Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Excerpt, Extract, Family Drama, Noir, Suspense

The Stolen Child Alex Coombs 5*#Review @AlexHowardCrime @BoldwoodBooks #CrimeFiction #DIHanlon #London #Essex #TheStolenChild #noircrime #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #Extract #boldwoodbloggers

Meet DI Hanlon. A woman with a habit of breaking the rules and a fierce loyalty to the few people she respects.


Her boss, Corrigan. Looks like a street copper promoted above his ability. Underestimate him at your peril.

Enver Demirel. Known in the boxing ring as Iron Hand. Now soft and gone to seed. But he would do anything for Hanlon.

When the kidnap of a 12-year-old boy blows the case of some missing children wide apart, the finger is pointing at the heart of the Met.

Corrigan sends in the only cop in his team who is incorruptible enough to handle it – Hanlon.

And then he sends Demirel to spy on her…

Once you start the DI Hanlon series, you won’t be able to put it down.

This book was previously published as Time To Die by Alex Howard.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

I’ve read a couple of this author’s later books featuring this character, and it’s interesting to explore her past career as a Detective Inspector in the Metropolitan Police. DI Hanlon is dedicated, effective and uncontrollable. If you were a crime victim, you would want her as your Senior Investigating officer.

Set in the second decade of the twenty-first century the story’s subject matter is contemporary and disturbing, parts are harrowing to read but integral to moving the story forward and showing Hanlon’s motivations. Hanlon is an advocate of justice rather than an upholder of the law and easy to empathise. Several investigations are running concurrently in this character-driven story. It focuses on Hanlon and how she is affected by the cases and her subsequent involvement.

The ending is fast-paced, gritty and ultimately satisfying.

Extract from The Stolen Child – Alex Coombs

The compact, concrete shape of the World War Two gun emplacement crouched, hunkered down into the shallow, gravelly soil above the beach on the Essex side of the Thames Estuary near Southend. It overlooked the wide, grey shallow waters on whose far side lay the Isle of Grain and Sheerness. Hanlon guessed it was somewhere out there in those cold, steely waters that the proposed island airport for London might one day take shape. She thought, fleetingly, it would be a pity in a way if it happened. The North Sea waters had a chilly quality that she found rather beautiful. She looked around her slowly, the sky above enormous after London’s claustrophobic horizons. A heron stood on a boulder near the beach, shrugging its wings like an old lady arranging a shawl around her shoulders. Cormorants bobbed along on top of the water and she could see guillemots, their wings folded back like dive-bombers, thundering into the water. The calls of the birds floated towards her on the stiff sea breeze.      

     The tarmac track that led down from the main road above them was old, cracked and weed-grown. The ex-army building’s pitted, grey, artificial stone surface was now camouflaged with yellow, cream and blue-grey lichens and grey-green moss, so that it seemed almost organic, a part of the landscape like a strangely symmetric rock formation. There was a fissured, concrete apron next to the bunker and Hanlon pulled up adjacent to the large, white Mercedes van that she guessed belonged to the forensics team, then got out of her car. She stood for a moment by her Audi and closed her eyes. She felt the cold, fresh sea air against her skin and the breeze tugged at her shoulder-length dark hair. She could smell the metallic warmth of her car engine and the salt tang of the sea. The sound of the small waves breaking on the stony beach a hundred metres or so away were nearly drowned out by the throbbing of the generator next to the Mercedes. She could hear the keening of seagulls, much louder now, wheeling above in the sky. Hanlon stretched the powerful, sinewy muscles in her shoulders and arms and opened her eyes, which were as expressionless as the North Sea in front of her. She looked out over the water, feeling its call. Hanlon loved swimming in the open sea. Earlier that morning, at 6 a.m., she had swum for a steady hour in her local swimming pool, but pool swimming was nothing compared to real salt water. She guessed at this time of year the temperature would be only two or three degrees, colder than a fridge. That wouldn’t deter her. 

     She could taste its saltiness, carried to her lips by the wind.

