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

Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow Jessica Redland 5* #Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources #romance #Friendship #UpLit #Secrets #FamilyDrama #dreams #Relationships #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #ChasingDreamsatHedgehogHollow

Samantha has a secret.

Returning home from her dream honeymoon to the normality of running her beloved Hedgehog Hollow rescue centre, she’s ready for the next chapter of her life with Josh. Or is she? Samantha is hiding something which could forever change the dreams they shared and bring their happy ever after crashing to the ground.

Lauren has given up on love. Twenty-six years ago the love of her life, Shaun, left her a note and was never seen again. Two painful divorces later she still can’t face opening up to anyone. But little does Lauren know that the closure she’s dreamt of for all these years may be closer than she thinks, and perhaps the only way to let new love in is to forgive and forget.

Samantha and Lauren will need the love and support from the Hedgehog Hollow family more than ever. After all, some dreams are worth chasing…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

 I do so enjoy the originality of this series and the effortlessly sensitive way the author explores contemporary issues through her characters. We begin where book four ends at Sam and Josh’s wedding, and the story unfolds through Sam and Lauren’s viewpoints. I like Lauren, and her secrets keep you turning the pages. Sam and Josh’s honeymoon is featured, but it’s their return to their home tugs at the heartstrings.

I love the ups and downs of the familial relationships and the sense of hope this story has. The final chapters are heartwarmingly poignant.

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland writes emotional but uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast where she lives with her husband, daughter and sprocker spaniel. Her Hedgehog Hollow series, set in a hedgehog rescue centre, takes readers into the beautiful rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Humour, Mystery, New Books, Novella, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Serial, Short stories

A Wedding at Sandy Cove: A Perfect Fit Bella Osborne 5*#Review @AvonBooksUK @osborne_bella #romance #mystery #humour #drama #friendship #romcom #family #novella #serial #part4 #aperfectfit #preorder #AWeddingatSandyCove

This is the final part of a four part serial.

True love is never one-size-fits-all…

Against the odds, Ella got her best friend successfully down the aisle. As she waves Brittany off on her romantic honeymoon with her new husband, the moment feels bittersweet. Her own happy ending feels further away than ever.

While the other wedding guests are nursing their sore heads after too much champagne, Ella contemplates the bridal bouquet she caught the night before. Is it a sign? And does she even know what she wants it to be a sign of, anymore?

The heat between her and Kit is still undeniable, but there are barriers between them that feel too big to overcome.

And now with the unplanned return of her ex into her life, things feel more complicated than ever.

As summer draws to a close, Ella plans a birthday party on the beach to celebrate with friends and family. But as she turns another year older, will she be any wiser in life or in love?

The final instalment of this totally addictive summer read, full of laugh-out-loud moments, romance and friendship.

Amazon UK Amazon Kobo

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

So much has happened in the first three parts of this story that I wondered if everything would be resolved in this final part, but thankfully it is. Lucy is loved up, and you hope maybe she can find what she wants from this relationship. The divorce case she can’t forget has startling revelations and gives the story a dramatic subplot. Ella and Kit’s friendship is in doubt with the incident at the wedding, but on the positive side, Ella’s new business is succeeding.

Full of confusion, humour and romance, this delivers the perfect ending for all the friends. I love the drama and the wit; finally, Ella’s sense of self-worth is where it should be. Do Ella and Kit have their happy-ever-after? You’ll have to read this and find out, but I loved the ending too.

Bella Osborne

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year she finished a full-length novel. Since then, she’s written seven best-selling romantic comedies, and she’s been shortlisted three times for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She lives in The Midlands, UK, with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When not writing, Bella is usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

For more about Bella, visit her website at www.bellaosborne.com or follow her on social media.

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Read my review of Always a Bridesmaid (part1)

Read my review of Stitched Up (part2)

Read my review of Gown But Not Out (part3)

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Game of Hearts Katy Moran 5*#Review #KatyMoran @HoZ_Books #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #AlternativeHistory #NineteenthCentury #Cornwall #London #BookReview #GameofHearts

Thrilling Regency romance, set in a Bridgerton-style world.

