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, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Suspense

We All Have Our Secrets Jane Corry 5*#Review @JaneCorryAuthor @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks #WeAllHaveOurSecrets #BookReview #FamilyDrama #secrets #lies #PsychologicalThriller #domesticthriller #Suspense #preorder

YOU KNOW SHE’S LYING . . . BUT SO ARE YOU

Two women are staying in Willowmead House.

One of them is running.
One of them is hiding.
Both of them are lying.


Emily made one bad decision, and now her career could be over. Her family home on the Cornish coast is the only place where she feels safe. But when she arrives, there’s a stranger living with her father. Emily doesn’t trust the beautiful young woman, convinced that she’s telling one lie after another.

Soon, Emily becomes obsessed with finding out the truth . . . But should some secrets stay buried forever?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Emily is a midwife, dedicated but overworked, and when she makes a mistake, she runs to her Cornish childhood home. Her elderly father has dementia; she has avoided going home in the past, but now she has nowhere else. Francoise is her father’s carer. Her presence undermines Emily. Told from Emily and Francoise’s viewpoints, the reader is immersed in their emotions and motivation but are their perceptions of the situation reliable? Harold’s viewpoint from 1945 gives the reader insight into his younger self and the events that shaped his character.

The author builds a domestic world full of mistrust and simmering anger. All the characters are hard to empathise with at some point in the story. I enjoyed the detailed characterisation, the plot’s originality and the emotion woven into the story. The quality of the characters and clever plot twists make this an addictive domestic suspense.

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 Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Motivational, New Books, Parenting and Famlies

The Gin Sisters’ Promise Faith Hogan 5* #Review @GerHogan @AriaFiction @Hoz_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #secrets #lies #familydrama #SecondChance #Friendship #Life #siblings #Motivational #uplit #IrishFiction #TheGinSistersPromise #MondayBlogs

Three estranged sisters. Six months to come back together.
When Georgie, Iris and Nola’s mother died and their father disappeared into his grief, the sisters made a pact: they would always be there for one another, no matter what.
Now, decades later, they haven’t spoken for years and can barely stand to be in the same room. As his health declines, their father comes up with a plan to bring them back to one another. In his will, he states that before they can claim their inheritance, they must spend six months living together in their childhood home in the village of Ballycove, Ireland, and try to repair their broken relationships.
As the months’ progress, old resentments boil over, new secrets threaten to come out and each sister must decide what matters more: their pride, or their family. Can they overcome their past and find a way to love each other once more?

Amazon Kobo Google Play Apple 1Bookshop.org Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Three estranged sisters reunited at their father’s funeral; he wanted them to rekindle their childhood closeness, so he made their inheritance conditional on their living and working together where they grew up. The three sisters, Georgie, Iris and Nola, all have secrets in their lives they don’t want to reveal, and the tension of their first meeting and initial time together is palpable.

The character-driven storytelling is excellent. It has believably flawed characters who grow with self-realisation and renewal of sisterly bonds. The gradual revealing of past hurts lets the reader understand why the sisters behave as they do. The setting on the west coast of Ireland is crucial to the story. It weaves its reflective magic in the sisters’ lives and helps them, and their relationships heal.

The Gin Sisters’ Promise is the perfect story to escape with, a medley of heartbreak and heartwarming moments.

Faith Hogan

Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and two very fussy cats. She has an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology, Faith has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

Twitter Facebook Website Instagram

Read my review of The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club

Posted in Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, International Thriller, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Science Fiction

Aurora David Koepp 4*#Review #DavidKoepp @HQStories #SCFI #Dystopian #SolarFlare #CarringtonEffect #relationships #FamilyDrama #Siblings #community #adventurefiction #technothriller #internationalthriller #blogtour #bookreview #Aurora

When the lights go out no one is safe…

A planet without power.
When a solar storm hits the earth, the lights go out across the planet. But this time the blackout won’t be over soon – it could last for years. Aubrey and her stepson now face the biggest challenge of their lives.

 
A society without rules.
Soon they hear rumours of riots, the struggle for food becomes real, and even within their small communities, the rule of law is collapsing. Aubrey’s estranged brother Thom, a self-made billionaire who abandoned her years ago, retreats to a gilded desert bunker where he can ride out the crisis in perfect luxury.

 
A race to build a better world…
But the complicated history between the siblings is far from over, and what feels like the end of the world is just the beginning of a personal reckoning long overdue…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The author creates an atmospheric ethos, excellent characterisation and vivid sensory imagery in this dystopian styled adventure with a scientific edge. There is intricate world-building, setting the scene for the catastrophic event and the subsequent fallout. The characters are complex and believably flawed, and the story unfolds through their experiences and motivations. The scientific details create a believably menacing world that demands a lot from the characters, and the engaging quality is in finding out whether they will excel or fail in the new dark world.

Aurora is an exciting and thought-provoking read.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Humour, Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

Retreat to the Spanish Sun Jo Thomas 5*#Review @jo_thomas01 @TransworldBooks #RetreatottheSpanishSun #food #sun #friendship #mystery #intrigue #romance #family #selfrealisation #women #community #holidayfiction #humour

Will a summer escape be the answer she’s looking for?
Eliza has a full house! When her three children grew up and moved out, she
downsized to a smaller property… but now they’re all back.

Every room in the house is taken, and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter’s pug. Combined with the online course she’s trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn’t the peace and quiet that Eliza needs.

So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying ‘house-sitters wanted’, Eliza can’t resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural Finca in southern Spain, looking after the owner’s Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies… and finding a new zest for life and love along the way.

From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse comes a deliciously feel-good new story…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The humour and warmth are evident from the start of this heartwarming story full of friendship, mystery and romance. Eliza is a single mother whose children are now adults, and although they have all left home, they have now returned, and it’s crowded and full of angst. She is struggling with who she is apart from a mother of young adults and is studying for a new career but is not sure what it is yet. The chance to work as a homesitter in Southern Spain is scary but maybe just what she needs.

Josep is attractive but distant, but his house is lovely, and his dogs are adorable, so she looks forward to her new experience. There is humour when Eliza meets the pigs, and she soon finds skills she didn’t know she possessed. The Spanish Conversation Group is lovely and welcoming, but the problems begin when her employer returns unexpectedly.

I love the Spanish culture and food explored through the characters and the friendships between the women. The romance is gentle and believable, and the writing is full of sensory imagery, immersing the reader in the story.

The author has written a lovely, romantic story with an excellent sense of place and people and an emotional journey of self-realisation for Eliza.

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’4’soWoman’sour and Radio 2’2’she Steve Wright Show.

Jo’s debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller and won both the RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award.

Her recent book Escape to the French Farmhouse was a #1 bestselling eBook, and in every one of her novels, Jo loves to explore new countries and discover the food produced there, both of which she thoroughly enjoys researching.

Jo lives in Pembrokeshire with her husband and three children, where cooking and gathering around the kitchen table are a hugely important and fun part of their family life.

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, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller, Travel

One of the Girls Lucy Clarke 5*#Review @lucyclarkebooks @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #BookReview #GreekIsland #HenWeekend #relationships #friendship #love #secrets #psychologicalthriller #psychological #suspense #OneoftheGirls #PublicationDay

WE WERE DYING FOR A HOLIDAY

The six of us arrived on that beautiful Greek island dreaming of sun-drenched beaches and blood orange sunsets, ready to lose ourselves in the wild freedom of a weekend away with friends.

On the first night, we swam under a blanket of stars.

On the second night, the games began on our clifftop terrace.

On the third night, the idyll cracked, secrets and lies whispering in the breeze.

And by the final night, there was a body on the rocks below . . .

WHO WOULD KILL FOR IT?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Six women spend a Hen weekend on a remote Greek Island, in an idyllic villa away from civilisation. Sounds lovely, and the island and coastal villa are, but not everyone wants to be there, and not everyone is what they first seem. Atmospheric and claustrophobic the tension deepens as the women’s secrets unravel. The villa’s setting is picturesque but close to an unforgiving cliff drop.

Told from the six women’s viewpoints, the reader learns about their pasts, motivations for being on the island, and relationship dynamics. Each character is believably flawed and unreliable in their perceptions of past events and present relationships. All have secrets, and the air of menace increases as proximity makes friendships falter.

I like the detailed characterisations and the dynamic between the women. It explores themes of bullying, parenting and self-realisation through the characters, and all develop in complex ways as the story progresses. The intensity is palpable and keeps the reader riveted. The twists are dramatic, and the ending is impactful and perfectly paced.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

Beach House Summer Sarah Morgan 5*#Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #BeachRead #Summer #Family #Love #friendship #media #celebrity #HolidayFiction #relationships #secrets #publicationday #paperback #California #BeachHouseSummer

When Joanna Whitman’s famous ex-husband dies in a car accident, she doesn’t know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more painful secrets than she cares to remember. But when she discovers that the young woman with him in the crash is pregnant, Joanna feels compelled to act, knowing exactly how brutal the media spotlight will be on celebrity chef Cliff Whitman’s ex-wife and his mysterious female friend.

Ashley Blake can’t believe it when Joanna shows up in her hospital room and suggests they hide away at her beach house on a sleepy stretch of the California coast. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley can’t turn down Joanna’s offer. Yet she knows that if Joanna ever found out the real reason Ashley was in that car, their tentative bond would shatter instantly.

Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy, but her return causes major waves in the local community, especially for the man she left behind years ago. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future, and to avoid causing any trouble for Joanna. But as secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is about to be put to the test.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The death of celebrity chef and serial cheater Cliff draws two unlikely women together in an unexpected friendship. When his ex-wife Joanna decides to help pregnant Ashley, escaping to Joanna’s beach house to avoid the media means she has to face her past and the friends she left behind.

I love the emotion and the vivid characterisation in the multilayered story. Past loves and secrets all have to be faced, and friendship endures. The Californian coastal setting and the glamour of the beach house give the story vibrant, sensual imagery, adding authenticity.

This story has believably flawed characters, a great holiday setting and a complex set of relationships that deliver an engaging story.