     A red power cable looped its way from the generator through the heavy, open metal door of the bunker. The door was rusted and pitted by time and the elements, but still substantial. Hanlon stepped over the line of police crime-scene tape that secured the area, blowing like bunting in the sea breeze, and approached the building. Earlier that day, the place would have been bustling with her colleagues from Essex. Now the uniforms had gone and the outside of the bunker, included in the search area, reopened. She didn’t go inside through the forbidding-looking portal designed, she guessed, to be blast-proof, but walked instead along the side wall until she came to one of its long, slit windows that overlooked the beach and the far horizon.

Alex Coombs

Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He has written four well reviewed crime novels as Alex Howard.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Psychological Thriller

Bad Girls Gemma Rogers 5*#Review @GemmaRogers79 @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #BoldwoodBloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #CrimeFiction #urbanfiction #BadGirls #PublicationDay

No Body. No Crime. No Time.

Can you ever escape your past?

Fresh out of prison, Jess Strickland has just six months’ probation to serve until she’s free to get on with the life, she left behind 4 years ago.

With few options available, Jess takes a job at Bright’s’, an industrial laundry company alongside other ex-cons, all eager to keep their noses clean.

Here she finds an ally in Karla but soon learns her new boss Terry, is not all he seems.

Realising she’s no safer on the outside Jess refuses to be a victim any longer.

How far will she go to avoid going back to prison?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return of an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a gritty urban thriller with believable characters and events. Jess is on probation and anxious not return to prison. Forced to work in an industrial laundry, she is pushed into an abusive environment but determined not to be a victim.

This is a suspenseful story with good use of pace. Psychological suspense and vivid crime details draw the reader into Jess’ world. The plot has unexpected twists and a dramatic conclusion.

This story has an authentic urban ethos with relatable characters and an absorbing plot.

Gemma Rogers

Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Stalker is her debut novel which Boldwood will publish in September 2019 and marks the beginning of a new writing career.  Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband, two daughters and bulldog Buster.

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

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow Jessica Redland 5* #Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources #Romance #Friendship #Heartwarming #UpLit #Family #Relationships #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers

Brand new from the top 10 bestselling author of New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow.

With new arrivals comes new responsibilities…
The sun is shining, wild flowers are blooming and Hedgehog Hollow is officially open for business.


For Samantha, the proud owner of this beautiful rescue centre, life has never been busier. But with an influx of new hogs and hoglets to take care of, not to mention a full-time job and ongoing family issues, can she accept the possibility that she has taken on more than she can handle?

Fortunately, she has the love of her life, Josh, by her side for support and encouragement. But Josh has his own family troubles to deal with. And soon he must decide if he’s ready to do the one thing he swore he’d never do – forgive his father.

For both Samantha and Josh it’s a season of change and for figuring out whether the past can ever truly be forgotten.

Escape back to wonderful Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting read full of love, hope and forgiveness.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This sequel to Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow is full of family drama, forgiveness and fabulous hedgehogs. The research of the setting of this story is obvious and gives this story authenticity and depth of interest.

The author provides a list of recurrent characters, and a catch up of the story so far. There is plenty of background in the actual story to make this readable as a standalone, but it’s so good don’t miss out on the first book in the series.

The story is told from the two main protagonists’ points of view, giving valuable insights into Sammie and Josh’s personalities and thoughts. Their developing relationship faces conflict, from family dramas and threats to the hedgehog rescue centre. This is a character-driven story, some are not likeable, but this makes the story realistic. It also effectively highlights the protagonists’ positive character traits.

Love and forgiveness prevail, making this both heartwarming and uplifting to read.

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland is the author of ten novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Excerpt, Extract, Friendship, Romance

In Pursuit of Happiness Freya Kennedy 5*#Review @AuthorFreya @ClaireAllan @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #UpLit #Romance #Friendship #Dreams #Family #Derry #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

The world is waiting…but just outside of your comfort zone.

Jo Campbell is perfectly content in a perfectly structured life.
Nothing ever changes in Jo’s life, and she likes it that way.
Or at least, she tells herself she does.
Most of the time, she manages to push down the tiny voice that tells her to chase her dream and maybe, just maybe, open her battered and bruised heart up to love.
But to chase her dreams she needs to take chances that are way out of her comfort zone and learn to not put other people’s happiness above her own.
Most of all she has to learn to trust her heart, which may just be the biggest challenge of all.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a lovely feel-good story about having the confidence to follow your dreams. Jo is a writer, but she’s wary of sharing her work, in case it’s not good enough. Her family and friends are supportive, but she has to win an internal battle with herself to be truly happy. The story is set in Derry in Northern Ireland and has an intrinsic authenticity because if the author’s knowledge of the people and place.

