Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Political Thriller, Romance

These Streets Luan Golding 5*#Review @HQStories @LuanGoldie #FamilyDrama #LiteraryFiction #Friendship #Relationships #Romance #Homelessness #Love #Hope #BookReview #TheseStreets

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Powerfully insightful, this contemporary story explores life in twenty-first century Britain through authentically created characters and their relationships. It is poignantly raw as it documents how easy it is for familial relationships to fail with the threat of homelessness. Hope, humour and humanity lighten the darkness and deliver a believable story that resonates.

Read my review of Nightingale Point

Read My Review of Home Coming

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Folk Tales, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Parenting and Famlies

The White Hare Jane Johnson 4*#Review @JaneJohnsonBakr @HoZ_Books @AriaFiction #HistFic #LiteraryFiction #Family #love #loss #folklore #BookReview #Mystery #Romance #Secrets #forgiveness #TheWhiteHare #nature #supernatural #preorder

In a valley steeped in legend lies an abandoned house where Edens may be lost, found and remade…

The White Valley in the far west of Cornwall cuts deeply through bluebell woods down to the sea. The house above the beach has lain neglected since the war. It comes with a reputation, which is why Mila and her mother Magda acquire it so cheaply in the fateful summer of 1954.

Magda plans to restore the house to its former glory: the venue for glittering parties, where the rich and celebrated gathered for bracing walks by day and sumptuous cocktails by night. Mila’s ambitions, meanwhile, are much less grand; she dreams of creating a safe haven for herself, and happy home for her little girl, Janey.

The White Valley comes with a long, eventful history, laced with tall tales. Locals say that a white hare may be seen running through the woods there; to some, she’s an ill omen, to others a blessing. Feeling fragile and broken-hearted, Mila is in need of as many blessings as she can get. But will this place provide the fresh start she so desperately needs?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

A historical, mystical tale set in Cornwall in 1954 explores Cornish folklore, the natural world and human relationships. The author creates an atmospheric ethos that is a primary motivator in the story. After a scandalous relationship implodes, Mila moves to a gothic-style house with her mother and young daughter. The locals are wary of incomers, and the house has a dark history. Mila wonders if she has made a mistake.

I love the mystical quality of the tale and how Mila gradual realises her worth through meeting some of the valley’s unusual inhabitants. The gentle pacing allows the reader to appreciate the sensory imagery and secrets within the lyrical writing.

It’s a story of acceptance, renewal and love.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Travel

More Than You’ll Ever Know Katie Gutierrez 4* #Review @katie_gutz @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks #MoreThanYoullEverKnow #literarythriller #mystery #familydrama #relationships #truecrime #suspense #marriage #parenting #bookreview

Lore Rivera was married to two men at once, until on a baking hot day in 1986, one of them found out and shot the other. A secret double life, a tragic murder.

That’s the story the world knows.

It’s not the story that fascinates Cassie Bowman.

Carrying the weight of her own family tragedy, true-crime writer Cassie wants to know more about the mysterious woman at the heart of it all: Lore.

And to her surprise, Lore is willing to talk – about how a dance became an affair; how marriage became a murder.

As the two women grow closer, Cassie finds she can’t help but confess her own darkest secrets.

But when it becomes clear that there might be more to the night of the murder than anyone realised, can either woman face up to the thing they’ve been hiding from . . . the truth?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

More Than You’ll Ever Know has a true crime vibe, an excellent sense of place and time and complex, flawed characters that immerse the reader in their lives. It’s an emotional exploration of marriage, parenthood and relationships and is gripping. The true crime aspect gives it a contemporary slant, but it tells the story from multi viewpoints and timelines.

