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

The Distant Dead Lesley Thomson 5*#Review @LesleyJmThomson @HoZ_Books #TheDetectivesDaughter @Aria_Fiction #BlogTour #BookReview #TheDistantDead #MurderMystery #Mystery #Blitz1940 Q&A

A woman lies dead in a bombed-out house. A tragic casualty of the Blitz? Or something more sinister?

Cleaner-turned-detective Stella Darnell connects a murder in Tewkesbury Abbey to a decades-old mystery in wartime London. From the number 1 bestselling author of The Detective’s Daughter.

LONDON, 1940

Several neighbours heard the scream of the woman in the bombed-out house. One told the detective she thought the lady had seen a mouse. Another said it wasn’t his business what went on behind closed doors. None of them imagined that a trusting young woman was being strangled by her lover.

TEWKESBURY, 2020

Beneath the vast stone arches of Tewkesbury Abbey, a man lies bleeding, close to death. He is the creator of a true-crime podcast which now will never air. He was investigating the murder of a 1940s police pathologist – had he come closer to the truth than he realised?

Stella Darnell has moved to Tewkesbury to escape from death, not to court it. But when this man dies in her arms, Stella, impelled to root out evil when she finds it, becomes determined to hunt down his killer and to bring the secrets he was searching for into the light…

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The Detective Daughter series delivers an original twist on the classic murder mystery genre. Stella, the detective’s daughter, has a cleaning business and a detective agency with an eclectic mix of employees. The main protagonists are believably eccentric and flawed. This story reads well as a standalone, but the series is addictive and engaging and worth reading in its entirety.

This dual timeline story explores a wartime murder during the London blitz and murder in Tewkesbury in 2019. The connections between the two stories are revealed in a suspenseful way and involve Stella, Jack and the other team members across London and Tewkesbury.

The recent murders are catalysed by The Death Cafe, a group that discusses death that Stella is drawn to. The story has important character development for the main protagonists in addition to the well-plotted murder mystery.

Evocative with vivid sensory imagery, the reader is drawn into a world of deceit and murder that is chilling and disturbing. The historical and contemporary are interwoven convincingly and give the story its classic murder mystery ethos.

This story’s atmospheric settings and vibrant characters elevate the simple murder mystery into something that resonates.

Q&A : Lesley Thomson

What inspired you to write about a blitz murder?

I spent first part of 2020 clearing and sorting stuff in the attic in preparation of moving. I unearthed a photocopy of a message that Jose Wahlberg, a convicted Nazi spy, wrote to my grandfather – who I never knew – the night before Wahlberg was hanged Pentonville Prison in 1940. My mum had showed me the cigarette packet on the back of which Jose Wahlberg had thanked my grandfather for his kindness. Mum would reflect on how hard it must have been for her dad ,  prison officer, to comfort the young man hours before his death. On the  internet I found newspaper articles about Wahlberg’s capture and how the British were treating spies and, as often happens point of inspiration takes me somewhere else.

In The Distant Dead, I mention the incident in passing, I was inspired to explore 1940 London in which my mum and her family had lived. Blackouts, the deafening roar of planes, the massive thuds as bombs fell and the constant smell of burning. The murder rate went up and, with a depleted police force, fewer were solved. You could pass off a murder victim as a bombing casualty. Stuck in Lockdown, I found key similarities between 1940 and our own restricted lives.  Even the slogan – We’re all in it together – was the same.  This was enough for me to find a bridge to the past.

Did you undertake any research with this novel?

I read books on the Home-front including a doorstop-sized biography of Churchill by Andrew Roberts, I devoured published diaries by women living through the Blitz. Newspapers of the time were fascinating as were the propaganda films made by British Government agencies such as Fires Were Started and Britain Can Take it.’ Tewkesbury Abbey was my other inspiration and long before I started The Distant Dead, I had spent many hours there. I was sorry not to be able to visit in 2020.

Out of the entire Detective Daughter’s series, which one was your favourite to write and why?

