Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Noir, Suspense

The Secret Admirer Carol Wyer 5*#Review #DetectiveNatalieWard @carolewyer @bookouture #CrimeFiction #Detective #TheSecretAdmirer #BookReview

‘I tried to talk to you today but you snubbed me and walked away. It wasn’t wise to give me the brush-off, Gemma. I can be a truly good friend but I also make the perfect enemy.’

Sasha’s eighteen-year-old daughter Gemma was all she had in the world. Sasha fell pregnant with Gemma when she was still at school, and the two are as close as sisters. So when Gemma’s burned and broken body is found, Sasha’s world ends. What kind of person would want her beautiful daughter dead?

Leading the case is Detective Natalie Ward, scarred by her own recent tragedy. When she finds a note in Gemma’s diary from a ‘secret admirer’, she moves quickly, determined to un-mask them. But interviews with Gemma’s devastated ex-boyfriend, and her charismatic teacher, who has been seen embracing his student far away from the classroom, don’t give Natalie the answers she’d hoped for…

And then the case takes a devastating, personal twist. CCTV footage reveals Natalie’s estranged husband David followed Gemma home every evening the week before she died.

Natalie is forced to put personal feelings aside and follow procedure, even though she can’t believe David could be guilty. But when Gemma’s housemate is found murdered, Natalie thinks the killer could still be at large. Is she right to trust her instincts about David and can she discover the truth before another precious life is taken?

Grippingly fast and nail-bitingly tense, The Secret Admirer will have you flying through the pages long into the night.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

No spoilers but after what happened at the end of the previous book, The Blossom Twins it’s surprising Natalie can carry on.

Another horrific crime draws Natalie back to work. The investigation is complex and full of suspects a personal connection further threatens Natalie’s objectivity, but her professionalism shines through.

This book achieves the right balance of investigative and character detail. Natalie’s courage and tenacity make her easy to empathise. She’s flawed and human and relatable.

The plot keeps its secrets, engaging with clues but not revealing all until the end, making it realistic.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

DéjàVu Melody Saleh 3* #Review #UnBroken @MelodySaleh @lovebooksgroup #DéjàVu #LoveBooksTours #Friendship #relationships #Family #Romance #ThursdayMorning #ThursdayThoughts

Happiness is finally within reach for best friends, Amber, Dominque, Debra and Zya.  But fate has other plans…

Pregnant and widowed, Debra is engaged to suave and charming Italian heartthrob Roberto.  So why does her heart race when she thinks about her therapist, Brian?  Has she said yes to the wrong man?

Dominque has found the love and acceptance she always longed for with Tad.  But devastating news soon threatens their future together.

Successful fashion designer Zya has discovered her own unexpected happily ever after with Tina . . . until her daughter, Ashanti is bullied and becomes the focus of a police investigation and the media. Now Zya suddenly stands to lose everything she holds dear.

Finally, together with the only man she’s ever loved, Amber is determined to not let anything come between her and Patrick—not even her jealous and vindictive identical twin sister.  But someone is watching . . . waiting for the right moment to destroy her . . .

Will the women get their happy ending, or is it déjà vu all over again?  Find out in the dramatic and suspenseful second book of the Unbroken series.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This is the second book in the Unbroken series and to understand the characters and their motivations you need to read Facade first. The story has moved on, but the conflict and secrets continue to blight the women’s lives threatening their family and relationships.

Familiarity with the characters makes this an easier read, but the story’s chaos and complexity will not suit everyone. The characters are realistic and relatable. This the story’s greatest strength, as they engage your interest and what happens to them matters.

After 35+ years in operations for various businesses (including her own), Melody pursued her dream of writing a novel. Having written for business publications, local magazines and even publishing a poem, Chemo’s not for Sissies, during treatment after her first cancer diagnosis, it was time to finish the novel that was started many years ago. When she started  writing, “Facade: Things Aren’t Always as They Appear,” she had no idea where her characters were going to take her. “The story basically wrote itself. It was like a movie projector playing in my mind,” is how she describes her experience. It soon became apparent, their voices were not to be silenced… “The Unbroken Series” was born. “Deja Vu: Here We Go Again,” Book II, to be released June 23, 2020, followed by C’est la Vie, Book III, in December.

