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

Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff Della Galton 5*#Review @DellaGalton @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Family #UpLit #Romance #Dating #RealityTV #Dreams #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers

There’s someone out there for everyone… you just need to know where to look…

All NEW from bestselling author Della Galton.

Unlucky in love Poppy Allen is the producer of a brand-new TV show, ‘Date for a Day’ – think ‘Take Me Out’ meets ‘It’s a Knockout’!

Lovelorn contestants must perform a series of seaside challenges to win the hand of the starring lady and a ‘Date for a Day’.

Left heartbroken when Stephen, her childhood sweetheart eloped with her best friend on her hen night – Poppy has no plans to risk her own heart again. Besides, she’s far too busy filming contestants against the backdrop of the beautiful Bluebell Cliff Hotel and the stunning Jurassic Dorset coastline.

However, when sabotage on set threatens to stop shooting, Poppy discovers soulmates can be found in the most unexpected places…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set on the Dorset coast, this book focuses on Poppy, a film producer and a pilot for a reality TV dating show. This is topical contemporary fiction, and whilst I am not a fan of reality TV, going behind the scenes with Poppy and her film crew makes this absorbing reading.

Poppy is career orientated after being practically jilted at the altar. She has a supportive family who we discover lots about and good work friends, particularly Dave, her camera director. At the heart of this story is a lovely gentle friends-to-lovers romance that is heartwarming. There is also plenty of family drama which adds to the story and shows what a loving and loyal person Poppy is. The filming of the pilot of the Dating reality show is interesting full of humour and conflict, which adds authenticity to the story. The setting at Bluebell cliff brings cameos from some well-known characters and a wonderfully described setting.

This is a lovely, uplifting story, with family drama, glamour and romance.

Extract from Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff – Della Galton

Poppy Allen took a gulp of the fresh, brine-scented air and shielded her eyes against the winter sunshine as she looked out across the strip of pale sand. It was warm for February and the sea was flat and calm. She wasn’t the only one making the most of the stunning early-morning weather. Out in the bay, a small boat towed a waterskier in a black wetsuit past Old Harry Rocks. He bounced across the navy sea and Poppy could hear the distant drone of the boat’s engine beneath the mewling cries of the gulls. 

Her ankle boots sank into the powdery sand as she twirled slowly around. Wow, this was a beautiful location to film. In her mind’s eye, she saw a pair of chestnut horses cantering in slow motion through the surf into a sunset that painted the sky pink and gold and turned the sea all around into a mirror of rose-tinted glass. 

Which way was west? She checked her smartphone. Oh God, it was perfect. The sun would set over Brownsea Island. They might be able to use this very stretch of beach for that part of her show. 

People raved about Dorset’s beaches. Bournemouth drew the crowds, but, in her opinion, Studland Beach was better. It was wilder, with no neat prom and no pier. Just a backdrop of sand dunes dotted with scrubby grass that stretched away into the distance. It was so much more romantic than its staid sister, Bournemouth, certainly for what she had in mind. 

Date for a Day, a new kind of dating show, was Poppy’s brainchild. Billed as a cross between Take Me Out and It’s a Knockout, it involved seven contestants participating in challenges to win the attention of the picker. Netflix had commissioned a pilot that would be shown in the autumn. Poppy was determined to make it a hit. Being a producer was all she’d ever wanted to do and she was passionate about her work. 

Poppy turned back towards the chain ferry, which was docking again. It came from Sandbanks three times an hour and the crossing took four minutes. From her flat on Poole Quay, it was quicker to come by ferry. The alternative was a very scenic forty-minute drive (on a good day) through Wareham and the Isle of Purbeck. 

The ferry disgorged a handful of cars from the 9 a.m. crossing. She had got the one before. She never slept much past dawn anyway. Dave would probably be on this one. It had been tricky to get him to agree to such an early start, especially as he was – technically – working for nothing today. This was a pre-recce excursion, prior to bringing in her full crew. She could have done it by herself, but she wanted a sounding board and Dave had agreed to keep her company after she’d caught him in a weak moment last week following a shoot. 

