Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Revenge Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Couple Upstairs Shalini Boland 5*#Review @ShaliniBoland @bookouture #Relationships #Secrets #Lies #Friendship #BookReview #psychsuspense #TheCoupleUpstairs

Our new home was supposed to be a chance to leave our past behind. But was moving here the worst mistake of our lives?

All our friends and family were gathered, glasses raised to toast our fresh start. It should have been a night for happiness and celebration. Zac and I had worked so hard for this: our first home together, just minutes from the sea. But the dream quickly turned into a nightmare…

We’d invited our neighbours too. I wanted to make a good impression – to show them we’re exactly the sort of people they want living on their street.

I hadn’t thought about who they might be, the strangers I was letting in.

It was going so well. There was laughter in the air and the wine was flowing. But then I noticed the narrowed eyes, the whispers.

And then the lights went out.

As my heart thumped in my chest, all the little things that had been going wrong since we moved here flashed through my mind: the food poisoning, the arguments, the flood of nasty reviews shaking my business.

Am I going crazy? Or is someone trying to destroy us?

From the USA Today bestselling author Shalini Boland comes an absolutely heart-thumping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley in return for an honest review..

My Thoughts…

Supremely confident psychological suspense with an unreliable protagonist, a supposedly idyllic community setting that is not quite what it seems and a manipulative and twisted antagonist. I love this author’s books because there is always an unexpected twist. For regular readers, the fun is trying to guess who isn’t what they seem.

Classic, domestic suspense with the expected underlying edge of menace. What seems obvious is twisted until it is unrecognisable and the threat real. The perfect book if you like your psychological suspense atmospheric and well-written.

Posted in Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Romance

Her Secret War Pam Lecky 4*#Review @pamlecky @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #WW2 #espionage #IrishFiction #PublicationDay #WomeninWar #secrets #HerSecretWar

A moment that ruins her life

On 31st May 1941, Germany drops bombs on neutral Dublin and Sarah Gillespie loses her family and home that fateful night. Days later, the man she loves leaves Ireland to enlist in the RAF.

A decision that changes her life

With nothing to keep her in Ireland and a burning desire to help the war effort, Sarah seeks refuge with relatives in Hampshire, England. But before long, Sarah’s family history catches up with her.

A mission that could cost her life

Sarah is asked to prove her loyalty to Britain through uncovering a spy at Vickers Supermarine, the manufacturers of the legendary Spitfire fighter plane. But to progress with her mission, she must become involved with a fifth columnist. And so the most dangerous game she’s ever played ensues…
  

A gripping story that explores a deadly tangle of love and espionage in war-torn Britain.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story is told from an Irish woman’s perspective bringing refreshing originality to its WW2 setting. Sarah seeks solace with her Uncle and his family in England after the devastating loss of her family in Dublin. Embracing an English way of life, she does her bit for the war effort.

Sarah’s nationality and skills embroil her in a dangerous espionage mission that threatens everyone she values. This story has friendship, family drama and romance alongside the intriguing world of wartime espionage. There are intricate historical details and believable character development in an ethos of courage and danger, and it’s an engaging read.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, New Books, Parenting and Famlies

We Are Not Like Them Christine Pride and Jo Piazza 4* #Review @jopiazza #ChristinePride @HQStories #HQNewVoices #WANLT #Women #Race #Mothers #Love #Betrayal #Friendship #injustice #literaryfiction #prejudice #courage #forgiveness #WeAreNotLikeThem

Not every story is black and white.

Riley and Jen have been best friends since they were children, and they thought their bond was unbreakable. It never mattered to them that Riley is black and Jen is white. And then Jen’s husband, a Philadelphia police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager and everything changes in an instant.

This one act could destroy more than just Riley and Jen’s friendship. As their community takes sides, so must Jen and Riley, and for the first time in their lives the lifelong friends find themselves on opposing sides.

But can anyone win a fight like this?

We Are Not Like Them is about friendship and love. It’s about prejudice and betrayal. It’s about standing up for what you believe in, no matter the cost.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story explores injustice, prejudice and race in an insightful way from the perspective of an interracial friendship. The beginning is poignant and fills the reader with anger at the injustice of the indiscriminate shooting of a young black male. Immediately the question, would the victim be lying there dying if he was white, is at the forefront of the reader’s mind.

Then the two female protagonists are introduced, Jen is a homemaker, Riley, a successful broadcast journalist, Jen is white, Riley is black, and they have been friends since childhood. The repercussions of the shooting are delivered to them independently, but as Jen runs and leaves Riley questioning, both sense this the end of something.