The family and friends dynamics are believable, and the world created relatably. The romance is conflicted and gentle full of internal and external conflict. The plot is interesting and has an expected twist.

This is the second book in the series, but it’s a complete story and an enjoyable, easy read.

Extract from In Pursuit of Happiness – Freya Kennedy

Prologue

The pop of the champagne bottle made Jo Campbell jump, even though she’d watched her foster brother, Noah, as he started to twist the cork slowly, and had anticipated the noise that would follow.

Her nerves were on edge, and fizzed just like the bubbly liquid that was being poured into delicate long-stemmed champagne flutes. The hum and chatter of the guests assembled in the next room made her feel giddy. So giddy, in fact, that she downed the better part of her glass of bubbles in one go, prompting her mother to warn her to slow down.

‘But, Mum,’ she said, ‘I’m really, really nervous. What if everyone hates it? What if it bombs and the only reviews that come are one-star assassinations? What if not a single person buys it?’ She didn’t so much as have butterflies in her stomach as giant killer moths – if such a thing existed.

Her mother put down her own almost empty glass. ‘Josephine Campbell. Calm yourself, my wee love. Everyone will love it. Why wouldn’t they? It’s brilliant, and you’re brilliant.’

‘But you are duty-bound to say that. You’re my mammy. Even if it was the worst book in the world, you’d still tell me it was brilliant,’ Jo said.

Her mother, a woman who had raised three children of her own, adopted another and fostered countless more over the years, gave Jo a snippy look. ‘I would not! I’ve always been honest with you and I’m not going to change now. Besides, it’s published. It wouldn’t be if it was rubbish!’

‘She’s right you know,’ Libby Quinn, one of Jo’s dearest friends and the proprietor of Once Upon A Book in Ivy Lane, told her. ‘You’re good. Actually you’re great. This is your moment, so enjoy it. The shop is full and everyone is on your side.’

Libby smiled her usual warm, inviting smile and Jo watched as Noah put his arm around his new fiancée’s shoulder and kissed her on the cheek. They made a lovely couple – Libby and Noah. But then she’d always known that from the moment Libby Quinn had arrived in The Ivy Inn soaked to the skin and covered in grime just over a year earlier. She’d known almost instantly they would be a great pair, and once they had finally admitted their feelings towards each other they had become almost inseparable. Just thinking about Noah’s hearts and flowers proposal brought tears to Jo’s eyes, and it wasn’t that she was jealous. Although if she was honest with herself, she would admit she was.

‘Damn it,’ Jo said, downing the rest of her glass while ignoring her mother’s disapproving looks. ‘I’m not going to cry, I’ll never live it down!’

‘Everyone knows you’re soft as butter, Jo. I wouldn’t worry about it,’ Noah said. He was right, of course, she was as soft as butter on a warm day, but she had more reason than normal to be emotional.

Posters of Jo’s debut novel, The Lies We Tell, lined the walls, replete with official author pictures, in which she looked sultry and serious and not her usual gregarious self.

In that moment, Jo felt a swell of pride and achievement. This was her moment. She’d finally done it. Written a book and had it published. And now she was going to enjoy this launch in her beloved home town of Derry in the north of Ireland.                    

Her little sister, Clara, a self-declared princess, danced in circles around Jo’s feet, enjoying the tulle monstrosity of a dress she had insisted on wearing for the occasion. It was over the top, Jo conceded, but Clara had her big sister tightly wrapped around her little finger.

And all her friends were there. Harry from the corner shop. The regulars of The Ivy Inn, which she was part owner of along with Noah. Her godmother, Auntie Mags, and even Erin, her most trusted confidante. They all grinned at her as if she was a graceful bride about to glide down the aisle.

So far the launch had been everything she had hoped for: copies of her books on the shelves, friends and family sharing the moment and champagne galore. There was just one final ingredient – the icing on the cake: the celebrity guest. Libby had made it her mission to find someone famous to do the launching honours – someone instantly recognisable, but she had refused to tell Jo who it would be.

‘It’s good,’ Libby had said. ‘It’s someone really good.’