She’d known Dave Blackwell for a lot longer than he’d been her preferred director of photography – they had worked for other production companies together before she’d set up her own, Beauty Spot Productions, eighteen months ago, and they’d become good friends. There was no one she trusted more to help her bring her dream to life. 

Poppy felt a prickle of excitement run down her back as she looked around her. It might be too busy to film here, but there were other more secluded, even more beautiful, beaches in this bay. 

She glanced back towards the National Trust car park and saw Dave’s old black Mercedes pulling in and parking beside her metallic-silver Jeep Renegade. Too impatient to wait, she set off to meet him. 

Della Galton

Della Galton is the author of many books, including Ice and a Slice.  She writes short stories, teaches writing groups and is Agony Aunt for Writers Forum Magazine.  She lives in Dorset. Della’s new fiction series launched with Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff in May 2020.

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Read my review of Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff

Read my review of Moonlight Over Studland Bay

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

Lost Property Helen Paris 5* #Review @drhelenparis @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #LiteraryFiction #SelfDiscovery #Memories #Loss #Family #Friendship #Forgiveness #MentalHealth #uplit #LostProperty

Dot’s life has become a bit stuck. The big dreams she once had are beginning to fade away as she works each day in the Baker Street Lost Property office. Until one day someone enters her life and unlocks a new determination inside her. After all, everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Maybe now it’s Dot’s turn to be found…

Twelve years ago her life veered off course, and the guilt over what happened still haunts her. Before then she was living in Paris, forging an exciting career; now her time is spent visiting her mother’s care home, fielding interfering calls from her sister and working at the London Transport Lost Property office, diligently cataloguing items as misplaced as herself.

But when elderly Mr Appleby arrives in search of his late wife’s purse, his grief stirs something in Dot. Determined to help, she sets off on a mission – one that could start to heal Dot’s own loss and let her find where she belongs once more…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A poignant and ultimately uplifting exploration of family, forgiveness, loss and memories. This gently paced story focuses on Dot, a young woman seemingly sidelined by life, but why? She is easy to empathise with, as she stumbles through life, with her keen insight, self-deprecating humour and sense of guilt.

The workings of a busy lost property office are vividly given life in this story, as every lost item has a history and is a cause of humour or sadness seen through Dot’s eyes. The structure and writing style are conducive to easy reading and immerse the reader in the characters and plot.

Contemporary issues concerning family, loss and mental health are woven into this lovely story, which follows Dot’s emotional journey of self-realisation to its positive conclusion and the realisation that some things are meant to be left behind.

Helen Paris

Helen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction.

As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.

Lost Property is her first novel.

A note from Helen:

“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property,
Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’

I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe, a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic, portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound. Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and linger there, if only for a moment.”

Posted in Book Review, Romance

Give Me More A.C.Arthur 4*#Review #TheFabulousGolds @ACArthur @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #MillsandBoonDare #HarlequinDare #MillsandBoonInsiders #BookReview #GiveMeMore

Can an island fling…

Become the real thing?

The last person fashion exec RJ Gold expects to see while holidaying in St. Lucia is his ex, journalist Grace Hopkins. He doesn’t trust her—especially because she’s writing a story on the feud between his family’s fashion empire and a rival house. So he’ll keep the reporter close… And as their explosive chemistry and rekindled feelings reach a fever-pitch, they must decide—can love last or is their desire on a deadline?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The fourth book in The Fabulous Golds series features RJ and Grace, his ex-lover, the one he wanted to marry who walked away. Grace is a journalist who wants to write an article on the fashion feud that has defined the Golds and their rivals, the Kings. Riley and Chaz are due to marry, bringing both dynasties together and making them even more newsworthy.

It’s clear from the start the attraction between Grace and RJ is still burning and something they can’t ignore. The love scenes are sizzling, and the dialogue is full of humour, making this an entertaining read. Grace’s career is her life and the reason she walked away, but now ten years on, she wants both. Her assignment threatens the chance of love and leads to conflict and heartfelt decision making.