For me, I think it’s up to the reader to have a favourite novel.  Were you to have asked me this question each year, starting when Ghost Girl came out, I’d tell you the same. This novel. I relish steeping myself in the world of my story, honing my writing ability and creating new characters and ideas. I want each novel to be my best yet. Therefore, The Distant Dead is my current favourite and I loved every minute of working on it right to proof stage.  

If you could have any job in the world (other than an author), what would it be and why?

I’d want something that involves long drives in a nice car, preferably a Jeep, with music playing. I used imagine being a taxi driver, but these days I’d rather be alone in the car to think or sing raucously and out of tune to, for instance Robbie Williams’s Angels or say, True along with Spandau Ballet. So if there were a job, which involves delivering Jeeps to far-flung corners of the country and back, I would apply.

What are you currently working on at the moment?

I’m writing The Companion, a standalone set in Sussex, featuring a disparate bunch of oddballs who live in a stately home converted into luxury apartments. There’s a serial killer at large – dubbed the media, The Family Man  – due to the victim profile. This means that an ever watchful fear and suspicion pervades the mood of the community. Is it him, is it her? Who can you trust? As ever with my novels, I hope The Companion will offer the reader frissons of dread and unease laced with laugh out loud moments.

What can we expect to see from Stella next?

In 2023, I hope. She’s already knocking at my door with another mystery…

Lesley Thomson

Lesley Thomson is the author of the Detective’s Daughter series of West London-set mysteries featuring private investigators Stella, a cleaner, and Jack, a tube driver. The first novel, The Detective’s Daughter, became an ebook phenomenon in 2013, staying at number 1 in the digital charts for 3 months. Since then, the series has gone on to sell 800,000 copies worldwide. Lesley is an active member of the UK crimewriting community, and appeared at several crime festivals in 2019, including CrimeFest, Harrogate, Morecambe & Vice and Capital Crime. She lives in Lewes with her partner and her dog

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Guest post, Inspiration, Motivational, New Books

The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club Faith Hogan 5* #Review @GerHogan @Aria_Fiction @Hoz_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost #SecondChance #Friendship #Life #Motivational #uplit #IrishFiction #TheLadiesMidnightSwimmingClub #MondayBlogs

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Easons (Ireland only)

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a lovely heartwarming story set on the west coast of Ireland. It explores female relationships and the importance of living life to the full. The setting is an immense part of this story giving the women space to breathe and think. The relationship dynamics are relatable, and the author explores topical issues in an enlightened way.

Character-driven, it immerses the reader in the main protagonists’ lives, which is an emotional experience. Family drama, heartbreaking decisions and romance are interwoven into this literary puzzle, and despite the shocks and tears, it leaves you feeling uplifted.

Guest Post: The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club – Inspiration- Faith Hogan

It’s been a funny old year, I mean to quote those wonderful words, it’s been the best of times, it’s been the worst of times, certainly, it’s been an extraordinary fifteen months on this side of the pond and although I haven’t travelled to the UK since 2019 – that sounds much too long ago – this has been a year like no other in every part of the world.

Apart from the terrible tragedies that have moved each of us, even if they did not touch our lives directly, there has been such a complete upheaval of life as we’ve known it and sometimes, it feels as if we may never fully return to what went before as normal.

At the end of it all, I’ve found a much renewed love of the book that uplift my spirits. It’s been an essential part of my lockdown armoury. Losing myself in the words of favourite writers who can help me escape the worries that might otherwise have dragged me down further and let-s face it, the nightly news was as much as any of us needed to drift into the tragedies of life.

So, I’ve been reading lots of unashamedly uplifting, happy books. I think it’s helped me to see the positives of having been locked down in a way that has balanced out all the losses. And there have been many positives. While less air travel has meant travel is curbed, I’m also very aware that the environment has managed to get some much needed breathing space. It’s given us great family time – now we’re playing scrabble and regularly sitting down to watch TV programmes together that I’d never have watched otherwise. And it’s given us time to think; perhaps savouring the little things that we’d rushed about so much for before and missed out on the simple joy of them. Things like family meals, long phone calls with friends – when once a text flown off seemed to be as much as we could manage. And then, there have been so many who’ve had the opportunity to work from home and in some cases think of re-locating and maybe taking life off hold.