Jo hoped it was someone who would suit the gravitas of the launch – and the seriousness of the book she had written. She’d poured years of writing and learning and rewriting and relearning into making this debut, and she had great dreams that one of her writing heroes, maybe Liz Nugent or Liane Moriarty, or local bestseller Brian McGilloway, would do the honours.

When the crowd parted, Jo swore loudly as she saw a life-sized Peppa Pig holding a copy of her book, while Clara squealed with delighted at the superstar guest.

Freya Kennedy (Claire Allan)

Freya Kennedy lives in Derry, Northern Ireland, with her husband, two children, two cats and a mad dog called Izzy. She worked as a journalist for eighteen years before deciding to write full time. When not writing, she can be found reading, hanging out with her nieces and nephews, cleaning up after her children (a lot) and telling her dog that she loves her.

She has met Michael Buble and even kissed him. It was one of her best ever moments.

She believes in happy ever afters.

Freya Kennedy is a pen name for Claire Allan, who also writes psychological thrillers.

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Housemate Nina Manning 4*#Review @ninamanning78 @BoldwoodBooks Narrator #HelenKeeley #PsychologicalThriller #Domestic #Suspense #Guilt #Obsession #boldwoodbloggers #Audiobook #Review #TheHousemate @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads #FridayThoughts

The perfect life? …Or the perfect lie?

When Regi moves into her new house share, she’s ready for a clean slate. A new home. A new routine. A new identity…

Desperate to escape the shadow of her past that follows her everywhere she goes, Regi finds the ideal distraction in the perfect lives of others on social media.

But as innocent scrolling turns into an unhealthy obsession, Regi will soon learn that seeking perfection comes at a price…

A gripping psychological suspense from the international bestselling author of The Daughter In Law.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this audiobook from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story demonstrates the claustrophobic and immersive qualities of psychological suspense so well. It begins with a traumatic incident in Regi’s life. The reader knows this is important but not why. Regi’s painful past and mental health issues define her and make everyday life difficult. Her housemates are younger but supportive. The story believably depicts Regis’ OCD, but its repetitive nature is emotionally draining on the reader and slows the pace.

The narrator produces an excellent interpretation of the story and its nuances.

Regi is a complex character, an unreliable protagonist with secrets. The suspense building is good, there are menacing undertones, and some clever changes in plot direction that keep the listener guessing. The focus on social media gives this story an immediacy and relevance.

Nina Manning

Nina Manning studied psychology and was a restaurant-owner and private chef (including to members of the royal family). She is the founder and co-host of Sniffing The Pages, a book review podcast. Her debut psychological thriller, The Daughter in Law, was a bestseller in the UK, US, Australia and Canada. She lives in Dorset.

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Read my review of The Daughter in Law

Read my review of The Guilty Wife

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Silent Daughter Kirsty Ferguson 4*#Review @kfergusonauthor @BoldwoodBooks #publicationday @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #MentalHealth #PsychologicalThriller #suspense #domestic

Secrets can kill and Danni Brooks knows that better than anyone.

When her husband and two of her three children perish in a devastating house fire, Danni is sure it is arson. She’s even more sure that her and her eldest daughter Mia were meant to die in the fire too. But they are just a normal family. Who would want them dead? 

Mia doesn’t talk. She can’t. She is locked in her own world where no one, not even her mother can reach her. 

Desperate for answers, and convinced the truth might help her to reach her daughter, Danni tries to piece together the events leading up to that murderous night and uncover the arsonist. But with so many lies to untangle, what is the truth?

Prepare to have your breath taken away by an unforgettable twist that will leave you reeling…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an excellent domestic noir with unreliable protagonists and a powerful plot that resonates.

Danni awakes in the middle of the night she hears the family dog barking and goes to investigate. The suspense begins from the first page and takes the reader in diverse directions most of them inconclusive. Danni witnesses the horrific devastation of her family by fire except for her eldest daughter. Superficially, the story follows Danni’s investigation into the arson that caused it.

The story is told mainly from Danni’s viewpoint, but two other viewpoints also tell their story. Nameless these characters keep their secrets until the end. This is a hard-hitting story with graphic images of abuse that evidence Danni’s motivation and state of mind. The well-paced plot is immersive, and twisty making this addictive and disturbing reading.