Melody lives with her husband in her native home state Florida. She’s blessed to be alive today after two cancer diagnoses and enjoys watching her grandchildren grow up; something she doesn’t take for granted.

Read my review of Facade Book1

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

The Eliza Doll by Tracey Scott – Townsend #CoverReveal @authortrace @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Ellie lives in a campervan with her dog, Jack, selling her handmade dolls at craft fairs. There is one doll that she can’t bear to finish until she comes to terms with the truth of what has happened.

The Eliza Doll is an uncompromising family drama about upheaval, off-grid living and living on the dole in 1980s England.

Set in East Yorkshire and Iceland from the eighties to the present.

WildPressedBooks Amazon UK

Tracey-Scott-Townsend is the author of six novels — the most recent The Vagabond Mother (January 2020) and Sea Babies (May 2019) — all published by Wild Pressed Books and Inspired Quill Publishing. Reviews often describe her novels as poetic or painterly.

She is also a poet and a visual artist. She has a Fine Art MA and a BA (Hons) Visual Studies. She has exhibited paintings throughout the UK (as Tracey Scott). She has a long career as a workshop facilitator with community groups and in schools.

Tracey is co-director of an up-and-coming small independent publisher, Wild Pressed Books, which has a growing roster of authors and poets.

Mother of four grown-up children, Tracey spends as much time as possible travelling the UK and Europe in a camper van with her husband and two dogs, writing and editing while on the road. 

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel

Summer on a Sunny Island Sue Moorcroft 5*#Review @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #Summer #Romance #HolidayRomance #Malta #BookReview #WeekendReads

When Rosa Hammond splits up from her partner Marcus, her Mum Dora suggests a summer in Malta. Not one to sit back and watch her daughter be unhappy, Dora introduces Rosa to Zach, in the hope that romance will bloom under the summer sun. But Rosa’s determined not to be swayed by a handsome man – she’s in Malta to work, after all.

Zach, meanwhile, is a magnet for trouble and is dealing with a fair few problems of his own. Neither Rosa or Zach are ready for love – but does fate have other ideas? And after a summer in paradise, will Rosa ever want to leave?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I love that this story introduces Rosa and Zach from the first page, and makes the reader realise neither are looking for a romantic relationship despite their chemistry. As the story unfolds passion ignites, as their emotional barriers crumble. This is a slow burn romance, full of internal and external conflict.

The island setting is vibrant and easy to imagine, the author’s first-hand knowledge evident. All the characters have a part to play in this complex story of family drama, youthful mistakes and second chances.

This is perfect Summer escapism with believable characters, contemporary issues and realistic romance.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Mystery, Suspense

Buried Secrets by Krissy Baccaro 4*#Review @BaccaroKrissy @lovebooksgroup #Mystery #FamilyDrama #Love #Lies #Secrets #Italy #LoveBooksTours #FridayReads #BuriedSecrets

Some things should stay hidden

Families have secrets. Some secrets are locked, sealed and taken to the grave. Others beg to be told. They ooze through cracks a little at a time. You tease them out until an ugly truth is fully exposed.

Ella Perri knows there’s something hidden in the family cottage. In his last breath, Ella’s grandfather reveals to her a startling secret that hints at something sinister. On behalf of her beloved grandfather, she embarks on a dangerous quest for truth. A World War II diary and the 21st century collide as Ella desperately chases every clue in a faraway and unfamiliar setting where the real story begins. Who can be trusted and who has something to hide? One secret leads to another. Ella must decide: share the secrets and alter the fates of her loved ones forever or become part of the lie that’s been buried deep for decades.

Buried Secrets is a suspenseful mystery with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the shocking ending.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The atmospheric and emotional beginning sets the scene for a dramatic family mystery. Despite family disapproval, Ella sets out to solve a historic secret and honour her Poppy’s dying wish.

The cast of characters is believable and vividly portrayed. The plot is suspenseful with many twists and a surprising and poignant ending. The Italian setting is dramatic and mirrors the story’s emotions.