Yes, it’s been the best of times and the worst of times.

But the one thing I’m sure of, is that a good uplifting book is one of those things that has really come up trumps throughout, a little like scrabble and strangely, The Grand Tour – yep ,in the Hogan House we’re on a binge!

I wrote The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club the year before we’d even heard of Covid 19. I’d written it purely for the joy of telling a story that would uplift my own spirits and so far it seems to have had the same impact on readers who’ve picked it up.

It’s unashamedly feel good, gentle and ultimately heartening, you may cry at certain parts, but you will laugh much more and I hope, as you pick up the threads of Lucy, Jo and Elizabeth’s lives, you will feel you are on a journey with old friends – people you’ll root for, people you’ll be sad to say goodbye to at the end. Because, we all want a happy ending, don’t we and there’s nothing that we could want more than a happy ending for the people we love!

And, as we near the end of this extraordinary year, perhaps we’ve all learned something we hadn’t expected – happiness can be found in the most unexpected places and if we’re wise, we’ll grab it when we can. And happiness is the one thing that we can feel, no matter if we are living in the best of times or indeed, the worst of times…

So, go on, choose your own kind of happy today, jump in with the Ladies Midnight Swimming Club, I promise, you’ll feel better once you’ve dived in there….

Faith Hogan

Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of five contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.

She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!

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Posted in Adventure Fiction, Author Guest Post, Author Interview, Fantasy, Guest post, New Books, Release Day Spotlight

The Wolf Mile C.F.Barrington #GuestPost #Author #interview @barrington_cf @HoZ_Books @AriesFiction #Adventure #Fiction #Fantasy #publicationday #TheWolfMile

Today is publication day for The Wolf Mile by C.F.Barrington by Aries Fiction, the adventure fiction imprint of Head of Zeus Books. The first in a series of five books this promises something different for the adventure fiction market.

A forbidden contest. An international game.

Bankrolled by the world’s wealthy elite and followed by thousands online, two teams of warriors vie for dominance … and the streets of Edinburgh run with blood.

Into this secret struggle steps Tyler Maitland, seeking his lost sister, and Lana Cameron, grieving her dead child. When they are accosted by figures in black hoodies and each handed a silver amulet, they recognise the Triple Horn of Odin – the talisman of the Valhalla Horde.

They are being recruited into the great game known as The Pantheon. And one day they will change everything.

Now they must risk their lives and join the ranks of seven ancient warrior teams which inhabit this illicit world. Their journey will be more wondrous and horrifying than anything they could have dreamed, taking each of them to the depths of their souls … and testing them to breaking point as they search for loved ones and for the meaning in their lives.

Let the Season begin.

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An Interview with C.F.Barrington

Which of your books are we discussing and why?

I thought your readers might like to hear about my debut novel – The Wolf Mile – which is being launched by Head of Zeus adventure imprint, Aries Fiction, on 6 May (digital) and 8 August (paperback). It is the first in a five-book saga about The Pantheon, with Book 2 (The Blood Isles) launching in October 2021 and Book 3 (The Hastening Storm) coming in spring 2022.

I’ve chosen it because the story – and indeed the genre – has sparked much discussion amongst my early readers, because it is hard to pin into a single category and defies my many attempts to condense it into a snappy teaser. The most concise description came from one of my advance readers, who said it was ‘Fight Club with swords’. I’ll take that! And my agent (Laura Macdougall at United Agents) said it had ‘elements of The Hunger Games’ when she first read it.

What inspired you to write The Wolf Mile?

Photo Credit C.F.Barrington

It is a story which is first and foremost inspired by a sense of place. Apart from a sojourn into the forests of the Highlands, the book’s action all takes place in the closes, tunnels and rooftops which flow from the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. Indeed, it was Edinburgh’s Old Town which really allowed the story to manifest. The dark, malevolent history of the Old Town and its stunning architecture and rumours of tunnels and secret passages, set my mind ticking. I am sure that the whole concept of The Pantheon could not have come together if it had not been for my life in and around Edinburgh.