The Silent Daughter – Kirsty Ferguson – Extract

Danielle Brooks awoke with a start, the dankness seeping into her cold bones. She rolled over, pulling the blanket up around her chin, her shoulders chilly in the frigid room. While she loved it most of the time, sometimes she hated the old house, the creaking of the settling wood and pipes, the third stair that squeaked sharply every time you stood on it just right, the broken bathroom doorknob that her husband Joe had meant to fix but had never got around to.

Danni sighed. Joe, snoring loudly beside her, had woken her up again, just like he had every night for the better part of two decades. She untangled herself from the blanket and swung her legs out, wincing at the cold of the floorboards as she placed her bare feet on them while she felt around for her slippers. Danni fumbled for her dressing gown, eventually finding it at the foot of the bed. Shrugging herself into the voluminous gown, she knotted the tie to fit around her waist, pulling it tight. Wondering why it was so large on her, hanging from her delicate frame, she realised she had put on Joe’s by mistake. Too tired to find her own and open herself up to the cold again, she pulled the collar higher around her neck. Danni looked at the alarm clock resting on the bedside table, reminding her the dawn was still hours away.

Wearily pushing herself up from the old, sprung mattress, she slid her feet into her worn slippers, scrunching up her toes in the end, trying to magic warmth into them, the fluffy innersole long since gone.

Need another blanket. Too bloody cold in here.

Danni stumbled from the bed tiredly, yet walked without hesitation, knowing her way to the door having made her way over the floorboards hundreds of times in the darkness. She quietly went through the doorway, turning the knob and closing the door as she left. Her bladder was calling to her as she walked across the landing to the bathroom, leaving the door with the broken handle open a bit. If you closed it all the way, you became trapped in the bathroom until someone came to let you out. It happened to their son Noah more often than you’d think. Many a time Danni had found him, eyes filled with fresh tears, spent ones wetting his face, snot running down to his lip.

Danni would sit on the floor beside him and, as he crawled into her lap, she would wipe the tears from his five-year-old face. He would look up at her, love for her burning in his hazel eyes. He looked so much like his dad, with the same colour eyes and tanned skin. She would kiss the top of his head and mumble how much she loved him into his sweet-smelling hair. Her middle child Alexandra, big sister to Noah at nine and a half, would also rescue him. She never laughed at him, never made fun of him for forgetting and locking himself in again, or for crying.

Her oldest daughter, Mia, was almost a woman at seventeen years of age, as she was so fond of telling her father when he refused to let her do what she wanted. Dress how she wanted, go out with her best friend, stay up past her bedtime. Joe and Mia didn’t always get along and Danni found herself playing referee more than she’d like to. They seemed to constantly be at odds with each other these days. They used to be close, Joe and Mia, but in the last couple of months they had drifted from having a loving relationship to sometimes outright hostility from Mia and anger from Joe. Danni didn’t understand why, and when she broached it with Joe, he just gave her the old she’s a teenager line. It felt wrong, but Mia refused to talk to her about it too, so Danni had no choice but to watch them grow apart, saddened by the growing divide. Danni hadn’t thought about her for a long time but now, in the darkness of the home she shared with her family, the memories came rushing back. Beth, her tormentor, her abuser, her sister, flashed through her mind.

Kirsty Ferguson

Kirsty Ferguson is a born and bred Australian. She writes crimes and mystery novels. Her stories center around strong women and dark themes that are topical and relevant to today. Kirsty chooses to deconstruct and enthrall her readers with the secrets of any everyday person behind closed doors. She has long been a lover or writing and reading, creating stories from a young age.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Ice Killer Ross Greenwood 5* #Review #DIBarton @greenwoodross @BoldwoodBooks #CrimeFiction #PsychologicalThriller #suspense #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #TheIceKiller

Once, her heart was empty. Now it’s filled with ice…

Ellen’s therapist told her to forget the past, but the life she’s left with is boring. All she wants is to be happy and normal, but the approaching long bleak nights of winter loom heavy before her, especially as she’ll be alone.

But when the secrets her mother put in place to protect her are exposed, Ellen learns the frightening truth. Her history is darker than she imagined. She’s not who she thinks she is, and the real her is a very different person to the one that others have mistreated and exploited.