This is an enjoyable, sexy romance with vibrant characters and vivid emotions.

Read my review of At Your Service

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

Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage Samantha Tonge #GuestPost @SamTongeWriter @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Family #Friends #Romance #Secrets #mystery #BlogTour #publicationday #SummerSecretsatStreamsideCottage

A new start can come from the most unexpected places…

It’s been years since Lizzie Lockhart spoke to her parents. But she was safe in the knowledge she knew everything about them. Once upon a time, they were as close as could be. Until they weren’t.

After receiving the earth-shattering news of their passing, Lizzie decides it’s time to unearth some family secrets and find out just who her parents really were… starting with Streamside Cottage. A cottage Lizzie never knew existed, in a place she’s never heard of: the beautiful English village of Leafton.

Leaving behind London, and the tattoo parlour she called home, Lizzie finds herself moving to the countryside. Faced with a tight-lipped community, who have secrets of their own, Lizzie is at a loss for what to do, until her rather handsome neighbour, Ben, steps in to help.

As Lizzie finally begins to piece together the puzzle of her family history she realises she has to confront the truth of the past in order to face her future.

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Guest Post – Samantha Tonge – Tattoos

Do you love or hate tattoos? They can attract an extreme reaction and that’s the reason I wanted to write a story featuring a tattoo artist as the main character. Even though tattoos are mainstream these days, stigma still exists around them, along with set ideas about the *type of person* who would get one. It’s only in recent years, for example, that the Met Police have relaxed their policy on officers being banned from having visible ones on their hands or face. I wanted to show that they represent so much more than just a piece of art. It is the reasons behind why people put themselves under the needle that interest me most.

In 2016 I started my mental health recovery. Buddhism was a big part of this and I decided I wanted a tattoo of a lotus flower, on my wrist. It was my first and it’s very small – I now wish I’d had it drawn much bigger! It’s a daily reminder of how far I’ve come, and how I need to keep doing what I did in 2016 to stay well. Whilst she inked me I chatted to the artist, admiring her incredible skill. She talked about the many reasons people want tattoos. As part of her job she hears painful stories, about abuse for example, or bereavement. I chatted about my personal journey as the tracing paper version of my lotus flower became pink and vibrant on my skin.

Of course, you’re always going to get those tattoos that have been done whilst drunk on holiday and are misspelt, and they carry entirely different stories! But reputable artists won’t ink anyone under the influence and you have to be over eighteen. And, like Lizzie in my story, each artist has their own set of ethics, such as refusing to ink on the name of a short-term boyfriend or girlfriend in case the relationship breaks down, or saying no to doing them on a part of the body they’ll rub off easily, such as the fingers.

Tattoos have been around as long as the Ancient Egyptians, and to me are as much a part of human life as haircuts or make-up. Very often they represent a hard time that person has been through, yet some critics still only associate them with people of dubious character. They’d no doubt be surprised to learn that Winston Churchill had one!  I understand why not everyone wants a tattoo – I’m not sure a Mohican haircut would suit me, for example – but that’s the beauty of being human, our individualism.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing  research and each chapter begins with an interesting fact, such as how the Indian Apatani tribe used to tattoo young girls to make them unappealing to rival tribes who might abduct the  most beautiful women.  Or how some people get loved ones’ ashes put into the tattoo ink, as a permanent commemoration.

Lizzie’s job is a big reason she fell out with her parents – or is it? If you read this story I hope you enjoy her emotional journey to the village of Leafton, to find out why they cut her out of their life so completely. It’s a novel about confronting the past in order to face the future.

Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award.

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Read my review of The Winter We Met here

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Saga, Travel

You Let Me Go Eliza Graham 4*#Review @eliza_graham @AmazonPub #HistFic #contemporary #family #saga #WW2 #France #Legacy #LakeUnionPublishing #BlogBlitz #BookReview @rararesources #MondayBlogs

After her beloved grandmother Rozenn’s death, Morane is heartbroken to learn that her sister is the sole inheritor of the family home in Cornwall—while she herself has been written out of the will. With both her business and her relationship with her sister on the rocks, Morane becomes consumed by one question: what made Rozenn turn her back on her?