Their friendship has survived the years by avoidance of potentially divisive issues which the shooting and its fallout bring to the fore. Inequalities exist in Jen and Riley’s relationship. Riley is the giver, Jen is the taker, and this is significant for what follows.

The story explores contemporary issues. It strives to present everyone’s viewpoints whether this is successful is open for debate. Well written, and eloquent it engages the reader and provokes thinking.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

The Room in the Attic Louise Douglas 5* #Review @LouiseDouglas3 @BoldwoodBooks #Family #Drama #Secrets #grief #loss #Suspense #mystery #Gothic #SocialHistory #mothers #women #Psychological #BookReview #BlogTour #boldwoodbloggers #TheRoomintheAttic @rararesources

A child who does not know her name…

In 1903 fishermen find a wrecked boat containing a woman, who has been badly beaten, and a young girl. An ambulance is sent for, and the two survivors are taken to All Hallows, the imposing asylum, hidden deep on Dartmoor. The woman remains in a coma, but the little girl, Harriet, awakens and is taken to an attic room, far away from the noise of the asylum, and is put in the care of Nurse Emma Everdeen.

Two motherless boys banished to boarding school…

In 1993, All Hallows is now a boarding school. Following his mother’s death and his father’s hasty remarriage, Lewis Tyler is banished to Dartmoor, stripped of his fashionable clothes, shorn of his long hair, and left feeling more alone than ever. There he meets Isak, another lost soul, and whilst refurbishment of the dormitories is taking place, the boys are marooned up in the attic, in an old wing of the school.

Cries and calls from the past that can no longer be ignored…

All Hallows is a building full of memories, whispers, cries from the past. As Lewis and Isak learn more about the fate of Harriet, and Nurse Emma’s desperate fight to keep the little girl safe, it soon becomes clear there are ghosts who are still restless.

Are they ghosts the boys hear at night in the room above, are they the unquiet souls from the asylum still caught between the walls? And can Lewis and Isak bring peace to All Hallows before the past breaks them first…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric and chilling, The Room in the Attic brings All Hallows to life in a disturbing and resonating way. The story is told predominantly in dual timelines. 1903, when All Hallows was an asylum and 1993 when it housed a draconian boarding school. Lewis returns in the present day as a grown man, but the past makes him want to run.

The character-led stories are emotional with elements of gothic fiction and psychological suspense. The characters are believably vibrant and immerse the reader into their world. The social history and social injustice explored in the 1903 story is disturbingly poignant. The plight of the two boys in 1993 is equally harrowing, and their grief makes them susceptible to paranormal occurrences.

The mysterious plot’s clever twists let the characters shine and enthral the reader. The author captures perfectly the sense of fear, hopelessness and sadness that pervades, All Hallows.

Louise Douglas

Louise Douglas is the bestselling and brilliantly reviewed author of 6 novels including The Love of my Life and Missing You – a RNA award winner. The Secrets Between Us was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. She lives in the West Country. Louise’s first book for Boldwood, The House by the Sea was published in March 2020.

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

High Blue Sky Victoria Connelly 4*#Review @VictoriaDarcy #TheHouseintheClouds @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #renovation #secrets #friendship #healing #family #life #relationships #HighBlueSky #SussexDowns

What would you sacrifice to be with the person you love?

Summer has arrived and it’s over a year since strangers Abigail and Edward bought Winfield Hall at auction and restored it together. Now, two new tenants are about to join them at their beautiful Georgian home.

Workaholic Harry Freeman has forgotten what it is to relax so when he meets healer, Aura Arden, and learns to meditate with her, he can’t believe how good he feels and he soon finds himself falling for her. But, with her bare feet and crystal beads, Aura’s not a big hit with Harry’s old-fashioned parents, and he finds himself torn between the people he loves most in the world.

It isn’t just Harry and Aura finding love. Summer has woven its spell over Edward and his brother Oscar, and both are making a play for Abi. But Abi isn’t happy at having to choose between these two very different men and, when Oscar’s behavior spirals out of control, she realizes that some decisions can have devastating consequences.

High Blue Sky is the second novel in the heart-warming trilogy from the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

Book two introduces two new residents to the idyllic Winfield Hall, the house Edward and Abi co-own. Harry, an advertising executive, needs to find a better work-life balance. Aura, a healer, focuses on the natural world and the power of crystals. They form an unlikely but valuable friendship that blossoms as the story progresses despite significant external conflicts. The house renovations continue, and it remains an intrinsic influence.

Edward and his brother Oscar’s romantic focus is Abi, causing her problems and threatening her developing friendship with Edward. This gently paced story has believable character development. There is an insightful exploration of family relationships, and at points, in the story, they threaten the positive ethos of Edward and Abi’s home.