If there’s hope of a future, Ellen must find answers about the past, and the new Ellen is less forgiving. This winter, there will be more than just discontent, and DI Barton will struggle in his hardest case to date.

How can he find the truth when all the victims and witnesses are dead?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The last book in the DI Barton trilogy but hopefully there will be more as it has refreshing originality. This story follows the dual person point of view of the previous books. There’s a unique insight into the killer’s past that leads to the current killing spree. The third-person perspective charts the police investigation that follows in the killer’s wake.

It’s difficult not to empathise with the antagonist who carries out some personally motivated vigilante killings. This is noir-crime that reveals the underbelly of society and its failings. DI Barton acts up to DCI after surviving a deadly attack in a previous case. The team dynamics are believable, and the personal aspects of the detectives’ lives add authenticity and balance to the crimes they investigate.

The plot is realistically paced and keeps its secrets until the end. This is a poignant crime story with a relatable investigation team.

Extract from The Ice Killer – Ross Greenwood

Carl Quantrill.’

That was my card. Even then, I knew not to aim high. I was a five-out-of-ten, maybe a six if I tamed my black hair, and I was bright enough to know that Danny Stanton wouldn’t have been able to pick me out in a line-up of llamas. At that moment, my expression resembled one.

Carl Quantrill was the mysterious guy at school with slightly too long greasy hair, which covered his eyes. He only responded to his surname as he thought it was cooler than Carl. A suggestion of body odour added to his allure. He drawled and mumbled. I’d had a few conversations with him but often failed to catch what he’d said. I’d be too nervous to ask for clarification and so would smile instead. He would be my first, but that was many years later.

I was crazy about him. I’d worn away Damon Albarn’s face on my Blur poster with kissing practice. As Carl opened the card that day, flames threatened to burst from my cheeks. All I’d written was, ‘To my Valentine’. He couldn’t have known I sent it, yet he immediately turned around and stared my way. He ripped the card to pieces and threw it in the air. The girls gasped, most of them, anyway, while the boys cheered.

Miss Diamond’s mouth opened and closed. She should have stopped there and then but something made her plough on; each new name another dagger driven into my unloved heart.

‘Sally Dawning.’ My best friend, sitting next to me.

‘Scarlett Starr.’

‘Danny Stanton.’

‘Jim Jones.’

And so on, with escalating cheers and boos echoing around the room. But the last letter was for me. ‘Ellen Toole.’

I couldn’t believe my good fortune, even though it was the smallest one by far. I turned to Sally, whose pudgy fingers were pressing her card to the desk as if it might float away. She smiled at me with genuine happiness. I suspected mine was from Sally, because I’d secretly sent hers. The room stilled while I opened my flimsy envelope with trembling fingers. The card had a single white rose on the cover, and I looked inside.

There was only one word in capitals. UGLY.

Ross Greenwood

Ross Greenwood is the bestselling author of eight crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Romantic Comedy

Winter at Wishington Bay Maxine Morrey 4*#Review @Scribbler_Maxi @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #RomCom #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #extract #publicationday #WinteratWishingtonBay

Eighteen months ago, Sophia Jones finally walked out on her unhappy life.

With a tricky divorce ongoing, money is tight and so when friends offer her a housekeeping job while they’re away travelling, she accepts.

Nate McKinley is hesitant when his brother, Gabe, offers him the use of their home in the picturesque village of Wishington Bay. But he has a book to a write and an imploded marriage to recover from, so maybe a change of scene is exactly what he needs. 

As Wishington Bay works its magic, friendship blossoms between Sophia and Nate. For Nate, finally feeling able to be himself with someone who is honest and down to earth is a revelation. 

But Sophia has a secret and a jealous colleague is determined to blow her cover. Can she really keep her old life in the past or is it destined to destroy this new, happy one too?

Take a trip back to Wishington Bay this winter and find out…

A deliciously heart-warming and romantic read, perfect for a cosy winter’s evening, from the author of the bestselling Winter’s Fairytale.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set in the idyllic community of Wishington Bay Sophia is healing and starting enjoy her new life. She has friends, a job, but still keeps a secret that could destroy it all. Looking after Nate for her friend Holly makes her feel good until she meets him.