When she finds an old letter linking her grandmother to Brittany under German occupation, Morane escapes on the trail of her family’s past. In the coastal village where Rozenn lived in 1941, she uncovers a web of shameful secrets that haunted Rozenn to the end of her days. Was it to protect those she loved that a desperate Rozenn made a heartbreaking decision and changed the course of all their lives forever?

Morane goes in search of the truth but the truth can be painful. Can she make her peace with the past and repair her relationship with her sister?

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This is a poignant dual timeline story, a family saga from occupied France in the 1940s to the present day. The prologue gives clues about the story’s secrets and the heartbreaking discoveries to follow.

Two sisters Morane and Gwen, find their relationship strained when their beloved grandmother Rozenn bequeaths her house to Gwen. Morane has already suffered, and now she feels rejected by her grandmother. A chance discovery leads Morane on a quest to find out about Rozenn’s life in occupied France, which has surprising consequences.

The dual storylines are well written, both full of vivid characters and emotion. The historical timeline is particularly engaging, as it conveys the horrors and stark choices of life in occupied France. The familial relationships are relatable, and the plot twists keep the reader engaged.

This is a family saga of betrayal, forgiveness, love and sacrifice with a satisfying conclusion.

Eliza Graham

Eliza Graham’s novels have been long-listed for the UK’s Richard & Judy Summer Book Club in the UK, and short-listed for World Book Day’s ‘Hidden Gem’ competition. She has also been nominated for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

Her books have been bestsellers both in Europe and the US.

She is fascinated by the world of the 1930s and 1940s: the Second World War and its immediate aftermath and the trickle-down effect on future generations. Consequently she’s made trips to visit bunkers in Brittany, decoy harbours in Cornwall, wartime radio studios in Bedfordshire and cemeteries in Szczecin, Poland. And those are the less obscure research trips.

It was probably inevitable that Eliza would pursue a life of writing. She spent biology lessons reading Jean Plaidy novels behind the textbooks, sitting at the back of the classroom. In English and history lessons she sat right at the front, hanging on to every word. At home she read books while getting dressed and cleaning her teeth. During school holidays she visited the public library multiple times a day.

Eliza lives in an ancient village in the Oxfordshire countryside with her family. Not far from her house there is a large perforated sarsen stone that can apparently summon King Alfred if you blow into it correctly. Eliza has never managed to summon him. Her interests still mainly revolve around reading, but she also enjoys walking in the downland country around her home and travelling around the world to research her novels.

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

Meet Me in Hawaii Georgia Toffolo 4*#Review @ToffTalks @MillsandBoon #Romance #SummerLove #Hawaii #BookReview #FridayReads #MeetMeinHawaii #MeetMe #MillsandBoonInsiders @rach_b52

Where an ocean of love awaits

Malie Pukui doesn’t believe in happy ever after. After a tragedy caused her to flee her family and friends in Devon she found a fresh start in Hawaii. Here, working at a surf school, she can give back to those in need and try to overcome the greatest loss in her life.

Moved around foster homes throughout his childhood, Todd Masters has worked hard to be able to offer a brighter future to young disadvantaged children. Now he has his own charitable foundation working with a surf school in Hawaii, a job he loves, but he still can’t put his past behind him.

When Malie rescues Todd from the sea a spark ignites between them, and the two wounded souls find a common ground. But amidst the surf, sunsets and sizzling kisses, can Malie let go of her past and risk something she’d locked away forever… her heart.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Malie’s story, set in sunny Hawaii, is the second book in the Meet Me series. It’s easy to imagine the setting from the vivid description and sensory imagery. Malie’s life seems idyllic, and on a superficial level, it is, but deep down, Malie is suffering from grief and guilt and needs space away from her devastated parents to survive. Todd is outwardly successful with a caring heart, but his difficult early life means personal relationships are problematic and best avoided.