1817 Cornwall and London

Heir to an aristocratic family scorched by scandal and scarred by war, the Earl of Lamorna (known to friends as Crow) is as dangerous as he is self-destructive. As a spy, he treads a fine line between loyalty and treachery, with a haunting secret in his past that threatens to destroy not only Crow himself but those he loves. It’s only going to take a single spark to set his world aflame. So when Crow’s wild and impetuous young brother catches him in flagrante with their widowed stepmother, a lethal chain of events is set in motion.

Heiress Hester Harewood has problems of her own, on the run from the men who shot her father. The last thing she needs is to get involved with a complicated aristocrat, even if he does offer her his unconditional protection. But who is more dangerous? Those she is running from? Or Crow himself: charismatic, unpredictable, and yet with the capacity for such tenderness that Hester’s heart is in just as much danger as her life.

Game of Hearts was previously published as False Lights by K.J. Whittaker and on Kindle as Hester and Crow by Katy Moran.

Amazon UK

Katy Moran’s Regency Romance Trilogy features Game of Hearts, Wicked by Design and Scandalous Alchemy.

I read a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited.

My Thoughts…

After reading a six-chapter sample of this book from NetGalley, (see my review here) I have now finished reading Game of Hearts, the first book in the Hester and Crow trilogy.
The historical setting is immersive, and it’s easy to imagine this alternative historical world. Hester is a courageous woman who defies society’s expectations and prejudices. The initial reluctant attraction between Hester and Crow develops into a love that survives despite the conflicts, dangers and deceit surrounding them. The conflict between Crow and his younger brother Kitto is poignant and violent, forcing Hester and Kitto into mortal danger.

I like the characters, historical detail and suspense in this story. The action scenes are exciting, and the sense of camaraderie versus betrayal is engaging.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Detective, New Books, Noir, Political Thriller

Bad For Good Graham Bartlett 5*#Review @GBpoliceadvisor @AllisonandBusby @RichardsonHelen #BadForGood #BlogTour #BookReview #CrimeFiction #Detective #Brighton #noir

How far would you go?

The murder of a promising footballer and, crucially, the son of Brighton’s Chief Superintendent, means Detective Superintendent Jo Howe has a complicated and sensitive case on her hands. The situation becomes yet more desperate following devastating blackmail threats.

Howe can trust no one as she tracks the brutal killer in a city balanced on a knife edge of vigilante action and a police force riven with corruption.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Set in twenty-first century Brighton, this dark and insightful story explores the effects of urban crime in a coastal and rural setting. Through multi viewpoints, the story unfolds, drawing the reader into an intense world of crime that constantly overrides a dedicated but poorly funded police force.

The author portrays a heinous set of crimes with just enough violent imagery to let the reader visualise the scene. The violence is part of the ethos but not gratuitous. The characters are complex and believably flawed. The blurring of good versus evil is authentic and powerful. Multiple suspects and subplots interweave and draw together to deliver an impactful conclusion.

I like the variety of characters and the numerous clues that let the reader investigate with the team.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, New Books, Parenting and Famlies

Lucas Twigg’s Truly Terrible Luck Andy Rigden and Jim Landen 4* #Review @AndyRigden  @Jimothy65 @TinyTreeBooks @lovebookstours  #LucasTwiggTour @igbooktours #LucasTwiggsTrulyTerribleLuck #booktour #blogtour #bookreview #ChildrensBooks #picturebook #kidlit

Lucas seems to be the world’s unluckiest kid. He gets splashed on the way to school every time it rains. Birds are queuing up to poop on his head. And he narrowly avoids being crushed by a falling meteor. But all that changes when his Mum lends him his Dad’s lucky football pants. Another fantastic tale from the Author and Illustrator team behind My Mum’s a Bug-eyed Monster!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A lighthearted and colourfully illustrated rhyming tale about a young boy and his luck, it explores how luck is a subjective thing and shows that a positive outlook can change your fortunes. The rhyming is fun, and the bright illustrations help younger children visualise the text.