This is an enemy to lover second chance romance for Nate and Sophia. The characters are flawed, realistic and easy to empathise. Honesty and trust are important to Nate. He values this in his fledgeling relationship with Sophia. She knows her secrets may damage what they have, but Nate has unfinished business with his soon to be ex-wife too.

This is character-driven reliant on dialogue interchanges between the protagonists to move the story forward. This adds to the realism but slows the pace a little.

The ending, whilst not a shock, does ramp up the external conflict. The ending shows how much the two characters have developed positively.

Extract From Winter at Wishington Bay – Maxine Morrey

‘Morning, Sophia!’ Ernie raised a hand being kept toasty by a thick sheepskin glove. ‘Bit nippy today.’

I waved back and nodded in agreement, the bobble on my woolly hat bouncing as I did so. ‘Just a little!’ I grinned at both him and the typically British understatements. It was absolutely bloody freezing.

Wrapping my coat a little tighter, I dug my hands into my pockets and hurried along the cobbled village streets. Now that the bulk of the tourists had gone for the winter, it was easier to do without having to negotiate round the shuffling window shoppers of summer who filled the narrow pavements during the high season. Not that Wishington Bay ever entirely closed. Its renowned beauty, and relatively sheltered position, made it popular even out of season, and of course the brilliant reputation of Ned’s restaurant, where I worked as a waitress, brought people from miles away all through the year.

I took extra shifts at the restaurant whenever I could, which on many occasions was over a weekend thanks to one particular colleague, Corinne. She’d been hired by Ned as a favour to old friends and was apparently there more for the ‘life experience’ rather than any need to earn a decent income. The latter part was covered most indulgently by her father, allowing Corinne to be far more concerned with fitting work around her social life, rather than the other way round. My own circumstances, however, dictated that I would never turn down the opportunity to earn a little extra cash, and why I was now hurrying along the road that led towards the edge of the village.

The idea that I would ever be in a position to need to earn money at all was still one that occasionally took some getting used to but I had, in general, adjusted fairly well to this new circumstance, and thanks to Carrie and her sister-in-law, Holly, I was on my way to the first day of another new venture.

As I turned into the private lane that led down to Holly and Gabe’s house, I looked across from the raised position and took in the curve of the bay, the pale sand today edged with a sea of bright turquoise. Above it, puffy white clouds chased each other quickly across the blue sky. The sun shone, although there was little warmth from it, but the rays caught the tops of the white horses as they danced across the water before breaking onto the shore. I took a deep lungful of the cold, sharp air, tasting the salt in it, and smiled to myself, realising that despite my reduced circumstances I was lucky to have ended up at Wishington Bay. Pulling my phone from my pocket, I snapped a couple of pictures of the beautiful scenery to upload onto my Instagram later before heading on down the lane towards the house.

Maxine Morrey

Maxine Morrey is a bestselling romantic comedy author with eight books to her name including Winter’s Fairytale and the top ten hit The Christmas Project. She lives in West Sussex. Her first novel for Boldwood, #No Filter, was published in November 2019.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Romance, Travel

The Resistance Girl Jina Bacarr 4*#Review @JinaBacarr @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #BlogTour #HistFic #WW2 #BookReview #Romance #Family #TheResistanceGirl

Two women. One heartbreaking secret.


Paris, 1943.

Sylvie Martone is the star of French cinema, and adored by fans. But as Nazi officers swarm the streets of Paris, she is spotted arm in arm with an SS Officer and her fellow Parisians begin to turn against her.

However Sylvie has a secret – one she must protect with her life.


Paris, 2020.

Juliana Chastain doesn’t know anything about her family history. While her mother was alive she remained very secretive about her past.

So when Juliana discovers a photograph of a glamorous French actress from World War Two amongst her mother’s possessions, she is in shock to find herself looking at her grandmother – especailly as she is arm in arm with a Nazi Officer…

Desperate for answers, Juliana is determined to trace the journey of her grandmother. Surely there is more to the photograph than meets the eye?

But as she delves into Sylvie’s past, nothing can prepare Juliane for the tales of secrets, betrayal and sacrifice which she will uncover.

A heart-wrenching story of love and war.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an emotional timeslip story set in Paris during WW2 and the present day. Juliana grieving the loss of her mother finds a clue to her past when she sorts through her mother’s possessions. The secret they reveal is heartbreaking but does the camera lie?