The ending gives romantic hope for the future and leaves mysteries to be solved.

Krissy Baccaro is an author of mystery and suspense. She recently published her short story, LUCA, on Amazon. Krissy collaborated with authors from several countries to bring forth fantastic tales. Together they published Once Upon a Story: A Short Fiction Anthology. This book includes two of her short story mysteries, “Luca” and “Monster.” “Monster” will soon be available for separate purchase on Amazon. The author is a proud member of several online writing groups, and most active in Active Alumni Writers. The Alumni helps authors critique and support one another’s writing projects to polish stories into bestsellers. For 25 years, Krissy taught Kindergarten through fifth grade. Currently, she teaches writing and reading to 5th-grade students and works on her mysterious sequel to Buried Secrets. The author resides in upstate New York not far from Skaneateles, where the puzzle of Buried Secrets begins.

Posted in Book Review, Romance, Travel

Marrying His Runaway Heiress Therese Beharrie 5*#Review @ThereseBeharrie @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonTrueLove #MillsandBoonInsiders #Romance #Italy #Family#Drama #BookReview

A diamond isn’t forever…
until it’s from the right man!

For journalist Elena John, heading to Italy on assignment is her chance to avoid her impending arranged marriage. But Micah Williams, the star of her article, is nothing like the uptight tycoon she expected. Alone in Italy she falls under his charming spell. But can Micah offer a counter-proposal?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

From their first meeting, Elena and Micah’s attraction clashes with their shared hostility. Both lack familial love growing up. They have a distorted view of relationships. Fear of rejection makes their romance conflicted.

The settings are glamorous and add romance to the story. Elena and Micah are complex, flawed characters. Their likeability makes you want them to be happy with each other. Circumstances conspire and finally, they find the courage, to achieve their happy ever after.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Travel

The Sea Gate Jane Johnson 5*#Review @JaneJohnsonBakr @HoZ_Books #HistFic #LiteraryFiction #Family #Drama #BookReview #BlogTour #Mystery #Romance #Suspense #WW2 #Relationships #Secrets

One house, two women, a lifetime of secrets…

Following the death of her mother, Becky begins the sad task of sorting through her empty flat. Starting with the letters piling up on the doormat, she finds an envelope post-marked from Cornwall. In it is a letter that will change her life forever. A desperate plea from her mother’s elderly cousin, Olivia, to help save her beloved home.

Becky arrives at Chynalls to find the beautiful old house crumbling into the ground, and Olivia stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her home is made habitable.

Though daunted by the enormity of the task, Becky sets to work. But as she peels back the layers of paint, plaster and grime, she uncovers secrets buried for more than seventy years. Secrets from a time when Olivia was young, the Second World War was raging, and danger and romance lurked round every corner…

The Sea Gate is a sweeping, spellbinding novel about the lives of two very different women, and the secrets that bind them together.

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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…

Life in the contemporary world seems tawdry and insignificant in the wake of the secrets and tribulations faced by young Olivia in WW2. This dual timeline story follows Rebecca in the present day as she attempts to make Oliva’s crumbling but magnificent old house habitable for her.

The secrets Rebecca discovers gives an authentic insight into WW2 society and issues of abuse and racism. There is forbidden love, intriguing mystery and a lovely multigenerational relationship between Rebecca and Olivia. The setting is dramatic and complements the revelations perfectly.

Gently paced this atmospheric story engages and holds the reader, as they lose themselves in another time.

Jane Johnson is a British novelist and publisher. She is the UK editor for George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb and Dean Koontz and was for many years publisher of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Married to a Berber chef she met while researching The Tenth Gift, she lives in Cornwall and Morocco.

Twitter Website

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

A Wedding at the Beach Hut Veronica Henry 5*#Review @Veronica_Henry @orionbooks #FamilyDrama #UpLit #Coastal #Friendship #Parents #Children #Wedding #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour #BookReview @annecater

Escape to Everdene, where the sun is shining and the tide is about to turn . . .