A growing friendship with chemistry and humour draws the couple closer to love, but their internal conflicts are many and make trust difficult for them both. Contemporary issues highlighted knowledgeably and positively makes this more than a conflicted and glamorous romance.

The enduring and strong friendship group surrounding Malie keeps her grounded and moving forward, knowing they want her happiness. This book moves on convincingly from the first story set in London and anticipates the next Meet Me book.

This is an engaging, romantic story with a contemporary focus and a perfect, escapist setting.

Read my review of Meet Me in London

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance

The Secrets of Meadow Farmhouse 5*#Review @KatieGAuthor @HQStories @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Family #Romance #Community #SecondChances #Mystery #Secrets #TheSecretsofMeadowFarmHouse

Escape to the countryside with a heart-warming new novel from Katie Ginger, author of Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage.

Amelia loves her life in Paris. But with the surprise inheritance of her childhood home, Meadow Farmhouse, she has no choice but to return to the small village of Meadowbank to restore her great-aunt’s old farmhouse. However returning to Meadowbank means she has to confront her past, including old flame Adam.

When Amelia discovers a locket hidden in the farmhouse, containing the picture of a mysterious World War Two soldier, she starts to uncover the secrets of her great-aunt’s past and is drawn further into village life. Shocked by the warm welcome from the villagers and her own surprising feelings for first love Adam, Amelia is suddenly confused as to where she truly belongs.

Can Amelia finally confront her own past and find where her heart truly calls home?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

All old houses have secrets, and Meadow Farmhouse is no different. When Amelia returns to her childhood home to sort out her unexpected inheritance, she finds a clue to her great-aunt’s past. Her childhood was not a happy one, but back at the place where she grew up, she is determined to evaluate her life and finding out why Vera seemed incapable of love is a part of this. Solving the mystery of Vera’s past adds depth to this story.

Amelia’s journey of self-discovery catalysed by returning home to Meadow Farm is an emotional one. Adam, her first love, is still in the village. The rekindling of their friendship, and the sparks of something more, add a believable touch of romance.

The villagers are an interesting mix of characters that populate a quintessential English village. They add gossip, humour and vibrancy to the story and make it authentic. Gentle pacing reflects village life.

This is an engaging story that immerses you in the details of village life and life choices, perfect escapist reading.

Katie Ginger

KATIE GINGER lives by the sea in the south-east of England, and apart from holidays to very hot places where you can sit by a pool and drink cocktails as big as your head, she wouldn’t really want to be anywhere else. The Secrets of Meadow Farmhouse  is her seventh novel. She is also the author of theSwallowtail Bayseries – Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay, Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay and Winter Wishes at Swallowtail Bay, Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage and the Seafront series – The Little Theatre on the Seafront, shortlisted for the Katie Fforde Debut Novel of the Year award, and Summer Season on the Seafront.

When she’s not writing, Katie spends her time with her husband and two kids, and their dogs: Wotsit, the King Charles spaniel, and Skips, the three-legged rescue dog. (And yes, they are both named after crisps!)

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Political Thriller, Romance, Travel

The Spanish Girl Jules Hayes 5*#Review @JulesHayes6 @books_dash #SpanishCivilWar #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #Family #Love #secrets #Romance #Friendship #TheSpanishGirl #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources

A country torn apart by war.
Two love stories divided by decades.
One chance to discover the truth… 

Feisty journalist Isabella has never known the truth about her family. Escaping from a dangerous assignment in the turbulent Basque country, she finds her world turned upside down, firstly by her irresistible attraction to the mysterious Rafael, and then by a new clue to her own past. 

As she begins to unravel the tangled story of her identity, Isabella uncovers a story of passion, betrayal and loss that reaches back to the dark days of Spain’s civil war – when a passionate Spanish girl risked everything for her country, and for the young British rebel who captured her heart. 

