Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour

Queen Bee Jane Fallon 4*#Review @JaneFallon @MichaelJBooks #Revenge #Humour #Women #Relationships #publicationday #QueenBee

When Laura’s marriage falls apart she needs to find a home for her and her daughter. And quickly.

Welcome to The Close, a beautiful street of mansions, where Laura rents a tiny studio above a garage, and gorgeous Stella is the indisputable Queen Bee – who soon suspects Laura of having designs on her fiancé.

But when Laura unearths the ghastly secret he is hiding, it threatens Stella’s perfectly curated world as well as Laura’s career.

Hatching an elaborate plan to beat him at his own game, these former enemies are now best friends.

But has Laura forgotten that revenge always comes with a sting in the tail?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK -Michael Joseph in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

There’s excellent escapism in this story whose characters are just on the right side of stereotypical. Laura finds herself in an upmarket area of London when she needs a bolt hole at the end of her marriage. Finding a nanny annexe in the exclusive close seems serendipitous until she meets the locals.

Think ‘Gossip Girl’ but older and you’ll appreciate the hierarchy among the female residents. Stella ‘Queen Bee’ sees Laura as a rival and sets out to cold-shoulder her from the group. Al Stella’s fiancé is the cause of the discord. Laura is determined to uncover his secrets. This leads to a strange alliance with Stella, as they plot revenge.

This amusing, often satirical observation of ‘The Close’s’ residents is easy to read. The shallowness and lack of self-worth evident, in some of the women, is poignant and adds another layer to this absorbing story.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Friendship, Mystery, Romance

Buried Treasure – Gilli Allan #Paperback #CoverReveal 4* #Review @gilliallan @RandomTTours #Romance #Mystery #Friendship #BuriedTreasure

Jane thinks he sees her as shallow and ill-educated. Theo thinks she sees him as a snob, stuffy and out of touch.

Within the ancient precincts of the university, the first encounter between the conference planner and the academic is accidental and unpromising. Just as well there’s no reason for them ever to meet again.

But behind the armour they’ve each constructed from old scars, they’ve more in common than divides them. Both have an archaeological puzzle they are driven to solve. As their stories intertwine, their quest to uncover the past unearths more than expected.

Treasure is not always what it seems.

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

My Thoughts…

I love to read something a little different this story is a mix of genre. There is a gentle slow-burning romance ridden with internal obstacles to its success. There is a historically rooted mystery that draws the couple together, when it seems, in the beginning, they have nothing in common, except that they irritate each other. There is also a strong emotional thread in this story, as the first part of the book reveals, why Theo and Jane are unwilling to trust again, this poignancy makes the characters easier to empathise.

This story has a believable contemporary setting that is well researched and has intrinsic interest. Character-driven Jane and Theo’s flaws and emotional baggage make them authentic. The subsidiary characters are also realistic.

This is an engaging, intriguing romantic mystery set against a politicised contemporary background.

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real-life supplanted the imaginary kind.  

After a few false starts, she worked longest and most happily as an illustrator in advertising and only began writing again when she became a mother. 

Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.

All of her recent books TORN, LIFE CLASS, FLY or FALL and BURIED TREASURE have gained ‘Chill with a Book’ awards.

Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is now also a writer.

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Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Coming Home to Penvennen Cove Linn B Halton #CoverReveal @LinnBHalton @Aria_Fiction #Romance #SecondChances #Cornwall #Family

Can Kerra’s Cornish hometown offer the fresh start she needs?

When Kerra left the quiet Cornish town of Penvennan Cove for the bright lights of London she didn’t look back. But after the death of her mother, she’s decided it’s time to face her past and return to the place she called home. Her father needs her, and perhaps she needs him more than she’s willing to admit?

Tackling town gossip, home renovations and a flame from her past, it’s not quite smooth sailing for Kerra. Ross is the bad boy she was meant to forget, not a man who still sets her heart aflutter. As he helps bring her dream home to life, they begin to break down the barriers that have been holding them back and in the process learn things about themselves they never thought possible.

As friends old and new come together, the future in Penvennan looks bright.

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From interior designer to author, when Linn B. Halton’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic. Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. Linn writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Motivational, Romance, Travel

Sunrise on the Coast Lilac Mills 4*#Review @LilacMills @canelo_co #IslandRomance #SunriseOnTheCoast #newrelease #uplifting #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation #MondayMorning #BookReview

Struggling to come to terms with the loss of her mother, Sophie needs to get away from it all. On a much-needed break to Tenerife, she stumbles across a Help Wanted sign for local pensioner, Hugo, and on a leap of faith she accepts the job.