Told from Sylvie’s viewpoint in pre-war France and during war-torn occupied Paris and Juliana’s in the present day a story of courage, danger and heartbreak unfolds. The historical setting is full of period detail that adds authenticity to the story. Sylvie is a courageous woman who uses her position and skills to help others in occupied France. Juliana uncovers an epic story worth immortalising in film. She also realises things about herself she’s ignored in the past and ends the emotional journey knowing who she truly is.

This story has two believable female protagonists and an engaging mix of adventure, danger, history and romance.

JinaBacarr

Jina Bacarr is a US-based historical romance author of over 10 previous books. She has been a screenwriter, journalist and news reporter, but now writes full-time and lives in LA. Jina’s novels have been sold in 9 territories.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Crime, Extract, Gangland Crime, ganglit

Villain Caro Savage #Extract @CaroSavageStory @BoldwoodBooks #CrimeFiction #ganglit #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources

To catch a villain sometimes you have to become one.
Bailey’s Back! From the bestselling author of Jailbird.

Detective Constable Bailey Morgan is back doing what she does best – working undercover.
This time she has to infiltrate the inner circle of a notorious underworld family. Posing as a fellow villain, she is on a one-woman mission to bring the family to their knees.

But things are never that simple. Bailey finds that she is forced to confront shadowy wraiths from her past and will come face-to-face with a set of devastating revelations that will shatter her world and threaten her very existence.

With only herself to trust, Bailey is on her own and the stakes are higher than ever.

Amazon UK

Extract from Villain – Caro Savage

At that point, the door of the restaurant swung open, letting out a gust of noise which made him turn his head sharply, all thoughts of the mysterious figure dropping from his mind. He saw that a couple had emerged into the chilly night and it looked like they were heading in his direction. A bolt of anticipation shot through him. Here was his opportunity, the chance to earn some money.

The man ambled along in a self-assured swagger, his black leather jacket flapping open despite the freezing weather. The woman was wrapped in a figure-hugging fur coat, below which a pair of slender long legs ended in towering stiletto heels. The woman, in particular, looked quite glamorous, like some kind of model or actress, and both of them looked considerably well-off.

The couple were laughing, the man saying something indiscernible in a low rumble, the woman tittering in response, their puffs of breath frosting in the night air. It sounded like they were tipsy, bathing in the high of a good evening.

They were drawing closer, the woman’s heels clacking sharply on the pavement as she tottered along a little unsteadily, her arm hooked into the man’s elbow, their conversation becoming more clearly audible the nearer they got.

‘Now remember you promised me,’ the man was saying in a rough, gravelly voice.

‘When we get back to the car,’ the woman replied, with a coy twinkle in her eye.

‘I’ve been waiting for it all evening,’ he said with a leering grin. ‘And I can’t wait any longer.’

‘You won’t be disappointed,’ she purred seductively.

Dave readied himself for their imminent approach. They were only a few metres away now. He projected the appropriate air of two parts dejected to one part cheerful and one part humble, a recipe he’d spent some time refining.

‘Spare some change?’ he said as they passed, making sure not to sound too whiny.

The man stopped abruptly, pulling the woman to a halt beside him. He peered down at Dave, the smile dropping off his face. Up close, Dave absorbed his appearance – a large diamond stud in his left ear, his loud shirt open at the collar revealing a heavy gold chain around his neck, a chunky, expensive-looking watch on his left wrist and one of those rings with a gold sovereign in it on the little finger of his right hand. He certainly didn’t look short of cash, that was for sure. And he appeared to be coked up, if the wide twitching eyes and the clenching jaw were anything to go by.

Dave suddenly felt uneasy. Just beneath the surface, he could detect the whiff of violence, as if this was the kind of bloke who thought nothing of doling out a beating to anyone who looked at him the wrong way. Maybe he should have kept his mouth shut. He wondered if the man was going to assault him. It wouldn’t be the first time someone had done so. He felt a faint quake of fear. He gulped and braced himself for a possible kicking.

Caro Savage

Caro Savage knows all about bestselling thrillers having worked as a Waterstones bookseller for 12 years in a previous life. Now taking up the challenge personally and turning to hard-hitting crime thriller writing, Jailbird was published by Boldwood in October 2019.

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