Lore is an interesting character; she provokes Cassie to evaluate her life and past and face her truth. The crime aspect develops slowly and is more powerful because the reader is invested in the characters’ lives when secrets emerge. The final twists I did work out are poignant and resonate and deliver a fitting conclusion to this detailed and engaging story.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Noir

Wake Shelley Burr 3*#Review @ByssheShelley @HodderBooks #Wake #crimefiction #noir #Australian #outback

EVERYBODY THINKS THEY KNOW MINA McCREERY.
EVERYONE HAS A THEORY ON WHAT HAPPENED TO HER SISTER.
NOW IT’S TIME TO FIND OUT THE TRUTH…

Mina McCreery’s sister Evelyn disappeared nineteen years ago. Her life has been defined by the intense public interest in the case. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, she lives alone on her family’s destocked sheep farm.

When Lane, a private investigator, approaches her with an offer to reinvestigate the case, she rejects him. The attention has had nothing but negative consequences for her and her family, and never brought them closer to an answer.

Lane wins her trust when his unconventional methods show promise, but he has his own motivations for wanting to solve the case, and his obsession with the answer will ultimately risk both their lives.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The author creates an atmospheric story with a distinct sense of place full of sadness and secrets. It explores what happens to a family when a child goes missing without a trace and how social media keeps it in the public focus, never allowing the pain of loss to fade. The character-driven story has noir elements and is slow paced and detailed. Fractured relationships and dark secrets make this a poignant read, but the quality of the characters and the setting are notable and resonate.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Saga, Travel

A Mother’s Heart Carmel Harrington 5*#Review @HappyMrsH @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #IrishFiction #LiteraryFiction #FamilyDrama #saga #relationships #love #grief #secrets #parenting #Ireland #NewZealand #AMothersHeart

Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

While Rachel Butler likes her life in a pretty Dublin coastal village, her heart lies in Hawke’s Bay, where she grew up. Visiting for the first time since tragedy tore her family apart, she and her stepchildren fall for its beauty and outdoor lifestyle.

Malahide, Ireland

As Rachel picks up the threads of her life as a single parent, she can’t shake off the memories of her loving family in New Zealand – and her dream house, the villa on the bay. But it’s time to move forwards with their life in Ireland, close to the children’s grandparents, amid the familiar surroundings they all know well.

Until the children’s grandmother, still grieving, starts to interfere, questioning Rachel’s position as stepmother.

Until Rachel’s attempts to strengthen the family she loves so dearly backfires, pitting everyone against each other.

And until her late husband’s parents mend the rift that has existed as long as she’s been married – bringing with them an explosive secret . . .

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Rachel loses the man she loves but still has his children, who she loves dearly. Thankful that he had the foresight to make her an adoptive parent, she faces life without him. Born in New Zealand, she has a close relationship with her family, who adore the children. The children’s biological mother’s parents are not happy with things, and this story explores the conflict, emotion and love of Rachel’s determination to achieve the best family for her children.

Each believably flawed vibrant character enriches the story that shows how grief manifests itself differently and how this affects family relationships. Lyrical writing evokes the settings and adds depth to this character-driven story.

It is a heartwarming, poignant story with strong female characters. Rachel is a lovely woman who places the children’s welfare at the heart of everything she does, making this incredibly engaging to read.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, New Books

Idol Louise O’Neill 4*#Review @oneilllo #LouiseONeill @TransworldBooks #idol #truth #socialmedia #bookreview #preorder

‘Follow your heart and speak your truth.’

For Samantha Miller’s young fans – her ‘girls’ – she’s everything they want to be. She’s an oracle, telling them how to live their lives, how to be happy, how to find and honour their ‘truth’.

And her career is booming: she’s just hit three million followers, her new book Chaste has gone straight to the top of the bestseller lists and she’s appearing at sell-out events.

Determined to speak her truth and bare all to her adoring fans, she’s written an essay about her sexual awakening as a teenager, with her female best friend, Lisa. She’s never told a soul but now she’s telling the world. The essay goes viral.

But then – years since they last spoke – Lisa gets in touch to say that she doesn’t remember it that way at all. Her memory of that night is far darker. It’s Sam’s word against Lisa’s – so who gets to tell the story? Whose ‘truth’ is really a lie?

