One unsolved murder. A best friend determined to right the wrongs of the past.
On the 21st August Tabitha Rice disappeared without a trace. All the signs point to murder, but no signs point to a murderer. The easiest answer is her husband, Rick. But he protests his innocence and there is little proof he is the murderer.
Annabella knows there is more to the story than what the police are telling. Tabitha was her best friend and she vows to uncover the truth.
As Annabella delves further into the past, she uncovers sides to Tabitha that she never saw coming, and she finds herself asking the question… Was this murder? Or is there more to Tabitha Rice’s story than meets the eye?
Naomi Joy is a pen name of a young PR professional who was formerly an account director at a prestigious PR firm in London. Writing from experience, she draws the reader in to the darker side of the uptown and glamorous, presenting realism that is life or death, unreliable and thrilling to page-turn.
Sex in The City meets Fifty Shades… (without the Red Room)
Amber can’t get Patrick out of her mind. Night after night he haunts her dreams . . . teasing her . . . pleasuring her . . . owning her body . . . until her alarm rings. Left unsatisfied night after night, she devises a plan to bring her fantasies to life—with a platinum wig, blue contact lenses, and a new persona.
Stay-at-home mom Debra adores her husband, but wishes for a little more spice and adventure in her life. She’s not even sure she’s ever had an orgasm! But when tragedy strikes, her dreams come true in ways she never imagined…or wanted.
Despite a hard life as a single black Muslim mother, up-and-coming fashion designer Zya finally has a successful business and a sense of security, despite the increasing persecution she and her daughter experience. But then a mysterious stranger comes into her life, challenging everything she thought she knew about love. But can it be real?
Gorgeous Dominque likes sex—wild, kinky, and lots of it. Secretly longing for something real and lasting, she settles for less, burying her insecurity and self-doubt between late-night trysts and anemia. But before long, she’s forced to face her fears, or succumb to them.
Four friends…each hiding behind a façade. But as fantasy clashes with reality, things aren’t always as they appear.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
There are some great characters in this story which explores contemporary relationships. The dynamic between the main protagonists is believable. The women are likeable and relatable. Everyone has secrets, which makes this story, intense, and suspenseful.
The well written sensual fantasy theme gives the story an erotic edge. It adds to the characters’ complexity. Facade, is an intriguing start, to what promises to be, a page-turning series.
After 35+ years in operations for various businesses (including her own), Melody pursued her dream of writing a novel. Having written for business publications, local magazines and even publishing a poem, Chemo’s not for Sissies, during treatment after her first cancer diagnosis, it was time to finish the novel that was started many years ago. When she started writing, “Facade: Things Aren’t Always as They Appear,” she had no idea where her characters were going to take her. “The story basically wrote itself. It was like a movie projector playing in my mind,” is how she describes her experience. It soon became apparent, their voices were not to be silenced… “The Unbroken Series” was born. “Deja Vu: Here We Go Again,” Book II, to be released June 23, 2020, followed by C’est la Vie, Book III, in December.
Melody lives with her husband in her native home state Florida. She’s blessed to be alive today after two cancer diagnoses and enjoys watching her grandchildren grow up; something she doesn’t take for granted.
United by tragedy, can two broken souls make each other whole?
After the tragic loss of his wife, Helen, Luke Hansard is desperate to keep her memory alive. In an effort to stay close to her, he reaches out to an online friend Helen often mentioned: a reclusive photographer with a curious interest in beautiful but broken objects. But first he must find her—and she doesn’t want to be found.
Orla Kendrick lives alone in the ruins of a remote Suffolk castle, hiding from the haunting past that has left her physically and emotionally scarred. In her fortress, she can keep a safe distance from prying eyes, surrounded by her broken treasures and insulated from the world outside.
When Luke tracks Orla down, he is determined to help her in the way Helen wanted to: by encouraging her out of her isolation and back into the world. But Orla has never seen her refuge as a prison and, when painful secrets and dangerous threats begin to resurface, Luke’s good deed is turned on its head.
As they work through their grief for Helen in very different ways, will these two broken souls be able to heal?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest reveiw.
This story immerses the reader in the characters from the first page. Helen is likeable and about to pursue her dreams when fate intervenes. Helen is integral to the story and resonates throughout. Luke is lost and desperate to hold on to his wife’s memory. Taking a present to her online friend is a positive way to do this, but it fraught with difficulties.
Reclusive Orla is hiding from herself and life, but with good reason. Luke visit draws her back into the world, painful though it is forcing her to confront her fears. I like Orla and enjoyed her courageous fight back to life rather than existence.