But life on the island isn’t all sun, sea and siestas…

Hugo’s beautiful villa is under threat and, to complicate matters, his brooding (but handsome) nephew, Alex, has shown up full of suspicion towards Sophie.

Her hands full dealing with difficult men and a clearly unreciprocated attraction towards Alex, Sophie needs to decide if her future lies in Tenerife or if her holiday is officially over.Escape to a Spanish island with this gorgeously uplifting romance,

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Exploring the non-touristy side of Tenerife this is an emotional and enjoyable uplit story. The setting, seen through the eyes of main character Sophie, makes an impact. The story of rebuilding a life after caring for a loved one is poignant and realistic and makes Sophie easy to empathise.

This is an escapist read, so fate takes a hand in the proceedings. Sophie’s multigenerational relationship with Hugo is humorous and rewarding. The chance for romance surprises Sophie but makes her braver as she tries to map out her future. Enigmatic Alex or friendly Dominic, who will she choose?

Gentle romance humour and poignancy fuse together to provide a lovely way to escape for a couple of hours.

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

Finding Love At Hedgehog Hollow Jessica Redland 5*#Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #uplit #romance #family #drama #serendipity #BoldwoodBloggers @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources

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.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

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.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

The Lilac House Barbara Josselsohn 4*#Review @barbarajoss @bookouture #LakeSummers #SecondChances #SmallTown #Romance #Secrets #BookReview #uplit #TheLilacHouse

Can one summer house bring two broken hearts together?Summer escapes to Lilac House have always been a source of comfort for Anna Harris. Though things will never be the same since her husband’s death, she knows that it is there, nestled in Lake Summers in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, that she and her children Zac and Evie can begin to build a new life.

The house is just as beautiful as Anna remembers, and caught up in the rhythm of small town life, helping her Aunt Hope run the little shop on Main Street, Anna begins to feel a sense of herself she hasn’t felt in years. Then she meets Aidan. Handsome, strong and quiet, he also knows what’s it’s like to lose someone. In each other they recognise something they’ve both been missing and they feel a spark.

But Aidan’s past holds a different set of complications. He’s hiding a secret about why he came to Lake Summers. And just as the Lilac House finally starts to feel like home, Anna learns something devastating about Greg’s death that makes her question everything…

The summer might have brought Anna and Aidan together, but can Anna finally let go of the past now she really has the chance for a new beginning?A beautiful story about moving on and finding yourself, The Lilac House will restore your faith in love and teach you that it’s never too late the find the person who will change your life.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The return to The Lilac House brings mixed feelings for Anna and her two children. Grieving from the loss of Greg, husband and father they approach the summer at Lake Summer with trepidation. Hope awaits Anna’s return with joy and guilt she has a secret and hopes Anna will understand. Aidan has secrets too but meeting Anna makes him realise there is more to his life than he thought.

This story is an emotional journey for the three main characters in the small mountain town. The characters are easy to empathise. Their stories are poignant, but their interactions give them the chance of a positive future.

The exploration of grief is insightful, and the absorbing story is an uplifting read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Political Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

Blood Red City Rod Reynolds 5*#Review @Rod_WR @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours @AnneCater #Urban #Techno #SocialMedia #political #Thriller#BlogTour #BookReview

A witness with no victim. A crime with no crime scene…

When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime.

Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn’t care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows.

When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect … and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet.

A nerve-shattering and brutally realistic thriller, Blood Red City bursts with energy and grit from the opening page, twisting and feinting to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an edgy, urban thriller with an action-driven, pacy plot.

Lydia tired of being sidelined investigates a video detailing a crime. She realises if genuine it has the potential, to mainstream her career. There’s relentless suspense. A sense of menace pervades every page.

Michael Stringer is an enigma. An information mercenary, he wants to know what Lydia knows. The London setting adds authenticity to the story. The story uses sensual imagery well making the events and locations easy to imagine.

The author creates an ethos of mistrust. It’s difficult to establish the truth, and who to believe. The ending answers all these questions with the possibility of a future investigation.