‘You put yourself on that pedestal, Samantha. You only have yourself to blame.’

Amazon UK Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Idol is a compelling and insightful contemporary story that explores current issues through the unreliable narrator Samantha, a phenomenally successful lifestyle and social media influencer. Her books are bestsellers, she has millions of social media followers, and her company is about to be made into a public corporation. Still, when a voice from the past challenges her latest expose, the foundation of her life and reality crumble devastatingly.

Dark and disturbing, many of Samantha’s experiences are challenging to read, but they show how she became the person she is. Perception, manipulation and reality are all effectively questioned in this addictive story. Relatable characters draw the reader into a world of judgement and lies. The brilliantly flawed individuals make it hard to like them in many cases.

I like the believability of the story and its contemporary relevance.

Published 12 May 2022 available for preorder

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Paranormal, Romance

The Belladonna Maze Sinéad Crowley 5* #Review @SCrowleyAuthor @SineadCrowley @HoZ_Books #literaryfiction #dualtimeline #gothic #fantasy #mystery #romance #histfic #TheBelladonnaMaze #IrishFiction #supernatural #BookReview

An old house can hold many secrets. Hollowpark in the west of Ireland certainly does. At the heart of the gardens is an intricate maze, named after a deadly poison, Belladonna. If you know the way through, it’s magical, a hiding place and playground like no other. If you don’t, it’s a place of fear and sinister riddles, where a young girl once went missing and was never seen again.

Grace comes to Hollowpark as a nanny for young Skye FitzMahon. Soon the mysterious past of Hollowpark has seduced her. Who is the woman she sometimes glimpses in an upstairs window? Or the apparition who keeps showing up unexpectedly, pleading, ‘Find me.’ And how can she fight her growing attraction to Skye’s father?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Beginning with a telling incident in The Belladonna Maze in 1825, this story alternates between the nineteenth century and 2007. It is an absorbing medley of literary fiction with gothic and supernatural elements.

Lyrical and full of vibrant characters and vivid imagery, the story weaves its magic on the reader, immersing them in the maze and its secrets. It reads like a contemporary fairytale, and the reader is never sure what is fact and what is fantasy. Belladonna is known for its hallucinatory effects.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, Motivational, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Stepping Up Sarah Turner 5*#Review @TheUnmumsyMum @TransworldBooks #SteppingUp #LiteraryHumour #LiteraryFiction #FamilyDrama #sisters #romance #friendship #motivational #uplit #BookReview #parenting

Beth has never stuck at anything.

She’s quit more jobs and relationships than she can remember and she still sleeps in her childhood bedroom. It’s not that she hasn’t tried to grow up, it’s just that so far, the only commitment she’s held down is Friday drinks at the village pub.

Then, in the space of a morning, her world changes.

An unspeakable tragedy turns Beth’s life upside down, and she finds herself guardian to her teenage niece and toddler nephew, catapulted into an unfamiliar world of bedtime stories, parents’ evenings and cuddly elephants. Having never been responsible for anyone – or anything – it’s not long before she feels seriously out of her depth.

What if she’s simply not up to the job?

With a little help from her best friend Jory (purely platonic, of course …) and her lovely, lonely next-door neighbour, Albert, Beth is determined that this time she’s not giving up. It’s time to step up.

This is a story about digging deep for strength you never knew you had and finding magic in things that were there all along.

Amazon UK Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

I like this book because of its engaging blend of heartbreaking sadness and heartwarming humour. Beth is relatably flawed and easy to empathise with, and I care what happens to her. Sensory imagery brings the characters and events to vibrant life. Beth’s viewpoint captures the emotional clarity of their daily lives in a poignant way that keeps you immersed in their story.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Literary Fiction, New Books, Suspense

The Choice S.J. Ford 4*#Review @thechoiceauthor @HoZ_Books #TheChoice #LiteraryThriller #CrimeFiction #MoralDilemma #psychologicalfiction @ariesfiction

The Husband.
The Lawyer.
The Detective.
The Journalist.
The Murderer.
You are the jury.