The community surrounding the cottage are positive and supportive of Orla. The analogy of seeing the beauty in broken things is the major theme of this story and shows the power of acceptance, understanding and life experience.
This is a lovely story of serendipitous friendship and overcoming fear. It shows that through acceptance and understanding, life can be beautiful, despite being less than perfect.
Victoria Connelly studied English Literature at Worcester University, got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a young springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler Films in Germany. The Runaway Actress was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel award.
Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.
A family reunited on a holiday of a lifetime…what could possibly go wrong?
When 70-year-old Charlotte Perkins submits an essay to the ‘Become a Jetsetter’ contest, she dreams of reuniting her estranged children: Lee, an almost-famous actress; Cord, a handsome Manhattan venture capitalist; and Regan, a harried mother who has never forgiven Charlotte for buying her a Weight Watchers gift certificate for her birthday.
But when she wins the cruise, the reality is not quite as she expected. As they sail from sun-drenched Athens, to glorious Rome, to tapas-laden Barcelona, lovers old and new join the adventure, and long-buried secrets are revealed.
Can four lost adults find their way back to themselves, and to each other? And more importantly, can they do it without killing each other?
A funny and deliciously sun-scented novel about the courage it takes to reveal our true selves, the pleasures and perils of family, and how we navigate the seas of adulthood to cruise – we can only hope – toward joy.
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story has the perfect mix of family drama and exciting holiday destinations. Charlotte is determined to reunite her family after losing her closest friend. Entering a writing competition, to win a cruise, seems the right thing to do. The story gives insight into past relationships and secrets the family members are keeping. The cruise ship setting works well. There’s nowhere to run, and this intensifies family tensions.
Brittle and flawed characters gradually share their past and present issues, making them easy to empathise. The family dynamic is complex but relatable. The intense emotion relieved by humorous moments.
The vividly described holiday locations add contrast to the story too. The vibrant imagery makes this story a sensory delight. The perfect balance to the literary dialogue as the family drama unfolds.
Giacomo is stuck in a funk he can’t shake – and a translation he can’t finish. When he’s summoned home to Sardinia, to say a final goodbye to his dying grandmother, he’s offered the perfect opportunity to escape.
On the noisy, sun-drenched island, Giacomo reconnects with long-lost friends and overbearing relatives, relives the childhood he once couldn’t wait to leave behind, and rediscovers new joie-de-vivre within him. Never mind that he’s making no progress on his translation. . .
When the time comes to leave once more, Giacomo wonders: has he fallen back in love with his home-island? Or has he been hiding from something which he needs the courage to return and confront?
But most importantly – is his grandma really as ill as she’s claiming to be?
I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story has an autobiographical quality about it. Giacomo is a translator returning to his home village in Sardinia when his grandmother falls ill. The remote village setting and the quirky characters that live there, give this story its humour, intrinsic interest and poignancy.
Giacomo is at a crossroads in his life. He uses his time in the village, to come to terms with this and make sense of his existence. There are memories revisited and acquaintances renewed, which create a web of anecdotes and experiences rather than a linear plotted story.
There are literary references and insight into the life of translator which Giacomo equates with his status, the ‘nearly’ man. It’s not a commercial book. It is an insight into an ordinary man’s life in a unique place, fascinating but not always relatable.
Three women. One summer reunion. Secrets will be revealed…
Villa Dolce Vita, a rambling stone house on the Amalfi Coast, sits high above the Gulf of Naples amidst dappled lemon groves and the fragrant, tumbling bougainvillea. Kim, Colette and Annie all came to the villa in need of escape and in the process forged an unlikely friendship.
Now, years later, Kim has transformed the crumbling house into a luxury retreat and has invited her friends back for the summer to celebrate.
But as friendships are rekindled under the Italian sun, secrets buried in the past will come to light, and not everyone is happy that the three friends are reuniting… Each woman will have things to face up to if they are all to find true happiness and fully embrace the sweet life.
An epic summer read about food, friendship and the magic of Italy.
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon HQ in return for an honest review.
The bright sunny cover reflects the perfect summer escapism this novel provides. A story of angst friendship and secrets plays out over two-time frames. Despite their different background and lives, a lifelong friendship is formed at the Villa Dolce Vita in Italy between three women.
The Italian location is vibrant and the perfect contrast to the deceit and secrets. Complex, flawed protagonists draw the reader into their stories. The plot has surprises, and it’s pace intensifies, as it reveals its secrets.
Would you take the second chance you’ve always dreamed of?
It’s been ten years since Emma Stevens last laid eyes on Jake Murray. When he left the small seaside village of South Quay to chase the limelight, Emma’s dreams left with him.
