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

Note to Self Anna Bell 5*Review @AnnaBell_writes @HQStories #romcom #contemporaryfiction #life #love #friendship #relationships #romance #humour #secondchance #blogtour #bookreview

It’s never too late to follow your heart.

One summer’s day seventeen years ago Edie and Joel meet.
Their connection is instant and a friendship is born, although Edie can’t help but wish for more. But just as she builds up the courage to lay her heart on the line, one night changes everything…

Edie’s moved on from the heartbreak of years ago. So the last thing she expects to receive on her thirty-fifth birthday is an email… from her eighteen-year-old self. As more emails arrive, she starts to remember what – or rather who – she left behind.

Following her own advice, Edie heads back to the place where it all began and finds her path unexpectedly crossing with Joel’s once more. Could this finally be their chance at love? Or are some things better left in the past?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Edie runs a successful family business, owns her flat and has a boyfriend who suits her lifestyle, a perfect life looking in, but when she receives an email from her teenage self, it forces her to question her choices and find the life she wants.

I enjoyed this poignant mix of coming of age, romantic comedy and self-realisation that draws the reader in and keeps them engaged. The believable characters are easy to visualise, and Edie’s emotional journey is full of heartbreak and heartwarming moments. The ending is breathtakingly romantic and the perfect conclusion to this lovely story.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance

A Golden Cornish Summer Phillipa Ashley 5* #Review @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #Cornwall #Romance #friendship #coastal #summer #UpLit #secondchance #secrets #family #AGoldenCornishSummer

Under the golden Cornish sun, buried treasure and family secrets will change Emma’s life forever…

Emma loved her life in the seaside village of Silver Cove. But when the discovery of the sunken treasure ignited a feud between her family and that of Luke, her first love, everything fell apart. Heartbroken and betrayed, she fled.

Now, as she wades into the sparkling surf for the first time in fifteen years, she remembers everything she loved about this beautiful place. Then a huge wave knocks her off her feet. Wet and dripping, Emma is rescued by none other than Luke – who is, to her dismay, even more, handsome than ever.

Emma starts to wonder if returning home was a huge mistake. Or could the real treasure have been waiting here for her all along?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Emma returns to the cornish coastal village where she grew up with trepidation. It’s work that draws her home, but when she meets her first love, she wonders if she has made a mistake coming home. The rekindling of Emma and Lukes’s friendship is emotional and a bit of a rollercoaster. Both have trust issues and find it hard to let go of the past.

I enjoyed the Cornish setting and the beachcombing theme. There is a good mix of drama, romance and self-realisation in this story Complex characters draw the reader into their lives with longheld secrets.

It’s an ideal beach read full of emotion, friendship and a happy conclusion.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Travel

More Than You’ll Ever Know Katie Gutierrez 4* #Review @katie_gutz @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks #MoreThanYoullEverKnow #literarythriller #mystery #familydrama #relationships #truecrime #suspense #marriage #parenting #bookreview

Lore Rivera was married to two men at once, until on a baking hot day in 1986, one of them found out and shot the other. A secret double life, a tragic murder.

That’s the story the world knows.

It’s not the story that fascinates Cassie Bowman.

Carrying the weight of her own family tragedy, true-crime writer Cassie wants to know more about the mysterious woman at the heart of it all: Lore.

And to her surprise, Lore is willing to talk – about how a dance became an affair; how marriage became a murder.

As the two women grow closer, Cassie finds she can’t help but confess her own darkest secrets.

But when it becomes clear that there might be more to the night of the murder than anyone realised, can either woman face up to the thing they’ve been hiding from . . . the truth?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

More Than You’ll Ever Know has a true crime vibe, an excellent sense of place and time and complex, flawed characters that immerse the reader in their lives. It’s an emotional exploration of marriage, parenthood and relationships and is gripping. The true crime aspect gives it a contemporary slant, but it tells the story from multi viewpoints and timelines.

Lore is an interesting character; she provokes Cassie to evaluate her life and past and face her truth. The crime aspect develops slowly and is more powerful because the reader is invested in the characters’ lives when secrets emerge. The final twists I did work out are poignant and resonate and deliver a fitting conclusion to this detailed and engaging story.

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

The Gin Sisters’ Promise Faith Hogan 5* #Review @GerHogan @AriaFiction @Hoz_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #secrets #lies #familydrama #SecondChance #Friendship #Life #siblings #Motivational #uplit #IrishFiction #TheGinSistersPromise #MondayBlogs

Three estranged sisters. Six months to come back together.
When Georgie, Iris and Nola’s mother died and their father disappeared into his grief, the sisters made a pact: they would always be there for one another, no matter what.
Now, decades later, they haven’t spoken for years and can barely stand to be in the same room. As his health declines, their father comes up with a plan to bring them back to one another. In his will, he states that before they can claim their inheritance, they must spend six months living together in their childhood home in the village of Ballycove, Ireland, and try to repair their broken relationships.
As the months’ progress, old resentments boil over, new secrets threaten to come out and each sister must decide what matters more: their pride, or their family. Can they overcome their past and find a way to love each other once more?