The story was also prompted by two other factors: Firstly, I had always wanted to take my love of historical fiction and coax it into a modern thriller – without going down the well-trodden route of some sort of time-travel. Secondly, after a career spent in major gift fundraising for charities and universities, I had communicated with many very wealthy individuals and I got to wondering what makes someone excited when they can buy everything? As the book asks….. Imagine riches beyond your wildest dreams. What would you do with them? Travel the world? Buy a yacht? Now times it by ten.  A hundred. We’re talking mega-wealth – the kind that buys governments, shapes economies, enervates security forces and makes a mockery of justice systems. NOW what would you do with it? Less certain?

In ancient times, the wealthy of Rome spent their money and energies on forsaking human life in the gladiatorial stadia – and that’s where the concept of The Pantheon grew from in my head.

The Wolf Mile charts the rise of Tyler Maitland and Lana Cameron as they are plucked from their normal lives to become players in The Pantheon, a secret game bankrolled by the world’s wealthy elite and watched online by thousands. Warriors from seven ancient civilisations are trained, sworn to allegiance, then pitted against each other in battles amongst the claustrophobic alleys which flow from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and filmed in real-time.

Set in today’s city, this is very much a modern thriller, but it mixes elements of historical fiction, as well as a sweeping romance over the five-book series, which takes the protagonists from friends, to sworn enemies and finally to lovers. So when Aries came along and declared it was, above all, adventure fiction, it was perfect – because this is exactly what the saga is: A twisting, turning, relentless adventure with a big cast of characters, which propels the protagonists on a journey more horrifying and wondrous than they could ever have dreamed, into a world which perhaps we all secretly wish we experience.  

Photo Credit C.F.Barrington

Comments so far include:

‘The Wolf Mile is a thrilling ride and a heck of a debut. C F Barrington knocks it out the park.’

‘Featuring two compelling yet flawed lead characters, an intriguing mystery and unrelenting action, I can’t wait to see where Mr Barrington takes us in the future.’

‘It is a very cool idea and I think if done right will become one of my favourite secret societies.’

‘Get ready for a rip-roaring adventure through the streets of Edinburgh – The Wolf Mile is the perfect escapist read!’

Photo Credit C.F.Barrington

I’ve included some photos of the Old Town which have helped inspire me. One evening before the pandemic, a friend and I toured the Old Town cameras in hand. We ended up climbing onto buildings and lying in the middle of roads, getting carried away discovering the dark, brooding essence of The Pantheon. It was great fun and hopefully the images provide a taste of what to expect in The Wolf Mile.

C.F. Barrington

C F Barrington spent twenty years intending to write a novel, but found life kept getting in the way. Instead, his career took him into major gift fundraising, leading teams in organisations as varied as the RSPB, Oxford University and the National Trust.

When his role as Head of Communications at Edinburgh Zoo meant a third year of fielding endless media enquiries about the possible birth of a baby panda, he finally retreated to a quiet desk beside the sea and discovered the inspiration for the Pantheon saga.

Raised in Hertfordshire and educated at Oxford, he now divides his time between running over the hills of the Lake District and dog walking on the beaches of Fife.

My website is www.cfbarrington.com –  and provides lots of visuals and backstory about Edinburgh’s Old Town.

I can also be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BarringtonCFAuthor ; Twitter at https://twitter.com/barrington_cf ; and Instagram (which shows lots of my hill-running adventures with my spaniel, Albie) at https://www.instagram.com/cfbarrington_notwriting

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Posted in Author Guest Post, Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Gangland Crime, ganglit, Guest post, Historical Crime Fiction, saga

Siren Sam Michaels 5*#Review @SamMichaelsGG @Aria_Fiction #BlogTour #GuestPost #WW2 #GeorginaGarrett #Siren #HistoricalCrimeFiction #Saga #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview @HoZ_Books #ganglit

Georgina Garrett has made many enemies, but with every victory she’s only grown stronger. But it only takes one defeat to crumble an empire and is this the one that brings Georgina to her knees?

Sam Michaels returns with her bestselling Georgina Garrett series…

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

My Thoughts…

This is an addictive historical ganglit with the indomitable Georgina Garrett desperate for release from Holloway Prison to reclaim her children and get revenge on her enemies. With WW2 still raging when Georgina returns to Battersea, she has to regroup and diversify to achieve her aims with grit and tenacity, meeting violence with violence.