Now Emma is content living a quiet and uneventful life in South Quay. It’s far from the life she imagined, but at least her job at the local hotel has helped heal her broken heart.
But when Jake returns home for the summer to escape the spotlight, Emma’s feelings quickly come flooding back. There’s clearly a connection between them, but Jake has damaged her heart once already – will she ever be able to give him a second chance?
I received a copy of this book from Headline Accent via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is an emotional, romantic story. Set in an idyllic south coast seaside town, first love, teenage mistakes and lost opportunity all feature, in this second chance story.
Emma considers her life choices when her first love Jake returns to the town ten years later. With flashbacks to their teenage life, the story is full of angst and conflict balanced with may humorous moments.
Emma is flawed but easy to empathise. Affected by past decisions, she needs to move on, but can’t until she sees Jake again. Jake is arrogant and world-weary. Eventually, he gains insight, and the chance of a happy-ever-after is feasible.
The cast of characters make the story believable and balance the intensity between Emma and Jake.
The story flows and has an addictive quality that keeps you reading enjoyably until the conclusion.
Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing, was published when it won a national writing competition. She has worked at a variety of jobs from stable girl to child actors’ chaperone to legal administrator, but now writes full time. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre watching a musical, or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Athens – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.
Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity, but there’s been nothing calm or peaceful about her life since her marriage broke up.
This stay-at-home mum has no job skills, an out-of-control sixteen-year-old son, a talkative fourteen-year-old who’s suddenly gone silent, a six-year-old daughter whose heart is broken, an ex-husband whose younger girlfriend is expecting their baby and two best friends who think she’s somehow qualified to help them open a fitness spa for women.
But if Maddie is a tad on edge with all that on her plate, it’s nothing compared to the chaos that ensues when she discovers that her son’s baseball coach has feelings for her and the whole town disapproves. Maddie’s faced a lot of challenges lately with strength and resolve, but Cal Maddox may turn out to be more than she can handle.
Then again, he could just be the one man in all of South Carolina who can help her find serenity.
Dana Sue might run the best little restaurant in Serenity, but when you’re feeding a small town things can get a bit hot in the kitchen.
Never mind that she’s putting on too many pounds (an occupational hazard for a chef)-she’s worried about her too-skinny teenage daughter, Annie.
But sometimes life picks strange ways to mend fences. When Annie lands in the hospital, Dana Sue reaches out to the man she loves to hate: Ron, the husband who took her heart when she threw him out. Ron is still Annie’s white knight, even if he’s decidedly more tarnished in Dana Sue’s eyes. But he still looks good enough to eat, and maybe, just maybe, to forgive.
Once, Ron made the mistake of letting go without a proper fight. But now Dana Sue is about to get another taste of sweet devotion from a man tired of feeling like a fool, hungry for that slice of heaven he found with her.
I received copies of these books from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Currently, a NetFlix series this story set in Serenity South Carolina is a heartwarming mix of family drama friendship and small-town romance. Focusing on the Sweet Magnolias, best friends Maddie, Dana Sue and Helen have a lifelong friendship. Maddie is the focus of Stealing Home.
Family drama when Maddie’s marriage ends unexpectedly, a new career and forbidden romance all contribute to this story’s addictive quality. There’s a believable dynamic between the three women, as they unite against double standards and malicious gossip. Maddie’s emotional journey is realistic and uplifting. Her gentle romance with Cal is the spice in the story, but her doubts are authentic and keep you guessing.
A Slice of Heaven
A Slice of Heaven the second book of the Sweet Magnolias’ series focuses on Dana Sue. This story has the same small town ethos and heartwarming friendship but explores eating disorders and their effect on families and friendships. Annie Dana Sue’s daughter has Anorexia. Annie’s story is complex and poignant.
There is a second chance romance between Dana Sue and Ronnie to balance the emotional drama. Ronnie is not easy to empathise but does have redeeming qualities.
Sometimes the best holidays are the ones you least expect…
After a long and turbulent year, Sarah is dreaming of the five-star getaway her sister has booked them on. White sands, cocktails, massages, the Caribbean is calling to them.
But the sisters turn up to tatty beaches, basic wooden shacks, a compost toilet and outdoor cold water showers. It turns out that at the last minute Amy decided a conservation project would be much more fun than a luxury resort.
So now Sarah’s battling mosquitos, trying to stomach fish soup and praying for a swift escape. Life on a desert island though isn’t all doom and gloom. They’re at one with nature, learning about each other and making new friends. And Sarah is distracted by the dishy, yet incredibly moody, island leader she’s sure is hiding a secret.
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus – Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Humour, originality and romance are all integral to this motivational story. There are good intentions, misunderstandings and an idyllic if not expected setting. Deeper issues of controlling behaviour and conservation add depth and engagement.