Amazon Kobo Google Play Apple 1Bookshop.org Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Three estranged sisters reunited at their father’s funeral; he wanted them to rekindle their childhood closeness, so he made their inheritance conditional on their living and working together where they grew up. The three sisters, Georgie, Iris and Nola, all have secrets in their lives they don’t want to reveal, and the tension of their first meeting and initial time together is palpable.

The character-driven storytelling is excellent. It has believably flawed characters who grow with self-realisation and renewal of sisterly bonds. The gradual revealing of past hurts lets the reader understand why the sisters behave as they do. The setting on the west coast of Ireland is crucial to the story. It weaves its reflective magic in the sisters’ lives and helps them, and their relationships heal.

The Gin Sisters’ Promise is the perfect story to escape with, a medley of heartbreak and heartwarming moments.

Faith Hogan

Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and two very fussy cats. She has an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology, Faith has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

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Read my review of The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club

Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Romance, Saga

The Good Servant Fern Britton 5*#Review @Fern_Britton @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #secrets #TheGoodServant #histfic #royals #duty #saga

The story of Marion Crawford, governess to the Queen – an ordinary woman living in an extraordinary time.

1932. Dunfermline, Scotland.

Marion Crawford, a bright, ambitious young teacher, is ready to make her mark on the world. Until a twist of fate changes the course of her life forever…

1936. Windsor Castle.

At first, this ordinary woman is in a new world, working as the governess to two young princesses, in a household she calls home but where everyone is at a distance. As the course of history changes, she finds herself, a companion, to the future Queen, and indispensable to the Crown. And slowly their needs become her needs. Their lives become hers.

It’s then she meets George and falls in love for the first time. Now Marion faces an impossible choice: her sense of duty or the love of her life.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The Good Servant is a story with a royal flavour, particularly topical in England in June. It hints at a possible scandal in its prologue. The reader realises that this is going to be an emotional journey, and it is. Marion Crawford is an intelligent young woman who wants to make a difference. Fate draws her into a world of privilege but as a servant.

I love the detailed characterisation that draws on historical figures and embellishes their lives with lyrical fictional storytelling. The reader learns about events and people from every viewpoint making this an engaging read. I enjoyed the historical details and the rich imagery in this poignant and well-written story.

Posted in Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, International Thriller, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Science Fiction

Aurora David Koepp 4*#Review #DavidKoepp @HQStories #SCFI #Dystopian #SolarFlare #CarringtonEffect #relationships #FamilyDrama #Siblings #community #adventurefiction #technothriller #internationalthriller #blogtour #bookreview #Aurora

When the lights go out no one is safe…

A planet without power.
When a solar storm hits the earth, the lights go out across the planet. But this time the blackout won’t be over soon – it could last for years. Aubrey and her stepson now face the biggest challenge of their lives.

 
A society without rules.
Soon they hear rumours of riots, the struggle for food becomes real, and even within their small communities, the rule of law is collapsing. Aubrey’s estranged brother Thom, a self-made billionaire who abandoned her years ago, retreats to a gilded desert bunker where he can ride out the crisis in perfect luxury.

 
A race to build a better world…
But the complicated history between the siblings is far from over, and what feels like the end of the world is just the beginning of a personal reckoning long overdue…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The author creates an atmospheric ethos, excellent characterisation and vivid sensory imagery in this dystopian styled adventure with a scientific edge. There is intricate world-building, setting the scene for the catastrophic event and the subsequent fallout. The characters are complex and believably flawed, and the story unfolds through their experiences and motivations. The scientific details create a believably menacing world that demands a lot from the characters, and the engaging quality is in finding out whether they will excel or fail in the new dark world.

Aurora is an exciting and thought-provoking read.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Humour, Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

Retreat to the Spanish Sun Jo Thomas 5*#Review @jo_thomas01 @TransworldBooks #RetreatottheSpanishSun #food #sun #friendship #mystery #intrigue #romance #family #selfrealisation #women #community #holidayfiction #humour

Will a summer escape be the answer she’s looking for?
Eliza has a full house! When her three children grew up and moved out, she
downsized to a smaller property… but now they’re all back.

Every room in the house is taken, and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter’s pug. Combined with the online course she’s trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn’t the peace and quiet that Eliza needs.

So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying ‘house-sitters wanted’, Eliza can’t resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural Finca in southern Spain, looking after the owner’s Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies… and finding a new zest for life and love along the way.

From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse comes a deliciously feel-good new story…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The humour and warmth are evident from the start of this heartwarming story full of friendship, mystery and romance. Eliza is a single mother whose children are now adults, and although they have all left home, they have now returned, and it’s crowded and full of angst. She is struggling with who she is apart from a mother of young adults and is studying for a new career but is not sure what it is yet. The chance to work as a homesitter in Southern Spain is scary but maybe just what she needs.

Josep is attractive but distant, but his house is lovely, and his dogs are adorable, so she looks forward to her new experience. There is humour when Eliza meets the pigs, and she soon finds skills she didn’t know she possessed. The Spanish Conversation Group is lovely and welcoming, but the problems begin when her employer returns unexpectedly.