This is a well-written story with vivid characters and a menacing ethos. It captures the gangland era dynamic and personalities in an intricate plot with unexpected twists.

Guest post- Sam Michaels – Siren

Hi everyone,

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and thank you to Jane for inviting to me contribute to her fabulous website.

I’m thrilled that Siren is now out in the big wide world and I can’t wait for you to read it! This is the fourth book in the Georgina Garrett series. The first, Trickster, begins on the day that WW1 is declared. And then Rivals is next which is set just before the outbreak of WW2. Vixen and Siren follow Georgina’s life through the turbulent and challenging times of worn-torn Britain.

Although my gangland sagas are fictional, I like the facts to be historically correct so I’ve spent many hours researching the history of these times and read hundreds of personal memories of the Blitz. The things that I’ve learned have been both fascinating and heart-wrenching. Tales of rations, shortages and the blackouts are bad enough but the stories of bombs raining down on cities across the country are horrendous. The Blitz began in September 1940 and for fifty-seven consecutive nights, London was bombarded by the Luftwaffe’s bombs. Over three hundred planes would fly across the city, destroying a third of London and killing and injuring thousands. The accounts of the people whose memories I read makes me wish that I’d asked my grandparents more about their personal experiences of being Londoners living through the war.

But it wasn’t all fear and gloom. One of the overwhelming feelings that I got from my research was the sense of community and coming together that the war seemed to bring. I loved reading about the impressive strength of the British resolve and I found the make do and mend attitude admirable. Also, with the men away fighting the enemy, women found a place in the workforce doing the jobs that men once did. This was a huge shift from the traditional role of the stay-at-home housewife and mother though in most jobs, women weren’t paid the same rate as the men had been. Mothers had to quickly adapt a new way of life. For many, their children had been evacuated to safer homes in the countryside away from the nightly air raid sirens, explosions and fires. Food shortages meant that they had to be inventive with new recipes. Even stockings were hard to come by so ladies might use gravy browning to colour their legs and draw a line up the back to imitate a seam. With homes being destroyed all around them, lives being lost, their husbands and sons in foreign, treacherous lands and sleepless nights in air raid shelters, it does make me wonder how people today would cope if we were thrown into the same situation.

In Siren, the book opens with Georgina behind bars in Holloway prison. During my research, I was shocked and horrified to discover some of the facts about prison life for women at this time. And not just women. Holloway Prison also held German-Jewish refugee children incarcerated with their mothers. It was a time of deep suspicion of anyone German which was transposed onto the German-Jews who came to Britain when fleeing death from Hitler. I was equally shocked to find out that Sir Oswald Mosely, the leader of the British Union of Fascists, was also held prisoner at Holloway. Under Winston Churchill’s orders, Mosely was detained with his wife, Diana, in a house within the grounds of the prison. They even had women prisoners to wait on them and they were allowed to order deliveries from Harrods!

So when you read my books, you’ll find bits of background information weaved throughout  which are fact, not fiction. For instance, the meagre breakfasts in the prison, the continual bombing of London, the firewomen on motorbikes… all these things and many more are true stories.

I really hope that you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoyed writing them! And, by the way, this isn’t the last that you’ll hear of Georgina… I’m halfway through writing the fifth book in the series.

Love, Sam xxx

Catch up with the series. Read my reviews of Trickster Rivals and Vixen

Sam Michaels

Sam Michaels lives in Spain with her family and plethora of animals. Having been writing for years Siren is the fourth book in Georgina Garrett historical crime saga.

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Inspiration, Motivational

Growing Season Seni Glaister 5*#Review @SeniGlaister @HQStories Narrator Kristin Atherton #HarperCollinsAudioUK #Audiobook #BlogTour #Review #loss #selfrealisation #uplit #nature #life #love #GrowingSeason

Danny is riddled with anxiety. But he wants to be strong for his wife Sam. She’s been through so much already. If only he had someone to talk to.

Sam is facing a very different future to the one she expected. She’s ready to move on, yet other people won’t let her. If only she had someone to talk to.

Their new neighbour Diana is hiding from her past. She wanted a new life. Now she’s got it she feels angry and alone. If only she had someone to talk to.

Each of them is hiding their pain. Each of them needs to heal. But only when they learn to let each other in will they finally be able to grow.

I received an audiobook from HQ (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This character-driven story features a multi-generational friendship. Told from three viewpoints Diana, Sam and Danny, it is a detailed emotional story that explores finding your true self, fitting in, honesty and loss.

It’s introspective and works well as an audiobook. The narrator is clear and engaging, voicing the characters believably and distinctly. The gentle pace enables the listener to know each character well, and the humour, insight and poignancy, make it an emotional read.

The parallels with nature that affects the characters’ lives are well crafted and make this an engaging, thought-provoking story.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Romance

The List by Yvette Geer #CoverReveal @Cayellepub @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TheList

During a celebratory outing in Las Vegas, high school teacher Shane Rawlings is involved in a tragic car accident that kills his best friend. He isolates himself on Bainbridge Island, buried in survivor’s guilt until he begins receiving several mailed index cards, each detailing challenges for him to venture out of his self-imposed exile.

Emma Jacobs is a famous actress embroiled in a scandal by her cheating ex-boyfriend who escapes to Bainbridge Island and meets Shane by chance at the local grocery store. Shane and Emma grow closer with each completed task until Emma’s agent arrives in town and pulls her back to Los Angeles. An upset Shane discovers her celebrity status when he’s suspended from his teaching position, causing Emma to end their relationship.

Realizing his mistake, Shane flies to Los Angeles, hoping to persuade Emma to take him back. Faced with disapproval from outsiders, Shane and Emma fight for their love and his healing.

Yvette Geer

Yvette Geer is the author of the multicultural romance novel, The List. As an avid reader of romance and mystery books, Yvette enjoys creating worlds where opposites attract, set against the backdrop of some of the country’s most iconic cities. Currently based in Northern California with her husband and two girls, this “military brat” travelled often as a kid, from the Midwest to England. She continues to marry her two passions for travelling and writing through road trips and other adventures. She rounds out her artistic need by playing piano and dabbling in photography. She continues to highlight and celebrate the positive outcomes of different lives colliding in her blog, The Swirl Effect.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Novella, Poetry

I Left the Room Burning by Beth O’Brien #poetry #CoverReveal @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Novella


A woman who never wanted children finds herself reluctantly bringing up her sister’s daughter. The aunt is in an abusive relationship. The niece is a strange child who wishes to disappear. The narrative threaded through these eighty short poems confuses and obfuscates, whilst at the same time completely drawing the reader into the extent that by the end, one is left with the feeling of having watched a deeply immersive film or read an engrossing novella.

Beth O’Brien weaves magic with her lyrical and evocative language, and with the tangibility of her characters’ unreliable voices, she reveals herself as a master storyteller.

Posted in Author Guest Post, Blog Blitz, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Guest post, Romance, Romantic Comedy

WeddingVows and Cornish Ribbons Laura Briggs 4*#Review #GuestPost #RomCom #romance #ReturntoCornwall #humour #friendship #community #Weddings #Events #Cornwall #BookReview #PublicationDay @rararesources

Event planner Julianne Rose is on the verge of making her dreams of ‘rescuing’ weddings in need of help a reality. She and business partner Kitty have finally finished transforming the dilapidated barn into a chic event space, and they even have a new client eager to use it—a quirky, charming space organization guru named Deirdre who seems capable of organizing everything but her own special day. As if that wasn’t enough, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity soon presents itself through the who’s who of their sleepy little Cornish village: the chance to step into the event planning void for a posh bride in desperate need of an emergency salvage for her wedding plans. A wedding that could establish Julianne and Kitty as two of Cornwall’s best event planners if all goes well.

But an event that big doesn’t come without a catch. To persuade the posh clients to commit to them, Julianne and Kitty must first impress them with the ceremony for their current bride-to-be—a task that seemed easy, but proves complicated when stories emerge involving a history of broken engagements, cold feet, and commitment phobia on the part of Deirdre, who soon begins to exhibit possible symptoms of nervousness regarding her big day. Faced with a real case of runaway bride—and with their future reputation at stake— they must attempt to the impossible task of holding together a wedding fraying at its seams, and Julianne finds herself seemingly facing a choice between what’s best for Save the Date’s survival and what’s best for her client’s happiness, regardless of the cost.

Are Julianne’s worst fears about to be realized, with Deirdre gearing up for yet another run from the church altar? Can she persuade the posh but sympathetic bride Alexi to take a risk on Save the Date regardless of it? And will Julianne and the handsome-but-equally-busy Matt find time to smolder anything in their marriage besides leftover chicken pie? Readers will learn these answers and more in the funny and heartfelt sequel to the first full-length titular novel Return to Cornwall .

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

My Thoughts…

This first book in the Return to Cornwall series is believable, engaging and funny.

Readers familiar with the author will recognise the two protagonists from the A Wedding in Cornwall series. This book brings together old friends and new, in a delightful story of a would-be runaway bride, and the struggle to get a new business off the ground. For lovers of all things wedding, this is a perfect read. The event and wedding planning research makes this an authentic story and coupled with relatable characters its a must-read book.

Gentle humour runs through the story, especially when exploring family life, and the stress of getting married. There are some poignant moments which makes the happy outcome, well deserved.

This first book promises another lovely series from this author.

Creating Exciting Events for My Cornish Romance Reads!

– Laura Briggs Guest Post

Thank you so much to Jane for letting me drop by and share about my Cornish romance reads. My newest one, Wedding Vows and Cornish Ribbons, makes its debut today as book one in a new series about Julianne Rose, a busy wife and mum running her own event planning firm in the idyllic village she calls home. This isn’t my first time to write about Julianne’s adventures, though, with the same characters and setting used as the focus of my long running series known as ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’, where Julianne begin her career organizing special occasions at the village manor house—and found her own happily ever after with handsome, Poldark-esque gardener Matthew Rose. With the series reboot being launched, I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the more unique events Julianne has coordinated over her rather diverse career.

Pippa’s wedding in A Manor in Cornwall:

This was a fan favorite and special for multiple reasons, but mostly because it was the event that introduced Julianne to her new assistant (and future best friend and business partner) Kitty. Tough-as-nails on the outside, Kitty was a village girl who harbored a hidden talent for spotting the little details that make bigger events shine. She would go on to have her own happy ever after—and even her own narrative in one book—because she resonated so well with readers of the series. Of course, A Manor in Cornwall was also the story that bid a bittersweet farewell to Cliffs House kitchen maid Pippa, whose wedding reception would become a favorite memory for both Julianne and her young assistant. And the beautiful—though slightly dilapidated—old stone barn that Julianne and Kitty transformed for Pippa’s wedding reception becomes an important part of their brand new business in the series reboot, serving as a venue for their client’s special occasions.

The village play in A Star in Cornwall:

Shakespeare, community theatre, and a charming stranger in town with a secret made this another fan favorite in the original series. And even though Julianne didn’t exactly relish her brief stint as substitute director of the Cliff’s Edge Player’s summer production of Romeo and Juliet, it definitely made for an interesting change of pace from her usual kind of work. With a new (and temporary) assistant by her side, Julianne managed to navigate her way through the world of local amateur dramatics without too much disaster—although, her production is rather upstaged by a dramatic discovery about one of its lead actors before the next show’s curtain can rise!

The local music competition in A Talent Show in Cornwall:

Ah, who doesn’t love a good talent show? Friendly competition among neighbors in the sleepy Cornish village stirs up excitement after a drought of boredom—and offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance for whoever comes in first place. As usual, things don’t go as smoothly as Julianne would hope for. There’s a bit of humor and a lot of heart as Julianne helps friends pull together a show to remember. And she unexpectedly finds herself in the role of mentor for a shy, budding musician in need of a bit of encouragement.

Percy and Elaine’s would-be wedding in Return to Cornwall:

This official full-length reunion novel for the series characters was packed full of laughter, fun, and friendship. It also found Julianne building a reputation for her event planning business in the village after years of organizing events at Cliffs House. Her business partner is, of course, her old friend Kitty, back in Ceffylgwyn for good it would seem, after globetrotting with her husband Nathan. Together, the two planners are tasked with organizing an elaborate, late-in-life wedding for the eccentric earl Percy and his would-be bride, an archaeologist named Elaine. It’s among Julianne’s most challenging events and comes with a bittersweet twist at the end—but with a promise of hope for the future and more excitement to come for Julianne and her friends in the Cornish village, of course.

If all this sounds like your cup of tea when it comes romance reads, I do hope you’ll be sure to check out the books in all my Cornish series. They’re perfect for those in search of a feel-good, escapist story with humor, romance, and larger-than-life events.

Laura Briggs

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Fantasy, Paranormal

Hunted by Sarah Biglow and Molly Zenk @SBiglowWrites @UnsinkableMoZe @CayellePub @lovebooksgroup #CoverReveal #lovebookstours #Hunted #paranormal #romance #Althistory #Vampire

On the hundredth anniversary of being turned into a vampire, Edith Dorset joins her adopted daughters and their friends at the Heartsong Clan’s annual Live Action Role Play recruitment event where she meets an eager young man named Dan Paxton. His older brother and Hunter, Darren, thinks Dan’s merely chaperoning a trip to a nerd convention, but has no idea he’s partnered with vampires for the weekend. 

When Darren discovers Dan missing, he follows the only lead he has to the Heartsong Clan’s residence on Tombstone Row. Edith and Darren’s first meeting is uneasy because he lies his way into the Clan’s house, claiming to be there to play on the side of humans. He’s determined to keep his Hunter instincts in check, rescue his brother, and get it out of there. 

An impromptu late-night encounter leads Darren and Edith to come clean with each other about who and what they are. Edith longs to keep Darren and his brother close, although it goes against Clan rules, and Darren is finding it harder than he thought to snuff out Edith and her family. Darren and Edith grow closer as they seek out the truth from her Sire, Mr. Heartsong.

While Darren uses all his Hunter skills to free his brother and be the hero, Mr. Heartsong banishes Edith from the Clan for her behavior towards Darren. No longer having Clan protection, Edith is faced with a terrible choice. Just as Darren returns with Hunter reinforcements, Heartsong and his Clan have vanished, along with Edith and her family. All that remains is a note from Edith, begging Darren to find them. And so, the hunt begins.

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USA Today Bestselling Authors Sarah Biglow and Molly Zenk are the authors of the Captivity series and the Celestial Academy series. Independently, they write across multi genres including: YA, urban fantasy, historical, and cozy mystery. Sarah lives in Boston with her husband and son. Molly lives in Denver with her husband and three daughters. 

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Forthcoming titles in this series:

Allied: Book 2

Fated: Book 3

Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Cover Reveal, Literary Fiction

Everything is Beautiful Eleanor Ray #CoverReveal @eleanorraybooks @PiatkusBooks @rararesources #EverythingisBeautiful #preorder #FridayMotivation

Sometimes it’s impossible to part with the things we love the most…

When Amy Ashton’s world came crashing down eleven years ago, she started a collection. Just a little collection, just a few keepsakes of happier times: some honeysuckle to remind herself of the boy she loved, a chipped china bird, an old terracotta pot . . . Things that others might throw away, but to Amy, represent a life that could have been.  

Now her house is overflowing with the objects she loves – soon there’ll be no room for Amy at all. But when a family move in next door, a chance discovery unearths a mystery long buried, and Amy’s carefully curated life begins to unravel. If she can find the courage to face her past, might the future she thought she’d lost still be hers for the taking? 

Perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant and The Keeper of Lost Things, this exquisitely told, uplifting novel shows us that however hopeless things might feel, beauty can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Pre-order Links:

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Publication Date: 4th February 2021

Eleanor Ray

Eleanor Ray has an MA in English Literature from Edinburgh University and works in marketing. She lives in London with her husband and two young children.
Eleanor was inspired to write Everything is Beautiful by the objects her toddler collects and treasures – twigs, empty water bottles and wilting daisies. She is currently working on her next novel.

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