Forced out of her comfort level, Sarah confronts issues caused by her difficult childhood. She is conflicted but easy to empathise. Gentle romance is the catalyst for her emotional journey, which is positive and satisfying.
Extract from Summer Island Swop – Samantha Tonge
‘I’ll still have to clear it at work. I’m not sure how Prue will feel about me taking a month off.’
Just the mention of my boss’s name made my stomach knot.
‘No one’s indispensable. Not even wonderful you,’ she called back.
My chest felt warm. Over recent years, Amy had matured and started to look out for me, cooking dinner and mowing the lawn. However, I’d never lose my maternal feelings towards her. When we were ten and six ours was quite an age gap. As was eighteen and fourteen when I’d had to leave her behind with Dad but promised we’d live together again. I beat the sugar and butter, remembering her tears and his folded arms as I dragged my suitcase past the fountain and out of the huge driveway, into the street. I’d finally realised I had to leave after… I swallowed. No. I wasn’t going to think about that now.
I let Nelly into the back garden, busied myself with ingredients and cleaned up whilst the cookies baked. Their sweet aroma wafted through the air as I carried them into the lounge, on a tray, with two coffees.
‘Good timing,’ said Amy and turned off her screen, looking pleased with herself. I put the tray on the table and joined her.
‘Is it all booked?’
She nodded. ‘A modest deposit paid. The rest is due in the middle of June, two weeks before we leave.’
‘Can’t you at least share which part of the world we’re visiting?’
‘That would be telling,’ she replied airily and took the largest cookie.
I jumped up and held her right arm firm whilst tickling the armpit. ‘I won’t stop until I find out, Amy Sterling.’
However, she was as strong as me these days and, giggling, held the cookie in her mouth and forced both of my hands away. I sat down once more. I recognised that expression. She was determined to keep her secret. Sometimes, with my impulsive sister, that could be a dangerous thing, like when she’d agreed to do a charity skydive with colleagues at work. She didn’t tell me until the morning of the jump.
‘Just a clue. A teeny one,’ I said. ‘Please…’
‘I’ve never seen you this excited before. Well, not since you were made assistant manager. Oh, and the time you found that fancy moisturiser for half price.’
‘It wasn’t just any moisturiser. The Duchess of Cambridge uses it.’ I pressed my palms together. ‘At least let me guess… the Canary Islands? Barbados? Australia’s an island, right? I mean, you and me – we share most things, don’t we?’
‘Best buddies, always,’ she said solemnly.
It was a promise we’d made to each other, the day after Mum’s funeral. And sure enough, we confided in each other about our latest celebrity crushes, about our dreams for the future; we put the world to rights over Chardonnay and Pringles. I knew her favourite colour, favourite food, favourite band. She could always tell when I’d had a stressful day at work and, without prying, would make me a hot chocolate, fetch a blanket and switch on my current Netflix obsession.
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.
When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.
She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo and in 2020 her novel Knowing You won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award.
Escape to Everdene, where the sun is shining and the tide is about to turn . . .
Robyn and Jake are planning their dream wedding at the family beach hut. Just their favourite people, a picnic on the sand and dancing barefoot until sunset: simple, stylish, special.
But Robyn can’t stop thinking about her birth mother, or the box she left when she gave Robyn up for adoption. Is now the right time to open it and discover the truth – or will she break the hearts of the people she loves most?
Sheila and Mick, Robyn’s parents, also feel the time is right for change. But it’s going to take courage to start the life they want for themselves.
And far away, Emily is still haunted by the life-changing decision she made one summer, thirty years ago. What could lead a mother to relinquish her child?
As the big day approaches, can everyone let go of the past and step into a bright new future?
One thing is certain: this will be the wedding that changes everything …
I received a copy of this book from Orion in return for an honest review.
This book has all the ingredients for a perfect escapist read. There are complex and engaging characters who are easy to empathise, a delightful coastal setting with a quintessential English beach hut and a family drama that oozes with emotion, love and secrets.
Robyn’s life is about the change in the best of ways she pregnant and getting married. A likeable quirky character she is one half of a successful landscaping team with her partner in life Jake Her only quandary is whether to search for her birth mother.
This story weaves storylines of loss and love with effortless ease. The wedding is the focal point but it’s about so much more.
Veronica Henry is the Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty novels. She was a scriptwriter for some of our best-loved dramas such as The Archers, Heartbeat and Holby City before she turned to fiction. She lives in North Devon with three sons who come and go with the tide, and she flips between walking on the beach, swimming in the sea and mixing killer Negronis.