak moment last week following a shoot. 

She’d known Dave Blackwell for a lot longer than he’d been her preferred director of photography – they had worked for other production companies together before she’d set up her own, Beauty Spot Productions, eighteen months ago, and they’d become good friends. There was no one she trusted more to help her bring her dream to life. 

Poppy felt a prickle of excitement run down her back as she looked around her. It might be too busy to film here, but there were other more secluded, even more beautiful, beaches in this bay. 

She glanced back towards the National Trust car park and saw Dave’s old black Mercedes pulling in and parking beside her metallic-silver Jeep Renegade. Too impatient to wait, she set off to meet him. 

Della Galton

Della Galton is the author of many books, including Ice and a Slice.  She writes short stories, teaches writing groups and is Agony Aunt for Writers Forum Magazine.  She lives in Dorset. Della’s new fiction series launched with Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff in May 2020.

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Read my review of Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff

Read my review of Moonlight Over Studland Bay

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Extract, Gangland Crime, ganglit, Suspense

Amber Heather Burnside 5* #Review #WorkingGirls #Extract @heatherbwriter @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #ganglit #CrimeFiction #Amber #BlogTour #BookReview

NOBODY TO CALL

With a mother unfit for purpose and a brother who despises her, working girl Amber can rely on no one but herself – until the meanest pimp in Manchester, Kevin Pike, offers her his protection. Unfortunately, this attracts the fury of Cora, a prostitute no one wants to get on the wrong side of…

NOWHERE TO HIDE

When Cora is found strangled to death, the late-night city streets feel increasingly exposed with a killer on the loose. And as Amber grows closer to Kevin, she realises his security comes at a price she might not be willing to pay…

NOTHING TO LOSE

Amber is frozen in fear, knowing one wrong move will risk her life. But then she discovers a horrifying secret that forces her to choose: stay or run?

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus – Aria and Aries via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Book four in The Working Girls series is a haunting and tragic story.

All the books in this series are a unique mix of gritty and poignant, but as Amber is a victim of child abuse and child sexual abuse, this is difficult to read and hard to forget. Sensitively written with a focus on the emotional damage abuse causes, this book focuses on the victims.

The dual timeline story moves from the early 1990s when Amy is a little girl through to her teenage years and closer to the present day when Amber is a working girl. The plot is fast-paced as Amy’s life gradually becomes Amber’s. The characters, some new, and a few familiar faces are relatable, and after a climactic conclusion, there is a positive ending.

This is an edgy and poignant series that explores urban crime in Manchester.

Heather Burnside spent her teenage years on one of the toughest estates in Manchester and she draws heavily on this background as the setting for many of her novels.

After taking a career break to raise two children Heather enrolled on a creative writing course. Heather now works full-time on her novels from her home in Manchester, which she shares with her two grown-up children.

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Read my reviews of The Mark, Ruby and Crystal

Extract from Amber – Heather Burnside

APRIL 1993

Amy wanted to run through the rooms just one more time. She loved their home in Cheadle. It was big and cosy with a garden that went all the way round. Her grandparents said that was because it was detached, and it was in a good area too. She’d spent many happy hours in the playroom with her friends or in the sprawling back garden on the swing, slide and climbing frame.

She was going to miss it, but her mother had promised her that the house they were moving to was also very nice. It wasn’t as big as this one and they would only have room for the swing in the garden but nevertheless her mother was going to make sure that it was just as cosy.

She had also told Amy and Nathan that their friends could come and visit them in the new house, and that they’d probably make new friends too. Amy enjoyed playing with her friends and knew that she was going to miss them, but she felt better knowing that they would be welcome anytime.

At the top of the stairs she turned and walked into her old bedroom, clutching her favourite teddy bear, Barney. Her bedroom was at the back of the house and overlooked the garden with its neat lawns and pretty flowers. Amy caught a glimpse of the slide and the climbing frame that would be left behind, and she felt sad. But she tried not to cry, knowing she had promised her mother she would be a brave girl when they had to leave their nice home.

‘Come on, Barney,’ she said, addressing her teddy bear. ‘Don’t cry. We’ve got to be brave for Mummy. The men have put my bed in the van, and I’ll tuck you up nice and warm in it when we get to the new house.’

The garden was now devoid of the picturesque planters that her mother had lovingly nurtured. They were inside the big van that was parked outside the front of their house. Many of their belongings were also inside and as Amy walked through the empty bedrooms, she could hear the echo of her footsteps.

Next, she walked into her mother’s bedroom and looked out of the window at the men who were busy carrying boxes from the kitchen. She spotted her friend, Maisie, with her mother, hovering at the edge of the garden, and Amy let out an excited squeal. She ran down the stairs, eager to see Maisie one last time before she had to leave.

‘Maisie,’ she shouted enthusiastically as she sped out of the front door, dodging one of the men who was carrying a box full of kitchen utensils. ‘We’re going to our new house today.’

Maisie smiled. ‘I know. My mummy told me. She said we can come to see you off.’

Amy held up her teddy bear. ‘Barney’s coming too. He’s really happy.’ She held up her teddy bear and addressed him. ‘Aren’t you, Barney?’ She moved his head to indicate a nod.

‘What other toys are you taking?’ asked Maisie and for a few minutes they chatted animatedly until Amy’s mother, Loretta, drew their attention. ‘Come on, Amy. It’s time to go.’

‘Aw, Mummy,’ complained Amy. ‘Can I stay for a bit longer? Can Maisie come and play in the garden for a bit? The slide and climbing frame are still there.’

‘No, Amy,’ said her mother. ‘The men are finished now. We need to go.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Travel

Summer in Andalucia Lucy Coleman 5*#Review @LucyColemanauth @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #SummerinAndalucia #boldwoodbloggers #BookReview #BookTour #Romance #Friendship #Andalucia #Spain #uplit #Food #journalist #history #chef

Lainey Summers feels blessed to have her dream job writing for a renowned foodie magazine. And the day she goes to interview chef Rick Oliver at his new restaurant—Aleatory—in London’s popular Piccadilly, is the start of an unexpected journey.

When Rick is offered the opportunity to jet off to a monastery in Andalucía, to film a cookery competition for Spanish TV, Lainey goes too, to cover the story.

Spending a month filming in the stunning Spanish countryside, soaking up the sights, sounds, smells and of course the cuisine, Lainey and Rick start to enjoy each other’s company. But their time together flies by too quickly, and before they know it, Rick and Lainey have to face going their separate ways.

With both their worlds shifting beneath them, the call of Andalucia and the call of happiness grows ever stronger. But with everything at stake, will they be able to take the chance of a happy-ever-after…

Let Lucy Coleman whisk you off on a sun-baked, life-affirming, total escape to beautiful Andalucia.  

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I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts

A chance to eat fantastic food and travel to lovely locations Lainey’s job as a food writer is idyllic. Meeting celebrity chef Rick at his fashionable restaurant is a memorable experience and not just for the food. The chance to work with Rick in Andalucia is a dream job she can’t resist even if she risks getting her heartbroken again.

This story is full of vivid sensory imagery that immerses the reader in the Andalucian culture and history. The characters are relatable, and Lainey is easy to like. Instilled with emotion and romance, Lainey and Rick are the perfect forbidden couple.

There are many thought-provoking ideas woven into the narrative. Such as standing up for your beliefs, living your best life and the importance of family and friends.

This is an enjoyable and heartwarming read.

Lucy Coleman

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Summer in Provence and Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

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