But can Isabella trust the man she’s fallen in love with? Or are some wartime secrets better left undisturbed…? 

Heartbreaking, gripping historical fiction about the tragedy of war, and the redemption of love.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This dual timeline novel explores two tragic and turbulent times in Spanish history through the eyes of the people who lived through them. Two love stories echo the other in many ways. Family, love, loss and forgiveness are predominant themes in this politically astute story.

The setting and time periods are the ones that affected Spain and drew the attention and interference of the wider world. This is an emotional story, the political struggles, in both of the timelines, were personal to the people living through them, and the writing reflects this.

Believable and vibrant characters give life to familial relationships and friendships. It’s immersive and insightful, evoking all the reader’s senses, so they feel part of it.

The poignant but positive ending is a perfect conclusion.

Jules Hayes

I have a degree in modern history and I’m fascinated with events from the first half of the 20th century, which is the time period my historical fiction is set.

My work has been longlisted in the Mslexia Novel Competition, and shortlisted in the prestigious Bridport Short Story Competition.

I live in Berkshire, UK with my partner, daughter and dog. Before writing stories, I was a physiotherapist.

Jules Hayes is a pseudonym for JA Corrigan who writes contemporary thrillers. Falling Suns by JA Corrigan (Headline Accent) was published in 2016.

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

All You Need Is Love Jessica Redland 5* #Review #Extract @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources #Romance #Friendship #Heartwarming #UpLit #Family #Relationships #Loss #Love #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #WhitsboroughBay #AllYouNeedIsLove

When you’ve loved and lost, how do you find the strength to let love in again?


Jemma thinks she’s found the love of her life. Scott is everything she ever dreamed of and she can’t wait to begin the next stage of their life together. But just as she is heading for her happy ever after, a shock revelation shatters Jemma’s life as she knows it. Left to pick up the pieces, Jemma’s friends and family rally round to help her find the courage to move on.

Sam think he has his future all worked out. A thriving career, lovely home and an amazing fiancée. But when tragedy strikes, he finds himself alone, far from everyone he cares about. Did he do the right thing by running away and trying to rebuild the tatters of his life alone?

This is the story of Jemma and Sam. Two lost souls, desperately trying to find closure and happiness. When a chance meeting brings them together a friendship is formed, but the guards are up. 

Will it finally be their turn for a happy ever after? Or will the secrets from their pasts prevent them from moving on?

Escape to Whitsborough Bay for an emotional, uplifting story of love and friendship from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland. 

This book was previously published as Bear With Me.

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 story full of angst and loss but mitigated by the strong community ties and friendship at times of need. Jemma and Sam are the main protagonists, and the story unfolds from their perspectives. Initially, separate their stories intertwine as their lives implode.

The character-driven, insightful and immersive writing draws the reader into the characters’ lives. The world-building creates an authentic setting that is easy to imagine from the sensory imagery used.

Relatable characters and contemporary issues are interwoven into a story of friendship, loss and starting over.

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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Extract from All You Need Is Love – Jessica Redland

Jemma 

Three years ago – 21st May 

‘Mum!’ I called up the stairs. ‘Mum! The hearse is here.’ I cocked my head to one side, listening for her reply. Nothing. What was she doing up there? She’d told me forty minutes ago that she was ‘almost ready’ and, as she isn’t one of those women who spends hours teasing one strand of hair into place, there was no reason to disbelieve her. Of all the mornings to take forever, why choose today? Shaking my head, I opened the front door to Mum’s cottage, Bear’s Pad, before Mr Golding, the funeral director, had a chance to lift the grizzly-bear knocker. 

‘Good morning, Ms Browne.’ He gave a reverential bow of his head. ‘We’re ready when you are.’ 

‘Thank you. We’ll be out in five minutes.’ I glanced back towards the stairs. ‘Actually, it could be ten. Do we have time?’ 

‘Ten minutes is no problem.’ 

My throat tightened as I glanced past him to the black limousine parked on the sloped driveway and the hearse parked on the road. It was still hard to take in. This wasn’t a day I’d expected to experience for several decades. 