When Jane Bell uncovered that her next-door neighbour planned to blow up their local primary school, she tried to get the police to listen to her. When they chose to do nothing, she took matters into her own hands.
Jane Bell saved the children. She is a hero. She stopped a terrorist attack. She murdered a man. Jane Bell committed a crime, and no matter what her reasons are she must face the legal repercussions of her actions.
Now several people follow Jane’s case, each with their own thoughts on what happened. Is Jane the hero or the villain? It’s up to you to decide.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The Choice blends literary and legal fiction with psychological elements. Told from several interesting viewpoints, many of whom are unreliable protagonists. The main protagonist kills a man she believes is a domestic terrorist. The story explores what led to Jane’s action and the legal redress for her alleged crime. Moral justice versus legal justice is a predominant theme here, and it forces the reader to ask, what if it was me?

Creative and plausible, this is an immersive read. The pace slows with detailed narrative at the expense of characterisation, but it’s compelling, and you keep turning the pages to find out what happens.

SJ Ford is twenty-six years old and lives in the Cheshire countryside. She currently works in online marketing and writes part-time – gathering the quirky, emotional and problematic to feed her imagination and unleash her pen. She has a Golden Retriever that she relishes going on adventures with, a horse that lets her fly, and her favourite place is Cemaes Bay on Anglesey. The Choice is SJ’s debut novel in this genre.

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

To Love and Be Loved Amanda Prowse 5*#Review @MrsAmandaProwse @AmazonPub #LakeUnionPress #Love #forgivness #secrets #loss #grief #comingofage @KellyALacey @igbooktours #LoveBooksTours @lovebookstours #ToLoveandBeLoved #BlogTour #BookReview

In this life-affirming tale from bestselling author Amanda Prowse, one woman built a new life to escape her humiliation. Now, can she put the shame behind her and finally find happiness?

Young and desperately in love, Merrin had the whole world ahead of her. But just as her new life was about to start, the ground beneath her feet was cruelly swept away. Devastated by the humiliation, she ran far away from the beloved fishing village she had always called home to lick her wounds and escape her gossiping friends and neighbours.

It hasn’t been easy, but six years later Merrin has forged a new life for herself far from the sea, burying the impulsive girl she once was. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to return to the village she swore she’d never set foot in again.

Reluctantly back in the arms of her community, Merrin begins to realise what she’s been missing out on all these years. As she begins to remember the person she used to be, she is forced to make choices about her future, and to question the past. What does she want from her life? Who is important to her? Who is to blame for everything that went wrong? And can she forgive them, let old wounds heal and finally be her true self again?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story is an emotional insight into family life, friendships, loss, and love in a Cornish fishing village. Merrin is in love, but she runs away from her family, friends, and the fishing village she loves when it goes wrong. The story charts her gradual healing. Merrin returns home after a tragic loss that makes her examine who she is, as she comes to terms with the past and defines the life she wants.

The sense of community and family is strong, the characters vibrant, and the conflicts believable. The lyrical writing is immersive, and the vivid characterisation invests the reader in Merrin and the excellent supporting characters’ lives. It’s an addictive read about ordinary people.

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse is an international bestselling author of twenty-eight novels published in dozens of languages. Her chart-topping titles What Have I Done? Perfect Daughter, My Husband’s Wife, The Coordinates of Loss, The Girl in the Corner and The Things I Know have sold millions of copies around the world. Other novels by Amanda Prowse include A Mother’s Story, which won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the Year Award. Perfect Daughter was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

She has been described by the Daily Mail as ‘the queen of family drama’. Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today. Her titles consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show, as well as featuring on numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on national and independent radio stations, including LBC and talkRADIO, where she is well known for her insightful observations and infectious humour.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning off the bedside lamp at night, that ensure you walk every step with her great characters and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

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