I love the Spanish culture and food explored through the characters and the friendships between the women. The romance is gentle and believable, and the writing is full of sensory imagery, immersing the reader in the story.

The author has written a lovely, romantic story with an excellent sense of place and people and an emotional journey of self-realisation for Eliza.

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’4’soWoman’sour and Radio 2’2’she Steve Wright Show.

Jo’s debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller and won both the RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award.

Her recent book Escape to the French Farmhouse was a #1 bestselling eBook, and in every one of her novels, Jo loves to explore new countries and discover the food produced there, both of which she thoroughly enjoys researching.

Jo lives in Pembrokeshire with her husband and three children, where cooking and gathering around the kitchen table are a hugely important and fun part of their family life.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Detective, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Noir

Wake Shelley Burr 3*#Review @ByssheShelley @HodderBooks #Wake #crimefiction #noir #Australian #outback

EVERYBODY THINKS THEY KNOW MINA McCREERY.
EVERYONE HAS A THEORY ON WHAT HAPPENED TO HER SISTER.
NOW IT’S TIME TO FIND OUT THE TRUTH…

Mina McCreery’s sister Evelyn disappeared nineteen years ago. Her life has been defined by the intense public interest in the case. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, she lives alone on her family’s destocked sheep farm.

When Lane, a private investigator, approaches her with an offer to reinvestigate the case, she rejects him. The attention has had nothing but negative consequences for her and her family, and never brought them closer to an answer.

Lane wins her trust when his unconventional methods show promise, but he has his own motivations for wanting to solve the case, and his obsession with the answer will ultimately risk both their lives.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The author creates an atmospheric story with a distinct sense of place full of sadness and secrets. It explores what happens to a family when a child goes missing without a trace and how social media keeps it in the public focus, never allowing the pain of loss to fade. The character-driven story has noir elements and is slow paced and detailed. Fractured relationships and dark secrets make this a poignant read, but the quality of the characters and the setting are notable and resonate.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Jingle Bells in June, Little Duck Pond Café Rosie Green 5*#Review @Rosie_Green88 @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #romcom #LittleDuckPondCafe #jinglebellsinjune

Mackenzie Morris, newest recruit at the Little Duck Pond Café, is the perfect addition to the team.

But beneath her smiles, Kenzie is hiding a dark secret. It’s the reason she fled to Sunnybrook, desperate for a fresh start that would help to lay the ghosts that haunt her.

The challenge of turning her hobby into a business is a welcome distraction, and to her relief, she finds that her range of quirky pottery mugs and vases appears to be in demand. Alone and scared when she arrived, she’s slowly making friends and starting to feel as if she belongs. Meeting a lovely guy called Aidan seems to confirm this and it looks as if love might be on the horizon.

But then Kenzie makes a devastating discovery that threatens to crush her newfound happiness. Aidan is the one person she yearns to confide in. He’s also the one person who can never know the truth . . .

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author.

My Thoughts…

Kenzie is a new staff member at the Little Duck Pond Cafe and a potter. She hopes to develop her hobby into an artisan business in Sunnybrook, but from the beginning, the reader learns that Kenzie has dark elements in her past. She is a good character and has an emotional backstory full of drama before coming to Sunnybrook. Meeting Aidan by chance gives her a positive focus.

I like the empathetic way the author deals with the domestic noir elements of this story. It makes you think, what would I do? Kenzie’s emotional journey is conflicted but ultimately rewarding, making this a heartwarming and thought-provoking read.

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. Look out for ‘Sun, Sea & Strawberry Shortcake’, a sunshine-filled drama full of fun and mystery, out in June 2022 and including the return of character favourites, Ruby and Hudson.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Humour, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

The New Doctor at Peony Practice Christie Barlow 5*#Review @ChristieJBarlow @0neMoreChapter_ #LoveHeartLane #BookReview #Humour #Romance #romcom #family #secrets #identity #TheNewDoctoratPeonyPractice

All’s fair in love and…medicine?

Dr Katie O’Neil has only been in Heartcross a few hours when she finds herself already ruffling feathers – not least with medical school nemesis and new colleague Ben Sanders.

Katie’s the woman Ben loves to hate and until now he’d hoped he’d never set eyes on her again but now she’s back – and living next door!

When a charity boat race down the River Heart puts the two in direct competition, sparks fly. The winner takes it all, but who will it be? And will their prize be far more than they were expecting…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

So, a second chance at romance for Katie and Ben, both doctors who trained together and had history.
Katie is a strong female lead, and Ben feels in awe of her, but as they reacquaint, he realises her life was not as perfect as he imagined. Both have family issues, and the story explores adoption and identity and the problems of living with dementia. Ben is a gentle character, and it is refreshing to see Katie as his protector when he needs emotional support. Humour provides some lighter moments amidst the more serious themes.

I liked the realistic female lead character, the sense of community and the gentle romance in this engaging story.

Christie Barlow

Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of sixteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.

Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.

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Read my reviews of books in the Love Heart Series