Posted in Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Romance

The Storm Girl Kathleen McGurl 5*#Review @KathMcGurl @HQStories @rararesources #Timeslip #HistFic #ContemporaryFiction #Adventure #Mystery #Family #Secrets #Betrayal #Loss #friendship #romance #BlogTour #BookReview #TheStormGirl #Mudeford

A heartbreaking choice. A secret kept for centuries.

1784. When Esther Harris’s father hurts his back, she takes over his role of helping smugglers hide contraband in the secret cellar in their pub. But when the free traders’ ships are trapped in the harbour, a battle between the smugglers and the revenue officers leads to murder and betrayal – and Esther is forced to choose between the love of her life and protecting her family…

Present day. Fresh from her divorce, Millie Galton moves into a former inn overlooking the harbour in Mudeford and plans to create her dream home. When a chance discovery behind an old fireplace reveals the house’s secret history as a haven for smugglers and the devastating story of its former residents, could the mystery of disappearance from centuries ago finally be solved?

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I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher.

My Thoughts…

In a dual timeline story set in Mudeford near Christchurch in Dorset, divorced, Millie moves into an old historic former Inn needing renovation; as the work progresses, the house begins to give up its secrets. In 1784 Ester lives and works in the Inn at Mudeford. She and many townsfolk are involved in smuggling. The sense of betrayal and danger immerses the reader in the historical part of this story. Historical details vibrantly bring 1784 Mudeford to life. The Inn is the link between the past and present, and the two interwoven timelines create an engaging story full of adventure, mystery and romance.

I love the clever plotting that links the two time periods, the believable characters and the mystery to be solved.

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives near the coast in Christchurch, England. She writes dual timeline novels in which a historical mystery is uncovered and resolved in the present day. She is married to an Irishman and has two adult sons. She enjoys travelling, especially in her motorhome around Europe but her home is Mudeford, where this novel is set.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, New Books, Saga

A Ration Book Victory Jean Fullerton 5*#Review @AtlanticBooks @CorvusBooks @JeanFullerton_ #HistoricalRomance #WW2 #EastEnd #London #1944 #Secrets #Lies #BlogTour #saga #Family #Friendship #Rationing #HistFic #RationBookSeries @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway #ARationBookVictory

Jean Fullerton, the RNA-shortlisted queen of the East End, returns with the final nostalgic and heart-warming story of the Brogan family.

In the final days of the war, only love will pull her through . . .

Queenie Brogan wasn’t always an East End matriarch. Many years ago, before she married Fergus, she was Philomena Dooley, a daughter of Irish Travellers, planning to wed her childhood sweetheart, Patrick Mahone. But when tragedy struck and Patrick’s narrow-minded sister, Nora, intervened, the lovers were torn apart.

Fate can be cruel, and when Queenie arrives in London she finds that Patrick Mahon is her parish priest and that the love she had tried to suppress flares again in her heart.


But now in the final months of WW2, Queenie discovers Father Mahon is dying and must face losing him forever. Can she finally tell him the secret she has kept for over fifty years or will Nora once again come between them?

And if Queenie does decide to finally tell Patrick, could the truth destroy the Brogan family?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The final chapter in the ration book series is predominately set in 1944 and explores the approaching end of WW2 and how it affects the Brogan family. The main focus is on Queenie, the matriarch who has a touching romance and tragic loss in her early life. Queenie’s viewpoint alternates between her early years in Ireland in the late nineteenth century and her present life in the East End of London in 1944.

Queenie’s story poignantly told shows how she became the woman she is, particularly her strength of character and love of her family. Billy also has a storyline that gives him defining character development.

I love the family dynamic, the flawed characters that give the story its humour and heartache and the wonderfully described setting that comes to life on every page.

Jean Fullerton

Born and bred in East London Jean is a District Nurse by trade and has worked as an NHS manager and as a senior lecturer in Health and Nursing Studies. She left her day job to become a full-time writer in 2015 and has never looked back.

In 2006 she won the Harry Bowling Prize and now has seventeen sagas published over three series all of which are set in East London.

She is an experienced public speaker with hundreds of WI and women’s club talks under her belt, plus for the past fifteen years, she has sailed all over the world as an enrichment speaker and writing workshop leader on cruise ships.