It’s the type of short picture book that kids will return to, too, and it’s fun for the adults reading it with them. I enjoyed the rhymes and the appealing illustrations.

Book Trailer

Posted in Crime, Press Release

Vote for your favourite title from the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 shortlist #TheakstonAward @HarrogateFest @Theakston1827 @midaspr #pressrelease

Elly Griffiths | Joseph Knox | Laura Shepherd Robinson
Mick Herron | Vaseem Khan| Will Dean

Vote Here

The shortlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022, presented by Harrogate International Festivals, has been announced today, with six bestselling authors competing to win the UK’s most prestigious crime writing prize.

The coveted award, now in its eighteenth year, celebrates crime fiction at its very best, with this year’s shortlist taking readers from newly independent India to the tension of a remote Fenlands cottage, from a nail-biting missing persons’ investigation in Manchester to the wilds of North Norfolk, and from the hedonism of Georgian London to the murky world of international espionage. Selected by the public from a longlist of eighteen novels, with a record number of votes being placed this year, the list of six novels features newcomers to the shortlist, two New Blood panellists, a previous Festival Programming Chair, and a five-time shortlistee. None of this year’s shortlistees has ever taken home the prize before, making the competition even tenser.

Elly Griffiths, who was the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Programming Chair in 2017, is shortlisted for the fifth time for The Night Hawks, the thirteenth instalment in her popular Ruth Galloway series. The Night Hawks sees Norfolk’s favourite forensic archaeologist Galloway called when a group of metal detectorists discover a body buried on a beach with Bronze Age treasure, a find which will lead to a series of murders seemingly linked to the local legend of a spectral dog whose appearance heralds death.

Sunday Times bestseller True Crime Story, the first standalone novel from Joseph Knox, blends fact and fiction to tell the gripping story of a 19-year-old university student who leaves a party in her student halls and is never seen again. Knox, who was selected by Val McDermid as a New Blood panellist in 2017, was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2018 for his thriller Sirens the following year, but has never previously reached the shortlist stage. 

Historical crime writer Laura Shepherd Robinson continues her incredible streak as her second novel Daughters of Night is shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, two years after her debut Blood & Sugar was longlisted for the award in 2020. Robinson’s evocative novel transports readers to the seedy underworld of Georgian London, as Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham tries to solve the murder of a prostitute in the infamous Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, an investigation which will delve into the darkest corners of high society.

Bestselling author Mick Herron is longlisted for Slough House, the tenth instalment in his series of the same name, which was recently adapted by Apple TV as spy drama Slow Horses, starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas. Herron will be hoping to take home the prize this year, with 2022 marking the fifth time in the past six years he has secured a place on the shortlist.

Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan, the first in a new series chronicling the investigations of India’s first female police detective, marks Khan’s first time reaching the shortlist. The novel introduces readers to Inspector Persis Wadia as she is plucked from obscurity in a basement office and tasked with solving the murder of an English diplomat as the country prepares to become the world’s biggest republic.

Finally, The Last Thing to Burn sees bestselling author and New Blood 2018 panellist Will Dean move away from the Nordic setting of his acclaimed Tuva Moodyson series in favour of a claustrophobic thriller set on the British fenlands. The Last Thing to Burn, which has secured Dean his first ever placement on the shortlist, sees a woman held captive in a remote cottage by a man who calls her Jane and insists she is his wife. She has long abandoned hopes of escape, until she finds a reason to live and finds herself watching and planning, waiting for the right moment to act. 

The six novels shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022 are:

·       The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths (Quercus Fiction)

·       True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (Doubleday)

·       Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd Robinson (Mantle/Pan)

·       Slough House by Mick Herron (Baskerville)

·       Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton)

·       The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean (Hodder & Stoughton)

Simon Theakston, Executive Director of Theakston, added“What a fantastic shortlist, six thrilling tales which deliver shocking twists and unforgettable characters! We raise a glass of Theakston Old Peculier to all of the shortlistees and look forward to revealing the winner in July as we kick off the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.”

Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, commented: “We are delighted to announce this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year shortlist, featuring six novels by some of the most exciting crime writers working today. Whisking readers around the world and through time, this shortlist is a fantastic demonstration of the variety to be found in crime fiction. The public has a tough task ahead of choosing just one winner and we can’t wait to see who they vote for!”

The public is now invited to vote for a winner at www.harrogatetheakstoncrimeaward.com. Voting closes on Friday 8th July, with the winner to be revealed on the opening night of Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Thursday 21st July. The winner will receive a £3,000 prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by T&R Theakston Ltd.

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year is run by Harrogate International Festivals sponsored by T&R Theakston Ltd, in partnership with Waterstones and the Express, and is open to full-length crime novels published in paperback from 1 May 2021 to 30 April 2022 by UK and Irish authors.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, New Books

Sharpe’s Skirmish Bernard Cornwell @BernardCornwell @booksonthehill  @lovebookstours  @igbooktours #SharpesSkirmish #dyslexiafriendlyfiction

Books on the Hill

It is the summer of 1812, and Richard Sharpe, newly recovered from the wound he received in the fighting at Salamanca, is given an easy duty; to guard a Commissary Officer posted to an obscure Spanish fort where there are some captured French muskets to repair. 

But unknown to the British, the French are planning a lightning raid across the River Tormes, and they reckon the obscure Spanish fort, which guards an ancient bridge across the river, will be lightly guarded. Sharpe is in for a fight.

Bernard Cornwell OBE is a global bestselling historical fiction author of more than 50 novels. His Napoleonic Wars series following Richard Sharpe was made into much-loved TV series starring Sean Bean. More recently, the BBC adapted his Last Kingdom series, set in King Alfred’s Anglo-Saxon kingdom.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

This format of the ever-popular Sharpe adventures is dyslexia-friendly adult historical fiction. The background, font, spacing and length of this book make it accessible. The story captures the essence of the enigmatic Sharpe and his adventures in the Napoleonic wars. I like this series, but if you are a new reader, this provides an enticing introduction to the characters and their stories.

Dyslexic-friendly fiction for adults by BOTH Press

Following their successful “Open Dyslexia” Kickstarter in 2021, which led to publishing eight dyslexia-friendly fiction titles, BOTH Press is launching on June 7th 2022, their second Kickstarter “Open Dyslexia: the sequel” with more high-profile authors than ever before, lasting 30 days and finishing on the July 4th 2022

The Kickstarter aims to publish eight more titles of high-quality fiction from bestselling authors: including household names such as Bernard Cornwell and Peter James. 

The line-up includes many front-list authors such as Gareth Powell, J.M Alvey(aka Juliet Mckenna), Scott Oden, Snorri Krisjanason, and James Bennett.

Peter James will also be doing an introduction for the 2022 collection.  

There are very few initiatives for reading for pleasure for adults. The eight titles BOTH Press has already published are the only readily available dyslexia-friendly fiction for adults in the UK and can be found in libraries and any bookshop. The scale of accessibility is not nearly enough, as around 10% of the UK population deal with some form of dyslexia.

Despite Jay Blades’s (the Presenter of ‘Repair Shop’) unique telling of his learning to read in the documentary ‘Learning To Read At 51’, which the BBC recently aired, there are still few or no resources for adult dyslexia. A glance at Adult dyslexics charity websites and reading charity websites indicates there are few resources on reading fiction for pleasure for adults with dyslexia.

“It is frustrating that we now have children’s books in dyslexia-friendly formats. As adults, we apparently do not require books in the same form.”

Dyslexic blogger Suzy Taylor who writes for Dyslexia Scotland

There needs to be a choice for people to read for pleasure, where there are books designed to be friendly to them and are not dumbed down, are high quality and enjoyable fiction, which people can chat and socialise about with friends and family.

 “This book shop is doing incredible things and helping people to fall in love with reading again” [and] “I love the fact and the thought that has gone through on these [titles] with the spacing, the font, with the colour of the paper and the way that the book just flows.”

Darren Clarke, the director of Succeed with Dyslexia.

BOTH Press has had many heart-warming responses about how the books have impacted their lives. 