I tried not to curl my lip up at the orange and yellow floral lettering arrangement resting against the side of the coffin. I hated it but Logan, my seven-year-old brother, had requested it because his best friend Billy Thomas had apparently told him that people who didn’t have one were mean and that the dead would come back to haunt them. I could have throttled Billy Thomas. Logan also wanted a floral teddy bear to thoroughly protect him against any risk of ghosts but Mum and I had managed to talk him out of that. The deceased would not have been impressed with a bear. He probably would have haunted us for that. 

‘Mum!’ I called again after I’d closed the door. Still no answer. Just a lot of clattering and banging. 

‘What’s Mum doing?’ Logan looked up from where he was playing with his Lego on the lounge rug. ‘She’s being very noisy.’ 

‘I’ve no idea, but I’m about to find out. Have you been to the toilet?’ 

‘Not yet.’ 

‘Can you do that while I check on Mum? And make sure you wash your hands.’ 

He put down his Lego and pouted. ‘I always do.’ 

‘Logan! What have we discussed about telling fibs?’ 

‘Okay. I promise I’ll wash them. You can smell them if you want.’ 

I smiled at him. ‘Tempting, but I might pass on that.’ 

Logan headed past me and through the kitchen, giggling as he made a big show of sniffing at his hands. Happy that he was doing as asked, I kicked off my stilettos and ran up the stairs. I paused for a moment outside Mum’s bedroom listening to the racket, punctuated with the occasional expletive, then pushed open the door and gasped. 

‘Oh my God! What’s going on? Mum! Why aren’t you ready?’ 

Wrapped in a fluffy cream towel, Mum turned to face me and blew a wisp of dark hair out of her face. 

‘I only bought them on Saturday,’ she said, as if that explained why half the contents of her drawers were strewn all over the floor. 

‘Bought what on Saturday?’ 

‘Black knickers. An M&S three-pack. But I can’t find them, Jemma.’ 

‘Where did you last have them?’ 

She planted her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes at me. ‘Why do people always say that? If I knew the answer, then this wouldn’t have happened, would it?’ She waved her arm across the carnage. 

‘The hearse is here,’ I said, equally unhelpfully. 

Mum frowned. ‘I thought they weren’t due till 10.15.’ 

‘It is 10.15. Well, near enough.’ 

She twisted round to look at her bedside clock. ‘Crap! Why didn’t you call me sooner?’ 

‘Because you told me you were nearly ready forty minutes ago and because I was busy with Logan.’ 

‘Logan? Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry, Jemma. Is he ready?’ 

‘Yes. He’s downstairs waiting. We need to go in about seven minutes. Can you manage without the knickers?’ 

Her eyes widened. ‘Jemma-bear! Are you suggesting that I go commando to your father’s funeral? I’m not sure that’s appropriate.’ 

I laughed loudly – also not appropriate for a funeral. ‘I didn’t mean go without any knickers. I just meant without the new black ones.’ 

Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Humour, Romance

Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You Annie Lyons 5*#Review Narrator Nicolette McKenzie @1AnnieLyons @0neMoreChapter_ #Audiobook #Review #Friendship #Family #multigenerational #HistFic #Romance #Uplit

Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.

But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?

A heartfelt story of life, death, friendship and family.

Audible UK

I received a copy of this audiobook from One More Chapter (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started to listen to this story. Eudora Honeysett is an older woman who is ready to die. The artwork on the cover is so bright and cheerful, so I continued to listen. The story unfolds into a delightfully, gentle, poignant story about finding friendship and family in later life.

Eudora is eccentric, opinionated and sad until she meets a young girl Rose and Stanley, a good-hearted widower and their friends and family. They see something worth saving in Eudora. Eudora’s current life experiences are increasingly positive, but flashback chapters show a life full of betrayal, loss and sacrifice.

Excellent narration makes the characters vibrant, especially Eudora. Her introspection and dialogue are witty, making her memorable.

This is a lovely story with relatable characters and events.