Rod Reynolds

Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’ A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books will publish his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City. Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Parenting and Famlies

The Family Holiday Elizabeth Noble 5*#Review #TheFamilyHoliday @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks #ElizabethNoble #family #drama #Grief #friendship #holiday #relationships #PublicationDay #BookReview

The Chamberlain family – Charlie and Daphne, and their children Laura, Scott and Nick – had fantastic summer holidays when they were young. But then, inevitably, the children grew up, and their own messy lives got in the way. 

Since their mum died, it feels to them all as if their family just isn’t that close any more. And Charlie fears his kids have all lost their direction. 

For his eightieth birthday, all Charlie wants is to bring his family together again – and by some miracle, they’ve all said yes.

So for the first time in a very long time, the Chamberlains are going on a family holiday. 

It’s only ten days . . . how hard can it be? 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin – Michael Joseph UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Like all addictive family drama, this is a character-driven emotional story. Charlie is lost without Daphne, his wife and feels his once-close family is drifting. He plans a family holiday as Daphne would have done and hopes to draw his fractured children together.

The opening chapters explore the main characters and significant events. This illustrates their complexities and flaws and engages the reader in their lives. The characters are easy to empathise and relatable. The family drama is realistic and makes this an emotional read.

The holiday draws the family’s troubles into the open with dramatic and poignant results. Ultimately the family unit survives with help from an unexpected source making you believe in serendipity.

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

The Eliza Doll by Tracey Scott – Townsend #CoverReveal @authortrace @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Ellie lives in a campervan with her dog, Jack, selling her handmade dolls at craft fairs. There is one doll that she can’t bear to finish until she comes to terms with the truth of what has happened.

The Eliza Doll is an uncompromising family drama about upheaval, off-grid living and living on the dole in 1980s England.

Set in East Yorkshire and Iceland from the eighties to the present.

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Tracey-Scott-Townsend is the author of six novels — the most recent The Vagabond Mother (January 2020) and Sea Babies (May 2019) — all published by Wild Pressed Books and Inspired Quill Publishing. Reviews often describe her novels as poetic or painterly.

She is also a poet and a visual artist. She has a Fine Art MA and a BA (Hons) Visual Studies. She has exhibited paintings throughout the UK (as Tracey Scott). She has a long career as a workshop facilitator with community groups and in schools.

Tracey is co-director of an up-and-coming small independent publisher, Wild Pressed Books, which has a growing roster of authors and poets.

Mother of four grown-up children, Tracey spends as much time as possible travelling the UK and Europe in a camper van with her husband and two dogs, writing and editing while on the road. 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Mystery, Romance

A Perfect Cornish Escape Phillipa Ashley 5* #Review @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour #BookReview #PorthmellowHarbour #Cornwall #Romance #UpLit #mystery #APerfectCornishEscape #MondayBlogs #MondayMorning #MondayMotivation

Summer in Cornwall is the perfect time for a fresh start…

Seven years ago, Marina Hudson’s husband was lost at sea. She vowed to love Nate for the rest of her life – but when kind-hearted Lachlan arrives in Porthmellow, should she deny herself another chance at happiness?

Tiff Trescott was living life to the full as a journalist in London – until her boyfriend’s betrayal brought it all crashing down. Fleeing to her cousin Marina’s cottage, Tiff feels like a fish-out-of-water. And when brooding local Dirk wins a day with her in a charity auction, she’s thrown headfirst into Cornish life.

This summer promises new beginnings for both Tiff and Marina. But are they too good to be true?

Escape to Cornwall with this emotional, uplifting read. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Whether you are a lover of this series or are reading this as a standalone, it’s a great read.

Marina’s husband Nate disappeared at seas seven years ago. She has learnt to live again by focusing on her teaching and volunteer work. Having her cousin Tiff to stay as she runs from her imploding London life is just what she needs. Meeting Lachlan is unexpected and lovely, but both have painful pasts, which they need to overcome.

Tiff’s reputation is in ruins. After her lover’s betrayal, she’s sworn off men too. Dirk dislikes journalists, but he is irresistible at least physically. This is a tumultuous relationship full of anger and passion.

The main protagonists are likeable, and the romance is diverse and lovely. The community is full of colourful characters, some familiar. The Cornish setting is stunning and wild and provides the location for, the wave watchers and the lifeboat rescues.

There is plenty of conflict and twists, and even if you guess the main one, I did, it’s still an engaging, exciting romantic read.