Character-driven, this is an absorbing read, and the ending leaves the reader wanting to see what happens in the series’ final instalment.

Victoria Connelly

Victoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

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

A Winter Wish for the Cornish Midwife Jo Bartlett 4*#Review @J_B_Writer @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #Cornwall #Coastal #BookReview #relationships #secrets #loss #grief #SecondChances #Love #uplit #Dreams #AWinterWishfortheCornishMidwife

A secret love…

As winter descends on the coastal town of Port Agnes, midwife Toni Samuels’ mood is as dark as the winter clouds that roll in. Toni loves her job as a midwife, but her private life is falling apart. Because Toni is keeping a secret– a relationship with fellow male midwife Bobby that no one can ever know about.

A damaged hope…

Kind and gorgeous, Bobby is a huge hit at the midwifery centre, but he’s tired of keeping his feelings for Toni a secret – of always coming second best. He knows that Toni’s past is painful, but unless she can be open with her feelings for him, he’s prepared to walk away from their love.

Can love find a way?

Toni loves Bobby and wishes things could be different between them. But torn between her past and a future with him, everything seems hopeless. Until fate hands Toni one last chance…

Now Toni’s secret wish is in her hands…if only she can be brave enough to take a chance and make her dreams come true.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The third book in the Cornish Midwife series is full of angst, emotion and loss. It focuses on Toni and Bobby and the story behind their secret affair. The prologue sets the scene in a customary dramatic way and what follows is a story full of guilt, sacrifice and forgotten wishes.

This story is both frustrating and heartwarming, as the reader urges Toni to consider her happiness first and think of the future that is hers if she is brave enough to let go and move on. This story immerses the reader in Toni and Bobby’s lives and the contrast in them. It is less dramatic but more emotionally intense than the previous two stories.

Jo Bartlett is the bestselling author of nineteen women’s fiction titles. She fits her writing in between her two day jobs as an educational consultant and university lecturer and lives with her family and three dogs on the Kent coast. Boldwood is published the first title in The Cornish Midwife Series – part of a twelve-book deal – in April 2021. 

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

The Village Inn of Secret Dreams Alison Sherlock 5*#Review @AlisonSherlock @BoldwoodBooks #RiversideLane #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #Rural #Community #SecondChances #Village #Friendship #Cotswolds #Dreams @bookandtonic #TheVillageInnofSecretDreams

Brand NEW from the bestselling author of The Village Shop For Lonely Hearts.

After escaping her parents’ unhappy marriage to sleepy Cranbridge a long time ago, Belle Clarke dreams of staying at The Black Swan Inn forever.

But with the rundown Inn threatened with closure, Belle may be forced to leave, unless a buyer can be found … quickly.

So, when her oldest friend Pete Kennedy returns from working abroad with a plan to save the Inn, Belle should be overjoyed. The trouble is, Pete has some rather radical ideas for the renovation which Belle disagrees with.

But when a snow storm hits, Belle and Pete are forced to put aside their differences and work together to help the village.

Can Belle realise her dreams to stay in Cranbridge and can Pete ever stop running from his past?

As they try to save The Black Swan Inn, secrets are revealed and just maybe they’ll finally find out how they really feel about each other.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Belle and Pete are the main focus of book three in the Riverside Lane series. Belle is in danger of losing her home, and Pete returns to the village after years away and becomes the unlikely saviour of the pub and Belle, but his offer seems to lead to more conflict. Pete is Belle’s friend, but their relationship dynamic suggests they are more than this. They don’t see themselves as a couple, but their family, friends and the wider community do.

This is a romantic story with realistic conflict and humour. Likeably flawed main protagonists and the supporting characters give the village authenticity. Like the other books in the series, it explores contemporary issues through the characters in an insightful way.

This uplifting story weaves community spirit, friendship and romance into its idyllic but lifelike village setting.

Alison Sherlock

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village and book one The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts was published in July 2020 and book two The Village of Lost and Found in March 2021.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Travel

A Little Piece of Paradise T.A.Williams 5*#Review @TAWilliamsBooks @canelo_co #Family #Relationships #Sisters #Secrets #Romance #Friendship #PublicationDay #BookReview #Labrador #LoveFromItaly #ALittlePieceofParadise @rararesources

The inheritance of a lifetime… with a catch

When Sophie’s uncle leaves her a castle in the Italian Riviera in his will, she can’t believe her luck. The catch? She and her estranged sister, Rachel, must live there together for three months in order to inherit it.  

Having worked in Rome for four years, Sophie’s excited to revisit to Italy, even if it reignites memories of a cheating ex who soon learns of her return and wants to rekindle their spark. Sophie realises that distance does indeed make the heart grow fonder – but for her friend back home, Chris, who she discovers is more to her than just a friend.

With the clock ticking, can Sophie and Rachel stick it out and heal old wounds, or are the sisters destined to go their own way at the end of the three months? And does Chris feel the same way about Sophie as she does for him?

A beautiful story of romance and sisterhood.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

Familial relationships and secrets make this an engaging read from an author best known for his romantic comedies. Sophie and Rachel are estranged sisters brought together by an unexpected inheritance. The Italian castle is theirs if they live there together for three months. The bond between the sisters and their conflicts are well described. Their gradual understanding is heartwarming.
Romance, rivalry, and family secrets make this an engaging read. The vividly described setting and the Italian ethos draws the reader into the sunshine.

T.A.Williams

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

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Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, New Books, Saga

The War Child Renita D’Silva 5*#Review @RenitaDSilva @bookouture #saga #WW2 #historicalfiction #histfic #LiteraryFiction #BookReview #TheWarChild #India #England #relationships #secrets

Everything will change, my love, she whispers to her only baby. I will make sure you are protected, looked after, loved. She commits his smell, the feel of him, to memory and fastens the gold St Christopher’s medal around his neck, tucking it into the blanket. Kissing him one last time, she lets him go. And with him go the pieces of her shattered heart.

London, 1940. Clara Knight grew up an orphan in the first world war and now is fighting to win the second. Nursing brave soldiers, she falls in love with one of her patients, whose warm brown eyes give her hope for a brighter future. But then he is sent to the front, leaving her alone with their child amidst the bombs raining down on the city… When she is offered the chance to give her son a better life, Clara makes the impossible choice to let him go. She leaves her mother’s precious St Christopher pendant with him, vowing to find him again when the war is over, so they can be a family once more.

Years later. Indira’s life has taken an unexpected turn and her only solace is caring for her grandfather. As he lies in bed, weak and confused, he calls her ‘Clara’, begging forgiveness for an unknown terrible act, tears rolling down his face. Indira goes looking for the truth… and discovers a tattered box of unsent letters, a gold St Christopher’s medal and a photograph of a baby swaddled in a blanket. Who was Clara Knight? And who is the baby in the photo? Her quest will reveal a devastating secret spanning decades, and change everything Indira thought she knew about her family…

An unforgettable and heart-breaking novel set in World War Two about the powerful bond between a mother and her child and a betrayal that echoes across generations. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set across two continents and two world wars, this is an epic, and at times heartbreaking family saga full of betrayal, prejudice and sacrifice tempered with the power of love. This author writes from the heart with a myriad of emotions. Her writing is insightful and lyrical, riven with sensory imagery that transports the reader to the place and time. The two women face similar issues years apart determined, and driven they find a way through them.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Domestic Suspense, Family Drama, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Suspense, Travel

The Chateau Catherine Cooper 4*#Review @catherinecooper @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #TheChateau #France #CrimeFiction #domestic #noir #psychological #suspense #MurderMystery #Relationships #Secrets #BookReview

They thought it was perfect. They were wrong…

A glamorous chateau

Aura and Nick don’t talk about what happened in England. They’ve bought a chateau in France to make a fresh start, and their kids need them to stay together – whatever it costs.

A couple on the brink

The expat community is welcoming, but when a neighbour is murdered at a lavish party, Aura and Nick don’t know who to trust.

A secret that is bound to come out…

Someone knows exactly why they really came to the chateau. And someone is going to give them what they deserve.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set in a glamorous region of France renowned for its Chateaux, this is a twisty and menacing fusion of murder mystery and psychological suspense. Aura and Nick are living the French dream but can their relationship survive their past? The ex-pat community are welcoming, but not everyone wishes them well. The book begins with a party that ends tragically. The reader is taken back to the time preceding the party and Aura and Nick’s first few weeks. The main protagonists’ Aura and Nick, both give their viewpoints at different times. Neither are easy to like, and both are unreliable.

The chateau is a work in progress with a menacing ethos that the children pick up on. Pertinent additional points of view are injected into the story to add intrigue. Well-plotted twists and timely reveals are balanced with misdirections, multiple suspects and unreliable narrators, making the ending climactic.

Catherine Cooper

Catherine Cooper is a journalist specialising in travel, hotels, and skiing who writes regularly for the Telegraph and the Guardian among others. She lives near the Pyrenees in the South of France with her husband and two teenage children, and is a keen skier.

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