Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Parenting and Famlies, Suspense

The Fallout Rebecca Thornton 4* #Review @RThorntonwriter @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #RandomThingsTours @annecater #BlogTour #BookReview #family #drama #friendship #psychological #suspense #parenting #children #thefallout

When Liza’s little boy has an accident at the local health club, it’s all anyone can talk about.

Was nobody watching him?
Where was his mother?
Who’s to blame?

The rumours, the finger-pointing, the whispers – they’re everywhere. And Liza’s best friend, Sarah, desperately needs it to stop.

Because Sarah was there when it happened. It was all her fault. And if she’s caught out on the lie, everything will fall apart.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK- Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story has a claustrophobic, immersive quality that draws you into the world of parenting in West London. Once there, it’s not a pleasant place to be, with its backstabbing, vicious gossip and judgy attitudes. It’s against this privileged setting that a psychological suspense drama unfolds, featuring Sarah and Liza, who are best friends, and what happens between them and their families after a tragic accident.

Liza and Sarah have dark secrets. Sarah and Liza are unreliable protagonists. Other points of view are revealed via social media group conversations, making the novel contemporary and vibrant. There is a sinister undercurrent in this story. Is it a product of a disturbed psyche or reality?

Character-driven and reflecting twenty-first-century issues, this is an addictive story created out of ordinary and often poignant events and secrets. It’s essential reading for lovers of domestic, psychological suspense and family drama.

Rebecca Thornton

Rebecca Thornton is an alumna of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course, where she was tutored by Esther Freud and Tim Lott. Her writing has been published in The Guardian, You Magazine, Daily Mail, Prospect Magazine and The Sunday People amongst others. She has reported from the Middle East, Kosovo and the UK. She now lives in
West London with her husband and two children. The Fallout is her third novel.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Humour, Parenting and Famlies

Grown Ups Marian Keyes 4*#Review @MichaelJBooks #MarianKeyes #BookReview #GrownUps #Family #Drama #humour #Secrets #lies #love #friendship

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.

Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.

Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . .

Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.

In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books UK – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This book has many positive qualities. It’s cleverly plotted, with complex and relatable characters, and a good balance of humour and poignancy. It explores family and personal issues, with honesty and sensitivity.

The dramatic beginning draws the reader into the family drama. Delving into past family interactions and individual stories, an astute and insightful look at the family reveals deceit, infidelity and mental health issues. There are many characters, some hard to empathise, but they all play an integral part in the unfolding story.

Its slow pace and length, make it an ideal holiday read?

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Family For Beginners Sarah Morgan 5* #Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #Family #Friendship #Love #Secrets

Who says you can’t choose your family?
When Flora falls in love with Jack, suddenly she’s not only handling a very cranky teenager, but she’s also living in the shadow of Jack’s perfect, immortalised wife, Becca. Every summer, Becca and Jack would holiday with Becca’s oldest friends and Jack wants to continue the tradition, so now Flora must face a summer trying to live up to Becca’s memory, with not only Jack’s daughter looking on, but with Becca’s best friends judging her every move…

The more Flora tries to impress everyone, the more things go horribly wrong…but as the summer unfolds, Flora begins pushing her own boundaries, and finding herself in a way that she never thought she needed to.

And she soon learns that families come in all shapes and sizes. 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Character-driven, this story focuses on Flora’s emotional journey, as she tries to be part of Jack’s broken and damaged family. Multi-points of view, showcase the tense relationships, within the family.

Flora is lovely, but lives to please, probably due to the lack of nurture in her childhood. This proves a stumbling block with Izzy, Jack’s seventeen-year-old, who resents Flora as an outsider. The story revisits a popular theme, but because of the characters’ complexity and relatability, gives it a believable contemporary and original interpretation.

Family, friendship, grief, loss and love are all explored. The second part of the story, set in the English Lake District, draws the story together and reveals secrets. Flora’s emotional journey is both, challenging and poignant.

Posted in Book Review, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

Her Sicilian Baby Revelation Michelle Smart 5* #Review @chellebellwrite @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonModern #Romance #Sicily #Italy

From unrivalled passion to an unforgettable revelation!

Orla O’Reilly knew the father of her three-year-old son must be out there somewhere. But suffering from amnesia, she’s unable to recall his name. Until Tonino returns, and suddenly their overwhelming connection comes flooding back…

Mills & Boon Modern – Seduction, glamour and sinfully seductive heroes await you in luxurious international locations.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An engaging romantic story, Glamorous, like you, expect from a Mills and Boon Modern, but with a strong emotional theme. The heroine copes with a less than idyllic parents, and the legacy of a terrible accident. Orla’s love for her son and her stepsister is believable and heartwarming. They drive her actions, as she copes with amnesia after a car accident, three years previously. The second unexpected meeting, between Tonino and Orla, is cleverly written, with undercurrents of guilt, passion and surprise. The gradual reveal of Orla’s memory culminates in a last poignant revelation that motivates her to seek her happy ever after.

Tonino is revengeful, to begin with, but avoids the stereotypical billionaire forcing the heroine, to his way of thinking. His character development and insight is refreshing and relatable and makes this story special. The inclusiveness of the story is also notable and welcome.

Passion meets parenting in a contemporary realistic way.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Guest post, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Starting Over At Acorn Cottage Kate Forster 5* #Review @kateforster @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost #UpLit #Friendship #Romance #DomesticAbuse #StartingOver #Lies #Secrets #Serendipity #VillageLife #Bereavement #Forgiveness

Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!

Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…

With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?

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I received a copy of this book from Aria-Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A story about gentle souls reeling from the harsher aspects of life, being drawn to a village whose life is ebbing away. The story is told from multi-point of view and explores how friendship love and a little bit of magic can transform lives and places.

Bereavement, domestic abuse and forgiveness are the story’s major themes. The horror of them sensitively portrayed. As is, the power of good friends, love and sharing dark secrets with someone you trust.

Even though the subject matter is dark, there is plenty of light in this story. Delightful characters, you want to succeed and a special older lady Tassie who is distinctly mystical. The conflicts are real and angst-ridden, but so is the love and understanding that overcomes them.

This is an engaging, heartwarming, story with characters that resonate.

When your dreams come trueGuest Post – Kate Forster

When I was a child I had a book called Lavinia’s Cottage by John S. Goodall. It was a pop-up book and it was my go-to book when I felt unwell or things in my small life felt too complicated. It was written for the illustrator’s granddaughter when she was four, the story, told entirely in pictures, was about a little girl who lived in a country cottage, with her grandmother. Because Lavinia is almost well from the measles, two of her friends and a grandmother visit Lavinia and her mother at their cottage. Lavinia spots them as they walk up and pops out of bed to show them all the wonderful things in the attic. There is a cupboard filled with old toys, and a rocking horse and at the end of the visit we know everyone has a grand time.

This is the front cover.

A close up of a sign

Description automatically generated
Lavinia’s Cottage – John S. Goodall

When I was an adult, I wrote a book about a woman who is hurt and betrayed and who buys a pink cottage that needs to be fixed and healed, just like her heart. I forgot about Lavinia’s Cottage until I saw the beautiful cover and it all came flooding back.

I had made my dream come true, just like Clara, the heroine of my new book.

This book was restorative to write. It is book about looking for a simpler life, about letting the ghosts of the past lead you to your true place of belonging, so they can find their peace and you can find your own inner calm. My pink cottage fantasy finally came true.

Buying a thatched cottage in the country may not be the usual cure for a broken heart. But after Clara Maxwell finds out her boyfriend and best friend have been sneaking around behind her back, packing her bags and leaving everything in London behind feels like it’s the only way forward.

Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!

Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…

With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?

Kate Forster

Kate Forster lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, two children and dogs and can be found nursing a laptop, surrounded by magazines and talking on the phone, usually all at once. She is an avid follower of fashion, fame and all things pop culture and is also an excellent dinner party guest who always brings gossip and champagne.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, Parenting and Famlies

So Lucky Dawn O'Porter 5*#Review @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK #dawnoporter #Women #Relationships #Love #Friendship #Life #Parenting #BookReview #BookBloggers

IS ANYONE’S LIFE . . .

Beth shows that women really can have it all.
Ruby lives life by her own rules.
And then there’s Lauren, living the dream.

AS PERFECT AS IT LOOKS? 

Beth hasn’t had sex in a year.
Ruby feels like she’s failing.
Lauren’s happiness is fake news.

And it just takes one shocking event to make the truth come tumbling out…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Three complex, contemporary female stories are interwoven to produce an insightful,poignant, and often humorous story that delves below the glamorous outer shell shown to the world.

The messy reality of Beth, Lauren and Ruby’s life is sensitively written, the final plot twists make the ending positive and uplifting.

Easy to read but thought-provoking.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Humour, Motivational, Parenting and Famlies

When Life Gives You Lemons Fiona Gibson 5*#Review @AvonBooksUK @FionaGibson #BlogTour #BookReview #Relationships #Family #Love #Life #Friendship #Parenting #motivational #Humour #women

Sometimes life can be bittersweet…

Between tending to the whims of her seven-year-old and the demands of her boss, Viv barely gets a moment to herself. It’s not quite the life she wanted, but she hasn’t run screaming for the hills yet.

But then Viv’s husband Andy makes his mid-life crisis her problem. He’s having an affair with his (infuriatingly age-appropriate) colleague, a woman who – unlike Viv – doesn’t put on weight when she so much as glances at a cream cake.

Viv suddenly finds herself single, with zero desire to mingle. Should she be mourning the end of life as she knows it, or could this be the perfect chance to put herself first?

When life gives you lemons, lemonade just won’t cut it. Bring on the gin!

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Viv is a lovely realistic character, so easy to like. When she finds out her husband is having an affair, it forces her to look at her life. Heartbroken, struggling to cope with her understandable anger, her dissatisfaction with life, and the menopause, she turns to her friends. Gradually Viv finds the courage to rediscover, the woman she is, and the life she wants.

Full of authentic family life moments, humour, poignancy and an unexpected dash of romance, this book is an easy, engaging read that makes you alternatively, empathise, and laugh out loud. The characters are vibrant and realistic, and the situations relatable. The well-paced plot keeps you entertained and the ending is hopeful.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Guest post, Parenting and Famlies

A Mother’s Secret Minna Howard 4*#Review @MinnaHowardMary @Aria_Fiction #AMothersSecret #FamilyDrama #Secrets #Relationships #GuestPost #BookReview #BlogTour

Verity seems to have it all. A beautiful home, two grown-up sons and a husband who has always been her rock. But one day, the doorbell rings. And it changes Verity’s life forever.

Saskia has nowhere else to go. Before she died, her mother left her with her father’s name and nothing else. The only way for Saskia to take care of herself – and her unborn baby – is to find the father she never knew. And the family that didn’t know she existed. 

This family secret means the end of everything they’ve ever known. But could it also be the chance for a new beginning?

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I received a copy of this book from Aria-Fiction in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Verity is coming to terms with an empty nest, her two boys are at university and her husband’s new job means he’s away a lot of the time. She is a teacher, helping young people who struggle with learning. She has good friends and knows she can build, a new life.

On her first day alone, she has an unexpected visitor, a young woman Saskia. When she finds out, why she’s there, Verity is understandably stunned. Despite her wariness, she takes control and doesn’t judge. Attempting to achieve the best outcome for everyone, in a difficult and unexpected situation.

Saskia is in an emotional wilderness, recently bereaved, pregnant, with the baby’s father overseas, she is looking for a lifeline. Nathan, Verity’s husband, who Saskia believes is her father, is it. In reality, it’s Verity, not Nathan who is driving force. This story is about women, and how they cope with crises and keep the family together.

The story is emotional. The characters and their motivations are believable, and the plot although simple showcases this character-driven story well. The pacing and writing style, are classical, with the emphasis on narrative and retro dialogue. This doesn’t detract from the story, just gives it a distinctive voice that will appeal to many readers of family drama and relationships.

The ending offers realistic hope for future happiness and the possibility of a follow-up story.

Guest Post – Minna Howard – A Mother’s Secret

Idea for the plot for A Mother’s Secret

Ideas for books are often a mystery and when one pops in your mind it is a great relief to set off on a hopefully, exciting journey.

Before the arrival of reliable testing, men could never be sure if they were the biological father of a child. Apparently, in upper-class Victorian families, as long as a wife had given her husband an heir and a spare, no one took much notice if any other babies appeared in the nursery.

Now with modern testing, a person can find out who fathered them, which in itself has caused many upsets as well as joy. There have been such true stories in the press recently and they make a good plot for a novel.

Young men, (or not so young) might have affairs on holiday while far away from home and leave behind a child and never know. It was this situation that caught my imagination as a plot for A Mother’s Secret.

Also, the good old, ‘what would happen if?’ comes into it. Imagine how such a surprise might rock a stable marriage, if this cuckoo in the nest suddenly appears on the doorstep, needing help and support. A decent, loving husband who’d never been ‘unfaithful’ to his wife, though had had a few flings before he met her when he was young and fancy-free, discovers now, to his surprise and even horror, that that time has produced a person who is part of him. How does it affect the family, the other children and his wife?

I usually write about families, decent people chugging along, doing their best until something or someone, barges in to overturn everything they believed in, change the dynamics of their family.

Will they survive it, become stronger, or might it be the last straw to break its back?

And what of the ‘child’, how do they feel and how do they and indeed their ‘baggage’ fit into this already established family, how do they all end up?

MinnaHoward

Minna has had an exciting career in fashion journalism and now writes full time, whilst enjoying time with her grandsons and working as an occasional film and TV extra. She lives in London.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Parenting and Famlies, Romantic Comedy

Erotic Fiction? Hannah Lynn 4* #Review @HMLynnauthor @rararesources #romcom #parenting #mumlife #humour #familydrama #BlogTour #BookReview

#EroticFiction?

There’s nothing sexy about her humdrum life as a mum. But is her husband’s crazy scheme a bit too exciting?


Sarah’s mind-numbing housewife existence is turning her brain to mush. With her third bun in the oven, this British mum is drowning under a mountain of playdates, bills, and head lice checks. But her man’s get-rich-quick idea of writing steamy novels isn’t her ideal way to dial up life’s passion.


Drew desperately wants a break from Sarah’s whinging. And if that means researching how to write racy books all by himself, then he’ll make the sacrifice. But as he finally warms Sarah up to the sultry side hustle, their R-rated private project gets publicly exposed…


With an office scandal brewing, it’s only a matter of time before gawking workers and a perfectly nosy PTA president turn them into social pariahs.
Can Sarah and Drew earn some extra income from sizzling lit without falling prey to stiff gossip?


Erotic Fiction is a charming comedy for fans of humorous fiction. If you like sweet love stories, endearing characters, and dry British humour, then you’ll adore Kindle Storyteller Award Winner Hannah Lynn’s delightful tale.


Buy Erotic Fiction to slip into something a little more lovable today!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I enjoyed this very British romantic comedy, full of laugh out loud moments, poignant interludes and witty retort.

Sarah is a stay-at-home-mum, expecting her third child, and wondering if she will ever see beyond the sleepless nights and tantrums. Drew loves his family, but wants to give them more, he wants Sarah to smile again, and quite by chance he finds an unusual avenue to improve the family bank balance.

This is a well-paced, easy to read, tale about children, financial struggles, marriage, parenting and relationships. It is written with vivid characters and events, that lets you visualise what is happening, it’s almost like watching a quintessentially Britsih sitcom, familiar, funny and farcical.

The plot is simple but effective and provides the perfect foil for the excellent characters. Sarah and Drew are relatable and easy to like, the cast of supporting players are noteworthy and give the story, authenticity and quirkiness that is appealing.

If you enjoy finding the humour in everyday life, with just a touch of fantasy, this story is recommended.

Hannah Lynn

Hannah Lynn is an award-winning novelist. Publishing her first book, Amendments – a dark, dystopian speculative fiction novel, in 2015, she has since gone on to write the multi-award-winning The Afterlife of Walter Augustus – a contemporary fiction novel with a supernatural twist, Fiona and the Whale – a thought-provoking romantic comedy and the delightfully funny and poignant Peas and Carrots series.

While she freely moves between genres, her novels are recognisable for their character-driven stories and wonderfully vivid description.

She is currently working on a YA Vampire series and a reimaging of a classic Greek myth.

Born in 1984, Hannah grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she has spent twelve years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then around Asia and Europe. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction. Now as a teacher, writer, wife and mother, she is currently living in the Jordan.

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

Sparky The Dragon Bus Sue Wickstead 5* #Review @JayJayBus #ChildrensBooks #PictureBooks #KidLit #Inclusion #Mobility #playbus @rararesources #BlogTour

SparkyTheDragonBus

Sparky isn’t your typical double-decker bus.

Behind the dragon and magical paintings, she’s full of fun and adventures for all children. Jump aboard to find out what makes Sparky so special

Back Cover

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Free 3D bus template with book orders from Sue Wickstead’s website or direct message to the author – https://www.suewickstead.co.uk/

#SparkyTheDragonBus

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

#SparkyTheDragonBus

My Thoughts…

Sparky transforms into a very special playbus for all children. Sparky is a little worried about being different from the other buses in the station, even though she is secretly proud of her new colourful paintwork. When she meets her new passengers, it all makes sense.

The’ Sparky The Dragon Bus’ story is based on a real play bus in Glasgow. Apart from her new interior and bright paintwork, Sparky has another feature, which she realises, means all children can enjoy her facilities.

This story shows the importance of inclusion, and how it can be achieved in a play environment. The illustrations complement the story and will appeal to those children not yet able to read themselves.

My grandson and I enjoyed reading this diverse, inclusive, beautifully illustrated story together. ‘Sparky The Dragon Bus’ is a lovely motivational addition to the Jay-Jay Bus series of children’s books.

#SparkyTheDragonBus
Sue Wickstead

I am an author and a teacher and have written six children’s picture books, all with a bus included somewhere.

Having been able to share my first book, ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, it was time to think about writing a book for younger readers.

While visiting a local school the children were writing stories about a journey, we read Jay-Jay’s book and then I remembered a book that I had written some years before and I read this to the class too, and they loved it.

The original story was based on a walk with my class around the neighbourhood of Bewbush, Crawley. The walk had led to map work and sequencing. Then together with the class I wrote an imaginative adventure.

The events we imagined were put into a class book. The book was shared with many classes and it was always a favourite.

Now years later I decided it was time to update, improve and look at publishing the book.

There is indeed a walk around the district of Bewbush. and following the publication of the book I went back to see if and how the neighbourhood had changed.

‘Oh, I see you have written a book without a bus!’ commented a friend.

But, look through the pages and you will see there always has to be a bus!

The neighbourhood of Bewbush was a new estate built in Crawley town in the 1970’s. The area was built without any shops, school or safe places for children to play. It was an area of high need and was supported by a special playbus which offered a much-needed playgroup venue.

I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share my stories. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.

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