“Many individuals who have told us their stories do not want to be mentioned due to fear of stigma about their struggle to read. For example, a man in his 50s in Scotland had not read a book since he was a child. His partner found us and bought him one of our titles. He read it. Then called us up to order another. He was so happy to actually read. In fact, the partner wrote us a letter explaining how much of a difference it is making and then ordered the four more for a Christmas present.” 

Dr Alistair Sims

BOTH aim to raise £16,000 to publish eight titles. Though looking to the future, they will need more than £20,000 a year to keep publishing eight titles regularly. All funds go toward the book production/ life cycle to make them readily available. The bookshop Books on the Hill and their manager Alistair Sims, who created BOTH Press, receive no profits from the project.  

Further information

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Gothic Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Paranormal, Romance, Romantic Comedy

The Forgotten House on the Moor Jane Lovering 5*#Review @janelovering @BoldwoodBooks #friendship #romance #relationships #secrets #selfbelief #psychology #NorthYorkshireMoors #gothic #mystery #ghosts #supernatural @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #TheForgottenHouseOnTheMoor

Mystery, mayhem, a manor house and a generous serving of romance… 

When the police knock on Alice Donaldson’s door at 4am, she knows the news won’t be good. There’s been an accident involving her ex-husband Grant, and as his existing next of kin, they need her help.

Grant is missing up on the North York moors, but the Grant Alice knew could barely be persuaded out on a walk around the block. What on earth possessed him to go on a hike in the middle of the night?

Alice soon finds herself working with Grant’s girlfriend Jenna and Jenna’s gorgeous ‘Lord of the family Manor’ brother Max, to find out what has happened, and what caused Grant’s accident at The Fortune House – the spooky house out on the moors.

The locals tell all manner of ghoulish stories about The Fortune House, which Alice is not minded to listen to. But before long, things take a turn for the strange and Max and Alice have a new mystery to solve. While all the while Alice can’t help hoping she might meet the requirements to be Max’s ‘Lady of the Manor’ at his country pile, Hatherleigh Hall.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The Forgotten House on the Moor delivers the mystery and gothic elements it promises. The original plot also has gentle romance, self-realisation for the main characters and lots of humorous moments that this author writes so well. Alice is not unhappy but unfulfilled when she receives an unexpected visit from the police with some surprising news it provokes her into action. The story that follows is full of humour, mystery and romance.

Complex characters that develop as the story progresses make this an engaging read. The well-written ghostly element adds depth to the story, and I liked the final twist.

Jane Lovering is the bestselling and award-winning romantic comedy writer who won the RNA Novel of the Year Award in 2012 with Please Don’t Stop the Music. She lives in Yorkshire and has a cat and a bonkers terrier, as well as five children who have now left home. 

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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 Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Note to Self Anna Bell 5*Review @AnnaBell_writes @HQStories #romcom #contemporaryfiction #life #love #friendship #relationships #romance #humour #secondchance #blogtour #bookreview

It’s never too late to follow your heart.

One summer’s day seventeen years ago Edie and Joel meet.
Their connection is instant and a friendship is born, although Edie can’t help but wish for more. But just as she builds up the courage to lay her heart on the line, one night changes everything…

Edie’s moved on from the heartbreak of years ago. So the last thing she expects to receive on her thirty-fifth birthday is an email… from her eighteen-year-old self. As more emails arrive, she starts to remember what – or rather who – she left behind.

Following her own advice, Edie heads back to the place where it all began and finds her path unexpectedly crossing with Joel’s once more. Could this finally be their chance at love? Or are some things better left in the past?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Edie runs a successful family business, owns her flat and has a boyfriend who suits her lifestyle, a perfect life looking in, but when she receives an email from her teenage self, it forces her to question her choices and find the life she wants.

I enjoyed this poignant mix of coming of age, romantic comedy and self-realisation that draws the reader in and keeps them engaged. The believable characters are easy to visualise, and Edie’s emotional journey is full of heartbreak and heartwarming moments. The ending is breathtakingly romantic and the perfect conclusion to this lovely story.