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Giveaway to Win one of 6 signed copies of A Ration Book Victory (Open to UK Only)

Click on this link to enter the giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the giveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for the despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Detective, Friendship, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

The Hiding Place Simon Lelic 4*#Review @Simon_Lelic @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks #CrimeFiction #detective #game #murdermystery #bookreview #TheHidingPlace

FOUR FRIENDS. ONE MURDER. A GAME THEY CAN’T ESCAPE

‘It was only a game.’

Until a boy went missing.

‘No one was meant to get hurt.’

But a body has been found.

‘Just some innocent fun.’

Except one of them is a killer.

Ready or not, here I come.

It’s time to play hide and seek again.

DI Fleet is up against some of the most powerful people in the country as he attempts to discover the truth about what happened on the day of the game…

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Chilling and claustrophobic detective fiction unfolds following an anonymous tip-off that leads to discovering a boy’s remains within the grounds of the school he attended over twenty years ago. DI Fleet and DS Collins investigate the cold case, increasingly hampered by powerful forces as the number of suspects grows.

The sense of place is vivid, and the school and what it stands for are integral to the story. Complex characters, often unlikeable and evil, populate this murder mystery. I like the twisty plot, the atmospheric setting and the relentless investigators determined to find the truth despite the considerable obstacles.

An absorbing, addictive read immerses the reader in the setting and the story.

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 Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Mystery, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Romantic Suspense, Suspense, Thriller

Playing With Fire Mary Burton 4*#Review @HQStories #MaryBurton #BlogTour #thriller #familydrama #BookReview #suspense #romanticsuspense #mystery #PlayingWithFire

A year after the infamous arsonist Nero was found dead in one of his latest fires, journalist Darcy Sampson receives a tip that the body found at the scene wasn’t Nero at all. Determined to solve the case, Darcy heads to her small hometown in Virginia to track Michael Gannon, an arsonist investigator who refuses to believe that Nero is dead.

But when a new series of fires in the area have a remarkable resemblance to the arsonist’s previous work, Darcy and Gannon are in a race against time to put a stop to Nero once and for all.

But Nero is ready and waiting for them, and he intends on teaching both Gannon and Darcy one last, fatal lesson.

Previously published as The Arsonist

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Gannon is an ex-arson investigator; Darcy is a journalist looking for her big story. When she receives a tip suggesting the infamous arsonist Nero may not have died the previous year, she is determined to get to the truth. There is an instant attraction between the couple but conflict too. Their connection puts them on the arsonist’s radar as he plots to bring them down.

I like how the setting and the action scenes intensify the suspense. I also enjoyed the developing relationship between the two investigators and how this made them vulnerable to the antagonist. Well-paced romantic suspense that keeps you absorbed until the end.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

Miss Aldridge Regrets Louise Hare 4*#Review @LouRHare @HQStories #murdermystery #histfic #BookReview #BlogTour #London #socialhistory #political #AtlanticCrossing #NewYork #1930s #1936 #crimefiction #historicalcrimefiction #MissAldridgeRegrets

London, 1936

Lena Aldridge is wondering if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn’t worked out. Instead, she’s stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho and her married lover has just left her. She has nothing to look forward to until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York. 
 
After a murder at the club, the timing couldn’t be better and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. Until death follows her onto the ship and she realises that her greatest performance has already begun.

Because someone is making manoeuvres behind the scenes, and there’s only one thing on their mind…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Set in the classic age of murder mystery, the Atlantic crossing aboard a luxury liner provides the setting for a locked room mystery. The murder mystery is only one aspect of this multilayered novel that explores the social history of the time evocatively, mainly centring on class, politics, and race.

Lena’s career has not developed despite her obvious talent and tenacity. London in 1936 is rife with prejudice and extreme politics making Lena’s position precarious. An offer of a role in New York comes at the right time. Possibly implicated in a murder leaving town seems the best option for Lena. Life on the luxury liner is not what she imagined as beneath the glamour, danger, deceit, and depravity simmer, waiting to destroy her.

I like how the social-historical issues explored give this story a literary fiction feel. Interwoven with the well-written classical murder mystery, it has depth and originality that resonates.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Mystery, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

A Scottish Highland Surprise Julie Shackman 5*#Review @G13Julie @0neMoreChapter_ #Romance #Mystery #Secrets #Family Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #AScottishHighlandSurprise

Discover the secrets and surprises that the scenic Scottish town of Briar Glen has to offer…

When wedding planner Sophie Harkness refuses to move a friend’s wedding to accommodate a spoilt bridezilla, she finds herself out of a job. That is until she discovers her late grandma has purchased a local shop for her in the pretty Scottish town of Briar Glen.

Surprised and delighted, Sophie opens her own porcelain shop in honour of her grandmother. But when an unusual tea set is left with Sophie, along with a mysterious letter, she can’t help but be intrigued by the story behind the antique.

And when the handsome but aloof art critic Xander North comes knocking on her door, Sophie is about to find out the true colourful past of her latest treasure.

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

As a wedding planner in a highlands hotel, Sophie loves her role except for her boss and the often overzealous brides. Resigning on a point of principle means she can take up the opportunity afforded by her late grandmother, but can she make the business succeed? A multilayered story tells the story of her grandmother’s early life, a mystery surrounding an antique tea set and a gentle but conflicted romance for Sophie.

I like the story’s originality and how the plot incorporates three women’s stories, all intricately woven into an engaging plot. Sophie is s likeable character with easy to understand motivations. Xander is the perfect love interest, arrogant but hiding a broken and kind heart.

This story provides the reader with an enjoyable medley of mystery, poignancy and romance.

Julie Shackman

Julie Shackman is a former journalist from Scotland, who has always wanted to write feel-good romance. As well as being an author, Julie also writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. Julie admits to having an obsession with stationery and handbags. She is married, has two sons and a Romanian rescue pup, who she named Cooper. A Scottish Highland Surprise is Julie’s sixth novel.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

The Secrets of Summer House Rachel Burton 5*Review @RachelBWriter @AriaFiction #TheSecretsofSummerHouse @HoZ_Books #family #secrets #relationships #loss #mothersanddaughters #mentalhealth #Romance #BlogTour #BookReview

The secrets of Summer House are about to come out at last…

1976. Rushing out of the University Library, undergraduate Alice Kenzie bumps straight into PhD student Tristan Somers. There begins a whirlwind romance, and Alice falls pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl. Then Tristan is killed in a car accident. Unable to cope, Alice takes her baby to Summer House, Tristan’s family home in Suffolk, leaves her there and disappears.

2018. Olivia Somers has always been told that her mother died in the same accident as her father. But when she finds a bundle of old letters in Summer House, everything she ever believed about her mother is called into question. Can she find her – and even more importantly, forgive her?

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus- Aria via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric, emotional and full of well-crafted characters, this dual timeline novel grips the reader from the first page and immerses them in the two hot summers of 1976 and 2018. Both stories are intriguing, and they give the reader insight into both women’s emotions and lives. There is an underlying mystery that weaves itself around the house, an immersive setting in both timelines.

Character-driven this story explores familial relationships and mental health issues and the differences in acceptance, attitudes and expectations in 1976 and 2018. There are many poignant scenes in both Alice’s and Olivia’s lives. Olivia’s quandary over whether to look for her mother and her feelings towards her are particularly emotional.

The passion and romance shine through in each woman’s life, as do the tragic events. I enjoyed the characters’ authenticity and the details and sensory imagery that bring this story to life.

Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton has been making up stories for as long as she can remember and always dreamed of being a writer until life somehow got in the way. After reading for a degree in Classics and another in English Literature she accidentally fell into a career in law, but eventually managed to write her first book on her lunch breaks. Now she writes from a small bedroom looking out over hydrangeas, lavender bushes and rambling roses, in a little house in Yorkshire that she shares with her husband and their three cats. She loves words, Shakespeare, tea, The Beatles, dresses with pockets and very tall romantic heroes (not necessarily in that order).

Find her on Instagram as @RachelBWriter or follow her blog at rachelburtonwrites.com.

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

Six Days Dani Atkins 5#Review @AtkinsDani @AriaFiction @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #Wedding #Friendship #loss #love #Family #mystery #SixDays

Two people. One love story. Six days.

Gemma knows that she and Finn are destined to be together. They are soulmates. But then, on their wedding day, he never arrives at the church.

Gemma is convinced Finn wouldn’t abandon her like this, even though he has disappeared once before. But back then he had a reason. She feels sure something terrible has happened, but no one else is convinced. Even the police aren’t concerned, telling Gemma most people who disappear usually turn up in a week… assuming they want to be found, that is.

For the next six days, Gemma frantically searches for Finn, even though every shocking revelation is telling her to give up on him. Before long, even she begins to doubt her own memories of their love.

How long can she hold on to her faith in Finn if everyone is telling her to let him go?

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus – Aria.

My Thoughts…

Gemma and Finn are soulmates, at least that’s what she believes even when he fails to turn up for their wedding—told in a dual timeline from their first meeting to the days after the wedding that never was. It’s a tumultuous journey that encompasses many emotions that immerse the reader in Gemma and Finn’s story.

Gemma is a lovely character, driven, loyal and loving of everything she cares about, and Finn is at the top of her list. Her relationships with her father and best friend are strong, but her heart belongs to Finn, and this is clear with every page turned in this engaging read.

The plot is intricate, and the mystery of what happened to Finn remains until the final chapters. The author creates believable characters, and original scenarios capture the reader’s interest. I enjoyed the element of mystery, the strong friendship and familial connection, and especially the love that binds Gemma and Finn, making this an epic romance.


Dani Atkins is an award-winning novelist. Her 2013 debut Fractured (published as Then and Always in North America) has been translated into 18 languages and has sold more than half a million copies since its first publication in the UK. Dani is the author of four other bestselling novels, two of which, This Love and A Sky Full of Stars, won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, in 2018 and 2022 respectively. Dani lives in a small village in Hertfordshire with her husband, one Siamese cat and a very soppy Border Collie. Follow Dani on Twitter @AtkinsDani

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Motivational, Mystery, New Books, Travel

The Girls Bella Osborne 5*#Review @osborne_bella @AriaFiction @HoZ_Books @Amy_C_Watson #BookReview #BlogTour #PublicationDay #TheGirls #friendship #age #mystery #love #life

Four old friends. Thrown back together after forty years apart. What could possibly go wrong?

In the 1970s, The Girls were best friends sharing a house and good times: Zara the famous diva actor, Val the uptight solicitor, Jackie the wild child and Pauline the quirky introvert. Now they’re in their twilight years, and Zara suggests that they live with her to support each other through old age.

Initially, being housemates again is just as much fun as in their heyday. But then Zara reveals the real reason she asked them to move in with her, and suddenly things take a sinister turn.

As the women confront their demons they come under the spotlight of the press, the police and an angry parrot. With their lives spiralling out of control can they save their friendships and each other?

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

I enjoy the current literary trend in fiction toward older women and their lives. The four characters in this story are so different but whatever drew them to live together when they were young intensifies when circumstances conspire to let them live together in their later years.

The story is told from three friends’ viewpoints, giving the reader an intimate insight into their past and present lives and motivations. The fourth friend Zara is the catalyst for their reconnection after nearly fifty years, and it’s her glamorous lifestyle allows them to be together again.

Friendship is an important theme in this story, exploring other contemporary issues like domestic abuse and mental health through the characters’ lives. I loved the story’s vibrant characters and the glamorous setting. The cosy mystery vibe that develops is facilitated by the setting and shows how deep the friendship between the women is.

The vivid characterisation and a believable blend of humour and poignancy make this an engaging and uplifting read.

Bella Osborne has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full-length novel. In 2016, her debut novel, It Started At Sunset Cottage was shortlisted for the Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year and RNA Joan Hessayon New Writers Award. Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She likes to find humour in the darker moments of life and weaves these into her stories. Bella believes that writing your own story really is the best fun ever, closely followed by talking, eating chocolate, drinking fizz and planning holidays. She lives in the Midlands, UK with her lovely husband and wonderful daughter, who thankfully, both accept her as she is (with mad morning hair and a penchant for skipping).

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