Robyn and Jake are planning their dream wedding at the family beach hut. Just their favourite people, a picnic on the sand and dancing barefoot until sunset: simple, stylish, special.

But Robyn can’t stop thinking about her birth mother, or the box she left when she gave Robyn up for adoption. Is now the right time to open it and discover the truth – or will she break the hearts of the people she loves most?

Sheila and Mick, Robyn’s parents, also feel the time is right for change. But it’s going to take courage to start the life they want for themselves.

And far away, Emily is still haunted by the life-changing decision she made one summer, thirty years ago. What could lead a mother to relinquish her child?

As the big day approaches, can everyone let go of the past and step into a bright new future?

One thing is certain: this will be the wedding that changes everything …

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This book has all the ingredients for a perfect escapist read. There are complex and engaging characters who are easy to empathise, a delightful coastal setting with a quintessential English beach hut and a family drama that oozes with emotion, love and secrets.

Robyn’s life is about the change in the best of ways she pregnant and getting married. A likeable quirky character she is one half of a successful landscaping team with her partner in life Jake Her only quandary is whether to search for her birth mother.

This story weaves storylines of loss and love with effortless ease. The wedding is the focal point but it’s about so much more.

Veronica Henry

Veronica Henry is the Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty novels. She was a scriptwriter for some of our best-loved dramas such as The Archers, Heartbeat and Holby City before she turned to fiction. She lives in North Devon with three sons who come and go with the tide, and she flips between walking on the beach, swimming in the sea and mixing killer Negronis. 

Website Twitter Facebook Instagram

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Suspense

I Made A Mistake Jane Corry 5*#Review @JaneCorryAuthor @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks #IMadeAMistake #BookReview #FamilyDrama #Psychological #Suspense #MondayBlogs #MondayThoughts

In Poppy Page’s mind, there are two types of women in this world: those who are faithful to their husbands, and those who are not. Until now, Poppy has never questioned which she was.

But when handsome, charming Matthew Gordon walks back into her life after almost two decades, that changes. Poppy makes a single mistake – and that mistake will be far more dangerous than she could imagine.

Someone is going to pay for it with their life . . .

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

An intense and intriguing incident sets the tone for a chilling multigenerational family drama.

Betty is a complex character easy to empathise but still an unreliable protagonist. Her mental health issues impair her judgement and demand a terrible sacrifice. Poppy is low in self-esteem, regretting missed chances and still damaged from her first love.

Riveting and claustrophobic in its intensity this family drama fused with psychological suspense takes ordinary people and considers the fall out of one mistake.

Relatable circumstances and complex characters make this an addictive story.

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

Ash Mountain Helen Fitzgerald 5*#Review @FitzHelen @OrendaBooks #AshMountain #RandomThingsTours #Australia #Wildfire #LiteraryFiction #catastrophic #disaster #bushfires #firestorm #SmallTown #Domestic #noir #FamilyDrama @AnneCater #BlogTour #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog #TuesdayThoughts.

Fran hates her hometown, and she thought she’d escaped. But
her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and
she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.
She returns home to nurse her dying father, her distant
teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the
sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at
her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and
her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable
heat of an Australian summer.
As past friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new
ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her
worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating
bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…
Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town
life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking
and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that
changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking
slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that
you will never forget…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

An adrenaline-inducing beginning guarantees the reader’s attention from the start The main protagonist, is desperately searching for her family amidst a raging firestorm. The story rewinds to the days preceding the firestorm, and you begin to see what life’s like in Ash Mountain.

Character-driven, this is an addictive intricate story. Each of the characters is believable and ordinary. This authenticity makes them fascinating. The town’s dynamic relationships; family, friends and frenemies are interweaved to form its ethos.

The story slips back in time thirty years to illuminate currents events and motivations. Dark satirical humour enlivens the plot which explores terrible abuse and betrayal from Fran’s past. The final chapters are immersive and intense.

This story is an enthralling balance of humour and poignancy exploring contemporary issues of abuse, prejudice and catastrophic disaster.

Helen Fitzgerald

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult
thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was
longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1.

Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst CaseScenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph.

Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband.